If you were to ask any given person, really, anyone you could think of, hypothetical and representative of a certain group or very much real and individual, to name a vacuum cleaner, most would arguably respond with something containing the name ‘Dyson’. Heck, most would probably just blurt out that brand name and leave it at that. Unfortunately, a constructive, critical analysis of the products behind the name can’t be determined by brand value alone. It is stunning, though, how much Dyson has embedded themselves into the public consciousness as the brand when it comes to vacuum cleaners. None of their individual products have particularly memorable names though, chief among which is the one we’ll concern ourselves with today, the Dyson Ball Animal.
Shark and Dyson Vacuums Comparison
Yes, the Ball Animal. Yes, we’d like to know who came up with that, too. But wait! To make things a little bit more complicated, and with the intent of proving that heritage, hearsay and reputation aren’t everything, We got ourselves the Shark Rotator TruePet model, a similarly-designed, but lower-priced upright vac that will be serving as the Ball Animal’s direct analog for the sake of this comparison. So, which is best? There’s only one way to find out.
Shark Rotator Nv752 vs Dyson Animal 2
Dyson Animal 2
Let us first take a look at Dyson’s offering. Like many of their products, it sports an almost retro-futuristic look, with a dust cover that visually appears to be some kind of turbine—Dyson themselves call this a Radial Root Cyclone—leading to a slim, minimalist nozzle, which itself is stabilized by a ball-shaped suspension, the namesake for the device itself. Transparency is also a big design theme, with glass panels on nearly every part of the vac. Performance-wise, Dyson of course claims once more that their Ball Animal has the strongest suction of any vacuum cleaner in the world, period. And again, this claim is pretty difficult to confirm, but what should matter to the end user most is that, in our testing, we didn’t come across a surface that the Ball Animal truly had big problems with cleaning.
According to Dyson, this is in part to the Radial Root Cyclone design, in part also to the ball-like suspension, which is said to be more efficient than any alternative offered by the competition at automatically raising and lowering the nozzle to suit the surface being cleaned. Since this is a model mostly designed for pet owners, hence the name and the overkill suction power, it also features a handheld mode. However, unlike more conventional designs, there is no way to get rid of the lower part of the vac and attach a special nozzle to ‘transform’ it; instead, a small, separate wand attachment hangs out of the cleaner’s rear, which you simply pick up and use like any other handheld. As efficient as it is at cleaning, we found the restriction of having to carry the vacuum around with you, even when handheld, to be quite restrictive.
Shark Rotator NV752
Moving on to the Shark model, then. At a first glance, the two are really very similar, with the exception of the Shark’s slightly more conservative design, marginally lower noise generation—which unfortunately also means a slight power deficit—and its handheld action, which, unlike the Dyson’s, works like it should: You partially dismantle the vac itself and carry a separate wand and dust bag around with you. The only limit to the vac’s reach is the power cord, which is generously long anyways. A further big difference is that aforementioned dust bag.
Since it was designed to be easily portable, it is quite compact, which is good for that purpose, but unfortunately means it doesn’t have as much volume as the competition. Dyson’s patented Radial Root Cyclone and ball-shaped suspension designs are of course also absent. On the other hand, the Shark has two things going for it that some buyers will certainly see as end-all-be-all arguments: LED illumination at the base—Granted, it does look a bit funky, but practical it is very much—and an over 50% lower MSRP.
Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean versus Dyson V8 Animal
The Dyson versus Shark debate seems to be one of the biggest not just within the vacuum market, but within household tools in general, at least where both of these companies have their biggest foothold, the US. Common wisdom will teach you that Dyson is best for quality, while Shark excels at bang for buck. So, what happens when you take two of their most advanced models—which nowadays commonly trade for the exact same price tag—and put them to the test? Let’s find out.
In the first corner, we have the Dyson V8 Animal, the flagship of the V8 series. Well, not quite, as the V8 Absolute is a tiny tad bit more expensive, but the only real difference between them is an accessory cleaner head that the Animal’s main demographic, pet owners, are probably not going to care about in the first place. In all other respects, the two are the same.
Since we’re talking about a mid-three-figures vacuum cleaner here, of course the V8 gets you nearly all those funky gadgets and features you’d expect from a device that’s arguably more of a tech demonstrator than a simple tool. From a ‘transforming’ function for handheld use, which works amazingly well thanks to the compact, but nevertheless voluminous dust bag, to a wall-mounted charging station and fully cordless operation with staggering 40 minutes of battery life, it’s all there.
