The best hair dryers, recommended by expert hairstylists: ghd, Parlux, Shark and more
We spoke to two top hairstylists to find out what you should look for and avoid when buying a new hair dryer, and discover which models they think are the best hair dryers. We've also answered some the most commonly asked hair dryer questions to up your hair care routine.
Ask any honest hairstylist what the secret is to a salon-worthy hairstyle, and they’ll tell you that 99% of the time, it comes down to which shampoo and hairdryer you use. But which is the best hair dryer?
From cutting-edge models that use the latest haircare technology to affordable travel-friendly models perfect for packing for a weekend getaway, we’ve covered all types of hair dryers to suit all types of hair, with expert guidance to help us along the way.
The Recommended spoke to two top hair care experts to help us find the best hairdryers to suit all types of hair, with their own recommendations on which hairdryers they use when styling their clients. Based on their expert advice, which you can read at the bottom of this page, we pulled together our list of the best hairdryers below.
We've also included a handy buyer's guide to answer some of your most commonly asked questions when it comes to purchasing a new hair dryer. And once your sold on your next styling device, check out our guide on How to give yourself a salon-quality blowout at home, with the ultimate tips and tricks from highly experienced hair stylists. Or head to our step-by-step guide on How to blow dry your hair straight to achieve the perfect silky smooth finish.
The best hair dryers at a glance:
- Best hair dryer for a salon finish: ghd Air Hair Dryer, £119 at Cult Beauty
- Best versatile hair dryer: Shark STYLE iQ Ionic Hair Dryer & Styler HD110UK, £179.99 at Shark
- Best professional hair dryer: Parlux 3200 Plus Hair Dryer Black, £119.95 at Amazon
- Best basic hair dryer: Remington D3010 Power Dry Lightweight Hair Dryer, £18 at Boots
- Best smoothing hair dryer: TRESemme 5542DU 2200W Power Smooth and Shine Dryer, £26 at Boots
- Best hair dryer for fast drying: BaByliss Super Power 2400 Hair Dryer, £65 at Feel Unique
- Best travel hair dryer: ghd Flight+ Hairdryer, £99 at John Lewis
- Best kids hair dryer: Deogra 1000W Children’s Hair Dryer, £39.99 at Amazon
The best hair dryers
Best hair dryer for a salon finish: ghd Air Hair Dryer
Speedy drying and smooth results
This professional-level hair dryer comes recommended by our hair expert Laura Rugetti, who praised its super-fast drying and ionic technology.
This ghd drying has been created using enhanced ionic technology to reduce frizz and flyaways and give a smooth salon-style finish, and thanks to its 2100W of power, with variable speed and temperature controls, you can tailor your blow-dry to your hair type.
This intelligent hair dryer and styler automatically adjusts to your hair type, helping your strands stay strong and healthy while creating salon-worthy styles. For the full low down, check out our Shark Style iQ full review, where we put the Dyson dupe to the test.
The Shark Style iQ Ionic Dryer and Styler offers a truly customisable drying experience that can be adapted to hair type and texture with ease. This hair dryer features a 1520-watt motor and three adjustable heat and airflow settings, as well as a ‘cool shot’ feature that helps to seal the hair cuticle and lock in styles. Its long power cord also makes it easy to use in a variety of spaces.
As well as the customisable drying settings, this hairdryer set comes equipped with two ‘intelligent styler’ attachments.
First up, we have the concentrator attachment, an adjustable dryer head that works to deliver smooth, precise styles that last. The attachment can be used on the wider setting for fast yet gentle drying, or you can create a more narrow flow of air by extending the nozzle for more precise styling.
The second attachment is the diffuser, which works to deliver definition and volume for curly and coily hair textures. The diffuser is made with an adjustable design made to suit different hair lengths and densities. The longer prongs are adapted to lift and define long and thick hair, while the shorter prongs are more suited to shorter styles and finer strands.
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Something truly unique about this tool is the ‘intelligent styling’ aspect. The hair dryer automatically selects the optimum airflow and heat settings when either styler is attached, helping to minimize heat damage and frizz. These settings can be manually altered if desired.
The overall design of the Shark iQ Ionic Dryer and Styler is lightweight and easy to handle for a comfortable experience, designed to deliver salon-worthy results in the comfort of your own home.
