Styling your hair while you’re traveling can be difficult since you don’t have access to the usual tools. However, one thing that can always help is a travel hair dryer.
Having a travel hair dryer in your travel bag is essential since it keeps you presentable even if the travel gets rough or your accommodations don’t work out. It helps you avoid the dangers of letting your hair air-dry, gives your hair much-needed care, and generally makes your morning routine a lot quicker and easier.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be looking at 7 of the best travel hair dryers on the market. We’ll find out what makes them travel–friendly and show you the ideal ways to use them. We’ll also talk about how to choose a dryer that works best for you and other things to keep in mind when buying one.
Read on to find a durable hair dryer that you can take anywhere!
Table Of Contents
- The 7 Best Travel Hair Dryer Brands You Can Get Today
- BaBylissPRO TT (Tourmaline Titanium) Travel Dryer
- Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ionic Travel Dryer
- Conair Compact Hair Dryer
- Revlon Compact Travel Hair Dryer
- CHIC REPUBLIC Professional Ionic Hair Dryer
- JINRI Travel Hair Dryer
- Andis Fold-N-Go Ionic Hair Dryer
- How To Pick The Best Travel Hair Dryer For You
Home vs Travel Hair Dryers: What’s The Difference?
Home and travel dryers function more or less the same way, with a few minor differences. But the biggest thing that sets them apart is that almost all travel hair dryers will have a dual voltage feature.
This matters because while most outlets in the United States hover around 120-150 volts, outlets abroad (particularly those in Europe) run around at 220-250. If you plug your usual hair dryer out of the country, it’ll probably not work.
Incompatible voltage is also extremely unsafe for any electrical appliance, but it is more dangerous with products like hair dryers. Because of their high heat and speed settings, you can easily fry your dryer from the inside if you don’t account for the voltage. Dual voltage hair dryers are less likely to break no matter which hotel you check-in, but they also perform better since the electric current doesn’t over or under-power their heating mechanisms.
One thing to remember is that while you can get travel hair dryers easily, you might have to do a little research on the adapters used at your destination. Different parts of the world have their own sockets and plugs, so always double-check if you’re traveling abroad. Here’s a handy guide that you can consult if you want to make sure that you’re getting the right one.
The 7 Best Travel Hair Dryer Brands You Can Get Today
These travel dryers can fit in most travel bags, but it’s in their features where you’ll find the most difference. We’ll talk about each model’s strong points and how you can use them to better maintain your hair on the road.
BaBylissPRO TT (Tourmaline Titanium) Travel Dryer
The BaByliss PRO TT Travel Dryer mixes easy handling with a sleek design for an effective dryer design that’s above most models. It’s one of the best travel hair dryers that you can bring with you since it can dry, style, and set your hair without a lot of effort.
Portability is the best feature of this product. It’s weaker than your usual hair dryer because of its small size, but it still fits in an impressive amount of power at 1000 watts. At 13oz, it’s significantly lighter than most models, with a folding handle for extra-compact storing. No need to figure out how to stack everything in your bag around this hair dryer, just fold in the handle and chuck it inside.
Like most travel dryers, you can only switch between two heat/speed settings, but that’s more than enough to cut down your drying time to a few minutes. Even at high heat and speed, the noise it makes is negligible compared to bigger full-size models on the market right now because of its efficient motor.
The BaBylissPRO TT also has a true dual-voltage system compared to other travel dryers. Most models will usually lockout one setting or the other when you plug them abroad so they don’t function. However, the motor of this model can transition between high and low voltages without locking either of them out, which makes it the best dual voltage hair dryer you can bring with you outside of the United States.
It also works via tourmaline titanium technology, which helps dry your hair faster for a frizz-free and shiny finish. It uses infrared heat and negative ions, so you’re not just blasting your hair with hot air. This keeps your cuticle intact and your hair less prone to fraying the more you use your travel dryer. Because it also prevents additional heat damage, you can take your time drying your hair to avoid creating damp patches.
They’ve also coated the titanium housing of this model in a rubberized finish to help you maintain your grip while you use it. The metal construction ensures that it’s a sturdy dryer that’s capable of handling the occasional hard knock inside your suitcase, and it remains cool even during extended operation.
The included concentrator nozzle and extra-long 10-foot cord make handling this product a breeze. Maintenance isn’t an issue either, with a removable back cover to clear out the filter of lint and other particles. A dedicated cold shot button allows you to set your hair in loose waves or slight curls.
Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ionic Travel Dryer
Trusted by professionals and amateurs alike, the Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ionic Travel Dryer is a powerful yet compact tool that can drastically cut down on the time you spend to dry your hair. Suitable for thick hair, it’s the best travel blow dryer for travelers on a budget.
With 1875 watts, power is this dryer’s best feature. For reference, most full-size hair dryers have a wattage of around 1800 and above. This model reaches that benchmark while remaining fully portable with its small size and folding handle. Not only does it do great with drying long and thick hair, but the additional power also comes in handy when you don’t have a lot of time to dry your hair.
The two heat/speed settings are a bit more powerful than your usual travel dryer, so you might need to do some minor changes with how long you dry your hair. Expect a ruckus when you use this, especially with high settings: while the motor is extremely fast and powerful, the drawback is a loud noise when it’s turned on.
This hair dryer uses ionic heating, which creates negative ions to break down the water molecules. The result is a drying process that works from the inside out since you’re combining heat and hair flow with directly affecting the water in your hair. It’s one of the most efficient ways of getting your hair dry.
This has the distinct benefit of drying your hair a lot faster compared to other dryers, since you’re using three different ways to get rid of the excess water. Even on lower settings or lower voltages, the amount of power you’re getting from this product is comparable to a full-size dryer. With a finger diffuser and concentrator nozzle included, you definitely get your money’s worth.
One significant drawback of using this product is because of the high wattage, it blows hotter air compared to other brands. This is excellent news for anyone with coarse, thick, curly, or wavy hair that needs extra power to dry. But people with thin hair need to handle this dryer with caution, or they’ll risk heat damage.
Because it also uses ionic technology, it’s easy to overestimate how long you need to use it on your hair. While ionic heating is extremely efficient and gets the hair dry much faster compared to other methods, there’s also the danger of over-drying your hair if you aren’t careful.
Conair Compact Hair Dryer
If you’re looking for a basic yet reliable travel dryer, look no further than the Conair Compact Hair Dryer. It’s suitable for almost any kind of hair, with excellent performance compared to other cheap brands. While it doesn’t have any special features or attachments, it’s the best portable hair dryer for people looking for a hassle-free way to dry their hair quickly.
Aside from being compact, durability is the best feature of this product. You can expect it to survive a fair few bangs and scrapes from packing and traveling, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it mid-trip. Most models sacrifice power for sturdier housing, but the Conair Compact packs a respectable 1875-watt motor to get all your drying done.
The high motor speed means that the two heat settings are a bit higher than other travel dryers, so use this on delicate hair with caution. Most reviews recommend that you only use the high heat/speed setting for less than a minute if you have thin hair. If you’re using it on thick and coarse hair, make sure not to move it too close to your scalp.
This dryer only uses hot air to heat your hair, so you should be careful with how long you use it. While direct heat is an efficient way to get rid of wet hair, too long on a high setting can actually cause your hair to become more brittle and crack under the heat. If you’re looking to make this a regular part of your styling routine, always use a heat protectant.
While it’s a great backup travel dryer, expect nothing too fancy about this model in terms of features. It weighs a little over 1 pound, so it fits well if you have generous space in your bag if you fold in the handle. The bulky construction can be a little jarring to hold for people used to lighter models, but the overall experience of using it shouldn’t be too different from other hair dryers.
One thing to note about this product is that the back of the dryer has no filter on it, which makes it more likely to catch stray hair and other detritus when drying your hair. This potential safety hazard isn’t a big deal if you have relatively short hair that you need to dry, but it can be very dangerous to people with long hair who aren’t careful.
Revlon Compact Travel Hair Dryer
The Revlon Compact Travel Hair Dryer is possibly one of the cheapest travel dryers that you can buy, though it has enough power to perform well as your daily hair dryer. It helps keep your hair soft with powerful yet gentle airflow, allowing you to style and set your hair without tangles.
What we like about this model is its heat capacity. With 1875 watts of power, it brings the dryer to full heat quicker compared to other brands. Because it’s made of ceramic, the heat conduction between the motor and the rest of the dryer is more efficient, aside from being less harsh on your hair. The non-infrared heat allows you to get rid of the damp without damaging your cuticles, which is a perfect fit for thin hair.
The additional ionic technology also makes it compatible with hair that’s easily damaged or brittle from being dyed. Ionic dryers work directly by dissolving the water molecule for faster drying time, but you need to be careful to not leave it on for too long.
The shorter barrel makes it easy to maneuver around your head, and the removable end cap prevents any excess hair or other material from being blown inside the barrel. It also comes with a hanging ring so you don’t have to set it down on hard surfaces, which might chip the ceramic.
One thing to note about the Revlon Compact is the exact nature of its dual-voltage feature. While it can work at ranges between 120-250 volts, you need to be careful about the heat when using it abroad. For example, a 120-volt outlet in Europe isn’t the same as a 120-volt in the United States. European currents are stronger, so this dryer will generate more hot air even in the low setting.
Like all other 1800-range dryers, the high heat is the major drawback to using this dryer. Most reviews left by other users frequently mention that it heats noticeably after prolonged use, especially in the highest heat setting. This issue also affects how effective the cold shot option, since you need to wait for the excess heat to disperse before using it.
