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Finding the best hair dryer (opens in new tab) on the market is more important than ever in an era when we’re increasingly opting for DIY beauty and striving to achieve the perfect at-home blow dry.
The hair dryer is no longer the humble tool of days past that we would grab for a quick rough dry. Rather, now it’s a multitasking status symbol that we look to to bestow on us all the skill of a trained professional. And any beauty fan will know that, whether we’re looking for the best hair dryers for curly hair or the best hair dryers for fine hair, there are two standout models that come up time and again as a step above the rest.
The Dyson Supersonic caused ripples among beauty enthusiasts when it launched back in 2016 for being the brand’s first foray into haircare. Decades of being obsessed with Dyson’s tech-forward vacuum technology left us all craving a piece of the unique beauty launch, while whispers about its snazzy magnetic attachments and unrivalled power have made it a staple on wish lists across the globe still today.
And then, of course, there’s the GHD Helios – the newest addition to the go-to hair brand’s family. It’s everything we love about the previous GHD dryers, but enhanced with a faster motor and more streamlined look.
But do either one of these high-end dryers really win out over the other? We’ve put them to the test to find out…
What is special about the Dyson Supersonic?(opens in new tab)
Dyson has a way of developing products that make us all more than happy to abandon our sensibilities and part with eye-watering amounts of money for the best hair straighteners (opens in new tab), a household fan or cordless vacuum cleaner.
And it’s no different with their first-born hair tool. On launching back in 2016, the Supersonic set a new standard for hair dryers, with its unique compact design that still packed a punch in the power department.
Operating on the same famous Dyson technology used in the brand’s vacuum cleaners, the Supersonic produces a concentrated jet of air that styles hair in seconds, while making blow-drying a pleasant experience for the user via its clever weight distribution and quiet functioning.
Hair drying has really reached new heights with this one…
See our full Dyson Supersonic hair dryer review (opens in new tab)
Speed settings: 3
Heat settings: 4
Cord length: 2.5m
Warranty: 2 years
Available colours: Iron & fuschia, black & nickel
Extras: 5 styling attachments included
We wouldn't be wrong in saying that the Supersonic looks like something sent to us by the beauty creators of the future. A total overhaul on the typical hair dryer, it steps away from traditional shape and opts instead for a small, even doughnut barrel that works without the usual dust-ridden blade. With a chic but comfortable matte handle and magnetic nozzle attachments, it establishes itself as the elegant and considerate option on the hair dryer market.
Sleek speed- and temperature-control buttons also make a departure from the regular clunky switches, with subtle coloured lights to signify which setting you’re using. We also love the signature grey and fuschia Dyson colouring, but for anyone who wants a fiercer or more gender-neutral colour, there’s also a black and nickel option.
Despite being quieter than most of its competitors, the dryer lives up to its name with its hit of power. With a sound more akin to a sci-fi jet than a hair dryer, the Supersonic emits a high-velocity stream of controlled air to dry locks in seconds.
A clever heat-control feature that regulates every 20 seconds, as well as four different degree options, also maintains an optimum temperature, so that hair dries without being frazzled, making for a shinier finish.
With nifty features wrapped up in a neat little package, the nimble Supersonic makes for effortless styling. It's one of the quietest hair dryers we've tried and is relatively lightweight. This, coupled with a hidden motor in the handle rather than in the barrel like other dryers, distributes the weight evenly so that your hand can cradle the tool comfortably, meaning no more achy arms – no matter how thick or difficult your hair is.
There are also three different magnetic nozzles that help to create preferred styles, whether it’s straight, curly or smooth you’re going for. Plus, the absence of the usual vent at the back means that stray locks of hair are no longer at risk of being sucked up into a blade.
The Supersonic’s easy handling and jet-like motor mean that hair is smoothed down but with a gorgeous natural bounce. The dryer’s use of negative ions also eliminates frizz more than we’ve seen in any other dryer. Hair was left soft to touch and shiny to look at – what more could we ask for?
What is special about the GHD Helios?(opens in new tab)
GHD set the benchmark in haircare long before Dyson came on the scene. And just like their newest straightener, the GHD Platinum+, their most recent hair dryer drop outshines all of its predecessors.
Not only does the GHD Helios look gorgeous in every one of its six stylish colour options, but it also boasts a seriously forceful motor. A uniquely high wattage means that you’re getting a muscular 120km/h shot of air through the concentrated nozzle, and its streamlined design makes it comfortable to use.
The GHD geniuses have done it again...
See our full GHD Helios hair dryer review (opens in new tab)
Weight: 1.495 kg
Speed settings: 2
Heat settings: 3
Cord length: 3m
Warranty: 2 years
Available colours: Black, neo-mint, powder pink, ink blue, white, plum
It may not have the high-tech finesse of the Supersonic, but the Helios is beautiful in its own right. Stunning colours and a swanky swirl vent give it a polished look while simple switches make for seamless use.
A high-wattage motor makes the Helios slightly faster than the Supersonic, with frizz and flyaways reduced thanks to the tool’s Aeroprecis technology, which controls the forceful air stream.
We did find that hair dried marginally quicker with the Helios; however, despite the bespoke acoustic system to reduce noise output, it was slightly louder than the Dyson.
While the actual weight of the Helios seems staggering for a hair dryer, it’s contoured and well-balanced design means that it doesn’t feel bulky whatsoever and the weight is unnoticeable.
The nozzles can be quite stiff to change, so that’s definitely a point to the Supersonic, but the well-placed switches do stop you second guessing every time you have to adjust the speed or temperature.
Just like the Dyson, the Helios left hair shiny and sleekly blow-dried with an envious bounce. Locks weren’t as soft as they were with the Supersonic, although it kept up with its competitor when it came to controlling frizz.
Dyson Supersonic vs GHD Helios: the verdict
In all honesty, the decision with this one may have to be a superficial one. Both the Supersonic and the Helios cut drying time in comparison with most of their competitors, with powerful motors setting hair into place in seconds and flattening out frizz while pushing up roots to boost volume.
If you’re going to push us to choose, at a push we’d say the sophistication of the Supersonic makes it a winner in our eyes. The enhanced features and futuristic look will make any beauty fan feel as though they’re ahead of the game, and the magnetic nozzles are the convenience we never knew we needed but now can’t live without.
We did also find that hair was slightly softer to touch after using the Dyson, which could perhaps point to the temperature control working behind the scenes to leave hair healthier. It was also more comfortable to use than the Helios, given its compact design and clever weight distribution, so if you’re someone who properly blows out your hair on the regular, then we think it’s worth the investment.
Having said that, the Helios will give you almost identical results for a fraction of the price and in a marginally quicker time span. Plus, it also looks luxe enough to enhance any dressing table, with dishy colours you can match to your carefully chosen interior decor. So, if you’d rather keep your savings for another sound investment, then the Helios will give you everything you need from a high-end dryer.
Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.
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