Are Pricier Hair Dryers Worth the Cost?

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

Related Articles

Natural Dry Hair Solutions

Stretching Your Hair Color Dollar

Homemade Shampoo

Are Pricier Hair Dryers Worth the Cost?

My almost 20-year-old hair dryer has finally died. When I went to the store to replace it, I noticed that hair dryers have several more features and supposed benefits now than they did years ago when I bought mine and the prices greatly vary. Can a pricier hair dryer really dry my hair 50% faster? Can it really make my hair shinier and minimize frizz? I am all for paying for a more expensive dryer that will considerably cut down the time it takes me to dry my long, fine hair and will last for many years, but I don't want to pay the higher price tag for a product that works the same as a cheap model or that might break on me in a few years. Any recommendations and advice from your readers would be greatly appreciated.

Check Professional Reviews

If you want to know which hair dryers are really worth the price, check professional reviews. Start with Consumer Reports if you have a subscription, or see if there are back issues at your local library. Another good place to look is, which analyzes both professional reviews and reviews from users on sites like I've worked for them, and I can tell you that they're very thorough. You can just type in "hair dryers" and find a detailed report that explains which models get the best reviews and why or just cut to the chase and read which models are the top picks.

From a Fellow Reader with Long, Fine Hair

I, too, have long, fine hair. My hair dryer has options for ionizing and a button for "cool." The ion option does help with frizziness and shine, and the cool button is great to use at the end of drying, as it helps to keep the roots of hair lifted since fine hair can be limp. I dry my hair upside-down for the same reason. I also let my hair air dry about halfway before using the dryer to decrease heat damage.

What Is Expensive?

First of all, what are you calling expensive? I shop at Walmart, and there are many good models that go for $10 to $20. When I replaced mine last year, it was in the under $20 category and came with a few nozzle attachments I didn't have on my old hair dryer. I looked for a couple different fan speeds and variable temperature. The rest doesn't really seem to matter to me.

Simplicity Works and Is Cheap

I have used a few hair dryers in my 47 years, and I don't really think there is much difference between a cheap or expensive one. Think about what features you like in a hair dryer. Personally, I like to be able to adjust the amount or speed of air coming out, as well as how hot the air is. So "low" and "high" air flow and "hot," "warm," and "cool" heat settings work for me. I have never used any of the attachments that have come with hair dryers. Simplicity works and is cheap, unless you are married to certain features. Will you be traveling much with your hair dryer, so you would want a smaller one? Is a retractable cord important or do you leave it out or wrap it up and throw it in a drawer? Even more important than features are how the hair dryer feels in your hand. Is it light and comfortable enough for you? I think you can get a decent hair dryer at Target or similar stores for around $20 or so, and it will last quite a few years. Using your vacuum to clean out the rear filter now and then might make it last longer.
Jen from Aptos, CA

Love My Hair Dryer!

I've used fancy, expensive hair dryers where I get my hair cut. I find them to be heavy, and they tangle my medium length, thick, wavy hair, eating up any savings in drying/styling time, and I don't notice less frizz or a better shine. I found a dryer that I really like for $30 at Sally Beauty Supply. It's a Gold 'n Hot by Belson (the one with a gold barrel) 1875-watt professional with a nice long cord. It has Tourmaline (not advertised on the box) rather than ceramic and doesn't claim to be ionic, which is maybe the difference that produces the tangling. I normally use high and hot settings to straighten, but found that burns dryers out quicker. With this one, using low and hot works just fine. For less frizz and more shine, I use a leave-in conditioner before drying and a tiny amount of coconut oil after drying. I like my dryer so much I bring it with me when I get my hair cut and travel, and I bought a second one, so I have a back-up.
Lorraine in NH

Shop Thrift Stores

I bought a barely used hair dryer from the local thrift store for $2. It's nicer than the one I had at home. The old one is now reserved for the dogs.

How to Make Them Last

Hair dryers do last a long time. Some blow harder than others. The first thing to go bad is the on/off and hi/low switches from much turning on and off. To make a hair dryer last a long time, adjust it once. Then leave the switches alone and just plug it in every time you use it.

Look for Quiet and Lightweight

I searched for a hair dryer that was quiet and lightweight. I feel these features are the most important. You can find one online for about $30.

Reviewed August 2017

Take the Next Step:

  • Stop forgoing your favorite beauty treatments just because you're on a tight budget. Check out the TDS Guide to Beauty on a Budget and learn the tricks to pampering yourself for pennies.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

Have an idea that we didn't include? Send it to us and we'll add it to the article.

Stay Connected with TDS


Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt