These days, you can easily spend upwards of $100, $200, even $300 + on a hair dryer. While for some that’s a worthy investment (particularly if it’s a hot tool you’re going to be using every day), the good news is that there are plenty of much more affordable options out there that can still help you achieve the perfect blowout. Stylist Krysta N. Rojas, owner of Base Salon in Chicago, says clients ask her all the time if the mega-pricey hair dryers are worth it. “Typically my response is ‘not really,’ ” she says.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
Our best overall pick is the Revlon Salon Infrared Hair Dryer, which costs less than $30 and has 1875 Watts for maximum drying power. We love that it features ceramic coating and tourmaline technology to help smooth away frizz. The Remington Pro D2042 Professional Titanium Ceramic Hair Dryer is a close runner-up, and an extra quiet pick.
“Over the course of my 15-year career I’ve found that there are lots of different dryers on the market that offer great results at a lesser cost,” Rojas explains. There are options for all hair types and textures, many of which feature the same bells and whistles that their more expensive counterparts have.
We conducted hours of research on the best affordable hair dryers, evaluating each model on type of heat used, level of power, and noise. We considered hair dryers that work for all hair types and textures, and noted if a model works especially well on a particular type or texture. Finally, we also looked at extra features like portability and size. After considering dozens of options, with the expert recommendations of a stylist, we narrowed down our list. Not only are these the best in show, all of which ring in at no more than $100.
Ahead, find the best affordable hair dryers for a professional style blowout at home.
Best Overall: Revlon Salon Infrared Hair Dryer
Reduces heat damage
Difficult to navigate buttons while operating
Costing less than $30, this tool truly defines what it means to marry affordability with supreme efficacy. It touts infrared heat technology that penetrates hair from the inside out, ultimately helping to minimize the likelihood of heat damage. Tourmaline technology helps combat frizz, leaving strands smooth and shiny. Plus, it comes with both diffuser and concentrator attachments.
Price at time of publish: $24.99
Features: Infrared technology, ceramic coating, 2 heat settings, cold shot button, hanging ring, volumizing diffuser | Wireless: No
Best Lightweight : BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer
Lightweight and ergonomic
Pricier than other options
“I love this option because it’s lightweight and easy on your wrists,” says Rojas of one of her favorites. She also lauds it for a powerful, 2000 watt motor, as well as nano-titanium technology that helps both speed up dry time (always a win in our book) and tamp down errant frizz.
Price at time of publish: $94.99
Features: Nano titanium technology, ion generator, 6 heat and speed settings, removable filter, 4-year limited warranty | Wireless: No
Best for Curly Hair: Bed Head Curls in Check 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer
Curly hair not only requires its own set of products, it can also benefit from using the right type of hair dryer, namely this one. As the name suggests, it’s designed especially for curly hair, with tourmaline ceramic technology to fitz frizz, plus a cool blast option to help set the curls’ shape. We also like the uniquely designed diffuser attachment, though it can be removed if you want.
Price at time of publish: $34.97
Features: Tourmaline ionic technology, 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, cold shot button, removable diffuser | Wireless: No
Best Design: Conair InfinitiPro Hair Dryer
May take longer to dry thicker hair
Let’s face it: blow drying can easily become an arm workout in its own right. That’s why we appreciate that this pick is ergonomically designed to make holding it and using it extremely comfortable. Drying also won’t take super long, thanks to powerful airflow from its professional AC motor, as well as three heat and two speed settings. Big points for the fact that it’s super quiet, too.
Price at time of publish: $44.99
Features: Powerful AC motor, infrared heat, ionic, and ceramic technology, 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, cold shot button, removable filter, concentrator nozzle, diffuser, blowout brush | Wireless: No
What Our Testers Say
“Conair's InfinitiPro Hair Dryer does a really impressive job, given the price. It’s easy to use, has multiple heat settings, and leaves hair sleek and shiny.” — Emily Algar, Product Tester
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Remington Pro D2042 Professional Titanium Ceramic Hair Dryer
Easy to hold
Good options for various settings
Motor could be slightly more powerful
Another solid overall pick is this option from Remington. It has ionic technology, a variety of heat and speed settings along with a cool shot button, and comes with both diffuser and concentrator attachments. It’s also engineered to be extra quiet, an attribute that many happy reviewers call out. And while it may seem minor, the hang loop on the end makes for a very convenient way to store it.
