10 best hair dryers for 2021

02 November 2020

woman with hair dryer

Hair dryers do so much more than just churn out hot air. When one Mumsnet user asked, "Does a good hairdryer really make that much difference?" she discovered that yes, yes it really does. We reveal the best hair dryers to buy this year.

What makes a good hair dryer depends on so many things – whether you're looking for something simple to slot into your hectic morning routine or you want a professional model with loads of styling attachments, not to mention your hair style and type.

Whatever you need, these recommendations from Mumnsetters will help you find a hair dryer that’ll give you only good hair days.

Here are the best hair dryers to buy in 2021.

1. Best overall hair dryer: ParLux Alyon Air Ioniser Hair Dryer

“I’ve got a ParLux and it’s fab. My hair is long, wavy and thick and it can dry in five minutes (10 to 15 minutes if I’m styling it as I dry). No frizziness, and it’s lovely and smooth.”

1. Best overall hair dryer: ParLux Alyon Air Ioniser Hair Dryer

ParLux is a name that comes up again and again on the Mumsnet Style and Beauty forum. At under 500g, it’s very light, but that doesn’t stop its power. It’s very popular with Mumsnetters, especially those whose hair needs a bit of taming. It’s also ionic, helping your hair stay smooth and sleek, and boasts an airflow of 79 cubic metres per hour, which should speed up drying time.

Its anti-heat casing ensures it doesn’t get too hot and will remain comfortable to hold throughout each use. The manufacturers hail it as 'essential for healthy, static-free hair' and many Mumsnetters agree wholeheartedly. In fact, one even said that it helps her baby to sleep. You can’t argue with that.

  • Power: 2250W
  • Weight: 488g
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.82m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 2
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: 2 concentrator nozzles

Price: £114.95

Buy now from Amazon

2. Best value hair dryer: The Diva Professional Styling Ultima 5000 Hair Dryer

“I bought a Diva hair dryer following reviews on here and love it. Dries my hair in no time.”

“It’s so powerful I need to weigh down loose items when I use it in the kitchen.”

2. Best value hair dryer: The Diva Professional Styling Ultima 5000 Hair Dryer

Light and with an ergonomically-designed handle, which makes holding it for longer periods comfortable, the Diva is used by hairdressers in fast-paced salons. It's also used at home by those who want to get their hair dry as quickly as possible, while still retaining shine and bounce.

At 2000 watts, it's a powerful machine, but the noise reduction system means you'll still be able to hear yourself think while you dry.

Mumsnetters say that, while it’s not the cheapest hair dryer on the market, it’s excellent value as it contains many features you’d find in pricier models – including a styling wand, two concentrator nozzles and a cold shot – but at a fraction of the price.

  • Power: 2000W
  • Weight: 700g
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 4
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: 2 concentrators (1 fast dry and 1 slim styling)

3. Best budget hair dryer: Tresemme Fast Dry 2000 Hair Dryer

“I used it in a Leeds hotel and it was so good I had to buy one. I have very thick hair so it’s great.”

“The Tresemme dries my daughter's thick curly hair in about 10 minutes!”

3. Best budget hair dryer: Tresemme Fast Dry 2000 Hair Dryer

If you’re on a budget and don’t need ionic technology, then Tresemme’s Fast Dry 2000 is a bargain buy that Mumsnetters rate for being reliable, efficient and quick.

It comes with a concentrator nozzle and a removable rear filter for easy cleaning, has two speeds and even a cool setting to set your style. The concentrator nozzle is ideal for precision styling and the 1.8m cord comes with a hanging loop for tidy storage after use.

If a budget-friendly hair dryer is what you want, then this is well worth a try, especially as it includes a three-year guarantee.

  • Power: 2000W
  • Weight: 400g
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 1.8m
  • Number of speed settings: 3
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Ionic technology: No
  • Attachments: 1 concentrator nozzle

Price: £12.99

Buy now from Superdrug

4. Best ionic hair dryer: Dyson Supersonic

“Mine is amazing! Game-changer. I have the 'volume' and 'shape' attachments and can blow-dry my own hair to salon standards in five minutes with one hand. A full head of curls takes nine minutes and I've also had loads of compliments on how healthy and shiny it looks.”

