In the vacuum industry, Shark and Dyson are right at the top of the tree.
While neither company sells cheap vacs, if you’re looking for an innovative and powerful cleaning solution that will last for years, you’re in luck whichever you choose.
Today, we’ll take a look at Shark vs Dyson so you can make the right decision for you.
One of the most common questions we get is “Which is better, Shark or Dyson?” It’s for this reason that we’re comparing these heavyweights so you can get a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses.
We’ll look at the companies themselves as well as the functionality of the vacuums.
After that, we’ll contrast several different vacuums from each brand to make your life easier.
Whether it’s an upright or a cordless, a canister or a vacuum expressly designed for dealing with pet hair, we’ve got you covered.
Table of Contents
Shark vs Dyson: 2 Powerful Brands
The older company by far, Shark sprung from another firm that’s been around for 100 years now. That’s quite some brand heritage.
The parent company, Euro-Pro, started life producing sewing machines. Mark Rozenweig, one of the heirs, relocated to Canada and kickstarted what is now a mighty empire.
In 1995, SharkNinja was born.
If it seems like Shark products are everywhere, this is largely due to the highly successful way in which they use telemarketing. This fairly forceful direct advertising works extremely well in the US. This is where Shark has carved out a considerable market share.
Shark’s relative lack of success outside of the States is in large part due to this overreliance on TV ads and a failure to market in ways that are better received outside the US.
There has been a history of trouble between the 2 companies. Shark sued Dyson over Dyson’s “Double The Suction” claim in 2013.
Shark boasts an impressive market share of 20% with a turnover in excess of $1 billion a year.
The single most recognizable brand name when it comes to top-notch vacuums, Dyson enjoys an estimated 25% of vacuum sales and turns over more than $8 billion annually.
In just a couple of short decades, Dyson has come from nowhere to completely ruling the roost.
Back in the early eighties, James Dyson purchased a Hoover vac which very rapidly become clogged up. The result was a severe loss of suction.
Inspired by a visit to a sawmill, Dyson noticed that the sawdust was sucked from the air by huge industrial cyclones. By harnessing this idea, he was able to produce a vacuum that could separate dust by way of this cyclonic action. This also meant there was no need for a bag or a filter.
After thousands of prototypes and an early vacuum (G-Force), James Dyson incorporated Dyson Appliances Ltd back in 1991.
Since those early days, Dyson has gone global and continues to dominate the high-end vacuum market today.
Now you have a little basic background on the way in which these colossal companies differ – mainly in terms of marketing – it’s time for more head-to-head comparison…
We’ll examine 7 key areas of functionality and value so you can see which brand would offer you the best cleaning experience.
Across The Board Comparison
The suction power of a vacuum is instrumental in whether it succeeds or fails at its job.
One of the leading factors behind this suction is the motor.
Comparing the two brands in terms of power can be rather confusing. They use different measurements.
Dyson measure power in air watts while Shark just provide a reading in watts. Air watts are used for the motor’s energy output. Watts, on the other hand, are used to measure the input.
This difference is not really surprising since air watts is the standard measurement used in Europe, Dyson’s birthplace. The majority of American manufacturers use wattage.
The bad news is that, since these measurements are not the same, it’s only practical to look at each of them separately since there can be no meaningful comparison.
Most contemporary vacuums come in at anywhere from 500 watts through to 2000 watts.
The Navigator and the Rotator are rated at 1200 watts so they are at the higher end of that scale.
The Rocket, by contrast, is only 500 watts. Since this is far smaller, though, it obviously needs much less power.
Upright vacuums should be around 100 air watts for best results.
Dyson’s DC50 comes in at 180 air watts. The DC65 is a staggering 245 air watts. Clearly, both of these are way above the recommended standard.
The Animal range are only 28 watts – 100 air watts in Boost Mode – but, as with the smaller Shark vacs, they also require less grunt than full-blown uprights.
When thinking about raw power, it’s safe to say you’re in good hands with both Shark and Dyson. While important, power is certainly not the only factor in what makes the best vacuum so we’ll look at some other crucial areas now.
It’s crucial to think honestly about your needs when it comes down to the features and functionality of your vacuum. It’s senseless to obsess over benefits you will never use. Equally, it’s pretty pointless investing in a decent vac if it doesn’t do what you need it to.
There’s a major difference between the 2 manufacturers in terms of multi-surface cleaning. Most homes today have a mixture of carpets and hard floors. Motorized brush rolls are ideal for deep cleaning carpets but have a tendency to scratch wooden floors.
To cope with this, you need to change the height of the base plate or brush roll when you move between types of flooring. On the more recent models, this is as easy as flipping a button.
Dyson, by contrast, has an articulating base plate. In plain English, this means there’s no need for any adjustments when you are rotating from bare floors to carpet and back again.
While making this tweak is a breeze with your Shark, Dyson edges ahead since you need to make no adjustments at all.
