8 best hair dryers that make every day a good hair day

·11-min read
From slick blow dries to big, bouncy curls, these can do it all (iStock/The Independent)
From slick blow dries to big, bouncy curls, these can do it all (iStock/The Independent)

If technology has brought us one blessing, it’s that a salon and stylist are no longer necessary to achieve the perfect blow-dry.

We’re spoiled for choice with hair dryers that promise to de-frizz, volumise and protect our hair – with varying results.

To find the perfect hair dryer, we took a few things into account. With so many options, anything that might remotely damage our hair was out. This makes versatile heat options a must-have, with a range of nozzles or attachments also preferred.

Ionic technology is also the new normal, as it neutralises frizz-inducing atoms and reduces heat damage. But at the same time as boasting powerful motors and multiple features, we wanted something that was portable, light and easy to use.

With all this in mind, we also needed our styles to hold their own against the elements. Our tester tried each device out on a variety of hairstyles – from slick blow-dries to big, bouncy curls – to get to grips with each hair dryer’s full capabilities and see which delivered the longest-lasting results.

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These are the best hair dryers for 2022:

  • Best overall – Ghd helios hair dryer: £179, Ghdhair.com

  • Best for bouncy blow-dries – BaByliss rose blush 2200 hair dryer: £48, Lookfantastic.com

  • Best for rapid drying – Dyson supersonic hair dryer: £329.99, Boots.com

  • Best for reducing frizz – Remington keratin protect hair dryer: £48.90, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for thin hair – T3 cura luxe hair dryer: £170, T3micro.co.uk

  • Best for curly hair – Glamoriser salon results touch dryer: £59.99, Feelunique.com

  • Best for healthier hair – Panasonic nanoe + double mineral hair dryer: £129.99, Boots.com

  • Best for minimising hair damage – Remington hydraluxe pro dryer: £149.99, Boots.com

ghd helios hair dryer

Best: Overall

  • Attachments: Nozzle

  • Number of speed settings: 2

  • Number of heat settings: 2

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 3

  • Wattage (watts): 2200

Another addition from the consistently impressive brand, ghd’s helios dryer first launched last year. This is the result of years of research from physicists, engineers and ghd styling professionals, utilising an internal aerodynamic design. This translates to less drying time, smoother cuticles and, ultimately, shinier, frizzy-free locks.

It’s light, easy to use, and delivers a quick and powerful blow-dry. Even just a rough blow left hair much shinier than usual. There were two different heat settings, with 110C at the higher end of the scale, as well as the usual cool shot. Most hair types should find the lower temperature more than enough, but thicker styles might want to crank it up to full heat.

We tested the Dyson supersonic and ghd helios to see which was best

Buy now £179.00, Ghdhair.com

BaByliss rose blush 2200 hair dryer

Best: For bouncy blow-dries

  • Attachments: Nozzle

  • Number of speed settings: 2

  • Number of heat settings: 3

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 2.2

  • Wattage (watts): 2200

If the aesthetic alone doesn’t draw you in, the BaByliss hair dryer was one of the easiest to use on this list. Straightforward and fuss-free, our hair dried quickly and felt bouncy and smooth thanks to its super ionic frizz-control feature.

A lot of hair dryers can let you down with their cool shot button, which either shoots too gently or too warm to actually be useful. However, we were really impressed by its power and ability to set every style tried out by our tester.

Read the full BaByliss rose blush 2200 hair dryer review

Buy now £48.00, Lookfantastic.com

Dyson supersonic hair dryer

Best: For rapid drying

  • Attachments: Nozzle, diffuser, air attachment

  • Number of speed settings: 3

  • Number of heat settings: 4

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 2.8

  • Wattage (watts): 1600

What’s left to say about the queen of hair styling? Dyson’s supersonic is the result of years of combined efforts from hair stylists and engineers alike. It’s the only hair dryer to place the motor inside the handle, meaning no arm ache a few minutes into your styling routine (a blessing you’ll only appreciate once you have it).

