Shark Hyperair vs. Dyson Supersonic: Which hair dryer is better?
It’s the battle of the vacuum-turned-hair brands.
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You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of the best hair dryers that doesn’t include the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. Many of Dyson’s products receive an abundance of attention, particularly because the brand is known for its innovative technology and unique-looking lifestyle items. The Supersonic Hair Dryer is a supreme example, as it replaces a long-barreled dryer head with a short-stouted one that has a hole where you’d expect a motor to go. It’s downright odd looking, but many beauty lovers embraced it as their favorite hair dryer for its powerful airflow and purported protection from heat damage.
So, when Shark, an equally well known vacuum brand, launched its Hyperair Fast-Drying Hair Blow Dryer that echoed some of Dyson’s original claims, we had to see how it stacked up to what many consider the best. To do so, we put each dryer through a series of tests in our labs and I, Reviewed’s beauty editor, tried both on my long, wavy, medium-textured hair to see how they stack up on a series of attributes.
To test for power, we pointed the nozzle of each dryer up and placed a ping pong ball on top of it before turning on the highest speed setting. We then measured how high the ping pong ball initially shot up, using the brick wall in the background as our tool of measurement, then how high the ball hovered while still in the air stream. The Shark’s ping pong ball hovered two bricks higher than the Dyson’s.
But to me in my use tests, the dryers felt equally powerful and took about the same amount of time—20 minutes—to completely dry my hair. I had three speed settings (low, medium, and high) to choose from on each dryer, too, and each felt incrementally more powerful.
Winner: Shark in the labs; a tie in terms of getting hair dry.
Each of these dryers features three heat settings—low, medium, and high—that allowed me to cater to what felt best on my hair. In both cases, I chose the medium heat for the majority of my blowouts, as that felt comfortable on my scalp and straightened my hair enough for me to quickly run a flat iron over it for sleeker, shinier results.
In our lab tests, these dryers also came within a degree of each other when we measured the maximum temperature each one reached on its hottest setting—108°F for Dyson and 109°F for Shark—an indiscernible difference to my hair or scalp.
Winner: A tie.
The Dyson’s motor lives inside its handle rather than its head, which you'd think would make it feel less top-heavy and more ergonomically pleasant to use. Instead, placing the motor inside the handle and having an ultra-light barrel leads to an unexpected weight imbalance that’s noticeable as I’m styling. I noticed this especially when I was orbiting my head with the hair dryer to dry my roots and felt like my arm was weighed down by the bulky handle.
The Shark, despite all the ways it mimicked the Dyson, didn’t copy this design. Like a typical hair dryer, the bulk of its weight is in its short-barreled head, which makes it feel more ergonomic to use in any position. What's more, the Shark weighs 1.1 pounds compared to Dyson’s 0.9 pounds, but the Dyson feels heavier, which goes to show how much weight distribution can affect comfort.
Ease of use
The design of the Dyson Supersonic may initially cause confusion of “how do I use this thing?” because of the gaping hole in its barrel, but you use it the same way you would the Shark or any hair dryer—hold the handle and point the head toward your, er, head.
Otherwise, in terms of settings and button placement, these dryers are identical. Both have the temperature and speed settings located as single buttons, respectively, on the head and, when pressed, you’ll see a string of three lights that indicates whether you’re on the low, medium, or high settings for each. The placement of the buttons on the heads keeps you from accidentally engaging with the settings on either dryer while styling.
Lastly, both dryers feature cool shot buttons on the handle, though the Dyson’s locks in place so you don’t need to continue pressing for cool air, which give it the ever-so-slight edge here
Winner: Dyson by a hair, thanks to its cool button that locks in the on position.
Quality of blowout
I saw very similar results with these dryers—a mostly straight but poofy style that I’d want to run a flat iron through before going out. This could be because both hair dryers have powerful air streams that occasionally whipped my hair around, or it could be because I needed to use them on their higher heat settings to flatten my wavy-curly hair—I prefer to stick to medium to reduce heat damage. Either way, the dryers tie here, too.
Winner: It’s a tie.
Which dryer should you buy?
Between these two, the Shark is the clear winner.
For two out of the five attributes above, the dryers tied, but the Shark pulled ahead on the features where the tools weren’t equal. But even if it didn’t, the Shark cost about half of what Dyson asks for its Supersonic for very similar results—a difference that you'll feel in your wallet more than in your hairstyle.
If we’re talking about which dryer I actually think you should purchase, it’s the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Dryer—our Best Overall winner out of more than a dozen hair dryers we tested. It out-performed both of these pricey dryers and costs a fraction of either one. I got a smoother blowout in about the same amount of time with the BaBylissPro and felt it was comfortable to hold and had plenty of options with its three heat and two speed settings. Sure, it doesn’t have Dyson’s hype, but it’s, in my opinion, the best hair dryer out there right now.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.