Best Cheap Hair Dryers
PeopleImages/istockphoto
Best Cheap Hair Dryers
PeopleImages/istockphoto

LUSTROUS LOCKS

For many people, blow drying is part of the morning routine. The right hair dryer can banish static and frizz and leave hair shiny, soft, and smooth. Cheapism.com combed through specifications and online reviews to choose the best hair dryers under $30. They use the latest technologies to finish the job quickly and leave hair looking as if you walked out of a salon. We also found several models that will appeal to those who travel a lot, have thick, curly hair, or insist on professional quality.

Prices and availability subject to change.

Remington Pro With Thermaluxe
Courtesy of amazon.com

REMINGTON PRO WITH THERMALUXE


Good Ionic Ceramic Hair Dryer Under $30
Est. Price: $29.95 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Ionic ceramic technology dries hair quickly and keeps it feeling soft, users report.
- 3 heat and 2 speed settings, plus cool shot.
- AC motor with 1,875 watts.
- Comes with a diffuser and a concentrator.
- Tangle-free fabric cord, removable filter, and hanging loop.
- 4-year warranty.
- Recommended by Good Housekeeping for everyday use.

Cons:
- Some reviewers say it feels heavy in the hand (the weight is not specified).
- Power and heat seem a bit weak to some users.

Takeaway: Proprietary technology coupled with ionic and ceramic properties blast out enough hot air to dry hair in a relative flash, according to testers at Good Housekeeping and the vast majority of users reviewing the Remington Pro with Thermaluxe (model AC9140). Some reviewers quibble about the heat and speed. Others consider the dryer a bit loud and the weight somewhat unwieldy. Overall, though, this Remington hair dryer scores high on the performance scale -- beating out pricier models, some say -- and wins extra points for a sleek design and a durable, tangle-free cord.

Andis Ceramic Ionic Styler
Courtesy of amazon.com

ANDIS CERAMIC IONIC STYLER


Best Blow Dryer With Comb Attachments Under $30
Est. Price: $16.69 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Particularly effective for thick and/or curly hair.
- Hair comes out smooth, soft, and full, users report.
- Ionic and ceramic technologies for quick drying and even heat.
- Lightweight, at 1.3 pounds.
- Comes with 1 brush and 2 styling comb attachments.
- Dual voltage -- suitable for overseas travel -- and 1,875 watts.
- Longer-than-usual 5-year warranty.

Cons:
- 3 combined low, medium, and high settings limit styling options (other dryers have separate heat and speed settings).
- Some reviewers grouse that the comb attachments are flimsy.

Takeaway: The unusual vertical drying shaft of the Andis Ceramic Ionic Styler (model HS-2) might not work for everyone, but users with curly and/or thick locks sing its praises. The inability to choose separate speed and heat settings barely warrants a mention in reviews, which otherwise focus on the overall effectiveness of this Andis hair dryer. Some say the styling tools seem fragile, but others note they stay firmly in place and the rounded tips on one of the combs are gentle on the scalp.

Conair Infiniti Pro Salon Performance Dryer
Courtesy of amazon.com

CONAIR INFINITI PRO SALON PERFORMANCE DRYER


Best Ionic Ceramic Hair Dryer Under $30
Est. Price: $22.49 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Quiet, fast, and long-lasting, reviews say, with ceramic ionic technology for frizz-free results on thick and thin hair.
- AC motor with 1,875 watts.
- Recommended by Elle and Allure magazines for powerful heat on a budget.
- 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, cold shot.
- Comes with a diffuser and a concentrator.
- Removable filter and hanging hook.
- 4-year warranty.
- Recommended by Wirecutter as a great budget option.
- Recommended by Good Housekeeping for everyday use.

Cons:
- Weighs 2.55 pounds.
- 6-foot cord seems short to some users.

