Hair has always been an important part of a woman’s self-image. Today, 80% of women between ages 30 to 60 say that their hair can massively influence their self-esteem. The right style can have a massive effect on your appearance and mindset, but to achieve your ideal style, you’ll need the right tools.
Whether you’re drying your hair at home or doing so as part of your job, a professional-grade hair dryer will provide you with the performance you need with a minimum amount of hassle. The difficulty here is identifying what exactly makes a blow dryer professional grade. Is it price? A set of features? The manufacturer?
There are so many average hair dryers on the market that it can be difficult to separate the mediocre choices from the truly exceptional products. Thankfully, that’s what this guide was made to help you with! We’ve made a list of professional grade models so that you can pick out a product that is perfect for you.
Read on to find the best professional hair dryer available on the market.
Table Of Contents
- Top 7 Professional Hair Dryers
- T3 Cura Digital Ionic Professional Hair Dryer
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium
- RUSK Engineering W8less
- BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme
- Rusk Engineering Super Freak Professional
- Elchim Classic 2001 Blow Dryer
- Trezoro Professional Ionic Salon Hair Dryer
- Your Buyer’s Guide To Professional-Grade Hair Dryers
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 7 Professional Hair Dryers
We’ve picked out seven particular models that best fit our criteria for the best salon hair dryer. Which one is best for you will depend on your needs, but you can’t go wrong with any of these picks.
T3 Cura Digital Ionic Professional Hair Dryer
First on our list is the very best on the market. T3 is fairly new, having been founded in 2003, but it’s established its niche in providing luxury hair products. Whether you’re styling at home or buying one for work, the T3 Cura is an excellent device that won’t let you down.
From its appearance alone, you know it’s not just a professional tool, it’s a luxury model. The exterior styling and silhouette are decidedly modern, especially with the rose gold accents. The handle slants a little bit to the front. Most of the buttons are on the back of the handle, with the cool shot button on the front, just under the dryer body. You get one for heat, with three indicators to show what temperature you’re at, a speed switch button, and a separate power button. A 9-foot power cord feeds the whole assembly.
Its settings are still the same as most professional hair dryers, with 3 heat settings and 2 speeds available. These go with a 2000-watt motor that provides all the necessary power for any hairstyling job. Working with the motor is a negative ion generator, which breaks down the water molecules inside your hair and also smooths it out. On the whole, you can expect to dry your hair faster than most other hair dryers, and leave it smooth, shiny, and frizz-free.
The T3 Cura weighs 1.7 pounds, which is a splash below average. As far as noise goes, it’s actually quieter than average, but not as quiet as a dryer specifically engineered to minimize noise. Beyond those aspects, it comes with two concentrator nozzles, one for general work and drying large volumes, and a smaller one for focused styling. The idea is to do rough drying with the large one, then switch to the small one and bring out your brush to do specific sections.
The problem is that all this quality comes at a cost. The T3 Cura comes at three to four times the average price of other professional hair dryers, which means you’ll have to make a lot of room for your budget for the T3 Cura.
That price is worth it for the best professional blow dryer on this list. You might need to save some room in your budget, but you definitely won’t be disappointed with the T3 Cura.
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium
If you want an easy purchase, there’s always BaBylissPRO. Their Nano Titanium line includes hair dryers, flat irons, and curling irons, all of them made to professional standards. If you want a powerful hair dryer that can deal with thick hair, the Nano Titanium hair dryer is an excellent choice.
It’s painted in the blue-white color scheme that marks out the entire Nano Titanium line. The overall silhouette is fairly typical for a hair dryer, with the handle curving slightly backward. The controls are on the grip, as per usual. The cord is a nice long 8 feet and 8 inches, so you can use even inconvenient outlets.
On the working end, you have the standard set of 3 heat settings and 2 speed settings plus a cool shot. Accompanying that is a solid 2000-watt motor, so you won’t be short of power for your hair drying needs. Internal material is a combination of ionic technology and titanium. This is an excellent combination, because the titanium keeps heat high, while the ions break down water molecules in the hair a lot faster.
