In 2016, Dyson forever changed the at-home hair care game when it announced its very first beauty tech tool: the Dyson Supersonic(opens in a new tab). It was a hair dryer that looked and promised a performance like no other, granted you were willing to shell out $400 (these days, it’s $429).
Most early reviews sang the blow dryer’s praises, marveling at its ability to dry hair faster while damaging it less. The only flaw that could deter buyers? The price. Yet since then, the Supersonic has thousands of positive reviews and remains one of the best-selling hair dryers at Sephora(opens in a new tab). It’s a common fixture of beauty YouTube videos and TikToks (#dysonsupersonic has 91.5 million views at the time of writing), where both commenters with no followers and creators with millions laud the hair tool. Naturally, it’s also inspired plenty of dupes.
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Following the Supersonic’s success, Dyson has gone on to create other high-priced hair tools like the Airwrap(opens in a new tab), a $600 hot air styler that still goes in and out of stock five years after its release (though we still don’t entirely get the hype).
Hype is why we are here today, testing a hair dryer that came out seven years ago. If there’s anything that Dyson’s beauty tech ventures have taught us, it’s that hype can carry a brand for years, but if there’s something to deter the everyday person from buying in, it’s how the price tag actually compares to the performance.
A product like the Supersonic is worth the hype, and therefore worth the cost, if it actually delivers on something totally unique or next to perfection. So now that time has passed, the dupes have been made, and the Supersonic’s tech is no longer brand new — is it still worth $429? We investigated.
Why is the Dyson Supersonic popular?
To answer whether or not the Supersonic deserves its devoted following, it’s worth understanding what started that following in the first place.
When it was introduced in 2016, the classic blow dryer design still reigned supreme. In that design, a fan sits in the head of the blow dryer, which sucks in air from the back, passes it over heating coils, and pushes it out the front. The result is that echoey, wind tunnel sound, but this was the only way to dry hair faster — until the Supersonic.
The Dyson Supersonic is not like the other girls (hair dryers).
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable
Even from just looking at it, it’s clear Dyson’s hair dryer is built different. Instead of the classic fan, Dyson’s magnet-powered V9 digital motor sits in the handle of the dryer. The top of the dryer is a true ring shape you can look straight through, bearing a resemblance to brand’s discontinued Air Multiplier fan(opens in a new tab).
This is no coincidence — the Supersonic uses Air Multiplier technology, which provides a powerful airflow. The result of these deviations from the standard hair dryer design are the Supersonic features you’ll see praised over and over, including:
It’s not noisy. There’s no denying that the Supersonic is quieter than most blow dryers. Not exactly quiet (I still refrained from using it late at night or super early in the morning so as not to disturb my roommate or neighbors), but definitely less in-your-face loud than what you might expect from a blow dryer.
It’s lightweight. This motor in the handle is tiny, allowing for the Supersonic to be noticeably lightweight, and less weirdly top-heavy than most dryers. Clocking in at just under two pounds, it is one of the lighter high-powered high dryers on the market.
It works quickly, without damaging your hair. Most of all, that high-powered motor is what really shot the Supersonic to hair-care fame. Per Dyson’s website, the V9 motor generates 1,600 watts of power and shoots out 13 liters of air per second. While that’s not the highest wattage out there, paired with the Air Multiplier, you get an airflow that’s seriously strong, and reliably dried my entire head of hair in 15 minutes or less. Still, the dryer never exceeds a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the heat damage to a minimum.
How the Dyson Supersonic works
The Supersonic really does set you up for success. In addition to the above three points, it comes with five easily attachable yet sturdy magnetic attachments, including the styling concentrator, wide tooth comb, gentle air attachment, diffuser, and most recent addition to the line(opens in a new tab) — the flyaway attachment.
I don’t have super curly hair, so I didn’t even try to test out the wide tooth comb. As for the rest of the attachments, the flyaway one was the definite stand out. It actually made a difference around the ever-present halo of frizz my hair gets, and grabbed the hair similarly to the Airwrap’s Coanda smoothing dryer.
The attachments, from left to right: the diffuser, the gentle air attachment, the wide tooth comb, the flyaway attachment, the styling concentrator.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable
Between the remaining three attachments, nothing felt revolutionary — the gentle air attachment did help tone the air flow down, and I imagine would be well-loved by someone with hair finer than mine. I thought the diffuser worked well, but I missed the adjustable prongs of the Shark FlexStyle diffuser. The styling concentrator was the most straightforward of the bunch, and it did what it was supposed to do. More than anything, with this attachment I appreciated that the magnetic connection kept the concentrator firmly in place, but was flexible enough that I could move the concentrator and adjust the angle while styling.
