To me the hairdryer is one of the most important hair styling tools, so I think it’s something that’s worth doing a little bit of research on, so you really will know what you’re getting.
Whether you’re in the market for your first hairdryer or if you’re looking to upgrade what you currently have, this hair dryer buying guide is for you.
I’m going to be talking about the differences between a $20 hairdryer and a more professional hairdryer, which generally range anywhere from $50 and up.
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The first feature you want to look at is power. It is measured in watts and essentially higher wattage equates to a more powerful airflow.
Generally, in the twenty dollar hairdryer market, probably the maximum power that you’re going to find is somewhere around 1,800 watts.
I used to have 20 dollar purple Conair and that maxed out at 1875 watts. That was okay but if we compare it to a 50 dollar hairdryer, which is on the cheaper side of the professional level, it has a low-speed setting of 1800 watts and it goes up to 2,000 watts for the high-speed setting.
As the prices go up and up and you’re looking at some more high-end professional models, you can see power ratings up into the three thousands of watts, but that’s really overkill for a typical home user.
It makes sense for a hair care professional who is going to be using it every day in the salon, but for
somebody at home I would say if you get something around 2,000 to maybe 2400 watts you’re going to be in good shape.
The next feature you want to consider are what the heating elements are made out of.
Generally you will see two kinds of hair dryers out there. Some that are labeled as ceramic heat and others that don’t mention it at all and that means that their heating elements are metal.
The main thing to know here is that the ceramic ones basically just heat up more evenly so that results in a better distribution of heat to your hair and it just ends up being able to dry your hair a little bit more evenly and you have less worry about hot spots that could do potential damage.
This doesn’t seem to drive the price up too much as I have seen plenty of cheaper hair dryers that do have ceramic heating.
The third feature you want to look at are negative ions.
That might sound a bit weird but that’s to me one of the most important features that your hairdryer can have.
What this means is as you’re blow-drying your hair, that thing is actually shooting out negatively charged ions at your head.
That might sound a bit strange but if we get sciency here for a second, basically what this means is that those negatively charged ions are going to react with the positively charged water molecules in your hair.
The negative ions are going to help to break up those water molecules more quickly so it’s going to dry your hair faster and it also helps to smooth out your hair cuticle so it’s going to leave your hair with a nice natural shine and help to reduce frizz.
Once again this doesn’t seem to be a major price point factor as I have seen plenty of $20 hair dryers that have negative ion technology.
Those are basically the big three that you want to look out for: power, ceramic heating and negative ion technology.
Now let’s talk about some of these smaller features.
First, you have the speed settings. Most blow dryers have two speed settings, low and high. I have seen some hair dryers with three. I don’t really see the point of that. I’m always using my hairdryer on the highest speed anyway, so I don’t think that this is something that is very important for me, so take that for what you will.
However this next one is very important in my opinion and that is the heat setting.
When you’re looking at a more professional hair dryer, you are going to find three heat settings: low, medium and high.
With some of the budget hair dryers you might only get two and those are typically low and high. So you’re missing out on that medium setting which can really be a bummer because for me that’s what I use for my most everyday hair drying.
If you have three settings this is going to give you the most versatility with that so you can use the high setting if you want to create some really high volume, you have the medium setting for your typical everyday hair styling and then you have the lower setting which will give you a lower volume, a little bit more shine and it’s helpful if you’re really trying to protect your hair from heat damage.
Cool Shot Button
This next one is related to that heat setting and that is the cool shot button.
As you might expect, the cool shot button is going to just change your hair dryer over so that it’s blowing cold air.
I have seen a lot of the lower-end blow-dryers omit this feature and personally I think it’s pretty important too because I always use that at the end when I’m finished blow-drying. I use the cool shot button which will help seal off your hair cuticles and basically lock your hairstyle into place. If you buy a hair dryer that doesn’t have that you’re just going to be missing out on that ability.
This next one is not something that I ever really thought that I would need to consider about a hair dryer but it turns out that it’s one of my most favorite things about having a more professional one and that is the power cord.
What you are going to find with I think all the cheap hair dryers is that they have just a thin piece of crap, really short power cord.
Personally I have not seen a cheap blow-dryer that has a power cord any longer than 3 feet, which is really kind of stupid because unless you have an outlet that’s like right next to your head, you’re going to have to plug it into an extension cord and that just gets messy.
However with the professional hair dryers, not only is the cord nice and thick, but it’s also at least six feet long so you have a lot more mobility and just a lot more flexibility and for me that’s just like really worth it.
Removable Intake Cap
The next thing I want to talk about is whether or not your hair dryer is going to have a removable intake cap.
Now on all of the cheap blow dryers that I’ve seen you are not able to remove this cap and what that means is eventually that’s going to get filled up with dust and gunk and you’re going to have no way to clean it.
With the more professional blow dryers, you can remove that. Because over time, it’s just like any other type of fan, computer fans, room fans, anything. It’s going to build up dust and grime and it’s nice to have a way to be able to get in there and clean that as that’s going to give your product more longevity.
Next thing are nozzles.
Most hair dryers whether they’re cheap or professional will come with at least a condenser nozzle and some come with more.
I don’t think that’s something that is necessarily going to affect the price point but what I recommend is that you want to make sure it at least comes with that condenser nozzle because just put that thing on there and never take it off.
Some of them do come with other things like these volumizing nozzles and that sort of stuff which I don’t use those, but my main point is if you don’t have the condenser nozzle, the airflow is more all over the place and so it’s a lot more difficult to control where your hair is going and it could possibly lead to more puffiness or frizziness.
Last but not least is just overall quality of construction.
What I found in my experience, the cheaper hair dryers just feel cheap. I mean they feel light and chintzy. If you were to drop that thing onto a tile floor, which most people have in their bathrooms where they’re doing their hair, it’s quite possible that it will break.
With more professional level hair dryers you can just feel that they have some weight to them, they feel solid and it feels like if I were to drop it, it wouldn’t immediately break and cause me to have to buy a new one.
Those are basically all the points and features that you’re going to be looking at when you’re in the market for a new hair dryer.
I recommend that you do spend a little bit more money and get at least a sort of entry-level professional hair dryer rather than the cheap, say twenty dollar ones.
Of course if you just have lots of money to burn, you could buy say the Dyson hair dryer for six hundred dollars, but for most of us I’d say that that’s pretty out of the question.
My advice to you is spend at least fifty dollars and make an investment because it’s going to last you a lot longer and you’re going to have better features and it’s just going to be a better hair dryer.
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