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15 blow-dryers hairstylists and shoppers say are worth the money — from $21

Experts share the tools and hacks they rely on for bouncy curls and smooth blowouts.
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

A blow-dryer is the one beauty gadget we likely all have but don't give much thought to — until the frantic morning when that trusty hair dryer goes kaput.

Let's be honest: The options are endless when it comes down to buying a new one, and it's hard to figure out what's worth the money. That's why we talked to celebrity hairstylists and experts to get the scoop on the best hair dryers around. The Shop TODAY team also found some options that are reliable (and popular, based on scores of customer reviews and star ratings), as well as under $100.

What to look for when shopping for a hair dryer

You probably want to prolong the life of your hair dryer, so before you dig into our top picks, we asked the experts what to look for when it comes time to shop for one. The general consensus? Two things:

  • Look for a "cool shot" button and speed control. "A good blow-dryer should have speed control as well as a cool shot button," Jennifer Korab, celebrity hairstylist and colorist, tells Shop TODAY. "The cool shot button will help you seal down the cuticle of your hair, to 'lock' in the style you have created. It also helps [to] add shine."
  • Look at the tech. Korab also mentions that the type of technology your blow-dryer uses is equally important. "Ionic is best for thicker, frizz-prone hair; tourmaline is [a] great option for dry, curly to wavy hair; and ceramic is a great choice for all hair types, especially dry hair."

Now that you have that guidance in your back pocket, scroll through to take a look at our list of the 15 best hair dryers, according to experts and what's popular among shoppers. Or, use the links below to jump to a specific category.

Best overall | Expert-loved hair dryers | Budget top-rated hair dryers | How we chose our top picks | Meet our experts

The best hair dryers overall

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Several of the stylists we spoke to praised Dyson's Supersonic Hair Dryer.

"Don’t let its size and light weight fool you!" Michelle Cleveland, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon, tells Shop TODAY. "It’s powerful and fast (six times faster than most dryers on the market). Although it’s pricey, it makes for a quick and polished blow-dry every time!"

Holly Dear, founder and owner of House of Dear Hair Salon in Dallas, says the Supersonic's technology helps for a "quicker blow-dry and keeps the cuticle compact for less damage."

Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist and salon owner Andy LeCompte tells us that the "temperature settings and buttons are easy to use and allow me great control to dry hair effectively and maintain the integrity of the hair while drying."

Pattern The Blow Dryer

"Stunning" is the word Kamari Stewart, an associate editor for Shop TODAY, used to describe this sleek hair tool. She's raving about the new blow-dryer from Pattern, Traci Ellis Ross' product line catered to those with hair that is curly, coily and tightly textured. And it's gorgeous, indeed — but offers more than just looks.

The hair tool comes with three heat settings and two speed settings, so you can get as precise as possible for your curl type. Plus, the brand says that the ceramic-coated grill helps prevent hot spots and minimize heat damage. While Stewart says there was a learning curve when it came to snapping on the included attachments, she praised the double-locking mechanism: "It snaps in two ways so you're not stuck trying to get it into an exact slot."

She had also heard that she could style while holding the dryer's head because it doesn't get hot — so "that was the first thing I did," she says.

"I put on the diffuser attachment and held it from the head at all three heat levels," she continues. "Wouldn't you know — they were serious! It really does stay cool to the touch, which I find is most helpful when my hair is flipped over and I'm trying to get the back dry or get the crown of my head."

Best hair dryers, recommended by experts

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Ionic Hair Dryer

Korab and Fincher both recommend the BabyBlissPRO Nano Titanium dryer as a budget-friendly option. Its six-speed functionality makes blow-drying hair faster than ever — minus the frizz. Also, customers rave about the lightweight design and how silent it is compared to other models.

Sam Villa Light Ionic Professional Blow Dryer

Korab describes the Sam Villa dryer as a "lightweight, powerful blow-dryer" that delivers a sleek finish and shine in less time than typical tools. It features a ceramic/tourmaline ion generator that works on all hair types to dry, soften and smooth hair.

BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme Dryer

Hairstylist Melissa Parizot of Cutler Salon in New York's SoHo neighborhood is a fan of the BaBylissPRO ceramic dryer, which is specifically designed to protect hair from heat damage, thanks to four temperature settings.

Rusk Engineering W8less Professional 2000 Watt Dryer

Savannah Fincher, former corporate educator for Blo Blow Dry Bar, likes this Rusk hair dryer because it's lightweight. She also prefers this tool because it emits far-infrared heat, which helps to dry the hair faster without causing frizz.

Drybar Baby Buttercup Blow-Dryer

Salon 120 West co-founder and hairstylist Kasey Bertucci calls this Drybar option "sleek and powerful." The lightweight tool features ionic technology, two heat settings and even comes with its own carrying bag, so you can take it with you when you travel.

T3 Fit Hair Dryer

Another compact hair dryer that Bertucci recommends is this model from T3. It's another compact option that she says is sleek and small enough to travel with. It operates on three heat settings and two speed settings to help you achieve a polished look, and several reviewers mentioned that it's easy to hold.

