Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: July 10, 2021
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Vacuuming is deemed an arduous task which we grudgingly tolerate because we want to eliminate microbes and allergens, keep our houses clean and save money on replacing carpets. Fortunately, technology has made vacuuming more effective with models, such as Shark, which has now become one of the top vacuum brands in the U.S. The best Shark vacuum delivers superior performance, reliability, convenience, and customer satisfaction.
Our review examined several Shark vacuum models by factoring in essential features and their roles in the vacuuming process. We first considered the type of vacuum to identify the most suitable one for your cleaning needs, and wattage because it indicates motor power and suction strength. Next, we looked at cord length for convenience in covering extensive areas when cleaning. We also evaluated dust cup capacity because its size will determine how often you will need to empty it. Finally, we assessed the weight and dimensions for easy mobility and compact storage.
This comprehensive review features a comparison table ranking the best Shark vacuum models according to their overall performance, followed by detailed reviews of their features, pros and cons. The buying guide breaks down the essential functions that determine the best vacuum. It also explains Shark brand’s popularity, answers frequently asked questions, and offers tips on maintaining your new vacuum. Finally, we end the review with a summary of our best three choices.
Rotator NV501 is a 2-in-1 model which can be used both as a handheld or an upright vacuum. It can be converted to a portable model by pressing a button to detach the removable canister and lift it away to manoeuver through stairs, drapes and other places that are hard to reach. This makes cleaning a breeze, and you do not have to empty the dust cup every now and again because it has a large 3.1 dry quarts extra-large capacity which takes time to fill up.
Also, it features the true HEPA filter which eliminates 99.9% of dust and allergens, and anti-allergen complete seal technology to ensure the trapped microbes do not escape from the canister into the atmosphere. This makes it one of the best Shark vacuums for people with allergies.
It is also probably the best Shark vacuum for hardwood floors and carpets, with a motor which operates at 1200 watts and generates powerful suction which can deep clean all types of surfaces, including hardwood floors and deep-pile carpets. Despite its powerful motor, the vacuum is actually quiet when running.
Unlike other models, this one features handy LED headlights which will make your vacuuming a breeze even if you intend to use it in dark areas like under your sofa and armchairs.
Accessories included are a premium pet power brush to clean up pet hair and dander, a dusting brush which works with the extension wand, an integrated 12-inch crevice tool for corner cleaning, a multi-angle dusting brush, and a canister caddy which serves as a tool holder.
The head is only 11.5 inches wide, so you may need to make more passes when cleaning. This model also lacks the capability to rewind the cord automatically.
This model shares plenty of similar powerful functionalities with Shark Rotator NV501 that make it the best Shark vacuum for cleaning practically anything. It is a multipurpose powerhouse that works with all types of surfaces, from hardwood to carpets, and all types of dirt, including pet hair and dander which it effectively cleans with the turbo pet power brush.
Other cleaning attachments include a dusting brush, an eight-inch crevice tool, and a dust-away hard floor attachment with two microfiber pads for cleaning fine particles hidden in small nooks. The brush roll can be shut off for gentle cleaning. An accessory bag is also provided with the unit.
The vacuum features a lift-away design that can morph it into a handheld model, a swivel head to clean areas that are difficult to reach, and a dust cup with an extra-large capacity of 4.4 dry quarts which can accommodate multiple cleaning sessions.
The hose is relatively short, but the long 30-feet power cord allows for extensive cleaning without having to plug and unplug the unit every now and again. To control the suction power when cleaning delicate areas and bare floors, turn the collar on the handle.
Not only does the Shark Navigator NV356E clean your house thoroughly, but it also protects you from airborne microbes with the HEPA filter which has a cleaning effectiveness rate of 99.9% and the anti-allergen complete seal technology which prevents the trapped dust and allergens from leaking back into the air. This is particularly helpful to people who are prone to allergies. Cyclonic technology prevents clogging of the filters which could affect suctioning.
The location of the powerful 1200-watt motor can make the 14-pound vacuum feel even heavier than it really is.
This is yet another Shark upright model which can double up as a handheld vacuum. It offers excellent value for money because it comes with a wide array of cleaning attachments that make it just as effective as higher-priced brands in cleaning multiple surfaces. These accessories include a dusting brush, a 12-inch crevice tool for cleaning corners and edges, a wall mount for more storage options, a dust away hard floor attachment with reusable microfiber cleaning pad, a pet upholstery tool, a car tool kit, and an accessory bag, which all make it one of the best vacuums for allergies. It also comes with a user manual and a quick-start guide.
