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When it comes to hair styling, we’re all about anything and everything that will speed up the process and get us out the door faster. Enter hot air brushes, which act as a part blow-dryer, part curling iron, and part straightener, allowing you to both dry your hair and create smoothness, bend, or movement in one fell swoop.
“The best part of a hot air brush is that it cuts down on styling time,” says Zoya Ghamari, hairstylist and owner of Zoya Salon in Dallas. “It also helps you dry and style your hair at the same time.” Alex Brown, a Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist, adds that hot air brushes can help pump up the volume and give you the look of a bouncy round brush blow-dry, without having to use multiple tools together. For those with fine or damaged hair, getting bounciness while also not frying (or further frying) the hair can be a challenge, and that's why having a brush with temperature controls for lower heat can be really good.
Many ceramic bristles on hot air brushes do an even better job than flat irons of evenly distributing heat for much less damage, while other brushes with flexible boar or nylon bristles add a convenient detangling element—no more balancing a brush in one hand and a 400-degree hot tool in the other. An added bonus: brushes that give your tresses a blast of cool air at the end can lock in your fresh blowout and add shine.
Meet the Expert
Zoya Ghamari is a hairstylist and owner of Zoya Salon in Dallas. She has over 18 years of professional experience, and specializes in hair extensions, top hair pieces, and wigs. She caters to clients in both Texas and California.
Ready to try one? Read on for the best hot air brushes for every hair type and need.
Best Overall: Dyson Airwrap Styler
Max Temp: 302°F | Features: 6 attachments | Wireless: No
The brand known for its high-tech household appliances made a big splash in the beauty world when they launched their tech-y blow-dryer a few years ago. Now comes the latest hair iteration, this multi-use styler that can dry, curl, wave, or smooth your hair. This hot airbrush is a favorite of Ghamari, who says it’s the best “due to quality and versatility.” Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue is also a big fan of the Dyson Airwrap Styler, as is hairstylist Brown: “It has intelligent heat control and comes with multiple attachments to help you achieve any look you want,” she says.
Best for Volume: REVLON One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer
Max Temp: 175°F | Features: 2 heat/speed settings, cool option | Wireless: No
With an oval shape and rounded edges, this is designed to give your hair sky-high volume, boosting strands at the root and leaving the lengths with plenty of body and bend. A combination of both nylon pin and tufted bristles on the brush not only make detangling a breeze—no stressing about snags—but also help add volume, too. Two heat and speed settings let you customize your styling process, and there’s also a cool shot button to help set your finished look.
What Our Editors Say
"I am not kidding when I say the Revlon One-Step Dryer changed my life. Before I discovered it, I thought my dreams of achieving a smooth blowout at home were only a fantasy. Now, I haven’t booked a salon blowout in years since trying this dryer brush. It not only gives me the sleek, soft, and bouncy look I crave, but it also couldn’t be any easier to use. It’s beyond worth the hype." — Karli Bendlin, Senior Editor
Best Budget: Conair InfinitiPro Dry & Style Hot Air Paddle Brush
Max Temp: 400°F | Features: 2 heat settings, cool option | Wireless: No
This costs less than one professional blowout but will deliver multiple good hair days. Two different types of bristles serve two different purposes—detangling nylon bristles make drying a breeze, while heat-activated silicone bristles around the perimeter of the brush add lots of shine.
Best Value: Bed Head Blow Out Freak One Step Dry + Volume
Max Temp: 400°F | Features: 3 heat/speed settings | Wireless: No
This Bedhead hot air brush has several unique features that make it stand out from the pack—not to mention make it a great deal for the price. Its brush is oval-shaped to amp up the volume while mixed-pattern bristles help give your hair definition and texture. Plus, it has three heat settings for added versatility, and online reviewers say it's super easy to use.
Best for Damaged Hair: Amika Blowout Babe Thermal Brush
Max Temp: 356°F | Features: Heat-resistant handle | Wireless: No
The one-and-half-inch ceramic barrel on this tool emits far-infrared heat that instantly penetrates into the cortex (inner part) of the hair shaft, heating it from the inside out. The result? Hair is heated evenly and in half the time, seriously reducing the risk of any damage, making this a top pick if your hair isn’t quite the picture of health. This is another option that’s meant to be used on dry hair to add movement and smoothness.
Best Heat Distribution: Hot Tools 24K Gold One-Step Dryer Volumizer Dryer
Max Temp: 430°F | Features: 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, 24K gold surface | Wireless: No
Yes, this tool features 24k gold, but it's not just for looks—the gold actually helps distribute heat evenly for more consistent styling. From there, the brand's Direct ION Technology helps prevent damage (while warding off any frizz or static), and charcoal-infused bristles ensure a smooth finish. This product also has rotating temperature control and three-speed settings for added precision.
