A rotating hot air brush can help you get salon quality hair straightening and styling at home. The styling tool dries hair by blowing out hot air, while a rotating barrel spins to straighten the hair - giving lots of volume and shine.
It is best used on 70-80% dry hair in order for the hair styling to last longer. With some practice, styles achieved this way may last for up to 3 days, if you stay away from too much humidity.
There are many high quality rotating hot air brushes on the market, and choosing one may pose a tough choice.
To help you decide on the best rotating hot air brush for your own hair, we'll walk through the best and worst qualities of the various hot air brushes in the market- as seen by our close friend, Kathy, a professional hairstylist.
What is a Hot Rotating Air Brush?
The rotating hot air brush is very similar in looks to the regular hot air brush, except the barrel of the hair brush spins while in use.
It’s essentially a hair dryer and hair styling tool all-in-one, which makes it a very convenient product to have. Like all hot air brushes, its barrel is cylindrical and has a cord that plugs into an outlet for power.
Most hot air brushes (both rotating and non-rotating) have their controls on the handle area and these manage the temperature and speed settings.
Rotating hair brushes can be made from a variety of different materials. For example, some might have ceramic-coated bristles, which also heat up giving you more precision styling. Others have flexible nylon or similar material bristles that move as you style, and this helps to eliminate snagging and pulling.
These brushes also blow hot air through vented areas channeled through the barrel. It’s this air that enables you to blow dry and style your hair at the same time. So far so good.
There is one significant difference between these and the original "regular" hot air brushes available on the market. These versions rotate!
Styling with a Rotating Hot Air Brush
The rotating mechanism help give your curls movement and creates a more natural looking curl than a traditional curling iron. It’s multi-directional, meaning it blows hair dry while curling in two directions so you get maximum body and lift.
Once you get used to using one of these tools, you’ll be able to achieve salon-styling in the comfort of your own home.
The main problem I found when I started using a rotating hot air brush is getting used to how it works. It’s very natural to want to control the brush yourself but you need to surrender your natural instinct and let the brush work on its own. If you don’t, you risk pulling and tangling your hair.
It’s an art that needs to be learned, so if you do buy one, don’t give up on the first go. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to use it successfully on your first attempt, but don’t give up. It really does work.
If you can’t get used to how it works, most have a switch that turns off the rotating mechanism so you can still use it as a normal non-rotating hot air brush. Some people just prefer to control the movement of a styling tool so this might not be for you if that sounds familiar!
So let’s delve into a little more detail.
Can You Use it on Wet Hair?
The hot rotating hair brush can be used on damp hair. It’s best to make sure most moisture is drawn out of the hair to get good results, otherwise it takes a very long time to dry off hair.
I would suggest rough drying first or really squeezing out moisture with a towel. You can definitely use it on dry hair too, to pep up hair in-between styling, or add curl and body.
What you’ll love about these brushes is that you get incredible volume and shine. If used properly, you can even create a big, bouncy, curly blow dry that lasts a good couple of days (dependent on humidity levels and also on your hair type).
What About For My Hair Type?
While on the subject of hair type, if your hair is short or fine, try and find a hot air brush that is the right size for your hair.
Too big and you won’t get your hair around it, so choose something slim rather than one of the larger barrels, if you have shorter hair.
I believe that these brushes are suitable for all hair types but do use heat protecting spray before using, because it is still heat styling.
Things to Look For In A Rotating Hot Air Brush
When purchasing a hot rotating air brush you should look for the following features:
- A switch to turn the rotator off (useful if you decide you don’t like how it works).
- Multi speed settings.
- Variable temperature settings.
- Multi direction settings (you want it to rotate both ways).
- The right barrel size for your hair type and length.
- Dual voltage - if you travel.
So now you’ve have the basics of a hot rotating air brush, it’s worth understanding the differences between this heated hair tool and other similar styling tools.
Rotating Hot Air Brush vs Non-Rotating Hot Air Brush
Essentially the two are the same heated styling tool and both emit hot air like a hair dryer while styling. The only difference is that the barrel of the rotating hot air brush moves while it styles. That is the only difference between the two products.
