Do you need to spend $600 on a hair tool or can you get the same results using a tool that costs less than half that price? Today we’re getting to the bottom of the internet’s most burning question—which is better, the Shark FlexStyle or the Dyson Airwrap? These two tools are going “head to head” in a review unlike any other. Come see which tool comes out on top!
By: Lisa Fennessy
Everyone wants to know what’s better, the Shark FlexStyle or the Dyson Airwrap. Well, we are finally getting to the bottom of it. These two tools are going “head to head” across 15 categories and we are awarding points to each system for attachments, ease of use, results, cost and more. Whatever system is easier to use, it gets a point, whichever system comes with better attachments, it gets a point, whichever system is quieter it gets a point, etc. … and in the end, the TRUTH will be revealed.
There is no other review like this on the internet. I didn’t just use each of these tools once and type up this post. I’ve been using the Dyson Airwrap since November 2022 (check out my full review here) and the Shark FlexStyle since September 2023 (you can see my first impressions of it here and here). My hair blogging goes back to 2017 and I have tried A LOT of tools since. At this point I’d consider myself an expert at identifying what makes a good hair tool plus I am a beast at picking out pros and cons. This is truly a Dyson Airwrap vs Shark FlexStyle showdown like none other you’ve seen and the most thorough review you’ll find out there.
So without further ado, let’s get this contest started.
IN THIS POST:
- What it comes with
- Attachment range
- Suction / air flow
- Noise level
- Heating power
- Cooling power
- Which one dries hair faster?
- Learning curve
- Overall “I want that” factor and feel
- Inclusivity and customization
- Other things
- The Shark FlexStyle vs The Dyson Airwrap: The final score
- Shop the Dyson Airwrap and Shark FlexStyle
In other words, how easy and comfortable is it to actually use the tool? I could talk about a couple of things here. For instance, the Dyson Airwrap is technically lighter than the Shark FlexStyle and has a longer cord. But I actually want to zoom in on three other things that really make the Dyson Airwrap stand out.
First, the buttons on the Dyson Airwrap are easier to use with one hand. The heat level, air flow and cold shot buttons are all in the same area and you can toggle between all three with one thumb. This makes it easy unlike the Shark FlexStyle where the cold shot button is at the bottom of the unit so you have to hold the unit with one hand and hit the cold shot button with the other hand.
Second, you can toggle the Dyson Airwrap heat level and air flow buttons by feel whereas on the Shark FlexStyle you have to have your eyes on the buttons because the levels are indicated by light rather than position. This can be annoying when you are doing the back of your head.
Lastly, the Dyson Airwrap uses one curling barrel that you can oscillate left or right by turning a knob whereas with the Shark FlexStyle you have to remove the barrel and switch it to the other one depending on which side of your head you are doing. This just takes longer and the FlexStyle attachments heat up so it can be hard to handle on the fly.
The Dyson Airwrap blows the Shark FlexStyle out of the water in this category—no questions asked. (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
RELATED: My Kitsch Heatless Curls Review.
2. What it comes with
With the Dyson Airwrap you just get more. The Shark FlexStyle comes with 5 attachments while the Dyson Airwrap comes with 6. Not every Shark FlexStyle comes with a storage case but every Dyson Airwrap does. I really like that the Dyson Airwrap also comes with a travel pouch, paddle brush, wide tooth comb and the filter cleaner. Basically the Shark FlexStyle arrives bare bones while the Dyson Airwrap arrives with all that and a bag of chips. (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
3. Attachment range
The Shark FlexStyle CLEANS UP in this category by a mile in my opinion. But read through to see why and if what I’m looking for lines up with what you’re looking for. For example, if you have short hair and are looking to add volume—your value system will be different than mine.
Which pre-drying attachment is better?
The Shark FlexStyle actually pivots and converts into a “regular hair dryer” which is a HUGE PRO for me. Because of this it’s also a lot easier to hit your roots while pre-drying too. (This is important because neither tool is good at drying roots while the auto-wrap curler attachments are in).
The pre-drying attachment on the Dyson Airwrap however, sucks. It has no air concentrator and just blows hair everywhere giving me a one way ticket to tangle city. So, the Shark FlexStyle’s pre-drying attachment is better. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
Which auto-wrap curler attachment is better?
