The best travel hair dryers for a salon-fresh look when travelling away from home
If you travel often, for work or for leisure, a travel hair dryer can be a godsend. Hotel dryers, where they exist at all, can be rather lacklustre – and while air-drying can work for certain hair types, you’ll need air and heat to achieve a lifted, salon-dried style.
Lightweight and compact travel hair dryers are becoming ever more powerful and feature-packed. The best travel hair dryers keep your locks luscious when you’re away from home, with moisture-sealing technology that keeps hair healthy and shiny, and dried just the way you like it.
If you choose the right dryer, you can be sure that your ‘do’ will be as sleek and stylish as it would be with all of your equipment at home. Some of the best travel hair dryers are so good, you could swap them for your full-size dryer without any trouble.
Our guide, below, has some top tips to help you choose the right hair dryer for your trip. Keep scrolling for our list of the best travel hair dryers you can buy.
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How to choose the best travel hair dryer for you
What is the difference between a standard and a travel hair dryer?
The biggest difference between a travel dryer and the kind of dryer you would normally use at home is size. While a hair dryer designed to be kept at home can be as big as it needs to be for its power rating and features, a travel dryer is primarily designed to be light and compact for easy packing. Many travel hair dryers have a hinge at the top of the handle that allows them to be folded, and a shorter and wider barrel allowing plentiful airflow in a smaller space.
Travel dryers will also usually have a dual voltage switch giving the option to change between 250V and 125V, so you can use your dryer anywhere around the world.
What accessories do I need?
Most travel hair dryers come with a concentrator nozzle which allows you to direct the airflow to a particular part of the hair as you dry, for a smoother, frizz-free finish. Some also come with their own case, which helps the dryer stay clean and safe inside your luggage. You’ll probably need to supply your own brushes and your own diffuser attachment if you like to diffuse (check your attachment is compatible with your travel dryer barrel).
What other features will my travel dryer have?
Just because travel dryers are smaller and lighter than standard dryers doesn’t mean they’re light on features. Look out for adjustable heat and airflow settings to help you customise your blow dry, and a ‘cool shot’ button that produces short blasts of cool air to reduce frizz and help your style last longer.
Ionic heat technology is another premium feature becoming more common in travel dryers. Negative ions, produced by blowing the air through an element coated in a material such as tourmaline, reduce the hair’s drying time by breaking down water molecules. This helps keep hair soft and shiny with a glossy finish.
Additional features will add to the price of your travel dryer, but the results will be a lot closer to the blow-dry you would get at home; if you style your hair away from home often, you may want to invest a little extra in a more versatile hair dryer.
How we test travel hair dryers
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete overview of a product. We personally test all the hair dryers we review and, wherever possible, we test the different heat and airspeed settings as well as all of the attachments each product is supplied with.
For travel dryers weight is key, so we confirm the weight and dimensions of the dryer, as well as its power rating, during testing. We also take specific note of features, such as dual voltage, that allow the dryer to be used worldwide. We then time drying hair from freshly washed to fully dry, and evaluate the overall ease of use of the dryer. Finally, we note the finish and feel of the hair both immediately after drying and after a typical day of wear.
The best travel hair dryers you can buy in 2023
1. Babyliss 5344BU Travel Hair Dryer: best budget travel hair dryer
Price: £20 | Buy now from Boots
The most powerful hair dryer on this list is also one of the cheapest: the Babyliss 5344BU offers a heck of a lot of bang for your buck. The dryer has a power rating of 2,000W, as well as two heat and speed settings, so you can customise your blow-dry to your hair type and texture. The dryer comes with a concentrator nozzle designed to direct the airflow precisely for a smooth finish. When you’re done the dryer simply folds away. Babyliss’s travel hair dryer ensures that, even when you’re on your travels, you’re not compromising on power.
Key Specs – Temperature settings: 2; Power: 2kW; Dual voltage: Yes; Cord length:1.8m; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Weight: 427g
2. Bauer TourmaPro Travel Set: best ionic travel hair dryer
Price: £14 | Buy now from Hair Pro Direct
With Tourmaline Ionic Technology, the Bauer Professional Tourma Pro Hair Dryer promises glossy salon results in a travel-friendly package. Exceptional value at under £20, the dryer has two different speed/temperature options for flexible drying, and the tourmaline lament generates negative ions to help reduce frizz and keep the hair in better condition. The TourmaPro also comes with its own storage case, brush and comb, and a concentrator nozzle for easier drying. When you’re done simply fold the dryer up, pop it in the bag and store it away until next time.
Key Specs – Temperature settings: 2; Power: 1.2kW; Dual voltage: Yes; Cord length:1.8m; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle, hairbrush and comb; Case included: Yes
3. Amika Mighty Mini dryer: best travel dryer for curly or afro-textured hair
Price: £45 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Amika is the Brooklyn brand that prides itself on creating styling and haircare products for all hair types and textures. This incredibly stylish hair dryer uses ionic technology and infa-red heat to dry hair quickly but very gently, making this an ideal choice for any hair type that tends to frizz. It’s great for afro-textured hair, and suitable for damaged or delicate hair that prefers gentle drying, too. There are two speed settings, and the Mighty Mini comes with a concentrator nozzle and a diffuser attachment. At just 6×5 inches, it’s absolutely tiny, but with its colourful design and matching carry-bag, there’s no way you’ll lose this small but mighty dryer in your luggage.
Key Specs – Temperature settings: 2; Power: 1kW; Dual voltage: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle and diffuser attachment; Weight: 340g
4. T3 Black Compact Hair Dryer: best for full-size features
Price: £66 | Buy now from Amazon
A much pricier option that will set you back by as much as, if not more than, a full-size alternative, the T3 Black Compact Hair Dryer earns its price with several features not usually available from compact dryers. The first is the option of a ‘cool shot’ that helps cement your hairstyle and maintain smoothness, and another is Tourmaline SoftAire Technology, which reduces frizz. The included concentrator nozzle helps target airflow, and the dryer is pretty quiet, even when running on the more powerful setting. A mini-wonder.
Key Specs – Temperature settings: 2; Power: 1.2kW; Dual voltage: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Weight: 395g
5. Diva Intenso 4000 Pro Compact Dryer: best travel hair dryer for fast results
Price: £60 | Buy now from Diva Pro
This compact and lightweight hair dryer from UK brand Diva Pro packs a drying punch that belies its size, boasting a salon-standard 2kW motor and fast airflow that will dry hair quickly and with a minimum of fuss when you’re on the go. A fast airflow of 120 cubic metres per hour, combined with three heat settings and ionic technology, makes fast work of drying any length or texture of hair; and the ceramic- and tourmaline-infused drying grilles leave tresses looking smooth and glossy.
The Intenso 4000 is a compact hair dryer that will fit neatly into most suitcases, but do note that it’s not a folding model. Also, while it’s suitable for travel throughout the UK and Europe there’s no dual voltage option, so you’ll need an additional power adapter for travel to the US.
Key Specs – Temperature settings: 3; Power: 2kW; Dual voltage: No; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Weight: 450g
6. ghd Flight Travel Hair Dryer: best luxury travel dryer
Price: £59 | Buy now from ghd hair
ghd’s reputation for quality and style precedes it, so you’d expect its travel hair dryer to reach the same heights as its other products. It’s a nifty little device, with two temperature settings capable of emitting air at 65 degrees, a removable concentrator nozzle, and a protective travel case. It’s not a budget tool by any means, but for those who don’t mind paying a little extra for a brand they trust, this comes recommended.
Key Specs – Temperature settings: 2; Power: 1.2kW; Dual voltage: Yes; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle; Case included: Yes; Weight: 422g