Whether you opt for the Shark Flexstyle or Dyson Airwrap, you're still committed to spending at least £250 on one of the best hair dryers on the market. And whilst the Dyson is the OG, the Shark Flexstyle has amassed a devoted following among those who are looking for a cheaper alternative to the iconic Airwrap.
We've written extensively about both in our Shark Flexstyle review and our Dyson Airwrap review, but for those who are weighing up between Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap, we've also pitted the two head-to-head to help you decide which is the best styler for you. And if you're trying to decide between a Dyson vs Shark hairdryer, we've also compared both brands offerings to help you make the right call.
It would be easy to tell you that there's an out-and-out winner, but the truth is, the right styler for you will depend on your hair type and your budget. Unless you find a rare Dyson Airwrap Black Friday deal, you're unlikely to pick up the Airwrap for under £500, whereas the Flexstyle comes from a much more deal-happy brand, and we're confident that you could find a saving on the Shark on a semi-regular basis.
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap
Dyson Airwrap Complete
Attachments: 30mm barrel, 40mm barrel, firm smoothing brush, soft smoothing brush, round volumising brush, Coanda smoothing dryer
Features: Three speeds, three heats, cold shot
The iconic Airwrap is a classic for a reason. We love its range of attachments, and its barrels have been upgraded to send air in either direction, meaning you won't need to switch between attachments if you're looking for a bouncy blown-out effect.
With that being said, it lacks the diffuser attachment that you'll get with the Shark Flexstyle. And while the Coanda dryer is really effective at removing flyaways, the concentrating nozzle on the Shark is a lot easier to get to grips with.
Buy it if: you have straight and wavy hair and want bouncy curls or a sleek, straight finish.
Attachments: two auto-wrap curlers, paddle brush, oval brush, styling concentrator, diffuser
Features: Three speeds, three heats, cold shot, rotating base
If you want curls in multiple shapes and directions, you'll have to switch between attachments when using the Flexstyle.
However, this dryer comes with a rotating base to allow you to use the diffuser and styling concentrator as you would a regular hair dryer. Its diffuser and oval brush attachment are also brilliant for more textured hair, whether you're looking for a sleek finish or simply to enhance your natural curls.
Buy it if: you have more textured hair, or would use the diffuser and oval brush more than you'd use the auto-wrap curlers.
Our full review
Our testers Millie and Amelia have been using the Dyson Airwrap and Shark Flexstyle for the past year, and have tried every attachment included with the Dyson Airwrap Complete and the Shark Flexstyle 5-in-1 Air Styler between them.
Formerly Head of Reviews across our portfolio, Millie has tested everything from hair straighteners from vacuum cleaners. She thinks it's really important that we continue to test things for prolonged periods of time in our own homes, because that's exactly how our readers plan to use them.
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Curling attachments
Winner: Dyson Airwrap
The Dyson Airwrap Complete comes with two attachments for curling: a 30mm barrel and a 40mm barrel. If your hair is below chest-length, you can also opt for the Complete Long, which has longer barrels that can handle a lot more hair.
Although this wasn't a feature in the original Airwrap, the latest models come with a smart toggle on top of each barrel which allows you to switch the direction of airflow. This is convenient for those who want some variety in their curl pattern, or who want to mirror the effect of one curl direction on the other side of their face.
By contrast, the Flexstyle has yet to feature this toggle, which means that its two barrel attachments are of the same width and will direct airflow in different directions. Switching your attachment will only take a few seconds, but if you plan on using the curling attachments as your default, we'd recommend sticking to the Dyson.
For Amelia, "I turn to the Dyson when I want a gentler approach or want to create curls. The Dyson curl barrel is easier to use than the Shark ones as you don't need to switch out attachments depending on which way you want your curl to go. I have also found that the Dyson is cooler and more gentle on my hair, so it's great for those who want to avoid too much heat damage or have dry, broken hair that needs more TLC."
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Round brushes
Winner: Shark Flexstyle
With both a paddle brush and oval brush to choose between, the Shark Flexstyle includes both boar and nylon bristles in its brushes. This makes them feel a lot sturdier than the Dyson Airwrap's singular round volumising brush, which only has one type of bristle.
