When it comes down to deciding your next vacuum, if you're after the best, the two biggest names in floorcare will typically come to mind: Dyson or Shark. Both are leaders in the cleaning category and innovators of their craft.
Both Dyson and Shark make some of the best vacuums you can buy. We think you'll be happy with either, but if you're the type who likes to get into the detail, we're about to take you through a deep dive into the most important features that differentiate the two.
Whether you're after the best Dyson vacuum or on the market for the best Shark vacuum, we've had extensive time with both in our homes. Whether you're already Team Dyson or Team Shark, let this comparison between the two brands help guide your next major vacuum purchase.
Shark vs Dyson: Product Range
Shark and Dyson both offer robust product lines. Shark offers a range of corded, cordless, handheld, and robot vacuums, while Dyson emphasizes its cord-free range.
For the sake of this comparison article, we will be emphasizing both brands' best cordless vacuum cleaners, when comparing each brand.
Dyson's hero product is the Dyson V15 Detect. The closest Shark competitor is the Shark Vertex Lightweight cordless. Both offer tremendous power, are great for pet hair and, easily convert to handheld vacuums, and are lightweight and easy to use.
|Shark Vertex Cordless||Shark Vertex Pro||Dyson V15 Detect||Dyson Outsize|
|Run time||Up to 60 minutes||Up to 60 minutes||60 minutes||120 minutes|
|Power||Unknown||Unknown||230 AW||230 AW|
|Dust bin||.08 gal||.25 gal||.2 gal||.5 gal|
|Special Features||MultiFLEX freestanding storage, Duo Clean Powerfins||Extended Size Dust Bin, digital display||Automatic surface detection, Piezo sensor, green diode laser||Extended size dust bin, automatic surface detection|
Another range that Dyson has been emphasizing lately: its small-spaced approved hard floor cleaners, with Shark also offering a comparable product: The Shark WandVac.
|Shark WandVac||Dyson OmniGlide||Dyson Micro 1.5KG|
|Run time||17 minutes||20 minutes||20 minutes|
|Weight||2.1 lb.||4.18 lb.||3.31 lb.|
|Dust bin||.13qts||.05 gal||.05 gal|
|Special features||LED headlights, Available in 5 colors, charging dock||Omni-directional floor head, HEPA||Super lightweight, lighted crevice tool attachment, HEPA|
Both Shark and Dyson offer upright corded vacuum models. Shark is perhaps most renowned for its Navigator line, but its Apex and Vertex models are a step up and loaded with power, tech, and special features. Dyson's core upright model is the Dyson Ball Animal 2, which is top-rated for pet owners and offers the most suction on the market. Its distinct ball design makes navigating furniture and obstacles much easier.
|Shark Vertex||Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe||Dyson Ball Animal 2|
|Cord length||30 feet||25 feet||35 feet|
|Power||1344 watts||1200 watts||270 AW|
|Weight||16.38lb.||13 lb.||17.5 lb|
|Dust bin||1 qt.||1.2 qt.||.55 gal|
|Special features||DuoClean Powerfins, Led lights, Powered Lift-Away motor||Lift-Away||Ball maneuvering technology, single power option|
Shark vs Dyson: Price
Dyson vacuums are usually in a range of $399 for their older models and hard floor units to $899 for its top-of-the-line Dyson Outsize Absolute +, which is a hybrid of the best-selling and larger Dyson Outsize with the latest innovations of the Dyson V15 Detect.
Meanwhile, Shark vacuums are at a more mid-range of $150 for an upright vacuum to $650 for an AI-backed robot vacuum with an auto-empty dustbin. Cordless vacuums fall between $150 for a mid-rated Navigator cordless to $450 for its top-of-the-line Vertex Pro, which boasts a larger 1 qt. dust bin and increased power.
Shark also frequently runs promotions, up to half off, while the most discount you will likely see on a Dyson is around $100.
Shark vs Dyson: Power
For sheer power, Dyson has the advantage when it comes to sheer air watts, with the most powerful suction around. Models from the V11 range and newer offer automatic surface detection to adjust the power (and battery life) accordingly. Dyson typically offers three modes: Eco, Medium, and Boost. Of note, the Dyson Ball Animal 2, has only one power setting, and it's very powerful.
Dyson's traditional cordless models operate with a trigger method to conserve battery when not in use. On their micro models, Dyson has swapped in a power button, but early users reviewed that the button was placed on the handle in an awkward position that wasn't super intuitive with use.
Shark also lets you select power modes according to surface type, or if an extra boost is required, however, you will manually have to switch between. Shark typically offers a hard floor, carpet, and MAX power option. Shark vacuums operate with a power switch for continuous power.
Both of these features are handy for selecting an appropriate power for the surface you are cleaning.
