Travel Hair Dryers
For those on the go, a travel hair dryer is often a luggage staple. Aside from a compact size, things like temperature and air flow force can make the difference between a good hair day and a frizzy or limp hair day. We find out more about these small but important styling tools.
Travel hair dryers vary from ordinary hair dryers only in size. In fact, most are available with the same power and heat.
While many hotels will have complimentary hair dryers, they don’t always work well for fancier hair styling needs.
The higher the wattage, the faster and harder the hair dryer blows, and presumably the faster it dries your hair.
Anything under 1200 watts is better for thin, fine hair.
For thicker or long hair, get better results from a dryer with 1500-1875 watts.
The heat your hair dryer produces isn’t related to the wattage. It’s dictated by the heating element in the dryer.
For the ultimate in travel versatility, buy a dryer with dual voltage so it can be used abroad. And remember to purchase a voltage adapter to plug it in.
"Ionic technology" is supposed to disperse negative ions to eliminate frizz and add fullness for smooth shiny hair. Our expert was a bit skeptical about this feature.
We packed four travel hair dryers on a 7-day cruise to see which one gave us the best hair day:
- Conair (700 watts): $20
- Vidal Sassoon (1875 watts): $20
- Travel Smart Ionic (1200 watts): $47
- Bespoke Labs T3 Ionic (1200 watts): $160
Drying Time Test
- Bespoke Labs: 20 minutes
- Vidal Sassoon: 20 minutes
- Travel Smart: 19 minutes
- Conair: 30 minutes
Two thirds of our testers chose the Bespoke Labs T3 Ionic. Its longer barrel seemed to provide better control over the frizzies.
Small is great for travel, but the Conair was too small. It sucked Anna’s long hair into the vent – ouch!
For fine or shorter hair that dries fairly quickly, the Travel Smart did the trick.
OUR TOP PICK
We're not sure if the ionic technology really works, but we liked the Bespoke Labs T3 Ionic travel hair dryer even though the price kind of blew! The Travel Smart Ionic also worked well for shorter hair.