8 best hair dryers for speedy, salon-worthy results

It was once necessary to spend an hour in the salon to get a fabulous blow-dry, but the latest hair dryers allow you to enjoy great tresses every day of the week. Using the latest technology, the best hair tools are fast and easy to use, providing near-professional results in the comfort of your own home.

A good hair dryer can work wonders on your locks, whatever your hair concerns. The right gadget can not only transform your hair from soaking wet to bone dry in no time at all, but they can also add volume and de-frizz at the same time. Whether you want to enhance your natural texture or try out a whole new look, there’s a tool out there for you.

In the past, hair dryers were a sure-fire way to fry your lengths, but the latest models take hair health very seriously. Clever design details can help to minimise damage and help to promote strong, gorgeous strands that shine. And, with many dryers offering different heat and speed settings, you can stay in control of how much strain your hair is under.

Several models now also offer a cool shot button, which sets your style with a blast of cold air, and smoothing technology can keep your flyaways under control from morning until night. The right accessories can also help with styling – diffusers add definition to curls and waves, while concentrator nozzles provide targeted airflow, for example.

And, if you’re spending time perfecting a salon-worthy blow-dry at home, you will want your hair dryer to be comfortable to use. The best models out there are lightweight and simple to manoeuvre, meaning you can use them for as long as you need to without straining your hands or arms.

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How we tested

To find the best hair dryers, we tried every feature from every device to see how they fared when creating everything from voluminous blow-dries to sleek styles. Time was of the essence, so we checked that each dryer was speedy and could save us some precious minutes when getting ready each morning.

The best dryers kept our medium-thick hair feeling soft rather than fried. We wanted excellent results that lasted throughout the day, and looked at the additional features that made each hair dryer stand out from the crowd. Versatility impressed us, with bonus points going to those that could create both straight and voluminous styles. The models we featured are also lightweight and simple to manoeuvre.

The best hair dryers for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Shark HD110UK style iQ hair dryer: £180, Argos.co.uk
  • Best for frizz – Nicky Clarke infrared pro hair dryer: £99.99, Boots.com
  • Best luxury buy –  Zuvi halo hair dryer: £329, Zuvi.us
  • Best for fast results – Drybar buttercup blow-dryer: £139, Harrods.com
  • Best for damaged hair – Remington hydraluxe pro hair dryer: £84.92, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for travelling – T3 fit compact hair dryer: £130, Next.co.uk
  • Best budget buy – BaByliss hydro fusion hair dryer: £39.99, Boots.com
  • Best for thick hair – Hot Tools pro artist black golf AC ionic dryer: £39.99, Hottools.com

Shark HD110UK style iQ hair dryer

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Attachments: 2
  • Number of speed settings: 3
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.5m
  • Wattage: 1600W

Shark is known for creating high-tech products in the home-care sphere, and the brand has now utilised its expertise to create the Shark HD110UK style iQ hair dryer. Shorter and rounder than a “traditional” hair dryer, with rose gold detailing, it feels as much like a smart gadget as it does a styling tool.

The shape makes it easy to maneouvre around your head and we noticed that it’s not as loud or heavy as other devices. It dried our hair quickly, and we enjoyed trying out the tips in the booklet provided – we could see each step in the styling process broken down with images. But what we liked the most about this hair dryer was its versatility. The diffuser is adjustable, meaning it suits both longer and shorter hair – all you need to do is extend the prongs. The concentrator nozzle can be narrowed too, depending on the section of hair you’re working on. And, with three speed settings and three heat settings, it puts you firmly in control and helps you to achieve the hair of your dreams at home.

Read more: Shark vs Dyson – which hair dryer is best?

Nicky Clarke infrared pro hair dryer

Best: For frizz

Rating: 9/10

  • Attachments: 2
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Wattage: 1300W

This hair dryer from celebrity hairstylist Nicky Clarke uses infrared technology to heat the hair from within, meaning it is a gentle option for those worried about damage and hair loss. The energy-saving motor makes it a greener choie, but despite this it felt like one of the most powerful tools we tested, drying our tresses quickly without frying them.

The result was smooth hair that didn’t feel dry or stressed. We noticed that our flyaways had been tamed, and wayward baby hairs were smoothed into submission – this dryer definitely puts up a fight against frizz. Plus, there’s a choice of two nozzles, so you can really concentrate the airflow on specific parts of your hair – we found the larger one was good for creating silky lengths, and the smaller one worked wonders on our fringe. If you love sleek blow-dries and hair that looks strong and healthy, then this dryer is a good investment that will cut your daily styling time.

