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Lose the Wet Look Fast With These Hot Air Guns

Photo: Greg Broom

These high tech dryers all boast innovations like negative ions and far-infrared-emitting ceramics. The makers claim they dry hair faster and leave it healthier. We hit the showers to separate the heat from the hype.

1. Parlux 3800 Eco Dryer

This neon wonder is a workhorse disguised as a pony. It shaved 10 minutes off our normal 45-minute drying time and left our hair so soft that we (briefly) considered skipping our normal arsenal of finishing potions. It’s robust, too. The burly plastic body survived a couple of hard drops to the floor.

WIRED Compact, carry-on size is easy to handle. Hardcore touches like solid silver contacts on switches support the claim of 2,000 hours of drying time. Four temperature settings are almost an embarrassment of riches. Cold shot gets cold fast.

TIRED Small, yes, but also arm-fatiguingly heavy. It may be built from recycled materials, but at the highest setting it dimmed the lights in our home—not exactly ecofriendly.

$229, parlux.it

Rating: 8 out of 10

2. BaByliss Volare V1

The Volare features a motor built by Ferrari (yes, that Ferrari) that blows a hurricane-force 80-mph stream. Our locks were bone-dry in minutes, but this powerful rig’s not for amateurs. Without competent brush skills, you’ll be left looking disheveled. While it was one of the heavier dryers in our test, the even weight distribution meant it was more comfortable in our hands than lighter units.

WIRED Nice to look at, especially in classic Rosso Corsa (race red). Um … Ferarri. The extra-long, extra-flexible cord allows for great maneuverability.

TIRED Loud enough to be mistaken for an actual car. Priced like one, too. Didn’t leave our hair looking salon-shiny.

$400, babylisspro.co.uk

Rating: 7 out of 10

3. Cricket Centrix Q-Zone

The Q-Zone was the Prius of our test: homely, unassuming, and quiet. The painstakingly engineered fan, a cross between a ceiling fan and a jet propeller, is mounted sideways to reduce noise without cutting air speed. But while it does dry faster than some of the more blustery contenders, the oversize fan means it’s bulky, back-heavy, and difficult to store.

WIRED Softer airflow leaves hair smooth and silky, even if your round-brush skills are lacking. Mechanical scream replaced by relatively soothing whir.

TIRED Strong ozone odor, which some of our testers called “clean” and others called “nuclear winter.” Annoying vibration in chassis. Cold-shot setting wasn’t cold.

$150, cricketco.com

Rating: 7 out of 10

4. Sultra The Sophisticate

We were excited to pit a Japanese rig against all these Western blowhards. Unfortunately, the Sophisticate turned out to be a bunch of (ahem) hot air. While the body is sleek and confidently assembled, it was the heaviest and most unbalanced model we tested. It does dry hair lightning-fast, but the trade-off is a roar that loudly suggests—of both dryer and user—”high maintenance.”

WIRED Two-year warranty is more comprehensive than your health care coverage, and the hang ring is the best of the bunch.

TIRED Not enough difference between heat settings. Too long and bulky to use for anything but point-and-shoot. Need a screwdriver to remove air filter for cleaning.

$245, sultra.com

Rating: 5 out of 10

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