Shark FlexStyle vs. Dyson Airwrap: Which Styling System Is Better?

Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.

We put these internet-loved tools to the test, and our winner might surprise you

<p>People / Jessica Juliao</p>

People / Jessica Juliao

When Dyson unveiled its self-wrapping curling barrel in 2018, accompanied by a slew of detachable styling heads that made up a tool famously known as the “Airwrap,” the heat tool category as we know it was forever changed. Soon enough, videos of celebrities and everyday people using the air-powered curler for red carpet-worthy blowouts began flooding the internet and prompting consumers to purchase the seemingly magical tool in droves. The only problem? That $600 total at checkout.

But in 2022, a newer, less-expensive, and nearly identical, model became available to potentially rival the leader of the category: enter the Shark FlexStyle, which retails at about $300 less than the Airwrap.

Both models are the same in many aspects: They have two Coanda (self-wrapping) curling wands, an array of brush heads, and a styling base that every attachment can be locked into. Both give their users gorgeously styled locks in a timely fashion while claiming to be non-damaging — so is the Dyson worth the investment, or can you get the same look with the Shark?

What Is Coanda Technology?

Technically speaking, the Coanda effect is when a flow along a solid surface tends to follow the curvature of the surface. In the case of these styling systems, a spinning vortex of air wraps around the barrel, attracting hair and thereby curling along the same airflow.

To find the answer, I tested the Airwrap against the FlexStyle for a week, dedicating half of my hair to one tool and the other to the remaining. I curled, straightened, and blew out my hair with the attachments equivalent to one another, seeing how each performed in real-time and which gave me better results. (And, in a surprise twist, I discovered that a third $30 tool could give me a similar look to the pricey Dyson.)

Keep reading to discover all of the key differences between these two styling systems.

What Is a Styling System?

The Airwrap and FlexStyle are not hair dryers or curlers alone, but a new category of tools entirely. They have a singular, corded base that any of the included attachments can be twisted onto to achieve different styles, with customizable heat and speed settings (plus a cool shot). The respective styling systems from Dyson and Shark each have brush attachments, Coanda curling barrels, and unique extras like smoothing tools and diffusers. Their higher price tags still serve as somewhat of a deal — getting several hair tools for the price of one. 

Dyson Airwrap Styler

Buy at

Buy at

Price at time of publish: $599.99

Attachments: Coanda smoothing dryer, 1.2 in. and 1.6 in. Coanda curling barrels, firm smoothing brush, soft smoothing brush, round volumizing brush, filter cleaning brush, storage case | Heat settings: 3 | Speed settings: 3 | Cord length: 8.5 ft. | Weight: 1.5 lbs. 

Shark FlexStyle Air Styling and Drying System

Buy at

Buy at

Price at time of publish: $299.99

Attachments: Hair dryer, 2-1.25 in. Coanda curling barrels, oval brush, paddle brush, concentrator, diffuser | Heat settings: 4 | Speed settings: 3 | Cord length: 8 ft. | Weight: 1.54 lbs.

What Are the Key Differences Between the Dyson Airwrap and the Shark FlexStyle?

While many things about the Dyson and the Shark are similar, there are a few outstanding features that differentiate the two. Arguably the biggest difference is the price, with a $300 margin between the two. Aside from this, there are two obvious contrasts between these two systems: the Dyson comes with a convenient case that stores its several attachments (whereas the Shark does not), and the Shark’s multi-styler body (where the attachments twist into) can be used as a traditional hair dryer — a feature the Dyson lacks.

They certainly look similar due to their multitude of curling barrels and brush attachments, but there are many different features that you can get with each one if you look a little closer. The Shark can do more in terms of drying and styling hair of all types, with two separate versions available for straight and curly hair, and a base that can be used as a hair dryer that attaches to curling barrels, brush heads, concentrators, and diffusers. However, the Dyson has more refined attachments for salon-like results, such as a smoothing tool, a volumizing brush, and a filter-cleaning tool to keep your device in tip-top shape. With so many great advantages to both, how can you decide which is more worth your money?

Let’s dive into it.