One area where Shark takes back the lead is due to their truly multi-purpose nature. The Rotator range, for example, is far more than just an upright. While it performs just like a conventional upright vacuum, you can also use it as a handheld or canister. This Lift-Away technology gives you a 3-in-1 experience and a maximum flexibility.
Dyson makes amends by ensuring the hoses are long enough to give you the freedom you need. Their upright models, though, are just that: uprights. You’ll get no conversion to a smaller unit.
If you are going to be cleaning in murky, gloomy areas, some Shark models come equipped with headlights. This feature is not available with Dyson vacs.
It’s hard to knock a brand like Dyson for features but, overall, Shark just inches ahead in this category.
Both Shark and Dyson come packing Cyclone Technology.
What is this, exactly?
Essentially, the dirt will spin around rapidly inside the vacuum. This leads to a reduction in clogging.
While both these vacuum giants make full use of this innovative technology, some of the newer Dyson models have 2 tiers of special radial cones rather than a single tier.
While this is only a minor advantage, it’s small things that make all the difference.
Dyson offer superior filtration. Most Dysons come with HEPA-filtration. This is the gold standard when it comes to keeping things tightly sealed in.
From pollen and pet dander through to bacteria and the feces of dust mites, tiny allergens can really irritate you.
Whether it’s itchy eyes or a runny nose, a sore throat or even wheezing, these airborne irritants are kept safely sealed inside your Dyson.
15 years of research have culminated in Dyson vacs removing 99.97% of these microscopic allergens. You’ll be able to see off pollutants down to 0.3 microns.
Your Dyson will monitor and purify the air automatically. These particles are all trapped in the 360-degree HEPA filter.
You’ll also get HEPA filters on some Shark models along with their patented Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. You’ll also get between 1 and 3 plastic filters. These need cleaning regularly and thoroughly. This is a pretty straightforward process.
As you would expect from these 2 titans, both offer first-class filtration with Shark just about taking the lead.
Much like with overall functionality, you should think about what attachments would make your life easier and seek out a vacuum that delivers. It’s futile angling after a bunch of add-ons you’ll never use.
Surprisingly, for such expensive vacuums, neither Shark nor Dyson give you a huge amount of extras. In many ways, you’re paying for the expensive R&D that leads to such bleeding-edge technology. What you’re not paying for is a bag of goodies.
Most Shark vacs come with a crevice tool for awkward spots, a wide dusting brush ideal for finishing touches and an upholstery tool to keep your furniture spotless. You can also consider that the 3-in-1 functionality of many Shark vacs effectively gives you a bunch of additional features without needing to bundle them as accessories.
Dyson generally throw in a turbine tool, a stair tool and a combination tool.
Although there’s again not much in it, Shark again pushes ahead when it comes to attachments.
Shark score when it comes down to weight.
Most Dyson vacuums are heavyweight units. While this translates to all the performance you need, it can be awkward if you need to carry it up and down stairs. There are exceptions, such as the DC50, but most Dyson are rather less than portable.
Think carefully about what sort of cleaning you’ll be doing. Consider the layout of your home.
There’s no right or wrong here. If you can manage a solid and bulky vacuum, no problem. If you want something that you can maneuver with ease, a Shark might just be your best option.
We will look at the issue of pet hair in more detail when we compare some Shark and Dyson vacs designed for this purpose.
Long story short, Dyson vacs manage to almost completely contain pet hair and dander along with other spillages from pets. They might cost more but, in areas like this, you get what you pay for.
This is not to say that Shark vacuums are not capable of dealing with pet hair, simply that Dyson do so slightly better.
There’s no surprises with pricing…
Dyson are famous for many things. Selling cheap vacuums is not one of them. While you can – and should – look at the overall value for money rather than the price tag alone, there’s no denying that buying a Dyson is an expensive endeavor.
Shark vacuums are certainly not cheap either but they are definitely more affordable. The flip side of this is that you will not get the same build quality. Sacrifices need to be made at this price point.
For price, there are 2 ways of looking at things…
If you are deciding purely based on the bottom line, Shark wins every time.
For anyone with the budget to spare, buying a Dyson might be pricey but you’ll get what you pay for.
Most Shark vacuums come with limited warranties of 5 to 7 years. While this seems impressive, “limited” is the operative word. There are restrictions on what you will be covered for.
With the 5-year Dyson guarantee, you’ll be protected for both parts and labor. In the event of anything going wrong, repairs can be inconvenient and expensive. You really can buy without any stress knowing that Dyson have your back.
Although there is not much in it, Dyson edges ahead again when it comes to warranties.
Brief Comparison of Models
We’ll take a quick look now at a range of models from each brand going head-to-head.
From uprights and canisters through to cordless or pet hair vacuums, see where each brand stands and get the best cleaning solution for your needs.
