Dyson and Shark are among the most well-known and respected vacuum brands in the industry. Both Dyson and Shark have been cleaning technology pioneers for over 20 years and offer a range of upright, canister, stick, and cordless vacuums.
However, many of us refer to these brands in the singular tense. By saying things like “I want a Dyson cordless vacuum,” we overlook the fact that the brand has dozens of different options to choose from. It’s not enough to simply know that you want a Shark cordless vacuum or Dyson - you need to know which model you’re looking for.
With so many choices between the two brands, selecting which one is best for you takes serious time. That's why we created this guide to help you pick the best cordless vacuum for you and your individual needs.
But which company produces the better cordless vacuum -- Dyson or Shark? The answer depends on your needs and preferences.
Dyson Cordless Vacuums Overview
Dyson has four series of cordless vacuums on the market today: the Dyson V7, Dyson V8, Dyson V10 Cyclone, and Dyson V11.
These series differ in price, features, and cleaning power. However, there are similarities among all models. All four come with the ability to transform from a stick vacuum into a handheld. They are also very lightweight and offer the ability to easily attach and detach accessories.
Dyson offers exciting improvements and new features with each series’ release. However, there are a number of different models within these series, which can make the selection process overwhelming. Luckily, for the most part, Dyson uses a logical upgrade path to help distinguish between each series. This means that the vacuums in the V11 series are significantly better than their predecessors in the V7 series.
Let’s talk about the options you have in different price ranges.
Dyson cordless vacuums below $500
With a budget of below $500, you have the option of choosing a cordless vacuum in the V7 or V8 series. These are the oldest models Dyson has on the market, and unsurprisingly, they’re not the company’s most powerful.
However, these models are still a great option, especially if you live in a space with mostly hard flooring. When opting for a Dyson cordless vacuum in this price range, here’s what you can expect:
- Basic suction power
- Lightweight design
- 30 minute battery life on the V7 models and 40 minute battery life on the V8 models.
- Basic allergen filtration (available only on the V8 models)
Dyson cordless vacuums between $500 and $700
When moving to this price range, your options include Dyson V10 Cyclone models, as well as a few of the V11 models. Although these models come in at a slightly higher price point, they are a big step up from the aforementioned V7 and V8 models. These models are excellent for hardwood, low, mid, and high-pile carpets. Here’s what you can expect from a Dyson cordless vacuum in this price range:
- Strong suction power
- Lightweight design
- 60 minute battery life
- Advanced allergen filtration
- Innovative LCD screen (only available on the V11 Torque Drive)
- Automatic surface detection (available with the V11 Animal and V11 Torque Drive)
Dyson cordless vacuums $700 and above
The models in this price range are the gold standard of Dyson cordless vacuums. Your options at this price point include the Dyson V11 Outsize and V11 Outsize Origin. These models offer a remarkable 85% suction improvement compared to the V7 models.
- Excellent suction power
- Lightweight design
- 60 minute battery life (the V11 Outsize also comes with an extra replaceable battery)
- Advanced allergen filtration
- Innovative LCD screen
- Automatic surface detection
- Larger cleaning head
Shark Cordless Vacuum Overview
Unlike Dyson, Shark doesn't release new vacuum models in series. This can make it more challenging to differentiate between the models. However, Shark has fewer cordless vacuum models than Dyson does. Like Dyson, their upgrade path is logical and chronological. They currently offer four different cordless vacuum models: the Shark ION F80, the Shark P50, the Shark Navigator, and the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. Let's check out what makes these cordless vacuums unique, in each price range.
Shark cordless vacuums under $200
This price range gives you access to Shark’s most popular model - The Shark Navigator. Priced at $129, the Navigator is the most inexpensive cordless vacuum on our list. This upright vacuum is best for spot cleaning and works incredibly well on hardwood floors. It can also effectively clean low pile carpets. However, this model does not detach into a handheld vacuum. It does, however, offer a maneuverable swivel head that makes it easy to reach under furniture.