This whole combination is oriented to one thing in particular, and that’s sheer heat. Few hair dryers run as hot as the Nano Titanium. Thanks to this heat capacity, you’ll spend a lot less time drying hair with the Nano Titanium compared to other models thanks to that heat. And when you need to focus that heat onto a small area, the box comes with a concentrator nozzle. To top it all off, the overall weight is just under a pound, well below average for hair dryers.
But that same heat capacity can also work against you. You should use caution when blow-drying fragile hair, because you can easily damage it with how much heat the Nano Titanium brings to the table. One further downside is that the Nano Titanium doesn’t do anything for frizzy or flyaway hair, so you’ll need something to combat either of these. Also, the switches give way too easily, so be careful how you grip or you might accidentally change settings.
The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium works excellently with the other products in its line, so if you’ve already bought other Nano Titanium tools, the hair dryer will be a fine addition to your set. And if you need something that can bring on all the heat you’ll ever need while remaining lightweight, this product will serve you excellently.
RUSK Engineering W8less
Weight is always a consideration with handheld tools because you can only use them for as long as your arm holds out. The heavier your hair dryer, the more it’s going to tire out your arm, especially if you’re using it a lot during your working day. Ideally, you want as light a weight as possible while still maintaining good performance, and that is exactly what the RUSK Engineering W8less is made to do..
It’s not that much to look at. The outside is a white plastic shell with the maker’s label and model name on one side. The switches mounted on the front of the grip are positively ancient. The power cord coming off the grip is 8 feet long. You’re not getting the W8less for looks, not unless you like your tools featureless and retro.
But what it lacks in external charm, it makes up for inside. The switches control your standard array of hair dryer settings. The W8less offers 3 temperature settings, 2 speed settings, and a cool shot. These are coupled with a powerful 2000-watt motor. It’s so powerful that the maximum combination of hot temperature and high speed can be too much for fragile hair. Use that combination only when styling thick or curly hair, which can stand up to that much heat and speed. The warm setting will do for less robust hair. Plus, the internal material is ceramic and tourmaline, giving you all the benefits of infrared heat and frizz-free hair.
It also lives up to its name. The W8less’s main selling point is that it packs all that power into a package that weighs less than 1 pound. This is much lighter than the usual 2-pound average weight for hair dryers, so your arm will have a much easier time holding it up. It also comes with a concentrator nozzle, letting you focus the airflow onto a smaller area when necessary.
The W8less’s main issues are in the ergonomics department. Its entire surface is smooth plastic, and the only grip aid you have is the shape of the handle, so you may have some difficulty keeping a good grip. Also, the switch placement and design make it easy to accidentally switch settings. On the performance end, the high and hot settings can be a bit powerful, so use them with care.
When you want a good, powerful hair dryer that won’t tire out your arm in a long day of hairstyling, the RUSK Engineering W8less is exactly the dryer you need.
BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme
When you’re looking for professional hair products, you could do a lot worse than BaBylissPRO. They’ve been supplying hair products for six decades, and their Ceramix Xtreme is one more excellent product in their lineup for those who need a good, competent hair dryer.
Looks-wise, it’s not very distinctive. It’s got a rounded body covered in a black rubberized coat, which provides you a solid, non-slip grip anywhere you want to hold it. The handle bulges out in the center for an easier, more natural grip, with the sliding control switches in front. You have a switch each for speed and heat, plus a cool shot button just beneath the dryer body. The cord coming off the handle is 9 feet long.
The switches provide the standard array of settings. That’s 3 temperatures and 2 fan speeds, and a cool shot. These help control a 2000-watt motor that provides excellent power, letting you dry off your hair in a minimum of time. The heating element is made out of ceramic, so you get even, far-infrared heat that dries your hair from the inside out for a much more gentle experience. You also get nice, smooth hair from the dryer itself.
It weighs about 1.5 pounds, half a pound below the average, and it runs quieter than average. This means that it won’t disturb your neighbors or rough up your eardrums too much. It also comes with a concentrator nozzle. This lets you target specific sections of your hair for more focused drying.
