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In the Internet era, we can learn to do lots of things ourselves that were previously left to the pros. From contouring to at-home laser hair removal, there's almost nothing you can't pick up from watching a few YouTube tutorials. But for many, successful DIY hair styling is a bit more elusive. Haircare is something even the most beauty-savvy folks often still lean on professionals for. And with blow-dry bars popping up left and right, it's easy to become overly reliant on someone else handling your blowout.
Whether you've been coddled with salon blow-dries and are ready to take the reins or are familiar with the technique and want to step up your game, the right brush will set you up for success. As you may know, not all hairbrushes are equipped to handle the heat of a blow dryer. To get the smoothness and body you crave without damaging your hair, you'll typically want something round or vented with heat-resistant bristles.
With that said, these are the best blow-dry brushes to achieve your best blowout.
Best Overall: ghd Ceramic Vented Radial Brush
Blowing past the competition and sliding right into first place is GHD's Ceramic Vented Radial Brush. "It's well vented but heats up fast for beautiful waves or a classic smooth, voluminous blowout," hairstylist Sky Kim of Serge Normant at John Frieda in New York City tells Byrdie.
The hollow barrel allows air to pass through, and the semi-stiff bristles make for a super-smooth finish and a noticeably full, va-va-voom effect. It comes in four sizes (1 is the smallest, 4 is the largest) and is ideal for blowing out slightly damp hair. "Start at size 2 for mid-length and go bigger from there for longer hair," says Kim.
Best Budget: Conair Pro Hair Brush with Nylon Bristle
This fierce contender from Conair will only run you a few bucks, but you can bet it'll deliver salon-level results. The 1.75-inch barrel is surrounded by flexible nylon bristles, helping to gently detangle while it smooths and styles your hair. Plus, at just over 8 inches long, it's the perfect size to toss in your purse, gym bag, or carry-on.
Best Drugstore: Goody Heat 101 Round Brush
If you asked us to name a drugstore brand known for hair ties, clips, and combs, Goody would be the first one that comes to mind. So it should be no surprise the OG manufacturer also makes one of the best blow-dry brushes. The award-winning Heat 101 brush has a ceramic barrel and boar bristles, delivering a frizz-free, voluminous finish every time.
Best Splurge: Amika Hair Blow Dryer Brush
If you're willing to shell out a little extra dough for a truly spectacular time-saving tool, we highly recommend the Amika Blow Dryer Brush. Combining the smoothing action of a barrel brush with the frizz-reducing shininess of a tourmaline-coated hairdryer, this dual-action gadget will shave precious minutes off your getting-ready routine.
Best Hot-Air: InStyler MAVEN
Another hot-air option we're loving is the InStyler MAVEN. This two-in-one tool works as both a blowdryer and a hairbrush, but instead of a barrel, you'll get a paddle-style brush with ceramic plates and ionic bristles. The result? Reduced drying time and smoother, shinier, frizz-free hair.
Best Volumizing: T3 Volume 3
If it's fullness you're after, you can't go wrong with the T3 Volume 3. Made of rose-gold aluminum with a ceramic coating, the pro-level barrel works with your blowdryer of choice to shape your hair and create a thicker-looking, voluminous 'do.
Best Vented: Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Vented Hairbrush
This paddle-style brush has wide vents down the middle, allowing hot air to pass through as you dry sections of your hair. What's more, the unique pointed silicone teeth help lift, volumize, and smooth each strand for an easy-peasy DIY blowout.
Best Boar-Bristle: CHI Turbo Ceramic Round Boar Brush
Featuring 100% pure boar bristles, this barrel brush helps distribute your hair's natural oils while infusing serious shine and minimizing flyaways. By reflecting heat onto your locks from the ceramic barrel, also helps cut down on drying time.
Best Detangling: Wet Brush Epic Professional Quick Dry
Is it possible to simultaneously detangle, dry, and style hair? With the Wet Brush Epic, it is. This vented paddle is designed to encourage airflow while flexible, heat-resistant bristles gently remove tangles and smooth your hair as it dries.
Best for Styling: Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Turbo Vent Pro Collection
For salon-level styling in the comfort of your own bathroom, reach for Olivia Garden's Ceramic + Ion Turbo Vent Pro Collection. With a wide barrel design and the smoothing, restorative effects of ceramic-ion technology, this bad boy pulls out all the stops. We also appreciate that it comes with a pick that slides in and out of the brush handle.
Best for Short Hair: YS Park G-Series Curl Shine Styler Round Brush
"I also love the YS Park G1 round brushes for shorter hair," says Kim. "You can start at 40G1 for super short hair. They have a really good grip, so you can get all of the baby hairs too."
Best for Long Hair: Drybar Full Pint Medium Round Ceramic Brush
It's safe to say Drybar knows a thing or two about blowouts, so you can rest assured this round brush will deliver pro-level results. The Full Pint, a medium-sized brush, works brilliantly on mid-length and long hairstyles. And since the ceramic barrel heats up as you blow-dry, it helps lock in your look.
Best for Damaged Hair: Kitsch Consciously Created Round Blow Dry Brush
If you're working with split ends, over-dyed, or otherwise damaged locks, your best bet is the Kitsch Consciously Created Round Blow Dry Brush. With a vented ceramic barrel, it minimizes further damage by directing heat away from your hair. Plus, the wide shape and flexible nylon bristles help you achieve an effortlessly polished look without tugging on weakened hair.
The best blow-dry brush overall is definitely the GHD Ceramic Vented Radial Brush (view at Amazon). Its hollow barrel and semi-stiff bristles are tough to beat, offering fuller, more voluminous, and visibly smoother hair. However, the Conair Pro Hair Brush with Nylon Bristle (view at Amazon) is an excellent budget-friendly alternative. And if you want to save time with something that doubles as a blow dryer and hairbrush, consider springing for the InStyler MAVEN (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Blow-Dry Brush
Most blow-dry brushes are round (also known as barrel brushes). This type of brush is ideal for creating fullness and body when drying hair. You'll also find some paddle-style brushes designed for blow-drying. With a paddle brush, make sure you get something with adequate venting. This will encourage hot air to flow through, helping to reduce drying time and minimize damage.
Round brushes come in different sizes, usually between 1 to 4 inches in diameter. Smaller barrel brushes are generally better for drying and styling shorter haircuts, whereas larger brushes work best for longer hair. Additionally, medium and large brushes can be used to straighten hair or create loose waves while drying.
The other thing to think about when buying a blow-dry brush is the bristles. You'll want to look for heat-resistant bristles that smooth the hair without tugging on it. Nylon and silicone tend to be the gentlest and most flexible. Natural boar bristles are a bit stiffer, but they do a great job of smoothing out the hair.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer with several years of experience covering cosmetics and beauty tools. Having finally learned some hacks for adding body to her fine hair, she's tried a handful of products on this roundup. Her go-to brands for drying and styling include Amika, T3, CHI, InStyler, and Goody.