Dyson Supersonic hair dryer review
No woman likes drying her hair. It takes time to do well, holding a heavy dryer over your head for 20-plus minutes is tiring, and having a loud whine in your ear really sets a certain tone for the day.
It’s not surprising then there’s been lots of interest now that someone has finally decided there’s a better way. Dyson, makers of cyclonic bagless vacuums and bladeless fans and heaters has announced its new hair dryer, and it features similar technology to its other products, but refined and on a much smaller scale.
The hair dryer looks completely different from traditional dryers. For starters it’s shaped like a cylinder and is open in the middle. It’s flat on both ends so it resembles a tube. That’s because the motor is not in the head of the dryer like traditional models, in Dyson’s case it’s in the handle.
What’s in the box
The dryer comes with a long, heavy duty cord (2.7m) with a large and boxy electrical unit near the plug. There’s probably more than enough cord for most home users, and even for a salon. Indeed, Dyson describes this cord as “salon length”.
There’s a diffuser cone for managing curly hair, two styling nozzles that attach with magnets (very clever!), a rubber mat, and a string loop for hanging.
Dyson Supersonic Features
The Dyson dryer has some smart features that make you wonder why no one thought of them before.
For starters, the nozzle attachments snap on with strong magnets, making attaching and detaching them ultra easy.
The dryer contains a computer microprocessor, which Dyson says is constantly measuring temperature, so it’s able to hold its heat settings more accurately, longer. Dyson says the ability to do that helps protect your hair’s natural shine.
Improved weight & balance
Dyson chose to place the motor for the dryer into the handle, which results in a better balance for the device. No longer will your blow dryer feel heavy after lengthy drying sessions. With the bulk of the weight in the handle, if feels less heavy in your hands.
Plenty of hair dryers today come with ‘ionic’ technology which is said to reduce frizz and static, and Dyson’s supersonic does too. Negative ions are emitted from this dryer which should make things easier on your hair.
The Supersonic has 4 heat settings; 100°C, said to be for fast drying and styling, 80°C which Dyson labels ‘regular drying,’ 60°C for gentle drying, and a 28°C ‘constant cold’ setting for cooling, smoothing and setting your style.
Similarly speed of the airflow is fully adjustable; there’s ultra high for fast drying, regular and low.
How Dyson hair dryer works
It’s the technology in this hair dryer that makes the difference. For those that want to understand what’s going on here, a tiny microprocessor keeps things working as they should; you basically have a mini computer packed right inside the dryer walls. The motor that powers the airflow is just a scant 2.7 cm wide, compared to other dryers like my Conair which is 10cm wide.
Because Dyson’s motor is so small, it’s housed in the handle, which allows for a more balanced tool; all the weight is in your hand, not the back of the dryer head, so it tends not to pull your arm and wrist downwards.
A rubber mount helps to prevent the motor from vibrating against the inside of the handle, reducing the transfer of noise between the motor and the case. While I wouldn’t call this dryer ultra-quiet, it seems somewhat less noisy, if that makes any sense.
The Supersonic dryer has 1600 watts of power. While that sounds like a lot, it’s actually quite common in professional or even drug store hair dryers.
But Dyson’s technology takes that power and in essence forces more air through the tool. Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology is what gives this dryer its strong air flow.
“A high-pressure, high-velocity jet of air exits the amplifier, tripling airflow.”
Testing & My Review – Dyson Supersonic
I only had the dryer for a short time, so I dried my hair as many times as I could in those few days. Immediately I felt like the Dyson supersonic dried my hair significantly faster, so I decided to time my dry time with both the Dyson and my old Conair.
Immediately after drying the first time, I didn’t really feel like my hair was smoother or particularly softer after using the Dyson; I still needed my straightening iron to smooth and bring out the shine. But by the end of the day, as I was running my hands through my hair, I did feel that it was noticeably still smooth and shiny and soft. The next day when I was running my fingers through my hair that had been dried with the old Conair, I really didn’t get that silky feeling.
Timed tests – Dyson vs Conair
I did several timed tests in the time I had available with the Dyson Supersonic; you can see some of the results in my video review posted here.
On one test, The Dyson was able to dry my hair almost fully in about 2 minutes using the highest heat and airflow settings. Then, I needed about a further 3 minutes to finish the drying, and to smooth and style individual sections using high heat but medium airflow and one of the styling nozzles. I noticed that when I was doing the final stage smoothing, I only needed to go over each section once with the Dyson before it was dry and in place.
With the Conair, it took me about 2 minutes and 40 seconds to get to the mostly-dry stage, then a further 5-plus minutes to get my hair smoothed and styled. I needed at least two passes on the smoothing stage to get the job done.
Something else I noticed after using the Dyson and then going back to my old Conair dryer; the Conair dryer made me really hot. The heat blast was so prolonged and intense that it made me sweat and made my makeup run. I didn’t experience that with the Dyson, perhaps because the dry time is shorter, and the temperature is regulated so it doesn’t keep heating up over the course of the blow dry.
No ‘hair smoke’
I also notice I’d get ‘hair smoke’ from the Conair that I didn’t see at all with the Dyson. You know, when the dryer gets a bit too close to the hair and heats it (or vaporizes your hair product)?
It’s worth noting that I still needed to flat-iron my hair for that shiny finished look even with the Dyson.
How long does it really take?
On another test, I used the Dyson on high heat and airflow to do an overall dry (just about 2 and a half minutes that time), then did the rest of my smoothing and finishing without one of the nozzles and with heat again on medium. That took a further 4 minutes for a total of 6 and a half minutes. It’s clear that the directional nozzles help speed things up.
Probably once of the biggest surprises for me from this test was that I actually spend a lot less time blow drying my hair than I thought I did. If you’d asked me before I did any of this testing, I’d have guessed that it takes me 20 minutes to dry my hair. Turns out that I’m only taking about 7 minutes with my Conair. The Dyson drops that to about 5 or 6. So yes, the Dyson does save time, the question is, is it enough to justify the $500 price? Perhaps if you have a lot more hair than I do, or a thicker mane, you’d be shaving off even more time using the Dyson.
Overall – Dyson Supersonic
I really liked the Dyson Supersonic experience. I liked the fact it was quicker than my old dryer, and generated less heat. I also felt like my hair was softer and smoother after being dried with the Dyson, plus I like that it wasn’t scorching my hair. In fact I marveled several times over how silky my hair felt on days when I used the Dyson dryer.
If I were to make any improvements to this device it would be to make it quieter, and to get rid of the annoyingly large electrical box on the cable. Obviously I’m not an engineer and don’t know if these are even realistic suggestions, but from a consumer standpoint, those are my thoughts.
So, would I buy this hair dryer for myself? Oh, man, I really want to… because it made my hair feel great… but not right now. The time savings and other ‘pros’ of the dryer just aren’t significant enough to justify the $500 price tag for me right now. I also think that if there’s a ‘gen 2’ version that might come out in the next couple of years, it might have some of the improvements I’m hoping for.
Bottom line; if you can afford this dryer, and you’ve got lots of hair, or your lifestyle is such that a few minutes are worth getting back, you’ll probably love it!
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