Shark vs Dyson: Debris Pick Up
At a minimum, we want our vacuums to suck. Suck up all traces of dirt, dust, and debris, that is. And both Shark and Dyson can get the job done. However, when it comes to larger pieces, like food crumbs, Shark's vacuums suction up larger pieces like cereal to rice in one pass, while these items seem to get pushed forward with a Dyson. See how they fare, below:
Shark Vertex Lightweight Cordless
Dyson Outsize on hard floors
Shark vs Dyson: Battery Life
Both Dyson and Shark offer comparable battery life in its models, promising up to 60 minutes in its most premium versions. Depending on the model, both Shark and Dyson offer designs with removable batteries, such as the Dyson Outsize or the Shark Vertex Cordless.
Shark vs Dyson: Pet Hair
Both Shark and Dyson are top-rated when it comes to collecting pet hair. However, we think Shark does it better for those who are trying to avoid the dreaded hair tangle around the brush roll.
In regards to Dyson, hair is collected, but long strands will wrap. The pet attachments found on Animal Dyson Outsize and V15 Detect feature the newly introduced hair screw tool which aims to reduce hair wrap around the brush roll with its mini-motorized anti-tangle conical brushbar. They work and are great for cleaning upholstery and small items, and we hope to see them available on more models going forward.
Across the Shark lineup, Shark's self-cleaning brush roll technology is much more widespread at keeping pet hair from wrapping around the roll. Factor in its Duoclean technology, which utilizes a brush roll and a soft roller for double the contact, and the pick up is constant.
Shark vs Dyson: Dust Bin
Dyson was actually the first to engineer bagless dust bins, using the clear dust bin design to be able to keep track of how much dirt has been collected and a system that will never lose suction because the bin is full. At this point, however, both Shark and Dyson use bagless dust bins.
Both dust bins use an easy, one-touch propeller system designed to be hassle-free and hygienic. Dyson's base opens and pushes the dirt forward, while the Shark releases the base, which actually has a wider mouth for dirt to dispense out of. We've personally found a better emptying experience from Shark as we're not having to reach in to take out stuck clumps of debris, as has been our experience with Dyson. The bins can also easily be rinsed with water. Dyson's dust bins can typically only be wiped with a damp cloth, as they are connected to electrical components.
Within the dust bin, hair both wraps around the filters inside the dust bin on the Shark and Dyson. Hair is easier to pull out of the Shark, however, which neatly wraps around can easily be pulled out, while it's more difficult to place your hand up in the shaft of the bin. Dyson's dust bin utilizes a rubber stopper to sort of push the dirt down and to keep it going in one direction.
Traditional uprights tend to have larger dust bins by default, while cordless models are typically smaller, in an effort to keep them streamlined and lightweight. Dyson's Outsize is the outlier, with its full-size half-gallon dust bin. Beyond this specialty model, we find Dyson and Shark's dust bin offerings to be rather similar in size.
Shark vs Dyson: Filtration
All of Dyson's products carry advanced whole machine HEPA filtration, emphasizing its 5-layer filtration and cyclone technology that is the heart of Dyson's technology to keep dust and dirt trapped inside.
The dust bin is only the first stage to separate the particles visible to the naked eye. Dyson’s multi-cyclone technology, with up to 18 cyclones, depending on the model, maintains the velocity required to remove fine dust from the airflow. Pre- and post-motor filters are responsible for filtering the smallest particles, capable of removing 99.97 percent of particles invisible to the human eye as small as 0.3 microns.
Dyson filters are easily washable and help prevent the build-up of allergens or dander.
Most Shark machines feature their Anti-Allergen Complete Seal, which traps dust, allergens, and irritants and seals them inside, keeping it out of the air you breathe. Particles filter through the washable foam and felt filters. Some more of the premium models will also feature HEPA, but it will drive up the price.
Shark vs Dyson: Warranty
It's normal to want your vacuum to last, and for many, the warranty can be a big deciding factor. Dyson offers two-year parts and labor warranties on its vacuums whereas Shark offers five-year warranties.
Shark vs Dyson: which is best
We highly regard both Dyson and Shark for the high-level cleaning performance that both offer. In the end, it comes down to what will suit you best: are you after value or design? Power based on floor type or automation? Below, we've identified some of the key features of both and what sets them apart.
Buy the Shark vacuum if
- Looking for value and power
- Don't want to deal with hair wrap with a self-cleaning brush roll
- Want LED lights on your vacuum
- Don't like trigger-style power
- Feel confident with a longer warranty
- Looking for a range of vacuums that have more obvious differences
Buy the Dyson vacuum if you
- Want the latest innovations like automatic suction adjustment and battery displays,
- i.e.,the green laser and piezo sensor on the V15 Detect or the full-size dust bin of the Outsize.
- Crave fade-free power and extended battery life.
- Need top-level filtration.
- Like the lightweight design that easily converts to a handheld.
- Choose from models and attachments with similarities, but with incremental changes.
Jaclyn is an eCommerce editor at Future Home Interest, where she oversees sleep content including mattresses and bedding. She regularly scouts out the best of the best for buying guides to help you fill your home with only the best. She joined the team in January 2021. She has previously worked with Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, and MyDomaine. When Jaclyn's not working, she loves browsing real estate listings, unwinding with a chilled glass of Rosé, and entertaining her Cavapoo puppy, Reese.
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