Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: hair drying made easy

Automatic heat selection dries your hair with care

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer being held in front of mirror with RapidGloss Finisher attachment connected
(Image: © Future / Petra Player)

TechRadar Verdict

Unlike its unwieldy name, the Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer is a compact hair dryer, making it a good option for travel, so long as you don't mind the extra weight. It can adjust its own temperature and airflow using what Shark calls IQ functionality – a feature that detects which of the five included attachments you’re currently using. It’s good at what it does, but that comes at a price point similar to the Shark FlexStyle, which is a more versatile hair tool.

Pros

  • +

    Fast drying times

  • +

    Compact size

  • +

    RapidGloss Finisher reduces frizz

  • +

    Automatic temperature adjustments for each attachment

Cons

  • -

    Expensive at full price

  • -

    Heavier than other hair dryers

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Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer: One-minute review

It might be a mouthful of a name but the SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer (hereon referred to as the SpeedStyle) has been designed to dry hair with less time and effort. Coming with a selection of five attachments, you can even reduce the amount of frizz in your hair while styling, resulting in glossier looks.

Its high performance is backed by the Shark SpeedStyle’s ability to automatically adjust the heat and airflow settings when switching between attachments, recycling this feature from the Shark Style iQ. You can still manually adjust the settings to your liking though, as the hair dryer sports two convenient buttons for airflow and temperature, allowing you to gain complete control over your styling needs.

The hardware that allows these intelligent features to function, along with a 1700W motor, are packed into a stylish and compact design, though it does mean the Shark SpeedStyle tips the scales towards the heavier end when compared to some of the best hair dryers. Despite the extra weight, it’s still small enough to neatly pack away into luggage, making it a good travel companion if your flight’s weight allowance allows for it.

Adding to the weight are five attachments that come with the SpeedStyle, and each one performs a specific task when drying and styling hair. They all use a simple rotating lock mechanism to connect to the hair dryer, and are cool-touch zones that don’t retain as much heat so you can touch them safely when swapping them. However, I found that those cool-touch zones would often still retain heat and I’d need to wait a moment or blast some cool air through them before I could touch them.

Depending on your location, you can find different Shark SpeedStyle bundles at various price points. The one I tested for this review comes with all the bells and whistles and is a hefty investment, which gets a little difficult to justify when you consider that the brand has a more versatile hair styling tool in the Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Hair Drying System for around the same price.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer being held in front of mirror

The Shark SpeedStyle comes with five different attachments and a carry bag in its most expensive bundle. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: price & availability

  • Initially released in the US in August 2023
  • Available now in the US, UK and Australia
  • List price for full bundle: $259 / £249.99 / AU$559.99

Released initially in the US back in August 2023, the Shark SpeedStyle is available in all major markets in different bundles, although these options will vary depending on where you live. You can purchase the SpeedStyle directly from its maker or through various retailers, including on Amazon in the US, UK and Australia, and other regional sellers who typically stock Shark products.

The full package with five different attachments and a handy travel pouch will set you back $259 / £249.99 / AU$559.99 at full price, and is the only available bundle in Australia at the time of publication. In the US, you can select two of your own attachments with a regular list price of $179, or buy bundles with three pre-selected attachments for various hair types, including curly and wavy hair, for $199. The UK also has the pre-selected bundles for £199.

This price isn’t as extreme as the Dyson Supersonic – the British brand’s popular hair dryer is available from $429 / £329.99 / AU$649. Though, in Australia you can find the Supersonic for AU$549 with five different attachments in an exclusive bundle, making it a slightly more affordable option than the SpeedStyle at full price.

While it might be possible to justify the SpeedStyle’s price in comparison to Dyson, I find its cost a little confusing compared to the Shark FlexStyle. Admittedly the latter is more of a styling tool, but it can still be used as a hair dryer and comes with five attachments costing $299 / £299 / AU$499. It’s a more versatile appliance as it can transform between a hair dryer and a styling wand, plus, it’s lighter too. It might be a bit more expensive in the US and UK, but in Australia especially, the FlexStyle sits at a more affordable price – so you do the math.

