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Shark vs Dyson – Which Vacuum Cleaner is Best?

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Shark vs Dyson Vacuums

If you want to know the REAL difference between Shark vacuums and Dyson vacuums ask someone who actually has the vacuums. I have personally tested many machines from each company, and as the photo above shows I have a few.  In this article we analyze some of the top vacuums from both companies, compare specifications and provide pros & cons.


A BRIEF WORD ON THE TWO COMPANIES 

 

Shark Vacuum LogoSharkNinja Operating LLC
SharkNinja Operating LLC is a US based company with two main product lines – “Shark” which sells vacuums and steam-mops, and “Ninja” which is focused on small kitchen appliances.  You will often see the vacuums and steam-mops under the name “Shark” or “SharkNinja”.
 
The company has been growing rapidly and, according to Inc Magazine, it is now one of the top 5000 fastest growing companies in the USA.  Their aggressive telemarketing has provided them a respectable share of the US market. They also have offices in the UK, Canada and China (where the vacuums are manufactured).

Shark seems to have a somewhat contentious relationship with Dyson, and the two companies have recently been embroiled in legal battles over advertising claims. 

Dyson LogoDyson Ltd
Dyson Ltd is a British technology company and is larger than Shark.  Dyson manufactures a range of products including hand dryers, fans, and motors but is probably most famous for its somewhat high-end vacuum cleaners.  Dyson is arguably one of the best-known vacuum cleaner brands in the world.
 
Dyson products are marketed worldwide but the vacuum cleaners are made in Malaysia and Singapore.  The company has approximately 7000 employees worldwide with the bulk of those being in Asia.

In January 2018 Dyson launched a legal case in the UK against Shark contending that Shark is publishing misleading advertising claims regarding which vacuums generate the most suction. This seems to be about the Dyson V8 and the Shark IONFlex – two vacuums that we discuss in this article.


SHARK VS DYSON VACUUMS – OVERVIEW

 

Technology
Both companies manufacture bagless vacuums only.  The vacuums have a dust canister that collects the dust/debris.  The canister can be detached from the vacuum, emptied, then reattached.  There is no need to buy and dispose of bags.

Electrolux HEPA FilterFiltration
Both companies generally provide washable filters.  Usually both pre-motor filters and post motor filters can be rinsed in water and left to dry, then reinserted back into the vacuum.  The washable filters combined with the bagless technology reduce the need for consumables.

Most Dyson vacuums offer HEPA level filtration while only some Shark machines provide it.  If you want HEPA filtration make sure you check the specs for the particular vacuum model.

Sealed System
A sealed system means that the air/dust/debris pulled into the vacuum does not escape though poor seals or cracks.  It is forced through the filtration system prior to being exhausted from the machine.  This ensures that only filtered air is reintroduced back into the environment. 

Shark Complete Seal TechnologyThis is probably a more prominent feature in Dyson vacuums and they often highlight this by letting you know that the vacuum is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  Sometimes you will also see Dyson use the terminology “Whole-machine HEPA filtration” or “Certified asthma & allergy friendly”.
 
Some Shark machines have a sealed system but not all.  Shark calls this “Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology” and if their machine has it they will tell you.  Shark even has a video showing how important this feature is (you can see it in our Shark NV752 review).

In our opinion this is something you want if you have allergies or asthma and are buying a vacuum with HEPA filtration.  HEPA filtration can be somewhat ineffective without it.

Length of Warranty
This, of course, varies from vacuum to vacuum but in general we see longer warranties with Shark.  Their uprights often have a 7 year limited manufacturer’s warranty while Dyson usually maxes out at 5 years.  Even the Shark stick vacs (Rocket/IONFlex/SharkFLEX) have a 5 year warranty while the Dyson V6/V7/V8s have a 2 year warranty.  Canister vacuums for both manufacturers have about the same length of warranty (5 years).

