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If you’re a regular at the hair salon, you’d be well versed in the contraption that is a bonnet hair dryer. Not just for highlights (or your nanna), bonnet hair dryers are actually an incredibly useful tool when it comes to frizz-free heat styling and maintaining hair.
The great news is that at-home bonnet hair dryers are available so you can get smooth, shiny hair from the comforts of home—plus, they cost significantly less than a salon visit.
Here, we’ve curated the best bonnet hair dryers on the market for your shopping pleasure.
Best Overall: Revlon Ionic Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer
Multiple heat settings
With an adjustable soft bonnet, it’s easy to wear this over rollers. It comes with three heat and speed setting features to suit your hair type, plus a bendy hose that enables you some freedom of movement.
Features: 3 heat and speed settings, soft bonnet, ionic technology, cool setting
Best Budget: Eleganty Bonnet Hood Hair Dryer Attachment
Easy to use
Needs handheld dryer
Along with the soft bonnet, this dryer also comes with a headband to protect your neck and ears from heat or excess product. This one is another attachment, so simply attach the hose to your existing hair dryer to use.
Features: Ventilation holes, large bonnet size
Best Drugstore: Conair 1875 Watt Pro Style Bonnet Hair Dryer
Extra large hood
Packs up nicely
Not easily transportable
Harris loves Conair because it’s affordable, and the brand is a market leader when it comes to hot tools. The 1875 Watt Pro Style Bonnet Hair Dryer is a hard bonnet, so can be used for drying and setting the hair. It’s powerful and will give you a much longer-lasting style than you would with traditional drying.
Features: Hard bonnet, 2 heat and speed settings
Best for Curly Hair: Skywee Bonnet Hood Hair Dryer
Needs handheld dryer
This Skywee hood is great for setting and conditioning curls thanks to ventilation holes and its roomy soft bonnet. Work in your favorite deep conditioner or hair oil and let the bonnet take care of the rest. Also, note this one is an attachment, so you’ll need to use it with your handheld dryer.
Features: Chin strap, waterproof
Best for Smooth Styles: Gold 'n Hot Jet Bonnet Dryer Attachment
Can be hand washed
Even heat distribution
Smaller than some bonnets
The idea behind Gold N Hot’s Jet Bonnet is that it allows for even heat distribution, so you end up with smooth, sleek hair at the end of it. The soft hose affixes to many different handheld dryers, and the gold color is a fun element.
Features: Soft bonnet attachment
Best for Regular Use: Gold 'n Hot Ionic Soft Bonnet Dryer
This soft bonnet is the next best thing to an in-salon treatment. It’s smaller than others mentioned, but this allows for a long-lasting style or a really deep conditioning treatment. It’s also charged with negative ions that are distributed through the hair, working to prevent frizz and flyaways. Harris also rates Gold N’ Hot and frequently uses their bonnet dryers on her clients.
Features: 4 heat settings
Best for Travel: Hair Flair Deluxe Softhood Bonnet Hair Dryer Attachment
Great price point
Might be too large for some
This portable, soft bonnet ticks every box: ventilation for even heat distribution, large hood to fit hair rollers, long, non-slip hose attachment, and an adjustable chin strap. It packs up nicely, too, so you can have great hair no matter where you are.
Features: Large hood, ample ventilation
Best for Thick Hair: Ahier Bonnet Hood Hair Dryer Attachment
Multiple heat settings
If you’ve got thick hair that takes forever to dry, Ahier’s soft Bonnet Hood is made for you. With two heat settings and two-speed settings, it works equally well to dry off hair or gently diffuse and set a style, so you get longer between washes.
Features: Multiple heat settings, ionic technology
Best for Setting Waves: Hair Flair Curlformers Deluxe Softhood Hair Dryer Attachment
Needs handheld dryer
Thanks to its roomy size and even conduction of heat, this soft bonnet is the ultimate tool to set soft wavy styles. Try partially drying your hair and wrapping it up in velcro rollers before drying and setting it within the bonnet. You’ll have smooth, shiny, long-lasting movement in a pinch.
Features: Anti-slip silicone collar
The best bonnet hair dryer for you depends on your hair type and what you’re looking to achieve. We love a soft bonnet for its versatility and ease, but a hard bonnet is great if you want to commit to heat styling regularly. As far as hard bonnets, we’re big fans of the Conair 1875 Watt Pro Style Bonnet Hair Dryer (view at Walmart). When it comes to soft bonnets, it’s a tie between Revlon’s Ionic Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer (view at Amazon) and the Gold 'n Hot Ionic Soft Bonnet Dryer (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Bonnet Hair Dryer
Hard or Soft
Bonnet dryers come in two categories: hard or soft. What you choose will really depend on how you want to use it. For deep conditioning, soft dryers are best. Harris explains you can simply apply your oil or mask or choice, pop on a plastic cap, and let the dryer do its thing.
Hard bonnet dryers are great if you want to heat style your hair. Just set your style, hop under your bonnet dryer, and it will take care of the rest. Think of it as a hair dryer that does the work for you.
What do bonnet hair dryers do?
Bonnet dryers can do a few things for hair. The most common one is heat styling, similar to the way you’d use a blow dryer. Because the hair is confined, bonnet dryers are great for reducing frizz and flyaways. They also can help to prevent heat damage and free you up to do other things—like your makeup—while your hair dries.
As for conditioning, bonnet dryers can warm up the hair and soften the cuticle, allowing nourishing ingredients to penetrate.
Harris tells us that bonnet dryers can also be used to help the hair color process (much like they do at some salons).
How long does it take for a bonnet hair dryer to dry your hair?
Harris explains that generally, bonnet hair dryers take 30 to 45 minutes to dry your hair, but this depends on length and thickness as heavy hair can carry much more water (and therefore take longer to dry).
Are bonnet hair dryers safe for all hair types?
According to Harris, yes, bonnet dryers are safe for all hair types and textures as long as they’re used correctly.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Emily Algar is a journalist who is passionate about all things beauty and skincare. She tapped an expert stylist for their thoughts and recommendations. She's also undertaken extensive research and read countless customer reviews online to ensure you’re getting the best of the best.
Meet the Expert
Jazmine Harris is a hairstylist and braids expert. She’s worked with various A-list clientele, including Big Sean, Keisha Cole, and Jhene Aiko.