The Best Hair Dryer for Your Money, Blow by Blow

by Vicki Santillano

The Best Hair Dryer for Your Money, Blow by Blow

A blow-dryer simply means the difference between damp and dry hair, but a great blow-dryer means the difference between a day spent trying to smooth flyaway hairs and a day spent turning heads with a salon-quality blowout. But just as we can’t all spend big bucks on salon visits every day, nor can we shell out money for every pricey blow-dryer that promises amazing results. And we shouldn’t have to, when great dryers can be found in every price range, from inexpensive to extravagant. Find the best hair dryer for your budget from these 12 foolproof options.


Bargain: Revlon Fast Dry and Ultimate Shine Pro Styler Nano Diamond Tourmaline Ceramic Technology



Tourmaline hair dryers are designed to provide faster drying time while enhancing body and shine. In 2006, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute recommended this Revlon model over one 10 times its price.

Revlon Fast Dry & Ultimate Shine Pro Styler, $24.99


Bargain: Conair 250 EcoDry 1400-Watt Dryer



The industry standard is 1875 watts, but this Conair product promises to work as efficiently as its higher-wattage peers while using less energy. The positive reviews on Amazon also highlight its compactness, surprisingly powerful air flow, and minimal packaging.

Conair 250 EcoDry 1400-Watt Dryer, $21.96


Bargain: Andis 40055 Pro Style 1600 Hair Dryer



Andis offers 1600 watts, multiple heat and hair settings, and a light weight that makes it well suited for travel. And with four and a half stars on Amazon, it’s even better rated than other, much more expensive models.

Andis 40055 Pro Style 1600 Watt Hair Dryer, $13.99


Bargain: Conair 259 Infiniti Pro



All Conairs aren’t created equal, especially if you’re shopping only for the most affordable one. But discounted price doesn’t mean discounted value, as is the case with this durable product. It also combines tourmaline with ionic technology, which locks moisture into hair, rather than stripping it like some other dryers do.

Conair Infiniti Pro AC Motor Dryer, $25.99


Moderate: BaByliss Pro TT Tourmaline 3000



Like the Conair 259 Infiniti Pro, this dryer offers both negative ions, to minimize frizz (the aforementioned “ionic technology”), and tourmaline (a type of gemstone), to add silkiness. According to reviews, it dries hair quickly and without frying it, which is very important if you use a dryer daily.

Babyliss PRO TT Tourmaline Titanium Hair Dryer, $79.99


Moderate: Remington Ac2015 T|Studio Pearl Ceramic



Ceramic is a popular source of even and consistent heat conduction in higher-end hair dryers, but Remington takes it up a notch by adding crushed pearls into the mix. Reviews suggest that, as a result, hair is smooth and luxurious.

Remington Ac2015 Tstudio Salon Collection Pearl Ceramic Hair Dryer, $35.99


Moderate: FHI Heat Nano Salon Pro 2000



This FHI model boasts an AC motor that extends the average hours of use to 1200 yet remains quieter than many other dryers. It also has tourmaline crystals, infrared heat (thanks to its ceramic feature), and unique “Nano technologies” that are included to keep hair healthy and perfectly coiffed.

FHI Heat Platform Nano Salon Pro, $129.99



Moderate: Elchim Professional 2001 1800-Watt Classic



All Elchim products use negative ion technology, and the Professional 2001 is no different. Reviews on Amazon say the dryer itself is built well for frequent use, and its quiet yet forceful airflow adds a great deal of shine and volume. Even better, fans say that hair achieves a full, bouncy look in a fraction of the time other dryers take.

Elchim 2001 Professional Hair Dryer, $142


Pricey: Solano Top Power Ion



“It’s like buying a car,” hair and makeup guru David Evangelista explained, when asked about hair dryer shopping on the Early Show in 2006. “Sometimes expensive does mean a little bit better, because there’s more technology put in the blow-dryer.” He recommended this Solano model.

Solano 3200 Top Power Hair Dryer, $149.00


Pricey: CHI Turbo Ceramic Hair Dryer



CHI hair dryers are already some of the most coveted and respected on the market, but with one of the highest ratings on TotalBeauty.com, this model clearly stands out from the pack. Soft, manageable hair in half the drying time of other brands sometimes comes with a hefty price tag.

CHI Turbo Ceramic Hair Dryer, $169.95


Pricey: T3 Tourmaline 83808 Professional Featherweight



Tourmaline jewels, ceramic, ionic—this hair dryer has it all! No wonder Allure gave it a Best of Beauty award in 2010. The description suggests that this model works particularly well with “long, thick, coarse, or unruly hair types.” Tangled sisters, rejoice!

T3 Tourmaline 83808 Professional Featherweight Ceramic Ionic Hair Dryer, $200


Pricey: Rusk Speed Freak



The Rusk Speed Freak has the highest wattage (2000) of any dryer on this list. Given its five stars on Amazon as of January 2011, that’s clearly a good thing. Some reviewers actually said there’s no need for a flatiron with this product around.

Rusk Speed Freak 2000 Watt Ceramic and Tourmaline Dryer, $119.95