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Best Cheap Hair Dryer

By: Amy Livingston on August 31, 2017

Decent hair dryers for less than $50

Although salon hair dryers get the best ratings overall, you can actually get a perfectly good hair dryer without shelling out $100 or more. Overall, the best-rated dryer in this price class is the Infiniti Pro by Conair 259 (Est. $30). (That model number is important because Conair also makes another model with exactly the same name: the Infiniti Pro by Conair 294 (Est. $30). The 294 doesn't earn as many positive reviews as the 259, so be sure to check the number to make sure you're getting the right one.)

This inexpensive 1,875 watt hair dryer has all the basic features a hair dryer should have, including three heat settings, two speed settings, ceramic and ionic technology, and a cold shot button. It also comes with diffuser and concentrator attachments and a removable filter to make cleaning easier. It's recommended as the best bargain-priced hair dryer in Harper's Bazaar, which says it "will take down frizz as effectively as its pricier counterparts." The Infiniti Pro also gets a good review from an editor at in Allure magazine, who "swears by" this inexpensive dryer even after testing lots of pricier salon dryers. However, testers at Good Housekeeping were less impressed, saying the Conair dryer was one of the slowest and noisiest in their 2012 tests. Its best features were its low price tag and 4-year limited warranty.

We found more than 1,400 total reviews for the Conair Infiniti at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Ulta.com, with overall ratings ranging from 4.2 to 4.6 stars out of 5. Unlike the editors at Good Housekeeping, users are generally (though not universally) satisfied with its drying speed. Most users also consider its hefty weight (1.6 pounds on Good Housekeeping's scale) manageable, although there are some complaints that it's unwieldy. The noise level is also a problem for some. Moreover, there are several complaints about reliability and safety, and an earlier version of this hair dryer was part of a 2013 recall over the possibility of a burn or fire hazard -- though current models should be fine.

Conair also makes the Conair 225NP (Est. $30), a 1,875 watt tourmaline ceramic hair dryer that is recommended at TheSweethome.com as a great choice for people on a budget. Even though Conair gives the weight of this model as 1.8 pounds, though that likely includes the cord. However, TheSweethome.com's Shannon Palus checked it on a postage scale and found that the dryer itself weighed just 0.91 pounds, making it the lightest dryer in her test – a difference she claimed she could feel when using it. The 225NP was the least expensive hair dryer in the test as well, yet it dried hair just as fast as models that cost two or three times as much. However, it doesn't earn the top recommendation because it has a lot of little annoying quirks: a short 5-foot cord, a cheap-feeling plastic case, and sliding controls that Palus finds hard to manipulate.

In more than 2,160 reviews, users at Amazon.com award this Conair hair dryer 4.2 stars out of 5 overall. They say it's lightweight and quiet, comes with good attachments, and dries hair quickly, leaving it sleek and frizz-free. Most of the complaints we found center on durability, ranging from flaking finish to complete product failure. Although the dryer comes with a 2-year warranty, users must return it to a service center to get repairs, as well as paying for return shipping — and Conair will replace it only if it agrees that the dryer is defective.

We also saw good reviews for the1,875 watt Conair 256P Pro Styler with Ionic Conditioning (Est. $20). Like the other Conair models, this has all the basic features a hair dryer needs – three heat settings, two speed settings, a cool shot, and a removable filter. This hair dryer is one of the eight most recommended models at TotalBeauty.com, earning an overall rating of 7.7 out of 10 from users. It also receives a 4.3-star overall rating from more than 1,000 owners at Amazon.com. Owners like this hair dryer for its fast drying, low noise, and light, maneuverable body. However, its short 5-foot cord is an annoyance, and there are some complaints about durability.

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What every best Hair Dryers has:

  • Short drying time.
  • Variable settings.
  • A cool shot feature.

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