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There’s obviously no shortage of blow dryers to choose from these days, at varying price points to fit every budget. That being said, when it comes to these hot tools, you often do get what you pay for.
“A professional hair dryer is designed for extended use. You’ll find it has a long life expectancy, consistency in heat and air force, and tends to be lighter in weight,” explains Leigh Hardges, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “They deliver a more professional-looking finish to the hair, they’re easier to use, and dry times are quicker,” she adds, explaining why these are worth the investment.
In deciding if you should shell out the big bucks, consider how often you use your dryer and how skilled you are at blow-drying your own hair, suggests Derick Monroe, lead stylist for Dark & Lovely. If you’re drying your hair regularly, and/or could use a little bit of assistance in terms of achieving your desired end result, opting for a pro blow dryer may be the way to go.
Below are the best professional blow dryers recommended by, well, the pros.
Both Hardges and Monroe recommend this pick. The price tag understandably elicits some sticker shock, but there’s no shortage of high-tech features that make it worth every penny. (Among the most noteworthy—a sensor that measures the air temp every 20 seconds to help prevent heat damage.) It’s a great choice for any and all hair types and comes with an array of magnetic attachments—Monroe notes that the diffuser is especially good for curly hair—and cuts dry time by 25%, according to Hardges.
“I’ve been nothing but impressed by this dryer. I love that it has a strong air flow but is still quiet, and is super lightweight so it’s easy on the arms,” she adds. Stylist John Mouzakis, co-owner of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago is also a fan and points out that the short, upright design makes it much easier to hold and use when attempting to give yourself a blow-out.
“Almost every hairdresser I know has had one of these Italian-made dryers at some point in their career, or is currently using one,” says Mouzakis. Monroe is also a fan; both he and Mouzakis call out how powerful it is. Also nice: There are several different models with slightly different specs (and prices), so you can choose one that best one to fit your particular needs.
If you’re not quite ready to spend hundreds of dollars on a blow dryer, Monroe says this is a great affordable alternative. It boasts a professional motor, ionic technology, and comes with both a diffuser and concentrator attachment, allowing you to create a variety of styles. Monroe also notes that the cool shot button is particularly powerful, choice for helping to seal in shine and smoothness.
This tool just may be the thing that finally replaces your standing blowout appointment. “The concentrator nozzle on this dryer literally pushes the water off of the hair and onto the floor for quicker dry time,” says Hardges, who adds that she also loves the heat and airflow it emits. Bonus points for the convenient nine-foot-long cord, and the fact that it comes in a travel size for those looking for a more compact option.
Monroe raves about this tool for drying without stripping moisture from the hair; Hardges appreciates the ionic technology that leaves hair frizz-free and shiny. (Though you can also turn off the ionizer if you want more of a voluminous, rather than smooth, style.) There are plenty of other fun features, too. It automatically shuts off when you put it down—and starts when you pick it back up—plus plenty of heat and speed setting combos, as well as a comfy handle.
For portability and packability, Monroe suggests this, “small, compact, and lightweight dryer.” Despite a motor speed of up to 94 miles per hour, a built-in silencer ensures it stays nice and quiet, and, to the point of being light, it weighs in at less than a pound. And with a whopping 12 heat and speed settings, there’s an option for every hair type.
“These are the Subarus of hair dryers. They can easily last eight to 10 years and are a tried-and-true staple in hair salons worldwide,” says Hardges. (When you break down the cost per use over that period of time, particularly if you’re using it daily, it’s basically paying for itself.) “The high-pressure air force and consistent heat makes drying hair a breeze,” she adds. It also weighs just over one pound, so it's lightweight and portable.
Contrary to popular belief, not all ionic technology is the same; this pick lets you customize its benefits. “It has an ionic intel system where you can select negative ions for a smoother and sleeker look or positive ions for more volume and texture,” says Hardges, who is a big fan. She also raves about how light it is, a good choice for someone with long, thick hair and for whom blow drying can easily turn into an arm workout.
“Most of the time when a blow dryer breaks down it’s from the cord getting twisted, rather than something happening to the dryer itself,” explains Mouzakis. “This one has a special rotary cord system that prevents the cord from getting twisted and breaking.” The powerful and extremely durable dryer will, “last forever,” he says, and, in the unlikely event that something does happen, it has a lifetime warranty. Bonus points for the fact that it comes with not one, but two, concentrator nozzles.
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 blow-dries her hair daily and has used many of the pro recommendations on this list, personally vouching that investing in one is well worth it.
Meet the Expert
- Leigh Hardges is a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. A self-proclaimed product junkie, she has over 15 years of professional experience and has worked with many brands as an educator and stylist. She’s also a black hair expert.
- Derick Monroe is a celebrity hairstylist and Dark & Lovely spokesperson. He’s a three-time Emmy nominated hairstylist and the creator and producer of the YouTube series “Behind The Scenes Beauty.”
- John Mouzakis is a stylist and co-owner of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago. He’s worked with celebrities and done editorial work across the world, and is also an acclaimed hair educator, educating students from more than 14 countries.