It’s that time of year again- holiday deals as far as the eye can see. I try my best not to buy things I don’t need. I do well most of the year but I’m human and sometimes get tempted by Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. This usually happens when something I want and have been denying myself goes on sale at the end of the year.
This time around it was a cordless stick vacuum. And the place where I feel the most tempted is the Costco home appliance aisle. I’ve walked by every other week of the year and managed to talk myself out of buying one, but when I got that glossy flyer announcing that the Dyson was $100 off I had to think about it for a minute.
I actually had my eye on two cordless vacuums: the Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean which is always priced at $299, and the Dyson v8 Animal+ which is normally $399 but was on sale for $299. (These are Costco prices.) Weirdly, I went from not buying a vacuum all year to buying both of these. I figured I would test them out, return one, and pass along what I learned.
Here I share my experiences with both vacuums. I don’t get into the boring technical specs. This is just my impression of both vacuums as I used them in my home.
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I’ve dreamed of owning a Dyson for years. They’re so beautiful and so well marketed that the only thing that kept me from buying one was the price. Once it went on sale I just had to try it.
- Lightweight– At 6 lbs, the Dyson is pretty lightweight which is great for carrying around the house or up the stairs if you’re in a multi-level home.
- Design– Dysons are known for their beautiful design. From the purple color of the vacuum body to the cool, space-age look of the canister, when it comes to aesthetics these folks really know what they’re doing. It’s pretty enough to display anywhere in your home.
- Great for Pet Hair– It’s great at picking up pet hair which is what this model is made for. I have two guinea pigs that are prolific shedders. My floors were fur-free within minutes.
- Easy to Use– It was super easy to swap out the tools that come with this model. It came with a ton of attachments and I wasn’t quite sure what some of them were for. In any case, if I wanted to try something I could just press the big red button and the tool popped out making way for a new one which easily clicked into place.
- Wall Mounting Bracket– If all the above weren’t enough, it even comes with a wall bracket for storage. And since it’s really compact you can pretty much fit it into any corner. Or you can leave it out in the open because, you know….it’s pretty!
- Overpriced- For the price it’s not all that substantial. I liked that it was lightweight but felt like I had to be careful with it because I might break it. The wheels for the floor attachment are small and look to be made of thin plastic. Most of the time I was using my arm strength to glide it above the floor for fear of breaking those itty-bitty wheels. It’s really fun to use with the other attachments but at $299, it’s overpriced as just a handheld vacuum.
- Battery Life- The battery life isn’t great. Maybe it was just my unit but I couldn’t get more than 25 minutes out of it. This was disappointing because the box promises 40 minutes on one charge. I could only get through two rooms before it died. And charging it takes a while (at least four hours) which could really kill your cleaning motivation. Also, it does not include an extra battery. But even if it did, swapping out the battery requires removing several screws which would make it impractical.
- Not Great for Hard to Reach Places- Although the vacuum head was small enough to fit under my couches, the canister at the top made it difficult to angle it well enough to reach all the way under. If I angled it on the pivot ball it sort of worked but then it was really awkward to move around.
- Noisy- It can be noisy if a solid piece gets in. There was a peanut on my floor which got sucked up and it banged against the canister the whole time. Not a huge deal but kind of annoying.
- Power Button- You have to hold the power button down the whole time you’re vacuuming. If you’re using it for a while this gets annoying.
I really wanted to like the Dyson but it just wasn’t meant to be. If you’re only picking up dirt and pet hair in a small apartment, the Dyson might work for you. It’s great for small jobs but can’t really handle anything more than that.
I’ve heard good things about the Shark brand from a few different sources. It seems to have some serious word-of-mouth cred. On those strolls down the Costco aisle it was usually the vacuum I gravitated toward. My hope was that it would go down in price for the holidays but unfortunately that never happened. But since it was my first choice, it was the first one I purchased.
- Great Suction– This Shark vacuum is a power house considering it’s only running on a battery. My impression of cordless vacuums in general was that they just weren’t powerful enough to do any real cleaning. The Shark dispelled that myth for me right away. It’s got a lot of suction power. It’s not as powerful as my heavy duty corded vacuum but it’s pretty darn close.
- The battery life is great! This model advertises 40 minutes per battery and it lives up to that promise. I have used it on an entire level of my house without draining the battery.
- Extra battery– And even if the battery is drained it’s super easy to swap it out for a charged one. This is huge because if both batteries are fully charged ahead of time you’ll get 80 minutes of cleaning time. I don’t know about you but I don’t usually vacuum for more than 60 minutes at a time making the amount of time I get on this vacuum more than sufficient.
- Smart, sturdy construction- This vacuum is a serious piece of cleaning equipment. It is well constructed and nothing about it seems flimsy or fragile. Unlike my experience with the Dyson, at no point while I was using it did I feel like I needed to be careful or delicate. You can also tell that they took time with the details. The buttons are all well placed and it even has light-up icons at the top that indicate power level and pile height.
- It had me at IONFlex– Once I figured out that the vacuum has a hinge that allows you to get under furniture without having to bend, I was in love! I would have kept the vacuum for just this one feature. By the way, this is also how you store it making it more compact and stable when not in use.
- It’s heavy. At 8.7 lbs it definitely feels heavier than the Dyson. There is a bit more effort required to carry it and to use it in general. After about twenty minutes I can feel it in my arms. I end up having to switch arms from time to time when I start getting tired. On the bright side, I’m getting a fabulous arm workout!
- Not intuitive. Unlike the Dyson, it took a bit of fiddling to figure out how to use the different features. I was tempted to read the manual when I couldn’t figure out how to empty the canister. In the end I didn’t need to but I thought about it and in my mind that means there’s a learning curve.
I wanted to be balanced in reviewing these two vacuum cleaners but I fell in love with the Shark and don’t have as many negatives to report. It was exactly what I was looking for in a cordless vacuum. My only regret is waiting as long as I did to finally buy it.
So there you have it. Both cordless vacuums have their pros and cons and deciding on one over the other really depends on your own home cleaning situation. For small spaces that are cleaned fairly often the Dyson would work just fine. In a larger spaces that need more heavy duty cleaning power the Shark is the best option.