As numerous lab tests and consumer reviews attest, you don't need to spend a fortune to get a blow dryer that works well. In fact, the top-reviewed model in this report is the inexpensive Revlon Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer RV544 (Est. $25) . As the name suggests, the Revlon RV544 uses tourmaline ionic technology, just like many pricier models. The RV544 was tested by ConsumerReports.org, whose editors conclude that this model works just as well as professional hair dryers. Self.com editors agree, naming it the best fast-drying model; they say it dries without causing damage.
Owners also love the RV544. They say it's relatively lightweight and quiet. A handful of users say it left their hair frizzy, but that it's easy to alleviate this with a bit of hair serum. Overall, owners are impressed with the Revlon Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer, especially for the price. Adding even more value, the RV544 comes with both a concentrator and a diffuser and is covered by a two-year warranty.
The Infiniti Pro by Conair 1,875 Watt Salon Performance AC Motor Styling Tool (Est. $35) is another well-reviewed option if you have brittle or damaged hair and are looking for a hair dryer that is powerful but gentle. This model is far more popular than the RV544 among beauty publications but isn't as well received by owners. While the pros say this dryer is extremely powerful without being hot enough to cause damage, owners complain that it's pretty slow. In Good Housekeeping's lab test, the Infiniti Pro had the slowest drying time. It's also very loud, editors say. If noise is an issue for you, the Revlon model is your best bet.
Reports of dryers shorting out or malfunctioning are relatively common, especially among drugstore brands, but they seem to be a bit more prevalent with the Infiniti Pro, although InStyle magazine said this dryer lasted longer than other dryers they reviewed. Conair offers a four-year warranty on this product while Revlon has a two-year warranty. The Revlon Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer is our Best Reviewed pick because users are satisfied with its performance -- 87 percent of reviewers at Drugstore.com would recommend it to a friend -- and its lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver.