outside the labs

    Best Hair Dryers

    Are these expensive models worth the price?

    Rusk W8less, DryBar Buttercup ,GHD Helios, Dyson Supersonic and T3 Cura Hair Dryers Photo: Theresa Panetta/Consumer Reports

    Hair dryers arrived on the home consumer market in the 1920s, and they’ve been hot ever since. Today, 60 percent of U.S. women and 20 percent of U.S. men regularly use a hair dryer, according to a 2018 report by Dyson. And while the technology has improved with time, hair dryers still serve the same basic function: to blow hot air at your head until your hair dries. 

    So when it comes to choosing a new hair dryer, it’s the performance and ease of use that matters. You want a machine with enough speed and heat that it can dry your hair fast, but not so much heat that your hair will fry. You’ll be aiming this device around your ears, so it needs to be quiet to avoid damaging your hearing. And ideally, it’s light enough to wield without getting tired. 

    MORE ON HAIR & SKIN CARE

    Beyond that, you may want to consider the placement of the buttons, what attachments it comes with, and how long you can expect the dryer to last. 

    For this Outside the Labs review, four other female Consumer Reports employees and I—with different hair types and lengths—each tried out five blow-dryers: the Drybar Buttercup, Dyson Supersonic, GHD Helios, Rusk W8less, and T3 Cura.

    CR members can see details about our evaluation, including which ones we liked (and didn’t like), our lab-tested results, and more.

    How We Tested

    CR labs measured dry speed based on how quickly the dryer removed water from a dampened paper towel placed at a specific distance from the nozzle of each hair dryer set at its highest setting. Models that removed more water scored better. Our lab testers also measured the decibel level of each hair dryer at its highest setting. Those that were quieter scored better. Finally, the labs weighed the dryers, measured the cord length, and measured the wattage of each hair dryer. 

    For our at-home evaluations, we looked for a dryer that dries hair quickly and leaves it feeling soft and frizz-free. Evaluators also shared their opinions on how heavy the hair dryer felt, how loud it seemed, and whether the buttons were well-placed on the device. We also tried any attachments to see how easy they were to put onto the nozzle and how effective they were.

    To learn more about what to look for in a hair dryer, see “5 Things to Know Before Buying a New Hair Dryer.”

    Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

    We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.