Which travel hair dryers are best?
When you’re traveling, having a bad hair day is one of the last things you want to worry about. Unfortunately, you can’t always count on a hotel to have an in-room hair dryer, so it helps to invest in a travel hair dryer. It can provide the same styling results as your at-home model, but its lightweight, portable design is much easier to fit in your carry-on bag or suitcase. A travel dryer isn’t just convenient for trips — you can also throw it in your gym bag to dry your hair after a workout.
Read our buying guide to learn everything you need to find the best travel hair dryer for your next trip. We’ve also included a few specific production recommendations, such as our top pick from Jinri, which offers two speeds, a cool-shot button, and a removable filter for easy cleaning.
What to know before you buy a travel hair dryer
A travel hair dryer’s weight is an essential factor to consider, especially if you’re traveling by plane and plan to check your bag. You want a lightweight model that won’t weigh down your bag and push it over the weight limit for checked baggage. For the easiest packing, opt for a travel dryer that weighs two pounds or less so you never have trouble fitting it in your bag.
Travel hair dryers are always smaller and more compact than full-size models, but some travel models take portability even further with a folding design. They usually fold in half at the handle so they take up less space in your bag.
If you’re a world traveler, you want a travel dryer that you can use outside North America. Some dryers are only suitable for use in U.S. outlets, so you need a plug adapter to use the dryer in outlets with other voltage. You can get around that problem by opting for a dryer with dual voltage, which means it works in both 110 to 120V outlets and 220 to 240V outlets.
What to look for in a quality travel hair dryer
A travel hair dryer’s wattage determines how powerful the dryer is. Nearly all models offer at least 1,000 watts, making them suitable for anyone with fine or short hair. For longer, thicker hair, look for a dryer that offers at least 1,800 watts; it will dry your hair more quickly.
Heat and speed settings
As with your at-home dryer, you want a travel hair dryer that offers multiple heat and speed settings. Having a choice of settings gives you more control over your hair styling — you can opt for just enough heat to dry your hair to minimize damage. Choose a model with at least high and low heat settings, though you may also want a cool-shot button for added versatility.
You can keep your travel dryer’s cord from getting in your way when you’re packing by choosing a model with a retractable cord. Rather than having to wrap the cord around the dryer, the cord is stored inside the dryer itself when you push a button.
To make sure that you have all the tools you need to style your hair, opt for a travel hair dryer that comes with some attachments. You may want a concentrator to cut down on frizz or a diffuser to help dry curly hair.
How much you can expect to spend on a travel hair dryer
Most travel hair dryers cost between $6-$80. You pay between $6-$20 for a basic model. A 1,000- to 1,600-watt travel dryer usually ranges from $20-$52. For a model with more than 1,600 watts, you typically spend $52-$80.
Travel hair dryer FAQ
Q. Can I use a travel hair dryer as my main dryer?
A. Most people prefer a dryer with a higher wattage as their at-home model. If you have fine hair that doesn’t require a very powerful dryer, a travel dryer may work as your main dryer.
Q. What type of travel hair dryer should I choose for thick or coarse hair?
A. When you’re traveling, you don’t want to waste too much time drying your hair. Look for a more powerful travel dryer — avoid any models with less than 1,600 watts, or choose a stronger 1,800 watts.
What are the best travel hair dryers to buy?
Top travel hair dryer
Our take: A well-designed compact dryer that’s perfect for your carry-on or gym bag and doesn’t cost too much. May not offer enough power to dry thick or coarse hair.
What we like: Small, lightweight design is easy to pack and use. Generates a good amount of heat. Features a cool shot button to set your style. Doesn’t make as much noise as other models. Includes a concentrator nozzle.
What we dislike: Can take quite some time to dry thick or coarse hair. Some buyers have issues with the concentrator nozzle staying attached.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top travel hair dryer for the money
Our take: An extremely affordable travel dryer that’s lightweight but not quite as small as other models.
What we like: Can work well as a main dryer thanks to its power. Dries even thicker hair relatively quickly. Offers two-speed settings and a cool shot button. Features a ring for hanging. Available in three different colors.
What we dislike: Only has two heat options. The low setting isn’t all that hot, while the high setting is overly hot.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: A small folding travel dryer that performs similarly to many full-size models.
What we like: A compact dryer that doesn’t make much noise. Still offers significant power to dry hair quickly. Features an ergonomic design that’s comfortable to hold.
What we dislike: High-heat setting isn’t very hot. Hair can get caught in the motor if you hold it too close to your head.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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