InStyle April 14, 2023



The 9 Best Hot Air Brushes of 2023, Tested and Reviewed


We dried and styled our hair with 20 of the most popular hot air brushes out there right now to see which ones were worth the hype.

We’ve written many love letters to hot air brushes for their state-of-the-art ability to dry and style our hair in one go, getting us out the door quicker and leaving our strands looking smooth and lustrous. Although these time-saving beauty tools were once novel, there are now dozens of options out there promising to bring us life-changing results, so we put 20 of the most popular options up to the test to determine which ones practiced what they preached. 

Over several weeks, the team at InStyle — with a range of hair types and concerns — evaluated the performance of each hot air brush, taking into account how easy it was to use, the range of helpful features and settings, the way the bristles felt in our hair, drying time, durability and whether our styles that lasted all day. We also considered other important factors like the tool's overall design, cord length and weight. Our research led us to uncover the best hot air brushes that live up to the hype and deserve a spot in your beauty arsenal.

Best Overall
Shark FlexStyle Air Styling and Drying System

What We Love: This versatile tool simultaneously dries and styles hair with a range of attachments and four different heat settings to leave strands shinier, smoother, and more voluminous.  

What We Don’t Love: It’s hard to maintain a firm grip on the slippery handle.

A truly top-notch hot air brush can bring silky results to all hair types, but this one went a step further. Its ergonomic design, quick dry time, straightforward usage, and accompanying attachments to create a variety of styles earned it the top spot on our list. We partially credit our healthier-looking hair to the tool’s airflow system, which delivers warm air evenly through angled vents instead of blasting it with one stream of damaging heat.

Despite the tool’s seemingly intimidating set-up — it comes with six different attachments, including two brushes and a set of auto-wrap curlers — there wasn’t much of a learning curve and we got the hang of it pretty quickly. Its convenient button placement allowed us to switch between the heat and pressure settings like a pro. Even when we fluffed our bangs with the medium setting and dried the back of our heads on the highest pressure level, we never had to set the dryer down.

While the brush handle is slightly slick, it more than makes up for its lightweight and slim design — two features that helped us get closer to our roots for added volume while making maneuvering around our head with different attachments and settings a dream. 

Price at time of publish: $280

Heat Settings: 4 | Bristle Type: Boar | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 105 inches | Weight: 1.5 lbs | Barrel Size: 1.25 inches

Best Budget
Revlon One-Step Volumizer Plus 2.0 Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush

What We Love: Considered to be the first hot air brush on the market, this dryer-styler still holds its own against the competition to fully dry hair with tangle-free bristles that minimize flyaways. 

What We Don’t Love: The highest temperature setting is very hot. 

The Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer started the entire category of hot air brushes and with its affordable price point, it’s remained just as popular as the day it launched. Its uncomplicated design makes it a great introduction for beginners who want to cut down their drying time and streamline their styling process.

Even when we picked the brush up for the first time, using it was totally instinctual — we simply attached the round brush to the base, chose one of the four heat settings, pressed the button, and counted down the minutes (typically under 25) until we could see our shiny, straighter hair emerge. 

Thanks to its flexible cord that swiveled with our movements while we worked, reaching every part of our hair, even those pesky damp spots in the back of our heads, was effortless. And we were never left wanting more air pressure or warmth. The hottest heat setting could actually get a little too hot for our taste, but we rarely used anyway because the airflow was so powerful, we didn’t need it. We also loved the strong airstream, which got our hair fully dry, unlike other options where our hair was left slightly damp.

In terms of styling, the tangle-free, charcoal-infused bristles brushed through our hair seamlessly, leaving us with less frizz overall. We did have to run a flat iron over our hair when we sought out a super-straight look, but its reasonable cost and ability to create curly and full-bodied styles made it one of our go-tos.

Price at time of publish: $40

Heat Settings: 4 | Bristle Type: Charcoal-infused nylon | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 71 inches | Weight: 1.63 lbs | Barrel Size: 2.4 inches

Best Splurge
Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler

What We Love: The smartly designed hot air brush has several attachments and innovative technology to control airflow temperature, giving it the potential to replace all other styling tools. 

What We Don’t Love: The round brush is slightly small. 

Dyson’s Airwrap provided everything we needed to achieve full and bouncy styles while ensuring our hair still looked and felt healthy. In fact, after using the multifunctional tool, we questioned if we should ditch our drawer full of other heat stylers in favor of this tech-savvy option. It seemed to be part robot, part hot hair brush, with its wide range of advanced heat controls and speed settings, along with innovative technology that blows negative ion particles out with the airstream to efficiently dry our hair without using the extreme temperatures that make our hair vulnerable to damage.

Navigating the curling, shaping, and smoothing attachments was simple, although mastering the clockwise counter-clockwise motion of the curling wands took a bit of trial and error. 

We were particularly impressed by the Coanda smoothing dryer attachment for how it tamped down nearly every flyaway and saved us from getting a frizzy baby hair halo at the end of a long day. The ballpoint bristle paddle brush was also a standout attachment, leaving our hair looking glossy and smooth. It also comes with a sleek storage case to protect your investment.

The only thing we didn’t like was the width of the round brush. It’s not as thick as other options and the skinniness of the barrel caused our fine hair to get stuck a few times while wrapping our hair around it.

Price at time of publish: $600

Heat Settings: 4 | Bristle Type: Ball-tip | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 104 inches | Weight: 1.5 lbs  | Barrel Size: 1.2 inches

Best for Short Hair
L'Ange Le Volume 2-in-1 Volumizing Brush Dryer

What We Love: The design of the brush is easy to maneuver, so you can slide it right up against the root for extra lift or at the crown to smooth any curly baby hairs underneath.

What We Don’t Love: The airflow is a little weak. 

Short hair might already have a reputation for being low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still prone to getting flat or frizzy like everyone else. Luckily, these are two issues that the L’ange hot air brush was designed to tackle. 

As one of the lightest options on this list, we could blast our roots with heat to get a more voluminous finish while the titanium plates, small barrel, and cool shot button helped tamp down on flyaways. Although the air pressure was a little less intense compared to similar options, it didn’t impact the brush’s capacity to dry hair quickly — sometimes even under 10 minutes, especially when we started with slightly damp hair versus sopping wet.

We were equally blown away by its other design features, namely, how the cord stayed out of our way while blow drying (we often forgot it was even there), while the settings dial was thoughtfully placed at the bottom of the handle to prevent us from accidentally pressing the wrong button as we styled. 

The pretty, peppy pink handle felt comfortable in our hands, courtesy of its concave dip and non-slip matte finish to give us a firm grip. Plus, it’s an option we’d feel good about traveling with too since it includes a protective slipcover, a small comb to clean the bristles, and a sturdy storage case.

Price at time of publish: $199

Heat Settings: 3 | Bristle Type: Nylon and tufted | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 88 inches | Weight: 1.4 lbs | Barrel Size: 3 inches

Best for Volume
Drybar Reserve 3-In-1 Interchangeable Blow Dryer

What We Love: With ultra-lightweight attachments that dry andsmooth hair, all hair types can use this brush to add volume and shine to their strands.

What We Don’t Love: Adding and removing the attachments is a little tricky.

The Drybar Reserve Blow-Dryer completely changed our view on what a thick, voluminous blowout looks like. With three attachments, and multiple temperature and power settings, this brush makes it easier than ever to have sky-high light and big, bouncy supermodel hair. 

Throughout the testing period, we found something to love about each of the three attachments: The concentrator dried our hair at record speed, the paddle brush vents distributed air flow evenly for a smooth finish But it was the round brush we kept coming back to for its volumizing magic. When we angled the airflow horizontally at our root, the nearly 2.5-inch barrel and curved edges let us get super close to the root to amp up the volume for hair that looked thick and full and lasted all day.

But no matter what attachment we fancied that day, the nylon and tufted bristles slid through our hair like butter, and the aluminum plates helped maintain warmth without causing the brush to overheat.

We had a little trouble when swapping out the attachments, as we needed to hold down the two side buttons (not easy, especially with long nails) and pull the attachment off at the same time. Although removing the attachments took some patience, once we snapped them in place, they stayed locked in and never wavered during styling.

Price at time of publish: $349

Heat Settings: 4 | Bristle Type: Nylon and tufted bristles | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 108 inches | Weight: 1 lb | Barrel Size: 2.44 inches

Best for Curly Hair
Bondi Boost Blowout Brush Pro

What We Love: The 360° airflow vents dried our thick, dense hair fast without causing our curls to tangle or frizz.

What We Don’t Love: The location of the cool shot button is inconvenient.

Styling curly hair can feel like a chore, and if it becomes frizzy or flat after styling, it’d be easy to wonder if it was worth the time. However, we can absolutely say that the Bondi Boost Blowout Brush gave us the soft, touchable blowout we’ve always wanted. Its powerful airflow dried every inch of our thick, dense hair at a fast clip, and the dual nylon and tufted bristles didn’t snag on our delicate coils. 

For only having one attachment, this no-frills brush still packs a punch. The three inch barrel is the perfect size to style various looks, while the curved handle lets you maintain a tight grip so you can create the amount of tension you need to straighten your curls.  As a bonus, it never once overheated during our weeks of testing.

We were shocked and over-the-moon happy to see our drying and styling time cut down to just a half hour. We also appreciated how long our smooth finish lasted — it even survived nights we didn’t sleep on our silk pillowcase or have a flyaway serum on hand. We attribute the long-lasting finish to the blast of cool air to set our style in place, but we wish the cool shot was a button, rather than a setting on the twist-style dial, to make it easier to reach.

Price at time of publish: $70

Heat Settings: 3 | Bristle Type: Nylon and tufted | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 115 inches | Weight: 2 lbs | Barrel Size: 3 inches

Best for Fine Hair
Hot Tools 24K Gold One-Step Blowout and Volumizer

What We Love: The brush gave us shiny, flyaway-free results in less than 30 minutes and held the style all day.

What We Don’t Love: The highest heat setting can feel uncomfortably hot. 

Design details, like the innovative boar tech bristles and an extra wide barrel brush, helped this tool transform our fine hair into the full, luscious locks we typically only see in a salon mirror. 

Although this brush is pretty no-frills, the nearly 3-inch wide barrel brush delivered definition and volume to our hair with ease. We were also grateful that the barrel was thick enough to allow us to wrap our fine hair around it without catching or getting stuck in the bristles.

While we initially eyed the gorgeous 24K gold design on the barrel surface, we loved it even more once we saw how the gold-plated material helped distribute heat evenly for a faster, more efficient blow dry. We oohed and ahhed over how healthy and shiny our hair looked after each use, especially our ends, which never looked shredded or split.

Although this brush did get quite hot on the highest setting, it didn’t reduce the look of our glossy finish or cause errant flyaways, but it’s something to bear in mind if your scalp is sensitive.

Price at time of publish: $79

Heat Settings: 3 | Bristle Type: Boartech, charcoal-infused | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 96 inches | Weight: 2 lbs | Barrel Size: 2.8 inches

Best for Shine
Drybar The Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush

What We Love: The ionic technology leaves hair silky, soft and shiny.

What We Don't Love: This doesn't completely smooth out natural curls.

There's no doubt that Drybar completely changed the name of the game when it comes to a quick blowout. After opening up Drybar salons nationwide, the brand has brought styling home with their Drybar Double Shot hot air brush device. We loved this option for its larger, round brush head, the variety of bristles, and the shine factor, too.

We found the Double Shot brush easy to maneuver, likely due to its flatter and wider head. We also appreciated that the tip of the brush head was a non-heating portion, so we were able to hold onto it to help guide and roll the brush up to the shaft and pause to create a tighter curl. It wasn't as lightweight as others on this list, but it was comfortable to hold.

We absolutely loved how shiny and silky our hair looked after each blowout, courtesy of the tool's ionic technology, which also helped us achieve a completely frizz-free style. The combination of silicon and nylon tufted bristles latched firmly onto our hair as we moved the hot air brush around and provided the perfect amount of tension to create long-lasting styles. The highest heat setting did get a little too toasty for our preference, although it didn't damage our hair. We'd recommend using a heat protectant before picking up the tool, just to be on the safe side.

If you're looking for a hot air brush to add a bit of shine, the Drybar might be your best pick. Alternatively, if you have really coarse, curly, or natural hair, one of the other options in this lineup might suit you best.

Price at time of publish: $155

Heat Settings: 3 | Bristle Type: Nylon and silicon | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 108 inches | Weight: 2.6 lbs | Barrel Size: 2.44 inches

Best Versatility
T3 Airebrush Duo

What We Love: There are multiple options for air speed and temperature.

What We Don't Love: This seemed to take longer to dry hair completely than other brushes in our test.

First off, let's just take a moment to appreciate how sexy the T3 AireBrush Duo looks — with the clean white base and interchangeable heads, as well as the rose gold accents, you won't want to be hiding this device underneath your bathroom sink. It earned our high praise for its ease of use, the amount of control we had over the air speed and temperature (the T3 has more setting options compared to others), as well as the way our hair looked after each use — think smooth, soft, silky, and zero frizz.

We enjoyed how easy it was to use this tool compared to a classic hair styling round brush and blow dryer. We alternated between the two attachments, the round brush and flat paddle brush, depending on the look we wanted. Regardless of which brush we went with, the result was the same — a salon-quality blowout that looked like we spent a lot of time on it (rather than the record drying time it offered). That being said, we imagine that the unusually long base might be a bit difficult to work around shorter hair.

While we appreciated that the brush didn't get too hot to keep our hair protected from damage, we do wish it got a little hotter to reduce the number of passes it took to straighten our thick hair, but once it was straight, it stayed in place all day.

We think this hot air brush is best suited for those with thinner locks. Thanks to the five heat settings, three speed settings and two interchangeable heads, you'll have 15 different combinations to try, giving you the opportunity to style your hair any way you'd like.

