11+ Best Travel Hair Dryer for Portable Blow Dying

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

After we have planned the perfect getaway. Our big fears while traveling are, overpacking or under packing. Both can cost you time and money.

If you overpack, you won't have as much space to bring home souvenirs you bought while on your trip. Not to mention the infamous extra luggage fees at the airport.

Then again if you under pack, you must deal with not having something that you really need. That means you have to find a good local salon that is familiar with your hair type. Become a hot mess and hate most of your vacation photos. Settling for the hotel’s hairdryer or buying a new one. All of these are very Scary ideas especially if you are traveling overseas.

Another common concern is weight. Whether you are traveling by air or you are a backpacker, weight is paramount.

In this article, we will show you highly recommended travel size hair dryers, and not so common alternatives. Informative tips on overcoming the challenge of a smaller dryer. And answer the question. What is a dual voltage switch, and how to use it?

The first thing that you need to know​

  • Is there electricity​?
  • How much do you know about your travel destination?​

In this modern age, the question of whether there will be electricity seems rather silly. However, it is still a valid question. ​

That's an important question if you are heading for someplace new, especially to a foreign country, be informed of what situations you may encounter.

A friend of mine visited the middle east a couple of years ago, and she thought there would be issues with power. When she asked the hotel owner about power outages, he looked at her as if she had two heads. He said they never lose power.

My friend had traveled extensively in countries like the one where I live. We have what is called 24 hr power. But it is actually about 18-20 hrs of power in most cases. If you want to travel off the beaten path and see how the local population lives, the rural areas receive electricity 8-10 hours of the day. The rest of the day we usually have limited power from batteries that get converted to 110v energy.

Understanding the local power situation is more than just knowing If the power is 110v or 220v You need to understand that there are different plug configurations. And different sources of energy.

12v or 24v DC power, for example, that is converted to 110v or 220v is becoming common in the USA and in other countries as an alternative to the power grid. You will find this kind of power if you use travel trailers, boats, wind, solar, and water turbine power(off the grid). If the power is inverted and not direct, you can use a regular dryer, but it should have low wattage, ( I recommend 1000 watts or less) so you don't completely discharge the batteries or damage your inverter. There are 12v hairdryers available but they are not highly rated mostly because of the low output.

When choosing a travel hair dryer things to consider

  • Dual voltage and adapters​
  • Size ​
  • Weight​
  • The functionality of a full-size model ​
  • Accessories ​
  • Price​

What is dual voltage and how does it work?

Essentially dual voltage means you can use your travel hairdryer in any country, the only thing you may need is a plug adapter if the plug configuration is different from your home country.

For better understanding in this article, we use the term: 110 v to refer to (90-127v) and 220v to refer to (220-250v). The voltage can fluctuate, but most hair dryers have a range of input voltage that is acceptable that will not hurt the dryer.

All appliances are manufactured for a particular country. Different countries have different standards for power output and plug configurations. Appliances are wired or electronically programmed to only accept certain amounts of voltage. If these parameters are ignored the device can be damaged or worse, you can get hurt.

What happens if you plug a 110V appliance into a 220V socket?

Usually, the plug configuration prevents you from doing so. But generally speaking, if the voltage is too high, it draws too much current and burns out. If the voltage is too low, it draws too little current and does not perform well.

If you are plugging a 110 V appliance into a 220V outlet you can only hope that your dryer has some sort of internal protection. Otherwise: The hairdryer will develop close to four times the designed heat, could catch fire and burn out within minutes, if not seconds. If it is an AC motor Hair Dryer, it will burn out very quickly. If it is a universal drive motor, (or DC motor), it will work harder than intended, and wear out quickly.

An example of a travel-sized DC motor hair dryer:

If you plug a 220V dryer into 110V outlet, it will last a little longer than 110v into a 220v before it dies. But: An AC mechanical drive may fail to start, or take more current than it is designed for being more expensive to operate, and eventually burn out.”(source GoHz.com)

You can buy a 220v converter so that your dryer will work smoothly. That's great if you want to pack your favorite hair dryer that doesn't have a dual voltage switch. A word of caution: converters are rated for certain wattage output. So don't use a dryer rated for 2000 watts with a converter that is rated for 500 watts.

Appliances manufactured to accept a larger range of power input, are universal, except for the plug configuration. Thus it doesn't need a dual voltage switch ( the battery-operated dryer at the end of this article, is an example)

In the world of hair dryers, a dual voltage switch. It is a manual switch that changes over the power input so you don't burn up your hairdryer.

Pro Tip: Look for the dual voltage switch on the handle, it looks like a screw and is clearly marked with the voltage. You will need a small flat-tip screwdriver or a thin coin to change over the voltage.

For more useful information about dual voltage read Best European Hair Straighteners

Travel Hair Dryer With an Automatic Voltage Switch

Conair 1875 Watt Worldwide Travel Hair Dryer with Smart Voltage Technology ​
Conair 1875 Watt Worldwide Travel Hair Dryer with Smart Voltage Technology and Folding Handle, White
  • 3.6 x 6.1 x 10.4 inches: 10.6 ounces​
  • 3 heats/2-speed settings for all hair types – PLUS - cool shot button​
  • Ionic technology​
  • 1875 Watt​

3 Smallest Of The Most Compact Travel Hair Dryers

Of course, nothing can beat the “World’s smallest hair dryer” for size and weight. But in reality, it’s just a fan that happens to look like a blow dryer.

We wanted a compact travel dryer that’s worth buying and that will really do the job.

BaByliss Pro BABNT053T Nano Titanium Travel Dryer​
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Travel Dryer, Blue
  • Smallest and lightest​
  • 5.5 x 2.5 x 6.2 inches ; 9.6 ounces​
  • 1000 watts​
  • 2 heat/speed settings​
  • Diffuser attachment ​
Deogra Travel Hair Dryer for Kids - Portable Mini Hair Dryer Dual Voltage for International Use​
Deogra Travel Blow Dryer, Mini Hair Dryer for Kids/Little Girl, 1000w Portable Small Compact Hair Dryer, Folding Handle, 2 Settings, Diffuser & Concentrator, Storage Bag, Dual Voltage, Children's Gift
  • 6.2 x 2 x 4.1 inches ; 13.3 ounces ​
  • 1000 watt​
  • 1.85 meter extra long and tangle-free cord with ACLI Plug for safety assurance​
  • 2 accessories Concentrator nozzle and diffuser​
  • 2-speed settings​
Mini Compact & Lightweight Hair Dryer, Jinri 1000W Travel Blow Dryer​
JINRI 1000W Professional Salon Hair Dryer Ionic Infrared Blow Hair Dryer With Diffuser & Concentrator Attachments for Curly Hair, Black
  • 8 x 2 x 5 inches​
  • 12 ounces Tourmaline Ceramic​
  • DC Motor​
  • Styling Concentrator Nozzle ​
  • 2 Speeds 2 Heat Settings​
  • CETL Certified (environmental tested) ​
  • Not Dual Voltage​

The Travel Dryer Who Watches Her Weight

Hot Tools Ionic Travel Dryer with Folding Handle and Dual Voltage
Hot Tools Pro Artist 1875W Ionic Compact Hair Dryer | Lightweight, Perfect for Travel
  • 6.5 x 2.5 x 5 inches; 8 ounces (some reviewers say that the product weighs more like 12-19oz including the cord)​
  • Diffuser attachment ​
  • 2 heat/speed settings​
  • Ionic ​
Amika Mighty Mini Dryer Obliphica
No products found.
  •  (Runner Up) (Most Stylish) ​
  • 8 x 3 x 6 inches ; 12 ounces​
  • 2 heat/speed settings​
  • Tourmaline-Infused Ceramic Components​
  • 1000 Watt ​
  • Travel Airflow Concentrator and Diffuser​
  • No folding handle​
No products found.
Conair miniPRO Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Dryer with Folding Handle
Conair miniPRO Tourmaline Ceramic Travel Hair Dryer with Folding Handle, Red
  • 3.8 x 6 x 9.9 inches: 15.2 ounces ​
  • 1200 Watt​
  • 2 Heat/Speed settings​
  • Ionic ​

