The best hair dryer ensures you can give your tresses the salon treatment at home, creating everything from smooth, sleek styles, to bouncy blow dries without having to step foot out of your home. Modern hair care appliances are powerful and offer a range of temperature settings that ensure no matter what your hair type, you can give hairdressers a run for their money.
When it comes to choosing the best hair dryer, there’s a wide range of models available to suit all budgets. Revlon and Remington are names you’re probably already aware of as they’ve been part of the hair dryer market for years. However, there’s also a range of salon brands to choose from, which turned their attention to consumers in the early noughties and gained widespread popularity, such as GHD. Not only do these brands offer several models of hair dryers but they also produce other styling appliances including the recently-launched cordless hair straighteners known as the GHD Unplugged
Then there are the vacuum cleaner brands exploring new areas. You probably already know about Dyson’s first hair dryer, the Supersonic, but the brand also offers other hair styling products including the Dyson Corrale hair straighteners and the Dyson Air Wrap hot air styler. If you’re considering buying a Dyson hair styling product, check out our round-up of the best Dyson hair dryer deals now.
Now rival vacuum brand Shark has followed suit, launching its own hair dryer, the HyperAir. You can see how it stacks up against Dyson’s offering by reading Shark HyperAIR vs Dyson Supersonic: which hair dryer should you choose.
We’ve put the most popular designs to the test, timing how quickly they dry hair on various temperature and airflow settings, while also assessing how smooth and shiny they leave your hair to discover which is the best hair dryer you can buy right now.
Dyson Supersonic hair dryer
There’s no hiding the fact this is an expensive hair dryer – and let’s be honest, is beyond many people’s budgets for a haircare appliance. But Dyson has crammed a shed-load of tech into its Supersonic dryer making it the best hair dryer you can buy right now.
Instead of having the motor behind the nozzle, Dyson has moved it to the handle and this motor sucks in air via a filter in the base rather than through a vent in the barrel. This design shrinks the size of the Supersonic considerably, so it’s one of the most compact and lightest hair dryers we’ve tested.
During testing, it was extremely quick to use and provided enough shine to negate the need to run the straighteners over it afterward. However, we often blocked the filter with our hand and the buttons are a little fiddly to access mid-dry.
GHD Air Hair Dryer
In what should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever used GHD’s range of luxury straighteners, the GHD Air hair dryer is solid and stylish, but where it really excels is noise – it’s the quietest dryer we’ve tested.
In stark contrast to the Dyson Supersonic’s lightweight, streamlined design, the GHD Air is a large machine with a thick handle, solid switches, and a long barrel but rather than feeling bulky, this sturdiness adds a sense of luxury and craftsmanship to the whole thing. However, its larger size meant we often found it unwieldy in our attempt to get the perfect angle.
On test, it wasn’t the fastest dryer we’ve used, nor was it the slowest, but if you want a touch of luxury and style, this hair dryer certainly gets the job done.
Shark Style iQ Hair Dryer
For those that have curly hair, a diffuser is a must as it disperses the air stream to ensure the curl pattern of the hair isn’t disrupted. However, while many hair dryers ship with a diffuser, the Shark Style iQ, which is known as the Shark HyperAir in the US, goes one step further.
The diffuser it ships with has extendable prongs that ensure the roots, as well as the ends of curly hair, can be dried evenly, reducing the risk of heat damage, which is why it’s our pick for those with curly hair. Even better, the hair dryer will automatically adjust the temperature and air flow settings when you connect the diffuser and other attachments it comes with, so ensure they’re at the optimum. It was also fast at drying out hair too.
However, while it’s not as expensive as the Dyson Supersonic, it’s expensive compared to the rest of the market and the attachments are bulkier than we’d have expected. We were also disappointed it lacks a removable filter, which makes removing lint and dust a breeze.
The Panasonic EH-NA65 is a good hair dryer if you want fast drying times and shiny locks every time. On test, it took just under four minutes to fully dry and style our shoulder length fine hair, while the ‘quick dry’ nozzle, which splits the airflow into four sections – two strong streams in the center and two softer streams on each edge, sped this up by a further 30 seconds.
Our hair was left with a shiny, healthy look after each blow dry, thanks to the ‘nanoe technology’ which uses negative ions that penetrate the hair’s cuticle, reducing static and frizz to ensure a shiny finish.
However, the outlet the negative ions are ejected from sits on top of the barrel, set slightly back from the air outlet and forms a hump on top of the barrel, creating a look to the hair dryer you’ll either love or hate.
Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001
When it comes to hair dryers – there’s a fine line between enough heat to ensure a quick drying time and too much heat that can damage the strands leading to breakages and split ends. The Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001 strikes the right balance with a sensor that regulates the temperature of airflow to ensure hair isn’t damaged by excessive heat build-up.
On test, it was certainly one of the faster hair dryers we’ve reviewed, taking just 3 minutes and 47 seconds to fully dry our below-shoulder-length fine hair, but it’s also one of the noisiest too – measuring 82db on its fastest setting. This is equivalent to a diesel truck traveling down the road at 40mph.
Its unusual design has a much wider-than-usual barrel, making it bulky and heavier than most hair dryers – it definitely made our arms ache when using it, but if you’re concerned about reducing heat damage, we still think it’s a worthy hair dryer.