Weight
Again, this metric depends on the vacuum, but in our experience Shark uprights are generally lighter than Dyson uprights.  Dyson presently has 4 canister vacuums and Shark only makes 1, but again the Shark is lighter. 

The opposite is true when it comes to the stick vacuums.  Dyson stick vacuums (V6/V7/V8) are lighter than Shark stick vacs (Rocket/IONFlex/SharkFLEX). 

Price
This one is pretty cut and dried.  Dyson vacuums are on average more expensive than Shark vacuums.

Noise MeterNoise
We’ve noise tested several Dyson uprights and several Shark uprights with a digital noise meter.  The Sharks uprights are often quieter.  However, with some of the stick vacuums we found the opposite.  The Dyson V8 and Dyson V7, which have soundproofing, are quieter than the Shark Rocket HV382 and Shark IONFlex 2X IF252.  The Dyson V6, which is the loudest of the Dyson stick vacuums, is similar in noise level to the Shark machines.
 
Cleaning Reach
This comes into play with the corded vacuums.  Dyson usually has the edge here as their power cords are often as long or longer than those of their rival, and their hoses are frequently longer than those provided by Shark.

LED Headlights
Often available on Shark vacuums.  Not available on Dyson vacuums.

Lift-Away Feature
Often available on Shark vacuums.  Not available on Dyson vacuums.

Suction
Suction and power is what many of the court cases have been about – and continue to be about. Shark claims that certain Shark models are more powerful than certain Dyson models.  However Dyson contends this.  Unfortunately for the consumer it is hard to measure the suction of these machines and put the claims to the test (we’ve tried and there are obstacles to getting it right).  Also, while Dyson report the suction of their machines, Shark does not.  In addition, even though Dyson provide suction specifications, they use units such as Air Watts which are not easily converted into other more commonly used units of suction. So it isn’t much help for comparison purposes – other than to compare one Dyson machine to another. 


DYSON BALL ANIMAL 2 - VS - SHARK APEX AX952

 

Insights & Comparison
These two popular upright vacuums are the companies' flagship machines.  We have both of these vacuums and have used them extensively.  They are quite different.  The Dyson feels heavy, powerful and loud while the APEX is quieter and feels more manageable. We confess however that when we intend to do a thorough cleaning we usually pull out the Dyson.  The brushroll is aggressive and does a great job on our low pile carpet and the extra cleaning reach of the hose is very useful.  It is also possible - to some extent - that all that noise and power helps make you feel that it is doing a bang-up job.  Nevertheless we like the results and it is often our go to machine for a thorough cleaning session. 

  Dyson Ball Animal 2 Shark APEX AX952
Type Upright (bagless) Upright (bagless)
Weight 17.4 lbs 16  lbs
HEPA filter Yes (rinsable) Yes (rinsable)
Sealed system Yes Yes
Power cord 35 feet 30 feet
Cleaning Reach (1) 48.7 feet 37 feet
Dust Canister 0.55 gallons 0.38 gallons
Tools Tangle-Free-Turbine Tool, Combo Tool, Stair Tool Motorized Pet Tool, Anti-Allergen Dust Brush, Pet Multi-Tool, Duster Crevice Tool
Brushroll width (2) 12.75 inches 10.25 inches
Headlights No Yes
Lift Away Feature No Yes
Noise Level (3) 78.7 decibels 72.5 decibels
Warranty 5 years 7 years
List Price (USD) $499 $399

(1) Power cord length plus the hose as measured by Vacuum Cleaner Advisor.
(2) Essentially measures the suction gap in the cleaner head.
(3) Measured with a sound meter at a distance of 3 ft.  On carpet with brushroll ON.