Best Travel Hair Dryer With a Diffuser Attachment

StyleCraft PeeWee 1200 Dual Voltage Folding Handle Travel Dryer (best overall) (best portable hair dryer for thick hair)

StyleCraft PeeWee 1200 Dual Voltage Folding Handle Travel Dryer
StyleCraft Peewee Dual Voltage Travel Dryer, Folding Handle, Lightweight Portable Size, Tri-Plex Technology, Concentrator Nozzle, Diffuser, Travel Bag, Black
  • 6.9 x 3 x 7.7 inches ; 1.1 pounds ​
  • Ceramic and Tourmaline ionic ​
  • Diffuser attachment​
  • 7-foot power cord (longer than most travel sized dryers​

Cordless Hair Dryers 

Yes, this is a thing. 

Fun fact. Did you know that butane gas was the power source of choice for travelers in the 1970s, and1980s? Hard to believe especially since 9/11.  Now common sense would tell you that this seems like a bad idea.  The butane hairdryers, in reality,  was a cordless hot airbrush

So if you don't want to deal with voltage issues or a cord.   Here are some dryers to consider 

VLOXO Cordless Portable DC Hair Dryer Only Cold Wind Design Speed Cooling with Folding Handle
No products found.

Pros:

  • Power- Input: AC100-240V 50/60Hz (rechargeable in any country)​
  • Product Weight: About 345g ( just under 1lb)​

Cons:

  • Blows only cold air ​
No products found.
Cordless Hair Dryer (2-battery edition)-420 Watts FreeDryer/battery
No products found.

Running time for this dryer is 15 minutes on warm, and 7 minutes on hot

Pros:

  • Blows warm air ​
  • 100V~240V AC adaptor and in the car with 12V power cable​
  • EMR free ​
  • Includes two batteries ​

Cons:

  • 3.1 pounds​
No products found.

FAQ

How hot does this dryer get?

FreeDryer generates 420Watts power output, which is the highest of the kind. The warmness provided is around the second speed of a traditional hairdryer. (By Tek Maker USA SELLER  on February 23, 2019)

Travel tip:  Battery-powered hair tools should be packed in your carry on luggage; batteries are not permitted to fly in checked baggage.  For airport security, one can hand carry batteries under 100WH in total. The FreeDryer battery is of 38WH each. (By Tek Maker USA SELLER  on November 28, 2018) You can fly with both batteries if you don't have a lot of other electronic devices. 

The future is coming soon!  This cordless dryer will soon be released. I'm excited to see the final product. 

 Volo cordless infrared dryer (not yet available for sale on Amazon

The Challenges of Using a Travel Sized Hair Dryer 

These are a few areas where our mini hair dryer might be challenged 

  1. Small nozzle opening 
    1. Harder to find attachments that fit. 

We recommend getting a small hair dryer that comes with it's own smaller sized attachment 

  1. Shorter cords
    1. This is a problem when you don’t have an outlet next to your mirror 

The best one we found had a 7ft cord. 

  1. More drying time 
    1. We don’t want to spend more time doing our hair especially on vacation
    2. We recommend a few more watts for those with thicker hair 
    3. More velocity can also help 
    4. Tourmaline/far-infrared can speed up the drying time
  1.  

Some travelers have mentioned they wanted to find a travel-sized Hairdryer with a retractable cord. 

Conair 1875 Watt Cord Keeper Hair Dryer with Folding Handle and Retractable Cord (compact hair dryer)
Conair 1875 Watt Cord Keeper Travel Hair Dryer with Folding Handle and Retractable Cord Teal, Blue
  • 9.6 x 6.5 x 4.1 inches ; 1.5 pounds
  • 1875 watts 
  • Ionic technology 
  • Retractable Cord
  • 2 heats/speeds; Cool shot

We are now better prepared to find just the travel-sized Hairdryer we need to look our best and focus on the great experience of our travels. 

No need to fear overpacking or bad hair days while on vacation. 

Alternatives to the standard travel hairdryer 

Hot Air brushes 

Andis 1875-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styling Hair Dryer ( doesn’t fold )

In case you already have a travel-sized dryer of your dreams but no diffuser. Here’s a great diffuser that fit most travel-sized dryers 

Unless stated all dryers in this article are dual Voltage and have a folding handle

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