Best Rotating: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Rotating Hot Air Brush
Max Temp: 450°F | Features: 3 heat settings | Wireless: No
Turn on the rotating action in this brush to create a voluminous and bouncy blowout; you can even switch the direction in which it rotates depending on which way you want your ends to flip up. And for days when you want a slightly sleeker style, simply turn off the rotating feature to smooth and polish your strands.
Best for Curly Hair: Drybar The Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush
Max Temp: 450°F | Features: Safety shut-off | Wireless: No
Can’t make it to the salon chain for a blowout? Try Drybar's hot brush, a favorite of Holly Rhue, Byrdie associate editor. The smoothing paddle brush works wonders on even the curliest, kinkiest of hair. It heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, the same max temperature as many flat irons, and is made to be used similarly—passed slowly through dry sections of hair. (FYI, you’ll still need to blow dry before using this one.) Still, satisfied Sephora customers rave about how much faster it works than traditional straighteners, and it also has ionic technology to help further tamp down frizz and increase shine. Plus, the digital controls let you lower the temperature if your hair is fine or damaged.
Best for Second-Day Styling: GHD Glide Professional Performance Hot Brush
Max Temp: 365°F | Features: Easy to use | Wireless: No
Up your second-day hair game with this tool. Ideal for all textures and lengths, it has both shorter and longer bristles to tame and smooth your hair, plus frizz-eliminating ionic technology. Spritz some dry shampoo at your roots, brush your hair with this bad boy, and no one will be able to tell that you didn’t wash your hair that day. We also like the convenient heat-up light indicator, which makes it easy to tell when it’s reached optimal styling temperature.
Best for Fighting Frizz: CHI Tourmaline Ceramic Heated Paddle Brush
Max Temp: 410°F | Features: Ceramic plate, Safety shut-off, Temperatue control | Wireless: No
Frizzies, be gone. With 53 percent more bristles, this first and foremost grips hair better, giving you extra control as you style, and the brush makes more contact with your hair than a standard flat iron. Couple that with a frizz-busting negative ion generator, and it’s no wonder that even super curly and frizzy-haired users rave about how well it works. Bonus points for an included tool that makes it easy to clean the brush.
Best for Smoothing: Remington Pro 2-in-1 Heated Straightening Brush
Max Temp: 450°F | Features: 3 heat settings, Cool tip bristles | Wireless: No
An anti-static coating coupled with smoothing ionic technology gets hair super sleek, while the titanium coating imparts mega-watt shine. Other benefits include three different heat settings, non-snagging bristles, and a speedy 10-second heat-up time.
Our favorite hot air brush, the splurge-worthy Dyson Airwrap Styler, is beloved by beauty editors and hairstylists alike thanks to its high-tech features and ability to create all sorts of styles. However, the REVLON One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer is a great (and affordable) pick for those in search of added volume because it adds lots of body and has bristles that won’t tangle your hair. If you have long or thick hair, opt for Drybar's The Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush is ideal for this type of hair because it works faster than traditional straighteners (and it smooths hair to boot).
What to Look For in a Hot Air Brush
According to Ghamari, you really want to pay attention to what kind of bristles a hot air brush has. Ceramic coated bristles, for instance, do a great job of distributing heat so you don’t damage your hair. Meanwhile, boar and nylon bristles work to smooth and detangle strands.
Ghamari says to check out the cord length of a hot air brush too. A long cord will make the brush super easy to use, no matter where you are. (A cord length of 6 to 9 feet is best for ease of use.)
Having the ability to control the temperature of a hot air brush is key, says Ghamari. That’s because being able to choose the temperature will prevent you from overheating your precious hair. Have fine or damaged hair? Simply set your hot air brush to the lowest temperature setting to avoid damaging your hair further.
Ghamari also suggests looking for a hot air brush with cool shot functionality. Ending your drying and styling session with a cool shot helps lock your look in place and add shine.
How do you use a hot air brush to curl hair?
Ghamari points out that using a hot air brush is very similar to using a round brush, except there’s no struggle to hold a blow-dryer in one hand and a round brush in the other. Brown, meanwhile, shares this tip for using a hot hair brush to curl hair: “You can curl hair with a hot air brush by twisting the hair section out of the brush on the last pass through,” she says. “Adding a light hairspray to the section before twisting will also help the curl hold.”
Do hot air brushes damage hair?
“Hot air brushes can only damage hair if they get too hot,” says Brown. She suggests reading reviews and doing your research on whatever brand you choose to buy. A hot air brush with temperature settings will help you control the heat so you don’t hurt your hair.
How do you clean a hot air brush?
To clean a hot air brush, remove all of the shed hair after every few uses, says Brown. “Wiping it down with a hot towel will also help remove any excess product buildup,” she says.
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 loves a bouncy blowout, but hadn’t used a hot air brush until researching this article, so she tapped experts for their opinion (as well as many of her friends who love them).