Best Stick Vacuum: Dyson V7 vs Dyson V8 vs Dyson V10 vs Shark ION

Cam Secore
Updated 06/12/2018

best cordless stick vacuum

After a month of testing, I determined Dyson V8 Absolute is the best cordless stick vacuum for most people, whatever their flooring type, because of its versatility, quietness, long runtime, and price. Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is a beast, but it’s not noticeably better in most categories, the battery life isn’t as advertised, and it’s not the best value.

I’ll explain how I reached my conclusion by comparing four stick vacuums (Shark IONFlex vs. Dyson V7 vs. Dyson V8 vs. Dyson V10) while evaluating five categories: carpet, hard floors, battery, design, and dustbin.

You can’t go wrong with any of these vacuums because they’re the best four of the hundreds on the market. Read the “Things To Know” section if you’re not sure of the difference between the variations of each model (Motorhead, Animal, and Absolute).

dyson v7 vs v10

Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute

  • Carpet: The low suction mode doesn’t do much, but the high suction power is out of this world.
  • Hard Floor: If you have the Soft Roller attached, you can get by with the low suction mode.
  • Battery: With motorized tools, the low suction gets 45 minutes, medium gets 27 minutes, and max gets 7 minutes.
  • Design: It’s aesthetically pleasing and has a mount but it’s the heaviest Dyson vacuum.
  • Dustbin: It holds 757 ml and has a different debris release than the V7 and V8.

Best for you if...

You want the latest technology and money isn’t a concern. The V10 Absolute is the best on the market and on full blast the suction is unparalleled. You’ll need the medium mode in most situations, making the battery life shorter than advertised and worse than V8’s. The extra suction and large dustbin don’t make it a worthwhile upgrade from the V8.

dyson v8 vs v10

Dyson V8 Absolute

  • Carpet: At its lowest suction setting, it sucks up more than any other vacuum at the same setting.
  • Hard Floor: The Soft Roller is a gamechanger for wood floors and you won’t need to use the max mode.
  • Battery: With motorized tools, the normal suction gets 34 minutes with 8 minutes in max mode.
  • Design: It's light enough to be a handheld but heavier than the V7.
  • Dustbin: It holds 530 ml. The red tab lets the debris leave without touching it.

Best for you if...

You want the best battery life to suction ratio. The V8 Absolute comes with a hard and soft roller (a must for wood floors) making it fantastic for any type of floor. You won’t notice extra suction, but the addition of the Soft Roller and 8 extra minutes of battery life are notable upgrades from the V7 Motorhead if you have mostly hard surfaces.

dyson v7 vs v8

Dyson V7 Motorhead

  • Carpet: In low-power mode, it sucks up more than the V10 does in the same setting.
  • Hard Floor: Motorhead is the worst of the four on hard floors, but that changes if you use the Soft Roller.
  • Battery: With motorized tools, the normal suction gets 28 minutes with 6 minutes in max mode.
  • Design: It’s the lightest tested, comes with a wall mount, and works great as a handheld.
  • Dustbin: It holds 530 ml. The red tab lets the debris leave without touching it.

Best for you if...

You want the quietest, lightest and most affordable Dyson. The V7 Motorhead offers plenty of suction and runtime for houses with mostly carpets and is the best value. It'll do just OK on hard surfaces, but ideally, you'd have the Fluffy Roller that comes with the Absolute variants, but the V7 Absolute is not regularly sold anymore.

shark vs dyson

Shark IONFlex DuoClean

  • Carpet: The normal suction isn’t as strong as the Dysons'.
  • Hard Floor: It beats the Dysons that don’t have the Soft Roller, but any Absolute model is better on hard surfaces.
  • Battery: You get 20 minutes in the normal suction and 10 in the max, but the batteries are replaceable.
  • Design: It's heavy, bulky, loud, and doesn’t work well as a handheld.
  • Dustbin: It only holds 284 ml and it’s hard to remove the debris without getting dirty.

Best for you if...

You want more runtime (because of its replaceable batteries). I don’t recommend it for people with pets (because the tiny bin fills up too quickly) or people who don’t want to buy additional batteries. It’s a decent budget option for those who have mostly hard floors and don’t want one of the Dyson Absolute models.


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dyson cordless vacuum comparison

Things To Know

  • Dyson has four “V” vacuums and typically releases a new one each year. Dyson Cyclone V10 is the newest model. Dyson believes in this technology so much they’ve stopped developing corded vacuums.
  • I left Dyson V6 out of this comparison because it has a short battery life, it’s difficult to open dustbin, and it’s hard to find because it’s three years old.
  • Each “V” model has a variant. For the Dyson vacuums, there’s Motorhead, Animal, and Absolute. Each has the same motor and base, but the attachments and heads are varied.
    • Motorhead is the entry-level variant. It comes with the Motorhead head and two accessories: Crevice and Combination tool. It cleans carpet well but is just OK on wood.
    • Animal is the mid-level variant and typically $100 more than Motorhead. It comes with the Torque/Direct Drive Cleaner Head instead of the Motorhead head. It’s only slightly better than the Motorhead. You’ll get all of the accessories from the Motorhead plus a mini motorized head made for cleaning the stairs.
    • Absolute is the premium variant and the most expensive. It includes all of the accessories and rollers. The Absolute is the only option that includes the Soft Roller Cleaner Head (referred to as the “Fluffy Roller”), which is specially engineered for wood floors and essential for people with hardwoods.
  • Shark IONFlex comes in two variations.

