The best hair dryers for salon-fresh results in 2023

Lise Smith
6 Jan 2023

We've tested the best hair dryers for all budgets to take your hair from so-so to stunning

A good hair day can really lift your mood and confidence. So, if your crowning glory is important to you, it makes sense to invest in a good hair dryer, too. The best hair dryers can shave precious time off your morning routine, smooth out frizz, and prevent heat damage with gentler heat settings.

In addition to blowing hot air, the best modern dryers use ceramic and ionic technology to promote hair health by speeding up drying times, distributing heat evenly and sealing in moisture, giving hair a healthier and glossier finish.

We’ve taken the time to test a whole range of hair dryers to find the best you can buy at every price point. In our buyer’s guide, we’ll explain the key features different hair dryers provide and the performance you should expect from a decent dryer – and below we round up our top picks for home drying.

Whether you’re looking for a budget option that won’t damage your hair, or a salon-quality hair dryer that will keep going for years and years, you’ll find your new favourite among the dryers we’ve tested below.

Save cash on the Remington Keratin Protect

A sleek, stylish, mid-range dryer with a host of settings and accessories, the Remington Keratin Protect is a solid buy at full price - with a neat £7 discount taking its price down to £35, it's looking better than ever.
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The best hair dryers: At a glance

How to choose the best hair dryer for you

What are the different kinds of dryer available?

All hair dryers use a fan to direct air through a heating element and out through a nozzle to the hair. A basic hair dryer may not do much more than switch on and off, but more sophisticated hair dryers will have a variety of heat and air speed settings. Lower temperatures are less damaging for fine hair, while higher heat settings will help thicker and more densely textured hair dry quickly.

Basic hair dryers also tend to use a metallic heating element, whereas more expensive modern hair dryers often use ceramic, which distributes heat evenly to prevent damaging hotspots, and generates infrared heat that dries quickly and seals the hair cuticle, giving a soft and shiny finish. The mineral tourmaline is also used in some high-end hair dryers, and has many of the same hair-health benefits as ceramic.

Many modern hair dryers also include ionic technology in which, put simply, negatively charged ions are generated when the air passes through an electric current in the heating element. These ions break up the water molecules in your hair, allowing ionic hair dryers to dry your hair more quickly and spread moisture more evenly throughout your hair for a smooth and glossy finish. Ionic technology is popular in many heat-styling tools, as by heating evenly and drying the hair quickly it helps reduce heat damage, and seals in moisture for shiny and hydrated hair. Ionic technology can be applied to any heating element, so you’ll see it in combination with ceramic, tourmaline or even metallic heating elements.

What difference does power rating make?

In general, a higher wattage indicates a more powerful and effective dryer. Hair salons will typically use dryers with 2,000W motors and above, allowing experienced stylists to blow-dry efficiently. However, like many salon products, these powerful tools are best left in the hands of professionals who know how to wield them safely. At-home hair dryers usually fall in the 1,000W-1,600W range.

Wattage isn’t the only measure of power, however. The latest “digital motors” (EC or Electronically Commutated motors, if you want to be fancy) allow increased air velocity with reduced heat, for amazingly efficient results without the damage associated with higher heat.

What other features should I look out for?

One of the easiest things to overlook when buying a hair dryer is how long the cable is. Some cheaper models come with relatively short cables, while pricier models often boast “salon-length” mains cables, which are as long as 4m.

Some models come with a concentrator nozzle, designed to make it easier to direct the airflow accurately onto a section of hair. These nozzles are great if you blow-dry around a round brush for a salon-style blowout.

It’s also common to find a diffuser nozzle. These are cones with internal fingers that are often used for drying curly hair. You can also use a diffuser on the roots of straight hair to give it more volume. Diffusers can be purchased separately, but an attachment made to fit your particular hair dryer is likely to give the best results.

How we test hair dryers

At Expert Reviews we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete information about a product. We personally test all the hair dryers we review, drying hair using the different heat and speed settings each hairdryer offers and (where applicable) the attachments each dryer is supplied with. Where dryers are recommended for a particular hair type or usage, we test on that hair type to be sure of making an accurate recommendation.

When testing, we time the speed of drying from freshly washed hair to fully dry (noting the hair length and texture we test on); and evaluate the overall ease of use, noise, and the finish and feel of the hair after drying. We also note how well curls, waves and straightened styles last in a typical day of wear. Finally, we confirm the weight and dimensions of the tool.

