One of the more innovative Shark vacuums right now is the Shark ION Flex 2X with its flexible wand that makes it easier to clean under furniture without breaking your back.
The ION Flex also has DuoClean that make cleaning less of a chore. So the question is the ION Flex 2X a worthy alternative to the Dyson V8?
We’ll find out more about these two products in this review.
But first, a quick look at the Shark ION Flex vs. Dyson V8.
* only if you purchase the IONFlex 2X, which comes with the 2 ION batteries. Each battery will run for up to 24 minutes in the normal setting.
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Introduction to the Shark ION Flex vs. Dyson V8
Let’s start with the overall design of these two products.
Both vacuums have similar design principles with the removable wand and switchable tools.
But their parallels end there.
Shark has some features that make the ION Flex a compelling option despite being the bulkier alternative.
Shark ION Flex 2X
One of the best features, in my opinion, is DuoClean technology. For those who aren’t familiar with it, DuoClean is a combination of a soft roller and a traditional bristle brush.
It’s a technology that I believe is the future of hard floor cleaning. DuoClean will clean dirt regardless of size, from tiny dust to extra-large stuff like fruit loops and cereal.
This is possible because it has loads of clearance upfront. On the sides and behind the brush roll are seals that funnel dirt toward a chamber.
It’s also no slouch on carpets as the stiff bristles behind the soft roller will provide enough agitation.
The DuoClean brushes on a Shark won’t clean embedded dirt as well as its direct-drive counterpart, but you don’t need to change tools on every transition regularly.
It’s good enough to clean rugs, carpet, and hard floors well enough.
However, if you have pets, lots of them, the DuoClean system may not be able to handle it; have a look at the new Shark APEX ZS362 with Zero-M.
Unlike the IONFlex, the ZS62 is a corded stick vacuum, but it is an excellent alternative if that isn’t an issue.
There are two IONFlex options on Amazon – the IF251 and IF205.
Both options are the same product with just a different colored wand to differentiate it from one another.
The IF251 is the more expensive option with two Li-ion batteries, essentially doubling the run time of the IF205 that only comes with one battery.
Tools that come with the IF251
- Upholstery tool
- Anti-allergen dust brush
- Combo crevice/brush tool
- Charger and extra battery
Tools that come with the IF205
- Combination tool
- Anti-allergen dust brush
- Upholstery tool
- Car detail brush
Dyson V8 Absolute
The Dyson V8 has perhaps one of the most popular Dyson cordless stick vacuums thanks to its blend of power and compactness.
It’s the first Dyson to have a hygienic bin emptying system that makes it easier to dispose of dirt.
This cordless cleaner weighs just 5.8 pounds (almost 2 pounds lighter than the IONFlex) and is one of the best in their product line when it comes to ergonomics.
In handheld mode, the compact body makes it easy to clean areas high up.
The V8 isn’t the latest Dyson cordless vacuum, but the lightweight body is highly maneuverable.
It has one of the best swiveling mechanisms available and will turn effortlessly.
Moving this around furniture is easier than the bulkier DuoClean head of the Shark, but it does not have any LED lights.
The downside is (this can be subjective) the trigger switch that can be hurt the finger or wrist if you vacuum for an extended period.
Dyson says they use a trigger because it maximizes the run time.
The attachments included will depend on the model.
V8 Absolute attachments
- Soft roller brush
- Direct-drive cleaning head
- Mini-turbo brush
- Soft dusting brush
- Combination tool
- Crevice tool
- Charging dock
V8 Animal tools
- Mini-turbo brush
- Soft dusting brush
- Combination tool
- Crevice tool
- Charging dock
The “Animal” version has the same set of devices as the top-of-the-line Absolute version except for the soft roller brush. This model is an excellent option for homes with lots of carpets.
There’s also a “MotorHead” version on Amazon, but it’s unclear what attachments come along with it. This model isn’t officially listed on the Dyson website, so I’d stick with the Absolute or Animal versions instead.
To summarize, here are the differences between the Shark IONFlex and Dyson V8.
- Dirt capacity: Despite being the bigger vacuum, the Shark ION Flex has a relatively small 0.28-liter bin versus the 0.54 liter capacity of the Dyson V8.
- Battery life: The ION Flex will run for up to 24 minutes on low power and 9 minutes on high power with the main cleaning head attached. While the Dyson V8 will run for up to 42 minutes and 9 minutes on max with the primary brush roll connected. Take note that if you get the 2X version, which comes with two ION batteries, the run time will double.
- Floor cleaning nozzle: The Dyson V8 Absolute comes with two-floor tools – the direct drive that is excellent on carpets and a soft roller head that excels on hard surfaces. Shark uses the DuoClean head that works on both surfaces.
- Warranty: All Dyson cordless vacuums come with a 2-year warranty. Shark backs their stick vacuums with a 5-year warranty.
- Filtration: The Shark ION Flex does not have a fully sealed system, which means fine dust particles can seep through the exhaust. Only the Shark ION P50 has a fully sealed system. The Dyson V8 has a fully sealed system with a post-motor HEPA filter.
How do the Shark IONFLex and Dyson V8 clean?
Dyson relies on two types of brush rolls to clean hard floor and carpet. These tools are the direct-drive cleaner head and the soft roller brush.
The soft roller brush is a unique design that relies on a roller bar with a cloth-like exterior that will work well on hard surfaces.
It can tackle stacks of debris that a traditional brush roll would snowplow.
However, the V8 soft roller tends to struggle to pick up large cereal stacks, such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios.
For carpet, the V8 relies on the direct drive tool. It combines soft carbon fiber and stiff nylon bristles to agitate carpet.
This tool does an excellent job at deep cleaning carpet, picking up 92% of embedded sand.
You can technically use it on hard floors, but it will be limited to cleaning small dust particles.
The direct-drive head is a low clearance and does not have the adjustable gates found in the Dyson V10 torque drive head.
It will struggle with anything bigger than small debris. Even large stacks of pet hair on hard surfaces, it will snowplow.
The Shark IONFlex utilizes a unique floor tool. Unlike the V8 that uses two separate attachments, it combines both the soft roller and bristle brush. Shark calls this technology the DuoClean.
You’ll see this brush roll in many of Shark’s newer stick and upright vacuums.
It excels in vacuuming hard surfaces as the soft roller will pick up any type of debris, large or small.
Unlike the V8’s soft roller brush that clogs up when dealing with large quantities of cheerios, the IONFlex’s DuoClean effortlessly picks it up.
Too bad, its small dust cup means you’ll have to empty it sooner than the V8.
Unfortunately, it won’t do well on carpet as the DuoClean brush roll has a self-propelling effect on carpet.
If you switch on carpet mode, the brushes will spin rapidly, creating this effect.
Moving it on carpet won’t be as smooth, and effort is needed to fight this forward momentum.
Next, let’s look at how these two cordless stick vacuums clean.
Each brush roll design you’ll see will have an advantage over the other, and we’ll focus on that in this section.
Hard floor cleaning
The Dyson V8 and Shark IONFlex will do exceptionally well on hard surfaces with their soft roller and DuoClean heads, respectively.
You can’t go wrong with any of these two when it comes to cleaning bare floors.
If there is one advantage the DuoClean has is its ability to clean large piles of dirt without clogging. It will be able to handle stuff like Cheerios and Fruit loops with ease.
The V8’s soft roller tool isn’t a slouch, either. It is capable of picking Cheerios, but it can’t match the qualities the DuoClean head can pick up.
Dyson V8 results
To appreciate how the V8’s soft roller brush picks up dirt on the carpet, please watch this clip.
For these types and quantities of dirt, the soft roller does not have any dirt pick up issues.
When you overload the brush roll with vast amounts of extra-large dirt such as Fruit loops, the issue arises.
It becomes a problem because the nozzle inside the bin isn’t as big as the one inside the Shark IONFlex.
Shark IONFlex Results
If there’s one thing that the DuoClean excels at, it’s cleaning hard surfaces.
This tool will clean virtually any dry dirt on any type of bare surface like hardwood.
Try using a Dyson V8 to clean this type of mess, and it’ll easily clog up.
When it comes to cleaning and dusting hard surfaces, Shark’s DuoClean system is one of the best.
Not only will it pick up large pieces of dirt, but it also dusts the floor and works great on sand.
The excerpt above is the results of the Shark ION P80. Since the IONFlex uses a similar cleaning head, it will have the same performance.
Carpet cleaning results
We’ll not look at how both these vacuums will perform on carpets.
There are several points to consider when comparing how the V8 and IONFlex does.
