It’s not every day you get to review some serious hard-core technology. Something that’s engineered to perfection. Something with four years of research and development poured into it. Something with a massive £50 million investment behind it. Something… that’s actually a hairdryer.
After years of study, including setting up a bespoke, state of the art laboratory dedicated to the science of hair care, Dyson has brought out the Supersonic, a fast, focused, intelligent hairdryer. Which I got to take for a spin.
First impressions count
When I took the Dyson Supersonic out of the box, it floored me. This thing really doesn’t look like a hairdryer. It’s small, sleek and seriously stylish from a design point of view. As far as first impressions goes, it makes a good one. Alongside all the different attachments, the Supersonic also comes with a non-slip mat, a hanging hook attachment and a big-ass instruction manual that I’ll admit I didn’t bother to read because I wanted to start playing with it straight away.
The Supersonic name comes from the motor. Powered by the Dyson digital motor V9, the Supersonic has 13 spinning blades, where normal hairdryers only have between 9 and 11. The addition of an axial flow impeller inside the motor simplifies the path that the air takes, reducing turbulence. All of this means that the noise from the motor itself is supposedly inaudible to the human ear, and the only noise comes from the air being sucked into the hairdryer and pushed out again.
I couldn’t really put the silent motor to the test, as the hairdryer is still pretty loud. It’s not as loud as a regular hairdryer, but it’s certainly not nearly-silent as claimed. If anything, it’s just more high-pitched. My cats still noped out of the room while the hairdryer was going, and that’s generally a good benchmark for if something is too loud. Unless your partner sleeps like the dead, or gets up before you, you’re still going to wake them up when using this hairdryer in the mornings.
The advantage though, is that the Supersonic lives up to its name. This thing is fast. My hair is relatively thin, and even on the coolest setting, the Supersonic dried my hair faster than other hairdryers have managed before. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t quite as quick as I thought it would be, but it definitely was faster.
With regular hairdryers, the motor is generally attached to the back of the nozzle, with the handle serving only as a handle. With the Dyson Supersonic, the super-engineered V9 motor is small enough to fit inside the handle, meaning that it’s weighted evenly and not top-heavy. This will apparently help with fatigue. I’m not one to stand around drying my hair for ages (the aforementioned thin hair means my hair dries pretty fast anyway), but the Supersonic is lighter than other hairdryers. Not by much, but I suppose every bit counts.
The Supersonic also comes with a patented Air Multiplier Technology, which does pretty much what it says on the box. Something like 14 litres of air gets sucked in, and 39 litres will get pushed out. The shape of the Supersonic is designed to pull air in from the bottom, sides and middle, instead of just at the back.
The Air Multiplier Technology, combined with the speed of the V9 motor, means that the air is coming out of the Supersonic so fast that the water is supposedly pushed off of your hair, instead of being evaporated. This is healthier for your hair, as evaporation means that the temperature goes up and that’s when your hair gets damaged.
To combat the heat damage potential that comes with any hairdryer, the Supersonic includes a glass bead thermistor that measures the temperature of the air at the nozzle and never allows it to go above 125° Celsius. When tested on the highest heat setting, there was no burning hair smell like you might find with regular hairdryers. The Supersonic kept the temperature down to a manageable temperature.
Which is great, because heat ends up stripping your protective keratin layer, which means that your hair doesn’t shine as much as it could as keratin is the thing that reflects light. So, in combination with the speed of drying, the heat monitoring technology makes sure your hair comes out shinier than before.
Though I generally take care to dry my hair on the lowest possible heat setting, obviously the Supersonic can’t reverse any damage that’s already been done. But, it did leave my hair shinier than before. I imagine with regular use, the Supersonic will make your hair look shiny all the time.
When it comes to styling, there are four different heat settings to choose between: 60°, 80°, 100° & a cool blast to set your style in place. There are also three different speed settings: fast, slower and slow. On the fast setting, you’re definitely going to feel the speed. As I mentioned earlier, when they say fast, they mean fast.
The Supersonic comes with three different styling nozzles that attach to the dryer with magnets as opposed to flimsy plastic clips. There’s a narrow styling nozzle to use with a brush, a smoothing nozzle for quick drying with or without a brush, and a diffuser designed for curly hair to help keep curls from frizzing out. Seeing as my hair is dead straight, the diffuser was a bit of a waste on me, but the other two nozzles did their jobs quite well.
The nozzles come with a cool touch technology, which basically means they have two layers of plastic so they shouldn’t get too hot to the touch. You should, in theory, be able to snap them on and off easily without burning your fingers. I’ll be honest, after extended use the nozzles did get quite hot, but while they weren’t unmanageable, they were still a lot more than just warm.
Another big safety feature on the Supersonic is that it’s impossible for hair to get caught in the motor. I’ve personally never heard of anyone’s hair getting sucked into a hairdryer’s motor, but it’s apparently a thing that can happen. With the setup of the Supersonic’s intakes, however, your hair physically can’t get stuck in the filter. The filter is also quick and easy to clean.
But Is It Worth It?
The Dyson Supersonic packs a lot of engineering and technology into one tiny package. I won’t lie, this is the best hairdryer I have ever used. But I’m stuck on whether I could, in any good conscience, recommend that you buy it. Why? Well, it costs in the region of R6500. Yes, it’s one expensive hairdryer.
I can definitely see why it costs that much, considering everything that went into it. But, honestly, for home use? That price is way, way outside of your average household budget. I’m not entirely sure I’d recommend it for salon use either. After playing with it for a solid hour, it did get pretty hot to the touch and I don’t know how hardy it would be when put to through the rigorous strain that salon dryers go through. It’s also pretty small, which puts it at a disadvantage to hairdressers that use the nozzle to balance sections of hair while they’re drying.
The Dyson Supersonic packs one hell of a punch, but it’s one hell of a knock to your budget. If you’re a professional looking to invest in some crazy technology, or a home user with money to burn and an obsession with treating your hair, then, by all means, go for it. For everyone else, it’s just not worth it.
Last Updated: December 11, 2017