Read on for our picks of the best hair dryers you can buy.

The best hair dryers you can buy in 2023

1. Tresemme Fast Dry 2000: The best budget hair dryer under £20

Price: £15 | Buy now from Argos

It’s almost shocking how good the Tresemme Fast Dry 2000 hair dryer is considering its absolute bargain price. For as little as £15, you get a highly portable, fast-drying hair dryer with a great nozzle. It additionally has a decent cable length and a great selection of settings including three heat, three power and a cool shot.

It is missing the ionic technology of its more expensive rivals, meaning your hair isn’t left as shiny, but this compact dryer does a more than adequate job of creating a lasting, elegant style in a hurry and if you’d told us this dryer was £20 or £30 more expensive, we wouldn’t have doubted you.

Key specs – Heating element: Standard; Temperature settings: 3; Power: 2,000W; Speed settings: 3; Cable length: 1.8m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Weight: 400g

2. GHD Helios: The best hair dryer for superfast styling

Price: £142 | Buy now from Amazon

GHD has exceeded our expectations with its latest hair dryer, the Helios. A reimagined combination of GHD’s iconic Air hair dryer and the discontinued Aura model, the Helios is quieter, lighter and more powerful than its predecessors. With a stylish, well-balanced design, the Helios is a delight to dry your hair with, despite us finding the styling options somewhat limited, with two power and heat settings instead of the standard three.

Despite the smaller number of settings, it’s the drying power that sets the Helios apart from the rest: the 2,200W motor rivals the Dyson Supersonic in its drying time and ability to deliver a frizz-free finish, which is no easy feat for a hair dryer that costs half the price. That’s thanks to GHD’s AutoPrecis technology creating a blast of focused air that travels at 75mph, as well as the concentrator nozzle that precisely directs airflow for a smooth blow dry.

Overall, with the GHD Helios, you can expect your hair to be dried in record time with natural volume, stunning shine and a smoothness like no other. Its price point places it firmly in the premium hair dryer category, but it’s an investment your hair will thank you for.

Readour full GHD Helios review for more details.

Key specs – Heating element: Ionic; Temperature settings: 2; Power: 2,200W; Speed settings: 2; Cable length: 3m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator; Weight: 510g

3. Dyson Supersonic: The best luxury hair dryer

Price: £330 | Buy now from Boots

The Dyson Supersonic is a radical re-imagining of the hair dryer – so much so that it looks more like a space-age microphone than a haircare gadget. It’s been engineered to feel well balanced: even though the shape of the head and the weight distribution takes a little getting used to (the V9 digital motor is down in the handle of the dryer instead of at the top), you’ll be blown away by just how powerful and easy to use this hair dryer is.

The magnetic concentrator and diffuser attachments fit on, and can be removed, without too much force; the magnets also mean the attachments stay put while drying instead of turning and moving. Other features of the Supersonic include flexible speed and heat settings, and thermal sensors to prevent the unit or attachments getting too hot.

Since launch, Dyson has also added a range of attachments to join the nozzles and diffuser. The “Gentle air dryer” attachment resembles the hem of a skirt and uses its waves to diffuse the airflow, making it softer without reducing drying time; it’s perfect for fine or damaged hair. A new wide-tooth comb attachment, designed for curly or coily hair, detangles the hair while drying to prevent damage and make it easier to style.

The Supersonic creates smooth, shiny styles and dried our hair superfast. This is the ultimate combination of quietness, speed and hair-drying finesse. The lengthy cable, non-slip mat and beautifully crafted leather case help seal the deal.

Read our full Dyson Supersonic review for more details.

Key specs – Heating element: Ionic; Temperature settings: 4; Power: 1,600W; Speed settings: 3; Cable length: 2.7m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator, diffuser and smoothing nozzles; Weight: 690g

4. Remington Keratin Protect: The best hair dryer for shine

Price: £42 | Buy now from Amazon

Designed to add shine and protect your hair from heat damage, thanks to keratin and almond oils infused into the drying grille, Remington’s Keratin Protect is a great mid-range hair dryer. For the price, it comes with some excellent accessories and an impressive number of settings, including three heat and two power buttons plus a cold shot to set your chosen style. It ships in the box with a slim nozzle for styling, a wide nozzle for fast drying, as well as a diffuser.

