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Dyson Supersonic review

The price of Dyson's hair dryer will blow you away, but will the product?

The Dyson Supersonic hair dryer being held upright

Our Verdict

There's no doubt the Dyson Supersonic is a fantastic hair dryer that makes the most of advancements in engineering to improve the design and performance of a product we haven't seen change in decades. However, its high price point holds it back significantly.

For

  • Attractive design
  • Convenient magnetic attachments
  • Leaves hair feeling smooth and soft
  • Comfortable to use

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Not as quiet as you'd hope

TechRadar Verdict

There's no doubt the Dyson Supersonic is a fantastic hair dryer that makes the most of advancements in engineering to improve the design and performance of a product we haven't seen change in decades. However, its high price point holds it back significantly.

Pros

  • + Attractive design
  • + Convenient magnetic attachments
  • + Leaves hair feeling smooth and soft
  • + Comfortable to use

Cons

  • - Very expensive
  • - Not as quiet as you'd hope
  • -

Dyson has been a name associated with the best vacuum cleaners and the best cordless vacuums for almost four decades. Its floorcare products may be expensive, but they’re stuffed with technology that has quite frankly revolutionized the way we clean our floors. 

However, in 2016 when the brand decided to make its first foray into the haircare market with the launch of the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, it’s fair to say it raised a few eyebrows.  Dyson may have spent four years on its development and £50 million (around $68 / AU$92 million) on research, but could Dyson really do for the hair dryer what it had done for small appliances? 

Well it turns out it could. More than five years since the Dyson Supersonic hit high-street shelves, it’s still topping our list of the best hair dryers you can buy today. Now, Dyson has innovated again by releasing a new attachment for the Supersonic that tames fly-away hairs so you don’t have to reach for hair straighteners to create a sleek, smooth style. 

The Flyaway attachment, which is now being included in the box with the Dyson Supersonic, is currently only available in the UK. Although it will be made available in the US and Australia in September this year. It’s also available as an optional extra for those that already own Dyson’s hair dryer for £30 (around $40 / AU$55). 

The attachment uses the Coanda effect. This technology, which was first introduced on the Dyson AirWrap hair styler, uses high-speed air to attract the longer hairs in a lock to the front, while a second jet pushes the flyaway strands behind them so they’re out of sight. Dyson also says this method makes hair look shinier too.

Just like the Dyson Supersonic itself, the Flyaway attachment sports a unique design that looks like a concentrator nozzle with a semi-circular curve attached to the front, that aims to mimic the way a hairdresser would blow dry hair with a barrel brush. 

There’s no denying the Dyson Supersonic is eye-wateringly expensive, which may limit its appeal for some, but we were impressed at how quickly we were able to create a shiny, sleek style from wet, and the effectiveness of the flyaway attachment. The faults we can find with it are so minor that we think it's worth the investment if you can stretch to the price tag of course. 

Dyson Supersonic hair dryer with fly away attachment being held above a dressing table

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Dyson Supersonic price and availability

  •  List price: $399 / £299 / AU$549

 The Dyson Supersonic is priced at $399 / £299 / AU$549 and is available from Dyson as well as online retailers including Amazon. 

This is the most expensive hair dryer we’ve tested and come in at almost twice the price of the GHD Air - the top-of-the-range hair dryer from the Salon brand that occupies second place in our best hair dryers round-up and is priced at $199 / £109 / AU$235. 

Dyson also offers a hair straightener, called the Dyson Corale, which is priced at $499 / £399 / AU$699, and as we've already mentioned, the AirWrap hair styler, which will set you back $549 /£449 / AU$799. 

The Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and its attachements in the box

Design

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Unusual design
  • Comes with three speed and three heat settings

Hair dryers haven’t really changed in decades; the last significant design change happened all the way back in the 60s when the bulky motor was moved into the main casing.

This was an improvement on what we had before, but it resulted in a bulky device with most of its weight in the top rear of the device. This isn’t exactly ideal for something you hold above your head; we’ve experienced more than one thump to the head thanks to a weary arm.

Dyson has a history of throwing out the rulebook when it comes to designing products – ditching the bag in its vacuums; replacing blades with vents in its fans – so it’s no surprise its Supersonic doesn’t look like a traditional hair dryer. 

By using a much smaller and more efficient V9 digital motor – the company’s smallest in fact – Dyson has been able to move the motor from the head of the dryer into its handle. This redistributes the weight, and makes the entire thing much more compact - it measures 9.6 x 3.1 x 3.8 inches  / 24.5 x 7.8 x 9.7 cm (h x w d)

Close up of the back of the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer

Instead of a lengthy barrel and a clunky system of rotors, filters and vents, Dyson has shrunk the V9 motor in the Supersonic down to slightly smaller than a quarter or a 10p coin, and placed it at the bottom of the handle with a rubber mount. This sleek, thin handle extends to a circular ring, with two buttons on the shaft – the power, and cold shot buttons – and two on the rear of the ring; one that controls its three air speeds, another for selecting one of its three temperature settings. 