Read more: Nicky Clarke supershine izora dryer review

Zuvi halo hair dryer

Best: Luxury buy

Rating: 10/10

  • Attachments: 3
  • Number of speed settings: 1
  • Number of heat settings: 1
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 1.8m
  • Wattage: 680W

From the moment we slid open the box, we felt a sense of luxury from this top-of-the-range gadget. The matte finish adds to the expensive feel – this dryer has been referred to as “the Tesla of hair dryers” for a reason – although we would have liked the cord to be a little bit longer. When we turned it on, it lights up – not an essential feature but it did bring a smile to our face – and it purred rather than roared, again signifying that this is something special.

It feels more gentle than a regular hair dryer, allowing you to get close and really focus the air on the sections you want to target – there’s also a nozzle which concentrates the air even more. The dryer also comes with a diffuser, to help add definition and shape to curls. Our hair felt incredibly silky after use, and didn’t feel like it had been dried out. It’s not a cheap option, but if you want to invest in a product that elevates your hairstyling routine and provides a salon-worthy finish, then this dryer is a real treat.

Read the full Zuvi halo hair dryer review

Drybar buttercup blow-dryer

Best: For fast results

Rating: 9/10

  • Attachments: 2
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.74m
  • Wattage: 1875W

Dry Bar began in the US as a collection of speedy styling salons, and in 2022 the brand launched a blow-dry bar in Harrods. The cult chain also unveiled a range of styling tools, and this zesty yellow hair dryer allows you to get the Dry Bar look at home.

We loved the cheerful colour, which would definitely brighten up dull mornings. However, its charm doesn’t mean it lacks strength – at the flick of a switch, this dryer is raring to go, and you can feel the power in your hand. It was one of the speediest dryers that we tried, and we appreciated the fact that it came with two different-sized nozzles.

The larger concentrator was good for providing a sleek finish, while the narrower option worked wonders on our fringe, allowing us to really eliminate pesky flyaways. If you’re a fan of traditional hair dryers that are straightforward to use, pretty to look at, and provide salon-worthy results, then the Dry Bar buttercup blow-dryer is a fantastic pick.

Read our review of the full Dry Bar hair tools collection

Remington hydraluxe pro hair dryer

Best: For damaged hair

Rating: 8/10

  • Attachments: 3
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Wattage: 2200W

This smart hair dryer from Remington has been designed specifically with damaged hair in mind, and it is equipped with some unique technology to care for worn-out tresses. The smart sensor monitors the temperature of the air around the hair, preventing excessive heat that will frazzle your strands, while the different temperature and speed settings help you to stay in control.

The three attachments were a great way to help us achieve our desired style – just be aware that the diffuser is on the smaller side, so if you have lots of hair you’ll want to work in sections. And, having the choice between a larger and a smaller concentrator nozzle was an added bonus.

It did feel a little heavier than some of the other hair dryers we tried, and the top-heavy shape might not be suited to everyone’s hands. But it’s incredibly fast drying, so we don’t think this will bother most people.

Read the full Remington hydraluxe hair dryer review

T3 fit compact hair dryer

Best: For travelling

Rating: 8/10

  • Attachments: 1
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.74m
  • Wattage: 1400W

Cute and compact, this tool is perfect for trips away. It’s around half the size of a regular hair dryer, but despite its small size it still packs a punch when it comes to styling power.

There are different speed and heat settings, a long cord for ease of use, and even a concentrator nozzle. It’s slightly better suited to creating a straight blow-dry rather than a super-voluminous look, but it is still a versatile dryer that left our hair feeling like it had been styled with a full-size tool. Our hair still looked great by evening, and we can imagine it would last through a busy day.

We did think that since this hair dryer is marketed for travelling it might be nice if it came with its own case to protect it when in transit. However, it ticks every other box, and the white and rose gold design will look great on the dressing table of your hotel room.

Read more: T3 cura luxe hair dryer review

BaByliss hydro fusion hair dryer

Best: Budget buy

Rating: 9/10

  • Attachments: 2
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.5m
  • Wattage: 2100w

This dryer was by far the most purse-friendly tool we tried, but there’s a lot to love about it aside from its low price. At first glance we fell for the ice blue colour and slightly retro shape, and the curved handle made it very comfortable to hold.

It offers all the features you’d expect from a more expensive dryer, including different heat and speed settings to ensure you can care for your strands. There’s also a cool shot which we used to set our style, and a concentrator nozzle and a diffuser are provided, so there’s no need to spend extra cash buying add-ons. We found that the powerful motor dried our hair quickly, and the ionic technology left it feeling super-smooth – the dreaded static was eliminated for a sleek finish. If you’re looking for a dryer that offers premium results with a budget-friendly pricetag, then this one will tick all your boxes.