 

Dyson Ball Animal 2

Dyson Ball Animal 2
This vacuum is hugely powerful but also a bit of a handful to wield. The weight of the vacuum makes it a little cumbersome despite the added maneuverabiity of “Ball Technology”. However the machine’s colossal suction ensures top notch cleaning of pet hair, bare floors, carpet, etc. and that's what you expect from a vacuum cleaner. There are some complaints though that the Ball Animal 2 can be difficult to move on deep pile carpet and that it can stick to some throw rugs.

We have published a very detailed review of the Dyson Ball Animal 2 which includes testing, comparisons and several videos.

PROS
- Very powerful suction
- Powerful brushroll
- Effective at pulling up pet hair
- Thoroughly cleans both hard floors and carpet
- Washable filters
- Long cleaning reach
- Whole machine HEPA filtration
- Easy to empty dust canister
- Assembly is simple and quick
- Large cleaner head with wide cleaning path
- Tangle Free Turbine Tool works very well

CONS
- Heavy
- Awkward to lock into upright position
- Difficult to push on very deep pile carpet (like shag)
- Can stick to some throw rugs
- Active Base Plate can push large debris on bare floors
- Expensive

 

Shark APEX

Shark APEX AX952
This a a full size vacuum with HEPA filtration, an anti-allergen complete seal system, noise reduction technology, a lift-away canister, and Active-Glide Technology.  Owners are mostly very pleased with this powerful, all-around, bagless upright vacuum.  This is a versatile machine and it can clean bare floors and carpet, it can do overhead cleaning, and also portable vacuuming (using the lift-away feature).  We also like the soft front brushroll when cleaning bare floors - it does have the ability to pull up stuck on dust.  The full size APEX vacuums are not particularly lightweight however (for a Shark) and the short hose can be annoying.

We have written a comprehensive review of the Shark APEX AX952 in which we cover almost every aspect of the vacuum.  We also test the machine on carpet, bare floors and pet hair.

PROS
- Very capable on both bare floors & carpet
- Good at removing/pulling-up pet hair
- Cleaner head turns and maneuvers well
- Not too noisy – has a low pitch
- Powerful suction
- Front roller really cleans/polishes bare floors
- Washable HEPA filter
- Sealed system
- LED headlights
- Motorized Pet Tool works well
- Very versatile vacuum

CONS
- A bit on the heavy side
- Some owners feel it is bulky
- Lift away feature makes it a little top heavy
- Can bunch up or get stuck to some area rugs
- Brushrolls may struggle on deep shag carpet
- Hose feels short 


DYSON BALL MULTI FLOOR 2 - VS - SHARK NV752

 

Insights & Comparison
The next two popular uprights are the more affordable Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 and Shark Rotator Powered Lift Away TruePet NV752. These machines don’t have quite as many bells and whistles as the two flagship units above but they are still very popular with consumers.  They are also capable vacuums and can be a great fit for some households. 

The Multi Floor has a much wider cleaner head than the Shark NV752 and you can feel this when you are vacuuming.  The NV752 feels more compact and tight.  It turns easier (despite the Dyson having Ball Technology) and is simply more graceful. The Dyson is also about 4 inches shorter to the top of the handle and that may make a difference to some people, depending on stature. If we use one of these two vacuums in the house it is usually the Shark NV752 – it’s one of our favorite machines.

  Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Shark TruePet NV752
Type Upright (bagless) Upright (bagless)
Weight 15.6 lbs 15.6  lbs
HEPA filter Yes (rinsable) Yes (rinsable)
Sealed system Yes Yes
Power cord 31 feet 30 feet
Cleaning Reach (1) 43.5 feet 39.3 feet
Dust Canister 0.42 gallons 0.38 gallons
Tools Combo Tool, Stair Tool Duster Crevice Tool, Mini Motorized Brush, Pet Multi-Tool, Hard Floor Hero
Brushroll width (2) 12.75 inches 10.25 inches
Headlights No Yes
Lift Away Feature No Yes
Noise Level (3) 75.6 decibels 75.2 decibels
Warranty 5 years 7 years
List Price (USD) $399 $329

(1) Power cord length plus the hose as measured by Vacuum Cleaner Advisor.
(2) Essentially measures the suction gap in the cleaner head.
(3) Measured with a sound meter at a distance of 3 ft.  On carpet with brushroll ON.

