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Best Travel Hair Dryers

By: Amy Livingston on August 31, 2017

Travel hair dryers save space

We didn't find nearly as many recommendations for travel hair dryers as we did for salon hair dryers and budget hair dryers that are full-sized, but there appear to be a few good choices. Probably the best of the lot is the Conair 245HP MiniPRO (Est. $20). At the time of last year's report, it looked like this tourmaline ceramic travel hair dryer was discontinued, but it's now back on Conair's website and available through Amazon.com and Conair's online store.

This lightweight hair dryer – just over half a pound, according to reviewers at Good Housekeeping –doesn't have the power or the features of a full-sized hair dryer. It packs only 1,200 watts, it doesn't have separate settings for heat and speed, and there's no cool shot button. However, it does include a dual-voltage switch, which is a must for international travel. It also comes with concentrator and diffuser attachments and a handy zebra-striped storage pouch to carry everything.

The Conair 245HP was the top budget pick in Good Housekeeping's 2013 test of travel hair dryers. Reviewers said it was lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful, and it dried hair quickly and quietly. Consumer testers found it comfortable to hold and easy to use, and they thought it left their hair nice and smooth. Its biggest downsides were its rather short cord (just 5.25 feet) and the lack of a cool shot.

We found more than 750 reviews for the Conair 245HP at Amazon.com, with an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. Owners say the dryer is light and compact, and it dries hair quickly yet gently, leaving it smooth and frizz free. As with other Conair hair dryers, it's important to check the model number when you buy it, as it's easy to confuse this dryer with the Conair 263SR MiniPRO (Est. $15). The two travel dryers are very similar in appearance, except that the 263SR has a folding handle instead of the fixed handle of the 245HP. While that's a plus for travel, the 263SR hasn't been professionally reviewed, and it doesn't have nearly as many user reviews – though they're generally positive.

We found somewhat more mixed reviews for the Conair 289NX Cord-Keeper Styler (Est. $15). It earns an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 among BestBuy.com users, 7.9 out of 10 at TotalBeauty.com, and 3.8 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 packs enough power to dry hair quickly, yet is small enough, thanks to its folding handle, to pack easily into a suitcase. Another plus: unlike the MiniPRO the 289NX includes a cool shot button.

Unfortunately, the cord reel that users love so much is also the dryer's biggest weak point. 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. And at 1.65 pounds, it's on the heavy side for travel.

Another travel dryer that's popular with both professionals and owners is the Sephora Mini Blast Travel Ionic Blow Dryer (Est. $30). Harper's Bazaar recommends this as the ideal hair dryer for travel on account of its petite size and weight and dual-voltage travel switch. The 150-plus owners who have reviewed it on Sephora's online store award it 4.6 stars out of 5 overall, saying the 1,200-watt dryer is compact, yet fast-drying, quiet, and nice-looking. However, there are several complaints that it tends to overheat, particularly when used on the international voltage setting. Also, users wish it had a folding handle.

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Hair Dryers buying guide

What every best Hair Dryers has:

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

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