Shark vs Dyson hair dryer – a beauty editor's thoughts on which high-tech tool to buy
We compare the Shark vs Dyson hair dryer – they're the two stylers everyone is talking about, but which is best?
If you're weighing the benefits of a Shark vs Dyson hair dryer, allow us to help. These days, a great dryer needs to go above and beyond – styling, smoothing frizz, delivering speedy results – all while maintaining the health of our hair. And two tools making waves in the industry do exactly that. Enter: the Dyson Supersonic and Shark hair dryer.
Two technology giants, coincidentally both known for vacuum cleaners, are now battling to be the creator of the best hair dryer on the market. First came the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer in 2016, which revolutionized the hair dryer industry with a sleek device that dried hair speedily and gently thanks to clever airflow technology. Then in 2021, we got the Shark hair dryer (or the Shark STYLE iQ Ionic Hair Dryer & Styler to use its full name) another super-smart hair tool that truly challenges the Dyson to be your bouncy blow dry BFF.
Both deliver excellent results, but which one is best? We’ve put them head-to-head to find out…
How we tested the Shark and Dyson hair dryer
Full disclosure: We have owned and used the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer for years (hence it not being in the shiniest, most perfect condition in our photo) However, this put us in excellent standing to compare and contrast the Shark vs Dyson hair dryer, as it we could easily pick up on any differences between the two. We swapped our usual dryer for the Shark model for several weeks, and noted its performance, how it felt to use, and results on our hair. We also consulted with other testers who had different hair types to ours, such as curly, short and very thick hair, to check how each dryer performed for a range of needs.
Shark vs Dyson hair dryer, by a beauty editor
|Shark STYLE iQ Ionic Hair Dryer||Dyson Supersonic|
|Warranty||2 years||2 years|
|Available colors||Black and rose gold||Iron and fuschia, black and nickel|
|Extras||2 intelligent attachments||5 styling attachments included|
Shark vs Dyson hair dryer: design
Shark STYLE iQ design
The first thing we noticed when considering the Shark vs Dyson hair dryer are some visual similarities. The small barrel shape of the Shark resembles that of the Dyson and, as with the Dyson, the heat and airflow control settings are on the barrel, while the power switch is placed on the handle. There are three heat and airflow settings to choose from (low, medium, and high) that allowed us to customize the speed and heat to suit our hair type and desired home blow dry.
The Shark style iQ comes complete with two attachments (a nozzle and a diffuser), which magnetically attach to the barrel – just like the Dyson. The big difference is that that the Shark's attachments are intelligent, meaning the dryer recognizes which is connected and alters the heat and speed settings accordingly to give you the best results. Clever, huh?
Weighing 730g, the Shark hair dryer is heavier than its competitor but lighter than most traditional models on the market. After giving it a whirl, we must admit that we did notice the weight and expected it to feel a little less bulky. In saying this, it's easy to maneuver thanks to the small, compact design. Plus we loved the stylish colorway – black and rose gold – which looks fabulous, without being OTT.
Dyson Supersonic design
Before the Supersonic, hair dryers had been built with large heads carrying bulky motors. Dyson changed this. Their team of engineers created a small, powerful motor that they positioned in the handle resulting in a less top-heavy device that’s far lighter, weighing just 697g, and easier to control.
Aesthetically, the Supersonic has a futuristic, sleek design that’s just one of the reasons Dyson hair dryer deals are as rare as hen's teeth. The signature slate gray barrel, featuring fuchsia pink details and gunmetal buttons, is a beauty to behold and will elevate any dressing table. On the barrel, you’ll find three heat settings (60c, 80c, and 100c) and three airflow settings, while on the handle, there’s a power switch and cold shot setting that's activated with a tap – ideal for anyone who wants to nail how to get shiny hair.
After testing, we can confirm that the Supersonic has the edge in the Shark vs Dyson hair dryer design stakes, and has a tactile casing that feels as good as it looks. Easy to maneuver and super lightweight – the quiet yet powerful styler dries hair quickly without weighing your arm down.
Shark STYLE iQ user experience
The Shark hair dryer comes with two attachments, the concentrator, and the diffuser – both of which can be played with to suit your hair type. For the concentrator, you can either pick pre-style mode, which opens the nozzle for an all-over rough-dry, or precision styling mode, which narrows the nozzle for a sleek result. Both are super useful for when you want to customize your look.