 

Dyson Ball Multi Floor

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2
The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 has less suction than the Dyson Ball Animal 2 (the Multi Floor has 245 Air Watts while the Animal has 270 Air Watts), but the truth is it’s still a lot of suction and we couldn’t really tell the difference.  The Multi Floor is lighter than the Animal and less costly - but the cleaning reach is less, the dust canister is smaller and you get one less tool. We do have to say that it is quite a striking machine. The combination yellow and gray with the gold cyclones is anything but ordinary. It's almost something of a conversation piece.

In early 2018 we put the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 through its paces and published a very detailed review which you can find here:  Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 review

PROS
- Not as heavy as some Dyson uprights
- Plenty of suction
- Very effective at pulling up dust, dirt and hair
- Fairly maneuverable
- Good on bare surfaces and low/medium pile carpet
- Easy to maintain

CONS
- Can be difficult to move on some deep pile carpet
- No suction release valve
- Sometimes have to “dig out” debris from canister
- Low cleaner head struggles with larger debris
- Not much detail in manual

 

 

Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet

Shark Rotator NV752
The NV752 has been at the top of our list of best upright vacuums for 2 years now. It also appears in our article highlighting the top Shark Pet Vacuums.  The NV752 does NOT have DuoClean Technology (2 brushrolls), and while we like this technology the NV752 still does a fine cleaning job without it.  It also has the lift-away feature which is great (something you never see on a Dyson). It also comes with a host of good tools including a motorized pet tool which does a good job at pulling up pet hair. In addition, the vacuum has two LED headlights on the cleaner head as well as one built into the vacuum handle which helps when using the hose, handle and tools. Headlights are not critical but they are a nice touch, especially when you find yourself vacuuming in a dimly lit area.

We have published a very detailed review of the Shark NV752 which includes testing and specifications.  We also produced a lengthy video review of the NV752 which you can find at the bottom of the written review.  

PROS
- Very good at picking up pet hair
- Easy to empty the dust canister
- Powerful suction
- Plenty of attachments
- Motorized pet tool works well
- Easy to maneuver
- Not too heavy
- Both an upright and a canister vacuum
- Not too loud
- Lift-away pod is useful - especially for stairs

CONS
- Upright can tip easily
- Hard floor hero is only adequate
- Shorter folks may find the handle too long


SHARK IONFLEX 2X - VS - DYSON V8 ABSOLUTE 

 

Insights & Comparison
The Dyson V8 Absolute and the Shark IONFLex 2X IF252 are the cream of the cordless crop for the two companies and they are very different machines.  The V8 is quieter and lighter, but the IONFlex has a flexible wand, 2 batteries and costs less.  Frankly we don't care much for the IONFlex flexible wand, and while the IONFlex does have more convenient controls, we still find the V8 more usable.  It's the weight really.  The V8 is super easy to handle and as a result is the most used vacuum in our household.

  Dyson V8 Absolute Shark IONFlex 2X IF252
Type Stick vacuum (cordless) Stick vacuum (cordless)
Weight 5.75 lbs 8.7 lbs
HEPA filter Yes (rinsable) No
Sealed system Yes No
# of batteries 1 2
Battery specs 21.6V, 2800 mAh, 65 Wh 25.2V, 2450 mAh, 61.74 Wh
Battery recharge time 5 hours 3.5 hours
2 power modes Yes Yes
Dust Canister 0.14 gallons 0.09 gallons
Tools Mini-motorhead tool, combination tool, Soft roller cleanerhead, Mini soft dusting brush, crevice tool Duster crevice tool, Anti-allergen dusting brush, Pet multi-tool, MultiFLEX under appliance wand
Brushroll width (1) 9 inches 8.5 inches
Headlights No Yes
Noise Level (2) 64.3 decibels 69.4 decibels
Warranty 2 years 5 years
List Price (USD) $599 $449

(1) Essentially measures the suction gap in the cleaner head.
(2) Measured with a sound meter at a distance of 3 ft.  On carpet with brushroll ON.  Low power mode.

