If you somehow predicted that a company best known for its high-end vacuums and air purifiers would also wind up making the world’s most coveted hair tool, please come collect your prize.
We’re talking, of course, about Dyson and its legendary Airwrap. Originally launched in 2018 and then updated in the summer of 2022, the multi-functional styler has earned a cult following for its ability to dry, smooth, and curl without the use of extreme heat. A suite of brush and barrel attachments make it suitable for a range of different hair types and textures — plus, it comes with a case for easy storage.
Priced at a jolting $599.99, the Dyson Airwrap is more expensive than a PlayStation 5, and it used to be just as hard to buy. (We found it in stock at Best Buy(Opens in a new tab), Sephora(Opens in a new tab), Ulta(Opens in a new tab), and on the Dyson(Opens in a new tab) website at the time of writing.) Between the current economic climate and TikTok’s de-influencing trend, it seems like people are catching on to the fact that you can achieve similar styling results at a fraction of the cost with the right dupe. The newest and best alternative we’ve tested managed to replicate the Airwrap experience for around $270, but there are several good options well under the $200 mark if you’re willing to make some big concessions.
Our Dyson Airwrap review
For reference, the second-generation Airwrap comes in three different variants for different kinds of hair:
Mashable Shopping Reporter Bethany Allard had high expectations when she took the Complete Long variant for a spin, given its reputation and luxury price point. And while she did get compliments “every single time I styled my hair with this product,” Allard ultimately walked away from her weeks-long trial period thinking the Airwrap was “just fine.” Its learning curve was steeper than she expected, its case took up a lot of room, and it took too long to curl her long hair (with limp, short-lived ringlets). Its smoothing attachments did manage to produce some impressive results, but they still weren’t life-changing enough for Allard to justify the Airwrap’s overall cost.
The best parts of the new Dyson Airwrap might not be what you think
That being said, Allard noted that there are some types of people who will find the Airwrap more worth it than she did. If you’re someone who heat-styles their hair every day, for example, the Airwrap could prevent you from frying the shit out of your ends. If you like getting ready right after you hop out of the shower — the Airwrap is designed for use on freshly washed hair — it’ll fit effortlessly into your existing routine. And if you have shoulder-length or shorter hair, it could cut your styling time in half. “As someone who’s had shorter hair, I also know that some form of daily styling is usually necessary, so the plus of less damage isn’t negligible,” Allard wrote.
Even if you’re dead-set on buying the Airwrap (more power to you), you should at least be aware of the competition before spending half a month’s rent on a hair tool.
What is the closest thing to a Dyson Airwrap?
First, a little more about the design of the Airwrap: Its base unit features a high-pressure motor that’s powerful enough to produce an aerodynamic phenomenon called the Coanda effect(Opens in a new tab). This creates a spinning vortex of warm air, which attracts and automatically wraps hair around its barrel in either direction to gently dry while adding volume. As this is happening, an intelligent heat control system measures the device’s temperature over 40 times a second to ensure it never ventures beyond 302°F; your hair’s keratin strands typically start weakening when exposed to heat above the 300-degree mark(Opens in a new tab), Dyson says.
For a long time, the Airwrap was the only hair tool of its kind on the market with this kind of styling technology, and no dupe was an exact match or a fair comparison. But in late 2022, a hot new bombshell entered the villa: the Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System(Opens in a new tab). (What is it with vacuum companies and fancy hair tools?) It utilizes the same Coanda effect, offers a similar range of attachments as the Airwrap, and even one-ups it with a twistable base that lets it double as a normal hair dryer. But perhaps best of all, the FlexStyle clocks in at a much more reasonable $269.99 — $279.99, if you want to customize its configuration. It’s the absolute best Dyson Airwrap dupe available right now, no contest.
The Shark FlexStyle is better than the Dyson Airwrap
If that price point is still pushing it, you can replicate some Airwrap attachments’ results using more traditional styling tools like hot air brushes and (certain) curling irons and straighteners. To narrow down your pool of options, pinpoint the No. 1 reason why you’re drawn to the Airwrap in the first place, aside from the “minimal heat damage” thing:
No matter what kind of device you wind up buying, even if it’s a FlexStyle or an actual Airwrap, consider adding some styling products to your cart while you’re at it. Dyson itself recommends using hairspray(Opens in a new tab) to “maximize curls’ longevity” and a heat protectant(Opens in a new tab) “whenever possible.” (It can only help.) The company’s Global Lead Stylist Amy Johnson also suggests(Opens in a new tab) applying a mousse to your roots while your hair is still wet for extra volume.
More Airwrap competition on the horizon
Revlon recently introduced the $74.99 One-Step Blowout Curls(Opens in a new tab), which is yet another iteration of its One-Step hot air brush with a detachable, vented, ceramic-coated barrel that can supposedly dry and curl at the same time. It’s definitely not a 1:1 dupe like the FlexStyle, but it might be another budget-friendly option for those interested in fast, full volume. Check back to see if it winds up on this list as reviews start trickling in. (Ours is in the pipeline, FWIW.)
Below, you’ll find our guide to the best Dyson Airwrap dupes that are currently available: