If you think you need to spend a substantial chunk of your paycheck to get a hair dryer you actually like, think again. It's possible to get a great hair tool for a great value — provided you know what to look for. The best hair dryers under $100 boast all the features needed to create a head-turning blowout on the (relatively) cheap.
Of course, you don’t just want to pick up the cheapest model on the shelf. There are a few factors you should always consider when shopping for an inexpensive hair dryer. Let’s start with wattage. If you’ve ever tried to dry your hair with one of those wall models in a hotel bathroom, then you’ll understand right away how important wattage is because it directly affects the your hair dryer's power. Rule of thumb: Higher wattage equals decreased drying time, resulting in less damage to the hair.
Ionic dryers are great because they diffuse negative ions that help protect your hair from overheating. Traditional dryers, on the other hand, emit positive ions which can cause dryness and damage. On a less crucial (yet still important) note, look for features like numerous heat and speed options to cater to different hair types, attachments to assist with different styles, cord length if you’re short on outlets, and volume if you don’t want to wake up the rest of the world at 5 in the morning.
Not only are these affordable hair dryers seriously effective, they'll leave you with enough money left over to stock up on all the hair tools your heart desires. And, they're arranged from most affordable to super luxe — so you can easily find the right one for your budget.
1A Ceramic Pearl Dryer That Seals The Hair Cuticle For Smoother Results
This dryer takes ceramic technology (known for improving heat distribution) a step further by infusing crushed pears within the material to help seal the cuticles of the hair and give it a lustrous sheen. The salon grade dryer been shown to have a 40 percent faster airflow than standard models. That means that, since the motor doesn't have to work as hard, not only does it dry hair faster, but the tool has a longer lifespan to boot.
2An Infrared Dryer That Styles Hair In Less Time
It’s hard to believe that this hair dryer has so many impressive features, given the bargain buster price. Infrared heat technology means that warmth attracts itself to the natural moisture in your hair to prevent it from becoming overly dry while tourmaline ionic technology encourages shine. For styling flexibility, the dryer comes with a volumizing finger diffuser and smoothing concentrator attachment.
3A Powerful Compact Dryer That Folds Up For Easy Transport
Whether you’re an avid globe-trekker or you drag your dryer with you to the gym on a weekly basis, this powerful compact dryer is a dream come true. Not only does it fold in half so it takes up less space in your bag or suitcase, but it also has a retractable cord. You won’t have to worry about it being too small to dry your tresses, however, as it’s powered by an impressive 1875 watts.
4A Unique Drying Tool Designed For Curly & Wavy Hair Textures
There’s no doubt that the goal of this innovative dryer was designed for curly and wavy hair types. Although curly hair tends to come out best when you dry with just a diffuser, the diffuser on this tool is actually removable. So, if you're in a hurry, you can save time by drying the hair until it's just a bit damp without the diffuser, and then clicking the diffuser tool into place to finish the job. This dryer is also made with tourmaline ionic technology which helps dry curls evenly, reducing damage.
5A Double Ionic Dryer That Creates Double The Shine
The double dose of ions in this dryer means that your hair will be two times as glossy in 80 percent less time than you’re used to. A salon grade AC motor delivers three speed settings to help minimize the amount of time your hair exposed to heat, which in turn minimizes damage. And it comes with both a diffuser for curly styles and a concentrator for straight styles or even bangs.
6A Dryer With A Retractable Cord, So You'll Never Fight With A Tangled Cord Again
Along with bells and whistles like a powerful high-torque motor to speed up drying time and ionic and tourmaline ceramic technology to promote shiny, damage-free hair, this dryer also features a retractable cord. With just the push of a button, the cord gets sucked up into the dryer — a perfect feature for anyone who deals with untangling their styling tools on a regular basis.
7An Innovative Infrared Dryer That Minimizes Damage
This powerful 2,000-watt dryer evenly dries the hair with infrared heat, meaning it actually dries each strand from the inside out. Traditional dryers dry the hair from the outside in, which can cause the outside of the strands to overheat and become damaged — so infrared technology is a huge advancement in how we dry our hair. Reviewers found that despite having four heat settings, they didn’t even need to go up to the highest to achieve shiny, smooth tresses in a short amount of time.
8A Powerful Dryer That Weighs Less Than A Pound
This lightweight dryer may only weigh a little under one pound (so it's super easy to hold), but it boasts an impressive 2,000 watts of power and infrared heat waves — so it gets the job done quickly. It's constructed from ceramic and tourmaline, which help distribute heat more uniformly, so you won't fry your hair.
9The King Of Under $100 Hair Dryers — Great For All Hair Textures & Even Stays Cool To The Touch
One of the nice features about this dryer (aside from the ergonomic handle) is the fact that it stays cool throughout the drying process so you don’t have to worry about singing your hair or burning your scalp. Straight and curly-haired reviewers rave how drying time has been reduced by 50 percent since they switched to this dryer and that their tresses are full of shine. It's equipped with six speeds, three concentrators, and a diffuser — so there's plenty of flexibility for hair of all textures and lengths.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.