The Bio Ionic 10X Pro UltraLight Speed Dryer is sorcery disguised as a 53oz., 1800W blow-dryer. At least, that’s what naturalistas say after seeing the results of this lightweight-but-powerful little number. But that’s not to say that the other hair dryers for natural hair on this ranking make it an easy choice. Each of these picks work their own version of 24-carat magic on your tresses — whether those tresses are willing or not.
Why did we decide to do a ranking of the best hair dryers for natural hair?
Managing your hair in its God-given state is not a feat for the faint-hearted. But nobody should be brought to tears by the simple thought of wash day, especially not when a 1 lb device can make all your #naturalhairproblems into distant memories.
The blow-drying vs air-drying argument aside (we’ll get to that later), a wash-and-go is sometimes impractical, especially on the days when you want to channel your inner ’90s diva. Since we can’t all dash to DryBar on a whim, a hair dryer is as good as it gets.
We’ll level with you: Some hair dryers have terribly frizzy and strand-breaking consequences, supporting the notion that air drying is better for natural hair. And that’s exactly why we searched for the best hair dryers to keep your natural hair looking amazing. After scouring the internet, gathering expert opinions, and digging through user reviews, we found some real gems.
The Hair Dryers for Natural Hair We RAVE AboutReady to tame those virgin locks? Here are our top three favorite hair dryers for natural hair.
Best Overall: Bio Ionic 10X Pro UltraLight Speed Dryer
The Bio Ionic 10X Pro UltraLight Speed Dryer is everything you want in a blow dryer. It’s lightweight, environmentally friendly, and energy-saving, with a powerful EcoDrive motor and a generously long swivel cord.Read Full Review
Best Lightweight: T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i Dryer
The T3 Featherweight lives up to its name with a frame that doesn’t take up too much bag real estate. Yet, it does not compromise on efficiency or leave a gaping hole in your bank account. It has all the markings of an excellent travel buddy.Read Full Review
More often than not, natural hair has a mind of its own. Finding the right hair dryer is the first step to compromise.
The truth is that hair dryers are not created equal, so shopping for a natural hair option often takes little more effort than a quick dash to the drugstore.
Finding The Best Hair Dryers For Natural Hair
Think of your hair dryer as prescription medication — for your hair.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. For the best results, you must find the hair dryer that is best suited for your hair type.
Type 1a, 1b, and 1c: Straight Hair
You are on the less voluminous end of the spectrum, so the last thing you need is to lose more volume to heat damage. That being said, most people would kill for a 30-minute hair routine, so yay you!
What your fine tresses could use are a volume boost and heat protection, so ceramic hair dryers are your best bet. They prevent heat damage and add lift to your otherwise lifeless strands.
Type 2a, 2b, and 2c: Wavy Hair
Your hair is a happy medium and with minimal effort, you can roll out of bed and be ready to go. That is, unless your strands decide to fall flat.
Opt for a ceramic hair dryer with adjustable heat settings for a volume boost with properly regulated heat. More importantly, be sure your dryer has a cold shot feature to lock in those waves.
Types 3a, 3b, and 3c: Curly hair
Unlike fine and wavy hair, curly hair takes heat well. However, it must be in just the right proportions, so an ionic or tourmaline hair dryer with a diffuser attachment is what you need. The diffuser will lock in curls while the negative ions tackle frizz for a perfectly smooth but wonderfully curly frenzy.
Types 4a, 4b, and 4c: Thick, coily hair
It’s kinky, coarse, and often regarded as a bit unruly. Plus, no one ever seems to know its real length since it shrivels at the sight of water. But the naturalista community is saturated with Type 4 hair owners who wouldn’t trade it for the world.
The best thing about Type 4 hair is the freedom you have to experiment with it. You can go for a show-stopping afro, or go sleek with a ceramic or ionic dryer. You can channel your inner ‘70s diva with a tourmaline dryer and diffuser, or tie it in knots and air dry. You are only limited by your imagination.
That said, don’t be quick to assume that you aren’t susceptible to heat damage. You can still cut your drying time in half without fiery temperatures if you have an ionic or ceramic dryer. They both use negative ions to dry out positively charged water ions.
Now, for those of you with Type 4 hair, here are a few specifics you might want to keep in mind:
4a Hair: If you have a head full of natural miniature corkscrew curls, you might want to go easy on the heat. On good days, you may even get away with a wash-and-go. However, Issa Rae’s darling defined curls have blow dryer + diffuser attachment written all over them.
4b Hair: If you have 4b hair, you are kindred to Janelle Monae and frizz. But those kinky locks and S-coils will come to life with a ceramic hair dryer furnished with ionic technology. Add a styling custard to the mix for pure magic.
4c Hair: Without a distinct curling pattern, 4c hair is difficult to detangle. However, an ionic hair dryer with a concentrator and/or blow drying comb is a winning combination. With the right tools, you will find that 4c hair is a generous playground.
The Big Blow-Drying vs Air-Drying Argument
According to the damning court of public opinion, air-drying is better than blow-drying. At most, your hair and blow dryer can only have a love-hate relationship.
It turns out that arguments like these were founded on decades of people mindlessly blasting away at their hair to cut drying time. In fact, air-drying your natural hair damages it, even more so than blow-drying. Your hair proteins swell, putting pressure on their delicate frame, leaving your hair limp, prone to breakage, and riddled with split ends (insert gasp).
We cannot pretend that blow-drying does not come with a few snags. However, with the correct tools, some imagination, and a lot of elbow grease, your hair will seriously surprise you.
Our ranking is the result of days of far-reaching research, combing through trusted reviews as well as a comparative analysis of trusted opinions and user preferences. After sifting through dozens of popular favorites, we worked up this ranking. They work fast, make hair look great, and are more pleasant to handle than most.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when shopping for the best hair dryers for natural hair. However, only a few qualities truly influence the performance of a hair dryer.
These features were the basis of our selection:
- Weight and construction quality
- Handle design and button placement
- Heat settings
- Speed settings
- Cord length
- Attachments and removable filter
- Ionic or tourmaline technology
- Ceramic or titanium components
Bio Ionic 10x Pro UltraLight Speed DryerPrice: $295Number of heat settings: 3
The Bio Ionic 10x Pro UltraLight Speed dryer is made to change the way you dry your natural hair.
The top performer of one of the biggest names in hair tool manufacturing, it comes with a concentrator nozzle, a travel tote, and a 9 feet long swivel cord.
For a dryer that packs a 1800W patented Brushless EcoDrive Motor, we were surprised that the Bio Ionic weighs under a pound. But the motor guarantees more than 20,000 hours of use with its energy-saving technology. It is not just lightweight and environmentally friendly, it is also virtually noiseless.
We were won over by its sleek, user-friendly design and volcanic material-infused barrel. It’s easy to achieve hydrated, smooth hair with this combination without the risk of hair damage. With three settings, infrared heat, and a torrent of negative ions later, you get a professional blowout in the comfort of your bathroom.Pros
- Energy-saving motor
- Environmentally friendly
- Infused with volcanic material
- Gets very hot
- Few customizable settings
T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i DryerPrice: $250Number of heat settings: 3
The T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i dryer is a high end tourmaline-infused dryer that lives up to its name. Its sleek, jewel-cut design and patent black finish make this baby not just easy on the eyes, but also on the wrists.
The T3 Featherweight Luxe’s SoftAire and tourmaline technologies easily churn out heat and zonk out frizz. With a tourmaline-infused barrel and T3 Ion generator, moisture is locked into the hair cuticle for a shiny finish free of flyaways. And with temperatures that go up to 140 °F and two speed settings, you get quicker, damage-free results.
To top things off, the Featherweight Luxe comes with a vented brush and a concentrator attachment for precise airflow. While it loses a few points for lacking a diffuser, its performance rivals both the competition and air-drying results. We can all agree that if a hair dryer offers results that challenge air-drying, it is a definite winner.Pros
- Lightweight and travel-friendly
- SoftAire technology
- T3 ion generator
- Fairly noisy
- No diffuser
- No low power options
InfinitiPro 1875W Dryer by ConairPrice: $25Number of heat settings: 3
The InfinitiPro by Conair costs as much as a salon blow-dry, putting it at the top of the ranks in terms of value. However, this bad boy seems designed for nothing short of salon-quality performance. The InfinitiPro boasts a concentrator attachment for precise styling and a removable filter to manage lint build up, extending the lifespan of its powerful 1875W AC motor.
The Infiniti Pro is gentle on not only your pocket, but also on your tresses. It is built with a winning combination of ceramic and ionic technology, drying safely with 75% less frizz. Plus, with three heat settings, two speed options, and a cold shot feature, styling is customizable and effortless.
