If protecting your hair from drying, breakage, and frizz is a priority for you, then an infrared hair dryer is the way to go. Infrared hair dryers produce long waves of energy that penetrate the hair cuticle and start drying your hair from the inside out. The heat from these hair dryers feels much cooler, meaning you're less likely to burn your scalp. Not only is this process gentler on your hair, but it can also cut your hair drying time in half.
Our shopping guide can help find everything you need to consider before purchasing your own infrared hair dryer. If frizz is a huge problem for you, then our top recommendation, BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium 3000 Dryer, will definitely fit your needs.
Considerations when choosing infrared hair dryers
What is infrared heat?
Infrared heat is a completely safe form of radiation that emits long wavelengths up to one millimeter long. Unlike conventional styling tools that use short wavelengths to heat the air around them, infrared heat penetrates objects, heating them from the inside out.
With lower heat levels and the ability to dry your hair from the inside out, infrared hair dryers come with a long list of benefits. Some of those benefits include stronger, shinier hair, virtually no frizz, fewer split ends from heat damage, and significantly faster drying times. There is some evidence of improved scalp health as a result of using infrared hair dryers.
Most infrared hair dryers are between 1,300 and 2,000 watts. Higher wattage means the hair dryer is more powerful and less likely to burn out. If you have particularly thick hair, higher wattage is definitely the way to go.
A lightweight hair dryer may seem appealing, especially if you have thick hair that takes longer to dry. However, many heavier professional-grade hair dryers have evenly distributed weight, which makes them just as easy and comfortable to hold for long periods of time.
Find a handle that's ergonomic and comfortable to hold. Something with finger grooves or rubber padding makes holding the hair dryer for longer stretches seem effortless. If you travel frequently with your hair dryer, you may want to consider a collapsible handle that easily fits in your luggage.
Even basic infrared hair dryers usually come with a high and low setting. However, if you want something that gives you more control over the amount of heat, look for a hair dryer with three or more heat settings.
Concentrators and diffusers are two common hair dryer attachments to look for. Concentrators attach to the end of your hair dryer and direct airflow, making it easier to straighten hair. Diffusers, on the other hand, spread out the airflow, dispersing it evenly through tiny holes, which is an excellent way to maintain curly hair.
A blast of cold air just before your hair is completely dry helps seal the cuticle, add shine, and even lock in curls. Many infrared hair dryers come with a simple cool-shot button.
Negative ion technology
Negative ion technology works to break down water molecules, which helps your hair dry significantly faster. This technology also prevents water from oversaturating your hair, so you can avoid a frizzy mess. Many infrared hair dryers use the semiprecious gemstone tourmaline, which produces negative ions naturally.
Infrared hair dryer prices
You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 for a basic infrared hair dryer to $200 for a salon-quality model. Hair dryers in the $20 to $49 range are affordable and efficient, but they likely won't last as long. You probably don't need to spend over $100 if you're not a professional stylist — something in $55 to $95 range is usually best.
Q. Do I need to clean my infrared hair dryer?
A. Lint and hair that builds up in the hair dryer vent can make its way into the motor or heating element and cause serious damage. It's important to clean these vents out about once a week. For easy cleaning, look for a hair dryer with a removable filter.
Q. How long do infrared hair dryers last?
A. This varies from model to model. Many lower-end options last six months to two years, while higher-end models can last for up to seven years or more. It's always a good idea to purchase a hair dryer with a decent warranty, just in case.
Infrared hair dryers we recommend
Best of the best: BaByliss Tourmaline Titanium 3000 Dryer
Our take: Provides you with dry, frizz-free hair, even in the most humid climates.
What we like: Comfortable rubber grip handle. Powerful and fast-drying. Includes six heat settings, cool-shot button, and a nine-foot power cord.
What we dislike: It's easy to hit many of the controls accidentally.
Best bang for your buck: Revlon Infrared Hair Dryer
Our take: A bargain pick from a trusted brand, this hair dryer is perfect for those with thick or curly hair.
What we like: Includes a curly-hair attachment, feels lightweight, and runs quietly. This dryer uses a combination of infrared and tourmaline technology to produce beautiful shiny hair at a lower price point.
What we dislike: Not as durable as other options.
Choice 3: MHU Salon-Grade Infrared Heat Hair Dryer
Our take: A powerful but affordable hair dryer that runs surprisingly quietly.
What we like: Uses negative ion technology to de-frizz hair. Compact size. Comes with multiple attachments and offers three heat settings.
What we dislike: Some found this hair dryer a little heavy to hold.
Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.