Whether you’re a salon regular, or more of a yearly-trim kind of person, there’s no denying the feel-good factor of a professional blow dry. The best hair dryer is light yet sturdy, with a long cord and easy-to-use heat and airflow switches. We’ve looked high and low for Australia’s top hair dryers, and this is what we found.
How we picked
CHOICE is Australia’s biggest consumer advocacy group, and we began our research with their hair dryer reviews. To be sure we chose products rated by both experts and consumers, we cross-referenced our CHOICE picks with blow dryers that scored over 4 stars on ProductReview.com.au.
After checking in with major retailers to make sure our selections were readily available in Australia, we ended up with our list of Australia's top hair dryers.
Types of hair dryers
Hair dryers are packing different types of technology, including ionic, ceramic, or tourmaline.
Ionic technology is designed to reduce static and frizz with negative ions, generated by pushing air through an electric current. These negative ions help dry your hair by breaking down positively-charged water molecules. This helps your hair to dry faster at a lower temperature.
Ceramic is often used in smaller heaters as it heats up quickly and holds warmth well. Ceramic hair dryers use this material inside the machine to offer even heat distribution. This can help prevent you from frying your hair.
Tourmaline is a semi-precious stone used in hair dryers to amp up ionic technology by converting air moisture into negative ions.
What we looked for
Some hair dryers come with additional attachments. While there are a wide range, the two most common are concentrators and diffusers. Both are designed to clip onto the end of your hair dryer to change airflow and make styling easier. A concentrator is like a small funnel with a letterbox flap instead of a round chute. You can use it to create narrower, more powerful airflow for specific styling areas. A diffuser looks like a funnel too, but with 'fingers' around the widest part. Diffusers increase the spread of airflow, and sometimes have longer fingers to lift hair at the roots for more volume. More common diffusers have shorter fingers to gently cradle curly or wavy hair without flattening it.
Your hair dryer should have a cord of at least 2 metres to allow ample room between your hair dryer, your mirror, and the power outlet. Three-metre cords are the salon standard.
Hair dryers can suck up dirt and dust while turned on. This is often what causes the burning smell when you turn on an old hair dryer. Some of the more expensive hair dryers we found have removable or replaceable filters to catch debris and prevent it being sucked into the motor. This could make your hair dryer last longer, but may also cost more in the long run - especially if the filters aren't washable or reusable (here’s looking at you, James Dyson).
While weight isn't the most obvious feature to consider when buying a hair dryer, it's important for those with long, thick, or curly hair. If your hair takes longer to dry, a heavy hair dryer could be a literal pain. Most hair dryers are around 500g.
If your old hair dryer only has a single 'on / off' switch, you'll be pleasantly surprised by newer models which generally have separate switches for heat and airflow. This can be annoying if switches are awkwardly-placed, as you may find yourself nudging them as you dry. Both cheaper and pricier hair dryers include different heat and airflow settings, with most offering 2-3 options for heat, and similar settings for airflow. If you're using your new hair dryer on fine, dry, damaged or children's hair, look for a model with 2 or more heat settings. Lower, cooler airflow is ideal for styling, while higher, hotter air makes for better drying.