Takeaway: A favorite entry-level hair dryer of many beauty editors, the Conair Infiniti Pro Salon Performance AC Motor Styling Tool (model 259Y) also exceeds users' expectations. It ranks high for efficiency and power at a reasonable price, and does the job without leaving telltale signs of excessive heat. The relatively hefty weight and short-ish cord make this Conair Infiniti Pro hair dryer hard for some users to maneuver with ease. Still, reviewers marvel at the silky, smooth results when stacked against other dryers and say the "cold" shot really does the trick. The Conair brand enjoys a loyal following for dryers that last years.

Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Styler
Courtesy of amazon.com

CONAIR TOURMALINE CERAMIC STYLER


Best Tourmaline Hair Dryer Under $30
Est. Price: $27.75 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Dries hair quickly without scorching and leaves it shiny, according to users.
- Triple play of ionic, ceramic, and tourmaline technologies.
- Relatively light, at 1.8 pounds.
- Soft surface makes for a comfortable grip.
- 3 heat and 2 speed settings, plus cool shot.
- Comes with a diffuser and a concentrator.
- Hinged filter and hanging ring.
- Wirecutter's budget pick.

Cons:
- Short 5.5-foot cord.
- Side-by-side slider switches can be hard to activate, some reviews say.

Takeaway: Along with testers at Wirecutter, scores of users consider the Conair 1875-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Styler (model 225NP) a 5-star buy. The dryer generates enough heat and speed to avoid the "hot" setting, some reviewers write, which minimizes the chances of fried hair. On the down side, the relatively short cord may hinder maneuverability and the DC motor may not prove as long-lasting as the AC motors found in competing models. But, overall, reviewers like the high-shine and frizz-free results, light weight, included attachments, and value price of this Conair hair dryer.

Revlon Pro Collection Salon Infrared Styler
Courtesy of amazon.com

REVLON PRO COLLECTION SALON INFRARED STYLER


Best Infrared Hair Dryer Under $30
Est. Price: $16.69 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Fast drying without frizz or static, reviewers say.
- Infrared heat plus ceramic coating and ionic tourmaline technologies dry evenly and gently.
- 2 heat and 2 speed settings, plus cool shot.
- Comes with a concentrator and diffuser.
- 4-year warranty.

Cons:
- Some reports of electrical failures.

Takeaway: Although some consider the infrared technology little more than a gimmick, most users say the 1,875-watt Revlon Pro Collection Salon Infrared Styler (model RVDR5105N4) makes quick work of drying and does so with a surprisingly gentle touch. The low price shocks some reviewers given the impressive performance of this Revlon hair dryer, which reportedly holds for all types of hair.

BaBylissPRO TT Tourmaline Titanium Travel Dryer
Courtesy of target.com

BABYLISSPRO TT TOURMALINE TITANIUM TRAVEL DRYER


Bonus: Best Travel Hair Dryer Under $30
Est. Price: $29.99 | Buy it from Target

Pros:
- More powerful than its 1,000 watts would suggest, according to users.
- Infrared heat dries quickly and gently.
- Tourmaline technology minimizes static.
- Compact size and folding handle.
- Lightweight, at about 7 ounces.
- Removable filter cover.

Cons:
- Combined heat/speed settings for high and low and no cool shot, which limits styling options.
- May not be robust enough for everyday use.
- 1-year warranty.

Takeaway: This well-liked Babyliss travel hair dryer (model BABTT053T) is right-sized for travel and meets users' expectations for drying performance. Some reviewers rely on the Babyliss Pro TT when not on the road or keep one stashed in a gym bag. It may take a while longer than a full-size model to dry long, thick hair, but the job gets done without fuss.

Conair Curl Fusion Ionic Ceramic Styler
Courtesy of amazon.com

CONAIR CURL FUSION IONIC CERAMIC STYLER


Bonus: Best Hair Dryer for Curly Hair Under $30
Est. Price: $29.99 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- User-friendly dryer that gives curls bounce and dries hair quickly, most reviewers say.
- Ionic and ceramic technologies for a smoother finish and less heat damage.
- Cool shot button.
- Comes with a "volume-lift" attachment.

