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

If there is one hair dryer everyone wants – or, at the very least, wants to know everything about – it’s the Dyson Supersonic. This game-changing device launched in 2016 to much fanfare and has been at the top of my best hair dryer list ever since. So, how did a British brand previously best known for its (admittedly, equally desirable) bagless 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. 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 caring, 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 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 £300 to spend on a hair dryer or you don’t. If you do, we can’t think of a better investment. 

Specifications

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

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 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 corker, too. A classy slate grey 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). 

Weight and size

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

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 £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 hair-styling attachments are loaded on using magnets, meaning they essentially attach themselves. This makes for a smooth 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. 

Want more? Read our Dyson Supersonic vs GHD Helios review to see how the two luxury hair dryers compare.