Blow-dry and style your hair with professional results using the best hot brushes and hot-air stylers
A sleek,shiny and voluminous salon blowout can be a great way to elevate your look; but, until recently, it hasn’t been easy to recreate that freshly styled look at home. Help is at hand, however, with one of the latest hot-brush styling tools.
A hot brush is a hybrid styling tool that combines a round or paddle brush with warm airflow and/or a heated plate, similar to a hair dryer or straightener. These clever tools are designed to speed up hair styling, to achieve a professional finish with minimal effort. A couple of strokes through your locks – as you’d use any brush – and you can wave goodbye to frizz, and instead say hello to smoothness and volume.
A hot paddle brush is great for straightening hair in a jiffy, while a round hot brush will deliver more red-carpet volume and bounce. Choose the right hot brush for your hair type, texture and desired finish, and you can achieve a professional-looking blow-dry at home – in far less time than a home blowout would take, and at a fraction of the price of a trip to the salon.
Read on for our guide on how to pick the best hot brush for you and your hair, after which you’ll find our reviews of all the best hot brushes and hot air stylers available right now.
How to buy the best hot brush for you
What are the different types of hot brush?
Hot brushes come in a few different types of model that deliver slightly different results, and the model you choose will depend on the style you want to create. A round hot-air brush dries your hair with boar or nylon bristles, lifting roots, smoothing and shaping your locks with plenty of bounce, while hot brushes that resemble a paddle brush use ceramic plates – of the type found in your straighteners – for a poker-straight style. Some hot brushes combine both heat and airflow, offering a more versatile range of styling uses.
With the right hot brush for your hair type, texture and desired finish, you can easily achieve bouncy, voluminous locks or sleek, silky tresses at home.
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How do I use a hot brush?
Most hot brushes work using either warm air (like your hairdryer) or hot plates (like your straighteners) to heat the surface of the hair. You simply pull the brush through to create either voluminous curls or smooth, sleek locks. The easiest-to-use round brushes rotate and wrap hair automatically, taking the work out of heat styling.
Brushes that blow out warm air usually work best on damp hair, which has been washed and towel dried to around 80% dry. Section the hair, then start at the root, pulling the brush slowly through it. Similar to blow drying, the tension from gently but continuously pulling through the hair creates the style. If your brush rotates, pull it smoothly through the hair in the direction of rotation and allow it to wrap hair around the barrel as it goes.
Straightening brushes work best on dry hair. As you would when using a straightener, start at the top of the hair and glide the brush slowly down, pulling the hair taut as you go. No matter the style of brush you’re using, begin by spritzing the hair with heat protector spray to prevent damage, stopping your hair from snapping or splitting. Our favourite is GHD Heat Protect Spray, because the lightweight mist gives a no-product feel that doesn’t weigh down the hair.
What features should I look out for?
There are a range of optional features and materials that will improve your hot-brushing experience. Keep an eye out for models that use ionic technology and ceramic materials, since these are gentler on the hair. Hot air brushes that can be used on wet or damp hair are great time-savers, since you can skip blow-drying and get straight to styling.
Tools with a range of temperature settings are great for hair health, allowing you to select a lower temperature for finer hair. Automatic switch-off isn’t usually required on hot-air brushes, since it’s obvious when the tool is switched on. For safety on ceramic straightening brushes, look for an automatic switch-off function similar to that you’d find on straighteners or tongs.
How we test hot brushes
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. With that in mind, we test all the hot brushes we review, either at home or during a live product demonstration. We use the tools as recommended on clean, dry hair (or damp hair, where this is recommended). Where applicable, we test the different heat settings and, where possible, we test on more than one hair type.
When testing, we first note the styling method (ceramic hot plate or hot air styler), and for ceramic hot plate brushes we measure the time the tool takes to heat up after being switched on. We consider the time taken to style a full head of hair (noting the hair length and texture on which we’re testing), and evaluate the overall ease of use of the hot brush. We take note of the softness, shine and feel of the hair after styling, and how well styles last over the course of a typical day. Finally, we confirm the weight and dimensions of the hot brush and note any extras included in the box.
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Best hot brushes and hot air stylers to buy in 2023
1. Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer & Volumiser: Best hot brush for an at-home blow dry
Price: £63 | Buy now from Boots
This hot air brush is our go-to for creating voluminous hairstyles. Sporting a unique oval shape and large bristles, the One Step adds volume at the root of the hair, smooths the lengths and creates a bouncy curl at the ends – a winning formula for a bouncy blow-dry. Hot airflow is boosted by clever ionic technology to protect hair and speed up styling, while the ceramic barrel ensures even heat distribution and a glossy finish.
The brush has an overheating cut-off function that automatically halts airflow once it reaches the optimum drying temperature, helping to protect hair from damage. The Revlon One Step features two heat settings and a cool shot to set your finished style, a 2m cord that makes it easier to reach the hair at the back of your head, and a cool-touch tip to ensure you don’t scorch your fingers while gripping the tool. It’s the heaviest hot brush in our list, but creates salon-look hair in mere minutes and at a very reasonable price.
Key specs – Material: Ceramic barrel; Barrel size: N/A; Bristle material: Mixed, nylon and natural boar; Heat settings: 2; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 2m; Auto switch-off: No
2. BaByliss Hydro-Fusion 4-in-1 hair dryer brush: Best hot brush for volume and shine
Price: £80 | Buy now from BootsBaByliss has updated its Hydro-Fusion styling range with this new 4-in-1 hot-air brush that comes with a set of four interchangeable attachments for effortless blow-drying. There’s a quick-drying attachment to rough-dry hair before styling; an oval ceramic barrel that adds volume from the roots for red-carpet-style big hair; a straightening paddle brush; plus a smoothing brush to reduce frizz and flyaways. The ceramic barrel on the oval brush distributes heat evenly across hair as you blow-dry, while BaByliss’s Advanced Plasma ionic technology breaks down water molecules to speed up drying time, hydrate the hair and reduce frizz.
The BaByliss Hydro-Fusion 4-in-1 comes with two heat settings plus a cool shot to set your style once hair is dry. Like other products in the Hydro-Fusion range, the 4-in-1 dryer arrives in an attractive ice-blue colour that will look great on any dressing table. Whether you’re straightening with the paddle brush or going for plus-sized volume, this tool is fantastically easy to use – and hair looks and feels silky-soft and shiny after use.
Key specs – Material: Ceramic barrel; Heat settings: 2; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 2.5m; Auto switch-off: No
3. GHD Glide Hot Brush: Best hot brush for thick hair
Price: £160 | Buy now from John Lewis
If straight and sleek is your go-to hair style, then, in our opinion, this hot paddle brush will certainly give your straighteners a run for their money. Designed to be used on large sections of hair, the ghd Glide’s combination of shorter and longer bristles speed up the process of styling thick hair. Its ceramic plates evenly maintain an optimum styling temperature of 185°C to prevent heat damage, while its ionising technology tames and de-frizzes hair for locks that look and feel their best. For safety there’s an automatic sleep mode that switches off after an hour of non-use.
The ghd Glide works especially well on second-day hair, so is perfect if you don’t wash every day, and the hot brush tackles thick hair with ease. The tool straightens hair without leaving it looking limp or lifeless.
For a bouncier finish with more volume at the roots, try the barrel-shaped ghd Rise.
Key details – Material: Ceramic plates; Bristles material: Mix; Heat settings: 1; Cool blast: No; Swivel cord length: 1.7m; Auto switch-off: Yes, after 1 hour of non-use
4. Revamp Progloss Deepform Straight & Style Blow Dry Brush BR-2500: Best for wet and dry styling
Price: £100 | Buy now from Revamp
Like other products in Revamp’s Progloss range, this hot brush uses a combination of ionic technology and a ceramic barrel infused with keratin protein, argan and coconut oils to condition hair and create a bouncy, glossy finish. You can choose between two heat settings, and airflow can be independently set – so you can choose fast or slow air with either low or high heat for wet hair; and high heat with no air to straighten and style dry hair.
The ceramic bristles make light work of detangling hair and adding sleekness and volume, and the brush is a great time-saver compared to blow-drying and then straightening with a separate tool. Quick and simple to use, the Revamp Deepform Straight & Style leaves hair soft and frizz-free, with our hair holding its style well throughout the day.
Key specs – Material: Ceramic barrel; Barrel size: N/A; Bristle material: Ceramic; Heat settings: 2; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 3m; Auto switch-off: No
5. Dyson Airwrap Complete 2022: Best multi-use hot brush
Price: £480 | Buy now from John Lewis
This new version of the best-selling Dyson Airwrap offers improved airflow for faster styling, and a new switch that allows you to change the direction of airflow, making it easy to alternate between clockwise and anticlockwise curls for a natural effect.
In the box you’ll find a gentle drying attachment to rough-dry wet hair, two different barrel sizes to create looser or tighter curls, two paddle brushes for smoothing, and one round brush for salon-style volume. There are three heat and three speed settings that can be independently selected for maximum control over styling, and buttons for both are built neatly into the handle and intuitive to find and use while styling the hair.
There’s no doubt that the Dyson Airwrap Complete is expensive; but ease of use, the variety of styles you can create, and the benefits to hair health make it a worthwhile investment for those who heat-style hair regularly.
Key specs – Material: Tourmaline-ceramic barrel; Barrel sizes: 30mm and 40mm; Bristle material: Nylon mix; Heat settings: 3; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 2.6m; Auto switch-off: No
6. GHD Rise: Best ceramic round brush
Price: £169 | Buy now from John Lewis
Whether you’re looking to create a straight, sleek finish, or a bouncier finish with more volume at the roots, the barrel-shaped GHD Rise has you covered. Like the Glide, the heated ceramic barrel of the Rise banishes frizz and straightens hair, but with a softer and more lifted finish with movement at the ends.
The Rise heats to GHD’s recommended 185ºC in under 30 seconds, and leaves hair feeling silky and soft to the touch. Nylon bristles work easily and gently through the hair to smooth down flyaways and deliver a polished finish. As with all GHD products, there’s only one heat setting, which worked well on our mid-length curly hair.
The Rise is a simple-to-use ceramic hot brush that delivered smoothness and volume that lasted all day.
Key details – Material: Ceramic; Barrel size: 32mm; Bristle material: Nylon; Heat settings: 1; Cool blast: N/A; Cord length: 2.7m; Auto switch-off: Yes (30 mins)
7. T3 AireBrush Duo: Best hot brush for fine or delicate hair
Price: £170 | Buy now from T3
Californian beauty brand T3 launched its stylish and versatile AireBrush Duo in 2021 – and, offering gentler heat settings, it’s ideal for hair that’s fine, delicate or heat-damaged.
The AireBrush Duo’s five temperature settings are all cooler than those on most tools, with the maximum set at just 85ºC; this is gentle enough to use safely on even the most brittle hair. The “Duo” part in this model’s name refers to the two interchangeable attachments: a flat paddle brush and a small round brush (both with ceramic coatings), which you can switch between to create a sleeker straight style or a bouncier curl. The three airflow settings can be independently selected for extra styling versatility, plus there’s a cool shot feature, too, to seal the cuticle and set your finished style.
The AireBrush can be used on damp hair, saving you time since you can dry as you style; and the tool uses ionic technology to reduce drying time and to hydrate, giving hair a soft, frizz-free and glossy finish. Perfect for styling more delicate hair – or for anyone who prefers to style hair from damp.
Key details – Styling method: Hot air with ceramic-coated brush; Barrel size: 64mm; Heat settings: 5; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 2.7m
8. John Lewis 2781JLU Volume Air Styler: Best hot brush for travel
Price: £30 | Buy now from John Lewis
This simple but effective air styler from John Lewis is lightweight at just 500g, and comes with a handy travel pouch, making it ideal for travel or weekend getaways. The ceramic barrel gives hair a smooth and sleek finish, and the styler has two brush attachments, as well as two heat and two air settings (plus a cool shot) to tackle most hair styles.
As a result of its light weight, this tool may not be best suited for very long or thick hair. However, on short to shoulder-length hair, it works a treat for adding volume and bounce. It won’t break your bank balance or luggage allowance, either.
Key specs – Material: Ceramic barrel; Bristle material: Nylon mix; Heat settings: 2; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 2.5m; Auto switch-off: No
9. BaByliss Flawless Volume Hot Air Styler: Best hot air brush for short and thin hair
Price: £35 | Buy now from Boots
Trust the BaByliss Flawless Volume Hot Air Styler to revive flat hair. Its large 38mm titanium ceramic barrel creates a full-bodied style without damaging the hair shaft and, with ionic technology to smooth the cuticle, there’s no need to worry about a static finish. The styler uses a mix of soft and firm bristles to add lift at the root while smoothing the hair cuticle, achieving in minutes a style that looks like you’ve been sitting in the salon all afternoon.
The Flawless Volume air styler can be used on damp and dry hair (although it works best on hair that’s mostly dry) and comes with two heat settings, as well as a cool blast to set your style in place. Those with very fine hair should opt for the lowest temperature setting and position the tool close to the root for extra volume. For a smooth and sleek style, be sure to keep a tight grip on your hair and the tool.
Key specs – Material: Titanium-ceramic barrel; Barrel size: 38mm; Bristle material: Nylon mix; Heat settings: 2; Cool blast: Yes; Cord length: 2.2m; Auto switch-off: No