Dyson Airwrap Pros and Cons

When it comes to quality attachments and high-end results, Dyson is a popular choice for good reason. Each individual piece, from the base to the six attachments, feel luxurious and gave me the silkiest strands out of the whole test — especially when I twisted on the Coanda smoothing dryer, which I ran over the top layer of my hair for an extra-sleek look. I loved how easy it was to switch between airflow directions on the curling barrels, with one twist of the nozzle wrapping my hair clockwise and the other sending the section counterclockwise. Plus, the Dyson comes with two sizes of curling barrels — a 1.2-inch and a 1.6-inch barrel to shape tighter curls or looser waves, respectively — depending on which look you’re going for.

The bristles on the brush attachments were slightly softer and easier to bend than those on the Shark. These were not uncomfortable to pull through my hair as I blow-dried, and I appreciated that there were three different brush heads depending on the style I wanted (the firm smoothing brush yields smoother, straighter styles and is great for frizzy hair; the soft smoothing brush is meant for fine hair, and the round volumizing brush yields body and style). After using the Coanda smoothing tool to lock in my glossy blowout, I had not one flyaway strand that ruined the look. Plus, no one can deny the convenience of an included filter brush and storage case (there are too many parts to just keep in a drawer somewhere).

However, one glaring difference from the Shark is the Dyson’s lack of compatibility with a diffuser, which means that users can’t dry or style their natural curls with this tool. The Dyson will get you the sleekest at-home blowout of your life — but a blowout and barrel curls/waves are all you’ll get.

<p>People / Jessica Juliao</p>

People / Jessica Juliao

Shark FlexStyle Pros and Cons

"Impressed" is an understatement after testing the Shark FlexStyle. I loved that I could twist the top of the multi-styler down at a near-90-degree angle to act as a powerful hair dryer, and could even attach the concentrator attachment onto the end for a bit more volume (something you could only get from Dyson if you also bought the $430 Supersonic). However, since this model is a strong blowdryer at its base, the tool gets pretty hot when you use it with any of the attachments — I was admittedly starting to sweat my makeup off a bit while I styled my strands. Despite this, I saw a total boost in my hair’s volume and achieved luscious curls every time I wrapped or paddle-brushed with these diverse attachments.

A huge selling point for me was the different versions of the FlexStyle that are available for different hair types. One version of the FlexStyle is made for straight and wavy tresses, while the other is tailored to curly and coily hair. Both are the exact same price, but come with different attachments (two paddle brushes for straight hair, one paddle brush and a diffuser for curls) to best serve your unique texture. They both come with a concentrator and two curling barrels, though the wands are the exact same size (1.25 inches in diameter) rather than two different sizes like the Dyson — so you’re stuck with the same kind of curls no matter what. Plus, each one only wraps your hair in one direction, so you have to replace the head each time you want a counterclockwise curl, which can get tiresome when you want mermaid waves (each curl facing the opposite direction).

However, the hair dryer base of this tool is the standout feature of this styling system, and it’s what makes it way more travel-friendly than its competitor — you can eliminate your clunky hair dryer and extra hot tools in lieu of this model. Though we wish it came with a storage box like the Dyson, you can nab this $50 case from Shark separately (plus it’s much easier to transport than the Airwrap due to its convenient top handle).

<p>People / Jessica Juliao</p>

People / Jessica Juliao

Another Styler to Consider

Revlon One-Step Volumizer PLUS 2.0 Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush

Buy at

Buy at

If $300 for a multi-styler still feels a little steep (who can blame you?), then there’s a much more budget-friendly option that’s become popular in the world of hair styling since its introduction in 2022 — the Revlon One Step Volumizer 2.0. This hot air brush is a complete blowout packaged in a singular tool, and is meant to be round-brushed through your hair while simultaneously drying it on high, medium, or low heat. While this tool doesn’t come with a detachable head and an arsenal of high-tech attachments, it can certainly deliver a blowout similar to that from the Airwrap and FlexStyle — just without the curling and smoothing components.

Price at time of publish: $41.49 (orig. $69.99)

Attachments: None | Heat settings: 3 | Speed settings: 0 | Cool shot: Yes | Cord length: Unlisted | Weight: 1.63 lbs.

