Cheap vs. Expensive

The Difference Between Cheap and More Expensive Hair Dryers

I’ve always assumed hair dryers were the weak link in the style process, and I would have to work more on my hair once it was dry no matter how you slice it. Now I’ve done my research, I see a big difference between cheap and expensive. That’s not to say you should go out and spend a huge chunk of change on a pricy dryer, but knowing if spending a little more money is worth it really helps.

Jam Out With AC/DC

Okay that’s not actually what I’m talking about, but the type of motor (AC or DC) does affect the amount of noise that comes from your dryer. DC motors have been used in dryers since they first appeared on the market, and they create a lot of sound.

AC motors still hit a certain decibel level but they are much quieter. If you’re looking for a dryer that’s relatively quiet, an AC motor is the way to go, but do bear in mind they cost more.

Heat Settings

Inexpensive dyers tend to have “on” and “off” with maybe a power setting or two. For fine hair that might be enough, but for hair that’s labor intensive it isn’t. As you get into more expensive options you’ll find settings for temperature, power, and even ionic control. You can decide how much heat you want to put on your hair, and you can even adjust it easily throughout the drying process. It offers a whole lot more control than just an on/off switch.


The life cycle of your dryer varies by brand. Personally I think it’s becoming harder to find one that will stay with you for the long haul as materials continue to get cheaper. That being said, there are some higher end dryers that not only come with materials that last a long time, but they also come with warranties to support them if there should be a problem.

It’s tempting to buy a cheap dryer and just replace it when it dies, but when you consider that some of these guys might only last a few months this kind of defeats the object of saving money. You could be constantly shopping for a new dryer which is the last thing you need. I’m not here to tell anyone how much money they should spend. I just think it’s worth weighing up your options when you’re looking at your budget.

Keep it Cool

One of the most underutilized tools on a hair dryer has nothing to do with heat. In fact, most dryers have a ”cool shot” button which allows you to get some cold air into your hair. Some people use it to set their style once they’ve finished dousing it with heat. Blowers at all price points are likely to have a cool button but the super cheapies may skip out.

Get A Boost

If you’ve ever had a car with a turbo, you’ll know it allows you to have a smaller motor while getting extra power. That option is available in hairdryers as well, and it’s not silly by any means. You can use the lower heat and power settings to get most of the drying done, then go with the turbo to smooth everything out and make sure all of the dampness is gone. You only get a large amount of heat right at the end which will protect your hair the rest of the time. Again though, do think about the fact these types of hair dryers are on the more expensive side.

Build Quality

This is the most important element to think about when you’re buying a dryer. That’s not to say it’s not possible to get good build quality out of a low cost dryer. You definitely can. However, if the build quality isn’t what it should be you can run into some potentially dangerous problems.

This is not a hair brush that (worst case scenario) just falls apart. No, this is a machine with electricity running through it that has the capability to be really dangerous. Some of the poorly made dryers can catch fire, and others can actually explode in your hand. Just be sure this type of thing isn’t a common problem with the brand you would like to go with.

Price Vs. Power

There are a lot of excellent dryers out there that won’t break the bank, so I’m not trying to say you HAVE to spend a lot. I’m just saying a lot of the less expensive dryers have things that may exclude them depending on what you want. And of course, it’s always best to pay attention to safety first.