AC Hair Dryers vs. DC Hair Dryers

Hair Dryer

What Hair Stylists Know about Buying a Hair Dryer That You May Not Have Considered

We’ve all been there . . . standing in the bathroom, drying our hair when all of a sudden we smell something burning or we hear a “ping” and our hair dryer begins to smoke and stops working and now we are in need of a new hair dryer and not sure of where to begin. I believe knowledge is power so today I am spreadin’ the word about professional hair dryers.

Blow out hair with hair dryer

Before you ask, yes, there is a big difference between the hair dryers you see at Target or Walmart and a hair dryer purchased from a salon. Professional salon hair dryers, or blow dryers if you prefer have a stronger motor and blow the air faster and hotter. Using a professional hair dryer, as well as other professional hair styling tools means you will be able to achieve the same look you loved at your last salon visit. Most professional hair dryers come with a 6 month warranty, many are now offering 1 year or 2 year warranty.

There is no need to feel overwhelmed when purchasing a new hair dryer. The following is a breakdown of the differences between AC/DC motors not the band.

AC Motor Hair Dryers

  • Is a larger and heavier motor
  • Efficiency 1500 to 2000 RPM
  • Life expectancy 700-1200 hours
  • Quiet
  • Extra powerful airflow = faster drying
  • Tend to be more expensive

DC Motor Hair Dryers

  • Smaller and lighter motor
  • Faster rpm’s – 5,000 to 6,000
  • Life expectancy, usually lasts between 400-700 hours
  • Is a little noisier than the AC motor, but still quieter than your department store brands*
  • Air flow is not as powerful as AC motor, but still does a great job in drying the hair quickly
  • Less expensive

*By less noisy than department store brands, I mean that you won’t get that high pitch hum/squeal sound emanating from behind the bathroom door frightening the cat.


Oh yes, by the way . . . Wattage has nothing to do with the volume of airflow nor does it reflect the heat output. Wattage simply equals power consumption, plain and simple. The greater the wattage, the greater the power consumption and the greater the speed the fan rotates. So, just because the box may state 2,000 watts of power! doesn’t necessarily mean it will do any better job of drying your hair than the 1,700 watt beauty right beside it.

Hair Dryer

When purchasing a Professional Hair Dryer, you want to look for the following;

  • Does it come with a directional nozzle (for styling)
  • If you have curls you want to be sure it comes with a diffuser. A diffuser is powerful tool if used properly. (Diffusers are not a universal fit. Your old diffuser may not fit onto your new dryer.)
  • What is the warranty? Do you need to keep the receipt and the box?
  • How many air flow/heat settings are available?
  • Price. A higher price does not always mean a better product . . . sometimes the price is higher because of the name, yeah . . . I said it.

Who Tops the Reviews?

So there you go. A little more knowledge for you and the next time you go to purchase a hair dryer you will know if the sales person is helping you find the right hair dryer for you or just blowing hot air.

Contributing author Sara Stancu is “That girl in the red coat”. Sara is also the manager of a salon and retail shop with over 20 years of customer service and sales experience. Her tell it like it is approach is aimed at educating and enlightening clients, stylists and salon owners. She has also been the woman locked in the bathroom hating her hair. You can follow Sara on her website That Girl in the red coat and Twitter.