It's really a matter of preference. Many users feel the rotating hair brushes give better results, but they are also a bit more difficult to use. If you prefer a non-rotating option, check out these hot curling brushes, which are the non-rotating equivalent of these tools.
Curling Iron vs Rotating Hot Air Brush
These two are entirely different heated styling tools.
The rotating hot air brush blows hot air while it styles, similar to a blow dryer. Generally, the bristles don’t heat up, although some do have this feature.
The curling iron is a heated styling tool that heats up for the sole purpose of curling hair and can only be used on dry hair. You wrap hair around the plate and clamp it shut, waiting for a curl to set.
There is far more heat applied to hair with curling irons, and they are more damaging than rotating hot air brushes if not used with great care.
Hair Dryer vs Rotating Hot Air Brush
There are some similarities in both as these products both blow hot air and style. However, the main difference with a hair dryer is you don’t wind hair around it to dry, and you need to use a second product to style your hair while drying it.
With a rotating hair brush, you don’t need to use a second styling product. To get curls while using a hair dryer, you must use a manual round brush or a diffuser.
Top Rated Rotating Hot Air Brushes
1. Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Rotating Hot Air Brush (Top rated under $100!)
Editor's Pick: The BaByliss is our #1 recommended hot air brush. It's a high quality styling tool that works well on all hair types.
Babyliss is a professional brand specializing in high end styling tools for salon use. This model utilizes an ionic technology which eliminates a lot of frizz, anti-static bristles to prevent hair tangling, three temperature settings for better customization.
The rotating 2-inch barrel adds hair volume and shine and the infrared heat penetrates the hair, allowing for a quick blow dry and fast and long lasting styling.
Also, its ergonomic grip makes it easier to handle and manage than other models.
The titanium barrel holds heat well, almost like a curling iron.
Some customers state that the bristles ensure a better grip vs the popular Conair rotating brush model. I would agree that superior materials go into making the Babyliss rotating hot air brush, which leads to high quality results.
This rotating hot air brush from Conair is our runner-up recommendation. While it's not quite as high quality as the BaByliss, it comes at a lower price too, making it a great value.
If you have thin, easy to style hair, the first heat setting should be enough to blow dry, while adding volume, lift and shine.
If you keep the brush in place for a few seconds with each strand of hair and then slowly release while rotating the barrel in a vertical circular motion, without pulling the brush through, you get full voluminous curls.
The cool setting is used just to set each curl or the root volume. The brush does not rotate in either direction while using this setting.
This rotating hot air brush comes in two barrel sizes. If you have medium to long hair, make sure you choose the 2 inch barrel. For shorter hair, the 1 ½ inch is enough.
Tis multi-styler from Dyson is one of the newest high end styling tools to hit the market. This one is a splurge purchase for sure - but it sure is a fun one!
The Airwrap is a complete styling system that comes with a full set of styling attachments. It comes with 2" and 6" barrels, which can rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise for even styling.
It also comes with two different smoothing brushes, a volumizing brush and even a dryer attachment.
This brush is made with ionic technology so it gets rid of unwanted frizz and flyaway hair, producing smooth, bouncy curls without the damage of curling irons or wands.
It has two heat settings and an additional cool setting that is a good finish for setting your hair style.
The long swivel cord enables easy styling all around the head. It is slower than a regular hair dryer, so it’s best to use on almost dry or dry hair (or blow dry fast), but it’s a good product for thicker or longer hair as it available with a 1.5 inch or 2 inch barrel.
The JOYYUM hot air brush is a fairly new model that is becoming increasingly popular, most likely due to it's entry level pricing. The product itself doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the high end models, but it does get great reviews at an affordable price.
The styling brush rotates in both directions for convenient styling. It comes with both a 1 ½ inch and 2 inch barrel, which is convenient for creating different styles. And it has two heat settings, plus a cool mode for setting hair.
More Hair Styling Resources
If you found this buying guide helpful, check out these other hair styling articles and product reviews:
- Best Hot Air Brushes: A Complete Buying Guide
- Best Curling Brushes (Non-Rotating Hot Air Brushes)
- Top 10 Hair Straighteners