The InfinitiPro scores its highest marks for a user-friendly handle, even though it is just a little top heavy. While this dryer is lacking in weight balance and cord length, it makes up for it with an impressive temperature range and speed. Both of these features guarantee better results in a shorter time, even with those untamed tresses of yours.Pros
- Comfortable grip
- Ceramic and ionic technologies
- Top heavy
- Unusually short cord
- Fairly loud
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Portofino DryerPrice: $140Number of heat settings: 6
With its unique Nano Titanium technology, the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium is our winner’s strongest rival. This nifty little masterpiece is a 2000W dryer walking the tightrope between being mid-sized and delivering a heavy duty, quality performance. It comes with a concentrator nozzle, removable filter, and a promise to deliver sensational results.
Here is why nanotechnology and titanium are important: nanotechnology removes scalp odors by zapping microbes and manipulating molecules, and titanium keeps the dryer at a reasonable temperature. While negative ions manage frizz and static for that top of the line salon experience, the BaByliss is also super fast with six heat and speed settings. And, you can finish your style off with the cool shot feature to lock in all your hard work.
Despite narrowly missing the mark for twitchy attachments and external heating, the Nano Titanium is an impressive, budget-friendly unit. Fine-haired individuals may not favor the powerful 2000W motor, but this dryer strikes a balance between powerful and gentle.Pros
- Powerful 2000W motor
- Nano Titanium technology
- Six heat and speed settings
- Attachments pop off
- Exterior heats up
BERTA Negative Ion DryerPrice: $32Number of heat settings: 3
If you are a survivalist with no interest in frills and fixtures, the Berta is as basic as it gets. It comes with a concentrator nozzle and removable cap in a simple, straightforward design that is always ready to go.
The magic happens when the Berta’s 1875W AC motor gets down to business and its ionic conditioning is activated. The generator produces up to 100 times more negative ions than the competition, eliminating frizz and static. More importantly, it offers silky smooth results in 10 minutes or less.
The Berta is also fitted with three heat settings, two fan speeds, and a cold shot button. It also features air inlets to protect your precious tresses from getting caught inside the dryer nozzle.
However, we are most impressed by the Berta’s precise styling abilities and quick performance. Its comfortable handle pairs nicely with any grip, making styling less tedious. On the other hand, its 6 foot cord may not support multitasking — but a frizz-free, silky finish in under 10 minutes might be worth the inconvenience.Pros
- Comfy grip
- Fast and powerful AC motor
- Ionic conditioning
- Short cord
- Fairly noisy
- Quite heavy
Elchim Classic 2001 DryerPrice: $146Number of heat settings: 5
Right off the bat, the Elchim Classic 2001 dryer makes an impression with a stunning lineup of features. It has a sturdy, high-powered design, providing a perfect heat/airflow balance. It is also escorted by a high concentrator nozzle for precise styling and shorter drying time.
The Elchim’s 2000W motor and Swedish heating element both create maximum, unrivaled results. Also, its flame- and shock-resistant frame offers optimal protection whether you are blasting away at the highest speed or giving your tresses a final touch with its cool setting.
The Elchim Classic 2001 dryer’s infrared heat makes it most suitable for natural hair. Ultimately, you will have dry but shiny, hydrated locks thanks to the infrared seal. Not to mention, its removable filter means that you can discard pesky lint buildup, keeping performance and airflow optimum and preventing overheating.Pros
- Powerful airflow
- Flame- and shock-resistant
- Relatively quiet
- Fairly expensive
- A few motor failure complaints
- No cold shot feature
Parlux 3800 EcoFriendly DryerPrice: $229Number of heat settings: 4
The Parlux 3800 EcoFriendly dryer masquerades as an average dryer with seemingly basic features, but don’t be fooled. This Italian-made 2100W hair dryer is an ozone friendly, toxin-free masterpiece designed to be kind to your energy bill. It comes with two concentrator styling nozzles and a generous three-meter cord.
Its winning ceramic and ionic technology produces a shiny frizz-free finish, and engine K-Lamination lowers drying time by up to 40%. It has a built-in silencer, which reduces the sound of its 75-cubic-meters-per-hour airflow to just above a loud hum. With two speed and three heat settings, styling possibilities are limitless.
The most popular reservation about the Parlux 3800 is that it doesn’t get as hot as most of the competition. But its ionic technology makes up for it by emitting negative ions that speed up drying without heat damage. At over $200, the Parlux is quite an investment, but one that is worth the cost.Pros
- Lightweight and ergonomic
- Built-in silencer
- Ozone friendly and toxin-free
- Doesn’t get very hot
- No diffuser
Panasonic Nanoe Hair DryerPrice: $100Number of heat settings: 3
Made by one of the world’s most popular brands, the Panasonic Nanoe hair dryer delivers exceptional performance. It is one of the few hair dryers that comes with all three attachments: a diffuser, concentrator, and quick-dry nozzle, all of which are nicely color coordinated and provide salon-quality performance.
The Nanoe beats out the competition with its gun-shaped design and 9 foot power cord conveniently clad in velcro. With an 1875W motor enhanced by the revolutionary moisture-rich nanoe particles, you get the best of everything, from quick drying and heat protection to just a little more bounce. With 1,000 times more moisture than ionic technology, there is no debate that it stacks up against the competition.
That said, we aren’t exactly crazy about its three-option interface combining both heat and air speed settings. Even if nanotechnology makes up for the lack of heat, you are still limited in your styling options compared to other models.
Notwithstanding, the Nanoe gets the job done at a conveniently fast pace, and with barely any noise.Pros
- Three attachments
- Nanoe technology
- Noiseless performance
- No heat settings
- Fairly bulky
- Relatively low speed
Andis Tourmaline Ionic DryerPrice: $30Number of heat settings: 2
At first glance, the Andis Tourmaline Ionic hair dryer doesn’t look like much. It is your everyday 1875W dryer, putting up a decent fight against the competition and offering a few accompanying attachments. But when the gloves come off, the Andis Tourmaline proves worthy of a little more attention.
Let’s start with its winning ceramic and tourmaline combination technology that has gained popularity for its reliable versatility. With the ceramic element projecting negative ions for frizz-free results, tourmaline restores moisture for a healthy radiance. It has two speed and three heat settings for convenient regulation and a customized blow-dry.
For a professional-quality dryer, the Andis Tourmaline is impressively compact thanks to its foldable handle. Sure, it misses the mark with a relatively short power cord and twitchy attachments, but it makes up for these shortcomings with its convenient size and sleek, sensational finish.Pros
- Ceramic/tourmaline technology
- Compact design
- Fast drying
- Short power cord
- Attachments pop off
- Relatively heavy
CHI Air Classic 2-Piece Travel SetPrice: $90Number of heat settings: 2
What you get when you buy the CHI Air Classic travel set might actually surprise you. It is portable, containing a hair straightener, curling iron, round bristle brush, as well as the unique 1000W hair dryer. It is the perfect solution for the frequent traveler who is rather unwilling to take a vacation from properly coiffed tresses.
Aside from being dirt cheap and TSA-friendly, the hair dryer in the CHI set is lightweight and ergonomically designed for easy handling. It is your classic ceramic and tourmaline hair dryer, emitting negative ions to reduce static and lock in cuticle moisture for shinier, healthy-looking hair.
Between the dryer’s two attachments and three settings, it is easy to forget that this is a miniature travel set. When it comes down to it, a 1000W DC motor doesn’t particularly over-perform, and its 6.5-foot swivel cord does not chalk up points for this little guy. But if you don’t mind a few extra minutes on the job, it’s a handy companion and not a bad pick at all.Pros
- Tourmaline ceramic technology
- Low-power motor
- Short power cord
- DC motor doesn’t last long
Now that you’ve made it this far, we figure you have a few more technical questions to fill in the gaps.
Are blowouts bad for natural hair?
Like most myths forged from isolated experiences and wandering bathroom thoughts, the idea that blowouts are bad for natural hair is mostly baseless.
It is true that exposure to heat always poses some form of risk to hair strands: High temperatures often result in brittle and limp tresses. However, even water puts your hair proteins at risk for damage, and that doesn’t keep you from washing your hair, does it?
Blowouts are not bad for your natural hair. The culprits behind blow-dry related hair damage are often bad blow-dryers and bad blow-drying. If you suspect your blowouts are unwittingly damaging your hair, you might want to ask yourself a few critical questions:
“Do I have the right blow dryer?”
