by Garrick Dee
Updated March 13th, 2019
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.
- You can also find the best Dyson deals to get the best price possible on various Dyson products.
- Please check out my in-depth guide on the best Shark vacuums and find out which Shark cleaner would be best suited for your needs.
The funny thing is that 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.
Shark ION Flex
up to 46 mins
up to 40 mins
Ergonomics and Interface
The 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 the 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 significant 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. Shark didn’t 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.
Prior to the Dyson V8, the earlier generation Dyson vacuums were messy to empty because it relies only on gravity.
The new V8 solves this issue by adding a shroud that pushes dirt down.
Shark has a simpler design that makes 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.
It means you’ll have to empty the bin more often.
Winner: Dyson (only because it’s bigger)
The most significant 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 differences 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 six tools at your disposable.
- Soft roller head (for cleaning bare floor)
- Motorhead (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 the 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. It 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. It 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, but 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, the run time will go down to around 25 minutes.
Shark’s run time isn’t far off. According to reviews, it’ll run up to 46 minutes without any powered tools from the two batteries.
With the DuoClean head, run time on low power mode is 20 minutes and max mode is around 14 minutes from each battery.
While the 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 works on both small and large pieces of dirt.
It isn’t too shabby either on the 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 the 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.
Clearly, Shark offers a far better warranty than the Dyson in all their cordless products. You can purchase extended warranties from Amazon if you think the Dyson warranty is too short.
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 $300 and the Dyson V8 Absolute will cost under $350.
The 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.
Should you buy a Shark ION Flex?
The Shark ION Flex is an excellent option if you don’t like to spend more than $300 for a cordless vacuum. In terms of performance, this vacuum will surprise you with the agitation and power it has on tap.
One significant disadvantage that this has over the Dyson would be the weight. The larger battery and the Duo Clean head make this vacuum heavier even in handheld mode. Not a big deal if you’re cleaning floors, but if you’re cleaning ceiling vents, it can be a struggle.
Buy the Shark ION Flex if you…
- Want something cheaper but still performs – The ION Flex is an excellent alternative to the Dyson if you don’t want to spend more than $300.
- Need a vacuum with above average run time – This vacuum will run for as much as 46 minutes thanks to the two lithium-ion batteries.
- Need a tool will clean well under the furniture – One unique feature that this vacuum has is the Flex feature that makes the extension wand flexible – this makes it easier to clean under furniture.
- Want a better warranty – Shark comes with a 5-year warranty.
For more information about the latest price and reviews please check the Shark ION Flex on Amazon.com.
Should you buy the Dyson V8
With the V10 available in the market, the Dyson V8’s price has gone down significantly. Once upon a time, you’ll have to spend at least $500 for it. That price drop makes the V8 one of the better “value for your money” options when it comes to high-end cordless vacuums. When it comes to performance it doesn’t trail the V10 as much.
Buy the Dyson V8 if you want…
- Something lighter – With the main motorized cleaning head, this vacuum still weighs less than 6 pounds – more than 2 pounds less than the Shark.
- A larger bin – Despite being lighter, the Dyson V8 will be able to store more dirt than the Shark – always twice as more.
- Better filtration – Dyson offers a whole machine HEPA filtration system that does a better job at keeping fine dust and allergens from seeping through the exhaust.
For more information about the latest price and reviews, please check the Dyson V8 Absolute on Amazon.com.
To wrap up
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 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 significant 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.