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By now, you’ve heard people rave about the hot air brush that supposedly makes life a thousand times easier. Just a quick scroll through TikTok will offer plenty of proof. After seeing many impressive before and after shots of people using the trendy styling tool, we wanted to know: How does a hot air brush work and is it really worth the $$$?

First, what is a hot air brush?

These two-in-one brushes are equipped with the same type of motor as your hairdryer, which means it effectively dries and straightens while eliminating the need to juggle a round brush and a hot tool (like a blow dryer or flat iron).

To get even more technical here, as you run the heated bristles through your hair, they stretch out and straighten your strands evenly. Whether you have fine or curly hair, there’s a hot air brush that can boost volume and shine—or smooth down frizz. But the key feature for any hot air brush is that it reduces styling time altogether (so you can spend less time in the bathroom and more time admiring your new ‘do).

Now I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the hot air brush. I heard all the praise but still wondered how well this magical hair dryer-like contraption actually works. Which meant one thing: It was time to test them.

I gave each of my coworkers (who, BTW, all have different hair types ranging from super curly to stick-straight) a different hot air brush to try for several weeks before reporting back. Scroll ahead for their brutally honest reviews of the tools they tried. Plus, five additional options that are top-rated.

RELATED: The Hot Air Brush Is the Lazy Girl's Way to an At-Home Blowout

Walmart

1. Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Hot Air Brush

Best for Thick Hair

Pros:

  • It’s for all hair types, especially people with very thick hair.
  • The barrel can cover large sections which cuts down drying/styling time.

Cons:

  • It’s heavy to hold.
  • The hot setting is way too hot.

Hair type: Thick, processed and dry. “It will frizz up at the suggestion of humidity. I normally wash and blow it out every ten days, using a round brush and Dyson hair dryer. I typically wait until my hair is mostly dry, then spend about 30 minutes sectioning and styling,” says Jillian Quint, editor-in-chief at PureWow.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
“So easy! I washed my hair, slept with it wet and then spritzed it with a little water and heat protectant in the morning. I used clips to style by section, but it was so much easier to use one hand for the tool and the other to wrap up the sections (rather than holding a brush in one hand and hair dryer in the other),” she explains.

Is it worth it?
“Definitely. It gets me 20 minutes of my life back! However, it did leave my hair the same. I had high hopes that this brush would replicate the results of a professional blowout, but so far, that is not the case,” Quint says.

Buy It ($35)

Ulta Beauty

2. Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler

Best Multi-tasker

Pros:

  • There are a range of attachments for different hair types and styles.
  • It can hold a wave or curl really well.

Cons:

  • It has a hefty price tag.

Hair type: “Thick, coarse, slightly wavy with a tendency to puff out in humidity or right after washing it. I normally let it air-dry before going to bed; it takes a solid hour or two to dry on its own and is a legitimate arm workout on the very rare occasion I attempt to blow-dry it,” says Jenny Jin, beauty director at PureWow.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
“The Airwrap isn’t like any other tool I’ve tried before—nor is it simply a hot air brush because there are so many attachments with different functions. I used the firm smoothing brush and the 1.2-inch barrel to dry my hair straight before adding a few curls throughout,” she shares.

Jin adds, “Compared to a normal blow-dryer and curling iron, I’d say it was an easier experience because the tool itself is pretty lightweight and the attachments do a lot of the work for you.”

Is it worth it?
“I’ll definitely use this when I’m crunched for time or want to style my hair for a special event. Like I said before, I don’t usually spend too much time on my hair, but if you’re the type of person who heat styles your hair often and struggles with it, this is a great option (though it’s certainly an investment!),” she concludes.

Buy It ($550)

Amazon

3. InfinitiPRO by Conair The Knot Dr. Detangling Hot Air Brush

Best Budget

Pros:

  • The brush comes with a volumizing attachment.

Cons:

  • It takes a long time to dry hair.
  • It’s pretty heavy to hold.