Best professional hair dryer: Parlux 3200 Plus Hair Dryer Black
Salon-quality drying at home
This professional dryer from Parlux comes recommended by our expert hair stylist Richard Ward, who uses Parlux dryers in his Chelsea salon, thanks to their longevity and performance.
Parlux is one of the biggest names in professional hair styling equipment, thanks to its excellent quality, powerful and durable motors. This dryer has been designed to provide over 2000 hours of drying, making it a great investment buy.
Best basic hair dryer: Remington D3010 Power Dry Lightweight Hair Dryer
Powerful and efficient
This hair dryer from Remington is a fast-working, mid-sized dryer with three heat levels and two-speed settings allowing you to customise the airspeed and temperature for your hair type.
With an impressive 2000W of power, this dryer is designed to dry hair quickly, while its ceramic Ionic grille promises to protect your hair from static and frizz. It also comes with a built-in Eco setting that uses less power during use.
Best smoothing hair dryer: TRESemme 5542DU 2200W Power Smooth and Shine Dryer
Designed to give a glossy finish
The dryer from TRESemme has been designed to give you salon-quality results at home, thanks to its powerful fan and ionic conditioning technology.
Promising to deliver a constant stream of ionically balanced air and even heat distribution, this dryer has been designed to give a healthy, glossy finish after each use. It comes with a salon-style concentrator nozzle that has been specifically designed for fast, frizz-free results.
Best hair dryer for fast drying: BaByliss Super Power 2400 Hair Dryer
Strong airflow for controlled styling
This BaByliss dryer is one of the most powerful on our list, with 2400 watts of power, and comes with a slim concentrator nozzle for controlled, precise styling.
Delivering a strong stream of ionic conditioned air to smooth hair, reduce frizz and boost shine. With three heat settings and two-speed options, you can customise the level of power and set the temperature to suit your hair type.
Best travel hair dryer: ghd Flight+ Hairdryer
Compact and powerful
This dryer from ghd is lightweight and folds away, making it ideal for packing into your luggage for your next trip.
While compact and lightweight, this dryer still features the essential functions you need from a hair dryer, including powerful performance and built-in safety features designed to protect your hair from overheating and damage.
Best kids hair dryer: Deogra 1000W Children’s Hair Dryer
Gentle drying for kids
This colourful dryer from Deogra comes in two eye-catching designs and provides a gentle 1000W of drying power, ideal for drying children’s hair.
With two power settings and two accessories – a concentrator nozzle and a diffuser – is ideal for all kinds of kids’ hair, and its cute and colourful design featuring captivating cartoon characters is guaranteed to keep little ones entertained.
Richard Ward and Laura Rugetti are two of the highest regarded names in the hair care and hairstyling industry, with decades of hairstyling experience between them and unrivalled knowledge about which hair care and hair styling products are the best to buy, including hair dryers.
Richard Ward is an award-winning hairstylist who has styled the hair of top celebrities, including Elizabeth Hurley, Kim Cattrall and Poppy Delevingne, and even British Royalty, with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, among his clients. From his award-winning eponymous salon in London’s Chelsea, he has created signature innovative yet wearable couture hairstyles and created the much sought-after Chelsea Blow Dry.
Laura Rugetti is one of the biggest names in celebrity hair in the US, styling the locks of some of the biggest celebrity names, like Paris Hilton, Kelly Osbourne and Amelia Gray Hamlin, as well as some of the biggest names in reality TV, including Selling Sunset’s Christine Quinn, The Hill’s Audrina Partridge and several cast members of the Real Housewives franchise.
We put three questions to both of them to understand precisely what you need to know when shopping for your new hair dryer, and got their expert recommendations of the best hair dryers to buy and why.
What should you look for when buying a hair dryer?
“Always get a dryer with a nozzle enabling you to directionally blow-dry and therefore flatten the cuticle to enhance shine, and a cool shot to help set the section”, advises Richard, who also advises that professional-level dryers, while sometimes costly, are well worth it; “A professional dryer will have a higher output than a regular shop-bought dryer, and although much more expensive, is designed to be used for long periods of time so is a worthwhile investment.”
While Laura’s advice comes down to four key factors: “Heat control levels, nozzles, cooling level and attachments for different hair textures” - all of which play an important role in crafting the perfect blow-dry.