Then there’s the diffuser which features adjustable prongs which can be retracted for short hairstyles or extended for medium hairstyles or longer. Handily, the temperature automatically adjusts when you change the styling attachment. So, for instance, if you have curly hair and go for the diffuser the heat is gentler without you having to readjust, making this one of the best diffusers for curly hair we've tried in ages. Both attachments connect magnetically and are easy to maneuver (thanks to the small barrel). However, we did find that the diffuser is trickier to connect and doesn't stay in place as well as the concentrator does. To create perfect curls, follow hair stylist to the stars, Aaron Carlo's (opens in new tab) tips, "For extra volume, flip your head upside down and diffuse the hair, massaging the scalp with the prongs so the heat is well distributed."
Dyson Supersonic user experience
Ergonomic and compact, the Dyson Supersonic is a joy to use. You’ll be surprised every time you pick it up just how light it is. Unlike traditional hair dryers, you’ll never have to worry about aching wrists or arms – which is great news for anyone with longer, thicker hair that can take a little longer to dry.
As well as being comfortable to hold, we love that the Supersonic comes with six magnetic styling attachments to create various finishes. There’s a concentrator, smoothing nozzle, diffuser, wide-tooth comb, a flyaway attachment, and gentle air attachment for scalp care. The diffuser is a particular selling point, as it can be used on curly or straight hair. ''For finer or straighter hair types where a natural curl pattern isn’t present, I recommend bending one-to-two-inch sections back and forth into an accordion pattern and placing into the diffuser,” explains Dyson Styling Ambassador Jen Atkin. All connect magnetically and are easy to remove – often a little too easy when they knock off by accident – but we'll take it for less faff.
Shark vs Dyson hair dryer: Performance
Shark STYLE iQ technical performance
Small in size but mighty in power, the Shark Style iQ gets to work quickly, drying hair in a matter of minutes. We found that rough drying our hair first with a towel before selecting our preferred style attachment (more on those later). As well as speed, the Shark scores well for noise – although we could hear it more than we could the Dyson, it’s impressively quiet, especially when you compare it to traditional hair dryers.
In terms of results, our hair was left looking visibly sleeker with a more polished finish (as compared to air drying). This is thanks to the Shark being an ionic dryer, whereby it gives off negative ions to counteract water’s positive ions. As a result, heat is evenly distributed, closing the hairs’ cuticle and removing moisture for a smoother look. This would make it an excellent choice for anyone with frizzy hair or a curly hairstyle who likes to blow dry it smooth.
Dyson Supersonic technical performance
Super in name, super in nature – the Dyson Supersonic is powered by a motor that’s six times faster than that of the average hair dryer. This high speed produces a stream of controlled air that dries strands in second, without having to rely on extreme heat that ultimately damages hair. Anyone with a long hairstyle who usually spends ages drying will appreciate this.
When using the techy tool, we noticed how it didn't feel that powerful compared with other high-tech dryers like the ghd Helios. Rather, we got a steady stream of air at a targeted angle that smooths the cuticle without much noise (or heat). As well as cutting down drying time, our hair always looks and feels healthy after using this.
Shark STYLE iQ results
In terms of results on the hair, we didn't see too much of a difference in the Shark vs Dyson hair dryer. With a modern, functional design and powerful motor, the Shark Style iQ is a great hair investment. It dries hair quickly and efficiently, smoothing and sealing the hair cuticles with negatively charged ions. After use, hair looks shinier and feels softer. The best part? The intelligent, innovative stylers really create a bespoke hair drying experience, all while cutting down on heat damage.
Dyson Supersonic results
The Dyson Supersonic looks the part and acts the part. Its jet-like motor efficiently dries hair cutting drying time in half while smoothing strands with its use of negative ions. It can also create a variety of looks – from bouncy blow-dry when using the gentle flow attachment to sleek and straight (when using the super concentrator). Compared to its competitors, the sleek device is the quietest and lightest we’ve tried – impressive, considering its mighty power.
w&h verdict – Shark vs dyson hair dryer
Compared to most traditional hair dryers, both the Dyson Supersonic and the Shark Style iQ are a cut above the rest. They deliver salon-worthy blow-dries using clever ionized technology to eliminate frizz and bolster shine – all while cutting down on drying time with powerful motors.
If we had to choose between the two (which of course, is the reason we’re here), the Dyson Supersonic just takes the lead. Why? Well, first of all, we’re completely obsessed with the sleek design that looks the part and makes a statement on our dressing table. It offers significantly more attachments and caters to a wider variety of hair types with five stylers as opposed to Shark’s two.
The downside? The Dyson is significantly more expensive and the attachments are not as smart. If you can spare the extra money, we’d recommend opting for the Dyson. If, however, you’re looking for a more affordable option – and one that takes the guesswork out of using diffusers and styling nozzles, the Shark dryer will not disappoint. Its easy handling and sleek design make it a very good choice.
Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.
- Fiona McKim Beauty Editor, womanandhome.com
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