Help me choose a hairdryer.
November 2, 2012 5:02 PM   Subscribe

I need a new hairdryer. Should I splurge?

I have thick hair that is almost to my shoulders. Lucky for me, it's pretty shiny and soft. I get it cut regularly and my fantastic hairdresser takes a ton of the weight out. It currently takes me about 15-20 minutes to dry my hair. Cutting that time down would be welcome since I'm planning on growing it out fairly long.

For years I have used cheap hairdryers and pretty much all of them were in the 20 dollar range. They last a year or two and burn out and I get another one. Well my latest el cheapo Conair has bitten the dust and I'm wondering if it's worth spending more money on a hairdryer? I'm always willing to pay more for quality but I loves a deal. What's the best bang for my buck here? Has to be available in Canada. Thanks!
posted by futureisunwritten to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've bought two ~$100 hairdryers (one was a Chi, I can't remember what the other one was) and while they seemed to make my hair look nicer than the cheap ones in slightly less time, they both broke in about six months. I'm back to my Conair travel dryer.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:13 PM on November 2, 2012

I love my Chi dryer. When my mom got one about 10 years ago I thought it was ridiculous but she kept telling me how great it was. I tried it and wow, it made my hair so much smoother and softer. It blows really hot so it really gets your hair dry fast. I have had mine forever and I wouldn't use anything else! I also have super-thick hair.
posted by radioamy at 5:13 PM on November 2, 2012

I finally shelled out for a decent hair dryer after many years of hair dryers in the 20-30-40 dollar range; it's been worth it. Basically, it just gets the job done faster and it does less screeching to do it and I figured in the end, I'd probably be spending the same amount of money because I was throwing out the cheaper ones faster. So far so good on that end, but the key item for me is speed--it's faster.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:13 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I spurged several years ago on an Elchim hairdryer. Made in Italy! (I'm a snob about such stuff.) It hasn't failed me yet, after having been dropped several times, nor do I expect it to. Hairdryers and Vespas, Italians do well.
posted by BostonTerrier at 5:16 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

at the recommendation of my hair stylist, i splurged on a fancy hair dryer (she actually got me a discount so it wasn't as much as it could have been) because i've had my hair dyed every six weeks for the last dozen years at least, and i try to take as good care of it as i can. i think i've had it for about 4 years now and it still works great. it has definitely cut down on my hair drying time by about a third which is awesome bc i have quite long hair and it definitely smoothes out my fine hair. i will never go back to cheap dryers if i can help it.
posted by violetk at 5:18 PM on November 2, 2012

I have an Elchim too. I love it. It has power and dries hair fast. I've had the same one (the one A Terrible Llama linked) for several years. I've had zero problems with it. Highly recommend.
posted by Fairchild at 5:33 PM on November 2, 2012

I have very thick hair that's a little past my shoulders. I have a Twin Turbo I bought at a beauty supply store for about $100. It's fantastic--very durable and well-designed. It's much more powerful than any drugstore hairdryer. I find it gives a very smooth and more professional-looking blowout.
posted by Lycaste at 5:33 PM on November 2, 2012

My wife splurged on this Elchim Professional when we moved back to the states 2 years ago (although at the time it was fulfilled by Amazon, not one of the third-party sellers).

At first she hated it because it is quite a bit heavier than your standard cheapo hairdryer. Now, if we travel anywhere it's one of the first things she puts in the bag.
posted by swhitt at 6:36 PM on November 2, 2012

Maybe goes without saying but make sure you are keeping the filter screen cleaned out often... my last hair dryer purchase was due to me thinking my old one was toast, turned out I just never cleaned out the dust from that screen!

When you do purchase a new hair dryer, getting one that makes you happy and works great is really going to be a good value since you depend on the equipment so much and devote 20 mins a day using it justifies a splurge I think.
posted by belau at 6:39 PM on November 2, 2012

I've had my Conair Plimatic Super Turbo 2000 for about 10 years now and it still does a fantastic job. My mom has had hers for even longer (I loved hers so much whenever I visited that I splurged for my own). I'm pretty sure it was about $80 and it's been worth every penny given that I have used it at least 5x a week since I bought it. It doesn't look like that model is still available, but I definitely believe that a high quality hair dryer for around $100 is a completely reasonable and worthwhile expense. Whenever I visit a hotel and use a cheap dryer I am amazed at the difference it makes in both time and appearance.
posted by gatorae at 8:12 PM on November 2, 2012

Just another data point to contradict the "more expensive = better" theme:

I bought a travel blow dryer at a garage sale for $1 in 1983. I am still using it as my everyday hair dryer today. I (and my daughters) have bought other hair dryers over the years and they all bit the dust after a while, but my cheap-ass used one is still going strong.
posted by CathyG at 10:44 PM on November 2, 2012

As well as a standard hairdryer, I also have this wonderful hot-air spin brush dryer, which I use after my hair's almost dry, along with a few sprays of John Frieda 3-day Straight Styling Spray. It gives my hair amazing body and bounce, and it's the nearest thing I've got to making my hair look as if I've just stepped out of the salon myself.
posted by essexjan at 2:08 AM on November 3, 2012

I had a super solano that was great and worked well for 5 years of blowouts 2x week. It broke because like an idiot I was wrapping the cord around it while I wasn't using it. I then bought a Baby Bliss with the Ferrari motor. It's incredible. I have very long thick hair and this takes about 15-20 mins off my drying time. It really depends on your hair type. I could not use a weak hair dryer because I straighten curly hair and it would not get hot enough to work. However I have friends with straight hair who have had the same $30 hair dryer for years and it works just fine. Just keep the filter clean and do not wrap the cord around it. I would base the decision on how thick and wavy your hair is.
posted by Summer Fall at 1:51 PM on November 3, 2012

I have thick wavy hair that takes a lifetime to dry naturally. Hair dryers interest me. I have a BaByliss Carrera 2 that I paid retail for - at the time I think it was over $100. But I can see that you can get them online for around $50. I would never go back to something from the drugstore personally. I've had this one for around 3 years give or take - works fabulously and saves me a huge amount of time in the mornings.
posted by rdnnyc at 2:51 PM on November 3, 2012

I have fine, wavy, color treated hair - and a ton of it. I never saw the point in a fancy hair drying until I got my T3. It was on a whim during a sale, and I will NEVER go back. I went from spending 45+ minutes blowing out my hair to 10-15 minutes on a normal day and 20 minutes when I'm getting dolled up. My hair behaves better and looks better too.

I've had the T3 for 5 years and use it 3-5x per week. I clean the filter when I notice it looking icky and that's it. My only complaint is that it isn't dual voltage so it's not travel friendly. When it finally dies I'll be shopping for something dual voltage.
posted by tealcake at 5:10 PM on November 3, 2012

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