When you are looking to buy a new vacuum, deciding which brand to buy can be a bit of a challenge. Two of the top brands you can select from are Shark and Dyson. These brands are fierce rivals in the vacuum market, and it can be difficult to know which brand makes the best vacuum.
We’ve compared Shark vs Dyson to give you the information you need when shopping for the best vacuum brand on the market. Read on to see how these two brands differ and what makes each unique.
Shark has deep roots which began in Europe. They started as a sewing machine company. Today, they offer many household products including the Shark vacuums under the Euro-Pro company. Shark is the best-selling brand for the company today, which was added to the product line when the third generation began to run the business.
Starting in Canada in 1998, Shark moved from Montreal to Needham, Massachusetts. The Shark brand was originated by Mark Rosenzweig, the family heir. He helped the brand rise to fame by concentrating on a product that was easy-to-use by all.
Rosenzweig wanted to create a vacuum under the Shark brand which did not need complex instructions to use. He knew consumers did not have the time or the patience to read manuals that explain how to operate a vacuum. He wanted his vacuum to be intuitive and easy to figure out the moment someone took it home.
Today, Shark sells vacuums as well as other household products under the Shark name. It has reached multi-million-dollar status and is the top brand for the Euro-Pro family. It is recognized by consumers located all over the globe and continues to be a brand consumers gravitate towards for their vacuuming needs.
Most notably, in 2014, Shark started outselling Dyson in the American market.
The history of Dyson began with James Dyson in 1974. Dyson bought a Hoover Junior vacuum which he quickly became quite frustrated with. It lost its suction and became clogged easily. Even after emptying the bag, the vacuum still had issues that were unresolvable. When he opened the vacuum bag, he noticed a layer of dust clogging the fine material mesh.
Dyson later came into contact with a ball barrow that used a large vacuum system to contain the spray from the powder coating application. He found this system to be inefficient and suggested a giant cyclone system to the equipment manufacturers. He then built a 30-foot model for the ball barrow factory he worked for at the time.
Dyson quickly realized the cyclone technology could be produced on a smaller scale to extract dust without creating clogging. He constructed a prototype device and fixed it to his Hoover vacuum. It worked well. Dyson discovered he had developed a one-of-a-kind vacuum with that technology.
Dyson partnered up with Jeremy Fry, who provided a 49 percent investment into the cyclonic development. Dyson received the rest through a loan. He was undeterred and came up with 5127 prototype designs from 1979 to 1984, trying to find vacuum company to license the Dyson product. Finally, Dyson joined forces with Rotork, to sell the vacuum known as the Kleeneze Rotork Cyclon. A total of 500 units were sold in 1983 through a mail-order catalog.
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In 1985, Apex Ltd. licensed the vacuum and developed a reworked version in 1986 called the G-Force. It won the International Design Fair prize in Japan and became renowned in the country. James then set up Dyson Appliances Ltd. and built the first dual-cyclone vacuum under the Dyson brand in 1993. The technology was licensed in North America from 1986 to 2001 to Fantom Technologies. Following the agreement, Dyson entered the North American market on its own.
Dyson’s DC01 became the biggest selling vacuum cleaner throughout the U.K. in only 18 months from its inception. By 2001, it was 47 percent of the upright vacuum market. The company’s name was shorted to Dyson Ltd in 2001, and the Root Cyclone technology entered the market with the DC07 vacuum.
The company soon launched a bevy of other products including hand dryers, bladeless fans, and bladeless fan heaters. Today, the company has a full line of innovative products which are designed to make consumer’s lives easier.
When you compare Shark vs Dyson, you see there are a number of factors which separate the two rival brands. Both are at the top of the quality chain for vacuum cleaners, offering a full spectrum of products for consumers to clean their homes. Dyson has more of a commercial spin to many of its products while Shark focuses solely on the consumer sector for its product sales.
Design & Appeal
Ease of Use
When it comes to quality of the vacuums the two companies offer, you’ll find subtle nuances.
Dyson goes out its way to produce a vacuum with the least amount of plastic as possible. Its vacuums are agile and easy to maneuver, allowing for low effort when pushing and pulling. It has even created the Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner which uses a ball in the head of the vacuum to twist and turn around objects easier.
Shark has also made great efforts to ensure its vacuums are easy to maneuver. It focuses on making them as light as possible, which reduces the amount of labor it takes to carry and use the machines. They too are easy to maneuver and can cut down on the effort exerted during cleaning, especially for hard to clean areas such as when you try to vacuum stairs.
Vote: Shark and Dyson
Dyson takes the lead when it comes to creating a vacuum that is not only appealing but has a contemporary design attractive to consumers.
