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Who doesn’t love a fresh, bouncy in-salon blowdry?
While there’s no real substitute for a professional job, having the right tools at home can certainly help when it comes to volume, shine, bounce, and definition. Your hair dryer is front and center, but there are definitely some key features to look for, especially when it comes to professional standards.
“When looking for a professional blow dryer you want to look for a few things: the weight, ergonomics, and heat settings are all important,'' says Global Artistic Director of Pureology, Jamie Wiley. Wiley also explains that functions and controls—like cool shots and speed settings—are also important as they enable you to dry and smooth the hair with ease without any damage.
So whether you’re an avid heat styler or simply want to buy a quality, salon-worthy tool to have at home, we’ve asked some stylists to share the ones they not only recommend but use on clients themselves.
Below are the best professional hair dryers recommended by the pros.
Best Overall: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Wiley calls the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer gold class and we have to agree with her: “It’s lightweight, quiet, and measures the air temperature over 40 times a second to protect the hair from damage. I also find it creates intense shine, and the six attachments are really handy.”
Max Temp: 100 degrees | Features: Temperature control, six attachments, cold shot, multiple heat and speed settings | Wireless: No
What Our Editors Say
"Since launching in 2016, the Dyson Supersonic has captured the attention of beauty pros—and it makes sense. Its innovative design (its quiet motor and ability to dry hair mega-fast) has totally transformed the experience of drying my thick, medium-coarse, wavy hair. It takes about four minutes and 16 seconds to totally dry my hair (as opposed to the 15 to 20 it takes with the average hairdryer). Better still: is the shine and soft texture it leaves my waves." — Jesa Marie Calor, Editor
Best Budget: Turbo Power Twin Turbo 3200 Hair Dryer
Small but mighty, this dryer is simple but effective for anyone wanting to smooth and shape their hair with ease. One Amazon reviewer even says it’s the “best investment they’ve ever made, even compared to more expensive options.”
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Two heat and speed settings | Wireless: No
Best Drugstore: BaBylissPRO Rapido Dryer
Fun fact, this motor is actually designed by Ferrari, so you know it’s got some power to it. The idea behind this BabylissPRO dryer is a quick, shiny blow-dry—thanks to increased airflow and ionic technology. It also weighs less than 1 pound, so it won’t put pressure on your wrist.
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Two attachments, six heat and speed settings | Wireless: No
Best for Volume: T3 Cura Luxe Hair Dryer
“The Cura Luxe is a full-sized dryer and has a volume boost switch where I can turn off the negative ions if I am looking for more of a full finish,” says Lopez. I also love that it’s still super lightweight for a full-size dryer, plus comes with two different concentrator attachments and a diffuser attachment.”
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Built-in ion generator for shine, three heat and two-speed settings, cold shot | Wireless: No
Best Compact Size: T3 Fit Dryer
The compact dryer, fortunately, doesn’t skimp on power, so it’s great for anyone who travels frequently or likes to style their hair on the go. Lopez notes, “the Fit Dryer is what I love to recommend to people because it’s a small dryer, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your home or your kit, but it’s still the power of a full-size dryer. It has a lock-in cool shot and has multiple heat and speed settings."
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Three heat and two-speed settings, small light design | Wireless: No
Best for Religious Styling: Sam Villa Artist Series
Sam Villa’s Artist Series dryer is a hairdresser trade secret. With an Italian-designed motor designed to outlast its competitors, this is a great buy for anyone who blowdries religiously and wants their tool to last.
Wiley says, “it’s compact and has a lighter motor plus comes with three attachments, including a diffuser, small nozzle, and larger nozzle for larger surfaces and faster drying. You can control your temperature and speed with easy-to-use buttons, too"
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Two-speed settings, three heat settings, cold shot, three attachments | Wireless: No
Best for Thick Hair: ghd Air Professional Performance Hair Dryer
Designed in collaboration with stylists, GHD’s Air Elite is built to deliver consistent results over a long period of time. It comes with two director nozzles and a diffuser for various styles and hair types. Because of its power, it works a treat to tame thick, unruly hair, too.
“What I love about this blow dryer is that you can switch hands and move back and forth. The ergonomic design gives you maximum control whether you’re right or left-handed and allows you to get into the base of the hair and dry quickly," says Wiley.
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Three heat settings, two-speed settings, long cord | Wireless: No
Best for Beginners: GHD Helios Professional Hair Dryer
GHD’s Helios dryer is a newer launch, and its main purpose is to make a professional blowout doable at home. It’s light but extremely powerful and moves around the head relatively easily. A great choice for anyone who finds blow-drying to be difficult.
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Increases shine up to 30 percent, has multiple heat and speed settings | Wireless: No
Best for Blowouts: Drybar Buttercup Blow-Dryer
Chicago-based stylist Leigh Hardges loves this one because the concentrator nozzle on this dryer “literally pushes the water off of the hair and onto the floor for quick dry time.” The long cord, cute yellow hue, and lightweight, ergonomic design are great features, too, that make a professional weekly blowout possible at home.
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: NanoIonic technology, multiple heat and speed settings | Wireless: No
Best for Bangs: PARLUX 3200 Plus
Quiet, powerful, and efficient, PARLUX has always been a professional stylist staple, and for good reason. 3200 Plus has two heat settings and a cold shot button, plus two specially designed concentrator nozzles to smooth and manipulate the hair. The narrow nozzle attachment is actually great for fringes as it emits a really small airstream.
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Two heat settings, cold shot button, two concentrator nozzles | Wireless: No
Best for Dull Hair: Bio Ionic 10X Ultralight Speed Dryer
If you have dull, flat, lifeless hair, Bio Ionic’s dryer is actually infused with volcanic mineral technology to close off the cuticle for a glossy, reflective shine. The 1,800-watt motor dries the hair quickly as well, for professional results in less time than it takes to make breakfast.
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Infuses volcanic minerals into the hair for unmatched shine, lightweight | Wireless: No
Best for Curls: Conair 1875W AC Motor Hair Dryer
Conair’s dryer is made to target frizz and impart serious shine, so it’s really effective when it comes to smoothing, defining, and drying off curls or coiled hair. There’s a diffuser attachment and tourmaline ceramic-coated grille for even heat distribution (and thus, less damage).
Max Temp: Unavailable | Features: Three attachments, three heat, and two-speed settings | Wireless: No
So after much deliberation, team Byrdie unanimously agrees that the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is worth the hefty price tag. It’s versatile, powerful, lightweight, and prevents heat damage—plus the six attachments make it easy to change up your style. Next in line is T3’s Cura Lux Dryer because not only is it reasonably priced, but it’s effective, easy, and builds up some serious volume.
What to Look for When Buying a Professional Hair Dryer
Heat and Speed Settings
“Always look for multiple heat and speed settings when buying a dryer,” says celebrity hairstylist David Lopez. “This way, you can customize your blowout experience for your specific hair type.” It will also enable you to cut down on dry time.
“Having a cool shot option that locks in a style is essential,” says Lopez.
Lopez says that at a minimum, you want a concentrator attachment for sleek, precise styles and a diffuser for curls.
How do you use a professional hair dryer?
This depends on your hair type, but stylists agree that you should gently absorb as much water as possible with a towel before rough drying your hair on a low heat setting until it’s about 70 percent dry. From this point, you can section and style as you like. Curly or coiled hair types should use a diffuser attachment to capture and hold each curl.
How hot does a professional hair dryer get?
This varies between brands, but most professional hair dryers will run between 60 and 110 degrees C. The more important feature is even heat distribution, so certain sections of hair aren’t damaged (also, you’ll get a much sleeker result).
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Emily Algar has short, fine hair, so she always relies on a hair dryer to build long-lasting volume. She has also chatted to experts David Lopez and Jamie Wiley to get some A+ recommendations and help map out what makes a hair dryer stand out.