By the way, if you’re interested in having a designated place to put all these attachments, we recommend going for the special edition Supersonic that comes with a storage case(opens in a new tab). It’s the same price as the normal Supersonic, which surprisingly, comes with no storage options other than the box it comes in.
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Where it’d be nice to see more innovation from Dyson isn’t in the actual tech of the attachments, but in how they’re offered with the dryer. Honestly, I can’t imagine the person who’d have the use for every single attachment regularly. If Dyson took a page out of the Shark FlexStyle playbook and allowed buyers to bundle together two or three attachments for less money, I could see that going a long way for the people trying to justify the price. (As a side note, Shark doesn’t offer customized bundles with its HyperAir dryer, but it only comes with two attachments.)
The heat and air settings
As for the settings, you’ll have your choice between three different heats at 140 degrees, 176 degrees, and 212 degrees, as well as an 82-degree cold shot button. You can also switch between three air speeds, with the lowest designed for diffusing, the middle for regular drying, and the highest for fast drying and styling.
Adjust the heat and air settings with the two buttons on the back of the ring.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable
Out of personal preference, I gravitated toward the low or medium heat paired with the low or medium airflow. Even though I wasn’t maxing out the settings, it was still plenty achievable to go from very lightly towel-dried hair to completely dry hair in less than 15 minutes. On the highest settings, this was closer to 10 minutes.
How it performs on other claims
The other claims you’ll see from the Supersonic are that it can “help increase smoothness by 75 percent, increase shine by up to 132 percent and decrease frizz and flyaways by up to 61 percent,” as compared to naturally dried hair.
I did notice a difference from my naturally dried hair, but not one that felt all that different from any other blow dryer I’ve used. Again, the flyaway attachment made the most impact on my frizz, but even then I still tamed it with some styling products. Overall, it did make my hair look nice, and the ease of using it is a plus — but for many people, it might just be worth paying less than half the price, and getting through the learning curve of a more classic blow dryer.
Are Supersonic alternatives worth it?
There are plenty of features of the Supersonic you can easily find in other blow dryers — negative ionic tech to reduce frizz, multiple heat and and air settings, and lightweight models are basically standards for blow dryers these days, even for more budget-friendly ones.
Even the ability to measure the air temperature while you’re blow drying, and adjusting to prevent damage, is not unique to the Supersonic — the Shark HyperAir(opens in a new tab) and multiple T3 dryers(opens in a new tab) do the exact same thing.
Still, we get you’re likely most interested in getting a near identical Supersonic experience without paying Supersonic dollars — and as we mentioned up top, dupe culture has delivered. While we have a fine selection of dupes we’ve researched and tested, the Laifen Swift(opens in a new tab) is by far the closest you’ll get to the real thing.
The Laifen Swift is as close to the Supersonic as it gets, looks-wise.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable
It’s $200, but that’s still less than half of the price of the Dyson (and it’s usually on sale). It looks a lot like the Dyson (minus the hollowed-out ring head), has the same Dyson whir, the similar magnetic attachments that hold firmly in place, and it has a powerful airflow that dries your hair in about the same time as the Dyson.
The biggest drawbacks are that it doesn’t have as many heat settings, with the hottest setting sometimes feeling warmer than the 176 degrees that it claims to top out at, and it doesn’t use the exact same Air Multiplier tech that made the Supersonic stand out in the first place. For $200, you also only receive one styling attachment, and will have to pay $40 more to get the two other available ones(opens in a new tab).
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I’ve been using the Laifen Swift regularly for nearly three months at this point, and so far it performs exactly the same as the day I first unboxed it. In other words, there don’t seem to be any apparent quality issues.
If price is less of an obstacle for you and you’re more into the idea of a blow dryer that uses the latest tech, the $349 Zuvi Halo(opens in a new tab) is one of the most innovative dryers out there, using low temps and light to get your hair dry.
Who should buy the Dyson Supersonic?
I’m not going to try to play it cool — the Dyson Supersonic(opens in a new tab) is still an impressive hair dryer. But it’s $429, and far from the only impressive hair dryer on the market.
Though the Supersonic certainly made my hair drying experience feel elevated, it didn’t make it feel drastically different than other hair dryers, and for this drastically different price to be worth it, it should.
For most people into the idea of a quick dry or a quieter dryer, at the very least, you should shop around before committing to the purchase. We’re more than willing to bet you’ll be satisfied with your purchase, but you don’t necessarily have to throw budget consciousness out the window.
The person who’ll get the most out of the Supersonic is someone who’s blow drying their hair most days of the week, and who has hair that, left to air dry, probably wouldn’t be able to get completely dry over the course of the day. The Dyson will definitely speed things up, and make applying a lot of heat styling kinder to your hair. Again, it’s a really good blow dryer.
We’re just saying that the most expensive dryer isn’t necessarily the absolute best dryer for everybody.
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