The Dyson Airwrap has four barrel options. A 30mm barrel length for short hair or a 40mm barrel length for long hair. It also has two barrel gauge sizes. A 1.6″ for larger curls and a 1.2″ for tighter curls.
The Shark FlexStyle only has two barrel options. A thicker barrel (1.25”) for larger curls and a thinner barrel (.95”) for tighter curls. It does not have a longer / shorter option. So for that reason the Dyson Airwrap auto-wrap curler attachments are better. (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
Which is better, the Dyson Conda Smoothing Dryer attachment or the Shark FlexStyle FrizzFighter Finishing Tool?
Originally the Dyson Airwrap was the only tool that had a flyaway smoothing attachment. Now they both do. I’ve tried both and I like the Dyson Airwrap Coanda smoothing dryer better because the airflow isn’t as strong and it doesn’t blow hair away when you get close. It’s more gentle and truly helps smooth. So the Dyson Airwrap Conda smoothing dryer attachment is better. (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
Which smoothing brush attachment is better?
The Dyson Airwrap has two options for its smoothing brush, a soft one and a firm one. The Shark FlexStyle only has one but outweighing all of that—the mixed nylon and boar bristle brush on the Shark FlexStyle is way better at smoothing and providing tension than the Dyson Airwrap wide tooth comb style brushes. So for that reason the Shark FlexStyle smoothing brush attachment is better. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
Which round brush attachment is better?
I’m going to look at this through the lens of how effective this attachment is at giving hair volume. The Dyson Airwrap round brush is too small for my long hair and I just end up using it like it’s a brush. I can’t wrap my hair around it to drive volume or else it will tangle.
On the other hand, the Shark FlexStyle round brush is a little too big but at least I can get in there, lift the roots and get some volume. If you have short hair you may feel the opposite. But for me, the Shark FlexStyle round brush attachment is better. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
4. Suction / air flow
Hands down the Shark FlexStyle has more suction and a stronger air flow. It sucks hair in faster and more consistently than the Dyson Airwrap. No questions asked. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
5. Noise level
Just using my naked ear, the Shark FlexStyle absolutely sounds louder than the Dyson Airwrap. But just to be sure I tested both of them on the Decibel Meter app. The Dyson Airwrap logged in at 84 db which the app equated to the equivalent of a food blender or a dishwasher running. And the Shark FlexStyle logged in at 95 db which the app equated to a motorcycle passing at about 25 ft away. (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
6. Heating power
The Shark FlexStyle gets hotter (203°F) than the Dyson Airwrap (194°F). I know, I know, “lower heat is better for hair” BUT each tool has three heat options and if you want lower heat you can just opt for it. What you can’t do is opt for higher heat if it’s not available so Shark FlexStyle wins here because the overall temp range is larger. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
7. Cooling power
However, throwing a wrench in the works because the Dyson Airwrap “cool blast” gets cooler faster (an immediate 82°F) compared to the Shark FlexStyle “cool shot”. When you hit the Shark FlexStyle cool shot button it switches off the heater and pulls in ambient air but is still blowing warm air while it waits for the heater to disengage. This does not feel like a “cool shot” to me. (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
The Shark FlexStyle is heavier (1.54 lbs) than the Dyson Airwrap (1.5 lbs) but only by a negligible amount. Neither one tires my arm out and they both feel the same to me so I’m not awarding points to either. Tie.
9. Which one dries hair faster?
I put this to the test and it was close. The Dyson Airwrap dried half my head in 5:59 but the Shark FlexStyle dried half my head in 5:42. The Shark FlexStyle is hotter, has better suction and has a more powerful airflow so it will dry your hair faster. However, I do wish the buttons were closer to each other for easier and faster heat/speed adjustments which would save even more time. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
10. Learning curve
I bought and used the Dyson Airwrap first and I felt like there was a bit of a learning curve. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to use the Coanda smoothing dryer attachment, it took time to realize that turning off the device before taking the curl out will leave hair less frizzy, I still don’t really get the value of the smoothing brushes and it was only while writing this post did I realize it came with a filter cleaner lol.
But learning how to use the Dyson Airwrap made picking up the Shark FlexStyle a breeze.
That being said, I don’t think one is more difficult to learn than the other although both will take some time to get used to. Zero points awarded because this is a tie.
