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If you have thick hair, then you’re well aware of the struggle that is drying it. Not everyone has the time or patience to dedicate 30+ minutes to giving themselves a sleek and smooth blowout, and many hair dryers on the market just aren’t powerful enough to do the job quickly.
Ultimately, the more powerful the dryer, the more it’ll cut down on drying time, but it’s also important to look for one that protects the hair rather than damages it, as well as something that isn’t too heavy or clunky. Who wants tired arms or fried hair? Not us.
With that in mind, we rounded up the very best hair dryers for thick hair, below.
Best Overall: BaBylissPRO Porcelain Ceramic Carrera2 Dryer
Six heat/speed settings
Dries hair fast
A bit heavy
If you have thick hair, consider this advanced dryer from BaBylissPRO your new best friend. Its state-of-the-art motor operates with an impressive 1900 watts of power, drying hair insanely fast, while ion technology eliminates static and leaves hair shiny and smooth. Its lightweight and compact design include six different heat/speed settings and a style-locking cold shot button, plus a detachable concentrator nozzle for customizable air pressure.
Features: Soft-touch, rubberized finish, removable filter, and cold shot button | Wireless: No
Best Splurge: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Intelligent heat control
Offers precise styling
Protects hair from extreme heat damage
May make hair feel like straw
We know, we know—this is quite splurge-y, even for a splurge. But when you depend on your hair dryer to keep your hair in check every time you wash it, both Byrdie editors and experts agree that this is an investment worth making. “This is great for home use—it’s powerful and quiet,” says Ryan Trygstad, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon. “This one is particularly amazing for curly hair, and there’s a diffuser which is an absolute favorite.”
Not only does it provide an unparalleled drying time while protecting the hair from heat damage, but it also features three magnetic attachments to customize your experience: a styling concentrator, a smoothing nozzle, and a curl- and frizz-controlling diffuser.
Features: Five styling attachments engineered for different hair types and heat shield technology | Wireless: No
Runner-Up, Best Splurge: ghd Air Professional Performance Hair Dryer
Provides even heat distribution
Doesn't seem to get hot enough
This award-winning, high-tech blow dryer offers a salon-level finish up to two times faster than your average dryer. It uses advanced ionic technology that helps lock moisture into the hair and features multiple heat settings, two speeds for customized control, and a cool shot button to set hairstyles in place. Plus, it comes with two removable precision nozzles and a diffuser ring.
“This is a great dryer,” confirms Trygstad. In general, he’s a pretty big fan of the brand. “Ghd has really incredible research and technology to support their products, and they have very innovative designs that maintain temperatures and technology that decrease dry time.”
Features: Cool shot button and adaptor ring for universal diffuser | Wireless: No
Best Budget: Revlon 1875W Compact Travel Hair Dryer
Hinged end cap creates easy cleaning
Poor temperature and flow control
Hair dryers can sometimes be an investment, so naturally, we’re intrigued by anything that works really well and costs under 20 bucks. This dryer from Revlon features ionic technology and a 3x ceramic coating that helps to reduce frizz and heat damage and includes a smoothing concentrator attachment to help tame even the thickest hair. It’s also pretty compact, so you can easily toss this in your gym bag or travel with it.
Features: Cold shot button, curl release button to prevent tangles, and worldwide voltage | Wireless: No
Best Lightweight: Sedu Revolution Hair Dryer 4000i
Cuts down drying time by 70 percent
Reduces frizz and static by 90 percent
Six adjustable heat settings
Could be more durable
As Trygstad explains below, lightweight dryers are a *must* for thick hair, which is why he loves this hair dryer from Sedu. “We use this in the salon because they’re small and mighty; they weigh less than 1.5 pounds and have tremendous force for a speedy blowout,” he says. “They’re compact and will also survive countless bounces on the floor. Plus, the diffuser is amazing for curly hair too. These rank number one for me.”
Features: Dedicated ion generator switch for styling versatility | Wireless: No
Best Ergonomic Design: Drybar Reserve Blow Dryer
Digital control settings create custom heat styling
Thicker hair typically takes longer to dry and style even with a powerful dryer, so finding one that’s comfortable to hold up and maneuver for a longer amount of time is important. For those who aren’t a fan of post-blowout sore wrists and achy arms, look no further than this one from Drybar. It’s ultra-light, weighing a mere pound, and uses a patented ergonomic design for drying and styling with comfort and ease. It also features an 1875 watt motor that accelerates dry time with a speed of 100mph (!) and uses Ionic Desiccant Technology to smooth and reduce frizz.
Features: 1875-watt motor accelerates dry time with a speed of 100 mph | Wireless: No
Most Innovative: Flower Ionic Pro Hair Dryer
Convenient speed dial
Dries hair in less than 10 minutes
Cool air button close to heat settings
It’s hard to not get excited over this bright and poppy hairdryer, but its design is also quite impressive for such a reasonably priced device—and a literal dream for anyone with thicker hair. It dries the hair lightning fast thanks to an advanced aerospace designed airflow system that’s even more powerful than a 2000 watt motor, and it uses ionic and ceramic technology to keep the hair smooth and protected. Plus, it weighs *less* than a pound!
Features: Aerospace-designed advanced airflow system | Wireless: No
Best for Curls: DevaCurl DEVADRYER and DEVAFUSER
Uniquely designed universal heat distribution
Gently lifts the curls to prevent frizz
May not fit one's hair dryer
Thick hair already can be tough to blow out—add curls into the mix, and you’ll need something designed to tackle both. For that, we suggest this dryer and diffuser duo that has been specifically designed for wavy and curly types. Not only does it offer ionic technology and a concentrator nozzle for efficient drying (with three heat settings and two speeds, to boot), but it also includes a patented hand-shaped diffuser attachment to enhance curls while leaving behind a bouncy, frizz-free finish. Bonus? It also includes a cool shot button to lock in shine.