A long power cord of 30 feet, swiveling head, handheld capability, and very light weight of only 7.6 pounds make it easy to steer this corded stick vacuum to narrow and far-reaching areas without having to unplug it from power.
It is the best Shark vacuum for wood floors, thanks to the brush roll with dual low and high-speed settings that can be customized for any kind of surface, whether carpets, tiles, bare floor, or hard floor.
The unit has a washable foam filter and a dust cup with a capacity of 0.42 dry quarts. Press the button located at the front to access the dust cup for emptying.
While the handle is rubberized for a comfortable grip, the motor is inconveniently located beside it which can make it a feel a bit heavy.
This model is a light, cordless stick vacuum with two removable and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which is what the 2X name alludes to. It means that you can actually charge one battery while you’re using the other. This provides more cleaning time which is a plus considering it takes 3.5 hours to charge the battery fully with an output of only 30 minutes, and even less on higher speed. The batteries have bars with indicator lights to keep track of battery life.
This is the best Shark vacuum for hardwood floors and carpets, with thorough cleaning further enhanced by the DuoClean head unit consisting of a rotating bristle brush for heavy-duty carpets and a soft brush for large debris and hard floors.
You can fold the multi-flex under-appliance extension wand when in stick mode to access tight corners and crevices without crouching. This option also allows for compact storage in limited spaces.
The 8.7-pound vacuum has a dust cup conveniently positioned at the top of the unit with a capacity of 0.3 dry quarts. The low capacity will require regular emptying of the dust cup, which you can easily do by pressing the release button.
Attachments and accessories include an anti-allergen dust brush, crevice tool for cleaning awkwardly-located nooks, washable filters, charging dock, and a pair of batteries.
If you are looking for the best Shark vacuum for pets which is portable, affordable and performs splendidly, this should be your ultimate choice. It has a powerful 400-watt motor and a TruePet motorized brush which can effectively remove all pet hair and dander and deeply embedded debris from your house.
In addition to the motorized brush, it also includes a 12-inch crevice tool for tight nooks and edges, a flexible stretch hose for extended reach, and a dusting brush with soft bristles for delicate areas. The filters included can be washed and reused.
It can function as an upright or handheld vacuum while its small 3.7-pound size and 15-feet power cord make it easy to fit in small spaces and deep clean hard-to-reach areas, such as upholstery, ceiling fans, and car interiors. If you need a vacuum for stairs, this model will get you covered as well. Larger areas might take longer to clean because the motorized brush is only six inches wide.
The dust cup has a low capacity of 0.42 dry quarts which necessitate frequent emptying although it hardly affects suction. Fortunately, the process is easy with a simple pressing of the release button.
As is the case with most Shark vacuums, the motor adds weight to the handle and makes the unit feel more massive than it is.
Cleaning is a tedious task which we would gladly delegate to someone else, and this robot vacuum allows us to make this wish come true. It is equipped with smart sensors, Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone compatibility, and a host of other technological functions.
At the top of the unit are three buttons for general cleaning, spot cleaning, and recharging, while the bottom features dual spinning side brushes for cleaning crevices and a brush roll that can self-clean.
This model is compatible with smartphones, which allows you to control it with the Android or Apple Shark ION ROBOT app, or through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice commands. The Alexa device is purchased separately.
Being a robot, this vacuum relies on its built-in intelligent infrared sensors to navigate and avoid objects that could be in its path when cleaning. Its small size with 2.6-inch clearance allows it to get underneath furniture, cabinets and other small spaces. In case you lose track of it, you can locate it by pinging it with the Find My Bot feature included in the app.
One of the most convenient options of this vacuum is its ability to be programmed for scheduled cleaning which is done by just keying in your preferred date and time on the Schedule tab.
A botboundary nine-foot magnetic tape and two connectors are provided to cordon off areas where this cordless vacuum should not access. Other accessories include a charging dock, a cleaning tool, and a lithium-ion battery.
Unfortunately, this model does not come with a remote control. It also struggles with some debris. However, it’s a great vacuum for bare floors and pets because people with allergies can control it to clean up pet dander from a distance.
Why is it special?
Smart navigation sensors
Smartphone and Wi-Fi compatibility
Scheduled cleaning capability
Self-charging and self-cleaning
What are the flaws?
No remote control
Struggles with some types of debris
Things to Consider
This guide contains useful information on the features you should evaluate when considering the best Shark vacuum model. We also explain why most people prefer Shark brand, as evidenced by its number one position among vacuum brands in the U.S. At the end are an FAQ segment and a summary of our top three Shark models which we hope will further enlighten you.
Why do people choose the Shark brand?
Shark pioneered swivel steering and the lift-away design which revolutionized the world of vacuums and gave birth to canister versions.
Shark brand resonates with people because it has a wide range of innovative models in every type and size, for any cleaning task, and at reasonable pricing. Their vacuums have high suction powers and come with multiple attachments for versatile cleaning of dirt, dust, and debris on any surface, and in any seemingly hard-to-reach crevices.
Features to consider while choosing a vacuum cleaner
Regardless of the vacuum brand you would like to own, the following fundamental features should be taken into consideration when making your decision.
Type of vacuum
What adds to the confusion when shopping for the best Shark vacuum are the seemingly endless types of models available with cleaning tools suited to different kinds of surfaces.
Vacuums are classified in five major categories: upright, handheld, canister, stick, and robotic.
Upright vacuums are the most common. They feature a motor and suction head combined in the same unit while canister models have them located separately. Some upright vacuums, such as Shark Rotator NV501 and Shark Rocket HV302, feature a lift-away design that can morph them into handheld models which you can carry around. Stick vacuums are light and portable for cleaning smaller areas. Robotic vacuums like Shark ION Robot Vacuum RV750 have technological features that can be programmed for automated light cleaning. So which one is right for you?
The area you intend to clean, and the amount of cleaning involved will help you choose the right type. Once you figure out the type you need, it will be easier to narrow down on the model. If you are tired of plugging and unplugging your vacuum repeatedly, you should opt for a cordless vacuum which is powered by a battery. If you prefer a vacuum that you can move around to clean closets, car interior, and spot-clean tight corners and edges, a handheld vacuum would be your best choice. To deep-clean expansive areas such as large carpeted floors, an upright vacuum with a long power cord and wide head would be ideal for you.
Wattage can give us a clue on how powerful the motor of the vacuum is. Although not always the case since a vacuum relies on various cleaning tools, powerful motors generally have more suction strength which yields more thorough cleaning, as evidenced by the Shark Rotator NV501. Ultimately, suction strength is where the real power of the motor lies, not the horsepower, amps or wattage, but the resultant airflow which is indicated in cubic feet per minute. Models like Shark Navigator NV356E allow you to adjust the suction power to suit different types of surfaces. Others have two motors for the vacuum and the brush.
Wattage also helps us to determine how energy-efficient a vacuum is.
Power cord length
A long power cord allows for more maneuverability and lets you cover large areas without having to constantly unplug and plug the unit to switch the power outlets. Generally, upright vacuums feature longer cords that are wound manually. For instance, the Shark Rotator NV501 and the Shark Navigator NV356E both have power cords that are 30-feet long.
Dust cup capacity
When dust cups overfill, they affect suction and the general performance of the vacuum. Dust cups with large size can hold more dust and debris which reduces the number of times they require emptying. This is convenient, especially when cleaning large areas with lots of dirt.
Upright models normally have the largest capacity owing to their overall design. For example, Shark Navigator NV356E has a dust cup with an extra-large capacity of 4.4 dry quarts compared to the 0.3-dry quarts dust cup capacity of the cordless Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean IF251.
As well as capacity, you should also look for dust cups that can be easily detached and emptied. Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean IF251 has a dust cup conveniently positioned at the top of the vacuum, which can be emptied by pressing the release button.
Weight and dimensions
The weight and dimensions of a vacuum dictate its portability, maneuverability and compact storage. The size and weight of the vacuum should be determined by the size of area to be cleaned and the type of surface you’re intending to use it on.
Upright models are bulky due to the powerful motor and multiple cleaning tools included and can weigh as much as 20 pounds, which may not be an issue because their long power cords provide extended cleaning coverage without having to lug them around.
Some like the Shark Rotator NV501 also have gliding wheels for smooth mobility. However, if you want to clean multi-level surfaces and tight spaces with a cordless, canister, or handheld model, the vacuum should be light in order to carry it around without straining your wrists and arms.
Some models (like the Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean IF251) feature detachable heads and wands which can be folded in half for cleaning underneath furniture and other tight places, and for convenient storage.
