Last updated on November 13th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
When it comes to cordless vacuums there’s no doubt that Dyson is set the Gold Standard.
Just do a quick search on Amazon for cordless vacuums and you’ll see a gamut of products that look exactly like Dyson.
Related: You can also find the best Dyson deals in this page just in time for Black Friday.
The funny thing is even brands like Shark and Miele have gone the same route as Dyson in terms of product design.
Why all these copycats?
Obviously the design works. And today we’ll be comparing one of the best Dyson competitors out there, Shark. We’ll be focusing on their cordless IONFlex product that has a few innovations of its own.
The Dyson V8 and Shark IONFlex are two of the best 2-in-1 stick vacuums out there. Both have found the right sweet spot of versatility, power and quality. The latter two is lacking in most competition.
Ergonomics and Interface
First thing we’ll be comparing is the ergonomics – how comfortable or not these vacuums are. Take note that both these variants have the motor on top so it will be top heavy.
Cleaning above floor will require a little arm strength but since these machines are pretty light, it won’t be an issue for most.
Both these vacuums have dual speed settings and washable filters.
But the manner of which these features are accessible is different.
And up until the V6, all Dyson cordless vacuums also used a push button to activate the max suction.
The button isn’t a major issue per se but it can be a little annoying turning on and off.
Consumers have been telling Dyson about this design flaw and they have since addressed it in the V8.
Instead of a button, Dyson now uses a slide switch that makes it easier to toggle between normal and max.
Despite looking somewhat like a Dyson, Shark has a few neat tricks up their sleeves. It didn’t exactly copy everything. There are a few notable differences in terms of the power switch.
While the Dyson uses a trigger, Shark uses a button for the main power button and speed settings.
One big plus for Shark is would not have to constantly squeeze something. If you’re cleaning a vehicle, this can be a huge advantage to Shark.
Another issue with the older Dyson variants is the bin. It is extremely messy to empty generation Dyson vacuums because it just relies on gravity. The new V8 solves this issue by adding a shroud that pushes dirt down.
The simpler design of the Shark makes bin emptying easier. Since there isn’t any cylindrical mesh filter at the middle, dirt drops down without any hindrances.
However Shark does have a smaller bin design – 0.33 liters versus 0.5 liters for the Dyson.
This means you’ll have to empty the bin more often.
Winner: Dyson (only because it’s bigger)
The biggest selling point of these two brands is the versatility it brings to the table.
Both these vacuums are usable as a stick or handheld thanks to interchangeable tools.
And while both offer the same type of tools, there are difference in how each brand designs it.
Let’s start with Dyson
When it comes to versatility, very few match Dyson in what it brings to the table. Their most complete variant is the V8 Absolute and it comes with 6 tools at your disposable.
- Soft roller head (for cleaning bare floor)
- Motohead (bristled tool for cleaning carpet)
- Mini-soft dusting brush for more delicate surfaces
- Crevice tool
- Combination tool
- Mini motorhead (for upholstery)
All these tools are usable on both the wand and direct on the vacuum motor. You’ll be able to clean virtually anywhere inside your home with the exception of wet stuff.
There’s also an optional hose attachment that you can purchase for around $35 if you want to extend the V8’s versatility to cleaning tight areas inside your vehicle.
The Shark IONFlex also comes with a pretty similar toolset but with some unique twists.
ION Flex technology
First would be the extension wand. Whereas Dyson’s wand is just a piece of aluminum tube, Shark’s wand has a rubber insert in the middle. This allows it to bend and make it easier to clean under furniture.
Shark calls this the “ION Flex” technology. Another benefit of this would be storage. You can bend it and store the vacuum in an upright position. This eliminates the need for a wall mountable bracket.
Here’s the complete toolset of the Shark IONFlex
- Duster crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Wide upholstery tool
- Anti-allergen dust brush
- DuoClean head for carpet and bare floor
DuoClean tool with LED headlights
Another unique feature in the Shark IONFlex is the DuoClean tool that combines the soft roller bar and bristle brush. You can say that it is a hybrid tool that combines the functionality of the soft roller and motorhead tools of the Dyson.
But wait there’s more.
