The Blow Dryer Comparison ($400, $200 & $30 blow dryers!)


T3 Cura, Dyson, Pro Beauty Tools

Trying out beauty products and tools is easily one of my favorite parts of my job. I’m always interested to see if the items live up to the hype or even just their description!

I wanted to compare a small range of blow dryers and talk through the pro’s and con’s of each. The range I tested out is pretty wide, but there are still so many other dryers that I could talk about in between $30 and $400 dollars, but after many requests about my feedback from the Dyson I thought I’d share my thoughts on each in a quick video.

One of my favorite dryers is the T3 Cura. Click on the link below to watch the video showing how I get a smooth, volumized blow out with it!

How to blow dry your hair with a round brush (using the T3 Cura Luxe dryer)

The blow dryer I used the longest when I worked behind the chair is the Rusk Speed Freak. It’s super powerful and has a strong stream of air. Sometimes I would roll the gears unknowingly but after I figured out how to hold it I wouldn’t adjust the temperature or speed while I dried.

Another great Rusk blow dryer is the CTC Lite. My sister still uses this one that I bought for her years ago. I forgot how powerful it is without being heavy!

My favorite travel blow dryer is the T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer. It’s the best travel dryer I’ve ever used. If you work out and get ready for the day at the gym, or simply travel often, this dryer delivers serious power in a small size.

There is so much more to say about blow dryers, and why it matters to get a high quality one, but I’ll wrap the comparison post up here. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll use them to write a follow up post!

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Comments (53)

  1. Posted August 2, 2018

    Ah, thank you for the thorough review! I’ve been looking for a new hairdryer for the longest time – I never upgraded from my old one because I want to invest in the perfect one! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Angie says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Love Rusk hairdryers! You can even sometimes find them on Groupon!

  3. Kerrie says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I bought the T3 Cura after watching your round brush blow out video and I love it! My hair has felt dry and straw like for a while now and this blow dryer makes it so soft! I also purchased the T3 round brush and paddle brush and I love those as well. I also took your advice on the Aquage Uplifting Foam for volume and it really does give such great volume!! I love it! Thanks for your help!

  4. DY says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Hi, in the video, you mentioned a link to a curling iron review. Would love to see that review.

    • Amanda says
      Posted August 2, 2018

      Just search “curling iron” and it’s the first post the comes up.

  5. Lori C says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    This is great timing for this review! My old T3 hair dryer inherited from my mom just left this earth unexpectedly (RIP T3) and left me blow drying my hair in front of the fan before work one morning! I ran out to Target and bought the Revlon PRO that you show in your video while waiting for my Dyson to arrive. So I’ve tried all 3 as well. I have to say the Revlon PRO sucked in my hair while drying it both times I used it so it’s absolutely the worst of the 3 as it caused some serious breakage to my hair. I had to be very careful with it and it still grabbed at my hair. It went back! I didn’t even keep it for that emergency backup. I have to agree the Dyson is good but after using it for 2 weeks, I’m still unsure if it’s $400 worthy. It’s comfortable and super fast. I do love that I’m not a hot sweaty mess after blow drying my hair and could be the sole reason I keep it. The attachments are magnetic which is cool. I do NOT love the cord. It takes up the entire electrical outlet and has that (battery pack?) on it which is cumbersome. I think I’d be just as happy with another T3 for $200 less.

  6. Allie says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    My fiancé is going to be so happy to hear that you didn’t love the Dyson dryer 😂. That price tag is outrageous!

  7. Michele says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I found that actually spending money in a dryer was well worth it. I’d go to target twice a year to replace $30 dryers again and again because they just kept burning out. I realized if I just invested in s better dryer, I’d quit throwing good money after bad. Such a better plan…I’ve now had the same dryer for 2 years!

  8. Emily says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    This is in my top favorite of your posts. I love love love your comparison price products. It is so helpful and so educational!

  9. Melissa says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I’ve been debating purchasing the T3 from the Nordstrom sale, so I was very excited to see this post! One thing that is still unanswered for me is the primary difference in the T3 vs. the $30 blow dryer. I understand there is a longer cord, but is there a difference in the performance or outcome to justify the cost?

    • Kat says
      Posted September 25, 2018

      I’m super late here, and obviously not Kate, but I have a full-size T3 dryer (not sure which model) but it is GREAT. I also have a less expensive dryer that I picked up on sale for around $40 a few years ago and while it did the job, I found that it would get VERY hot and burn my hair and the cold shot is garbage. It’s very loud and takes about twice as long to dry, with more overall breakage and frizziness. Not the case with my T3 – it drys my hair fairly quickly (I have massively thick hair), does not overheat, is the quietest dryer I’ve owned, and the cold shot actually turns cold pretty quickly and is useful in the hot Florida weather!

      Admittedly I have not tried other expensive dryers so I may be slightly biased, but I’ve owned at least 6-8 different cheaper ones through the years and nothing compares to the T3 – even the model I managed to find at Costco for like $170.