Here are the results using the auto-wrap curling attachment for each tool, specifically Dyson’s larger barrel and Shark’s one size fits all barrel. I used both tools at their max heat and max air flow options. The curls look pretty similar to me but what I do notice is that the Shark FlexStyle sets a curl better. So much so that it actually looks like my hair is shorter on that side. Now in order to be fair, I measured the circumference of each barrel and there is a half inch difference between the two which can account for the tighter curl but it can’t account for the curl lasting longer.
I think what we can take away from this is yeah, the blowouts look really similar but if you have hair that is less willing to take a curl, go with the Shark FlexStyle to get a tiny bit of an edge. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
12. Overall “I want that” factor and feel
This category is all about the quality of each, the luxe level of each and the materials used to create that overall “I want that!” factor.
For this category, I have to give it to the Dyson Airwrap. Its mixed materials look and feel more sophisticated and upscale compared to the Shark FlexStyle which looks vanilla and very plasticy.
Sure both the Dyson Airwrap and the Shark FlexStyle come in different colorways but I think the Dyson Airwrap has more fun and stylish colors. Like, love their teal, orange and pink current limited edition collab with Sephora. So cute! (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
13. Inclusivity and customization
Dyson customizes two “off the shelf” Airwrap options (meaning it bundles the Airwrap with different attachments) to suit straight to wavy hair OR curly coily hair. You can choose from one of those OR you can customize your Airwrap by answering a couple of simple questions and allow Dyson to assemble a custom kit for you. This custom kit can accommodate different hair lengths, thickness and textures. All options cost the same.
In comparison, if you can wade through the website noise over at Shark Beauty, you can also theoretically customize a tool to meet your hair needs.
That being said, I tried to “build my own” Shark FlexStyle for coily hair and didn’t see an option to choose the wide tooth comb accessory. I also didn’t see the wide tooth comb accessory included in the “Curly Coily Hair Find Your Perfect Match” option either—yet this accessory is included in the Dyson Airwrap curly coily hair option, and Shark makes one for the FlexStyle too. Seeing this makes me wonder if it is truly an accommodating system for coily hair? (Dyson Airwrap 1 point)
However I do like that Shark Beauty offers the “build your own” option where you can choose 3 accessories (instead of getting the 5 that come with the full kit) and actually pay less too. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
It’s no secret that the Dyson Airwrap is $300 more than the Shark FlexStyle. This is fine I guess but the real question I wanted an answer to is am I getting a $300 better blowout? I don’t think so. (Shark FlexStyle 1 point)
15. Other things…
Here are some other things that don’t really have a category but I think are important to mention.
- The Shark FlexStyle attachments can get too hot to handle. The Dyson Airwrap’s don’t.
- The Shark FlexStyle attachments are not interchangeable across SKUs. For example, you can’t take the air concentrator attachment from the Shark SpeedStyle and use it on the Shark FlexStyle.
- It seems you can always catch a sale for Shark FlexStyle whereas the Dyson Airwrap price is ON LOCK and only goes on sale once a year around Black Friday (typically).
The Shark FlexStyle vs The Dyson Airwrap: The final score
This brings our final score to Shark FlexStyle 9 points v Dyson Airwrap 8 points.
But regardless of the score, in the end you really have to determine what is valuable to YOU. If you have the money to spend and you want all the glitz, glam, ease of use, and you want the Dyson Airwrap—get the Dyson Airwrap! This is me officially giving you permission to do that. It’s a better machine. It’s easier to use, quieter, lighter, comes in cute colors, looks cute stored, and is easy to take traveling.
BUT (!) and this is a HARD BUT. If you want the look of that Dyson Airwrap blowout but don’t want to spend all that extra cheese, get the Shark FlexStyle. Sure it’s a little cumbersome to use, sure it’s a little lackluster when it comes to aesthetics but lemme say this again—you just saved $300 bucks for something that BASICALLY does the same thing (if not better in some categories!) Oh snap.
Only you can decide what is more important and more valuable to you. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably go with the Shark FlexStyle just because I don’t mind the extra few seconds here and there…plus it truly doubles as a hairdryer…plus I like money…in my pocket.
Shop the Dyson Airwrap and Shark FlexStyle
Which one would you choose?
* I paid for the Dyson Airwrap myself and I was gifted the Shark FlexStyle however, as always all opinions are my own and this information does not affect how points were awarded.
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