Its best feature is its low price coupled with its competent performance. Most professional devices tend to be pricey. The Ceramix Xtreme costs a touch under the average for hair dryers, so you can enter the professional bracket without going over budget.
Some flaws may get in the way of the Ceramix Xtreme’s performance. Two ergonomic flaws are minor but annoying. Its switches are in exactly the right place to get accidentally moved while you’re handling the dryer. It’s also heavy despite being billed as ‘lightweight’. 1.5 pounds is lighter than average, but it’s not ‘lightweight’.
These issues aside, the BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme delivers competent performance at quite a reasonable price. If you’d like to see what a professional-grade hair dryer can do, the Ceramix Xtreme is a good model to start with.
Rusk Engineering Super Freak Professional
These days, hair dryers are made with special materials like ceramic or tourmaline that dry your hair better or reduce frizz, so that you don’t have to do as much work. Usually, a hair dryer just picks one. The Rusk Engineering Super Freak doesn’t. It goes for all of them.
Its exterior isn’t very promising, not with the very visible seams and the matte black housing. The grip is non-slip, and the handle has a slight curve to it that gives you better grip. Unlike most hair dryers, the control switches are off to the left side of the handle instead of in front. The cool shot button remains on the front of the grip, just under the body itself. The cord is a nice long 9 feet, so you can move around as needed.
Aside from their placement, the controls are typical, with your standard array of 3 heat settings and 2 speed settings. These work with a 2000-watt AC motor that provides a good deal of power. Its insides are infused with ceramic and tourmaline, and it includes an ionic generator, providing the best of all materials. That’s part of the reason why it’s so expensive, but you can’t argue with the results.
The Super Freak weighs about a pound, half the average for a hair dryer. It’s also quieter than most hair dryers. These two factors make the Super Freak a lot easier to use. Your arms and ears aren’t as stressed, and you won’t disturb anyone else in the house with your blow drying. It also comes with two concentrator nozzles, one of them 2.5 inches, and the other 2.75 inches, for styling specific areas.
The main cause of negative reviews is product longevity. When it’s good, it’s good, but a few customers have reported that their product burned out in months. This wouldn’t be so bad if the price tag wasn’t so high. Don’t get us wrong, it will deliver good performance if you get a good model, but you’ll have to weigh if the price makes the risk worth it. The price itself is another downside, as you’ll need to make some room in your budget to allow for the Super Freak.
But if you’re willing to shell out that much, the Rusk Engineering Super Freak Professional will give you competent performance. A lot of the time, quality doesn’t come cheap, but you always get what you pay for.
Elchim Classic 2001 Blow Dryer
When you’ve been around since 1945, you pick up a few tricks. Elchim makes hair products for professionals, and their award-winning Classic 2001 is one more excellent product in their lineup.
The silhouette is slightly different from most hair dryers since the nylon housing has a few more angles and straight lines instead of curves. It comes in your choice of black, white, black and white, or red and black. The layout is otherwise typical, with switches on the front of the grip and a cord coming off the bottom of the handle. That cord is 9 feet long, so you’ve got a lot of room to move in.
On the working end, you’ve got the standard selection of options. The professional layout of 2 speeds and 3 temperatures gives you a nice good range of options and possible combinations, and the 1875-watt motor provides enough power for our purposes. The low-temperature setting is a cool air setting, so most styling will be done on warm or hot, and finished on low. Unlike newer hair dryers, the Classic 2001 does not use any special materials. It’s pure heat and airflow.
Where the Classic 2001 shines is in build quality. Yes, it has quite a few nice features, but its main claim to fame is that it’s a well-made device that does everything a hair dryer is expected to do. Sure, you can get the same performance for cheaper, but you can’t trust them the way you can the Classic 2001, and they are not nearly as well-made. It comes with a condenser nozzle, and Elchim also sells a diffuser nozzle should you need one.
