Many painters use layers of color to achieve rich, nuanced textures and effects, but waiting for the paint to dry can be a pain. Hair dryers are often used to speed the process, and they actutally make great tools for that purpose. (It’s curious that that they don’t have dedicated corollaries in the art tool world, but no matter.) While hair dryers can be used on virtually all paint, they’re best for water-based media like watercolors, gouache, and acrylics. Acrylics are famously fast-drying, but hair dryers are indispensable tools in acrylic pours. In shopping for a dryer for your studio, look for—at minimum—multiple heat and speed settings and helpful accessories (such as concentrators), all of which are found in our top choices. Read on to find the perfect fit for your work.
1. Revlon 1875 Infrared Hair Dryer
If you’re looking for a low-cost hair dryer that can serve you well in your art practice, this option from Revlon may be the one for you. It includes two heat and two power settings, which should cover most needs. The technology uses tourmaline, which produces negative ions and infrared heat. This blow dryer is the heaviest on our list—it’s twice as heavy as the petite Elchim Milano below—but that can be chalked up to its singular three-layer ceramic coating, which ensures even heat distribution to reduce heat damage. It’s also snazzy looking: Turn it on, and watch it illuminate like a lightsaber.
2. Conair 1875 Pro Hair Dryer
Paints, especially oil paints, are heat sensitive. Therefore, while high heat can be good for drying your hair, it can be damaging for your artwork. Like others on this list, Conair’s 1875 pro dryer allows you to customize its heat and speed, making it easy to choose a combination that’s best for your work. And, like the Revlon, its ceramic nozzle incorporates tourmaline, which minimizes static and heats materials from the inside out. It may have a little less oomph than others on this list; still, consider this option if you’re seeking something low and slow for delicate artworks or are watching your pennies.
3. Remington Pro D2042 Hair Dryer
This Remington dryer tries something a little different. It’s made from a titanium– ceramic combination that takes the best of both worlds: Like other ceramic blow dryers, it heats evenly so you don’t have to worry about hot spots, and the hyper-conductive titanium accelerates the drying process. The placement of the toggling controls is somewhat awkward, but the included accessories and convenient loop for hanging make up for that small fault.
4. Elchim Milano Ceramic Hair Dryer
Handmade in Milan, this high-end dryer is a beautiful and sleek option. It doesn’t have ionic technology, but it does use infrared heat to dry material from the inside out. It’s intended for hair, but infrared is also a damage-free way to dry thick impasto layers of paint. The Elchim Milano weighs just 18 ounces and has a comfortable handle, so holding this little powerhouse for extended periods is a breeze.
5. Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
This Dyson blow dryer has earned a lot of buzz thanks to its unique shape and high price tag. While it’s certainly expensive, some of the features are well suited to artists. One example is its precise heat regulation: This machine tests the air temperature more than 40 times per second and adjusts accordingly, so you’ll never overheat your artwork even for an instant. The brushless motor is not only lighter and quieter than most but is built to last longer. And the 9-foot cord makes it easy to use on large works. Overall, it’s unparalleled among its peers, but probably more than the casual creator will need.