Shark vs Dyson: Sticks
The Shark Rocket HV322 and the Dyson V6 are close rivals in the stick vacuum field.
Not everyone wants a hulking upright vacuum and not everyone needs that amount of power. If you like in a smaller apartment or struggle with carrying heavy weights, a stick is a smart choice.
Both manufacturers now trade on the Never Loses Suction tagline. There is really very little to choose between Shark and Dyson when it comes to the suction of these 2 models.
For mixed flooring, Shark comes out on top. You have settings for carpets and hard floors so you get the best of both worlds. The HV322 also allows you to detach the vac from its pole giving you a very useful handheld.
The Dyson V6, on the other hand, does not cope as well with carpets and is a much more stripped-down unit.
The Dyson is arguably more maneuverable. As a cordless, you will not be restricted by power outlets and you’ll have much more freedom. The Shark is corded but it’s also incredibly light at just 8 pounds so you won’t strain yourself moving around.
Capacity can be an issue with Dyson. Despite its small and lightweight body, the Shark can hold almost double the amount of dirt and dust as the V6. Emptying is a breeze and filters are washable so saving you money in the long run. Dyson’s V6 offers the first HEPA filter in a stick vacuum on the V6.
For a one-trick pony, the Dyson V6 is superior. If, on the other hand, you want a multi-tasking vacuum at a keen price, the Shark Rocket is well worth popping on your shortlist.
Shark vs Dyson: Uprights
Now, we’ll check out some powerhouse uprights from these 2 giants.
We’ll walk you through the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away (NV752) and Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away vs Dyson DC65, Dyson Cinetic Big Ball and Dyson Ball Multi Floor. This way, you can get a sound idea of which would best suit your requirements.
Shark Rotator True Pet Powered Lift-Away
Also known as the True Pet, the Rotator Powered Lift-Away can often be found on sale. Although it’s not cheap at full retail price, it’s worth looking out for a bargain.
Watch out if you want the brush kit for this model. You’ll need to buy this separately so factor that into your budget. If you want a comparable Dyson with the brush roll and hard floor attachment, you’ll need to spend much more.
In terms of performance and price, the Rotator beats off Dyson every time.
Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away
Perhaps the most versatile of all Shark uprights, the Professional Lift-Away is a top-notch vacuum.
Thanks to the nifty Lift-Away feature, you can also use the Rotator as a canister vac. For a winning combination of performance and portability, this functionality cannot be rivaled by Dyson.
An excellent wand lets you take care of all your above-floor cleaning needs.
This model works best on bare floors but will also cope admirably with carpets.
For versatility and performance at a highly attractive price point, it’s easy to see why the Professional Lift-Away is a consistent best-seller.
The DC65 is Dyson’s answer to the Shark True Pet.
This, as with all Dyson vacs, is an expensive appliance but one that delivers in fine style.
Previously called the Ball Animal, Dyson renamed it to include Allergy and widen its appeal beyond pet owners.
The base model offers powerful suction, outstanding maneuverability and HEPA-filtration to keep all the pet hair, dander and allergens safely locked away.
One annoying point is that the vacuum is targeted at pet owners but the cleaner head that will not get snarled up with pet hair costs extra. This is fairly deceptive in our opinion. When you throw in a price tag that’s already much higher than Shark, once again Dyson will hit you in the pocket.
The functionality of the DC65 can’t be beaten by anything Shark offer, though. If you have respiratory problems or any kind of allergy and need a sterile environment, the Animal is ideal if you can afford it.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball
Another eye-wateringly expensive Dyson, the Cinetic lets you move around with ease in restricted spaces.
Watch out for the specialized cleaning kit you can get at extra cost. This offers a really deep clean. If you want to clean hard floors, you’ll again need to dig deep. The cleaning head does not come provided.
The Cinetic is one of the best overall bagless uprights. If you’re looking for something purely for pet hair, though, you’re better off with the Shark Rotator True Pet.
Dyson Ball Multi Floor
For a stunning upright that boasts incredible suction, the Dyson Ball Multi Floor is tough to beat.
This is equally suitable for anyone with allergies as the dedicated Dyson Allergy model.
Dealing capably with all surfaces, this is routinely near the very top of the best upright vacuum charts and with good reason.
If you can afford to overlook the price tag, there’s nothing much negative to say about the Dyson Ball Multi Floor.
Buying the best vacuum cleaner is to a large extent a matter of personal choice.
You need to think about the layout of your house, the weight, whether you have allergies, if there are pets in your home as well as the usual elements like performance, power and, of course, budget.
If price were no object, we would place Dyson in first position. There is very little that these innovative vacuums don’t do well.
That said, you will see that Shark actually come on top in many of our tests. While they may not have the same brand snobbery and they lack a little in terms of build quality, there’s no argument that Shark make highly effective vacuums.
Overall, we give the crown to Shark!