 

Shark IONFlex

Shark IONFlex 2X IF252
The IONFlex 2X IF252 is different from any other vacuum we have tested.  It comes with 2 batteries, which is a great feature as one can be on charge while you are using the other in the vacuum.  It also has a locking joint in the wand.  This is an odd feature and it is good in some ways but not so great in others.  It adds to the weight of the vacuum and isn’t that easy to use.  On the other hand it does make for easy storage and it may help some people get under low furniture more easily.  We found the similar Shark HV382 easier to work with, but then it is a corded vacuum.

We have noticed that Shark states the IONFlex generates more suction power than the V8 - but this statement only refers to Low Power Mode and not MAX Mode.  They also highlight that the IONFlex has a longer runtime that the V8 -  but this is only when 2 batteries are used consecutively.  These things are worthy of consideration when deliberating between the two vacuums.

Check out our detailed Shark IONFlex review in which we have videos showing many of the vacuum’s features.  We also compare run times in both low and high power modes between the Shark IONFlex and the Dyson V8.

PROS
- Cleans right up to the front of the cleaner head
- Powerful suction for a cordless vacuum
- Good set of tools that work well
- Capable on both hard floors and carpet
- Good at removing pet hair
- Vacuum controls are easily accessible
- Includes two batteries

CONS
- Small dust canister
- Some folks feel it is a bit expensive
- No tools mount on-board
- Handheld unit feels bulky/heavy
- Flexible wand is a little tricky to work with

 

Dyson V8

Dyson V8 Absolute
The V8, like most stick vacs, doesn’t do deep cleaning but it is very lightweight and so easy to use.  Run time is good on the one battery and on MAX power mode the suction is top notch – although it doesn’t last long.  The V8 also comes with two cleaner heads.  A cleaner head for carpet and a special soft cleaner head for bare floors.  The unit only has 1 battery however and a full recharge takes about 5 hours.

Also, like many Dyson machines, this one is rather elegant.  It is also small and easy to store.  It even comes with a wall mount should you want to hang it out of the way.

For more details you can read our Dyson V8 Absolute review.  In addition, we recently reviewed the Dyson V7 Motorhead and in this review we compare the V7 to both the V6 and the V8.  The comparison is very helpful for those who are trying to decide which Dyson cordless vacuum to buy. 

PROS
- Lightweight
- Easy to use
- Very maneuverable
- Quiet
- Good on carpet and bare floors
- Fairly powerful on MAX mode
- Hygienic bin emptying
- HEPA filter (rinsable)
- Sealed system
- Nice that is converts to handheld

CONS
- Battery recharge time is a bit long
- Still has short run time on MAX mode
- Not designed to swap battery out
- Scratches easily
- Must keep trigger depressed for power
- Expensive


SO WHAT DO SHARK & DYSON OWNERS THINK?

Determining which is the better vacuum - Dyson or Shark - depends a lot on what you want, what your requirements are, and your budget.  However, there is another facet to this discussion – how do Shark and Dyson owners feel? 

On Vacuum Cleaner Advisor we have been collecting consumer ratings and pricing data for vacuums for over 10 years, and we now have over 160,000 consumer ratings for hundreds of vacuum cleaners.  We recently undertook a study to determine what this data may be telling us.  You can read the full article here - best vacuum brands - but the gist of it can be seen in the following two simple charts which show an interesting trend.  Draw your own conclusions….

Vacuum Consumer Ratings 2017

Vacuum Brand Average Costs 2017


Frequently Asked Questions

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About Me

Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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