Jun 26, 2021

How Long Do Hairdryers Last? + Other Important Hair Dryer Questions

Because you deserve only the best of hair tech

Formulate user Natalie has a ~hot~ question to ask:

My old hairdryer finally gave out on me. It was old and I got a lot of use out of it - I got it when I was 16, 20 years ago! I'm now shopping around for a new one, but I'm overwhelmed by all the options. Prices are all over the place - I saw one for ten dollars at Target, but there are also some that are over five hundred dollars! I want another hairdryer that will last for years, but I'm wondering if I'll have to spend a ton of money to get one that's decent. How long does the average hairdryer even last? How much should I spend, and will being spendy get me a better dryer or will I be wasting my money? And what do I even look for?

There are a whole bunch of questions here, so we'll answer them one by one:

How long should a hairdryer last?

Natalie's old hairdryer must have been a good one -- we spoke to several stylists/product experts to answer her email. They all agreed that 20 years is far longer than the expected hairdryer lifespan. The general consensus is that professional hairdryers last longer than non-professional hairdryers, since they have stronger motors. However, estimates of how long a good 'dryer will last were all over the place -- we'll let some of our sources speak for themselves here:

Monica Davis, professional hairstylist and founder of MyStraightener:

Two years is a normal lifespan for an average daily-used home hairdryer. Still, some models last up to 7-8 years for some reason. It really depends on the materials used in the construction, on the quality of the power supply in your house, and on the use scenario. Premium salon-grade models will most likely serve from 4 to 7 years if you use them at home. Salon devices rarely last over 3 years. At least I didn't have a dryer that worked longer during my career.

Warren Peskin, hairdryer & air purification product executive at Airgle:

Great question. Motors tend to draw hair into a filter. If these filters are not cleaned, the motor has to overwork itself and the end result is a burned-out motor. Take care of your hairdryer, no matter the cost, and it can last 3-5 years.

Madison Dufour, licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist and founder of The Exquisite Find:

Depending on quality, and care, the life of a blow dryer can range anywhere between 10 months and 8 years (in my experience). But generally speaking, a regular blow dryer should last on average about 3 years. But again, without proper maintenance (just keep the filter clean and the cord untangled!) it may not last as long. Truly though, keep the cord untangled and keep the filter clean. That's it.

Tina Fichera, salon product executive at The Cricket Company:

It really depends on how often is it used.  For the home user, three years at the very least.  For a professional hairstylist who is using the dryer many hours throughout the day, a couple of years.

How much does a good hairdryer cost? And will a more expensive hair dryer provide better results?

Overall, there was a lot of variation in answers. That being said, all of our experts agreed that it's not the best idea to spend below $50 on a hairdryer. About half of them recommended that you spend at least around $80. Though we didn't include all the shout-outs in the below quotes, several stylists recommended buying a Babyliss hairdryer -- the least expensive Babyliss dryers start at around $70.

Ashley Evans, hair tools executive at Eva NYC:

It really depends on your budget and the technology that you are looking for in your dryer. The industry has seen a spike in the prestige hot tools since covid, due to lack of salon visits. But you also don't have to pay premium prices to get quality products as there are many affordable options on the market. Price doesn't necessarily equal quality. There are some high-priced dryers that are worth the money for high-end technology, but some that just have a higher price tag. You can absolutely get a high-quality dryer for $60-$90.

Monica Davis:

There's an extremely wide selection of hairdryers on the market and the prices start from below $20 and exceed $400 for high-end devices stuffed with modern technology. Still, I highly don't recommend the low-end devices and they are always disappointing and bad for your hair. Cut off all the devices that cost below $80 from your selection. 

In most cases, the most expensive hairdryers are better than the slightly expensive ones. However, the most premium hairdryers will offer just a slight improvement. Devices that offer a huge difference (like Dyson Supersonic) are pioneers on the market, so there's not much alternative in the high-end sector. The more you pay for a hairdryer, the more heat settings and hair protection features you can expect. 

Warren Peskin:

If you want the newest, highest-tech, longest-lasting hair dryers, expect to pay between $399-$499. Technology costs money. Period! The more expensive hair dryers have internal components that produce better results. That does not make the other dryers bad--the (more expensive hair dryers) just provide a higher level of performance and experience.

Madison Dufour:

My personal favorite and tried and true brand is Babyliss. I got a Babyliss Nano Titanium in my kit at school 8 years ago and I only just replaced it (2021). It cost me less than $100. I believe it was in the $75-80 range. 

Generally, the more expensive, of course the quality is higher. But also, what is the purpose behind you purchasing an expensive one? Do you need an expensive one? Mine that I use professionally in the shop constantly was around $80. 

Tina Fichera:

If you are seeking to just dry and not style, $50ish.  If you are seeking professional features that help prevent damage to hair, help close hair's cuticles and make hair shiny and smooth, $150 & up.  Less expensive dryers have less of the professional features needed to produce a good hair drying experience and can cause more damage to hair.  A higher-priced professional hair dryer should have features to promote manageable, shiny, healthier-looking hair, along with offering a more powerful motor to dry hair faster.

What should you look for when buying a new hairdryer? Anything that's particularly good or bad?

The biggest theme here, by far, was heat settings. Our experts all agreed that multiple heat settings are a must-have. The rest of their recommendations, as always, varied -- check 'em out for specifics.

Ashley Evans:

Technologies that offer multiple heat settings and also provide heat protection are important if you're looking for less damage from heat styling. At Eva NYC we offer a range of hot tools that feature red beam far-infrared technology that heats the hair from the inside out to protect the outer cuticle.  Our Healthy Heat tools also emit negative ions to smooth the cuticle and reduce frizz. Something that our customers always tell us is that they are looking for lightweight tools, so this is something to bear in mind if you're looking to use your hairdryer every day for longer periods of time.

Monica Davis:

Look for ceramic and tourmaline coating - these materials will help you achieve smoother hair after drying by protecting the strands with negative-charged ions that close the cuticle and reduce the moisture evaporation speed. Hairdryers with this technology also offer faster drying in most cases.

Warren Peskin:

Multiple speed and heat settings. For personal home use, look for a lightweight hairdryer, ionic technology, which will dry the hair with attention to hair and scalp health, a safety plug and a minimum 2-year factory warranty. Any hair dryer that makes claims about saving drying time, or claims to have all the benefits for a very inexpensive price is a red flag.

Madison Dufour:

Look for heat settings, you always want at least a medium, high, and cold features on your blow dryer. If you are experienced in the techniques of the blow dryer, the cool setting is what actually sets your shape and this is how you get the Victoria's Secret waves. 

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