It is advisable to choose a vacuum with a warranty that can cover you for a long period, in case of malfunctions and other defects. Identify the average industry standard warranty period and compare that with the ones offered by various brands. Upright vacuums offer three years of warranty in average while robotic vacuums feature a standard limited warranty of one year. Most Shark vacuums have a warranty of five years.
Vacuums come with several add-on attachments and accessories which make the cleaning process efficient, convenient and even enjoyable. Below are some of the additional features.
Lift-Away Capability: A model which can be used as an upright unit or converted to a handheld vacuum provides more cleaning options and improves access to tight spaces.
Adjustable Suction Power: The brush roll in Shark Rocket HV302 has dual low and high-speed settings that can be customized for any kind of surface, whether carpets, tiles, or hard floor.
LED Light: The LED indicator light provides information on battery life, maintenance and performance while LED navigation headlights enhance visibility in dark areas.
Rubberized Wheels: They improve portability, and provide smooth mobility and compact storage.
Washable Filters: A filter that can be washed and reused will save you a lot of money on a replacement. If possible, go for a washable HEPA filter which eliminates 99.9% of airborne allergens.
Extension Wand: It increases the length of the hose to clean hard-to-reach areas.
Wall Mount: This gives you more options for convenient storage. Shark Rocket HV302 is an example of a vacuum with this feature.
User-Friendly Interface: The best Shark vacuum has simple and accessible controls that are easy to operate and navigate when selecting or switching settings.
Path Width: Look for a model with a wide cleaning path which cleans more area with fewer passes.
Accessory Bag with Multiple Cleaning Tools: An accessory bag is used to store the multiple attachments and cleaning tools which include dust brushes; crevice and upholstery extra nozzles for navigating narrow corners and edges and cleaning cushions and sofas; dust away hard floor attachment with reusable microfiber cleaning pad for cleaning finer particles; a pet power brush for cleaning fur and dander; and a car tool kit for automobile cleaning. These attachments make the vacuum versatile for cleaning various types of surfaces and accessing hard-to-reach areas.
How to maintain your Shark vacuum?
Reduction of suction power is usually the primary signal of a vacuum that is due for cleaning, but you should never wait until it gets to that point.
Keep an eye on the transparent dust cup so you can empty it before it fills up and reduces suction power. Ideally, you should empty it when it is 50% to 75% full.
It is advisable to wash the dust cup with soap, warm water and a brush at least once a month. Foam and HEPA filters can be washed Avoid washing the felt filter as it might void the warranty. Ensure the dust cup and filters are dry before placing them back in the vacuum.
Although some rotating brushes self-clean, you should check on them after every few vacuuming sessions to prevent clogging by tangled hair and fabric that may have been trapped.
Hoses should also be inspected for any objects that could be lodged in them.
Keep your vacuum away from any spilled water and leaking pipes.
A vacuum that uses HEPA filters can prevent allergic reactions because the filter eliminates 99.9% of airborne allergens, including pollen, pet dander, harmful gases, and other airborne particles which are responsible for hypersensitive reactions.
It is advisable to vacuum your house at least once per week, and daily if you have pets because they constantly shed off fur and dander. A house with several occupants needs to be vacuumed twice a week.
Car interiors can easily be cleaned with any cordless or handheld model in our list above because they can fit in the small space. However, the best vacuum would be Shark Rocket HV302 because it has a car toolkit that is customized for automobiles.
Honestly, this was a tough one. We loved all the models, thus the high ratings for all of them. Shark Rotator NV501 and Shark Navigator NV356E scored close rating to top our best Shark vacuum list. Unsurprisingly, they share similar features and functionalities. Both of them are multifunctional and can be used as upright or handheld vacuums. They both have powerful motors operating at 1200 watts and a long power cord of 30 feet for extensive cleaning. Their dust cups have extra-large capacity which can hold a lot of dirt before they require emptying. The HEPA filter and anti-allergen complete seal technology capture harmful airborne particles from the air and keeps them trapped, so they do not leak back. The Shark Rotator NV501 also features handy LED headlight to keep even the tightest and darkest places of your home clean at all times.
Our third choice was Shark Rocket HV302 which we voted as the Most Maneuverable owing to its light weight, long cord, swiveling head, handheld capability, and multiple attachments to help you vacuum each and every corner in your house without any fuss.