• Value score: 3.5/5

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: specs

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Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer specs
PricePrices start from $179.99 / £199.99 / AU$559.99
Wattage1,700W
Weight750g / 1.7lb before attachments
Dimensions50 x 165 x 200mm / 1.9 x 6.5 x 7.87 inches
Cord length2.44m / 8ft
Heat settingsLow: 65ºC / 149ºF Medium: 80ºC / 176ºF High: 100ºC / 212ºC
Accessories included with test unitRapidGloss Finisher, Quicksmooth brush, Turbo Concentrator, Express Touchup brush, Defrizzfast Diffuser and travel pouch

Shark SpeedStyle and Shark FlexStyle compared

The Shark SpeedStyle is larger than the FlexStyle, especially when the latter is in hair dryer mode. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: design & features

  • Slim design with a decent heft
  • Intelligent sensor for automatic adjustments
  • Four heat settings, including a cool-shot button, and three for airflow

Shark has designed a sleek and compact hair dryer, although the FlexStyle is a touch smaller when folded into its dryer mode. Compared to other brands, though, the SpeedStyle is slim. Also aiding in giving it a modern look is an unique off-white and rose-gold color scheme.

Even with its attachments, the SpeedStyle is small enough to slip into a travel bag – its most expensive bundle even comes with a neat carry case for this purpose. However, it will tip the scales in luggage as the SpeedStyle is heavier than some of its competitors, weighing in at 750g before any attachment. In comparison, the FlexStyle is only 700g, while the Dyson Supersonic and T3 AirLuxe are also both lighter at 650g and 707g respectively. On the flipside, the GHD Helios weighs 780g, so there are still heavier hair dryers than the SpeedStyle.

Its main barrel is a simple cylinder that’s uniform from end to end, Similar to what Dyson did with the Supersonic hair dryer. The Shark SpeedStyle, however, is thinner and slightly longer than its competitor, which is both a good and a bad thing.

I personally found the handle uncomfortable to grip, occasionally causing cramps if I’ve held it for too long while using it as a styler. In comparison, I found the wider handle design of the FlexStyle more comfortable when I reviewed it for sister site Tom’s Guide. That said, the slimmer design might suit smaller hands, which is complimented by a well-thought out button placement for a shot of cool air that’s easy to reach and press when needed.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer showing the button placement

There's a button for both heat and air flow settings just above the on/off switch on the handle of the Shark SpeedStyle. These buttons are low enough that they won't accidentally be bumped while styling. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

The other buttons are also well situated – the power switch is at the base of the handle but nowhere you would accidentally turn the dryer off, while the heat and airflow controls sit just above the power button and light up to indicate the setting you’re currently using. You likely won’t have to use the latter two buttons as the SpeedStyle inherits the auto-adjustments from the much older Shark Style iQ hair dryer. You can still manually make adjustments if you need to, although I found letting the SpeedStyle do its thing can save a little time.

Fitting attachments is a simple clip-in-and-lock mechanism, and these include a diffuser for drying curly hair, a Touchup brush for natural-looking blowouts, a round one for straightening, a styling concentrator that lets you focus on sections of hair, and a RapidGloss Finisher to add a glossy and smooth finish to your hairdo.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer on table with filter removed

The Shark SpeedStyle's filter can be removed from the back of the hair dryer for easy cleaning with a simple twist. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Like a lot of other hair dryers out there, the SpeedStyle boasts a removable filter, which is a major improvement over the Shark Style Qi – keeping it clean will prolong the life of the product by preventing overheating. Given that the SpeedStyle can hit temperatures of up to 100ºC, you’ll want to clean it regularly to avoid any ongoing issues, especially if you use it every day.

While I didn’t have issues with overheating during my testing of the SpeedStyle, which included everyday use over a full week, I found that its barrel and attachments retained heat for quite some time and I had to wait a few minutes before I was able to touch them to switch attachments. And this is despite the fact that Shark has included cool-touch zones on the dryer and the attachments.

