Dyson Supersonic hair dryer review: does it live up to the hype?

With brains and beauty, the Dyson Supersonic is a true game-changer

Dyson supersonic hair dryer
(Image credit: Dyson)
Woman & Home Verdict

The ultimate wish-list dryer, with a price tag to match

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Nimble, stylish design

  • +

    Fast, powerful and quiet

  • +

    Reduced hair damage

  • +

    Excellent user experience

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    High price

  • -

    Magnetic nozzle can be unstable

Specifications

Added extras: Four attachments, plus non-slip heat mat and storage hanger
Watts: 1600W
Cord length: 9ft (2.8m) 
Warranty: 2 years
RRP: $479/£399 

If there is one hair dryer everyone wants, it’s the Dyson Supersonic. This game-changing device launched in 2016 to much fanfare and has been the talk of the town ever since. So, how did a British brand previously best known for its (admittedly, equally desirable) cordless vacuum cleaner create the must-have beauty tool of the last decade?

From the way it looks, how it feels in the hand, to the user experience and technology, the Dyson Supersonic is completely unique and deserves its place at the top of our best hair dryer list. The digital brushless motor is about six times faster than average and is positioned in the handle of the dryer, not the head, making it far easier to control the tool. The air released is then multiplied and temperature checked 20 times per second, meaning hair dries speedily via a concentrated air stream, rather than excessive heat. 

Aside from being speedy, powerful, quiet, and gentle, the Dyson Supersonic manages to pack in plenty of bells and whistles that make hair styling an experience to look forward to—something they have replicated with their recent stab at creating the best hair straighteners with the Dyson Corrale.  

In fact, the only downside of this hair dryer is the price. That’s not to say this doesn’t represent good value if a seamless blow-dry experience is a top priority for you. But, either you have upwards of $400 to spend on a hair dryer or you don’t (and even then, there are always some Dyson hair dryer deals to be on the lookout for). But if you can shell out full retail, we can’t think of a better investment.

Dyson Supersonic design

Before the Dyson Supersonic came along, hair dryers had looked and been built in much the same way since the 1950s. The technology had ticked along, with better motors, ionic elements, smaller sizes, and sleeker designs, but essentially, given you knew how to blow-dry hair, you were getting something of roughly the same shape, with a motor in the head, using a combination of heat and force to break down water particles. 

You only have to look at the Supersonic to know that it is different, with a nimble handle and tubular head that clearly does not contain a clunky motor. By housing a small, powerful digital motor in the handle, the ergonomics of the whole experience shift. There is no ungainly weight tipping the head forward as you try to style, instead the device feels exceptionally well balanced and, in turn, light and easily controlled. 

Aesthetically, she’s a beauty too: a classy slate gray barrel with that pop of pink at the back and sleek gunmetal buttons. The matching nozzles are made of the same pleasingly robust satin-finish material, a change from the usual plasticky attachments we are used to. With the honeycomb style vent at the base of the cord and neat LED heat and speed displays, the entire device wouldn’t feel out of place in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (minus murderous AI personality, of course). 

Dyson Supersonic weight and size

Small and perfectly formed, the Dyson Supersonic measures up at 10in (26cm) from top to bottom, and a diminutive 4in (10cm) across (without hair styling attachments). It weighs 1.5lbs (659g), which isn’t at the very bottom of the weight spectrum, but, thanks to clever design, it feels extremely agile and easy to maneuver in the hand. 

One of the joys of the Dyson’s size is it’s travel-friendliness. The neat tubular head, magnetic attachments, and right-angle shape of the head and handle make it easy to nestle into a suitcase. This will certainly solve that old holiday conundrum of accepting either sub-par blowouts or packing one less pair of shoes while you’re away. 

Dyson Supersonic performance 

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer


(Image credit: Dyson)

One of the most pleasing things about the Dyson Supersonic is the way it takes you by surprise. You pick up this light, slightly unusual-looking device, flick up the power button and, whoosh, it stands to attention instantly. Most of us have no idea that we are even waiting a few seconds, or milliseconds, for our hair dryers to get themselves going. But when you try the Supersonic and that time is suddenly cut out of the equation, you will notice. 

To get technical, this speed is the result of an extremely powerful digital motor, which is around six times faster than the average hair dryer. This creates 13 liters of air per second then sends it to the head which multiplies the air by three, measures the air temperature 20 times per second and propels a jet of air out on to your hair. 

The idea here is force over heat, so your hair dries quickly and with precision but without the extreme temperatures that cause hair damage. 

This is another way in which the dryer takes you by surprise, as it doesn’t actually feel like it’s all that powerful. It doesn’t blast your hair or get extremely hot, it isn’t noisy and is so light in the hand that it might have you wondering how exactly it’s going to revolutionize your drying experience. But the Supersonic takes quiet control and cuts drying time every single day, meaning over time you maintain a  healthier head of hair. 

Dyson Supersonic controls and attachments 

Dyson’s approach with the Supersonic controls appears to be keep it simple but also make it enjoyable. This means we get three heat and three speed options, but instead of the usual flick-switch, you press a tiny silver button on the rear of the head. There’s a button each for heat and power and you can tap away on both until you’re happy, then your combination is shown on LED lights. 

The cool shot sits on the back of the handle, about where your thumb naturally sits, making it handy for a mid-dry blast without having to pull the dryer away and check where to press. 

The standard Dyson Supersonic that retails at $423 (£299) comes along with a great selection of hair styling attachments, including a styling concentrator, smoothing nozzle, diffuser, and a gentle air attachment for sensitive scalps or very fine hair. As with any dryer, It’s a good idea to use one of these attachments for styling, as drying without any will make hair a little fluffy.

All of the hairstyling attachments are loaded on using magnets, meaning they essentially attach themselves. This makes for a smooth (and quite satisfying) experience when popping them on—no fiddling around with bits of plastic—however they do sometimes knock themselves off more easily than a traditional clipped-on nozzle would. 

Dyson Supersonic verdict

It might be on the expensive side, but the Dyson Supersonic is worth every penny. From the comfort you're given while you're using it, to the sleek and shiny results and the healthy hair that follows (we've never had a bouncy blow-dry quite as shiny and healthy-looking), Dyson has put thought and consideration into every aspect of this dryer.

The array of attachments available to use also make this a great pick for different hair types and the sleek finish speaks to the luxury of the device. It's not the cheapest out there, so if you're looking for something a bit more affordable, we also love the GHD Helios dryer. When it comes to the Dyson Supersonic vs GHD Helios, there are a lot of similarities in terms of quality and hair health, but the GHD offering is a little less comfortable to use. That being said, it's definitely worth your attention if you don't want to spend as much much money as the Supersonic affords.

But if you can spare the few hundred the Supersonic will set you back, then investing in this dryer is really a no-brainer.

Fiona McKim

As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more beauty products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)

Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). 


In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a features writer at publications including Junior and Prima Baby, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.

When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park. 


Come to think of it, the hot dinners and beauty products are probably about even.