The right hair dryer may be the difference between envy-worthy tresses and a frizzy mess. The most popular mistake shoppers often make is assuming that any highly rated hair dryer is their perfect match. The truth is, every head of hair is different and requires a specific management method.
“Am I blow-drying correctly?”
Using a hair dryer correctly is an umbrella process: it requires both using the right products and tools as well as taking the right precautions.
Be sure your styling products are the right match for your hair type, and then break out the attachments and brushes. Diffusers and concentrators help to improve the dryer’s performance. Also, boar bristle brushes help keep hair hydrated while creating a smooth finish.
Before blow drying, your hair should be air-dried up to 50%. Then, position the hair dryer at least eight inches away from your hair and work your way from the roots to the ends. Be sure to work in those styling products and utilize a final cold shot to set your style.
“Do I blow-dry too often?”
Swishy hair is great, but like most things in life, too much blow-drying can be detrimental to your hair.
Heat styling your tresses several times a week exposes your hair to damage. Do it too often, and soon enough there won’t be much hair left to style.
What is the best wattage for a blow dryer for natural hair?
The wattage of a hair dryer typically determines its speed and heat. An ideal wattage is hard to say in black and white terms because different types of hair require different heat levels.
Generally, you can expect your options to be between 1300W and 3600W. For home use, 1800W hair dryers are a safe bet. If you have fine hair, you may not need any more than 1400W for a great blow-dry. Professional grade options go up to 3600W because of the varying hair types stylists deal with.
If are concerned about drying speed, you can always opt for a dryer that features ionic technology. The negative ions work to break down positive water ions, ultimately speeding up the drying process. Similarly, infrared heat penetrates cuticles and dries hair from the inside out, also speeding up the process. Both features lower the need for heat exposure and consequently, high wattage.
That said, it is always safer to invest in a high wattage hair dryer with various heat and speed settings. This way, you can always lower the heat and increase airflow speed.
So feel free to go crazy. Just remember that a higher wattage often equals a bigger motor which means a little more bulk. Anything higher than 2000W and you would be unwittingly giving yourself a bicep workout.
What is the difference between ceramic and titanium hair dryers?
Ceramic’s great conductive quality stabilizes the temperature, spreading heat evenly, and effectively preventing heat damage. This technology is the ideal pick for people with fine or previously damaged hair.
On the other hand, Titanium hair dryers are popular for being the go-to lightweight option. They are usually up to 40% lighter than their ceramic counterparts and also significantly hotter.
Naturally, the higher temperatures of titanium appeal to thick-haired folks since they speed up drying. Titanium also offers better frizz control for sleeker, smoother styling. However, exposure to high temperatures put the hair cuticles at a higher risk for damage.
Of course, the performance of either ceramic or titanium hair dryers depends on the other features of the dryer. With a few more bells and whistles, a simple ceramic or titanium dryer can become advanced level tech.
What are the best hair dryers for natural hair?
As much as we would love to make the decision (because let’s face it, this was a lot of work), the choice for a hair dryer is entirely yours to make. There are a few factors that make it more personal and subjective, including your budget, usage, and even your own preferences. More importantly, your hair type has the biggest impact on your choice of hair dryer.
The Bio Ionic is a solid pick. After all, it clinched the number one spot on this ranking. Choose it, and get a little bit of everything. It is lightweight, eco-friendly, infused with volcanic material, and boasts a 9 foot cord and a travel tote. If you do happen to travel a lot, the T3 Featherweight is a solid option, as is the CHI Air — especially if you like the idea of getting four tools for the price of one.
Looking to splurge? Try the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Portofino Dryer.
Tight budget? Try the InfinitiPro by Conair.
And if you have simply had it with the bells and whistles of advanced tech, go with the Berta for an open-and-shut experience. Whatever the case, be sure to make a well-informed decision — because soaking wet hair is a dreadful inconvenience.
Even if you’ve decided on a hair dryer, you should know that even the best hair dryers are nothing without a few trusty sidekicks. Check out some of our favorites:
- BESTOOL Boar Bristle Round Brush: Because your hair deserves more than just any kind of hair brush, boar bristles add some much-needed shine.
- HSI Heat Protectant & Conditioner: To give texture and protection to those delicate tresses.
- Xtava Styling Hair Clips: For strands that never agree to sit still.
- DuraComfort Anti-Frizz Microfiber Hair Towel: Because you cannot simply blow-dry dripping wet hair.