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When it comes to maintaining and cleaning your home, vacuuming is one of the most necessary jobs to clean out surface-level dirt and debris. However, finding the right vacuum for your home can be challenging and sometimes a hefty financial investment. Two vacuum brands that often get considered are Shark and Dyson. Leaving many to wonder which is better when comparing Shark vs. Dyson?
I don’t know what it is like in your home, but I vacuum ALL THE TIME! Something about the combination of 2 little kids and living near the woods causes the need for constant vacuuming.
When you have a house that is almost 5,000 square feet, cleaning the floors makes you feel the size of the house the most. Honestly, I think there has only been one day since we moved into our house (almost two years ago) when I vacuumed the entire house, dry mopped the hardwood floors, and wet mopped all the tiles. I remember how proud of myself I was too, kinda pathetic.
I am sure I could do it again if that is my only cleaning goal for the day. But since the days are currently filled with the constant need to do laundry and dishes and feed those previously mentioned little ones who eat pretty much constantly, the record stands with only that one day that all the floors have been cleaned at the same time.
Please understand, I clean all my floors at least once a week it is just not usually on the same day. So my cleaning routine tends to be done based on floor by floor, instead of having a whole vacuuming day.
All this to say, I am pretty dang impressed with how well my vacuum is holding up to the challenge and wanted to share with anyone who might be looking at purchasing a new vacuum.
Shark vs. Dyson: Which Should You Buy?
Around 12 years ago, when registering for our wedding, we went to a lovely home goods establishment. The employees were very “helpful” in this process, in a kind of scary way. After we were initially escorted around the store for a tour, we were given the scan gun to register for the home items we were interested in for our home. As we did this, random employees who were stocking shelves would watch us, and if our choice did not meet their standards, they would tell us that we were making a bad choice and what we really should be registering for that was a few times the price of whatever we were looking at.
The women who initially gave us the store tour walked us around each section and gave us a sales pitch on the most expensive items and why we had to have them. We went over everything from china to knives to trash cans.
When we got to the vacuum section we were steered to the typical upright Dyson vacuum, that was up on a podium of boxes. I believe it retailed in the $500 price range at that point. We were sold pretty hard on it and how this was our “opportunity” to be able to get one. And she shared how they have seen five or more family members go in together to get the vacuum for the couple who registered for it.
For two, somewhat young, individuals who needed typical home items like plates and linens the idea of having so many people go in on only one gift did not seem practical. Especially if that would mean we would have a really nice vacuum but nothing to eat on or use when getting out of the shower to dry off. We wanted to have as little as possible to purchase off the registry after the wedding, you know, because weddings and honeymoons are not cheap.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure any of the Dyson products are truly amazing at what they do. And if you have one, maybe it has changed your life, and you cannot live without it now. But I am just not able to justify spending so much on a vacuum (well, I guess I could if it did the vacuuming, so I don’t have to. It looks like I might need to look into the irobot Roomba, haha).
My experience using the upright Dyson (from friends and relatives who interestingly got it as wedding gifts) is that they are big, so somewhat awkward to find a place to store them. And they are heavy, not something I would want to carry up and downstairs. As you would expect, the cleaning power is more than sufficient; however, there is no ability to control the suction strength to reduce on plusher carpets. So you get in a good arm workout every time you vacuum in this scenario. Perhaps this has been updated in newer models.
I know that there are several lighter-weight vacuum options made by Dyson now that are also cordless, so that is a great feature. But I am not sure how they would compare to the upright version on a typical carpet, and ultimately not something I need right now.
Related: How to Unclog a Vacuum Hose
We did not register for any vacuums as we had a basic one already. But when that stopped working (maybe because I did not change the bag frequently enough?), I started to research Shark vs. Dyson vacuums to find the best option for us. Ultimately, the price was the determining factor and we got a Shark Navigator Lift-Away vacuum. I would not have considered this a cheap vacuum in the $150-200 price range, but since it seemed to have many of the features of the Dyson that I was interested in, it was the perfect option for us. I lovingly refer to it as “the poor man’s Dyson.”
We had that vacuum for a few years, and the hose broke in an area where it often bent, so it just wore out from use. When I called Shark to see if I could order a replacement hose, since everything else with the unit was working great, I was told that version was discontinued partially because of that issue with the hose that could not be easily replaced.
Although I had not registered the unit, I was still barely in the warrantied timeframe, so it would have been difficult to prove. Shark was still willing to fix the hose for free. But I would have had to pay to send the unit in, so they offered the Shark Navigator Lift-Away version for a deeply discounted price that was cheaper than what my shipping costs would have been.
In total, I spent around $200 for the 2 Shark vacuums, and between the two of them have been using a Shark for the last eight years (it was roughly three years with the original Navigator and five years so far with the Lift-Away version). With my current cleaning needs in this home, I am still blown away with how great of a job my Shark Navigator Lift-Away does and how it meets my needs in various situations.
If I needed to buy a new vacuum, I would get another Shark at this point. But the way it has been going, it does not seem like that will be anytime soon.
For anyone trying to determine the outcome of Shark vs. Dyson for their next vacuum, I thought it would be helpful to know my experience with the Shark Navigator Lift-Away, especially if you are struggling with spending the money on a Dyson but want that type of vacuum.