The first thing we’ll look at is surface pick up. How well do these vacuums clean surface dirt? Then we’ll look at deep cleaning performance.
Dyson V8 results
In cleaning tests, the Dyson V8 did well on carpet, capable of picking up small to large debris from dust, coffee grounds to cheerios.
The brush roll inside the direct-drive head combines stiff nylon bristles and soft carbon fiber bristles that work well at dusting bare floors and agitating carpet.
Next, we’ll look at deep cleaning. The V8 can clean embedded dirt. It picked up 92% of embedded sand on medium-pile carpets.
Take note that it will not do as well as a full-sized upright because of the limitations of battery life.
Shark IONFlex results
The IONFlex will do equally well when it comes to surface pick up.
It can handle small to extra-large stuff with ease.
One issue with the DuoClean nozzle is it has a strong pull forward, perhaps from the soft roller spinning brush.
You’ll need to exert effort to pull the thing back, and it can be uncomfortable for extended use.
When it comes to deep cleaning, the DuoClean system won’t do as well as the direct-drive head.
To give you some perspective on how it compares, the newer Shark ION P50 uses a comparable DuoClean head deep cleans at 86%.
This feature’s strength is that it does not rely on suction but more on the brush roll mechanics.
Ergonomics: Is the Shark IONFlex and Dyson V8 easy to use?
The Dyson V8 is the lighter vacuum weighing just 5.8 pounds with the primary floor attachment and extension wand attached.
And the Shark IONFlex is almost three pounds heavier at 8.7 pounds.
Most of this added weight is from the DuoClean head that is considerably bulkier.
Without the cleaning head and wand, the weight of the Shark IONFlex goes down to 4.12 pounds!
The V8 isn’t far behind, so in handheld mode, the weight is much closer.
However, the design of the V8 is more balanced and feels much lighter in handheld mode.
The Shark IONFlex isn’t as balanced and not as comfortable as a hand vacuum since most of the weight is in front of the handle.
If you’re thinking of using any of these vacuums for such, the V8 will be the better option.
Emptying the dust bin
The V8 was the first Dyson cordless with a hygienic system that makes disposing of dirt much easier.
This feature has a system that pushes dirt downward as you pull the lever, allowing most trash to fall.
It also has better access for cleaning any dirt that sticks on the metal shroud inside.
The Shark IONFlex’s dust cup isn’t removable, unlike in the V8’s bin. So there’s only one way to access dirt – from the bottom of the dust bin.
This can be an issue because it’s challenging to clean stuff like dust that sticks on plastic.
One issue with the older Shark Rocket series vacuums was its inability to stand on its own without detaching the wand’s vacuum housing.
The technology that the Shark Rocket used isn’t bad but can be annoying to use.
Shark solves this issue with the IONFlex, where it has a flexible part, and by pushing the quick release, the button flexes forward, allowing for vertical storage.
Another use of the IONFlex is cleaning under furniture without kneeling.
The technology is useful, but it can be difficult when it comes to steering.
The size difference between the Shark IONFlex and Dyson V8
The Dyson V8 measures 49″ long and 8.8″ wide while the Shark IONFlex measures 46″ long and 10.2″ wide.
When it comes to weight, the IONFlex is heavier at 8.7 pounds versus the 5.8 pounds of the Dyson V8.
Of the two, only the Dyson V8 has a sealed system that passes the fog test. It has two filters – a pre-motor and a post-motor HEPA filter.
The Shark IONFlex does not have a sealed system but uses a washable foam filter. If you want a Shark cordless stick vacuum with a sealed system, have a look at the Shark ION P50.
The Dyson V8 comes with a lifetime washable filter – both will require periodic washing but will last the battery’s lifetime.
There are replacement filters available for Dyson V8 and many options just in case it gets damaged.
Shark also has three filters – two filters before the motor and one post-motor that isn’t a HEPA filter. All of these filters are made from foam and should last a long time.
For both vacuums, only wash the filter using water, don’t use any detergent, or it will degrade.
The post-motor filter of the Shark will is just thin felt, so it would not last the vacuum’s lifetime.
Unlike the Dyson V8 that uses lifetime filters, Shark recommends replacing these filters once every three months or so.
Fortunately, kits of these filters are readily available on Amazon and are cheap!
The annual maintenance costs for these filters will be roughly $22.
How long will the battery run?
