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Five signs your hair dryer needs replacing

Just because a hair dryer works, doesn’t mean it’s fit for purpose. Here are some major clues that your hair dryer needs an upgrade

You may not see a problem with using the same hair dryer you’ve relied on for years, but they aren’t supposed to be lifelong accessories. Just because it still works, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be replaced. Once a hair dryer has been used for a certain number of hours, it’s past its best and is more likely to burn your hair while taking ages to dry it.

If you have ever had a blowout at the salon and wondered why your hair never looks half as good when you dry it yourself at home, your cherished hair dryer is probably to blame. After drying, your hair may look dull, untamed or flat – clues that your hair dryer may need to be traded in for a newer, better model.

Here are some undeniable signs that your hair dryer has seen its best days.

If your hair dryer is fairly new but still takes forever to dry, or leaves your hair looking frizzy or lacking in volume, buying a new model may not be the answer. Read our advice guide on 10 hair dryer mistakes and how to fix them.

1. Your hair dryer is more than five years old

If you can’t remember buying your hair dryer, it’s been too long. It’s the kind of tool that people tend not to think about replacing unless there’s something wrong with it, but it’s better to replace it before it burns out because old, overused models can become fire hazards and damage your hair by subjecting it to excessive heat. After about five years, a hair dryer has likely reached the end of its lifespan and you’ve gotten your money’s worth from it.

Once a hair dryer is past its prime, it becomes less effective and takes so long to dry your hair that you might as well just let it air dry. The longer you spend blasting your locks with heat, the more your hair will suffer heat damage.

Don’t wait until your hair dryer sparks out mid-use before getting a new one. Instead of making a hasty purchase because you’re in desperate need of a new hair dryer, take a look at our Best Buy hair dryers to get a great model that dries hair quickly and leaves it looking its best.

2. You bought your hair dryer on the cheap

Spending more on a hair dryer doesn’t guarantee better quality – we’ve found Best Buys for £40 or less. If you’re after a simple, cheap model, there are good options available. However, if you opt for a cheaper hair dryer without doing your research, you could end up with a substandard model that takes ages to dry hair and leaves your strands looking dull and frizzy.

If you would like a hair dryer that adds style to your hair, investing in a more expensive model means you’ll get more attachments and functions, allowing you to create a range of more complex hairstyles. Some professional-style hair dryers include ionic, ceramic and/or nourishing technology, touch control and higher wattage.

A hair dryer with higher wattage will dry your hair faster, which helps protect the health of your hair by subjecting it to less heat exposure. You may even get spare parts such as a replacement air inlet filter, meaning the hair dryer will last longer and you won’t need to buy a new one. Some hair dryers have ceramic technology designed to add shine to your locks, tame frizz and protect hair from damage. Check out our reviews of hair dryers with ceramic technology.

3. Your hair dryer hasn’t been maintained very well

When was the last time you cleaned your hair dryer filter? Hair dryer maintenance is essential for it to work properly. It’s important to remove the protective grate at the back to remove any build-up of dirt, dust and hair particles as too much can block the airflow and cause the machine to overheat or break down. Some stylists recommend cleaning it weekly to extend the life of your hair dryer.

If dust bunnies and grime gets trapped in the heating element, it can break your dryer and even cause a fire. A clear sign that you need to clean your hair dryer filter is that it keeps overheating or the air flow seems weaker. Similarly, if it’s making a screeching, squealing or squeaking noise, it probably means something is trapped in one of the fan blades which can damage the hair dryer or cause something (eg your hair!) to catch fire.

If the damage is done and your hair dryer is past the point of repair, upgrade to a top-scoring model by browsing our hair dryer reviews.

4. You’ve used your hair dryer every day for several years

The lifespan of hot tools like hair dryers really depend on the number of hours they’ve been used. In any case, using your hair dryer every day isn’t good for the health of your hair. But, if you do, you’re cutting its life by several years compared with if you only used it a couple of times a week.

You may not use it every day – perhaps the hair dryer is used by multiple people in the household. The same rule applies. At some point it stops performing as well as it used to and you may not even realise it.

For advice on finding the best hair dryer for your hair type and budget, read our advice guide on how to buy the best hair dryer.

5. Hair dryer warning signs

There are other common warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore. As soon as one of these occurs, you should trade it in for a shiny new model:

  • It gets too hot
  • It’s become very loud
  • It’s constantly turning itself off
  • There’s a spark when you plug it in
  • There’s a short in the cord

Additionally, if it makes a rattling noise or shakes while it’s in use, this suggests the engine may be malfunctioning and you should get rid. You could try and get it repaired but, for that cost, you might as well just get a new one.

Find a great value hair dryer that lasts with our guide to the best cheap hair dryers

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