Comparing best-selling hair dryers from Dyson and Revlon: How do they stack up?

Hair Dryer Review
Hair Dryer Review

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Melanie Sutrathada is In The Know’s lifestyle contributor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.

Tired of splurging on salon visits? Or maybe you’re hoping to get your hair looking like J.Lo’s locks at the Super Bowl earlier this year? Or maybe you just like yourself a little bit better when you’re having a good hair day?

Well, my friends, it’s time to add a new styler to your hot tool collection.

After a ton of research (a.k.a. reading approximately 1,308,462 reviews), my personal search for the best styler came down to two: the Dyson Airwrap and the Revlon One-Step Dryer and Volumizer.

Both stylers have received a sort of Team Jacob vs. Team Edward cult-level status, and nearly everyone who’s tried them has a strong opinion. While the Airwrap and One-Step are designed for the same purpose, each has its fair share of pros and cons.

Let’s get ready to rumble — and see which styler has the upper hand. But first, for the sake of comparison, here’s what my hair looks like naturally with no heat styling.

Credit: <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Joe Loper;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Joe Loper</a>
Credit: Joe Loper

Now that you know what we’re working with, let’s jump right in!

Shop: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer, $43.15

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Meet the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer, the hot tool with almost 100,000 five-star reviews on Amazon alone. This styler is an absolute game-changer. In fact, “game-changer” is the word that I keep seeing in the reviews for it. When the styler went viral this year, I couldn’t order it fast enough — and immediately sang its praises on You Need This. I had never found a hot tool that worked so well at such an affordable price point.

As someone with long, thick hair, styling my locks with a round brush in one hand and a blowdryer in the other is a full-on arm workout. The thought of it alone is so exhausting that I give up before lifting a brush to my head. That’s where the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer comes in. This simple tool features an all-in-one non-detachable brush that dries, adds volume and increases your hair’s shine for a salon-worthy blowout at home. It won’t give you hair straight off of a Victoria’s Secret runway, but it will smooth your hair and give you a healthy, voluminous look.

Here’s my hair after using the Revlon One-Step:

Credit: <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Joe Loper;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Joe Loper</a>
Credit: Joe Loper

Because my hair is naturally really straight (and thanks to an amazing cut and color with my go-to hairstylist Addam Moreno of Art and Autonomy), you won’t see an earth-shattering difference from my air-dried hair to the hair post-One-Step. But trust me, I’ve added at least another hour back to my mornings after finding the One-Step. Drying and styling my hair is so much easier with this tool, and the shine and silkiness is everything. I can only imagine what my curly-haired girls feel like after using this tool! I’ve sat in salons for hours while my best friend gets her hair blown out. Making coarse, curly hair straight is no easy feat. Thankfully, the One-Step is here to save the day and save your time no matter your hair type.

There are three settings to choose from: cool, low and heat. The heat setting is way too hot for my hair (It feels like molten lava, if we’re being honest…), so I typically stick it on low. It makes me feel a little better about how much damage I’m doing. Once my hair is feeling dry, I’ll quickly switch to the cool setting to help set my hair. The One-Step has nylon pin and tufted bristles to detangle the hair and add shine. Although it’s pretty hefty and a bit loud, the Revlon One-Step is simple to use and does the job. This No. 1 best seller on Amazon for a reason.

Shop: Dyson Airwrap, $549.99

Credit: Ulta
Credit: Ulta

If I were giving out a first impression rose à la The Bachelorette, it would go to the Dyson Airwrap. Opening the box felt like Christmas — I was giddy and excited like a five year old hopped up on cookies. The Airwrap comes neatly packed in a sleek cognac-colored storage case that looks and feels expensive. But, just like the Bachelorette, I’m here to find “the one” and not just some hot hunk with no substance. With that in mind, I immediately dove in and inspected all the different pieces.

The Airwrap comes with several interchangeable heads that click into a motorized base. And the base itself looking like something out of a sci-fi movie. I’ll be honest, it’s a little intimidating at first. But, at the high price point, I wanted to be swept off my feet, expecting some ride-off-into-the-sunset sort of magic. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed.

The multipurpose Airwrap is designed for all hair types and can dry, smooth, curl and wave your hair. In addition to the base, the case comes with two smoothing brushes (smooth and firm), a round volumizing brush and four barrels (two in each size, providing loose, bouncy curls or a more voluminous, wavy look). Finally, you get a pre-styling dryer attachment, designed to prep your wet hair.

Here’s my hair after using the Airwrap:

Credit: <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Joe Loper;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Joe Loper</a>
Credit: Joe Loper

After a 20 minute styling session, I was converted and convinced. No, really. I was skeptical going in, and a little hesitant as I started my first Dyson experience with damp, towel-dried hair. First, I got my hair about 70 percent dry with the dryer attachment. From there, I quickly switched to the round brush attachment, using it on small sections of hair to get tons of volume at the roots and movement at the ends. Then, I switched it up again and had a field day with the barrels.

There is definitely a learning curve to getting your hair to wrap around the barrel, but I picked it up after a few minutes. And the results made me feel like I was in a Pantene commercial — which is my lifelong dream, by the way. I mean, can we just look at my hair? This took less than 20 minutes, and is just one of many options with the Airwrap.

Overall, the Airwrap feels like straight-up wizardry. Seeing the way my hair wraps around the barrels is just so cool and different than anything I’ve ever experienced. The tool styles your hair with air — not extreme heat — using some very fancy (and way above my pay grade) tech called the Coanda effect, which curves air to attract and wrap the hair to the barrel. The Airwrap has intelligent heat control, allowing to dry and style your hair without worry of heat damage. It also has two airspeeds and three heat settings, giving you absolute control over your styling process. There’s even a setting to give your hair a cold shot of air to help set it after styling. Dyson has thought of everything.

So, it’s time for the final verdict. If I was down to my final rose, my happily-ever-after would go to the powerful Dyson Airwrap. Because I style my hair three to four times a week for work, I need a tool that is less damaging for my hair, while also offering versatility. With the Airwrap, I easily replicated the same blowout style I did with the One-Step (and did it even quicker, thanks to Dyson’s patented technology) and then some. Those bouncy curls you see took half the time of my normal go-to curling iron — and remained intact for significantly longer, too. Yes, the Dyson Airwrap is very expensive. But, yes, it is also worth every penny for someone who really wants to invest in their hair.

That being said, the One-Step cannot be beat at its price point. The Revlon One-Step is phenomenal — and does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

It really comes down to your preferences, needs and, of course, your budget. As someone who is always putting heat on my hair for work and loves options, the Dyson wins — hands down. But, if you are more low-maintenance and want an affordable styler that will give you blowout-worthy hair, you can’t go wrong with the Revlon One-Step.

If you enjoyed this story, check out Melanie Sutrathada’s ideas for personalized gifts to give this holiday season.

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