The CHI PRO hair dryer is a 1,500-watt hair dryer that combines ceramic and ionic heating technologies. It has a ceramic heater and an ion generator, along with ionic infrared light, which isn't something commonly found on the best hair dryers. IR light makes the heat gentler on your hair, so you can apply higher levels of heat without compounding the damage to your hair.
CHI markets its dryer as having a lightweight, ergonomic design. At 1.7 pounds, the PRO is actually one of the heavier blow dryers we tested, but the ergonomic design offsets the unit’s heft, and it has a comfortable grip.
“You feel every bit of its weight, which isn’t bad because the balance is good,” said our lab manager. “The dryer comes across as very solid.”
“I like the mobility the longer cord creates, but it’s kind of hard to deal with when you’re done, even with the cord wrap,” one tester said. “I saw a hair dryer in a salon once with a retractable cord, and that would have been really cool.”
The CHI PRO has two settings, and you can feel a definite temperature difference on the higher one. The air speeds aren’t noticeably different, however, and are among the lowest we measured. The blower’s temperature settings range from 135 to 168 degrees, and its air speed ranges from 17.6 to 22.7 feet per second. The air speed/heat control setting is so easy to change that our testers hit the switch accidentally. The dryer’s cool-shot button takes a few seconds to activate, but the airflow gets hots again instantly after release.
The CHI PRO’s motor sounded labored when we used the hair dryer, but that might have been a fluke. Its sound output is only 73.9 to 79.3 decibels, so it’s one of the quietest blowers we tested.
The CHI blower has the highest MSRP of all the hair dryers we reviewed. Priced at $159.96, it costs almost $120 more than our best-value pick, the Conair InfinitiPRO. Given the price difference, we expected the CHI PRO’s concentrator and diffuser to be sturdier than the Conair’s, but their quality is essentially the same. Also, the Conair has a much better warranty, double CHI’s two-year protection.