The Dyson V8 using suction-only tools such as the crevice and combo tools will run for up to 42 minutes.
Using the main cleaning head, it will run for up to 33 minutes in normal mode and 9 minutes in the MAX setting.
The Shark IONFlex will run for up to 24 minutes without any attachments and 11:50 minutes on its highest setting using DuoClean head.
These figures will double with the IONFlex 2X with two ION batteries, which extends the time to 48 and 23:40 minutes, respectively.
Which of these two stick vacuums offer better value?
Both of these products bring a lot to the table.
Each model comes with its unique strengths and weaknesses that we’ll have to break it down by category.
Better value for cleaning performance
The Dyson V8’s soft roller and direct drive attachments are outstanding performers on hard floors and carpet, respectively. The latter is capable of deep cleaning carpet, albeit using the highest setting.
Shark isn’t a slouch when it comes to surface pick up. It does a better job on hard surfaces with regards to picking up large chunks of dirt.
The DuoClean head not only vacuums up large chunks of dirt, but it will also dust and clean fine debris such as dust. It also does well at cleaning edges and corners.
However, it won’t deep clean as well on carpet. Another issue would be the cleaning head creeping forward – having a self-propelling effect.
You’ll have to exert some effort pulling it back.
Choosing one will depend on the type of flooring inside your home. If it’s just bare floor, I will go with the IONFlex because of its superior performance even on large dirt piles.
For homes with carpet, I’d go with the V8 Animal.
Better value for ergonomics
There’s no question that the V8 is a better vacuum ergonomically.
It has a better weight distribution that it isn’t as tiring to use for cleaning areas overhead.
The Shark IONFlex’s balance point isn’t as good ergonomically, with the handle pushed further back.
The Shark IONFlex has a weak balance with the handle position further back.
This makes it very tiring to use in the handheld configuration.
People who’ll want to use either of these vacuums as a handheld vacuum extensively will find the V8 better.
Better value for run time
The V8 on a per battery basis boasts a lengthier run time of up to 42 minutes. While the IONFlex will only run for 24 minutes.
However, if you purchase the IONFlex 2X version that’s more expensive, it will run longer at the MAX setting at 22 minutes versus the 9 minutes of the V8.
Better value for technology
Both vacuums offer a lot of versatility when it comes to interchangeable parts and areas it can clean.
The IONFlex comes with more compelling attachments such as the under appliance tool that I find useful since my home has very low clearances.
It also has the IONFlex technology that will take up less space and will not require drilling holes just for the dock.
If its basic tools you want, then I’d go with the V8, but for those who need more specialized tools for cleaning under or over furniture, the Shark may provide better value.
More Dyson Cord-Free Comparisons
Here are more comparisons between Dyson cord-free products and other brands.
Where can I buy these vacuums?
These two cord-free products are available in online stores like Amazon and Walmart. Please check the links below for the latest prices.
Please note that if you buy through any of the links above, I will earn a commission, but at no additional cost to you. So it’s a win-win for both of us!
Product specifications of the Shark IONFlex and Dyson V8
up to 48 mins
up to 42 mins
The verdict: Which should you buy?
There’s no question that these two stick vacuums are two of the best options in their respective price ranges.
But which is a better option? Let’s look at some compelling reasons for each one.
Four reasons you should buy the Dyson V8
- Better at cleaning carpet: The Dyson V8 does better overall, not just a carpet cleaning in general but also on overall user-friendliness. It swivels better and does not have the self-propelling feel that the IONFlex has.
- Better ergonomically: The design of the V8 is more balanced and provides better weight distribution in its handheld configuration.
- Larger dust cup: The 0.55 liter capacity of the V8 almost doubles that of the Shark.
- Better filtration: The V8 has a fully-sealed system that keeps allergens inside the bin.
Four reasons you should buy the Shark IONFlex
- Outstanding at cleaning hard surfaces: The DuoClean head does things that the direct-drive head of the V8 can’t. It can pick up higher quantities of extra-large dirt better without clogging.
- LED lights: This feature significantly helps with visibility and is a must-have in all vacuums.
- Better cleaning under furniture: The IONFlex system makes it possible to clean under furniture without kneeling. It also comes with the under appliance wand, which is very useful for cleaning low clearance furniture better than any tool I’ve seen.
- Easier to store: Another advantage of the IONFlex feature is storing the vacuum without the aid of an external tool.