If you're interested in hair, you've definitely heard of Dyson's range of styling tools, from its dryer and Corrale cordless straighteners to the iconic Airwrap styler. And if you've looked at any hair styling content on social media, you've probably also heard of the vast array of dupes and alternatives available, billed as being able to straighten and curl your hair without extreme heat.

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We gave the Dyson Airwrap itself a five-star review, so naturally, we wondered whether any of the alternatives at a much more affordable price point could hold their own against it.

So, we tried out the Revamp Progloss Airstyle 6-in-1 and put it through its paces against the heavyweight Dyson. Should you go for the cheap styler – or stump up for the expensive one?

You can read our full review of the Airstyle 6-in-1 here.

Features

Surprisingly, it's the Revamp that has more features. Though the Airwrap Complete (the model with all the accessories) comes with eight attachments, compared to the Revamp's six, most of these are doubled up: curling barrels of two widths, with one for each curl direction, and a firm and soft heat-styling paddle brush. The final two are a pre-styling dryer and a bristle brush. In the newer model, the Dyson Airwrap multi-styler, you get one of each size of curling barrel, redesigned to change direction as needed.

With the Revamp, you get a pre-styling dryer, a curling brush (needing only one attachment for both directions), a heat-styling paddle brush and a bristle brush. On top of these, you also get a diffuser for bringing out your natural curls, and a curling tong for tighter curls.

Design

The Airwrap has more of a premium feel to it than the Revamp. The attachments slide into place with a satisfying click, and the switches are intuitively laid out, so you can change settings without looking at them. It's a very sturdy device – but perhaps a little on the hefty side. It's not too big to hold, but it is slightly heavy. It's not a problem unless I spend a long time using it, particularly if I have to grip the device firmly to put tension into my hair.

The Revamp doesn't feel so high-end, but it doesn't feel cheap, either. It's more comfortable to hold – it's lighter, and the handle tapers towards the top, which is a thoughtful touch. The buttons and switches are mostly easy to use and intuitive, with the exception of the cold shot button: it's right next to the 'remove attachment' button, and they feel very similar, so I would very often press the wrong button when I wasn't looking.

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Styling hair

The Dyson Airwrap sells itself on the basis that it styles without extreme heat – in fact, Dyson says that the Airwrap measures the temperature 40 times a second to keep it under 150ºC, believed to be the temperature above which hair is damaged.

Revamp, however, make no such promises for their Airstyle. In fact, one of the first things you notice about the Airstyle is that it does indeed get hot. It's not hot enough to burn your skin, so I don't think it's as hot as a traditional straightener or curling tong, but it does get uncomfortable when you hold it close to your scalp and ears on full heat.

As for the results, there's no denying that the Dyson is better. The straight styles are smoother and shinier – and with the Revamp, the paddle is a bit too wide, making it hard to get the underside fully straightened. Curls made with the Dyson are more defined and hold for longer and, let's be honest, using the Airwrap for curls is fun.

That's not to say I wasn't happy with what I could achieve with the Revamp. While the styles weren't flawless, I think part of that came down to technique – with more practice, I think I'd be able to refine it a bit. I liked the way it looked, and I don't mind too much about a few odd strands that didn't curl as tightly as the others.

Value for money

The Dyson Airwrap is a premium product, and you can tell that from both the design and how well it works. But it's still a lot of money to invest in a hair styler.

So, while the Revamp isn't as good a styler as the Airwrap, it's still a good product, and the price is a lot more affordable. It might not knock your socks off, but I doubt you'd be disappointed with what you can do for the price.

Verdict

So, which should you buy? The Dyson or the Revamp?

To me, it comes down to how you'd use it. Personally, I've found that I mostly reach for one of the two to give my hair a blow-dry after a shower or to neaten it up quickly before work. I would use the curling attachments less often, on occasions when I'd dress up a bit. While the Dyson might give more polished results, the Revamp still does a good job. So, given the price difference, I think I would choose to buy the Revamp.

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However, if you're the sort of person with the energy to get up and curl your hair before work every morning, or you're keen on salon-perfect, Instagram-worthy results every time, then you can't go wrong investing in the Dyson Airwrap.

Authors

Sara RigbyOnline staff writer, BBC Science Focus

Sara is the online staff writer at BBC Science Focus. She has an MPhys in mathematical physics and loves all things space, dinosaurs and dogs.

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