Price at time of publish: $190

Heat Settings: 5 | Bristle Type: Nylon and silicon | Cool Shot: Yes | Cord Length: 108 inches | Weight: 1.46 lbs | Barrel Size: 2.5 inches

Our Testing Process

To start, we spent dozens of hours to carefully select the 20 most popular hot air brushes to test. We first conducted a test in our New York City-based Lab under the guidance of expert hairstylists with decades of experience. Next, each InStyle editor took a hot air brush home to integrate into their routine over the next four weeks, rating the tool on how easy it was to use, if it thoroughly dried their hair, and whether the tools had any notable design features, like a cool shot button or innovative attachments. We also noted whether the hot air brush delivered on a speedy, smooth, and voluminous blowout. The hot air brushes that earned our top scores are featured on this list.

What to Keep in Mind

Heat Settings

Using a hot air brush that offers a range of heat settings will ensure you can create a mix of versatile styles and finishes. A brush with multiple heat settings also means it can work across all hair types and textures without causing any damage.

Fine and thin hair already dries without much effort, so blasting it with extremely high heat will make them vulnerable and more prone to damage. Lower heat settings work best on fine or damaged hair to keep it safe and healthy.

Those with thick, coarse or curly hair will need a higher heat setting to get a soft, smooth finish. Regardless of your hair type, finishing your blowout with a cool shot blast will lock your style in place.

Michael Dueñas, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Veluer Creative, recommends picking a hot air brush with at least two temperature settings because not all hair textures require the same amount of heat. Being able to toggle between temperatures as you style reduces harmful exposure and brings healthier hair to all.


In terms of design, look for a brush with firm and evenly spaced bristles, which will prevent hair from getting caught as you run the brush through your hair. Material-wise, A mix of materials, like boar and nylon, will untangle hair and impart shine with each stroke. If your hair is prone to knots, plastic-capped bristles will gently remove snags without tugging. 

Raven Hurtado, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago,  recommends that anyone with long or thick hair should consider a hot air brush that has ceramic or titanium bristles, as they will add even more shine.  Charcoal-infused bristles, like the ones on the Hot Tools One-Step Pro Blowout Styler, are less common but offer a smoothing boost to hair that tends to get frizzy.

Cool Shot

If you’ve been ignoring the cool shot button on your hot tools, you’ve been missing out on serious shine and longevity. This setting will really help set and style your hair to keep it in place all day. Hurtado explains when you top off your drying and styling session with a blast of cool air, it closes the cuticle and helps prevent frizz, leaving your hair with a shiny smooth finish.

Your Questions, Answered

What is the difference between a hot brush and a hot air brush?

“A hot brush is usually radiant heat or infrared heat and can not be used on wet hair,” says Dueñas, who adds that a hot air brush is just it sounds — it’s a bristled brush that heats up and blows air to straighten and smooth dry or slightly damp hair. “The hot hair brush is round, and you have to manually rotate so you get more lift and bounce with volume,” adds Hurtado.

Sometimes these tools include attachments, like a paddle or round brush, so you can create a variety of different looks while drying the hair at the same time, making the entire process more efficient. 

If you’re only choosing a brush with one attachment, Dueñas tells us to look for one with a cylinder shape because it allows you to wrap your hair around it, thus creating more volume.  

Is it okay to use a hot air brush every day?

Short answer: Yes, says Dueñas, who adds that “If you start to feel damage in your hair, as with any blow dryer, add a heat protectant to wet hair before styling.” He also recommends opting for a hot air brush with at least two temperature settings, so you’re not frying hair at high temperatures every day. 

Do you use a hot air brush on wet or dry hair?

Unlike a hot brush, a hot air brush replaces your blow dryer, so it’s safe to use on wet or dry hair, says Dueñas. However, because sopping wet strands are super fragile, both of the stylists we interviewed said to wait until your hair is at least damp — although 70 percent dry would be the best — before picking up a hot tool for the fastest and healthiest results.

What Is InStyle Picks?

Did you notice the InStyle Picks seal of approval at the top of this story? That means our team of testers has reviewed every product on this list using a unique methodology to ensure it's really worth your time, money, and attention. We may get samples for free to try but we never promise positive (or any!) coverage in exchange. Put simply: InStyle Picks are products we love, and we've put them to the test to be sure you will too.

Why Shop with Us

Irene Richardson is a writer covering fashion and beauty trends for InStyle. For this article, she drew on research from the InStyle testing team who scoured the market for the most effective hot air brushes and personally tried several hot air brushes over the testing period. She also consulted expert hairstylist Raven Hurtado and celebrity hairstylist Michael Dueñas for their insights into what you should expect from a truly fantastic heat styling tool.