Hair Dryers

Sunday, 9 November 2008

By speeding up the evaporation of water, hair dryers are an appliance many people canít live without. We interview stylists and take a look at which dryers are our best bets to help us avoid fraying our fragile hair.

The Basics

  • Wattage refers to the amount of heat that a dryer gives off and should be clearly labeled on the packaging. The higher the wattage, the more heat it can give off.

  • To treat your curly hair right, buy a dryer with a good quality diffuser.

  • Look for a “cold shot” button, which blasts cool air to help ‘set’ the style of specific sections of hair.

  • Buy a model with a removable filter. The ability to take it out and clean it periodically will add years to the life of your hair dryer.

  • Test out the control panel in-store by holding the dryer in your typical drying position. Some designs have the control buttons in awkward places, causing you to change speeds and heat levels by mistake while styling.

  • Look for a hair dryer with a long nose, which allows you to direct heat more efficiently. It also helps keep long hair away from the filter where it can get sucked in and burnt. Ouch!

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Other Considerations

  • “Quiet” stylers are a great, considerate choice if you live with others.

  • Thicker casing helps protect the motor and prevents cracks, even if you drop it.

  • Check out the length of the cord and make sure it’s long enough for your set-up at home.

  • Some dryers have “ionic” technology. The negative ions are supposed to reduce the size of water droplets on your hair, allowing more water to be absorbed and your hair to dry quicker.

  • Professional hair dryers cost more, but tend to dry hair faster (because of a stronger motor). But keep in mind they’re heavier!

Be Aware

  • All dryers should have a safety plug that protects against electric shock if the dryer falls in the water. It’s called a “ground fault circuit interrupter” (GFCI).


We recruited some helpers with a variety of hair types and tested these hair dryers over a couple of weeks:

  • London Premiere (2 heat settings): $14.99
  • Conair (iconic with diffuser attachment): $23.00
  • Vidal Sassoon Quiet Styler (claims 90% quieter, volumizer attachment): $24.99
  • Babyliss Professional (removable filter, revolving control panel): $134.95

Drying Test (Lab)

We put exactly the same amount of water on 4 different paper towels to see dried fastest:

  • The Vidal Sassoon took the longest

  • The Babyliss was fastest.

Hair Drying Test

  • The Conair’s ionic feature was very good for curly hair.

  • The Vidal Sassoon was quiet, light, and had the cold shot button.

  • The London Premiere was too loud.

  • The Babyliss Professional dryer worked well, but it was a bit too heavy.


The mid-priced Vidal Sassoon dryer emerged as the favourite because it was light, quiet, and had different heat and airflow settings.



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  • Kristel Smith

    My Favorite is Karmin 🙂

  • Laura Waters

    Karmin makes the best in my opinion 😉