The Keratin Protect is a slim, sleek-looking dryer that doesn’t weigh an awful lot, and its cable is long enough for even the largest of bedrooms.

Read our full Remington Keratin Protect review for more details.

Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic; Temperature settings: 3; Power: 2,200W; Speed settings: 2; Cable length: 2.5m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Weight: 665g

5. Panasonic EH-NA98 Nanoe: The best hair dryer for afro-textured hair

Price: £109 | Buy now from Amazon

Panasonic’s premium blow dryer uses its patented Nanoe water atomising technology to hydrate and condition the hair and scalp. The Nanoe system jets nano-sized water particles (a billion times smaller than steam particles) directly into your hair as you dry, reducing static, frizz and split ends. The result is impressively shiny and smooth hair, even on longer and thick-textured hair. It’s an especially good dryer choice for afro-textured hair.

The Nanoe also has an innovative alternating hot and cold mode, which blasts hot air along the hair shaft to flatten and style, followed automatically by cool air to seal the cuticle and set the style. A scalp mode gently dries the roots and scalp at 50˚C, and is particularly good for dry and sensitive scalps. The dryer is lightweight and has a foldable handle, making it neat to store at home and perfect for travel.

Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic with Nanoe technology; Power: 1,800W; Temperature settings: 4; Speed settings: 3; Cable length: 2.7m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator, diffuser and quick dry nozzles; Weight: 578g

6. Shark Style iQ: The best hair dryer for versatility

Price: £180 | Buy now from Boots

When it comes to high-end hair dryers, Dyson and GHD have historically been the titans. The Shark Style iQ recently entered the market, giving household names a run for their money by offering super speedy drying, a wealth of settings and an overall powerful performance that firmly establishes the model’s place on the map.

The Shark Style iQ offers power, with a focus on using airflow rather than excessive heat to dry hair without frizz or damage. In the box, you’ll find an adjustable concentrator nozzle that comes in handy when trying to achieve sleek, pin-straight hair, while the diffuser attachment is great for conjuring curls. The attachments automatically set the optimum choice of three heat and three airspeed settings for your style; the settings are also independently adjustable, making precision styling a breeze. Finally, there’s a handy cool shot to set your style in place.

Best known as a homecare brand, Shark has channelled its engineering expertise into creating a hair dryer that dries quickly and leaves hair looking soft, glossy and as polished as your front room after a whizz with one of its vacuums.

Key specsHeating element: Ionic; Power: 1,520W; Temperature settings: 3; Speed settings: 3; Cable length: 2.5m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator, diffuser; Weight: 730g

7. Dyson Airwrap 2022: the best dryer for adding curls to your style

Price: £480 | Buy now from John Lewis

Unlike other curling tongs, this tool uses air rather than direct heat from metal plates to curl hair, and can (and should) be used on wet hair, so we’ve included it in our hair dryer roundup. This new 2022 version of the cult product (first launched in 2018) has improved airflow for faster styling, and adds some clever features, including a new switch that allows for the direction of airflow to be changed making it easy to alternate between clockwise and anticlockwise curls for a natural effect.

The tool comes with a gentle drying attachment to rough-dry wet hair ready for curling; two different barrel sizes (30mm or 40mm) to create looser or tighter curls as desired; two paddle brushes for smoothing; and one round brush for salon-style volume. The switches to control the heat and speed of the airflow are built neatly into the handle and very easy and intuitive to find and use while styling the hair. There are three independently adjustable heat and airflow settings, plus a cool shot mode to finish each curl.

At almost £500 there’s no denying that this is an expensive hair styling tool – more expensive than Dyson’s own Supersonic, or than the previous version of the Airwrap. However, the speed and quality of the curls produced by the Airwrap, plus the benefits to hair health, make this worth the investment if you do curl your hair regularly.

Key specs – Heating element: Ionic; Power: 1,300W; Temperature settings: 3; Speed settings: 3; Cable length: 2.6m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: smoothing dryer, 30mm barrel, 40mm barrel, soft and firm smoothing brushes, round brush, filter cleaning brush and storage case; Weight: 661g

8. Parlux Alyon: The best salon-style hair dryer

Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon

This compact and stylish dryer from Italian brand Parlux packs a serious punch with its powerful 2,250W motor. The Alyon blows up to 84 cubic metres of air per hour so that you can dry hair fast using airflow, rather than heat, to keep it soft, shiny and healthy. Ionic technology and a ceramic heating element further help to evenly distribute heat and moisture, reducing frizz and keeping hair soft and healthy.