4. Best ionic hair dryer: Dyson Supersonic

£300 is a lot of money to spend on a hair dryer, but the Dyson Supersonic is no ordinary hair dryer. The motor is in the handle instead of the head, which can take some getting used to but, once you have, Mumsnet users say it’s a game-changer.

It has a built-in microprocessor which measures and regulates air temperature 20 times every second. This, in turn, helps to prevent extreme heat damage. Thanks to an air volume of 41 litres per second, this dryer will also have your hair finished in no time – perfect if you’re always in a hurry or if you have thick hair. As you’d expect from a Dyson product, it’s also quieter than other brands.

If it saves you having a regular professional blow-dry then it practically pays for itself, doesn’t it?

  • Power: 1600W
  • Weight: 816g
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.8m
  • Number of speed settings: 3
  • Number of heat settings: 4
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: 3 (magnetic)

5. Best hair dryer for volume: BaByliss Big Hair 50mm Rotating Hot Air Styling Brush

“I have very wavy, very thick, very strong and sometimes very frizzy shoulder-length hair with layers. It has turned my frankly fugly bed-head mop into a lovely smooth, neat and flicky 'do. It looks fab and it took all of about three minutes – and I didn't even really know what I was doing.”

5. Best hair dryer for volume: BaByliss Big Hair 50mm Rotating Hot Air Styling Brush

If you want to inject volume into your fine hair or smooth down a big bouffant, then BaByliss’s Big Hair Styling Brush will do just that. It’s designed for use on hair that has already been rough-dried, has an ionic rotating brush, a large ceramic barrel that adds fullness, and a mixture of natural boar and nylon bristles that create smoothness.

If that wasn’t enough, it also has three settings to choose from including a cool option to set your style. With a bit of practice, you can easily achieve a bouncy, glamorous blow-dry without going to the salon.

  • Power: 500W
  • Weight: 800g
  • Cold shot button: No
  • Cord length: 2.5m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 2
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: No

6. Best travel hair dryer: ghd Flight Travel Hair Dryer

“I’ve got a ghd one and it's excellent.”

“I have a travel ghd hair dryer which is great, and better than any ‘normal' hair dryer I’ve had. It’s much lighter.”

6. Best travel hair dryer: ghd Flight Travel Hair Dryer

The Flight Travel model by ghd is perfect if, post-pandemic, you’re planning frequent trips away – whether at home or abroad. It’s 50% lighter than the ghd Air, but with 70% of the power, and folds for easy packing.

At just 422g, including the cord and nozzle, it’s very lightweight. It even has ghd’s safeguarding technology, which means it automatically switches off when held too close to hair to prevent overheating.

  • Power: 1400W
  • Weight: 422g
  • Cold shot button: No
  • Cord length: 1.8m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 2
  • Ionic technology: No
  • Attachments: 1

Price: £59

Buy now from ghd

7. Best hair dryer for frizzy hair: ETI Turbodryer 3500 Professional Salon Hair Dryer

“It packs out about five times the drying power of any domestic dryer I've had, but be careful as it does get quite hot. My thick, frizzy and wavy hair becomes properly smooth (hairdresser-style) in half the time it used to take.”

7. Best hair dryer for frizzy hair: ETI Turbodryer 3500 Professional Salon Hair Dryer

The ETI Turbodryer boasts two speeds, four heat settings and a salon-length cord (three metres) that'll come in handy if you need to move about or keep an eye on a toddler while you dry your hair. In fact, several Mumsnetters said they were recommended their ETI by their hairdresser. Don’t worry though, as it’s not heavy like some pro models.

There are four heat settings, giving you lots of options, and it comes with two nozzles to adjust drying time and airflow. Considering it has ionic technology, it’s a pretty decent price too.

  • Power: 2000W
  • Weight: 515g
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 4
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: 2

Price: £55.25

Buy now from Amazon

8. Best hair dryer for flyaway hair: Panasonic EH-NA65 Smooth and Shiny

“The new Panasonic is excellent.”

8. Best hair dryer for flyaway hair: Panasonic EH-NA65 Smooth and Shiny

This Panasonic model claims it goes one better than the usual ionic technology. It contains built-in Nanoe (pronounced ‘nano-e’) tech, which jets smaller, nano-sized water particles directly into your hair while drying.

This might sound strange when the aim is to dry your hair, but the idea is that it reduces the amount of damage from the heat and stops your hair from becoming too brittle. The Panasonic is also a great option if you have fine or flyaway hair and is surprisingly quiet.

  • Power: 2000W
  • Weight: 600g
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 2.7m
  • Number of speed settings: 3
  • Number of heat settings: 4
  • Ionic technology: No – it has Nanoe technology instead
  • Attachments: 3

9. Best hair dryer for conditioning: Cloud Nine Airshot Hair Dryer

“Get Cloud Nine – made by the guy who created ghd after he sold that business. Some people say Cloud Nines are better than ghds as they have newer technology.”

9. Best hair dryer for conditioning: Cloud Nine Airshot Hair Dryer

The Cloud Nine is designed to help smooth frizz and give a sleek finish. If you have curly or Afro hair, then the anti-static technology and vitamin-infused ceramic components are great because they offer added moisture.

The Airshot name comes from the ‘cool shot’ button, which sets your style once you've finished drying to a long-lasting finish.

At 1.5kg though, it’s three times heavier than many other models featured here so might make your arm ache after a while.

  • Power: 2000W
  • Weight: 1.64kg
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 2
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: 2

Price: £109

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

10. Best hair dryer for curly hair: ghd Air

“I have a ghd Air and its diffuser and would definitely recommend it. I’ve had both for four years, used virtually daily and they still operate perfectly.”

10. Best hair dryer for curly hair: ghd Air

If you can’t live without your ghd straighteners, you’ll love the ghd Air. It has a removable air filter, which delivers high pressure airflow for super-fast drying, while advanced ionic technology reduces frizz and flyaways to give a smooth salon-style finish in half the time. Yes, this claim has been tested by ghd and Mumsnetters.

The only downside is that, at over 1.5kg, it’s on the heavy side. But, as it’s so quick, you won’t have to hold it for long.

  • Power: 2100W
  • Weight: 1.54kg
  • Cold shot button: Yes
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Number of speed settings: 2
  • Number of heat settings: 2
  • Ionic technology: Yes
  • Attachments: 1

Which hair dryers do professionals use?

Hairdressers need hair dryers that are durable and hard-wearing. They tend to use a hair dryer that comes with various attachments to suit different hair types. Diffuser hair dryers are ideal for curly hair as they prevent frizz, while Concentrators blow air more directly for a sleek finish for straight hair. Comb attachments can be useful for shaping afro hair.

Ionic hair dryers are also popular. They produce millions of negatively charged ions, which break down the positively charged water molecules. Negative ions don't open up the hair shafts, so the hair remains smooth and sleek, meaning you can use a lower temperature to dry your hair.

Professionals like hair dryers with long cords for getting around a salon chair, but this can be equally useful at home if you’re trying to dry your hair and watch a toddler at the same time.

How do I choose a good hair dryer?

The first thing is to work out what type of hair you have and what you need the hair dryer for. If you love to craft different hairstyles, then a model with lots of attachments will mean you can (hair-type-dependent) straighten your hair or add curls, volume or waves. Or you might just need something to give your locks a quick blast, in which case power is more important. Look for a wattage of 1800 and above.

If your hair is long and thick, then look out for a lightweight hair dryer so your arms don’t ache. Some start at around 500g. For flyaway hair, look for ionic technology, which smooths hair and prevents flyaways. Positive ions can be directed at the roots to boost volume.

High speed and heat is best for drying hair quickly, while a lower speed and heat is better if you want to style your hair or limit frizziness.

Regardless of your hair type, a cool shot button provides a burst of cool air that seals hair cuticles, making hair look smoother and shinier.

Which is the best hair dryer to buy?

The best hair dryer to buy is the ParLux Alyon Air Ioniser Hair Dryer. It has many of the benefits of pricier hair dryers, including ionic technology, and is powerful enough to dry all hair types in quick time. It’s so good many professional hairdressers rate it too.

The best budget hair dryer is the Tresemme Fast Dry 2000 Hair Dryer – a reliable, hard-wearing and fast-drying model for under a tenner. And when we all start to travel more, the ghd Flight Travel has almost all the advantages of other ghd hair dryers while being lighter and easier to pack.

How we chose our recommendations

All of our recommendations for hair dryers came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which hair dryers Mumsnetters used and rated themselves – this included travel hair dryers and budget buys. We also looked at other review sites to see which hair dryers performed well across the board.

Why you should trust us

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