Hot Tools pro artist black golf AC ionic dryer

Best: For thick hair

Rating: 8/10

  • Attachments: 3
  • Number of speed settings: 3
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Cool shot: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Wattage: 2000W

This hair dryer really puts you in control, with a multitude of different settings to help you create the exact look that you want. Along with three heat settings and two speed settings, you can also switch between the “smooth” and “volume” settings, depending on your hair’s needs.

We found this dryer to be very fast, and our hair felt like it was bone dry in no time at all, making hectic mornings a breeze. The turbo option was a good addition, providing an extra boost of power to help you quickly set a style or make the drying process even faster, although it’s best not to use it continuously while styling. Our hair was left feeling smooth without being flat, and frizz was tamed. The huge diffuser attachment is also helpful for those with very thick or curly hair, allowing you to pick up large sections at a time and add definition to curls and waves.

Hair dryer FAQs

What’s the best hair dryer for my hair type?

Not all hair dryers are made equal and finding the one which works best for you will depend on your hair type. Fine, straighter hair types will benefit from ion technology to increase volume, and variable heat settings will help you control the amount of heat damage to hair.

If frizziness is your bugbear, a cool shot button – which delivers a burst or ongoing stream of cold air – will seal the hair cuticle and help reduce the effects of humidity on your locks, while wavy and curly hair will benefit from the use of a diffuser, which is an attachment tool that allows for heat to be evenly distributed. For thick hair, a higher wattage will ensure a faster drying time, though you can be more susceptible to heat damage, so always use a heat protectant spray beforehand.

When drying afro hair that has dense curls and texture, too much continuous high heat can cause breakage, so look for varying heat settings that allow you to control this and minimise damage.

What should I consider when buying a hair dryer?

Size and weight

Hair dryers have slimmed down in recent years, making bulky devices a thing of the past. However, it’s still important to consider the size and weight of the product. Thicker, curlier hair will take longer to dry, which means heftier hair dryers will take their toll on your arms after extensive styling. More complex, cutting-edge technologies tend to lead to heavier hair dryers, with lightweight travel dryers offering a more basic hair drying experience.

Power and temperature

If you’re looking to dry your hair as quickly as possible, look at the wattage, not the temperature. Nowadays you can buy hair dryers operating at 3600W, but a high-quality device only requires around 1800W. For those with curlier hair that only needs setting or drying with a diffuser, high speeds aren’t as important.

The opposite is true for temperatures. While it’s normally advisable to keep to as low a temperature as possible to minimise damage, thicker, curlier hair requires more heat. No matter your hair type, everyone should look for a variety of temperature settings. The more options, the more control over your styling.

Ceramic vs metal

The key difference between ceramic and metal hair dryers is that ceramic heats evenly and metal unevenly. As a result, ceramic dryers are less damaging to your hair, even if they take longer to heat up. Metal dryers are best suited to thicker hair, which requires stronger heat blasts to dry quickly. They also tend to be lighter than their ceramic counterparts.

What are ionic and ceramic technologies?

The word “ionic” is often thrown around when it comes to high-tech hair gadgets, but is very rarely explained. The name comes from its use of negatively charged ions. While your hair features both negative and positively charged ions, the water on wet hair is positive. Ionic hair dryers blast negative ions to help break down the particles which, in turn, helps hair dry faster than when it’s left to its own devices. Because the negative ions help close the hair cuticle, it also leaves it smoother, sleeker and frizz-free. This is particularly helpful for protecting the definition and pattern of your curls, but as it removes moisture, fine hair can be left looking limp.

Meanwhile, ceramic technology is designed to evenly distribute heat. This works by coating the inside of the dryer with ceramic (or sometimes porcelain) and covering the metal or plastic components, which conduct more extreme, uneven temperatures. Hair dryers with this technology also take extra measures to protect your hair from heat damage, repeatedly checking the temperature and adjusting accordingly. Temperatures will be hotter at the start of your blow-dry, cooling gradually. While some hair dryers combine both technologies, most ceramic hair dryers are already equipped with negative ions to help control frizz – just not to the extent of an ionic hair dryer.

The verdict:  Hair dryers

The Shark HD110UK style iQ hair dryer is fast, easy to use and provides excellent results, so every day can be a good hair day. If you want to treat yourself or a loved-one to a really fabulous gadget, then it doesn’t get much more luxurious than the Zuvi halo hair dryer. And, for great value and versatility, the BaByliss hydro fusion hair dryer is an excellent choice for less than £40.

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Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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