My Experience

absolute and animal

Four years ago, I bought one of the cheapest vacuums for wood floors with four or more stars on Amazon.

I’m a neat freak and don’t hate vacuuming, but I found myself putting it off because I didn’t want to drag it up from the basement and deal with the tangled cord because it would tangle no matter how well-wrapped.

I was in the market for a vacuum, but not because I planned to write about it. I needed to find the best one for MY needs, so I did extensive online research before making a purchase.

I’ve compared robot vacuums, but I didn’t consider regular vacuum cleaners for Power Moves because they don’t have much tech.

But as I researched and looked for a new vacuum, I watched the live keynote where James Dyson unveiled the Dyson V10. He talked about the carbon fiber in the rollers, the power of the tiny motor and battery technology used to make stick vacuums powerful and long-lasting.

I didn’t know cordless stick vacuums existed before I began looking for a new machine. I’ve only seen battery-powered handheld vacuums. A stick vacuum was just what I needed.

I bought four of the best models based on Internet reviews. For the next month, I watched YouTube videos, tutorials, interviews. Then I went to the houses of friends and family to test different surfaces and materials.

I knew within the first week of testing that I was keeping one of the Dyson vacuums because I found as long as I had the Soft Roller Cleaner Head, any of them had enough power and runtime for my house and bamboo flooring.

I kept the V10 because I’m obsessed with owning the latest technology, but it’s not a wise or rational move considering the V7 is $250 and has everything I need.

Dyson V Series


Carpet (A):

  • V10
    • No stick vacuum compares in its max suction mode (151 Airwatts of suction), but you’ll only get 7 minutes of battery life. It’s so powerful that it can compete with some corded models and there’s a noticeable difference between the max in the V10 compared to the V8.
    • The lowest setting isn’t ideal (only 15.8 Airwatts); you’ll need at least the medium suction (33 Airwatts).
  • V8
    • The V8 (22 Airwatts) has more suction power in the regular mode than the V7 (21 Airwatts), but you won’t notice it.
    • The V8 has 115 Airwatts on max mode, compared to 100 Airwatts on the V7’s max, but even this isn’t noticeable either.
  • V7
    • In real life, you won’t notice the difference between the V7 and V8 suction. The most significant difference between the two is battery runtime.

Hard Floor (A+):

  • Bottom line: If you have mostly wood floors in your house, you want one of the Dyson Absolute models, not the Shark model. The Soft Roller is a gamechanger on hard surfaces. There are cool technologies inside the roller. For example, a reason that fine material is hard for vacuums to pick up is due to static electricity, and the Soft Roller has carbon fiber filaments that counteract the static.
  • You can keep the Dyson vacuums in the normal power mode for the entire time if you have the Soft Roller attached.
  • The Dyson cleaner heads sit lower to the ground than Shark, so it won’t do as well with taller pieces of debris.
  • V10
    • No stick vacuum will beat the V10 on its max suction mode with the Soft Roller head, but you’ll only get 7 minutes of use.
    • You can use the Torque Drive head on wood too, and it does well, but if you’re spending a premium with the V10 and have wood floors, why not get the best head for it too?
  • V7
    • For wood floors, Dyson V7 Absolute is the best affordable option, but the Absolute variant for the V7 is hard to find. Most stores only sell the V7 Motorhead, which is solid on hard surfaces, but I prefer Shark IONFlex.
    • With the motorhead attachment, it can’t pick up big chunks, like cereal. It’ll just push it around.

Battery (A):

  • Bottom line: Dyson offers a longer battery life than the Shark, but their batteries aren’t replaceable. I guess Dyson does this because they’re worried about the motor getting overused in a short period.
  • V10
    • With motorized tools the low suction gets 45 minutes, medium gets 27 minutes, max gets 7 minutes.
    • The advertised battery rate is a 60-minute runtime, but that’s while on low power and without any tools attached. You need motorized tools to do most things, and the low power has worse suction than any of the others on their base suction.
    • Medium suction is what you’ll use most often and is more effective than the base modes of V7 and V8.
    • It’s a 3.5 hour recharge time.
  • V8
    • With motorized tools, the normal suction gets 34 minutes with 8 minutes in max mode.
    • It’s a 3.5 hour recharge time.
  • V7
    • With motorized tools, the normal suction gets 28 minutes with 6 minutes in max mode.
    • It’s a 3.5 hour recharge time.
    • The V7 is the only vacuum without a battery meter. The others have three indicator lights to show the battery level.