For a full-size T3 hair dryer that's popular among Shop TODAY readers, try the AireLuxe, which has five heat settings. Reviewers note that it's powerful yet quiet, as well as lightweight.

Ghd Air 1600W Professional Hair Dryer

Scotty Cunha, a stylist at Andy LeCompte Salon, loves this Ghd hair dryer for its sleek look and lightweight feel. Cunha says its ability to leave hair "super smooth and shiny even if I am not using a brush" during a quick rough dry also makes it a standout. Glenn Ellis, another stylist at Andy LeCompte Salon, prefers the brand's Helios Advanced Professional Hair Dryer, saying it "polishes hair like a dream without over complicating the style.”

More top-rated hair dryers, all under $100

Conair InfinitPro Rainbow Ion AC Dryer

Get the best bouncy curls with minimum frizz, thanks to the diffuser attachment of this super-light hair dryer. It also features a ceramic-coated grill that evenly distributes heat to dry your hair while protecting it against heat damage.

With an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon and over 6,000 verified five-star reviews, many reviewers consider this a favorite for curly hair.

Trezoro Ionic Salon Hair Dryer

With a 4.5 average star rating from a whopping 21,800-plus Amazon reviewers, this under-$70 hair dryer is apparently both a crowd-favorite and a bargain. The ionic hair dryer packs a lot of power at 2200 watts, and it boasts three heat setting and two speed settings. It also has two different-sized nozzles. Several reviewers also back the brand's statements that this hair dryer is both lightweight and quiet.

One user noted, "Quietest blow dryer I’ve had and dries fast, and I have really long, thick hair."

Revlon One-Step Volumizer PLUS 2.0 Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush

While this heated styling brush isn't technically just a blow-dryer, it does more than simply blow-dry. It features three heat settings and ionic technology to deliver volume and shine to hair. It has four settings (high, medium, low and cool) to have better control over heat for less hair damage. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors and sizes to help you style your hair like a pro. Basically, this is your one-step hair dryer solution for a quick volume fix.

Note: The Mint color is an Amazon exclusive.

Nition Negative Ions Ceramic Hair Dryer

A popular pick on Amazon, this ceramic hair dryer has more than 7,900 verified five-star ratings. The reviewers are filled with satisfied customers of all hair types from thick and curly to fine and straight.

Revlon Infrared Hair Dryer

If you're looking for a budget-friendly, no-frills hair dryer, your search ends here. It has two heat and two speed settings, plus a cold air shot button to set your style. For less than $30, you can score this six-piece set that includes two attachments and three sectioning clips. If that's not enough to convince you, maybe one of its over 31,000 verified five-star ratings will.

We think this is a great dryer for damaged hair because the infrared heat dries hair faster; this means your hair isn't exposed to heat for too long.

Bed Head 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer

If you have wavy or curly hair, this diffuser dryer could be a game-changer. The Bed Head products features tourmaline technology, a "chill out" cool shot button and it currently has over 7,800 verified five-star ratings on Amazon. "A normal diffuser doesn't even compare to this dryer," one curly-haired reviewer gushed.

Flower Ionic Pro Hair Dryer

Achieve a smooth finish with this bestseller made with tourmaline ceramic and an advanced airflow system to cut out blow-drying time. This tool, which comes in an adorable berry color, allows your hair to dry fast and won't make your arms heavy, thanks to the lightweight design.

How quick? One Walmart reviewer reported, "It's light in weight but super powerful. I have medium-length hair, and I've always hated drying it because it takes too long. With my new dryer, in six to seven minutes my hair is completely dry. ... [it] leaves my hair feeling soft and silky as well."

How we chose the best hair dryers

We selected the best hair dryers by interviewing hair experts who love and praise their drying tools due to their multiple heat settings and a “cool shot” button. We also included hair dryers loved by our own team, as well as reviewers on various retailers, looking at picks with top-average star ratings in both high-end and affordable categories. We also pored through products that work great for various hair types, and those that dry hair quickly while still protecting it from further heat damage.

Shop TODAY editors also make sure to check links periodically and update prices or replace purchase links that are out of stock; sometimes, we include newer models or versions that work better. We do a lot of the legwork to make it as easy as possible for you to find the perfect blow-dryer for your specific needs — so you can get that salon-quality 'do at home.

Meet our experts

  • Kasey Bertucci is co-founder and hairstylist at Salon 120 West.
  • Michelle Cleveland is a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon.
  • Scotty Cunha is a stylist at Andy LeCompte Salon.
  • Holly Dear is the founder and owner of House of Dear Hair Salon in Dallas.
  • Glenn Ellis is a stylist at Andy LeCompte Salon.
  • Anthony French is a stylist at Andy LeCompte Salon.
  • Jennifer Korab is a celebrity hairstylist and colorist.
  • Andy LeCompte is a Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist and salon owner.
  • Julius Michael is a celebrity hairstylist. He owns and runs the Julius Michael Hair Salon in Scarsdale, New York.