Not only does the Shark have the DUOHead, it also comes with LED headlights. This is a feature not found in any Dyson vacuums.
It will help in terms of visibility when cleaning dust under furniture.
Both Shark and Dyson use lithium ion batteries for power. On a full charge, the V8 will run for as much as 40 minutes but that’s without any of the motorized attachments. Using either the soft roller or motorhead tools, run time will go down to around 25 minutes.
Shark’s run time isn’t far off. According to reviews, it’ll run between 25 to 30 minutes with the DuoClean tool.
While run time for both is close, one big difference would be that Shark’s battery is removable while Dyson isn’t.
Is this a big deal? For me it could be a big deal for the Dyson long term if you get something defective. But that’s why it comes with a 2 year warranty to cover these potential issues. Amazon does sell extended warranties if you want the extra peace of mind.
All the newer generation Dyson cordless vacuums such as the V8 come with a whole machine filtration system that keeps dirt and allergens inside the bin.
Shark does not have any HEPA filtration available in their cordless vacuums so far and the IONFlex isn’t an exception. So if you have allergies and don’t want to inhale any of the allergens from the exhaust then go with a Dyson.
One strong point of both vacuums would be their ability to clean on bare floor and carpet.
The V8 Absolute is one of the most powerful cordless vacuums in the market that tops out at 115 air watts. To put this in perspective, a Dyson upright vacuum will product around 270 air watts.
It’s still not in the same league but it’s getting close. The newer Dyson V10 has 20% more so you know that they are pushing the envelope in terms of cordless technology.
To see how well a Dyson V8 does cleaning floors, watch this videos…
Typical Dyson cordless performance, it did very well on both carpet and bare floor. The soft roller head really works on both small and large pieces of dirt.
It isn’t too shabby either on carpet. The bristled attachment is able to pick up dirt on it even thicker pile carpet.
Shark did not publish any figures of how much power their vacuum has but it is close. One thing I like about the DuoClean head is the agitation.
Watch the video below to see the different features and a cleaning test on carpet.
Please skip to 18:27 mark if you want to skip to the cleaning test…
In terms of sheer performance, the IONFlex Duo Clean is pretty impressive as you’ve seen in the video even on thicker pile carpet.
It was able to pick up at least most of the visible dirt. Even the mini turbo brush did a solid job on the plush carpet.
However do not expect any of these two to deep clean carpet. If you want something to do such, you’ll need a full sized upright to do the task.
All Dyson cordless vacuums come with a 2 year warranty while the Shark IONFlex comes with a 5 year warranty on the vacuum and 2 years on the battery.
|Model||Shark IONFlex DuoClean||Dyson V8|
|Attachments||Duster crevice tool|
Wide upholstery tool
Anti-allergen dust brush
DuoClean head for carpet and bare floor
|Soft roller head|
Mini-soft dusting brush for more delicate surfaces
|Run time||Up to 30 mins||40 mins|
25 mins (with motorized tools)
8 mins (max)
|Dirt capacity||0.33 liters||0.5 liters|
|Bin Volume||0.11 gallons||0.14 gallons|
|Weight||8.7 lbs.||5.75 lbs.|
Both of these brands aren’t cheap though Shark is a bit cheaper. Buying it in Amazon would be the best option for both of these because of the availability of the extended warranty and 2-day free shipping if you join Prime. The Shark IONFlex DuoClean will cost just under $400 and the Dyson V8 Absolute will cost under $440.
Price difference isn’t much but considering the innovation the Shark brings to the table, it is a great deal in my opinion. Dyson does have a better filtration system and a lifetime washable filter so you don’t have to change it.
You won’t go wrong with either of these two products. Both are versatile, powerful and will clean your home. The interchangeable tools and compact design make these vacuums great in-between cleaners on high traffic areas. You can also use it to clean upholstery and vehicle.
Performance wise, these two aren’t really far off. If you’d ask me I’d go with the Shark because of the innovative features like the IONFlex and DuoClean system. The latter is great because I don’t have to change tools when moving from carpet to bare floor and vice versa.
The LED headlight also helps in terms of visibility. But it does not HEPA filtration which could be an issue if you have allergies. In that regard, you’ll be better off with the Dyson V8.