Dyson knows a lot about moving air. It's spent millions perfecting the vacuum cleaner, the room fan, and even the restroom hand dryer for. Its next target? The handheld hair dryer. Dubbed the Supersonic, Dyson's hair dryer goes on sale in Japan and the U.K. in early June and will reach the U.S. market in September.
As it's done with its other products, the engineering-focused company has completely reimagined how a hair dryer looks and functions. The motor has been moved from the back of the cylinder into the handle, for starters, and sensors have been added to sample the air flow 20 times each second to enable precise heat control.
Placing the motor in the handle allowed Dyson's engineers to surround the motor with noise-dampening material to make the dryer more quiet. This placement also changed the dryer's center of balance, which makes it feel lighter even though it weighs about the same as a conventional model.
And where most dryers have low, medium, and high heat, the Supersonic can produce precisely heated air: A quick-dry setting operates at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, a regular setting at 176 degrees, gentle at 146 degrees, and a cold setting that blows room-temperature air. The dryer will have three speed settings, which can be very important for styling hair.
In addition to speed, Dyson will offers three magnetic attachments for shaping the dryer's airflow. A smoothing nozzle allows for a wide airflow for styling, a concentrator for focusing on specific areas, and a diffuser to disperse airflow evenly, best for curly hair.
The impact on you at home: Dyson's products often carry high price tags, and the Supersonic looks to be no exception. The company has priced its high-falutin' hair dryer at 299 British Pounds Sterling (about $435 U.S. at today's exchange rate).
Dyson needs to recoup the more than $70 million in research and development it's sunk into the Supersonic, but $435 is more than twice as much as some rival manufacturers charge for professional salon-grade hair dryers; in fact, it's about the same price as some of the company's vaunted vacuum cleaners. Would you buy one?