There are three issues with the Classic 2001. First is the price, since it’s nearly twice as expensive as the average price for a blow dryer. It’s worth it, but you’ll need to make room in your budget. Second is the lack of any special materials. You get heat and airflow, and that’s it. You’ll have to deal with frizz and flyaway hairs the hard way. Last is that it has no cool shot, though this is less of a problem thanks to the low setting. Still, we’d prefer having a proper cool shot to finish styling with.
Sometimes you want a proven device from a proven company, and that’s what the Elchim Classic 2001 offers. It might not come cheap, but you can be sure you get a lot of return on your investment.
Trezoro Professional Ionic Salon Hair Dryer
Professionals look for certain qualities in their hair dryers that aren’t quite what you’d find on cheap drugstore hair dryers. The problem is that sometimes, professional hair dryers can get pricey, so it’s always good to find a model that delivers professional quality without breaking the bank.
The silhouette is a bit more modern, and the whole unit is black, accented in pink. The handle is nicely shaped and covered in non-slip material, letting you have a good grip on it. The cord coming off the handle is just under 9 feet long, so you’ve got some slack in case of an inconvenient power socket. As usual, the control switches are on the front of the handle.
You get your standard lineup of 3 heat settings, 2 fan speeds, and a cool shot. The motor is a touch more powerful than standard, being 2200 watts. This lets it output more heat and airflow than most other blow dryers, and it’s a lot quieter than many of them. It also incorporates ionic technology to dry out your hair faster, letting you save full heat and fan settings for extra-thick or curly hair.
Weight is slightly below average, at 1.5 pounds. It’s not as light as hair dryers that focus entirely on being lightweight, but it won’t tire your arm as badly as the standard. It also comes with two concentrator nozzles. One has an opening 3 inches long, the other 2.35 inches. This lets you control just how much hair you want to dry at any given moment.
We picked the Trezoro because it gives you all the listed features at a low price. In fact, it’s the cheapest model on this list. Quality doesn’t come cheap, so it may be difficult to find a professional-quality hair dryer that’s in your price range. The Trezoro fits most budgets quite nicely and will deliver excellent service at its price.
There’s only one main issue with the Trezoro, but it can be a scary one. Product longevity can be hit-or-miss. Most of the Trezoro’s negative reviews come from people who had theirs last only a few months before it gave out. The low price does mean it’s not that bad a loss, but you should consider if you’re willing to take the chance.
If you’re looking for a hair dryer that can provide professional performance without breaking the bank, then the Trezoro Professional Ionic Salon Hair Dryer is an excellent choice.
Your Buyer’s Guide To Professional-Grade Hair Dryers
Now that you’ve seen what’s on the market, it’s time to get into why we chose the models above. We’re going to break down what makes the best professional hair dryer, and why these qualities are important.
This is usually expressed in watts. It’s not quite the best way to measure power, but it’s the easiest way to get an idea of how good your motor is. Strictly speaking, the greater a motor’s wattage, the more energy it consumes. This generally correlates to a more powerful motor, and thus a more powerful airflow and heating element, but not always. It’s possible that a lower-wattage motor can be more efficient than another motor with a nominally higher wattage, and thus perform better. Most professional hair dryers have motors running from 1875 to 2000 watts, which provides a lot of power to take drying time to a minimum.
The material that makes up the inside of a blow dryer can make a lot of difference in how it performs. Most hair dryers these days incorporate one of the three following materials.
Ceramic hair dryers provide infrared heat. This means you get much more even heat over your hair, and the infrared also dries the hair from the inside out. This means it’s a lot gentler on your hair, with a lot less risk of damage.
Ionic hair dryers don’t just rely on heat. The ions they emit break down the water molecules in your hair. This works with the heat and airflow to dry your hair much faster.
Tourmaline hair dryers emit infrared heat and negative ions, combining the benefits of the above two types. They also reduce frizz and flyaways, meaning less work for you after you finish blow drying.
How fast is your hair dryer running, and how strong is the air coming out? Some hair dryers might have only two speeds, others may have three. Stronger airflow means faster drying time and is advisable for thicker and coarser hair, but it also moves the hair around more, so you get more flyaways and you don’t have as much control over the resulting style. Generally speaking, thick hair needs high speed, and low speed can handle thin hair. If you want to experiment, you can always combine a speed setting with a hair type and see what works.