Price at time of publish: $49.99
Features: Cerami technology, 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, cold shot button, removable filter | Wireless: No
Best for Frizz: Rusk W8less Professional 2000 Watt Dryer
Great for drying thicker, frizzy hair
Button placement makes it hard to change settings mid-dry
On the pricier side
Rojas says she “continuously goes back” to this dryer. “It’s especially great for smoothing out thick, curly hair because it uses infrared heat waves to pepentreat the hair more deeply. This results in a faster dry time, as well as less static and frizz,” she says. Also nice: It weighs less than a pound.
Price at time of publish: $79.95
Features: Infrared heat, ceramic and tourmaline technology, 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, cold shot button | Wireless: No
Best for Travel: Eva NYC Mini Healthy Heat Pro-Power Dryer + Bag
Comes with attachments and storage bag
Heat setting can’t be adjusted
May take longer to blow-dry thick hair
Don’t want to spend the big bucks on a travel dryer? We don’t blame you. Enter this affordable alternative, that’s surprisingly effective based on how small it is. While it only touts 1200 watts, it still has ionic technology and delivers far-infrared heat. It also has dual voltage—a super important feature for international travel—and comes with two attachments, along with a convenient storage bag.
Price at time of publish: $47.99
Features: Infrared heat, ionic, ceramic and tourmaline technology, 2 speed settings, dual voltage, removable air filter | Wireless: No
Best Splurge : Kristin Ess Ionic Professional Hair Dryer
Ionic technology can be turned on and off
Great for all hair types
On the pricier side
At $100, this just made the cut of what we consider “affordable,” which is why we deem it as splurge-worthy. It may be the priciest pick on our list, but it’s also one of the most powerful and impressive. We love the fact that it boasts ionic technology isn’t especially noteworthy, what is worth mentioning is that that ionic technology can be turned on or off. Leave it off if you’re after a voluminous or more textured style; turn it on if you want to go super smooth and sleek (or have thick or curly hair). Also unique: A brushless motor that helps you get even larger sections of hair dried fast, and that uses less electricity than standard motors and has a 3,000 hour lifespan.
Price at time of publish: $100
Features: On/off ionic technology, brushless motor, lightweight, cool shot button, removable air filter | Wireless: No
Best Hot Air Brush: Hot Tools Professional Black Gold Detachable One Step Volumizer
Great option for second-day hair
Makes it easy to create different styles
Heat settings aren’t adjustable
We know, we know, it’s not a hair dryer per se, but, according to Rojas, this tool is ideal for recreating salon looks at home. You will want to make sure your hair is 90% dry before you grab this, but once you do it’s great for creating volume, smoothness, and shine much faster than you could achieve with a blow dryer alone, she says. She also lauds the charcoal-infused bristles that help refresh hair. Pair this with some dry shampoo to touch up your hair after a workout or on the second (or third) day post-washing, she suggests.
Price at time of publish: $69.99
Features: Charcoal-infused bristles, detachable design | Wireless: No
It’s true: You can find a great hair dryer for under $100. In fact, the Revlon Salon Infrared Hair Dryer costs less than $30 and earns our vote for best overall, with a variety of features that make it pretty much a universally fool-proof pick. The Remington Pro D2042 Professional Titanium Ceramic Hair Dryer is a close runner-up, and an extra quiet pick.
Meet the Expert
What To Look For in an Affordable Hair Dryer
Adjustable Heat and Speed Settings
Even without all the bells and whistles of pricer hair dryers, affordable dryers still have the option to provide you with adjustable heat and speed settings. These allow you to tailor the blow dry to your specific hair, which in turn, may prevent unwanted hair frying or damage. With adjustable heat, you can use lower heat settings depending on your hair type (you'll want to use different amounts for thinner or thicker hair). The same applies to speed settings.
The wattage of the hair dryer determines how much power the dryer holds. Many hairstylists recommend opting for one with a wattage of 1500 to 1800 as it may keep your styling time to a minimum without adding unnecessary heat damage or breakage. More is okay, too, but may be too powerful for some hair types.
If you're planning on using your hair dryer for more than just drying, opt to find one that includes attachments. With the attachments, you'll be achieve a sleeker blowout style and diffuse your curls, which will also help make it more worth your $$$. This will also make it more versatile for different hair types.
How many watts is a good hair dryer?
Generally, experts recommend purchasing a dryer with 1800 watts of power as it may reduce the risk of heat damage. However, you should also take your hair type into consideration when choosing the amount of watts since thicker, curlier hair types may need higher wattage than thinner hair types.
How do I use a hair dryer?
An affordable hair dryer works the same as any traditional dryer, and can be used in tandem with any styling tools, brushes, or products that you typically use.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s a regular hair dryer user, and has used (and been impressed by) many of the ones featured on this list.