Shark’s vacuums retain that traditional vacuum look, while Dyson incorporates fun, bright colors to attract consumers to the products. Dyson vacuums are sleek and modern, while not being over-the-top.
Shark’s vacuums, while definitely designed for quality, just don’t have the same visual appeal Dyson vacuum models deliver. While this really shouldn’t be a deciding factor between the two brands, it alone can be the reason that some consumers are swayed toward a Dyson over a Shark vacuum cleaner.
Suction technology is the mark of what makes a vacuum work well, and Dyson sure delivers here too. Dyson claims to be the inventors of cyclonic suction power, although Hoover would make the same argument. Either way, Dyson’s suction power is second to none.
Shark also has fantastic suction power boosts, “no loss” suction, with its vacuum cleaners. Shark does not make vacuums with as strong as suction as Dyson, but as we’ll argue later, their suction power is more than adequate. To be quite honest, it is rare you need the amount of suction power that a Dyson provides.
Another vacuum feature that is important to consumers is the dirt canister itself. Both brands offer dirt canisters which can be removed, emptied, and cleaned.
Shark outperforms Dyson here when it comes to the actual canister size in many of its vacuum models. For example, the Shark Rocket comes with a large 0.25 gallon dirt canister, while the Dyson V8’s canister is only around 0.15 gallons. Mind you, the V8 is twice the price of the Rocket.
For many consumers, this is an important consideration as it means that you can vacuum longer without having to worry about emptying the dirt canister.
Both Dyson and Shark have created vacuums geared toward pet owners. Both brands offer specialized models targeted specifically at pet hair. Dyson has their Animal line and Shark has their TruePet line.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one vacuum that can handle pet hair, Dyson has it in the V8 Animal vacuum. This is a complete vacuum that is as fierce as its name and literally eats pet hair and removes dander as you clean.
Shark makes several lines of vacuums which can handle pet hair more than adequately, such as their TruPet vacuum model. When you combine it with their pet hair attachments, you’ll find Shark can do a great job.
One factor we find puzzling - Shark’s pet model of vacuum cleaners don’t come with a HEPA filter. HEPA filtration purifies the air, removing allergens commonly found in pet hair and dander.
This isn’t a deal breaker. But, if you have allergies, you'll prefer the top vacuum for allergies with a HEPA filter, which only Dyson has.
For starters, Dyson vacuum cleaners don’t necessarily need many attachments. Their cleaners are very robust and have been designed to handle a multitude of cleaning situations. Dyson already incorporated into their vacuums quite a bit of the functionality you would get with common attachments.
Dyson has literally created a jigsaw puzzle with many of its vacuums. The attachments are fitted to the machine body, giving you instant access as you clean.
Shark’s vacuums typically come with a plethora of handy attachments, which allow you to get a variety of jobs. This can also help you streamline your cleaning and reduce your cleaning time. These attachments are included but do need attaching, and can be a bit clunky at times. We’ve found them to be adequate, but not necessarily top of the line.
The attachments Dyson does provide are amazing, adding a lot of value to the specialty they are designed to clean. They are also a lot more intuitive and easy to attach to the main vacuum.
Hose attachments are also included on many of Shark’s and Dyson’s vacuums. Some consumers suggest that Shark’s hoses can crack over time, rendering them useless to clean with.
Dyson’s vacuums are of a higher grade, but they can be awkward and challenging to access in some models like the Dyson Ball, for example. While these hoses are designed to slide out and be used intermittently as you clean, the Dyson models can be clumsy to get to work properly as the design doesn’t seem to be intuitive.
Shark offers more convenience with its hose options. But, the trade-off may be that their vacuum lifespan might not be as long as you would necessarily like them to.
Both brands also offer stick vacuums that convert into handheld units. This makes it easy to clean up a small mess or dirt that has accumulated in a hard to reach areas. It is also an easy way to clean stairs. These vacuums are cordless in both brands.
Shark has outdone the operation of its handheld models by providing the option to add another battery to the machine if needed. This extends the run time of the vacuum and can allow you to clean even longer in between charges. Dyson doesn’t offer this feature on its cordless models, giving Shark a leg up on the cordless variety of machines.
The charge time on a Shark vacuum will run you longer, even with dual batteries placed in the machine. Dyson offers cordless vacuums like the Dyson V7 that charge in a fraction of the time it takes a Shark model.
This provides Dyson a nice boost and can help homeowners decide between a Shark and Dyson vacuum as less charge time means you can clean when you need to with waiting for a full charge to occur.
When it comes to the warranty option from Shark and Dyson, you’ll find both brands offer more than their competitors in the market. Shark offers an unheard of seven years in some models while Dyson sticks to the five-year plan on most machines.
While Shark has definitely outdone itself here, Dyson still comes out ahead of many of the better brands in the market that typically offer two or three-year warranties.
