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While your natural inclination may be to focus on styling products and techniques when you’re trying to create a certain hair look, believe it or not, it's your blow-dryer that makes all the difference. Because, breaking news, not all of them are created equal. Say, for example, that you have fine hair, and want to build volume. You can use all the mousse you want and round brush until your arms are sore, but something as simple as the blow-dryer you’re using can go a long way towards helping make your fine strands appear fuller.
A few general rules to keep in mind when selecting the right blow-dryer for fine hair: One, ionic technology can be hit or miss. A common feature in many blow-dryers these days, it works by emitting negative ions that help to eliminate water, speeding up dry time and leaving hair extra smooth and sleek. This can be a good thing when you’re looking to add volume, as it’s a great way to tamp down frizzies and flyaways, but, on the flip side, it can also leave your hair too flat. Your best bet? Look for dryers with ionic settings that can be turned on and off. Wattage is also important to consider; higher wattage dryers are more powerful, but can sometimes be too aggressive for fine hair, which is also generally more susceptible to breakage and damage. Capping it out at about 1875 watts is typically a good option.
Ahead, the top blow-dryers to help you add maximum volume to your fine hair.
Best Overall: Xtava Ionic Blow Dryer Voluminous Tool Kit With Hair Dryer
This dryer lets you control whether or not you’re using the ionic technology; turn if off when you want to score lots of volume and texture, or turn it back on when you want a little added smoothness. It comes with a diffuser (great if you have curly hair), concentrator (great for those sleek looks), and a round brush that’s perfect for boosting your roots. Two heat settings and three speed settings let you customize your blow-drying experience, though it also has a foolproof ‘P’ (for perfect) button, which delivers turbo speed and medium heat, ideal for fast, damage-free drying.
Best Budget: John Frieda Frizz Ease Full Volume Hair Dryer
Despite the insanely affordable price, this wallet-friendly option uses a professional-strength AC motor, the same kind that’s found in (much) pricier blow-dryers. It also comes with not one, but two concentrators to help you add more body in targeted spots—think your roots or around your hairline—and a diffuser to enhance both curls and volume. There’s also a cool shot button; use it after hair is dry to help lock in volume.
Best Drugstore: Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer
Any stylist will tell you that using a round brush as you blow-dry is one of the best ways to achieve lots of volume and movement, yet still keep the finished look smooth and polished. This tool makes that technique easier than ever; the oval-shaped brush both dries and styles hair simultaneously, boosting volume at the root, and leaving your ends with just the right amount of bend. While it does utilize ionic technology, it still keeps locks full and voluminous, and the mix of nylon and boar bristles work together to both detangle and smooth your hair.
Best Pro: T3 Cura Professional Digital Ionic Hair Dryer
This brand has somewhat of a cult-like following in the beauty world, thanks to their constantly evolving and innovative new technologies in their extensive range of hair tools. In this dryer, you get all the bells and whistles. Digitally-controlled heat and a wide airstream make for a speedy dry time (reviewers repeatedly comment on how quickly it dries hair), while three heat and two-speed settings let you customize based on your desired look. It also has a built-in generator that delivers negative ions to smooth hair and fight frizz.
Best for Damaged Hair: Remington Pro Hair Dryer with Pearl Ceramic Technology
Thin or fine hair tends to already be more prone to breakage and damage, so it’s even more imperative to practice smart styling habits when blow-drying. Using a heat protectant every time you dry is a good move, though the tool you choose can also help. Take this blow-dryer, which has crushed pearls infused into the ceramic barrel. The heat activates that technology, which then transfers micro-conditioners through the dryer, helping to smooth hair. Couple that with a powerful motor that delivers 40 percent faster airflow, and you just may get your best blow dry yet.
Best Lightweight Option: Solano Supersolano 3500 Lite Professional Hair Dryer
Weighing in at just one pound, this featherweight tool uses a much lighter DC motor to keep blow-drying from turning into an unwanted arm workout. And while in some models a DC motor makes for a slightly less powerful end result, that’s not the case here. Credit 1800 watts of power, plus infrared and ceramic heat technologies that dry hair from the inside out and evenly distribute heat, respectively, to keep your dry time fast and efficient.
Best for Adding Shine: BabylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium 3000 Dryer
When your style goal is not only volume but shine too, look no further than this top tool. Its tourmaline titanium technology pumps out millions of ions to add mega-watt shine. And while two or three heat and speed settings may be the norm, this one offers an impressive six of each, along with a nine-foot cord that makes it easy to maneuver and move around with.
Best for Frizz Control: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
This futuristic design delivers intelligent heat control technology to protect hair's natural shine. But that's not all. This ultra-fast hair dryer can help increase strand smoothness and decrease frizz and flyaways by simulating natural air-drying. Choose from three speed settings: fast, regular, and styling.
We took this product for a spin. Find out how it went in our Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer review.
Best High-Speed: Bio Ionic 10x Ultralight Speed Dryer
Your hair routine shouldn't take hours. For faster drying time, reach for a high-speed hair dryer that works in a fraction of the time you're used to. With this sleek dryer, you can dry your hair in under 10 minutes. It uses natural volcanic rock minerals infused with Bio Ionic tools to condition hair and smooth the outer cuticle, and far infrared heat to speed up drying time.