Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler vs. Shark FlexStyle: Which Is Better?

We tested these two popular styling tools and chose a winner

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Byrdie / Kaitlin Clark

When it comes to the latest hair tools, Dyson has reigned supreme, starting with the brand’s revolutionary Supersonic, followed by its original Airwrap curling wand. But now, thanks to some incredible innovations in the hair styling tools category, Dyson has some company—and competition. Enter the Shark FlexStyle, a multi-use air styling and drying system that transforms from a typical hair dryer to styling wand and comes with a collection of versatile attachments.

Though both the Dyson and Shark excellently style hair into a range of styles and looks, there are major differences between the two (and the price tag is only one of them). Below, we break down the key differences between the Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler and the Shark FlexStyle so you can make the purchasing decision that best suits your hair type and texture as well as your budget.

The Bottom Line

Dyson’s Airwrap Multi-Styler is a seriously impressive, versatile hairstyling tool that can deliver nearly every type of hair look you could want—with a hefty price tag to match. Yet, Shark’s FlexStyle tipped the scales by creating equally gorgeous hair moments with even more attachment options than the Dyson (not to mention it’s also a stand-alone hair dryer), for a fraction of the price.

Keep reading for our in-depth comparison of the Dyson Airwrap versus the Shark FlexSyle air styling system to see who comes out on top.

Dyson Airwrap Styler

4.8
Dyson Airwrap Multistyler

Sephora

Who It’s For: It’s not hyperbolic to say that no hair tool has received more hype than the Airwrap, but there are a few specific types of people who would especially benefit from using one on the regular. For instance, if you’re a fan of blowouts or the blowout style, then I can’t think of a better tool for you. It will deliver glossy, voluminous, and silky smooth hair every time (even if you have no idea what you’re doing). Or if your hair is generally hard to manage because of frizz or inconsistent curl patterns, the Airwrap will become your new best friend, taming flyaways and warping scraggly ends into a straight line. And for those who care about the health and quality of their hair–which should be all of us–then put down those traditional hot tools in favor of this one, which just uses lukewarm wind.

Price at time of publish: $599

Max Temp: 302 degrees | Features: 6 styling attachments, 3 speed and 4 heat settings | Warranty: 2 years

Dyson

Byrdie / Kaitlin Clark

Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System

4.9
Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System

Shark

Who It’s For: Similar to the Airwrap, the newly launched FlexStyle is designed for people who style their hair regularly, whether that’s creating curls, amping up the volume, or even just injecting a bit of movement. One key difference with the Shark is that you can personalize your tool, choosing between three dryer heads (although all can be purchased separately if you want the full suite of attachments), meaning you can select the attachments specific to your hair type or go-to look, which is a major bonus since everyone has different hair types and needs.

Price at time of publish: $270

Max Temp: 95 degrees | Features: Standard hairdryer with 6 styling attachments and 4 heat and 3-speed settings | Warranty: 2 years

Shark

Byrdie / Kaitlin Clark

How We Tested

The Dyson Airwrap and the newly launched Shark FlexStyle are the two buzziest and most popular high tech air styling tools. To determine which tool would be the champion, we assessed each one on the basis of ease of use, glide performance, styling performance, drying performance, and durability, before deciding on a rating from one to five.

What We Considered

Attachments

Winner: Shark FlexStyle

This is where the two stylers are nearly neck-and-neck, but there are two aspects that give Shark the final edge. The first is the FlexStyle’s ability to switch from being a standard blowdryer to becoming a versatile styling wand, making it a truly do-it-all, one-and-done hair tool. The second win is the FlexStyle’s customization–you get to choose between three dryer heads, with options including a flat brush, round brush, diffuser, style concentrator and two curling rods (one for the left side of the head and one for the right). So for example, if you have curly or coily hair, you can opt for the attachments that work best for your specific texture, like the diffuser or the brushes, while someone with straight hair may choose the curling rods.

When you purchase the Dyson, you get the full suite of updated attachments–two curling barrels (a slim option for a tighter curl and a thicker barrel for a loose, beachy wave), a firm and soft brush for a straightening and smoothing effect, as well as a round brush for movement and a smoothing dryer that works as a concentrator. It doesn’t come with a diffuser, so although it’s marketed for all hair types, those with curly or coily hair may find it lacking.

One nice thing about the two Dyson curling barrels is that they spin air in both directions via tighter pressure and more controlled airflow, which offers bouncier and longer-lasting curls, whereas the Shark has a barrel for the right side of your head and another for the left, so you’ll need to alternate between the two attachments.

Settings

Winner: It’s a tie.

Both tools have four heat settings, including a cool shot, and three airflow speed settings. There’s not a world of difference when it comes to the horsepower between the two. 

Performance

Winner: Shark FlexStyle

One of my biggest hair woes is its overall puffiness and semi-wave that, when put together, looks like a frizzy, poofy Lego head. When I’m in the mood to lean into my natural wave and want to encourage a bouncier curl pattern, I reach for the Shark’s diffuser attachment to dry my hair before going in with a curling wand to tighten up any wayward pieces. But since there’s no diffuser with the Dyson, I need to use the smoothing dryer attachment until my hair is about 75% dry, then go in with a curling barrel. The FlexStyle is also easier to use than the Dyson–there’s a reason there are so many online tutorials on how to exactly use Dyson’s attachments and I had to watch several of them before I got it right–but the FlexStyle attachments are intuitive and pretty much foolproof.

Overall, both tools perform beautifully–they gave me shiny, bouncy, commercial-worthy hair every single time for every single look I styled. The Shark pulled through, however, simply because it offers a wider range of hairstyles and caters to more hair types and textures, courtesy of its included diffuser.

Value

Winner: Shark FlexStyle

If you’re on the hunt for a hair tool that will completely revitalize your at-home blowouts, you really can’t go wrong with either hair styler. The Dyson has all the bells and whistles of a luxury splurge tool, while the Shark harnesses similar technology, offers a more diverse set of attachments and provides the same glossy, runway-style hair. 

If you’re someone who loves the best of the best, then Dyson is for you. But if you love a deal, especially when you don’t have to sacrifice quality or results, then the Shark FlexStyle works just as well.

What You Can Expect to Pay

I like to think of expensive, splurgey items in terms of cost per use. If you consider that the average blowout including tip is around $75 (depending on where you live), then you would need to use your Airwrap eight times to make it pay for itself, while you’d only need to use the Shark 3.5 times to break even. Plus, each has a two-year warranty for a little insurance bonus, just in case anything goes haywire. 

What Is Byrdie Verified?

Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers really want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.

Why Trust Byrdie

Kaitlin Clark is a senior beauty commerce editor at Byrdie whose ultimate goal in life is to rock 90s supermodel hair every day. This mission has led her on a journey of testing and comparing dozens of volumizing hot tools, brushes and curling wands over the years.

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