It’s also extremely loud compared to other models. If you have sensitive hearing, the roar of the motor might be enough to trigger conditions like tinnitus. Another issue is that the concentrator nozzle doesn’t attach securely to the end of the dryer, so some users recommend that you secure it with tape or avoid hitting it if you’re using it.
CHIC REPUBLIC Professional Ionic Hair Dryer
A user-friendly model, the CHIC REPUBLIC Professional Ionic Hair Dryer is designed to be easy to read and easy to use. Ideal for precision styling, it has all the features and attachments that you need to style your hair while you dry. If you don’t have a lot of experience with travel dryers or hair blowers, this is a good place to start.
The ease of use is the biggest selling point of this model. With a dedicated display informing you whether you’re blowing hot or cold air, you never have to second-guess yourself before you turn it on your hair. Maintenance isn’t an issue with a simple twist-and-release filter, which also pulls double duty as a safety feature to prevent your hair from getting sucked into the motor.
The ionic and ceramic heating system allows for a gentle yet fast drying time compared to other models. Just make sure to not drop or ding it against anything, as the ceramic house won’t hold up against damage compared to a titanium build. It also takes a little longer to get to its full heat (especially if you’re putting it on high heat right away) so give it a few seconds to warm before putting it against your hair.
The two included concentrator nozzles are designed for precise styling, though you need to be careful not to hold them too long against your hair in high heat. They’re fantastic for helping you get slight curls or beachy waves, or to help style your hair to prepare for a flat or curling iron.
Even at 1875 watts, the motor design is more efficient and quieter compared to most brands on the market. However, this quiet operation comes at the cost of reduced airflow, especially in lower heat settings. Most users report that the middle and low heat options take time drying thick hair, so it’s best to turn it on high immediately if you’re pressed for time.
One drawback of this model’s design is that the handle doesn’t fold inward, so it can be a bit of a chore to pack if you don’t have enough room. The balance of this dryer is also a little lopsided, so you need to maintain a firm grip when using it. The rubberized coating over the ceramic allows for easy grip and additional protection against knocks while you’re traveling, but we recommend using a dedicated accessory bag to carry the dryer and the plug to avoid any damage to it or your luggage.
JINRI Travel Hair Dryer
A premium model that fits in your home or your hotel room, the JINRI Travel Hair Dryer is a heavy-duty travel dryer that can give you shiny hair with minimal heat damage and frizz. While a bit bigger than other models on our list, it makes up for this by having one of the more consistent and efficient motors.
What we like about this model is the efficiency of its motor design. At 1875 watts, it has all the power needed to dry almost any kind of hair with little difficulty. Despite its size and high heat output, the JINRI Travel Hair Dryer is quiet, even at high speeds.
It conducts heat extremely well with its ceramic housing, though it can overheat if left too long. Fortunately, the efficient heating action of ceramic means that your hair will be dry within minutes, especially if you use the included concentrator nozzle. It doesn’t take long for this model to get up to its highest temperature, so you can start drying and styling your hair right away. The folding handle also neatly tucks this away in your bag.
One thing to note about using this product is that the voltage switch can get a little stuck, especially if you’ve left it on one voltage for too long. It’s easy to switch out via a coin or a screwdriver, so always keep those nearby so you don’t risk plugging it in at the wrong voltage.
A significant issue about this model is that there is only one recommended heat/speed setting at 220-250 volts. This can be an issue with people that have delicate hair since the high settings make heat damage more likely. Fortunately, the cold shot button isn’t affected too much by the excess heat.
If you have curly hair, this may be difficult to use because it doesn’t include a diffuser. While it’s possible for you to still dry your hair using the highest speed and wind settings, the ionic technology used on this model is too strong. Any longer than a minute on one spot and you risk weakening the cuticle, making your hair brittle.
If you don’t mind the added bulk and only need a faster method to dry your hair, then this model is definitely a superb choice. But if you have sensitive hair or don’t have a lot of room in your luggage, then you should get something else.
Andis Fold-N-Go Ionic Hair Dryer
The Andis Fold-N-Go Ionic Hair Dryer is a little different from the other models on our list. It isn’t dual voltage, and it’s a lot bulkier (but not heavier) in size, but it’s also one of the most beginner-friendly models on the market. It’s a great choice if you’re just transitioning to a travel dryer from your home dryer and aren’t quite sure yet about which one to get.
The best feature of this dryer is that it has all the basics covered with no price increase. You have 3 speed/heat settings to choose from, with a respectable 1875 watts of power for efficient airflow. Ceramic drying technology ensures that any hot air generated is gentle on your strands for better hair.