  10. Katrina says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Kate, do you have any thoughts or have you ever used the BaBylissPRO Titanium 1875 Dryer? I was looking at it at a local Beauty supply and it looks to be a good dryer, but thought I would see if you have ever used it before?

    • Nichole says
      Posted August 3, 2018

      I’ve been using a babyliss for years then tried the T3 to compare and returned it. Seemed similar to me.

  11. Posted August 2, 2018

    This was so helpful! Great vid!

  12. April says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Love this video! I noticed an advertisement for the Tyme Styler just above the comment box – have you had any experience with it??? Would you consider doing a review on it?? ☺️☺️

  13. Noelle says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I’ve never heard of a Rusk hair dryer before this post. I kind of want a new hair dryer but don’t want to pay for one lol! However . . . $30 isn’t bad at all. 🙂


  14. Jennifer C says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Thank you SO MUCH! I was very curious about the Dyson and you made up my mind. Costco has a T3 right now. I wonder if it is this one?

    • Kiera says
      Posted August 2, 2018

      I just went to Costco’s website to check out the price and the reviews were not good. Too bad, the price was great!

  15. Jessica A says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Thank you!!!!! I am one of those rare people that do not own a hair dryer because I normally go to bed with my hair wet. However, I am finding that I am taking more showers in the morning and need to dry my hair for work. Someone had recommended a Bayliss, I think it was, but I wasn’t sure what to even look for in a dryer.

  16. Dana says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I bought the Rusk Speedfreak from your recommendation and have LOVED it!! It’s easily been 2-1/2 years old!

  17. Lindsey says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    The Dyson is the best I’ve ever used, but I have thick, curly hair. I can understand why someone with finer hair might not like it, but it’s the only dryer that I’ve ever been able to blow my hair practically straight with, so for me, it was 100% worth the price tag.

  18. Allie says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Perfect timing! I’m on the market for a new dryer and you always have the best recommendations! xAllie

  19. Jennifer says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Which Rusk hair dryer would you suggest more? The speed freak or the ctc lite?

  20. Jenny says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    This is SO helpful! Love these comparison reviews!

  21. Leah says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I bought the Rusk Speed Freak years ago on your recommendation. I love it! Still works like brand new. I even bought one for my mom. A little on the heavy side, but I’ll call it an arm workout. 😉

  22. Annie says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    This was so informative! Thanks for sharing <3

  23. Ryan Bruns says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I got my T3 Cura after your review of the Luxe version!! They happened to be having a sale on it and I love it. I get more compliments on blow dry days than I ever did before!

  24. Andrea says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I’m so glad you posted this review! I’ve been debating getting the dyson dryer for months but after seeing your review I bought the T3 Cura in the Nordstrom sale. Can’t wait to try it out!

  25. Jeanne says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    As a stylist for 30 years my blow dryer is a very important tool. The Dyson is hands down the best blow dryer I’ve ever used in the salon. Unless you have very curly and coarse hair it’s overkill for home use, imo, for a stylist it’s a dream come true. I’m wondering if you used the attachment nozzle when using it because if your ends felt dry and your hair was blowing all over the place causing it to frizz it sounds, to me, that you weren’t using the Dyson properly. You should always use the attachment nozzle or your hair will come out frizzy.

  26. Diane Carter says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    Great post! Thanks for the info! I’ve been on a quest for a great travel dryer! Have you ever heard of/tried the JINRI foldable travel dryer? Wondering how it compares to the T3 featherweight… love to have any opinion you have! Thanks!

  27. Audra says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    I bought the Rusk Speed Freak a couple years ago on your recommendation and still love it! Next question- the brishes you use are T3 right? What size is your round brush? Do you think there is a difference in round brush quality at different price points?

  28. Ashley H says
    Posted August 2, 2018

    What’s the difference between ionic and tourmaline? At ulta those are the 2 main filters they have and I don’t know the difference or importance.

  29. Posted August 3, 2018

    I can highly recommend the Parlux 385 light! In Europe they are in the $90 range and it’s absolutely worth it. It’s used in many salons by professionals. Fast, lightweight and good results. I wasn’t sure when I got it but I could never use a different one anymore. Of coarse it also helps if you can do the right hand movements…like you do!

  30. Marianne says
    Posted August 3, 2018

    Thank you for your review! I must say, your blowdrying videos were really a gamechanger for me.
    Unfortunately T3 isn’t available in Europe and I am hesitant to buy one in the US, because of the different voltage. Do you happen to have any other recommendations for good blow dryers, so I hopefully can find one, that is available here! Thank you very much!

  31. Anita says
    Posted August 3, 2018

    Love that blue top you’re wearing! Looks great on you.
    Details, please?!

  32. Karen says
    Posted August 3, 2018

    I appreciate this review! I splurged and bought a Dyson a while ago and absolutely LOVE it. I have very thick wavy hair (hair for 2+ people, according to my hair dresser lol) so I find it perfect for me. My hair dries fast and smooth when I round brush (I still dry it in sections). I have always used a professional dryer but now prefer the Dyson. Just my opinion from a thick haired girl! Love the blog and all the topics.

