competition, but it comes with a steep price


My wife cradled the new Dyson Supersonic hair dryer like it was a newborn baby. Her eyes beseeched me, “Please don’t take this away.”

Minutes earlier, she had tried the unusual-looking hair dryer for the first time. I’d tapped my wife to stand in as my proxy because of our obvious hirsute differences. I haven’t used a blow dryer in 20 years, but my wife uses one almost every morning for upwards of 30 minutes.

When I first wrote about the Dyson Supersonic almost six months ago, she, like many others, was intrigued.

Different, yet familiar

At a glance, the Dyson Supersonic resembles a tiny version of one of Dyson’s popular multiplier fans. That’s no accident. Unlike traditional blow-dryers, which house their motors and fans in the back, the Dyson Supersonic puts its tiny digital motor in the handle. It is, by any measure, a much, much smaller motor, with tinier fan blades, than one found in most blow dryers on the market. However, the motor spins at an insane 110 RPM and forces a jet of air up through the handle and out of the front of the dryer.

At the top of the Dyson Supersonic is that trademark “O” design. It’s not just a fun way to look through the Supersonic (a feat impossible with other hair dryers), that design is what creates the air multiplier effect. So while air is being forced up and through the center of the Supersonic, the circle design pulls in almost the same amount of outside air, creating twice as much air force as might normally be possible with a similarly sized motor on another hair drier.

The 27 mm digital motor, by the way, is kind of a wonder. It features 13 computer-carved impeller blades and spin so fast that, Dyson claims, the motor sound is virtually impossible for humans to hear.

There’s also, probably, more technology inside the Dyson supersonic than your average blow dryer. It includes a chip that measures air temperature 20 times a second to decrease hair burn and damage.


The Dyson Supersonic includes all the controls you’d expect, including temperature and fan speed, which are controlled through tiny buttons along the inside edge of the multiplier. The levels are represented by small LEDs embedded right near the buttons. On the handle is the power switch and a cold shot button. The latter doesn’t include an ionizer because the multiplier is already built to deliver negative ions (to reduce static automatically). At the base of the handle is the air intake and removable filter. Wrap your hand around it during operation and you’ll significantly cut down the airflow. Dyson expects you to place your hand right above it.


Snaking off the end of the Dyson Supersonic is a rather thick, long gray power cord, which is interrupted by a power-management brick and ends in a circuit-breaker plug. The cord does not retract into the Supersonic body (as the cords do on many traditional hair dryers) and it’s too thick to wrap around the device. It’s a shame Dyson didn’t include some Velcro straps to wrap around all that cable when you’re not using it.


Even though I’m bald, I’ve had no trouble finding people – all women – willing to test drive the Dyson Supersonic with me. At Mashable, we hosted a Facebook Live (see above) where, compared to a $25 Conair hair dryer, the hair dryer made short work of a pair of co-workers’ locks. Then I took the Dyson Supersonic home.

My wife, who generally endures technology, was clearly looking forward to putting the Dyson Supersonic to the test. She has naturally curly hair, but actually pays every four-to-six months for what’s known as keratin treatments to straighten out her hair. By the time I brought home the Dyson Supersonic, though, the effects of her last treatment were virtually gone and she needed to spend more and more time drying and straightening. By her reckoning, she spends up to 30 minutes drying and maybe another five-to-ten ironing her hair into pin-straight perfection.

She took a quick shower and then pat-dried her hair. We talked for moment about how to operate the hair dryer. There are three settings for air speed and three for heat. In the box are two air concentrators, one for smoothing and one for styling, as well as a diffuser. My wife selected the styling concentrator, which, like the rest of the adapters, snaps smartly onto the front with magnets.


While Dyson claims the Supersonic is quieter than other hair dryers, it is by no means silent. However, instead of the high-pitched whine you often hear from cheaper blow-dryers, all you hear from the Supersonic is the sound of air whooshing through the system. Silent? No. But at least you can talk over it.

I checked back in on my wife after about seven minutes. She was about halfway done. After roughly 20 minutes her hair was completely dry.

“I’m impressed,” she said. “I don’t think I’m even going to have to iron… and I’m at the end of my keratin.”

From where I stood her hair looked dry, smooth and shiny. The shininess is what Dyson supersonic promises: the less you damage your hair with heat, the shinier it appears.

My wife was not only impressed with how the Dyson Supersonic works, but how it felt. She told me she was surprised that the unusual design didn’t feel awkward. It felt light, easy to hold and was not nearly as loud as her current hair dryer.

Even the way it worked impressed her. She’d run the Supersonic at the highest heat and air-flow. “The heat was really concentrated, not blowing all over the place,” she said.

Mo money

There is, though, no getting around that price tag. At $399, the Dyson Supersonic is many times more expensive than an average blow dryer.

However, my wife also called the result “professional” and then – almost – built a case to justify the near $400 price tag.


If, she noted, you pay someone $50 for a blowout a few times a month, you could save all that money by doing it yourself and getting professional results with the Dyson Supersonic. She also wondered if, using the Dyson Supersonic, she could avoid another keratin treatment (she has never told me how much they cost).


Even so, $399 is a tough sell for any budget-minded person. My wife suggested that $250 would be a more reasonable price.

The good news is that, if you do spend $399, the blow dryer is pretty tough. It’s been tested to handle drops, kicks and being stepped on. if you do break it, its warrantied for two years.

For a professional looking for an excellent hair dryer that can produce excellent results in record time, I think the Dyson Supersonic is a no-brainer. To make sense for the average consumer, though, they’ll have to make the same calculations my wife is now trying to make. Can $399 now save me hundreds of dollars later?