The rubber mount in the handle reduces the amount of vibration making it more comfortable to use for long periods. The downside to having the filter in the handle is that we often blocked it with our hand. In addition to making the dryer lighter and easier to hold, the Supersonic’s much smaller motor can propel 2.85 gallons / 13 liters of air per second, and spins around eight times faster than the motors used in standard hair dryers, which Dyson says makes it more efficient, and much less likely to overheat and burn out. 

The Supersonic also has a glass bead thermometer that monitors its temperature 20 times per second, and transmits the data back to a microprocessor to make sure the heat remains consistent.

All this means you won’t have to deal with that metallic burning smell that you sometimes get when you use other hair dryers for a long period of time. And you also won’t have to deal with the worrying smell of burning hair, as the microprocessor keeps the airflow temperature stable and under 302 degree F / 150 degree C no matter what.

Human hair is going to be damaged by brushing and heat no matter what, but past 302 degree F / 150 degree C the damage becomes irreversible and more noticeable, so by keeping airflow temperature in the optimal safe zone and instead upping the airflow pressure the Dyson Supersonic is able to prevent this.

The Dyson Supersonic also comes with five attachments including the flyaway attachment, a wide-tooth comb for afro hair, a diffuser for curly hair and a styling concentrator, although, unlike professional-style hair dryers, there’s no hanging loop on the Supersonic. 

Dyson Supersonic hair dryer with fly away attachment next to it, on a dressing table

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • Fast drying times
  • Flyaway attachment creates a sleek, smooth finish
  • Balanced in use

We were impressed with just how quickly the Dyson Supersonic dried our hair. On the lowest temperature settings and fastest speed, it took four minutes and 31 seconds to take below-shoulder-length fine hair from damp to completely dry. Using the hottest of the three settings shaved over a minute off this time (three minutes and 26 seconds) - making it the quickest hair dryer we’ve tested. On all settings, hair was left looking shiny and smooth.

We initially used the fly away attachment to dry our hair from damp, but we found that it increased the drying time to nine minutes. Instead, we were able to strike the right balance between time and a flyaway-free finish by sectioning off the crown of the hair. We used the Supersonic with a barrel brush on the remainder of the hair, while the flyaway attachment was used to blow dry the crown only, and resulted in a drying time of three minutes and 58 seconds - which we think is an acceptable compromise.  

The Dyson Supersonic hair dryer being held upright

The attachments connect to the barrel of the hair dryer magnetically, which is a simple design change, but it makes fitting and removing them a much smoother process. They also have solid lips on their edges through which the hot air doesn’t blow, and as a result remain cool, which makes changing the attachment a more comfortable process.

The Dyson Supersonic should feel heavier than it does, due to its 1.5 lb / 659g weight, but this repositioning of parts means its weight is spread out more evenly than with traditional dryers. We found this significantly reduced arm ache during use. We were also able to hold the dryer closer to our hair, which made blow-drying the roots fair easier than with bulkier hair dryers.  

One of the most attractive claims of the Dyson Supersonic is that it’s quieter than other hair dryers thanks to the more efficient motor. It registered 74db on our decibel meter, which is around 8db quieter than the Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001, which is one of the noisiest hair dryers we’ve tested. That said, while it’s a level we can live with for a few minutes at a time, using it in the morning beside a sleeping partner was still not welcomed.

Should I buy the Dyson Supersonic?

Buy it if...

You’re concerned about heat damage
The Dyson Supersonic regulates the temperature so it doesn’t creep past 302 degree F / 150 degree C, which is the point at which heat damage to hair becomes irreversible and more noticeable. It's worth investing in if heat damage is a concern when it comes to blow drying your hair. 

You want a lightweight compact hair dryer
It may look unusual, but the Dyson Supersonic is one of the most compact and lightweight hair dryers we’ve tested. As we’ve already mentioned, it should feel heavier in the hand but thanks to the way Dyson has re positioned the components, its comfortable to hold. 

You wants to reduce flyaway strands
The Flyaway attachment is effective at creating sleek smooth style - if you want to achieve a salon blow-dry look at home, this is a hair dryer well worth considering.  

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a budget
The Dyson Supersonic is the most expensive hair dryer we’ve tested to-date. At nearly twice the price of the GHD Air, which occupies the second place in our best hair dryers round-up, it’s one to avoid if you’re on a budget.  

You prefer traditional styling
Let’s be honest, the design of the Dyson Supersonic is certainly out there. You’ll either love it, or you’ll hate it. This is a hair dryer to be swarved if you prefer a more traditional look for your hair care appliances.  

You want a hanging loop
We know we’re being really picky with this one, but we were disappointed there’s no hanging loop on the Dyson Supersonic. If you're someone that wants to create a salon-style environment for your home blow dry session, then the lack of a hanging loop may mean it’s not the hair dryer for you.  

  • First reviewed: November 2019
  • Don't miss our picks of the best Dyson deals you can get at the moment
Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent.