Best Blow Dryer Test

November 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A hair dryer is an everyday essential you probably don't give much thought to. With some costing as much as $200, Consumer Reports put them to the test to see if there were big differences in performance. At the salon, you're almost always guaranteed a great blow out. But it's not such a sure thing at home. So testers at Consumer Reports put 10 hair dryers to the test, including top-selling Conair. They cost anywhere from a mere 20 dollars all the way up to 200.

In a temperature- and humidity- controlled room, testers dip samples of human hair in warm water then they dry as usual with each of the blow dryers.

Sue Perry, Consumer Reports, says "We had 10 panelists take them home and try them out. They all dried at about the same speed."

And although dryers tout things like "pure ceramic technology" and "tourmaline ionic," these didn't seem to affect the drying rate. But there were big differences in how noisy the blowers are.

Turns out the lowest-rated dryer, the Conair Ionic Cord Keeper, is as loud as some lawnmowers. Ouch!

In the end, the quietest dryer is also the top-rated one. It's the Chi Pro-dryer GF-1505. At 135 dollars it's a splurge, but panelists really liked it. "Panelists said it was lightweight, dried hair quickly, and one even said it made her hair extremely shiny," says Perry.

But if a fabulous haircut is what you want to splurge on, Consumer Reports says consider the Revlon Ionic Ceramic Pro Stylist RV484. At just 20 dollars, it's a bargain. "It's got a great feature that the more expensive brands actually lack - separate heat and speed settings so you can control temperature and air flow," says Perry.

You'll see hair dryers all have different wattages. But Consumer Reports tests show the number of watts is no indication of how well a dryer dries. Blowers with lower wattage did just as well as those with higher.

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