Business Insider February 26, 2024

Business Insider


9 travel hair dryers that are compact, lightweight, and won't blow out your hotel's electricity


Whether you're packing for a weekend getaway or a weeks-long trip, traveling to any destination via airplane means very minimal luggage space for full-size hair products. If you invest in a travel-size hair dryer, however, you can stuff your bag with clothes, shoes, and other essentials, and your strands won't have to suffer as a result.

Travel hair dryers often get a bad rap because people confuse the tools with the kind of low-quality complimentary blowdryers stashed under hotel bathroom sinks. But the two are not the same. On the contrary, many renowned hair tool brands sell travel-sized versions of their best hair dryers that are designed with features like manual heat and speed settings and interchangeable attachments to ensure styling on the go is just as satisfactory. If you're a carry-on person and need your hair dryer to be as small as possible, we highly reccommend the Conair 1875W Compact Travel Hair Dryer, which folds and is only $16.

Still, the market is saturated with travel-friendly alternatives in all categories, so it can be hard to decipher the fantastic from the flops. To save you the hassle of trial and error (and wasted cash), we've rounded up some of the best travel hair dryers of 2023 below.

Best overall: Conair 1875W Compact Travel Hair Dryer

Pros: Budget-friendly, dual voltage, folding handle, two-speed settings, two heat settings, cool shot button, 1875 watts

Cons: Does not come with any accessories

The Conair 1875 Compact Hair Dryer checks all the boxes for those traveling nationally or overseas. The styler is designed with a foldable handle and weighs roughly a pound, so it's suitcase-friendly. Its dual voltage makes it ideal for worldwide jet setters and offers 1875 watts of electrical power, ensuring a faster drying experience when you're on the go. The device also features two heat and speed settings, plus a cool shot button for easy styling no matter your hair type, and is budget-friendly as it retails for under $20. 

Best for international travel: Conair Worldwide Travel Dryer

Pros: Smart voltage technology, folding handle, three heat/two custom speed settings, cool shock button, ionic output, concentrated nozzle, 

Cons: An adapter still necessary for international travel

Frequent travelers, look no further than the Conair Worldwide Travel Dryer. This savvy styler is downright genius as it's designed with smart voltage technology that detects foreign voltages and adjusts accordingly, making it the ultimate travel companion for anyone traveling all over the place. And while you can guarantee that it won't blow out the lights in your hotel, you will still need an adapter to plug it in.

This hair dryer is also an excellent model for travelers with specific style preferences, as it features three heat and two speed settings, plus a cool shot button, and an ionic output to reduce frizz and naturally enhance the shine of your strands. What's more, though the device doesn't come with multiple accessories, it does include a concentrated nozzle for focused airflow.


Pros: 12 heat and speed settings, suitable for all hair types, patented silencer for quiet styling, weighs less than one pound, features a patented Cool Air Flex Technology, cold shot button, 94 mph motor speed, ion functionality, dual filtration, 1875 watts of electrical power, 9 foot cord, comes with traditional and long-size concentrated nozzles, hanging ring

Cons: High price point, does not fold, not dual voltage

The Ultra Light Pro Dryer is proof that Harry Josh Pro Tools understands that no one should have to sacrifice great hair days in the name of jet-setting. The list of features worth highlighting about this travel hair dryer is lengthy. For example, in terms of travel convenience, the device weighs less than a pound (so it's practically weightless). However, it isn't foldable and has a 9-foot cord that isn't retractable. 

Still, its salon-quality styling perks are what makes this name-brand dryer worth its splurge-level price point. It features a whopping 12 heat and speed settings for optimal customization; a patented silencer technology for whisper-quiet styling, plus a patented Cool Air Flex technology to protect fingers and hands from potential burns; dual filtration to reduce the device's energy expenditure; and ion functionality to sustain your hair's health. What's more, the hair dryer is constructed with a motor that runs at 94 mph, as well as 1875 watts of electrical power to speed up the drying experience. Each purchase also comes with two attachments: One traditional and one long concentrated nozzle. 

Best for curly hair: Shark HyperAir HD113BRN

Pros: Comes with a diffuser attachment for curls, concentrated nozzle, and small cleaning brush, intelligent heat control, cool shot button, three heat, and three airflow settings

Cons: Lower wattage than other travel hair dryers on this list, is not foldable, attachments will take up extra luggage space, high price point

You might recognize Shark for its vacuum and cleaning devices, but similar to Dyson, the brand also manufactures hair dryers. The HD113BRN is an especially great travel option for curly/wavy hair types as it comes with the brand's IQ Curl-Defining Diffuser which is specifically designed for wavy, curly, and coily tresses. Each purchase also includes an IQ 2-in-1 concentrator nozzle for more focused airflow. 

The Shark HyperAir is another smart styler in the category and is designed with HyperAir IQ, a technology that combines intelligently-controlled high-velocity heated air with ionized air. Together, the air flows to speed up the drying process and protect strands from potential damage/breakage. Heat is measured up to 1,000 times per second for quick, efficient, and even distribution, while negative ions are emitted to smooth strands and reduce frizz. That said, for those who prefer a customizable styling experience, the travel hair dryer's heat and airflow settings can be manually increased or decreased at your discretion. 