It exceeded all of our expectations, drying hair quicker than any other device and leaving it with significantly less frizz. It comes with three different nozzles, designed for diffusion, volume and precise drying. As sleek in technology as it is in appearance, it also regulates its temperature 40 times per second to prevent heat damage. While it will set you back a hefty amount, those who take their pampering routine seriously will see this as an investment.

Read the full Dyson supersonic hair dryer review

Buy now £329.99, Boots.com

Remington keratin protect hair dryer

Best: For reducing frizz

  • Attachments: Nozzle, diffuser

  • Number of speed settings: 2

  • Number of heat settings: 3

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 2.5

  • Wattage (watts): 2200

Big, bouncy blow-dries don’t need to empty your pockets. Remington’s keratin protect hair dryer combines damage-defensive ceramic grilles with keratin and almond oil, both of which are common ingredients in hair strengthening products. It also uses 90 per cent more ions than your average hair dryer, which diffuses the frizz at the scalp. Our tester was pleasantly surprised by how much healthier her hair felt after just one use.

Read the full Remington keratin protect hair dryer review

Buy now £48.90, Amazon.co.uk

T3 cura luxe hair dryer

Best: For thin hair

  • Attachments: Nozzle

  • Number of speed settings: 2

  • Number of heat settings: 5

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 2.7

  • Wattage (watts): 1875

You couldn’t ask for a more luxurious addition to your beauty routine than this hair dryer. Its white and gold casing looks slick, and it has innovative features to match. There are five heat and two speed settings, an auto-pause sensor that halts airflow the moment you release the dryer handle, and digitally-controlled heat to optimise your styling experience.

But the best feature of all? The volume booster switch. This pauses the production of negative ions so you can focus on giving certain areas bounce, before switching back to smoothing out flyaways with the flick of a button.

The result was a big, bouncy blow-dry worthy of any salon. This was particularly noticeable on those with finer, thinner hair which usually struggles to maintain volume. It also helps give stubbornly flat or gappy fringes that extra lift.

Read the full T3 cura luxe hair dryer review

Buy now £170.00, T3micro.co.uk

Glamoriser salon results touch dryer

Best: For curly hair

  • Attachments: Nozzle, diffuser

  • Number of speed settings: 6

  • Number of heat settings: 8

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 3

  • Wattage (watts): 2200

Ionic hair dryers are always your best bet for minimising frizz, so when we heard Glamoriser’s hair dryer contained a “mega ion generator” we had high expectations.

Thankfully it met them – this device not only boasts a whopping eight heat and six speed settings, but it features a touch screen to make personalising your drying experience as easy as possible. Just be careful not to change the settings while maneuvering to dry the back of your head. Even with the safety lock on, we found ourselves accidentally switching up the speed on more than one occasion.

While it also comes with a slim styling concentrator, the large professional diffuser attachment was what really caught our attention. This did the best job of drying our curls out of all the tools we tried, enhancing our natural curl pattern and smoothing out halo frizz.

Read the full Glamoriser salon results touch dryer review

Buy now £59.99, Feelunique.com

Panasonic nanoe and double mineral advanced hair dryer

Best: For healthier hair

  • Attachments: Nozzle

  • Number of speed settings: 3

  • Number of heat settings: 2

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 2.7

  • Wattage (watts): 1800

We were definitely unprepared for the amount of features on this hair dryer. Not only does it offer the usual variety of temperatures, but it uses technology which works to infuse your hair with moisture. If that’s not enough, it also has four different modes to tackle your hair, scalp and even your skin – those with dry complexions can put the nano technology to use for up to a minute after your drying session.

Despite the complex features, it’s easy to use and feels like a salon treatment every time. While it works equally well on hair of varying thickness, it’s especially impressive on very thick, curly and frizzy strands.

Read the full Panasonic nanoe + double mineral advanced hair dryer review

Buy now £129.99, Boots.com

Remington hydraluxe pro dryer

Best: For minimising heat damage

  • Attachments: Nozzle, diffuser

  • Number of speed settings: 2

  • Number of heat settings: 4

  • Cool shot: Yes

  • Cord length (m): 3

  • Wattage (watts): 2200

Any form of heat styling poses the risk of damage, but Remington was determined to do everything possible to minimise that danger. Enter the hydracare sensor. This toggles on and off while styling to constantly regulate the temperature, cooling down the moment things start to heat up too much.

