IF YOU’VE investigated Dyson’s hair dryer remake, you will have heard the statistics.
The British firm spent four years overhauling the appliance, used more than 1625km of human hair in testing, committed 103 engineers to the project, and built 600 prototypes.
But just because Sir James Dyson spent $86 million on a new hair dryer, does that mean you should invest $699?
The Dyson Supersonic launches in just two Australian stores tomorrow and more on Sunday, but I’ve been using the device for a week.
Here’s what you need to know about the machine dubbed the “Tesla of hair dryers” and one its makers call a revolution in “hair science”.
Familiar, futuristic design
The Supersonic is shaped like a oversized monocle or a doughnut on a stick.
Like other Dyson products, it has no visible blades — you can see right through its barrel — and it looks so futuristic it could have emerged from a post-apocalyptic Ridley Scott film… if it wasn’t so brightly coloured.
There are smart reasons behind this otherworldly design, though, and they’re not just about limiting ways to get your hair in a spin.
The Supersonic’s motor and 13 blades are hidden in the handle of this hair dryer, ensuring its weight is centred and the appliance is easier to hold.
Controls for cool shots, its fan and heat intensity lie on the back and handle of the machine, and are both solid and stylish (note to other hair dryer users: the switches are often the first to blow out).
Despite the inclusion of Dyson’s smallest and lightest digital motor, the Supersonic does not break weight records.
In fact, at 618g it was 98g heavier than the Parlux 3800 with which I compared it.
Another strange addition: this hair dryer’s hair intake sits at the bottom of its handle. Covering some of it with your hand won’t damage the hair dryer but, if you cover enough of it, it will affect its air flow.
Verdict: Better looking, balanced, but not necessarily lighter
Heat and power
Hair dryers live and die by their heat and air output.
Not enough of either, and it’s ineffective. Too much heat, and your hair and ears will suffer.
It’s in the heat stakes that Dyson’s hair dryer remake really shines.
The company uses a “glass bead thermistor” to measure the temperature of its output 20 times every second. It uses this information to control the heat of its double-stacked element.
In practice, this means air from this hair dryer is never too hot.
Burned too many times by hair dryers (literally — flames shot from one old model), I didn’t trust this promise initially, but it’s true.
Even at its hottest, this hair dryer delivers air at a consistent, comfortable temperature. You cannot burn your ears or scalp with this machine, even if you point it at them a little too long.
This consistent heat effects your hair too — it doesn’t damage it like other hair dryers.
As for air output, it feels a little slower than some models. It uses 1600 watts compared to the 2150 watt power of the Parlux.
The Dyson takes marginally longer to dry hair, in my experience, though the results are better. More on that later.
Verdict: Consistent heat though typical power.
Making a ‘racket’
Sir James Dyson says he initiated the hair dryer project because the appliances were known for making “a racket” in use.
There’s no debating this. The most powerful hair dryer will shut down any conversation or protests you plan to share with your hairdresser.
Dyson used acoustic engineering to overcome this issue, pushing the tone the machine makes beyond the range of human hearing.
This probably overstates how the Supersonic sounds in real life, however. The machine certainly makes less noise, and it makes a higher pitched noise than most hair dryers.
It’s more hiss, less roar.
You can carry on a conversation with a raised voice, and avoid shouting, while the Supersonic dries your hair. You can even hear your phone notifications. It’s far from silent, however. You might just scare fewer toddlers.
Verdict: Quieter but not quiet
Imagine you had spent millions of dollars on a hair dryer, revamping its motor and design, only for people to praise the accessories that came with it.
This might happen with the Dyson Supersonic. The three magnetic attachments that come with this hair dryer are one of its biggest strengths.
They fasten easily and secure to the head of this hair dryer, they don’t get too hot to touch, and they do what they promise.
The styling concentrator — an addition designed to focus on individual hair sections — is seriously impressive. It didn’t threaten to move from the device, became no more than warm, and directed air into a more concentrated flow.
Verdict: Well designed and useful
There is a lot of technology inside Dyson’s “Tesla of hair dryers,” and a lot of hype around it, but does it produce better results than another hair dryer?
After using it for a week, I’m confident it does.
The Dyson Supersonic ultimately succeeds due to two factors: consistent heat and focused air flow.
After using the Supersonic, my hair looked more shiny, felt more voluminous, and sat straighter.
The consistent heat of this hair dryer had an immediate effect on my hair, which felt softer to touch and more lightweight — a similar result to a professional blow-dry.
Its attachments delivered a focused stream of air that helped to straighten hair more effectively than other hair dryers, and some users may be able to ditch their hair straighteners as a result.
Are its results better? Absolutely. Are they worth $700 to you? Only you can tell.
If not worth buying, the Dyson Supersonic is certainly worth borrowing.