Design (B):

  • All Dyson vacuums come with a wall mountable dock to hold the vacuum up and charge it. You’ll never forget to charge the battery.
  • All three Dyson’s that I looked at were noticeably quieter than the Shark. I don’t want to post my decibel reading scores because I didn’t have the proper tools, but my testing confirmed this.
  • All three Dysons that I looked at were lighter than the Shark. Here are the base weights:
    • The V7 weighs about 3.0 pounds.
    • The V8 weighs about 3.5 pounds.
    • The V10 weighs about 3.6 pounds. It’s on the heavy side, but it still feels lighter than the Shark.
  • I prefer the control and turn radius of the Dysons because there’s a wider range of motion and they’re lighter.
  • These are better to use as handhelds because of the weight distribution. The V7 feels noticeably lighter even though it’s only a half pound lighter than the V8.
  • You have to hold down the trigger to keep the machine powered. This preserves battery life, but it gets tiring on your index finger. I preferred Shark’s method of a one-push button.

Dustbin (A+):

  • Bottom line: You’ll never have to get your hands dirty. You pull the red tab up and all the dust comes out, while the debris from the filter gets squeegeed off as it slides down. The V10 has a slightly nicer design where you push down, but these dustbins and dust removal mechanisms are all fantastic.
  • The V7 holds 530 ml of dry material.
  • The V8 holds 530 ml of dry material.
  • The V10 holds 757 ml of dry material.

Shark IONFlex


Carpet (B):

  • There’s one motorized head, and it works on wood and carpet.
  • Once you hit the power button, you press the carpet button and choose the suction level you want. The brushes will spin depending on the surface you’re on.
  • It’s easier to move forward on carpet than the Dyson’s because the head helps propel it, but for that same reason, it’s harder to pull back. If you don’t use the pullback method while vacuuming, Shark will be a better experience on carpets.
  • The suction power on “Extend Runtime” mode is technically stronger than Dyson’s low power mode, but the V7 and V8 end up sucking up more in real life because of the better technology in the Dyson powered rollers.
  • The suction power “Max Power” is better than the low power on the Dysons, but not as good as the max on the Dysons.

Hard Floor (B):

  • You hit the power button, press the wood floor or carpet button, then choose how much suction you want.
  • It does well on wood floors and it’ll beat any Dyson that doesn’t have the Soft Roller.
  • Any Dyson with the Soft Roller (the Absolute models) does a better job of getting deep inside the cracks of wood floors than Shark.
  • Shark does better with big chunks, like huge cereal pieces (i.e. Fruit Loops).
  • It gets clogged easier if you run it through a big pile a debris. For big piles or clumps, the Dyson wins every time.

Battery (C):

  • You’ll get around 10 minutes in the “Max Power” suction mode.
  • You’ll get around 20 minutes in the “Extend Runtime” mode.
  • The battery is removable and you can buy as many as you need. IONFlex 2X DuoClean comes with two batteries. Having multiple batteries decreases the importance of the runtime per battery. Dyson vacuums don’t have replaceable batteries.
  • After draining the battery, you can’t charge it right away because it needs to cool off. Once it’s cooled, it’ll take 3.5 hours to charge.

Design (B):

  • It has a light on the head that turns out to be useful to see light dust on hard surfaces better.
  • Unlike the Dyson, you don’t need to hold down the trigger for it to run. It’s more comfortable to use for long periods because you can move your hand placement without it shutting off.
  • While Shark ION is heavier (almost 9 pounds), I found it easier to use for longer periods for a few reasons:
    • While it’s on the carpet, the motor in the roller helps it move without much force.
    • It’s balanced differently than the Dyson’s.
  • Shark doesn’t have the same futuristic look as the other models; it looks more like a typical vacuum. Do you care what your vacuum looks like if it’s going in the closet?
  • The handheld weighs 3.5 pounds and feels heavier to use as a handheld because of its weight distribution. You won’t be able to use it for as long as the Dysons.
  • There are promotional pictures of people using it with the wand attachment to clean ceilings and blinds. It’s too heavy for that in real life.
  • The middle of the bar flexes 180 degrees. This should be useful for getting under the couch, but I didn’t find it useful because bending your body down shouldn’t be an issue. This could be helpful for elders.
  • Because it folds, it can sit up without leaning against the wall when you store it.
  • You’ll have to remember to charge the battery because there’s no dock to charge it.
  • Shark is the loudest to my ears and after using unreliable tools to test the decibels I was proved correct. It’s a noticeably loud and more annoying.

Dustbin (F):

  • It only holds 284 ml of dry material. That’s half the size of the V7 and V8.
  • When emptying, the debris usually doesn’t fall out of the bin on its own, especially with pet hair. You have to reach in with your hand to get the materials out.
  • Pet hair accumulates quickly, so I can’t recommend this to anyone with animals unless you want to turn it off every minute to empty the bin.

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