Pros: Suitable for all hair types, emits as much power as a full-size hair dryer, folds, two heat/speed settings, concentrated nozzle, cool shot button, weighs less than one pound, designed with ionic technology, comes with a travel bag and two-year warranty

Cons: High price point, reviewers note the dryer only lasts a few years

Fans of the Drybar Buttercup Blow-Dryer will love its travel-size version that weighs less than a pound and folds for easy storage in a suitcase or carry-on. The Baby Buttercup provides users with the same level of power as its full-size counterpart, plus the same amount of styling features: two speed/heat settings, a cool shot button to lock in your final look, and a concentrated nozzle to dry isolated areas and ensure your hair's shine is at its most lustrous. The travel hair dryer was also designed with ionic technology to speed up styling time and keep hair looking and feeling healthy.

Most compact: LURA Mini Portable Travel Hair Dryer

Pros: Dual voltage, smaller than an iPhone when folded, weighs less than one pound, two heat/speed settings, does not require a converter, comes with 2-pin EU plug adapter, purchase includes a travel bag, attachments include concentrated nozzle and diffuser, double-layer filter, under $50

Cons: Only 1200 watts of electrical power

This travel hair dryer from LURA is strong but mighty. When folded, the styler measures smaller than an iPhone, plus it weighs less than a pound, making it the ultimate travel companion for jet setters with very little luggage space to spare. The biggest downside to this dryer is it only runs on 1200 watts of electrical power, but what it lacks in wattage it makes up in convenience: It boasts dual voltage and doesn't require a converter, plus your purchase includes a 2-pin EU plug adapter and a travel bag for easy storage. The hair dryer is also great for on-the-go styling, with two heat/speed settings, as well as two attachments (a concentrated nozzle and curl diffuser) that cater to both coily and straight strands.

Fastest drying: T3 Afar

Pros: Auto-dual voltage, folds, suitable for all hair types, reduces frizz, comes with a travel bag, concentrated nozzle included, cool shot button, three heat settings, two-speed settings, drys quietly

Cons: High price point, some reviewers note airflow is not as strong as others on the market

While you can't judge a travel hair dryer by its color, there's no denying the T3 Afar's blush pink hue is what initially caught our attention. Fortunately, the travel hair dryer has many selling points beyond its hue, including the brand's exclusive IonAir Technology that releases ions into the air for speedy, yet gentle styling. The smart design also includes an auto-dual voltage, which automatically adapts to foreign voltages. 

As for its styling properties, the Afar features three heat settings and two speed settings, plus a cool shot button. Each purchase comes with a concentrator nozzle so you can pinpoint areas you want to style and prevent frizz.

Best for damaged hair: Panasonic Nanoe Compact Hair Dryer

Pros: Folding handle, nanoe technology, emits healthy ions into its airflow, comes with a QuickDry Nozzle, 5.5ft cord, is under $100, lightweight, has three heat settings, 1400 watts of electrical power, and one nozzle attachment

Cons: Is not dual voltage, not as powerful as other travel hair dryers

If your strands are suffering from breakage, are dull from dehydration, etc., this travel hair dryer from Panasonic can help breathe new life into your tresses, even whilst on the go. Its Nanoe Technology is key in doing so; it draws moisture from the air to manufacture moisture-rich ions that are emitted through its airflow and expelled onto hair. This leads to less breakage and more healthy, shiny tresses. It's also quick-drying, thanks to the 1400 watts of electrical power generating optimal airflow, and the less time hair is exposed to heat, the better. 


Pros: Budget-friendly, comes in 3 colors (Black, Yellow, Pink), features two heat and speed settings, a hanging ring, lightweight, does not fold

Cons: Only compatible with 120 volts outlets, bulkier than other travel hair dryers  

Revlon has a reputation for its salon-quality styling tools, and its travel hair dryer is no exception. This model retails for under $10, but you can rest assured that it's a high-quality dryer. The proof: It's amassed over a whopping 68,000 reviews on Amazon alone and averages a 4.6 out of a possible 5-star rating. 

While this suitcase-friendly styler isn't foldable and it's a tad bigger than other travel hair dryers on the market,  the device is notably lightweight. It also boasts features like two heat/speed settings for easy styling, as well as a hanging ring for easy storage. The only major caveat is that, while it offers users 1875 watts of electrical power, this travel hair dryer isn't dual-voltage and is only compatible with outlets that can handle up to 120 volts, so you'll have to invest in an adapter if you're traveling internationally.

What to look for in a travel hair dryer

When shopping for a travel hair dryer, there are a few things to consider. If you're an avid international traveler, for example, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Shelly Aguirre stresses the importance of dual voltage. "You also don't have to compromise on power when you want a compact dryer," Aguirre tells Insider, adding that ceramic, ionic, and Tourmaline features are especially great for jet setters that require frizz control and want lots of shine.

Still, there are no styling features that are a "must" for everyone. Like any other beauty purchase, the travel hair dryer you choose has to cater to your specific needs. This also applies to things like the weight or size of the tool. It will ultimately depend on the device, where you're traveling, and how much room you have in your suitcase to store it.

What voltage is ideal?

In short, it all depends on where you're traveling. Different destinations require different voltages, and high-power dryers will require certain adapters. To make sure you're making the right purchase for your getaway, Aguirre recommends referencing the Ceptics Adapter Chart.