Hair type: “Baby fine and straight-ish. Usually air-dries in 30 minutes to an hour,” explains Katherine Gillen, food editor at PureWow.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
“Overall, the experience was fine. Just fine. It probably took me 25 minutes to go from damp to dry,” she expresses. “In the volume department (where I’m lacking most), it definitely looked the same. I had hopes of looking like a shampoo model with bouncy hair, which is admittedly unrealistic, but I just don’t think it’s the right tool for my hair type.”

Is it worth it?
“Hunny, no. It’s more effort than I’m willing to put into my hair on a daily basis, because the results look the same as if I did nothing. I got my hair colored and cut midway through this trial (shout-out to Phoebe and Molly at Blackstones), and I noticed the way a stylist directs the air in a downward motion, which really smooths it, while the tool actually blows hair away from the brush and scalp, resulting in frizzies. In the end, I don’t think any of these tools will ever replace a good old salon blowout,” Gillen shares.

$35 at Amazon

Amazon

4. InfinitiPRO by Conair Hot Air Paddle Brush Styler

Best for Straightening

Pros:

  • It’s a flexible brush, so it works on even the thickest of hair.
  • It’s great for curly and coily hair.

Cons:

  • The drying power is not strong enough.

Hair type: “Very curly and a little bit out of control (but in a fun way). I normally towel dry and then air dry, which takes a little over an hour,” Charlie Kolbrener, associate editor at One37pm.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
“I’m a bit of a hair-drying novice, so I didn’t do an amazing job with the tool. But when I had my sibling help, they did a great job and thought the brush was very easy to use. It took me about 30 to 40 minutes to do it myself, and it took my sibling about 25 minutes to do it on me. Both times it left me with straight hair with sort of a Farrah Fawcett–esque feathered quality to it,” he explains.

Is it worth it?
“I won’t [use it], but mostly just because I like having my curls. If I needed to straighten my hair for something, I think this would be a great product to use instead of a traditional straightener, mostly because it’s faster and easier to use, even though it ultimately does not straighten my hair as completely as a traditional straightener would,” Kolbrener says.

$23 at Amazon

Ulta Beauty

5. Hot Tools Professional Charcoal Infused One Step Blowout

Best for Curly Hair

Pros:

  • The boar bristles are great for people with thick and/or curly hair.
  • It dries and straightens hair quickly.

Cons:

  • It’s hard to clean.

Hair type: My curls are defined, a bit on the frizzy side, but overall shiny and soft. I like to air-dry my hair because I’m not a big fan of heat, especially when it comes to maintaining my curl definition. It takes about one to two hours to air-dry, but if I get it straightened at a salon, it’s closer to 30 minutes,” explains Chelsea Candelario, assistant editor at PureWow.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
“The hot tool was pretty easy to use. It definitely kept my hair tangle-free. However, it felt heavy at times and it took way too long to dry my roots. Overall, it took an hour for my hair to get completely dry,” she says.

She adds, “The first time I tried the brush, my ends looked horrible. The second time, my hair came out better and I realized it was because I needed to do smaller sections—which means I would have to spend at least an hour or more on my hair, and I do not have time for that! I also used a thicker heat-resistant serum the second time around, and that really helped.”

Is it worth it?
“If I have to compare it to getting it straightened at the salon, I think the results are pretty similar. The brush did a good job at providing volume and keeping my ends hydrated,” shares Candelario. “Honestly, if any other curly gals are looking to straighten their hair, I would reach for this hot brush tool over a flatiron any day.”

Buy It ($75)

Walmart

6. John Frieda Salon Shape 1.5 Inch Hot Air Brush

Best Value

Pros:

  • It’s easy to maneuver thanks to its small design.

Cons:

  • It takes a long time to dry your hair.