Not all hair is the same, and you’ll need to adjust your heat settings to adapt. What may be just the right heat level for thick hair can be too much for fine hair and thus cause damage. The more heat settings you have, the more options are available for styling, and thus the more customers you can handle.
Your dryer should also have a cool shot option. This blows cold air through your dryer to close the cuticle and thus set your hairstyle after you’re done shaping it with heat.
Ergonomics And Weight
How well-made is your dryer? Is it easy to grip? How long is the cord? Ergonomics don’t strictly affect performance, but they will affect how you use the hair dryer and how easy it is to use. For example, if your hair dryer has no grip aids, it might be difficult to hold on to it. You may find it slipping out of the hand, or you might need to grip it extra hard.
The most important ergonomic factor is weight. Whether you’re a professional doing salon work or just drying your hair at home, weight matters. You’ll be holding the dryer up the whole time that it’s working, so your hair dryer mustn’t tire out your arm. This goes double if you’re using it professionally because you’ll spend a lot of time with your dryer in hand.
The main purpose of attachments on a hair dryer is to change how its airflow and heat are applied. Some models come with attachments included, and you can always check with the manufacturer to see if they have any further attachments compatible with their hair dryers.
The most common attachment that comes included is a concentrator nozzle. It tapers into a flat, narrow vent, thus focusing the airflow into a smaller area. This gives you a bit more control over where you’re styling, instead of just the air blowing all over the head. It also maintains some distance between the hair and the hair dryer’s business end, which can get quite hot.
You might also see diffusers, which do the opposite. These spread out and reduce the intensity of airflow, which means you get a lot less frizz. They’re particularly helpful for people with wavy or curly hair.
Ease Of Cleaning
One major difference between professional hair dryers and cheaper models is the intake end. A drugstore model like you can buy for practically nothing will have a fixed intake cap, and thus dirt and detritus will build up there and eventually clog up the intake until it’s no longer usable. A professional hair dryer has a removable intake cap so that the filter can be cleaned. How easy it is to remove depends on the specific model. Some have them threaded on, others have screws holding them in place, some others have tension locks. How often you should clean depends on how frequently you’re using your hair dryer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Certain questions are quite common when dealing with hair dryers, so we’ve collected the most frequently asked ones here for easy reference.
How loud is a hair dryer?
The average hair dryer is around 80 to 90 decibels loud, comparable to a blender, and a bit under some power tools. This is fine in short doses, but it may start causing damage if you’re exposed to a running hair dryer for any length of time. Certain models are much quieter than the average, and we highly recommend these for just about anyone.
What settings should I use?
That depends on the hair you’re working with. As a general guideline, thicker and curlier hair needs high heat and airflow. Which setting you should increase or decrease depends on the effect you want to achieve. You should keep in mind that high heat can damage hair and high speed can cause flyaway hairs.
How often should I clean the filter?
It depends on how frequently you’re using your hair dryer. If you’re not using it that often, you’ll be fine doing it every two to three weeks. If you’re using it frequently in a salon, once a week is a good rule of thumb. No matter how infrequently you clean your hair dryer, make sure that it does get cleaned, otherwise, performance will degrade.
Can I blow-dry wet hair?
Don’t start with soaking wet hair. Let your hair air-dry or towel-dry first before you break out the blow dryer. This will save the blow dryer a lot of effort, and will also reduce the trouble you need to go through. Don’t wait until you’re completely dry, however. Let it go down to 80% or 90% dry, or a little bit damp before you start applying your hair dryer.
They might get pricey, but if you’re looking for excellent performance, a professional hair dryer is just what you need.
Do you want a light hair dryer that you can use all day? Grab the Rusk Engineering W8less. Is it sheer heat capacity you’re looking for? The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium has you covered. Doubtful about what you should get? It might be pricey, but the T3 Cura is never a bad choice.
We’ve done our best to make our guide as informative and thorough as possible so that you can make an informed decision. After reading all of this, you should be one step closer to picture-perfect locks.