Modern hair dryers use the latest technology to protect the quality of the hair and avoid damaging each strand. Positive ions damage hair when using older hair dryers, but newer hair dryers emit negative ions that are charged in a way to break down any positive ions present. Upgrading a hair dryer to a more recent model is an excellent idea.

Ionic dryers work by emitting negative ions that break up water molecules into smaller ones which accelerate evaporation. When stepping out of the shower with wet hair, the hair itself is a positive ion, but ionic dryers make light work of the H2O, speeding up the hair drying time. Thankfully, hair dryers don’t need to be any larger than a standard size to include this revolutionary hair drying technology.

Compact hair dryers are useful when traveling abroad or for vacations in the United States. Many models have a folding handle to enable the dryer to pack down into a rectangular shape making them easier to pack inside luggage with limited space.

Adjustable controls on each hair dryer let the user adjust the heat setting to make the hair drying experience more comfortable and avoid singeing their scalp in the process. Multiple air flow speeds also help maintain longer hair in a more manageable shape without it blowing everywhere. For anyone who sheds hair when blow drying, this at least contributes to keeping the strands of hair to a manageable area of the bathroom which makes them faster to clean up later.

Most dryers have a cooling button to blow cold air through the nozzle which is useful for careful styling in the final stages when the hair is already dry and needs some more hair volume. A button on the side of many hair dryer models quickly activates this feature.

Some hair dryers have a dual voltage capability. Electrical outlets around the world don’t use 120-volts; most use 240-260 volts. As a result, it is not merely enough to use a travel adapter because using a 120-volt device in a 240-volt international outlet, especially a hair dryer, has been known to cause a power surge and blackout in an entire hotel.

Many of the smaller hair dryers are 1,500 to 2,000 watts. Dryers tend to use many more watts of power than other home beauty tools, but as they’re not used for too long at one time, their power consumption isn’t overly excessive.

The corded hair dryers often come with a 6-foot cord. While one doesn’t want to travel with a cord that takes up too much packing space, a 6-foot cord provides enough length to walk around a little bit in front of the mirror unrestricted.

The grip is usually ergonomic with a curved handle and control buttons that are easy to access while drying hair. Hair dryers are also well balanced to avoid causing pain in the arm or wrist while holding them up for 10+ minutes during the drying process.

What’s Included with The Best Hair Dryer

The hair dryer unit, the power cord, and an attached US power plug is included in the box.

There are some hair drying accessories also included with most products to help brush and style the hair as it is drying. The accessories might include a concentrator which promotes straight hair and a diffuser which helps spread out the heat distribution to create an even volume, particularly with naturally curly or wavy hair styles.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

Anyone who travels internationally needs to look for a dual voltage facility with their hair dryer. A 120-volt dryer cannot be used in a foreign hotel even with a universal power adapter because of the difference in electrical voltage standards that could fry the electronics in the residence. The dual voltage models are not more expensive.

Does the dryer handle to fold down to make the dryer more compact? Consider the overall size of the dryer when needing to travel for work or pleasure trips. There is only so much room in a backpack or rolling suitcase, so it’s a good idea to save space wherever you can.

Other Considerations

When using an American hair dryer in Europe, due to the higher voltage requirements, the hair dryer may only function on the low-speed setting. Therefore, be prepared for the dryer process to take longer when abroad.

Some brands include a hanging ring fitted to the hair dryer making it easy to hang it up on a hook out of sight on the inside of the clothing wardrobe.

Best Brands

Xtava makes an affordable range of hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons, makeup, and makeup brushes.

Conair is a US beauty company that makes many products for personal grooming, hair care, health and wellness, and bath and spa.

Revlon is a global company that produces beauty products like hair dryers, makeup, and nail polish.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Low and high settings: In European destinations, it is often only possible to run the hair dryer on the low setting due to higher watts that hair dryer consumes.

No more frizz: An ionic hair dryer helps avoid frizzing hair and creates silky hair with more body. 

Filters: Some of the hair dryers open up to enable filter cleaning or fitting a replacement filter to extend the useful life of the beauty care tool.

Micro-fine hair: Some ladies have micro-fine hair that takes forever to dry. An ionic hair dryer with multiple heat settings in an easier way to speed up the drying process.

High torque motor: Modern motors with high torque deliver various speeds and powerfully drive the heating fan.

Accessories: The extras included with each hair dryer are different. Sometimes a diffuser or concentrator attachment comes in the box, but other times these aren’t sold with the model. Depending on the model, it is sometimes possible to buy extra accessories later.