  33. Jenn says
    Posted August 3, 2018

    YES- the Rusk Speed Freak is still available at Ulta! I grabbed it last spring when it was on sale during their 30 days of hair promo!

  34. Denita says
    Posted August 3, 2018

    I have the type of hair that never seems to dry, you think it is dry and then stand still for 5 minutes and realize that it still is not dry….I can get dry hair with the dyson, usually in about 10 minutes. I use moroccon oil on my hair before blow drying, no other heat protectant and it hasn’t dried my hair out. I do have a water softener at my house, so that helps my hair not feel dry as well I think. So, as stated, for some hair types, it is a really good hair dryer.

  35. Brenda R. says
    Posted August 3, 2018

    Kate ! I would love to hear your thoughts on the Revlon blow dry styler – There is the paddle style and the oval volumizer style-

    • Chris says
      Posted November 26, 2019

      OMG! I have the oval volumizer and it’s the BEST THING EVER. Seriously. I have long, fine hair but enough for 2 people. I used to actually find stylists who would thin my hair it’s so thick. With this I air dry my hair a little then dry it in maybe 15 minutes no round brush needed and it looks like I had a blow out. It doesn’t even require an iron afterwards. I’ve been using it for 7 months and would actually consider getting a backup on black Friday just to never be without- it’s that good!

  36. Posted August 3, 2018

    Oh my goodness, this was great. First time I felt I got an honest opinion on the Dyson. I have been dying to buy it but my wallet said no! Thanks!

  37. Carrie Calzada says
    Posted August 5, 2018

    Ok.. so it seems to me from your thoughts on what to look for in a blow dryer that all are created equal so long as you have the features you’re talking about in the video. And of course you mentioned air speed is a huge factor that varies and helps the actual dry time a lot.

    What about that ion trend though? Is that over? Haven’t heard about dryers like that in a while. I would like to hear your thoughts on if any warm or hot air is safe for one’s hair or if there is something superior out there we should be using like the ion ones?? Thanks!

  38. Kayel says
    Posted August 9, 2018

    Completely unrelated, but what the nail polish color you are wearing?

    Great blog, by the way! I love the hair styling tips.

  39. Jackie W. says
    Posted August 16, 2018

    I am a huge fan of the Dyson! It is by far my favorite blow dryer – it cuts down on my time, is lightweight and quiet! All of these things you mentioned. But you did not mention, and it is one of my favorite things about it, is that the attachments are magnetic. They never fall off like with other blow dryers. I have no problems blowing my full, yet thin wavy, frizzy hair smooth! It cuts down on a lot of time that I take in the morning to round brush my hair. For me it is worth every penny. 🙂

  40. KLM says
    Posted August 21, 2018

    THANK YOU! Helpful info. May I ask what your lip color is?

  41. Terri says
    Posted August 23, 2018

    hello! i have a quick question, you said in the video you have used the T3 Cura Luxe and the Cura. On T3s website they state that the Cura Luxe is the fastest, did you notice a significant difference? I have thick hair, and a lot of it, and after timing myself yesterday at how long it takes to get a decent blowout with my current blow dryer I am in the market for something faster, just wondering if you thought it was worth the extra $$!
    Thank you!

    • Kate says
      Posted August 23, 2018

      The Cura alone is SUPER fast, I think you’ll be happy with it!

  42. Posted October 14, 2018

    Yup Rusk brand is one of the top out there.. I also write an article about hair dryers but specifically for fine hair since there are different categories for hair dryers. You can check out my reviews on best hair dryer for fine hair at

  43. Karen Marval says
    Posted November 27, 2018

    I prefer Karmin.

  44. Molly Herrera says
    Posted December 11, 2018

    FYI, I think the PRO dryer is on sale with Amazon right now, for $14!! Merry Christmas to MEEEE!

  45. Michelle says
    Posted August 18, 2019

    I have curly hair that normally takes and hour to dry Very annoying. I have ms and my entire arm and hand goes completely numb. I am counting on your review to be honest Does this actualy make a difference with frizz and speed?

  46. Beth says
    Posted November 26, 2019

    I have shoulder length, thick, and natural wavy hair. I noticed I have frizzy hair if I don’t use the attachment on the Dyson, when using the attachment it is smoother and does take a bit longer to dry since it does control the air coming out. I have the T3, not the Cura, and have had 3 warranty replacements for it. Overall on my hair type, I found the Dyson to dry my hair much quicker than the T3. I have only had the Dyson for 6 months, but the hassle of having to get replacements for the T3 had made it so I wouldn’t buy again. I purchased a small cheap hair dryer for travel with only two heat settings, major frizz that I couldn’t even flat iron out.

  47. Posted July 20, 2020

    Oh these are some really good ones, thanks for sharing 🙂