Hair type: “Long, fine, wavy/frizzy hair. I normally dry it with a fancy ion blow-dryer and a round brush with ion as well. It usually takes about ten minutes to dry my hair,” shares Dabee Kaye, VP of brand partnerships at GMG.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
“Not for me. I did not like that I had to blow my hair 80 percent dry with my usual blow-dryer, then start re-blowing my hair with the brush, section by section,” she explains. “It took way too much time and I didn’t get the results I normally get. I’m usually done in ten minutes and this took a good 20 minutes, and I’m not sure my hair was actually dry,” she says.

Is it worth it?
“No, the brush was not hot enough and didn’t have enough power to straighten my hair. The first time I gave up because I ran out of time and patience. The second time I finished my hair but couldn’t get it straight enough and I had frizz, which I normally don’t see,” Kaye says. “The only benefit was that I could put a curl at the end of my hair, but again, it wasn’t hot enough to even hold the curl!”

Buy It ($63)

Amazon

7. DryBar Double Shot Dryer Brush

Best for Frizzy Hair

Pros:

  • It works best for frizzy and/or curly hair.
  • It dries hair quickly.

Cons:

  • It’s pricey.

Hair type: "I have straight, boring hair that’s pretty fine. I tend to let it air-dry, which usually takes about 30 minutes. And yes, it has approximately zero percent volume," says Dena Silver, former fashion director at PureWow.

How would you describe your experience with the hot air brush?
"The first time I used the Drybar brush, my strands looked frizzy, dry and not at all how I thought they would. So, I decided to put in some research and hit up YouTube for the best tutorials out there (this one was the most useful). After learning to separate my hair into six sections, figuring out exactly how to curl my ends inward and the best way to add volume at the front of my hair, I became absolutely hooked. As in, I even ordered clips on Amazon to help section my hair better (these, in case you’re curious)," shares Silver.

Is it worth it?
"Hell to the yes. To be honest, I’ve used it every other day since I started this test, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. I’ll probably keep watching YouTube tutorials to figure out new ways to use it. No shame! Plus, it looks so much better. So much so that a friend asked me if I got a haircut recently, a question I never receive, even if I’m fresh from the salon," she says.

$150 at Amazon

5 More Hot Air Brushes We Love

Amazon

8. Bed Head One Step Dry + Volume Brush

Best for Dull Hair

When volume and definition seem out-of-reach, this hot air brush will bring the bounce back. The oval-shaped barrel and mixed bristles provide even heat distribution throughout, so dull strands look smoother and shinier. It also has three heat settings to work for all hair types and hairstyles.

$33 at Amazon

Amazon

9. Aima Beauty Store One Step Hair Dryer & Volumizing Hot Air Brush

Most Versatile

This 4-in-1 brush dries, detangles and styles your hair. With two speeds and three temperature settings that can be customized to your hair type and a vented barrel that evenly distributes air, you’re left with frizz-free, shiny hair without risking any breakage.

$48 at Amazon

Amazon

10. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Rotating Hot Air Brush

It’s time to put away your round brush. This rotating tool will give you all the volume you want, baby. As you section your hair, it swiftly moves forward and backwards to deliver a salon-level blowout right at home. Note: This brush works best as a finishing touch. Your hair should be at least 80 percent dry before using it on your strands.

$90 at Amazon

Amazon

11. GHD Glide & Rise Hot Brush

Best for Detangling

While your go-to brush smooths and detangles your locks, this hot air brush does that and dries damp hair in the process. The mix of short and long bristles tackle large sections of hair and glide through your strands without snagging. Oh, and it has one universal temperature setting, so you can never go overboard on the heat.

$169 at Amazon

Amazon

12. CHI Tourmaline Ceramic Heated Paddle Brush

Best for Heat Control

This paddle brush was made for reducing frizz. The ceramic bristles offer a better grip, which is especially helpful on those hard-to-reach areas (like your roots). Plus, the LED display gives you a view of the temperature, assuring that you don’t ever singe your strands while styling.

$70 at Amazon

RELATED: 12 Genius Hair Tools to Try If You’re Obsessed With the Revlon Hair Dryer Brush

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