We give it up to Shark on its warranty offering. The company will repair or replace your vacuum if it doesn’t operate as promised or to your satisfaction for up to seven years, depending on the model. Dyson will do the same, but only for up to five years, depending on the model.
Price is a big deal to the majority of consumers, as it should be. And for the most part, both Shark and Dyson vacuums will cost you a pretty penny. However, that being said, a Dyson vacuum will run significantly more than a Shark model.
A Dyson vacuum is roughly 50-100% more expensive than a Shark vacuum of relatively similar features.
If price is your only concern, you'll want to opt for a Shark. You'll get great options with a Shark for much less than a Dyson.
Don't get us wrong - Dyson gives a ton of value for its price. You'll just pay a lot for it.
In many of the Shark vacuums, you’ll see a 12 Amp/1400-watt motor while Dyson offers a 10 Amp/1200-watt motor. While motor size is not indicative of the actual suction power of your vacuum, it does tell how much power is necessary to operate your vacuum.
The bigger the motor rating doesn’t mean you will have a more powerful vacuum. It actually indicates you will have a larger power draw from your home’s electrical system. This will cost more on your energy bill each month to operate your vacuum cleaner.
Dyson delivers here as it offers a lower wattage motor that takes less power to run over many Shark models. This can save your family money significantly on your home energy bills as you are not exerting more power to operate your vacuum cleaner.
You’ll find almost all of Shark’s vacuum cleaner models weigh more than Dyson’s product line of vacuums. Shark has really worked to keep the weight down in its machines, while Dyson has designed its vacuums to be rugged and have some weight to them.
The quality of the vacuums is also apparent here as Dyson’s vacuums feel right at home in your hands and move as you intend them to when cleaning your home.
Shark’s vacuums are also built for quality, but they show some wear over time as they get banged on furniture, walls, and corners as you clean. Dyson has really produced a standup vacuum which can withstand the demand of cleaning without showing age or wear.
Shark has some catching up to do in this category. Bear in mind its units are several hundred dollars cheaper than a Dyson model.
Dyson vacuums are lighter in weight, which makes them naturally a little bit easier to use. Shark has done a great job combating their weight by adding swivel technology.
Both models work well in tricky areas, like under furniture and on the stairs. Homeowners can lift them with ease and vacuum stairways quickly because of their lightness.
In the end, you'll find both brands are very easy to use.
Vote: Shark and Dyson
The filtration of your vacuum is a key feature which can make or break your buying decision. When we compared Shark vs Dyson, we found Dyson pulls ahead, offering a filter that is not only washable but is designed to last a lifetime.
Shark vacuums can get bogged down when the filter clogs over time. This can create a loss of suction and make cleaning difficult. While it is recommended to change the filter every month, it is more likely you will have to change a Shark filter more frequently than a Dyson.
This is not necessary with a Dyson vacuum, making it possible to vacuum longer without any maintenance required beyond emptying the canister. You still will need to clean or change the Dyson filter, just not as frequently.
Shark also offers washable filters. But, you will have to replace them over time as they are not designed to last as long as your vacuum. This filter integrity with a Dyson vacuum can save you a little money over the life of your machine.
Both companies do offer HEPA filtration, depending on the model. This helps cut down on allergen control, and we find the two brands evenly matched here, offering similar technology.
The vacuums including a cord offered by Shark and Dyson do not offer retractable cord options in many models. This can be disappointing to some consumers. We found this to be a minor inconvenience but still worth noting in this review on Shark vs Dyson vacuums.
Shark makes a variety of vacuums which can withstand the demands of daily house cleaning. Some of the ones we recommend are the following. These vacuums are some of the brand’s top-rated performers. They offer no loss suction and convenient features such as handheld options, pet cleaning abilities, and professional durability.
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light
Shark Rocket TruePet
Shark DuoClean Rocket
Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away
When looking for a vacuum from Dyson, we suggest you consider these models. They are at the top of the heap for Dyson and will perform well cleaning your home. These vacuums include Dyson cyclonic suction power and have features such as pet-friendly options, easy maneuverability, as well as handheld styling to make cleaning your home as simple as possible.
Dyson Ball Animal 2
Dyson Ball Multi-Floor 2
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball
Dyson Big Ball Animal Canister
Choosing between Shark and Dyson is a tough decision for most homeowners. And, you won't go wrong with either brand.
However, we firmly think that a Dyson is not worth the cost that you'll spend. They are amazing vacuums, but you'll get 80-90% of the suction, features, and versatility with a Shark.
If you have the money, we'd recommend picking up one of the Dyson vacuums we reviewed. But, if you're budget-conscious, you won't go wrong with Shark. So, as it relates to the Shark vs Dyson question, we'd pick Shark for our household.
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Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.