Selecting the perfect blow dryer can be daunting for those with curly hair. Will you use it to straighten your strands, or do you hope to keep your natural texture with a diffuser attachment? Should you be concerned about heat damage? And what's the deal with ions and ceramics, anyway?
All these questions and more are worthy considerations for anyone with coils, curls, or waves. Thankfully, plenty of great hair dryers exist to answer them. We turned to reviews from everyday shoppers to determine which ones truly do right by curly hair. The top-rated hair dryers we've included below are beloved by customers of all hair types, and they're sure to warrant your approval, too.
These are the best hair dryers for curly hair:
This Revlon hair dryer is Amazon's second best-selling option, only behind the brand's iconic dryer brush. It has two heat and speed settings, a cold shot button, and three layers of ceramic coating to prevent damage and frizz — in short, its $21 price is just the cherry on top. Reviewers who use the dryer with the included diffuser and sectioning clips are impressed. "I have curly 3C hair, and this diffuser makes my curls pop in no time!" one wrote. "It is super lightweight so my arms don't get tired either! It also cut my dry time considerably."
Shop now: $21; amazon.com
An $18 hair dryer that's earned over 20,000 perfect ratings? Say no more. Shoppers are floored by the Remington Dryer's ability to quickly dry hair while creating soft, bouncy curls, and with three heat settings, two speeds, and a cool shot button, you really can't go wrong. "If you have wavy or curly hair, you need this hair dryer! I have 2B and 3A waves and curls, so I wanted to get a diffuser because my low porosity hair takes FOREVER to dry," said one reviewer. "This hair dryer has cut down my drying time drastically, and my curls are much more defined and shiny."
Shop now: $18; amazon.com
Ionic technology allows a hair dryer to shoot out negatively charged ions, which attract the positively charged ions in water, thereby making wet hair dry faster. That process also helps to seal hair's cuticles, creating that glossy, nourished-looking shine. This ionic dryer by Conair promises to cut drying time in half, while three heat settings and two speeds make every blowout a customizable experience. Curly-haired reviewers say the dryer gives them "perfect, frizz-free hair" when used with its accompanying diffuser.
Shop now: $25 (Originally $35); amazon.com
This uniquely designed dryer clocks in at under two pounds, meaning it's way less likely to leave your arms sore than a traditional model. Rest assured, it still packs a punch thanks to three heat settings, two speeds, a cool shot button, and a removable diffuser that reviewers say leaves curls with "definition, lift, and no frizz." It also makes use of ionic technology to speed up the drying process.
Shop now: $35; amazon.com
At eight inches tall and seven inches wide, this Stylecraft dryer is by far the smallest option on the list. Yet it still includes the features you'd expect from a salon-grade hair dryer, like 1,000 watts of power, multiple intensity settings, and a diffuser. It even has a dual voltage capacity, which means you can use it abroad without any extra attachments. "I use a diffuser to dry my hair, which you don't find in the hair dryers provided at hotels," one customer wrote. "I needed something that wouldn't add weight to my bag or take up much room. This was the perfect solution…I was shocked at the power of this dryer; it dried my hair in the same amount of time as my industrial dryer at home."
Shop now: $20 (Originally $23); amazon.com
It's not everyday you find a top-rated hair dryer and diffuser combo on sale for $14. And believe it or not, this Revlon dryer is exceptional in plenty of other ways, from its advanced ionic technology to a removable end cap that makes it easy to clean. It has both a cool shot button and a cool heat setting, which is hard to find in any dryer, let alone one this affordable. This reviewer put it simply: "At such a low price, I didn't know what I was in for — but truth be told, I fell in love after the first use."
Shop now: $14 (Originally $20); amazon.com
There's little to say about this world-famous dryer that hasn't already been said, but here's a refresher: The Dyson Supersonic was engineered to dry hair as fast as possible while staving off heat damage. Its automatic control system measures air's temperature more than 40 times a second to prevent overheating, and no matter which of its four heat settings you use, it will remain cool to the touch. Plus, the dryer comes with a diffuser that shoppers call the "best ever" for achieving shiny, defined curls.
Shop now: $399; ulta.com
This luxe hair dryer is manufactured in Italy, and according to the brand, it's made to last forever. Its powerful alternating current motor is meant for professional use, and it emits infrared heat that dries hair quickly and evenly without long-term damage. In the unlikely event that it doesn't work properly, Elchim will cover all repair costs under its lifetime warranty. You'll have to purchase a diffuser attachment separately, but according to shoppers, this dryer is worth it. "Love it! My hairdresser suggested [this hair dryer]," one wrote. "It will last me forever because she runs hers a million times more than I do and they last her many years."
Shop now: $142; amazon.com
The diffuser that comes with this Hot Tools dryer features extra long prongs, which are great for lifting the hair at the root and giving it serious shape. The dryer itself has everything you could ask for and more, including three heat and speed settings, a cool shot button, 1875 watts of power, and ceramic and ionic technology for healthy-looking hair. "I absolutely love this hair dryer," said a reviewer. "It doesn't leave my hair frizzy and dries it very fast. When I use the diffuser to dry my hair with no product in it, it gives me so much volume."
Shop now: $39 (Originally $57); amazon.com
Any dryer brush will temporarily alter the texture of your hair, but if you're hoping to keep damage to a minimum, Drybar's Double Shot is the way to go. According to a study done by Good Housekeeping, the brush reaches an average maximum temperature of 167 degrees Farenheit over five minutes, which is almost 100 degrees lower than other popular varieties they tested. It's still super effective at styling thick, coarse hair, with ionic technology and strategically placed vents for maximum airflow. The Double Shot can even be used on dry strands in lieu of a flat iron.
Shop now: $150; amazon.com