This vacuum’s battery lasts up to 20 minutes and comes with a charging dock.
Shark cordless vacuums under $300
With a slightly larger budget, you can consider another Shark favorite - the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. As the name of the Shark Rocket Pet Pro suggests, this cordless vacuum was designed with pet owners in mind. Unlike the Navigator, this model can detach as a handheld vacuum. Other perks include:
- Lights on the cleaning head, which help you to find difficult-to-see debris
- 40 minute battery life
- HEPA filter
Shark cordless vacuums above $300
Finally, we have Shark’s highest-priced but most versatile vacuums: the Shark ION F80 and Shark ION P50. These models come with Shark’s innovative DuoClean technology, which makes it simple to switch between cleaning hard floors and carpeting. The Shark ION F80 also has one of the best batteries on the cordless vacuum market. Its two rechargeable batteries give it up to an 80-minute runtime when not in high power mode. The ION P50 offers up to 50 minutes of runtime. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, we recommend opting for the Shark ION P50, as this model includes a HEPA filter. However, it’s worth noting that the P50 is also the heaviest cordless vacuum in our roundup, coming in at around 12 pounds.
Important Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Cordless Vacuum
Cordless vacuums are designed for convenience, since they avoid cords and the need to hold a large, clunky piece of equipment while cleaning. lightweight cordless vacuums, with Dyson's coming in at a bit lighter. The only issue that we see with these models is that they don’t stand up on their own. However, they can be easily hung on a wall mount. In fact, the Miele Triflex HX1 is one of the few cordless vacuums on the market that is freestanding.
Dyson and Shark both offer cordless vacuums that can easily maneuver in a variety of places. Dyson, however, offers a swivel head that is generally less clunky than the heads found on many Shark models. Lastly, all Dyson cordless models offer the ability to transform into a handheld vacuum, while only some of Shark's cordless vacuums do.
When it comes to cleaning power, both of these brands are popular choices for a good reason - they get the job done. How well they deep clean carpets and pick up different types of debris on hardwood floors vary by model. However, both brands generally perform effectively.
Shark's DuoClean technology, which is available in select models, makes switching between hardwood and carpet floors easy. Likewise, Dyson's auto-mode surface detection, available with V10 and V11 models, changes the suction based off of the floor that you're on.
All Dyson cordless vacuums come with a sealed system, which makes the air they release cleaner than the air they're taking in. The Dyson V8, V10, and V11 are all "certified allergy friendly,” which means that they have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.
HEPA filters are a must if you have allergies, asthma, or sensitivity to dust. They stop particles from flying out of the vacuum and back into the space that you just cleaned. The Dyson filters capture 99.99% of dust and allergens -- even those as small as 0.3 microns.
Shark offers two models with HEPA filters: the Shark Rocket Pet Pro and the ION P50. These models provide Shark's Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology, which means it traps dust and allergens inside the vacuum.
Both Dyson and Shark have comparable decibel levels. Some of the models can vary in decibel levels, but none are exceptionally loud. Both brands, however, emit sound at higher frequencies than other vacuums, which can make them seem louder than they actually are.
Shark provides different limited warranties ranging from one year to lifetime. In comparison, Dyson offers 30- and 90-day money-back guarantees on their vacuums.
Dyson vacuums undergo rigorous testing protocols. According to the company, during testing:
- Vacuums are dropped up to 5,318 times to ensure durability.
- Vacuums are pushed back and forth for the equivalent of 21 years of use.
Dyson also reports that "it'll take 120 engineers 50,000 hours and 550 tests to be satisfied that it's tough enough" before they release a vacuum to market.
Shark is far less transparent about its product testing and does not release any information about its testing protocols.