The Andis Fold-N-Go is suited for short to medium length hair since the ionic and ceramic heat can get rid of damp quickly. The three heat settings give you more control over the heat that you need, while the attached concentrator can prep your hair for further styling with an iron.
Don’t be fooled by the bulk: this model only weighs a pound and a half, similar to the weight of most average hair dryers. This gives it a good deal of heft, which can be handy for people who find the light construction and weight of most travel dryers to feel a bit off.
You can fold in the handle for easier storage, and the retractable cord neatly bundles itself inside the handle to avoid tangling wires. It makes the handle a little bit bigger than your usual travel dryer, which may affect handling for people used to smaller models. It also adds to the total weight once you store all of it in your bag.
The biggest drawback to using this product is that it doesn’t have an internal volt adapter. You need a voltage converter (specifically one for a 110-volt dryer) so it can work on 220-240 volt outlets. This isn’t too big of an issue if you aren’t traveling outside of the United States, but always ask your accommodations what voltage they use to be on the safe side.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while the back of the dryer has a polymer screen, it isn’t mesh-covered so stray hair can sometimes get sucked into the system. Always have a supply of clips handy whenever you blow your hair or carefully angle it away from areas that you’ve already dried.
How To Pick The Best Travel Hair Dryer For You
While all the brands we’ve talked about on our list do an outstanding job at keeping your hair dry, they have some differences that may influence your final decision. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind before making a purchase.
Hair dryers can work more efficiently if they’re paired with the right hair type. For example, you want to get a high-watt model (around 1500-1800) for thick hair, since you need a lot of heat and high speeds to get it dry. For thinner or dyed hair, you can use lower watts (around 1000-1300) since the heat and the airflow won’t damage your hair.
Your hair type also determines what kind of speed and heat setting to use. People with thick hair will like high heat on a low-speed setting to avoid tangles, while people with thin hair can use low heat on high speeds if they need their hair dried quickly.
Ionic vs Tourmaline
Ionic hair dryers work by emitting negative ions that target water’s positive ions, which prevent them from staying deep within your hair. This reduces the amount of drying that you need to do, plus it’s more gentle on your hair. It’s great for hair that’s frizzy and difficult to dry, like curly or thick hair.
Tourmaline hair dryers work by sealing in moisture in your hair, making it shiny and smooth. They’re some of the fastest-drying models on the market, but they usually cost more. They do an excellent job adding volume and texture to non-flat hairstyles, which ionic dryers can sometimes struggle with.
Some dryers on our list have concentrator and diffuser attachments. While you might think these aren’t that necessary for drying hair, they play a significant part in how you keep your hair healthy.
One of the biggest reasons long hair weakens over time is that uneven drying can settle inside the hair strands, which can make it frizz, curl, and fall out. And while blow dryers help reduce damp patches in hair, you can’t blow-dry each individual strand of hair to make sure all the moisture gets removed.
That’s where diffusers and concentrators come in. Diffusers work great with curly hair since their scattered surface area makes direct drying difficult. Concentrators pair well with thick, straight hair that needs a more directed blast. You can still dry your hair without using either of these, but it’ll be less healthy in the long run.
Heat vs Wattage
You might think that a high heat hair dryer can do a magnificent job in drying your hair, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re looking to cut down how much time you spend drying your hair, you’ll want a model with high wattage. The watt of a dryer controls how powerful its motor is, which affects its airflow and heat.
This matters because some dryers will have high and low heat settings, but their overall power (even when they’re set on high) will not be strong enough because they have low wattage. A higher-watt hair dryer will typically have more power compared to a low-watt model, so it dries hair faster.
Weight And Bulk
Anyone who’s brought electronics before knows that packing them is always a tricky process. Travel dryers are no exception: and even if they’re designed for travel, some quirks can make one model more suitable for you.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-pack travel dryer, a folding handle is a must-have feature. This can help reduce the profile of your dryer, which makes it easier to pack. The downside is that these models are bulky and/or have less power, so while they weigh less, you also need to spend more time drying your hair.
Weight also plays a role in handling, since heavier models can strain the wrist. If you have long hair that takes a while to dry, you should get a lightweight model so your hands don’t get tired. This helps you avoid wet patches in your hair.
The best travel hair dryer can help save you from bad hair days on the road, but it’s also an indispensable tool to make sure that you take care of your hair properly. When you don’t have access or the time for your usual hair care routine, the proper use of a travel hair dryer can keep your hair healthy anywhere you go.
The BaByliss PRO TT Travel Dryer offers a great mix of safety, style, and power in a conveniently portable package, which makes it our top pick for the best travel hair dryer you can buy right now. A close second is the Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ionic Travel Dryer for its fast-acting motor and high heat settings. Finally, the Conair Compact Travel Dryer is a sturdy yet powerful model that has one of the best prices on the market.