• Design & features score: 4/5

Shark SpeedStyle on table surrounded by attachments and hair brushes

Each attachment included with the Shark SpeedStyle has a specific purpose, allowing it to dry and style multiple different hair types. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: performance

  • Fast drying times
  • Good for different hair types
  • Requires a small learning curve for some attachments

Don’t be fooled by its compact size – the Shark SpeedStyle has some speedy dry times. Its 1,700W motor allows it to hit 100ºC / 212ºF, and I found I could dry my thick shoulder-length hair in three and a half minutes without any attachments at the highest settings. Brushing and styling my hair with the round brush attachment while also drying, however, took approximately 15 minutes for a simple and neat hairdo. While this is still quite fast, it doesn’t quite compete with the Dyson Supersonic or the GHD Helios – our reviewers found that the Supersonic can dry hair in a little over 2 minutes without attachments and the GHD Helios could do so in just over a minute.

What I really appreciate is that, even at its highest setting, the SpeedStyle doesn’t get very loud, hitting 85dB when on the maximum settings, but sitting comfortably between 76dB-80dB when on the lower settings, as recorded on the Decibel X app I used to measure sound for this review. Importantly, there’s no annoying high-pitched tone that I found with the Shark FlexStyle and that a colleague experienced with the Shark Cordless Detect Pro with Auto-empty System vacuum cleaner that was also reviewed on sister site Tom’s Guide.

My hair isn’t curly, so I didn’t use the diffuser very much but, for my needs, I found the Touchup brush the most useful. It can swivel to different angles while moving around your head, and uses the second heat setting to reduce heat damage. I found both brush attachments – the Touchup and round – capable of untangling knots easily, something my hair is prone to due to previous damage from bleaching, thanks to the combination of long, short and bunched bristles on both brushes.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer being held in hand with RapidGloss Finisher attachement

The RapidGloss Finisher attachment has a slight learning curve, but can be used for sleek and glossy styles with less frizz thanks to its metallic plating. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

I found that the RapidGloss Finisher – the SpeedStyle’s headline attachment – can take a bit of getting used to. It’s designed to smooth flyaways and leave a glossy finish by pulling locks of hair along a metal roller, but I couldn’t get it to work right the first few times I tried it. It took a few tries before I was able to smoothen my hair and achieve a glossier result than what my usual styling method yields. To get the best results from the RapidGloss Finisher, though, you need to use the highest heat setting along with the strongest airflow, so it can get uncomfortably hot on the scalp.

The styling concentrator also works well, but it’s a staple attachment for most hair dryers and not unique to the Shark Speedstyle.

I’m quite impressed with the cool-shot button – it kicks in real quick with an almost instantaneous temperature change even if the dryer is set at its hottest. I found that I could even use the cool-shot function to deal with the heat retention issue on the attachments, saving me a little bit of time.

• Performance score: 4/5

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer behind held in hand with diffuser attachment

The Shark SpeedStyle comes with a diffuser attachment to help keep natural hairstyles while drying. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Should I buy the Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer?

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Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer score card
AttributesNotesRating
PriceThe price of the SpeedStyle is better than some of its competitors, but you can pay around the same price for a more versatile tool from Shark.3.5/5
Design and featuresThe design is sleek and compact enough to be suitable for traveling, plus its intelligent adjustment feature is a standout. But it’s heavier and can be uncomfortable to grip for long periods.4/5
PerformanceBacked by its 1,700W motor, thick hair can be dried in under 4 minutes. Styling can take a bit longer, and there’s a slight learning curve when using its headline attachment.4/5

Buy it if…

You want a compact hair dryer for travel

It's a good size for popping into luggage, and even comes with a hand carry case, but it’s a touch on the heavy side. However, its 2.4m cord means that it’ll reach from just about any inconveniently placed outlet to a mirror.