Features: Patented hand-shaped diffuser attachment to enhance curlsh | Wireless: N/A
Best for Frizz Control: Conair InfinitiPRO SmoothWrap Hair Dryer
Air filter is easy to clean
Restores natural balance of hair
Minimizes heat damage
Takes a bit longer to dry
If you don't like your frizz, trust that the SmoothWrap is your best defense against it. Designed with dual ionic technology, this sleek dryer emits positive and negative ions that rebalance the natural charge of your hair, leaving you with glossy, smooth locks. It also uses ceramic technology to protect against future frizz-causing heat damage.
Features: Removable rear filter and three heat settings | Wireless: No
Best for Blowouts: Drybar Buttercup Blow-Dryer
Long cord allows for comfortable styling
Wider nozzle quickly dries all-over
Narrow nozzle hones in precisely on areas
May be a bit loud
Simply put, this hairdryer is a foolproof way to get a professional blowout at home—in fact, it’s the very dryer that Drybar stylists use when you visit their salons. The iconic yellow device features a powerful 1875 watt motor to dry 20% faster than the average professional hairdryer while ionic technology seals the cuticle to cut back on frizz.
Features: Two concentrator nozzles allow for more concentrated airflow | Wireless: No
Best for Travel: T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Hair Dryer with Dual Voltage
Travel-friendly: has a folding handle
Lengthy cord provides mobility
If you have thick hair, then you know that most hotel hair dryer offerings just won’t do—and neither will the average small, compact travel-friendly dryers. That’s why Trygstad swears by this one from T3. “Usually, travel dryers are not powerful or do not come with a nice air director—not the T3! It’s small and strong and utilizes special tourmaline technology to decrease blow dry time and help create more smoothness,” he says.
Features: Concentrator nozzle and ionic drying for anti-frizz styling | Wireless: No
Overall, we’d have to give top honors to the splurgiest of dryers, Dyson’s Supersonic Hair Dryer. It’s undeniably powerful and dries the hair extremely fast—it’s truly that good. However, understandably, not all of us are willing to make such an investment in a hair tool, which is why we’re pretty big fans of the Porcelain Ceramic Carrera2 Dryer from BaBylissPRO. It boasts 1900 watts of power, quickly drying the hair and leaving it shiny and smooth.
What to Look For in a Hair Dryer When You Have Thick Hair
Drying your hair can take centuries (or at least feel like it) when you have thicker hair, so Trygstad recommends finding something with some power behind it—aka something with high wattage—to help get the job done faster. “A dryer with over 1800 watts will ensure that the thickest hair will dry quickly,” he says. “In a word, you’re looking for POWER!”
An Air Director
In addition to wattage, Trygstad stresses that an air director, or concentrator nozzle attachment, is crucial for thicker hair. “An air director is a detachable tip that slides onto the end of the blow dryer,” he says. “The finer the opening on the air director noble, the stronger the air pressure. More air pressure will decrease dry time and is needed to tame thick, unruly hair.”
Regardless of power and air pressure, thicker hair will still require a longer-than-average blowout time, and for that Trygstad suggests choosing one that’s nice and light (unless, you know, you’re trying to simultaneously get in a tricep workout). Believe us, your arms with thank you.
How to Prep Your Hair
- Step One: Condition Your Hair
While the right dryer is key for a seamless blowout, Trygstad stresses that for those with thick hair, the prep work is just as crucial. “It’s important to use a great conditioner after cleansing that is moisturizing,” he says. “Hair that is well-conditioned is going to be easier to detangle, section, and control.”
- Step Two: Brush Your Hair
In addition to conditioner, having the right tools on hand will also make for a smoother blowout—both literally and figuratively. “I love boar’s hair bristles to smooth and tame thick hair,” he says. “A favorite is Ibiza’s cork handle brushes. They mix natural boar bristles with a unique carbon fiber heat-resistant nylon. Using proper clips for sectioning and control is a great tip too—the cleaner the sections, the faster you’ll be able to work through the hair.”
- Step Three: Use a Towel
Another unexpected prep tool that Trygstad loves? “A cheesy favorite towel is the Turbie Twist—yes I know, ‘As Seen on TV’—but seriously, the extra-absorbent terry material absorbs excess water while you’re making coffee or deciding what to wear. After getting out of the shower, twist your hair into a Turbie Twist and let that extra-absorbent microfiber work its magic.” The less wet your hair is to begin with, the less time it’ll take to fully dry it.
How many watts is ideal for a hair dryer used on thick hair?
Hair professionals generally recommend dryers with around 1,800 watts since this level can minimize the amount of heat damage, but you can choose to go higher or lower depending on your hair’s needs.
Are ionic dryers better for thick hair?
Because ionic technology is better for locking in moisture and delivering a smooth, soft finish, ionic hair dryers are great for thick hair.
Should I use a heat protectant product before using a hair dryer?
It’s definitely recommended. Heat protective sprays and creams can help shield your hair from excess damage, especially if you regularly heat style your hair.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Jenna Igneri has over six years of experience writing about beauty and has had thousands of products come across her desk over her career—many of them were hair tools. Being somewhat of a hair minimalist, the only tool she uses consistently is the hairdryer, so trust that she knows a thing or two about what goes into a *quality* device.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any hair dryers for thick hair from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.