Millie says "I can really feel the Shark bristles clinging to my hair as I brush, which results in a much smoother finish. Plus, because I have quite long hair, the relatively small round brush on the Dyson is not large enough for me to wrap my hair around it, meaning I don't make the most of its surface area while using it. "
With that being said, some reviews on the Shark site say they wish there was a smaller round brush, so if you have shorter hair and want some bounce you may get on with the Dyson better.
According to Amelia, "In my experience, the Shark is much more powerful and gets hotter than the Dyson. This is great when I'm going from wet to straight, as the brush attachments and powerful air flow mean I can get quick and effective results that last all day - it takes me about 20mins to get my hair from towel dried to straight with the round brush on the Shark."
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Smoothing brushes
Winner: Dyson Airwrap
Featuring two smoothing brushes, the Dyson Airwrap has put a lot of thought into the design of its brush attachment. There's a firm smoothing brush which is designed to create less frizz and fewer flyaways, and a soft smoothing brush which is engineered to be gentler on the scalp.
I'll hold my hands up and admit that these attachments get the most use of them all in my house. And it's not me using them, but my partner. He raves about how fast they dry his short hair, and they give him a lot of control when styling.
With that being said, I don't know that Dyson needed to include two brushes that are so similar in its Complete model, especially when it's lacking basics such as a diffuser attachment or a large oval brush.
By comparison, the Shark Flexstyle has its paddle brush. This also features dual bristle types which grip to every hair as you style. I've found that this doesn't dry your hair as fast, and you'll also have to pull out hairs that have fallen out during styling, which is a bit of a nuisance.
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Dryer attachments
Winner: It's a tie
Dyson's Coanda smoothing dryer can dry, smooth, and tame flyaways. It's highly effective at all, although it took some effort to figure out how it works. There's a top nozzle that you twist to change the direction of airflow and its intensity. If you choose a concentrated stream of air, this is particularly effective at removing flyaway. However, it does make the act of straightforwardly drying your hair a little complex.
The Shark Flexstyle features a relatively simple drying attachment called the styling concentrator. This simply channels airflow, but you do get the added advantage of Shark's Flex base, which can pivot to be used more like a conventional hair dryer. This won't tame flyaways as effectively, but it is easier to use and feels more familiar for those who enjoy a traditional dryer.
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Diffuser
Winner: Shark Flexstyle
It's great that Shark includes a diffuser in its base kit, and it's a really good diffuser. I've got natural curls, and I've also used the Shark Style IQ for a number of years to add definition to my curls. The diffuser on the Flexstyle is the same, and because you can rotate the base it even can be shaped like a regular hair dryer.
That's not to say that the Dyson won't work on textured hair types. You can buy a wide-tooth comb attachment for a stretched blowout, and a lot of the attachments are suitable for all hair types. But for now, there's no diffuser attachment for the Dyson Airwrap.
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Heat damage
Winner: Dyson Airwrap
With bleach-damaged hair, Amelia finds that the Dyson is better for long-term hair health.
"I've had both of these tools for over a year and love both for different reasons. I have wavy, frizzy, and hard to manage hair, so only particular tools can give me the look I'm after.
I have quite bleach damaged hair, so the Dyson is my go-to for regular blow dries when I don't want to compromise my hair health. However, if I'm in a rush or my hair needs some more elbow grease to get a properly straight look, I'd turn to the Shark."
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: Price
Winner: Shark Flexstyle
The Shark Flexstyle has an RRP of £279.99, whereas the Dyson Airwrap has an RRP of £479.99. It's hard to argue with that £200 saving.
Amelia does point out that "the Dyson I have comes in a storage box, which means it is very easy to tuck away and it never looks messy. However, I do find it tricky to properly store my Shark and all its attachments."
You can buy a case for the Flexstyle, but the Dyson definitely has a more elevated look. Then again, for the price, you would expect that higher-end feel.
Shark Flexstyle vs Dyson Airwrap: The verdict
Our senior writer Amelia says "If I'm weighing up the two, you do get quite a similar experience with both and the Shark is a lot cheaper. However, the Dyson is easier to use in terms of curling and it is definitely more gentle on my hair. If you have tricky hair that tends to need a lot of heat and power to look its best, I'd recommend the Shark. If you have hair that needs a more gentle approach or you will be curling your hair on a regular basis, the Dyson will work better for you."