The ultra-minimalist, modern design scheme is only partially broken by the turbine-like contraption at the top, right where the dust bag is. This is Dyson’s infamous cyclone-based cleaning apparatus, which is what’s responsible for that excellent suction these models are known for. Additionally, via a small button on the top of the device, one can engage Max Power Mode, which temporarily increases suction even further for up to 7 minutes on end, though we really couldn’t think of a usage scenario where that’s really necessary. Since this particular model is pet-focused, the elaborate dirt ejector system makes a lot of sense; simply push a button to open up the dust bag. No direct contact with the contents required.
Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean
In the second corner, we have the Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean, and with that kind of mouthful of a name, what else can you expect other than pristine quality, right? On a slightly more serious note, besides its obvious similarities to the V8, this Shark vacuum has got quite a few things going for it. Instead of the Dyson’s ingenious transformation system, which includes multiple swappable wands, cleaning heads and nozzles, the IONFlex is a bit more conservative in this regard—all you can really do is swap the combined wand and nozzle completely for an above-floor cleaning solution—but what it does have is the so-called Reach Mode, a unique feature conceived solely to make those guys at Dyson pick up their jaws from the floor in shock. It’s basically an articulated system of joints built into the wand itself; push a button, and it activates, giving the whole vacuum the ability to snake around corners and fit into even the tiniest spots with ease, completely rendering a floor-based handheld system obsolete and compensating for the Shark’s slightly bulkier, thicker build, as well as its slightly inferior sucking power compared to the rigid, less flexible Dyson.
But wait, there’s more! Shark has also built in a unique exchangeable battery system, which, coupled with the bundled charging station, allows you to simultaneously charge one battery while using the other. Thus, the running time of 30 minutes is effectively doubled, way past Dyson’s rating. There are numerous other areas where Shark clearly tried to out-Dyson Dyson with their specs, such as the XL-sized dust bag, much more voluminous than the competition’s, and the bright LED illumination, a feature which simply doesn’t exist on the V8. Furthermore, the cleaning head is rated for much higher, rougher debris than the Dyson’s, though the aforementioned optional head on the V8 Absolute outperforms the Shark’s in turn. It seems like a wonder of sorts, but it happened: Two vacuums, one by Shark and one from Dyson, that find themselves being roughly at eye level in almost every category. In the end, buyers will probably need to choose based on both model’s respective gimmicks, gadgets and smaller features.
Shark Rotator Professional vs Dyson Ball Multifloor 2
The Dyson Ball Multifloor 2, with its orange detailing and by-now infamous ball-shaped suspension system, looks like a Dyson should, and it performs that way, too, with excellent suction, a large list of features out of the box and, of course, the kind of support, including long warranties and perfect QA that Dyson are famous for. However, for nearly half the price, there‘s the Shark Rotator Professional. True, it kind of looks like a device that was designed over ten years ago, and equally true, it does come from a company that mainly brags about producing Dyson-like products at a lower cost—both production and sales cost, that is—but maybe, just maybe, it can beat its competitor, even if only at offering a better price-performance ratio? Let‘s take a look, shall we?
Shark Rotator NV501
First, let‘s analyze Shark‘s contender. With its semi-transparent, huge dust bin making out most of its midsection, nearly thousands of wires coming out of the rear and a thick, large cleaning head, it‘s probably fair to say it‘s anything but elegant in terms of looks. Since we‘re talking about an upright, corded vac here, of course Shark had to find ways to innovate on the concept, and, well, at least they tried.
The Rotator includes a lift-away mode, transforming the vac into a much more compact form factor for cleaning hard-to-reach spots, and it carries two wands, a rigid kind on one side, a flexible hose on the other—as in, you use the former in normal operation, the latter in lift-away mode. Like many Shark vacuums, this one includes a full, LED-based illumination system that‘s especially useful in dark spots to immediately check your reach and cleaning efficiency. Speaking of which, it‘s quite good for a vacuum at this price. Nothing extraordinary, and the noise levels fall into the expected, average range, but pretty good for the low price.