***A few things to note, while I do vacuum frequently, we do not have any pets, so no pet hair to vacuum up/clog the vacuum. But, between my daughter and my hair, there is quite a bit that gets vacuumed up and wrapped around the canister that needs to be emptied. I have never had the vacuums serviced or replaced anything on the unit, but I do clean the filters periodically, probably not as frequently as I should.***
Related: Best Vacuums for Pet Hair
Things I Love About the Shark Navigator Lift-Away
- Powerful suction
- I have seen a number of Shark reviews by previous Dyson owners that state that the suction power is comparable to the Dyson and in some reviews they state it is better. I oftentimes will vacuum up leaves in the Fall that get tracked into the house and even in the garage (instead of sweeping up or using a dry vac). The amount of dirt that gets swept up in the canister that you empty is sometimes unbelievable…some people complain about having to empty the canister frequently, but that is because the Shark is actually vacuuming up all that dust, dirt, and debris that is on your floors.
- Easy to use
- Swivel base makes it easy to maneuver
- This is comparable to the Dyson ball maneuvering capability.
- It is lightweight and not bulky
- Not too noisy
- The Dyson is loud, some compare it to a roar. I have a friend who could not do vacuuming with her Dyson while her kids were napping because it would wake them up. My Shark actually would put my newborn daughter to sleep, basically, it became an expensive sound machine. Vacuuming was the best cleaning activity to do when wearing my daughter, I was able to get a chore done and put the baby to sleep.
- Multiple Floor Setting
- Able to set the vacuum to suck up without running the beater bar. Great to use on tile and hardwood floors so no marking occurs and debris is not hit across the room by the beater bar.
- Adjustable Suction Strength
- There is a ring on the vacuum that can be turned to adjust the suction strength of the vacuum. This is great when vacuuming plush or thick carpets. We had a thicker carpet put in our basement in our previous home, I almost could not push the vacuum on the full strength suction and had to turn it down. I have heard complaints that Dyson does not have this option.
- One less thing that I have to remember to change or buy to replace. Easy to empty the canister whenever needed. Opens at the bottom to drop out the dirt and debris and also opens at the top to be able to dump out and clear out by the cyclone.
- Filters can easily be cleaned
- Can clean the filters periodically and as needed. Just rinse and wring out under running water. I usually wait around 24 hours to allow them to dry out. Again, nothing needed to buy and replace. Maybe it would be worth having an extra filter on hand so you do not have to wait for it to dry, but I haven’t found it necessary by any means.
- Multiple areas can be detached in the vacuum
- Multiple places that the vacuum can be taken apart, so if a larger item is sucked in and gets stuck you are able to easily get into the vacuum to address it. I have never needed to do this, but it is good to know that I can if needed.
- Long cord length
- About 25-30 feet depending on what version you get, I have some larger spaces to clean so it is nice that I am not constantly unplugging and plugging it back in.
- Lift-Away functionality
- I love the ability to lift the main vacuum body away from the stand to carry with me as I am using it on the stairs or need to get into awkward spaces to clean. All pieces and parts on the vacuum easily snap off when needed with little release buttons and snap right back together when needed. I have never had anything come apart on the unit when I wasn’t trying to release it.
- Auto shut off
- If a rug, sock, toy, etc get pulled into the vacuum that starts to jam the beater bar the vacuum will automatically shut off to prevent issues to the unit until the blockage can be removed. Has been helpful in a number of situations.
Related: The Best Vacuums for Concrete Floors
How I Use my Shark Navigator Lift-Away
I use my Shark Navigator vacuum on different carpet types, hardwoods, and tiles. My basement and upstairs get vacuumed at least 1x per week, well, most weeks (at least the upstairs).
My entryway/foyer areas at the front and garage doors are vacuumed at least daily, sometimes 2-3x per day depending on the foot traffic and time of the year due to what is being tracked into the house. The main floor is vacuumed at least 1x per week, although areas like the family room are vacuumed multiple times, almost daily. And my kitchen is vacuumed on average 2x per day.
I pull out the wand on the vacuum and use it on the hardwood steps to suck up any loose items, crumbs, paper bits, etc. I also use the wand vacuum attachment on my carpeted stairs, couches, and outdoor furniture to clean dirt and pollen, especially in the spring when it leaves a thick yellow coating (a job I just completed and helped inspire this post).
Cons on my Shark Navigator Lift-Away
Honestly, this section is challenging to write because I struggle to come up with some cons as I am pleased with this product.
It Can Scuff
I tend to vacuum right up on baseboards, furniture, and cabinets to try and get any crumbs that might have accumulated in those tight crevices. And there have been some scuff marks left by the vacuum at times.
Needing to Help Remove Hair From Canister
Ok, I know it seems like I am grasping at straws here. And I would imagine this would be an issue with many bagless vacuums. There are times that I have to pull out the debris that has been swept up into the vacuum canister, mostly because of hair that gets wrapped around the cyclone part of the canister.
Related: 15 Carpet Cleaning Hacks
Final Thoughts on Shark vs. Dyson
Both Dyson and Shark are excellent brands of vacuums that can effectively clean your home so when trying to decide which brand wins the Shark vs. Dyson face-off it can be challenging. Additionally, both offer comparable warranty periods on their products, roughly five years on most products. From the reviews, it seems that Dyson’s customer service might be better; however, I did not have any issues when using Shark’s customer service.
Suppose you are looking for an affordable, great vacuum that does a fantastic job cleaning your home and is easy to use in various situations. I strongly recommend the Shark Navigator Lift-Away! I have been delighted with its performance and ability time and time again.
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