This was easy to use and it definitely did feel like our hair had suffered less moisture-loss than usual after styling. Our only critique is that hair had a tendency to get sucked into the back, so those with longer styles should tread carefully.

Read the full Remington hydraluxe pro dryer review

Buy now £149.99, Boots.com

Hair dryer FAQs

What’s the best hair dryer for my hair type?

Not all hair dryers are made equal and finding the one which works best for you will depend on your hair type. Fine, straighter hair types will benefit from ion technology to increase volume, and variable heat settings will help you control the amount of heat damage to hair.

If frizziness is your bugbear, a cool shot button – which delivers a burst or ongoing stream of cold air – will seal the hair cuticle and help reduce the effects of humidity on your locks, while wavy and curly hair will benefit from the use of a diffuser, which is an attachment tool that allows for heat to be evenly distributed. For thick hair, a higher wattage will ensure a faster drying time, though you can be more susceptible to heat damage, so always use a heat protectant spray beforehand.

When drying afro hair that has dense curls and texture, too much continuous high heat can cause breakage, so look for varying heat settings that allow you to control this and minimise damage.

What should I consider when buying a hair dryer?

Size and weight

Hair dryers have slimmed down in recent years, making bulky devices a thing of the past. However, it’s still important to consider the size and weight of the product. Thicker, curlier hair will take longer to dry, which means heftier hair dryers will take their toll on your arms after extensive styling. More complex, cutting-edge technologies tend to lead to heavier hair dryers, with lightweight travel dryers offering a more basic hair drying experience.

Power and temperature

If you’re looking to dry your hair as quickly as possible, look at the wattage, not the temperature. Nowadays you can buy hair dryers operating at 3600W, but a high-quality device only requires around 1800W. For those with curlier hair that only needs setting or drying with a diffuser, high speeds aren’t as important.

The opposite is true for temperatures. While it’s normally advisable to keep to as low a temperature as possible to minimise damage, thicker, curlier hair requires more heat. No matter your hair type, everyone should look for a variety of temperature settings. The more options, the more control over your styling.

Ceramic vs metal

The key difference between ceramic and metal hair dryers is that ceramic heats evenly and metal unevenly. As a result, ceramic dryers are less damaging to your hair, even if they take longer to heat up. Metal dryers are best suited to thicker hair, which requires stronger heat blasts to dry quickly. They also tend to be lighter than their ceramic counterparts.

What are ionic and ceramic technologies?

The word “ionic” is often thrown around when it comes to high-tech hair gadgets, but is very rarely explained. The name comes from its use of negatively charged ions. While your hair features both negative and positively charged ions, the water on wet hair is positive. Ionic hair dryers blast negative ions to help break down the particles which, in turn, helps hair dry faster than when it’s left to its own devices. Because the negative ions help close the hair cuticle, it also leaves it smoother, sleeker and frizz-free. This is particularly helpful for protecting the definition and pattern of your curls, but as it removes moisture, fine hair can be left looking limp.

Meanwhile, ceramic technology is designed to evenly distribute heat. This works by coating the inside of the dryer with ceramic (or sometimes porcelain) and covering the metal or plastic components, which conduct more extreme, uneven temperatures. Hair dryers with this technology also take extra measures to protect your hair from heat damage, repeatedly checking the temperature and adjusting accordingly. Temperatures will be hotter at the start of your blow dry, cooling gradually. While some hair dryers combine both technologies, most ceramic hair dryers are already equipped with negative ions to help control frizz –just not to the extent of an ionic hair dryer.

The verdict: Hair dryers

Delivering on all fronts, the ghd helios is our top choice. Not only did it help eliminate the majority of our frizz and boost shine, but it’s easy to use. We also loved how the Glamoriser salon results touch dryer performed on curlier hair.

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