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How Do I Choose the Best Portable Hair Dryer?

By Patti Kate
Updated: May 17, 2024

When choosing a new portable hairdryer, consider the length and style of your hair. Consider your hair texture as well, as there are various models made for thick or fine hair. If you prefer versatility, choose a portable hairdryer that comes with attachments, such as a diffuser. If you do a lot of traveling, choose a mini hairdryer that is compact. Some travel hairdryers also fold for easy storage or feature dual voltage.

A portable hair dryer from a department store may be inexpensive. Buying from a professional hair salon or supply store, however, might have certain advantages. Many salons and beauty supply stores will have knowledgeable staff to help you make the right choice. If you buy you portable hair dryer from the hair salon where you have your hair styled, you can ask your personal stylist for advice. She is familiar with your hair style and texture, and can recommend a portable hair dryer that suits your needs.

For practicality when traveling, look for a wireless hairdryer, which is likely to be more compact than models with a cord. It also may be more quiet than a standard hairdryer. The main drawback to using a wireless hairdryer is the need for replacing batteries.

If you tend to have frizzy or coarse hair, you should consider investing in a tourmaline portable hair dryer or one that emits negative ions. This type of hair dryer will help keep your hair more manageable and conditioned. An ionic hairdryer will smooth flyaway strands and tame your frizzy hair.

For a high-maintenance hair style, consider a portable hair dryer that has what is known as a cool shot option. The cool shot button allows you to set your style after drying your hair, by using a blast of cool air. This feature may not be an issue if you simply need to dry and go with a hair cut and style that needs minimal maintenance.

An ergonomically designed portable hairdryer is beneficial for those with arthritis or other issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This model's ergonomic design is created to minimize hand and wrist stress. For added comfort, look for a portable hairdryer with a rubberized grip.

Before you choose a new portable hairdryer, look it up on the Internet. Write down the model number of the portable hairdryer you're considering and read some consumer reviews. Also, read what the experts say about the particular hairdryer you're interested in.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By wavy58 — On Feb 03, 2012

I have to have my dryer with the cool shot button wherever I go. I have straight hair, but if I simply dry it on a warm setting, I will have flyaways galore!

I only use the cool shot button once I have gotten my hair completely dry. It works best this way.

I dry my hair with the cool setting from top to bottom all over my head. It only takes a couple of minutes for the follicles to close, and then I have beautifully shiny, smooth hair. The cool shot button makes all the difference.

By OeKc05 — On Feb 03, 2012

@cloudel - Those hotel hair dryers are terrible for people with curly hair, also. My hair will be an absolute ball of frizz if I use one, so I always bring my travel hair dryer with me.

I use a large, round diffuser attachment. This distributes the warm air evenly, so I don’t concentrate the heat on any one section of my hair for too long. If I did, this would cause major frizz.

When I use my portable dryer with a diffuser, I don’t blow dry my hair completely. I just get the majority of the moisture out, because it needs some moisture to curl properly on its own.

By Perdido — On Feb 02, 2012

I didn’t even know there was such a thing as wireless hair dryers! I will have to get one before my next trip, because dealing with the cord is such a hassle!

I carry several items with cords in my suitcase, like curling irons, straightening irons, and my portable dryer. The more cords I have, the more likely they are to become entangled, and it is such a pain to unwind them.

I think it would be much easier to carry spare batteries around than carry a dryer with a cord. Maybe I’ll even look into cordless curling irons, as well!

By cloudel — On Feb 01, 2012

I didn’t bring a hair dryer with me on my first vacation, because I thought that the one in the hotel room would be just fine. After using it, I wished I had brought my portable hair dryer from home.

The dryer was small, and I had a lot of thick hair to dry. Even though the force of the air coming out was pretty powerful, it just didn’t seem to dry my hair very quickly at all. I had to stand there, holding the dryer, for about twenty minutes to dry all of my hair, whereas with my dryer, it would only have taken ten.

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