Fast and light
Our favorite hair dryer is lightweight and equipped with a long cord, and among the models we tested, it tied for blowing the hottest and fastest air. We like it just as much as dryers several times the price.
Heat and speed are the only features that matter for drying your hair efficiently, and with a 50 mph, 150 °F airflow, the Rusk W8less is one of the hottest and fastest dryers we tested. It weighs less than a pound, it has an 8-foot cord (among the longest we found), it’s notably comfortable to hold, and overall it has the best combination of features we deemed important—that’s the case by far, even when you compare it with dryers that cost hundreds of dollars. The Rusk W8less comes with a concentrator, which is helpful for straightening hair. It does not come with a diffuser, however; if you use one for curly hair, consider our runner-up, which is nearly identical to our pick but includes a diffuser and usually costs more.
Rusk CTC Lite
Pricier dryer, diffuser included
The CTC Lite is one of the fastest and lightest dryers we tested and comes with a diffuser, but it’s typically more expensive than similar-performing models.
If our top pick is sold out, if you want a similarly light and easy-to-hold dryer that comes with a diffuser, or if this model is on sale for less than our top pick, get the Rusk CTC Lite. Our former top pick, the CTC Lite has a design very similar to that of our current top pick. It ranked among the fastest and lightest dryers we tested, blowing air at 50 mph and weighing 0.95 pound. At 8.5 feet, its cord is one of the longest of all the models we tested. Glossy black with a simple design, it will look sophisticated perched next to a bathroom mirror. It typically costs more than the W8less, though, and it lacks the small groove in the handle that makes that model feel best in the hand.
Infiniti Pro by Conair 1875-Watt Salon Performance AC Motor Styling Tool
Fast but heavy
Although this dryer is just as fast as pricier models, it’s one of the heaviest we tested, and its attachments can be hard to remove.
If you don’t care about weight, consider the Infiniti Pro by Conair 1875-Watt Salon Performance AC Motor Styling Tool. Commonly found in drugstores, this dryer produces airflow that’s nearly as fast (45 mph) and hot (130 °F) as that of our top pick. At 1.2 pounds, however, it feels heavy after a couple of minutes of holding it above your head. The 6-foot cord, though shorter than those on our other picks, is longer than those on most other inexpensive hair dryers. The buttons are easy to use, but the cool-shot button is a little small and harder to hold down than on our top pick. The Infiniti Pro comes with both a diffuser and a concentrator.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
A joy to use
It’s expensive, but the unique design makes it extraordinarily nice to use: There’s no vibration whatsoever, and its simple-to-switch magnetic attachments make styling easier.
If you have a lot (a lot!) of cash to spend on a dryer, you might consider the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. It has consistently been our favorite to use since we first tested it in 2016. With airflow at 70 mph and a temperature of 150 °F, it doesn’t dry hair any faster than our pick (it’s also a touch heavier), but the Supersonic is more pleasant to use in almost every way due to its unique design. The motor sits in the handle, making the nozzle shorter and easier to maneuver. The handle doesn’t vibrate at all, which wasn’t true of other “luxury” models we tested. It has a nice, long, 9-foot cord, its noise is less grating than that of other dryers, and it comes with two magnetically attaching concentrators and a diffuser, all of which are exceptionally easy to add and remove mid-blowout.
Best for thick, dense, or curly/coily/kinky hair
It’s pricey, it’s bulky, and it works—quickly and gently. For hair that’s fragile or difficult to blow-dry with a conventional hair dryer, the RevAir is worth considering.
Another spendy dryer, the RevAir is unlike any other hair-drying, heat-styling tool we’ve tested. For people with Type 3 or 4 curl patterns especially, this vacuum-like device is gentle on fragile strands and can cut down total drying time significantly. One tester, who usually requires two back-to-back appointments with a professional stylist at Drybar, now achieves similar drying and smoothing results in as little as 20 minutes. Not only is this an expensive machine, it’s huge, too. The hose-attached handheld wand weighs more than our heavier dryer picks (around 2 pounds), but this is not terribly problematic because very little motion is required to use it. However, the entire corded machine has an exceptionally large footprint compared with most other dryers: It weighs about 10 pounds in total and is the size of a small microwave.