Best Dyson vs. Shark Cordless Vacuums Compared
1) Best Overall: Dyson V11 Torque Drive ($699) vs Shark ION P50 ($300)
The V11 Torque Drive provides many easy-to-use yet sophisticated features, whereas the Shark ION P50 packs a powerful punch for its price. Both are among the best cordless vacuums on the market. These models both provide a rechargeable battery, with the Dyson V11 Torque Drive's runtime being 60 minutes, and the Shark ION P50's runtime coming in at 50 minutes.
The Dyson V11 Torque Drive weighs in at about 6.5 pounds and the Shark ION P50 weighs about 12 pounds. Both can also be transformed from a stick vacuum into a handheld, with the Shark ION P50 also working as an upright vacuum.
The Dyson V11 Torque Drive provides a very convenient LCD screen, which provides a real-time reading of battery levels. To get the most out of the V11’s battery life, we recommend placing the vacuum in eco mode, which allows you the longest runtime for whole-house cleaning. The Torque Drive also lets you select auto-mode, which boosts the suction when cleaning carpeting for a deeper clean. Both models offer HEPA filters, which is essential for allergy sufferers.
Overall, the Dyson V11 is a more powerful and convenient vacuum. For these reasons, it reigns supreme in this match up. With that being said, the Shark ION P50 is a formidable challenger at half the price.
2) Best Battery: Dyson V11 Outsize ($699) vs Shark ION F80 ($349)
Both the Dyson V11 Outsize and the Shark ION F80 come with two rechargeable batteries, thereby doubling their runtime. The Dyson V11 Outsize runs up to 120 minutes and the Shark ION F80 can run up to 80 minutes.
The Dyson V11 Outsize has all of the perks of the V11 Torque Drive, along with the addition of a larger cleaning head. This allows you to cover more ground in less time. It also has slightly stronger suction power than the Torque Drive and a larger dust bin. It also weighs a bit more than the Torque Drive at 7.85 pounds.
The Shark ION F80 weighs more at 10 pounds and does not have a HEPA filter, whereas the Dyson V11 Outsize does. For these reasons, along with the V11 Outsize’s incredible power and longer run time, the Dyson V11 Outsize wins this round.
3) Best on Pet Hair: Dyson V11 Animal ($599) vs Shark Rocket Pet Pro ($279)
The Dyson V11 Animal is virtually the same as the other Dyson V11 models listed here. One exception is that it does not have an advanced LCD screen to show battery levels. The Dyson V11 Animal is very powerful and, therefore, well-suited for picking up pet hair of all kinds.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro is also well-designed for pet owners. Not only can it clean up pet hair (and other debris) on both hardwood and carpets, but its brush is very resistant to getting tangled with hair. In fact, even the longer hair you'd find on humans is no match to the self-cleaning brushroll found in the Rocket Pet Pro.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro also offers lights on its cleaning head. This makes finding tiny debris easy.
Both vacuums offer the ability to turn into a handheld and offer a HEPA filter, which is excellent for pet owners who have allergies. The Shark Rocket Pet Pro has a shorter runtime of up to 40 minutes vs. the Dyson V11 Animal’s 60 minutes.
Despite the shorter battery life, we still choose the Shark Rocket Pet Pro as the champion for this category. The Shark Rocket Pet Pro’s lower price, tangle-proof brushes, and cleaning headlights make it a winner in this round.
Both Shark and Dyson cordless vacuums are popular because of their excellent cleaning power.
Shark is more cost-effective with all of their selections coming in at under $399, whereas the newest Dyson vacuums can go up to $799. Dyson, while pricier, is more versatile. The company offers incredibly powerful suction, the vacuums undergo rigorous testing, and are generally more lightweight than many of Shark’s cordless vacuums.
The Dyson V11 models are among the most powerful vacuums for rugs and hard surfaces on the cordless market today. However, if you don't need deep cleaning for all surfaces and want a substantial cordless vacuum at a great price, Shark is your best bet.
A very special thank you to Becky Brooks for her contributions to this article!
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