What should you avoid when looking for a hair dryer?
“Cheap models will be less durable and, if too hot, can cause damage and increase porosity and sensitivity levels”, warns Richard. “If the dryer isn’t powerful enough in terms of air then heat may be a poor substitute which can cause greater damage.”
Laura agrees, underlining the importance of heat control, “avoid hair dryers that don’t have multiple heat settings” – one heat setting will not work for all hair, and while the default may work for most, you run the risk of frying delicate or thinner hair, causing hard-to-repair damage and frizz. “Also, dryers that don’t come with nozzles”, warns Laura, not having the ability to direct or diffuse airflow can ultimately limit what you can do with the dryer.
Which is the best hair dryer?
“We use and sell Parlux professional dryers in our salon”, says Richard, “which last for ages and deliver the right performance for professional hairdressers. Although expensive, they are worth it.”
“My favourite blow dryer is the ghd Air Hair Dryer”, says Laura, “it has super-fast drying and ionic technology, leaving the hair smooth and has attachments for every hair type.”
Hair dryer buyer's guide: everything you need to know when buying your new device
How to choose the best hair dryer
Choosing the right hair dryer can make a significant difference when it comes to drying and styling your hair. We've rounded up several essential tips to help guide you in your selection process:
- Identify your hair type: Straight, curly, thick or fine, dry or greasy? Determining your hair type will help you narrow down your options to find a hair dryer which can be tailored to your specific needs.
- Consider the hair dryer design: Hair dryers generally seem to come in similar shapes and designs. However, they can vary in size, weight and style. Choose one that feels comfortable to hold in your hand and isn't too heavy for the optimum drying experience. Travelling? There are portable options available.
- Check out the heat and speed settings: Look for adjustable heat and speed settings to customise your drying experience. Many hair dryers come with a cool shot feature - a handy function to set your hairstyle in place once finished and add a glossy shine.
- Look at the wattage: Opt for a hair dryer with a wattage between 1800W to 2200W for effective hair drying without excessive heat damage.
Features to look for in a hair dryer
Another thing to consider when looking for a new hair dryer is the product's features. Keep an eye out for the following key features when browsing:
- Heat and speed settings: for versatility and control when styling.
- Attachments: diffusers are ideal for enhancing natural curls while minimising frizz, and concentrator nozzles direct airflow for precise styling, such as straightening or adding volume.
- Cool shot button: to set your style in place and add shine.
- Cord length: longer cords will offer more flexibility in where you can dry and style your hair.
- Noise level: lower noise levels will provide a quieter and more pleasant drying experience.
What attachment types to use?
Hair dryer attachments can elevate your hair-drying experience and enhance the final style of your hair. We've looked into the most common attachment types and what they should be used for:
- Concentrator nozzle: A narrow, elongated attachment, the concentrator nozzle aims to focus the airflow for precise styling. Use to achieve straightened hair or to add volume.
- Diffuser: The diffuser attachment spreads the airflow evenly to enhance natural texture and reduce frizz. Ideal for those with curly and wavy hair.
- Comb: Detangle your hair while drying with the comb attachment, which is ideal for those with thick or coily hair.
- Brush: Combine the benefits of brushing your hair while using your hair dryer with the brush attachment, allowing you to style and dry at the same time.
Matching your hair dryer to your hair type
For the best results, ensure your hair dryer is compatible with your hair type and achieve a sleek and shiny finish while maintaining the health of your hair. We've looked into the best hair dryer type and attachments for the different hair types:
- Straight hair: Opt for a basic hair dryer with adjustable settings to minimize frizz and prevent heat damage.
- Curly hair: Choose a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment to enhance your natural curls and minimize frizz.
- Wavy hair: Look for a hair dryer with multiple speed and heat settings and moderate to maintain the shape of your waves without causing excessive damage and dryness.
- Thick hair: Opt for a higher-wattage hair dryer with powerful airflow to cut down drying time.
- Fine hair: Choose a hair dryer with lower heat settings to prevent damage. A concentrator nozzle will help add volume and precision to your styling.
Want to read more expert-recommended hair care essential round-ups? Check out our hair Care page for a full list of recommendations, including our guide to the best hair straighteners, the best conditioners and the best hair curlers, all recommended by our hair care experts.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.