The compact design, weighing just 425g, comes in ten gorgeous shades from matte black to candy pink and metallic green, and there are two concentrator nozzles in the box for sleek styling (a diffuser attachment for curly styling is available to purchase separately). The Parlux Alyon is a good quality, salon-style dryer used and recommended by hairdressers. It dries quickly, keeps hair in good condition, and will look great in your bedroom, too.

Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic; Temperature settings: 2; Power: 2,250W; Speed settings: 2; Cable length: 1.5m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: 2 x concentrator nozzles; Weight: 425g

9. Revamp Progloss 5500 AC Professional Ionic Hair Dryer DR-5500: The best for long and thick hair

Price: £100 | Buy now from Sephora

This powerful hair dryer has a 2,400W motor for salon-speed drying, and a focus on fast airflow rather than heat to dry quickly but gently. The Progloss 5500 also features ionic technology; while many dryers blow negative ions to speed up drying and smooth the hair’s cuticle, the Progloss 5500 gives you the option to choose between negative ions for a sleek finish, or positive ions for volume. The grille is also infused with keratin protein and argan and coconut oils to add shine and gloss when drying.

The dryer is especially good for tackling very long or very thick hair, as it dries quickly without overheating or damaging the hair, and the protective oils really do add extra shine. It comes with both a concentrator nozzle for styling straight hair, and a diffuser attachment to gently dry curls. There are two speed and three heat settings, which can be independently selected, and an ultra-cool “freeze” shot to set your finished style. A 3m cable, much longer than supplied with most home hair dryers, makes moving the dryer around the hair a breeze.

The Revamp Progloss 5500 looks stylish with its matte black finish, and feels nicely balanced in the hand. If you have very long or thick hair this dryer should make light work of heavy tresses, and leave them shiny and healthy, too.

Key specs – Heating element: ionic; Temperature settings: 3; Power: 2,400W; Speed settings: 2; Cable length: 3m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle, diffuser attachment; Weight: 650g

Buy now from Sephora

10. Babyliss Hydro Fusion: The best mid-range hair dryer

Price: £60 | Buy now from Boots

BaByliss’ Hydro Fusion hair dryer uses ionic technology to reduce drying time and leave your hair shiny and sleek. It has three different heat settings and a cold shot button, and two different speeds, making it ideal for a range of styles and hair types. The dryer also comes with both a concentrator attachment to direct the heat, and a diffuser to bring out natural curls.

When we reviewed the BaByliss Hydro Fusion, we thought it performed remarkably well for the price. BaByliss’ flagship “advanced plasma” technology does wonders for your hair’s health because it allows the dryer to dry your hair quicker at lower temperatures. It’s only available in the ice blue colour pictured above: that’s the same colour as the hydro fusion air styler – which also uses ionic technology – so if you’re building your BaByliss collection these two look great together.

Read our full Babyliss Hydro Fusion review for more details

Key specs – Heating element: Ionic; Temperature settings: 3; Power: 2,100W; Speed settings: 2; Cable length: 2.5m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator, diffuser; Weight:570g

11. Nicky Clarke Frizz Control 2200W Ionic Dryer NHD177: A great budget hair dryer for frizzy hair

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon

Celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke recently introduced this ionic dryer designed to control frizz, and it’s a very effective tool at a fraction of the price of some of our luxury options. The ceramic element and ionic technology help the hair to retain moisture for a sleek and healthy finish.

The 2,000W motor is powerful enough to dry hair fast and with a minimum of fuss, and the dryer comes with a concentrator nozzle to direct airflow. The long barrel also helps make it easy to direct airflow where you want it, and there are two speed and three heat settings for drying flexibility, plus a cool shot to set your finished style. If you’re on a budget, this is an excellent alternative to some of the pricier products reviewed above.

Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic with tourmaline; Power: 2,200W; Temperature settings: 3; Speed settings: 2; Cable length: 3m; Cold shot button: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Weight: 590g

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