Cons:
- Combined heat/speed settings (high and low) may limit styling options.
- Scattered complaints about frizzy results.
- Some users say the 1,800-watt motor lacks sufficient power.

Takeaway: The round, flat head and many-pronged diffuser attachment on this Conair dryer (model 222NP) are meant for curly or wavy hair. Users report that it's most effective on shorter hair, and curls and waves hold for several days. A few consider the heat a bit excessive, the cord a bit short, and the results a bit frizzy, but a majority of reviewers laud the shape, the price, and the impressive results.

DevaCurl DevaDryer and DevaFuser
Courtesy of devacurl.com

DEVACURL DEVADRYER AND DEVAFUSER


Worth a Splurge for Curly Hair
Est. Price: $159 | Buy it from Ulta

Pros:
- Designed specifically for curly and wavy hair.
- Ergonomic diffuser delivers 360-degree airflow.
- Ionic technology works quickly, dries evenly, and reduces frizz, reviews say.
- 3 heat settings and 2 speed settings, plus cool shot.
- Cord storage.
- Recommended by Elle and Allure magazines.

Cons:
- Scattered reports of limited longevity and the diffuser popping off.
- Some griping about frizzy results.
- 1,600-watt motor is less powerful than the standard 1,875, and some reviewers complain of inadequate heat.

Takeaway: The hand-shaped DevaFuser flits comfortably over the scalp while working its way through wet curls. A favorite of beauty editors for its ability to bring out the best in wavy and curly hair, the DevaCurl DevaDryer and DevaFuser wins over many users, even as some scoff at the relatively high price and what they consider disappointing results.

RUSK W8less
Courtesy of amazon.com

RUSK W8LESS


Bonus: Lightweight Infrared Hair Dryer
Est. Price: $79.95 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Dries even long, thick hair quickly with minimal frizz, reviewers say.
- Gentle far-infrared heat backed by ceramic and tourmaline technology.
- Feather-light, at less than 1 pound.
- Powerful 2,000-watt motor with three heat and two speed settings, plus cold shot.
- 8-foot cord.
- Wirecutter's pick for best hair dryer.

Cons:
- Comes with a concentrator nozzle but no diffuser, and some reviewers say the concentrator keeps falling off.
- Some users complain about excessive heat.

Takeaway: The Rusk Engineering W8less Professional 2000-Watt Dryer (model IREW8LSBD) saves time, but at a price. Some users consider the cost of this Rusk hair dryer excessive from the get-go, and others simply are dissatisfied with its performance. A vast majority, however, value the ease of use and efficiency of this infrared hair dryer.

Drybar Buttercup
Courtesy of amazon.com

DRYBAR BUTTERCUP


Bonus: Professional Hair Dryer
Est. Price: $156 | Buy it from Drybar

Pros:
- Reviewers say ionic technology dries quickly and leaves hair shiny and soft.
- 1,875-watt motor with 3 temperature settings and 2 speed settings, plus cool shot.
- Comes with wide and narrow concentrator nozzles.
- Recommended by Allure for light weight (1 pound, 2 ounces) and a long cord (9 feet).
- Recommended by Elle for salon results at home.
- Recommended for a bouncy blowout in testing by Glamour.
- Worth the investment, according to Good Housekeeping.

Cons:
- Some users say it feels heavy in the hand.
- Scattered reports of electrical malfunctions and limited durability.
- Diffuser not included (optional $34 purchase).

Takeaway: Deployed by stylists in Drybar blowout salons, the Drybar Buttercup might be a splurge worthy of consideration. Beauty editors and dozens of thrilled users extol the silky, soft, and frizz-free results of a lickety-split drying session. Although a smattering of reviewers consider this Drybar hair dryer heavy and over-hyped, most say the ease of handling and long-lasting effect easily justify the outlay.