Dyson Airwrap vs Shark FlexStyle Verdict

<p>Alyssa Brascia</p> Left: Shark FlexStyle; Right: Dyson Airwrap

Alyssa Brascia

Left: Shark FlexStyle; Right: Dyson Airwrap

Winner: Shark FlexStyle

By all means, the Dyson Airwrap is a must-have product for anyone who wants salon-quality hair at home for a one-time fee of $600. (If you got a blowout every time you wanted a bouncy hairstyle, you would spend a minimum of $45 each visit). But when it comes to versatility, price, and functionality, the Shark FlexStyle takes the cake.

Things to Consider When Deciding Between the Dyson Airwrap and the Shark FlexStyle


“I think the attachments are extremely important,” says Nigella Miller, a beauty expert and hairstylist who specializes in natural hair. “[They] complement the features and allow the tool to fully function, making it easier to work with the different textures.” While both the Airwrap and FlexStyle offer an assortment of attachments, it’s up to you, the shopper, to determine which varieties are best suited for your hair type. If you need options that can work with natural curls, you may want to consider the curl-oriented FlexStyle (the Curly & Coily iteration) that comes with a diffuser over the Straight & Wavy version (or the Airwrap).


Customization is everything with these styling sets, which is why heat and speed settings should be another factor in your decision between these two powerhouse tools. “You’re looking for a tool that doesn’t have too much tension on your hair and has adjustable heat settings,” says celebrity hairstylist, Joseph Michael. He goes on to explain that finer hair textures and processed strands require lower heat, which is possible with both tools’ several customizable settings (3-speed settings on both; 3 heat settings on the Dyson and 4 on the Shark).


The last thing you want is for your arm to get tired or the cord to stop short while you’re crafting your blowout, so taking into account the size, weight, and cord length of your tool is also important. “You want something that is going to be comfortable holding while self-styling,” says Michael. This means a long enough cord to reach your plug and a lightweight body that allows you to do the arm aerobics required to get your desired look. Miller looks to the tools’ structure and attachments as a conduit to make her job as a stylist more efficient. “I always try to find a sleeker option that makes life convenient as I work,” she adds — a sentiment that will speak to every shopper’s hairstyling routines once they implement wither one of these sets into their lives.


How do you use the Dyson Airwrap and Shark FlexStyle?

Both tools operate in a near-similar way — you simply twist your desired attachment onto the top of the styling base, lock it into place, and select your heat and speed settings before switching on the power button and feeding a section of hair into the attachment. To switch to a new attachment, you unlock the base, twist off your current tool head, and lock in the next one. Both dryers can be used on dry hair, but should you choose to use after showering, you'll need to dry your hair to a point of about 80 percent dryness, which is another reason why having a hair dryer built into the FlexStyle is much more convenient.

Do you need to use heat protectant with the Airwrap and FlexStyle?

As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to use heat protectant before using any hot tools on your hair. Sharon Dorram, the owner of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger, told PEOPLE that heat protectants should have “a high heat protection rating such as 450°F to protect your hair from the heat of various styling tools,” no matter how low you set your temperature.

Can you use a multi-styler tool every day?

In theory, you can use these tools every day — so long as you take the right precautions. Heat protection should always be applied beforehand, and you shouldn’t leave the tool on one concentrated section of hair for too long. But aside from this, the Dyson and Shark are known for not reaching temperatures much higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than your traditional hair dryer or curling iron typically reach.

Why Trust PEOPLE?

Alyssa Brascia has been a staff commerce writer for PEOPLE since 2022, with a focus on cosmetics, skincare, and haircare. She has previously also contributed to InStyle where she also wrote beauty content. For this piece, Brascia tested the Shark FlexStyle (with attachments from both sets), the Dyson Airwrap, and the Revlon One Step Volumizer Plus 2.0 to write a first-hand review determining which model was really worth your money in the end. In order to fortify her research, she interviewed Nigella Miller, a beauty expert and hairstylist who specializes in natural hair and celebrity hairstylist Joseph Michael, as well as referenced a past interview with Sharon Dorram, the owner of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.