Dyson Ball Multifloor 2
Meanwhile, Dyson‘s Ball Multifloor 2 excels at mainly one thing: Straight-up, by-the-numbers sucking power. There‘s no argument; the Ball cleans much faster and more efficiently than its competitor, with noise generation remaining about the same in comparison. Thanks to Dyson‘s patented ball-based suspension and Radial Root Cyclone on top, it does look pretty futuristic and modern compared to the Shark, too. It includes such exclusives novelties like a 5-year warranty, a hygiene-optimized dust bin release system and, thanks to the aforementioned ball, an automatically adapting cleaner head that adjusts depending on the surface below.
Like the Shark Rotator, the Dyson Ball Multifloor 2 has a flexible hose that you can separate from the main unit to use handheld-style. However, they don‘t offer an equivalent to Shark‘s lift-away mode, meaning the full bulk of the vacuum is always there, needing to be carried around. This means that, in handheld operation, there are not one, but two wires leading in sometimes opposite directions that you‘ll need to be constantly aware of. Uncharacteristically for Dyson, this is not elegant or easy-to-use in the least.
Thus, the main advantage over the Shark Rotator would arguably be the two Dyson-exclusive technologies, Cyclones and the ball-based suspension system, as well as its superior suction. If you‘re willing to pay almost twice as much for that as for a slightly more convenient, if slightly less high-end alternative model is up to you, of course.
Dyson V6 Top Dog vs Shark Rocket
When it comes to handheld vacuum cleaners, you don‘t have a lot of choice in which product you can buy. Dyson, the top-tier brand when it comes to anything and everything vacuum-related, recently, that is, almost two years ago, introduced a new model, the V6 Top Dog, which, if their previous lineup over the past ten years is anything to go by, will probably once more set the bar for performance and quality single-handedly. A little older, but much more cost-friendly at almost a third of the price is the Rocket, a portable alternative by Dyson‘s main competitor, Shark. So, which is best? Let‘s try to find out in this head-to-head comparison.
Shark Rocket HV292 Hand Held Vac
First, let’s take a look at the Rocket. The first thing that will strike most users is just how light it is. Less than 4 pounds is what the manufacturer specifies, and, well, that’s actually stretching the limits when it comes to the definition of the words ‘less than’. We measured 4.2 pounds, or 1.9 kilos, which, either way, is extremely lightweight for a vacuum of this kind. Sure, this is mainly down to the whole unit being constructed out of rather cheap, thin plastic, but you can’t have everything, can you? Equally surprising is the large number of accessories the Rocket ship with. You get a total of three different cleaning heads, a crevice tool, a stretch hose and two brushes, which is more than you’d commonly expect for a sub-$100 price tag.
Unlike the Dyson V6 Top Dog, the Shark Rocket is not cordless. Although most will probably see this as a big inconvenience, Shark markets it as the opposite of that: ‘The long, 15 feet power cord provides great cleaning reach without worrying about batteries,‘ their brochure says. The vacuum cleaner market’s best example of ‘It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!’, you might say.
Dyson V6 Top Dog Hand Vac
In comparison, the V6 Top Dog by Dyson seems like it time-traveled from the far future to teach those antiquated Sharks a lesson or two. No cords, a much smaller form factor at an only slightly lower dust capacity, exactly the same amount of extras out of the box and, of course, their famous cyclone-based motor, which presents itself at the very top of the device in bright, flashy yellow for everyone to gawk at. To save battery power the vac is operated via a trigger that, when depressed, and only when depressed activates the vacuum. That means that it’s very well possible to use the Top Dog for much longer than the advertised 20 minutes of runtime if one uses the trigger only when it’s really needed.
In the end, your buying decision will come down to two things: Price and performance.
The two aren’t as antithetical to one another as you might think, though.
For example, even though the Dyson goes for nearly three times the price of the Shark, it also offers better suction power, yet a smaller dust bin and all the limitations that go along with cordless designs. On the other hand, in spite of its lower weight and large list of extras, the Shark is not as well-built and doesn’t offer luxuries such as the 5-year warranty that the competition brags so much about. Then again, it is much, much more affordable.
We could go on for hours listing differences and similarities like this, but the fact remains:
The old adage of ‘Bang for buck’ versus ‘Straight-up Quality’ when referring to the heated debate between Shark and Dyson products is no longer as simple as that.