Probably the best of the lot is the Conair Folding Handle 1875-Watt Dryer (Est. $15). Although it's small – about 9 inches long and 1.2 pounds – it has as much power as most full-sized hair dryers. It has only two heat and speed settings, but it does include a cool shot button, a feature many travel dryers lack. It also includes extra features that make it more convenient for travel. A folding handle makes it easy to stow in a suitcase, and a dual-voltage switch makes it compatible with overseas outlets. Conair backs the dryer with a limited 1-year warranty.
The Conair Folding Handle hasn't been covered in any professional tests, but it gets positive reviews from owners, including more than 375 reviews at Amazon.com where it earns a 4.4 star score. Owners say this hair dryer is compact yet powerful, and they like its travel-friendly features. Some durability issues are noted, though not enough to raise red flags. For those that plan to use the dryer for international travel, some report issues ranging from a voltage setting switch that is hard to move to units that failed completely when connected to international voltages. Still most are pleased; for example, 97 percent of the 60 owners that leave reviews at BestBuy.com grant it their recommendation.
We found somewhat more mixed reviews for the Conair 1875-Watt Cord-Keeper Styler (Est. $15) (Est. $15). It earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 among BestBuy.com users, 7.9 out of 10 at TotalBeauty.com, and 3.9 stars out of 5 at Amazon.com. What owners at all sites love most about this dryer is the "cord keeper" feature, which keeps the cord snugly tucked up and out of the way when it's not in use. They also say the 1,875-watt dryer is a convenient size for travel and packs enough power to dry hair quickly, while its ionic technology fights frizz effectively.
However, like the full-sized Conair YOU Reel 1875 Watt Tourmaline Ceramic 2-in-1 Styler (Est. $30), the Cord-Keeper seems to have a lot of problems with its cord reel. Numerous users complain that after a few uses, the cord no longer retracts fully. Some users say they can get it to retract by holding down the button and feeding the cord in by hand, but others can't get it to work at all. Also, some users say the folding handle is too stiff, and others find it annoying that the dryer has only two heat and speed settings.
Another product that's worthy of a mention is the Conair 245HP Minipro Tourmaline Ceramic Styler (Est. $22). This amazingly lightweight hair dryer – just 0.6 pounds – was the top budget pick in Good Housekeeping's 2013 tests and also earned generally positive feedback at Amazon.com -- 4.1 stars based on more than 675 reviews. It would have been a consideration for Best Reviewed status in this category if not for one problem: it appears that Conair no longer makes it. As of this writing, it's still available at Amazon.com, but it's not clear how long that will last. Conair does have another model in this series, the Conair 263SR Minipro Tourmaline Ceramic Styler (Est. $20). It appears similar, with one notable exception -- it offers a folding handle instead of the fixed handle of the 245HP, and that's a plus for travel. However, it's not been professionally reviewed, and user reviews, while positive thus far, are also limited -- for example around a dozen at Amazon.com, but with a 4.9 star rating.