Is the $200 Hair Dryer a Necessity?

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Stylists swear by them, celebrities tout them in the tabloids, and the reviews on Amazon would suggest that $200 hair dryers actually are greatly superior to their $20 drugstore counterparts.

But is it all hype?

I have a hair dryer that cost $150 when it was brand new. It's light weight, to be sure, but beyond that, I do not see a benefit. Maybe my expectations were too high.

No matter what hair dryer I use, I have very thick, very coarse, long hair. When I get blow-outs, it takes 50 minutes to dry my hair. When I'm on my own, I have about 25. Therefore, I'm always disappointed with the results. That said, I thought there would be more shine, that it would dry more quickly, and that it would end world hunger (just kidding on the last one), and to be honest, it isn't much superior to the $20 ConAir one I was using before.

But we should make our own decisions. So, here are a few favorite hair dryers at different price points and the stories from the people who tested them.


The $20 Hair Dryer:

The Revlon Chrome Travel Hair Dryer - RV499 runs around $15 at Target, but don't rush out and buy it just yet. Our tester said it's awful. "I bought it at Duane Reade when I dropped my other one and broke it," she said. "It dries out my hair and does nothing when it comes to fullness."

The $35 hair dryer:

The Conair 213XP Infiniti Professional Tourmaline Ceramic Technology Ionic Styler, Black runs about $35 on Amazon. Our tester thought it was a $100 hair dryer and was surprised to find out how inexpensive it was. "I love my cheap hair dryer!" she said. "I thought it was one of the super expensive ones!"

The $85 hair dryer:

This is the one I have and am mixed on. Our tester also has it and said she bought it after a stylist gave her a lecture on damaging her hair. "After having a cheap one for years, I can't say I've noticed any vast improvement. (Although maybe I'd notice if I went back to a cheap one? Who knows.) The one nice thing, though, is that it's very light so my arm doesn't get tired after holding it for a while."

The $115 hair dryer:

The Twin Turbo 2600 Professional is around $115.  Our tester bought hers in 2002 at a beauty supply store. "At the time I was living in humid NYC and looking for the straight hair look. I now suspect it is not good for my California hair and I think I'm going to ditch it for a cheap model. However, 8 years with the same hair dryer means I fully got my money's worth."

Good point.

The $200 hair dryer:

The Nano Weight Pro 1900 Pearl White cost $195, but our tester says it's "worth every penny. It is light-weight, my hair gets dry super fast, and my hair seriously looks better when I use this dryer."

She also pointed out that, although it's a $200 dryer in salons, it can also be purchased for less online.

One review on

I have fine texture, naturally wavy, but very thick hair. My stylist marvels at how long it takes her to dry my hair. This hair dryer is super strong and it has taken time off of my drying and styling. (I am considering bringing it to my next hair appt. for her to try.) My hair has never been this soft from a hair dryer before. Other than wanting funky, jagged texture sometimes, I have stopped using my flat iron! It also gives my hair volume, despite the wonderful softness. I am very happy with this hair dryer, although I still feel guilty for spending so much. I have justified the cost to myself because I am expecting and HATE blow drying my hair. I don't want to be "that" wife/mom/woman who lives in a ponytail after the baby is born. Honestly, with this hair dryer I am far more likely to style my hair.

For those of us with thick, hard to dry hair, the expense on the upper range hair dryers may be justified just by what it saves our arms in terms of lifting. I tend to go with what my stylist says and she recommended the ionic tourmaline T3.

In the end, it seems worth it to spend a little more for what you get in the end.

Would you go for the more expensive hair dryer?

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