You want to sport sleek or natural-looking hair styles

The variety of attachments included with the Shark SpeedStyle allow you to swap between natural-looking hair styles and sleek, glossy locks without too much effort, although you might need to spend some time learning how to use the RapidGloss Finisher.

Don’t buy it if…

You want easy curls or wavy styles

The Shark SpeedStyle is great for smooth or natural styles, but you’ll have an easier time curling hair with styling wands like the Shark FlexStyle or the Dyson Airwrap.

You are prone to hand cramps

The handle on the Shark SpeedStyle isn’t best suited for everyone, and those of us with larger hands might find gripping it uncomfortable during extended periods of use.

Also consider

If you’re not sold on the Shark SpeedStyle, here’s how it compares to three other hair dryers.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity DryerShark FlexStyle Air Styling & Hair Drying SystemDyson SupersonicT3 AirLuxe hair dryer
PricePrices start from $179.99 / £199.99 / AU$559.99From $279.99 / £269.99 / AU$499From $429 / £329.99 / AU$549 $199.99 / £170 / around AU$305
Wattage1,700W1,800W1,600W1,875W
Weight750g / 1.7lb before attachments700g / 1.54lb659g / 1.45lb707g / 1.56lb
Dimensions (W x L x H were applicable)50 x 165 x 200mm / 1.9 x 6.5 x 7.87 inches285mm / 11.2 inches in length97 x 200 x 245mm / 3.82 x 7.87 x 9.65 inches76 x 199 x 267mm / 7.75 x 3 x 10.5 inches
Cord length2.44m / 8ft2.8m / 9.19ft2.8m / 9.1ft2.7m / 9ft
Heat settings4445
Available attachments RapidGloss Finisher, Quicksmooth brush, Turbo Concentrator, Express Touchup brush, Defrizzfast DiffuserLeft & right curling barrels, diffuser, oval brush, paddle brush, styling concentratorFlyaway attachment, gentle air attachment, styling concentrator, wide-tooth comb, diffuserDrying concentrator, styling concentrator
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Dyson Supersonic

Dyson’s made some improvements to its premium hair dryer since its initial launch way back in 2016. If you have the cash to fork out, you’ll be set with this futuristic-looking appliance that packs in the company’s V9 motor for high performance, along with ionizing technology for a smoother finish.

Read our Dyson Supersonic review

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Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Hair Drying System

The FlexStyle is more than just a hair dryer – it’s a versatile styling wand that makes for a great alternative to the much pricier Dyson Airwrap. With similar attachments to the Shark SpeedStyle, this is the one to go for if you want an all-in-one styling and drying device.

Read our Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Hair Drying System review

Image

T3 AirLuxe

With comfortable grip and a lightweight design, the T3 AirLuxe can create beautiful blowouts. Compared to the Shark SpeedStyle, however, it ships with limited attachments.

Read our T3 AirLuxe review

How I tested the Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer

  • Used all attachments for different styles
  • Tested on thick, shoulder-length hair
  • Testing was done during summer months in Sydney, Australia

To put the Shark SpeedStyle to the test, I used it every time I washed my hair over a period of eight weeks. My testing included a week when I used it every single day. To put it through its paces, I swapped between the SpeedStyle’s attachments each time, using a paddle brush and comb to achieve different styles and results. 

I even went on holiday with it, leading me to the conclusion that it’s a good travel size despite being slightly weighty. I used it late at night in my hotel room and was relieved to not get any noise complaints.

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed February 2024]

Petra Player
Writer, TechRadar Australia

Petra is new to the industry, but has had a long-time love of tech, gaming and entertainment, which she now gets to indulge by writing for TechRadar. She’s also keen on sharing news about deals and discounts in the APAC region – with a background in archaeology, she’ll dig deep to find the best deals and thanks to her long history in retail, knows what makes a good bargain. She also is a bit of a keyboard hobbyist, having found enjoyment with mechanical keyboards during 2020’s lockdown, and has big plans to build a fully custom matching keyboard and PC in the near future.