Dyson Airwrap Vs. Shark FlexStyle: What Really Sets These Stylers Apart?

If you have any interest at all in hair stylers (or have ever been on TikTok for that matter), you've likely heard that vacuum brands are taking over the beauty world. Since its launch in 2018, the Airwrap has been one of the most popular Dyson hair products, wowing people across the globe with its Coanda effect technology. Not familiar with the term? Well, unlike a traditional dryer, which blows hot air at high temperatures, the Airwrap works by using a vortex of fast spinning air that pulls the hair around the barrel. This allows it to dry hair using much lower temperatures while creating curls and waves with ease.

For years, the Dyson AirWrap was the only major hair device offering this technology ... until the Shark FlexStyle came along in 2022, which promised similar results for half the price of Dyson's. The Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete comes with six attachments and will set you back $599 at Sephora, while the Shark FlexStyle Hair Blow Dryer & Multi-Styler (which also comes with five attachments) is available from Sephora for $299.

It goes without saying that as these two were created by different companies, there will be a few unique pros and cons to the products. But, given that both products boast countless five-star reviews, it begs the question of which one delivers more value. To help answer that question, we sourced numerous reviews across The New York Times, Mashable, CNN, and social media to find out the main differences between these two popular stylers.

Dyson and Shark both offer products for all hair types -- in different ways

The main draw for both the Airwrap and Flexstyler are the unique Coanda technological abilities. However, despite this similarity, both tools provide users with totally different approaches to hair care. When the Dyson Airwrap first hit the market, it offered a one-size-fits-all approach to styling, with its interchangeable collection of attachments, including a smoothing dryer, two different sized-curling barrels, two smoothing brushes, and a volumizing brush. The idea was that you wouldn't need to buy multiple tools to achieve a complete style.

The Flexstyle, meanwhile, is available in two different versions depending on your hair type: the Shark FlexStyle Hair Blow Dryer & Multi-Styler for Straight & Wavy Hair or the Shark FlexStyle Hair Blow Dryer & Multi-Styler for Curly & Coily Hair. The main difference between the two is that the latter comes with a diffuser attachment for curly and textured hair rather than a paddle brush. Because of this, each version of the Flexstyle comes with fewer attachments than Dyson's AirWrap. Each tool comes with a styling concentrator, two 1.25-inch auto-wrap curlers (one for each direction), an oval brush, and a paddle brush or diffuser.

The Airwrap is considered an all-in-one styler, while the Flexstyle is considered a dryer

We know that when you're drying or styling your hair, time can be a big factor in what finished product you're aiming for. And that's why the speed of a product can make a big difference. Thankfully, Condé Nast Traveler found both the Flexstyle and Airwrap are capable of drying most hair within five to 10 minutes, which means both are stronger than the average blow dryer.

But, where the products really stand out from their competitors (and each other) is the fact that they both take into account heat damage. Per Dyson, the Airwrap contains a heat control system that measures how hot the product is getting 40 times every single second. It never allows the tool to go above 302 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, a representative for Shark explained to Mashable that the FlexStyle's technology measures its temperature up to 1,000 times every second, reaching a max temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit. The FlexStyle also contains four different heat settings, while the Airwrap contains just three.

It's also worth noting that Shark's Flexstyle is built with the dryer as part of the tool itself, not an attachment. This may be why it's advertised on beauty supplies as both a styler and a drying system. The Airwrap, meanwhile, is technically categorized as a styler, despite its smoothing dryer attachment. In fact, Dyson recommends using the Airwrap on damp, not wet hair. If you want all the benefits of a Dyson blow-dryer, you'll want to by the Dyson Supersonic, priced at $429.99.

The Dyson Airwrap is better for styling loose waves and curls

If you're someone who likes to vary up your blowout with curls, you might find the Dyson Airwrap is better suited for your needs. The standard Airwrap comes with both a 1.2-inch and 1.6-inch long barrel, allowing the user to achieve both loose waves and curls. The FlexStyle, by comparison, only comes with a 1.25-inch auto-wrap curler. The Airwrap's barrels can be twisted to change the direction of the curl (so you can have them towards or away from your face). As for the FlexStyle, you'll need to swap the barrels to change your curl direction, which may be more time-consuming. When comparing the curling barrels, The Mom Edit found that Dyson's curling wands appeared to offer more suction, providing a more satisfying curl. 

But, if curls are what you're looking for, both brands offer a range of additional attachments, sold separately. Dyson offers a wide tooth comb ($39.99), a range of different barrel sizes and lengths (for $39.99 each) and smaller versions of its round and smoothing brushes (also $39.99 each). FlexStyle's attachments are slightly cheaper than Dyson, with Shark offering the likes of a round brush ($29.99), a wide tooth comb ($29.95), and 0.95-inch auto-wrap curler ($29.95) for different curl options. 

The Shark FlexStyle can bend to get into those awkward spots, but it may not be the most user friendly

One big difference between the Shark FlexStyle and the Dyson Airwrap is the fact that the FlexStyle bends to help you get to those awkward parts of your hair without having to contort your arm into all sorts of positions. The product is actually designed to bend at a 90-degree angle, essentially making it shaped more like a classic hairdryer. The Airwrap, meanwhile, doesn't have the ability to bend, making it more like a traditional curling wand.

But that bend doesn't necessarily mean the Shark product is easier to use for everyone. According to The New York Times, during use, the FlexStyle's buttons are difficult to reach, which can make switching settings cumbersome. Amelia Yeomans also claimed in her Women & Home review that she still found the Airwrap generally easier to use. "The Dyson is easier to use in terms of curling and it is definitely more gentle on my hair," she stated.

What else is different between the Airwrap and the FlexStyle?

When you're investing a good amount of money into a tool that's going to live in your bathroom or on your vanity 24/7, you want it to at least look cute. If that's a factor for you, you'll be delighted to know both products come in a variety of shades. The FlexStyle is available direct from Shark in stone, black, malibu pink, lilac frost, copper, and green, while Dyson offers the Airwrap in blue/blush, ceramic pop, or nickel/copper. Another factor to consider is storage. While the Dyson AirWrap comes with its own case to hold the product and all of its attachments, the Shark Flexstyle does not. Those are sold separately on Shark for $49.99 USD.

When it comes to the attachments, People found that the Airwrap's accessories felt slightly softer than the FlexStyle's. But that may not be a plus for everyone. In a review for Women & Home, the brand's head of e-commerce, Millie Fender, explained FlexStyle's somewhat firmer brushes helped with her styling. "I can really feel the Shark bristles clinging to my hair as I brush, which results in a much smoother finish," she shared.