Shark Rocket PowerHead Review: Power Where It Counts

Shark Rocket PowerHead Review

Most upright vacuums have the same design with the motor located somewhere inside the body, usually below the bin.

Nothing wrong with this setup fundamentally speaking but when air has to pass through a maze of hoses from the inlet to the bin, there will be some loss of power.

Shark has taken a different approach and moved the motor all the way down where the cleaning head is.

Along with that it also has moved the dirt bin right beside it. Shark calls this technology “PowerHead”.

They have two reasons for doing this.

First is to reduce the path that dirt travels thus improving the efficiency of the motor because dirt does not have to travel through a maze of hoses.

Second reason is to shift the weight from the handle down to the floor.

This was one of the biggest complaints consumers had with another Shark Rocket product – the TruePet HV322 which is the weight of the handle that makes it hard to move when cleaning areas above eye level.

This product reminds me of the GTech AirRam that uses the same design principle. Motor and dust bin at the base to improve efficiency and cleaning performance.

But this one comes equipped with a cord thus it has more power and agitation compared to the AirRam.

While it works great in theory, there are a few things that hold this back from being a true upright vacuum.

The biggest being the size of the dirt bin which is very small to say the least. But it makes up for it in terms of weight and maneuverability.

It also comes with a pair of brushes designed for both carpet and bare floor.

Editor Rating
Bare Floor

★★★★¼ 

Carpet

★★★★½ 

Pet Hair Removal

★★★★¾ 

Ease of Use

★★★★¼ 

Overall

★★★★¼ 

Price

Features at a glance:

  • Comes with two brushes – a stiff bristled brush for carpet and a soft bristled for bare floor, Shark calls this the “gentle hard floor brushroll”
  • Dust bin is at the main floor tool
  • Telescopic handle
  • Has fingertip controls on the handle
  • Swivel steering makes moving around furniture easy (it folds flat so you will have an easier time going under furniture
  • 25 foot power cord
  • 5 year warranty

Pros

  • Lightweight at just 9 pounds (probably the lightest corded upright you’ll find in the market)
  • Swivel steering make this very maneuverable
  • Finger controls means you don’t have to bend down just to turn this vacuum on or off
  • Since motor is at the base, Shark was able to bring down vacuuming weight in hand to one pound
  • Has specially designed brushes for carpet and bare floor – this means better cleaning performance
  • Easy to remove dirt cup and brushes
  • Comes with a storage for the extra brush so you don’t misplace it

Cons

  • Has a very small dirt cup for an upright that fills up very quickly
  • Weaker agitation compared to larger uprights like the Dyson Cinetic
  • Poor post motor filtration (no HEPA filtration) – this may not be for allergy sufferers

What to expect from this lightweight upright

Features

Shark took a concept and improved upon it.

The Gtech AirRam was the first product I saw with this design. But it had weak suction and relied heavily on agitation to clean. So it was not able to deep clean as well as I’d hoped so bare floor cleaning suffered a bit.

Shark improved on this limitation by added a cord which means it has more suction and the specially designed brush for bare floor means better performance on surfaces like hardwood or linoleum.

If a heavyweight 16 pound upright is not an option, this would be a great alternative because it weighs just 9 pounds.

And since the motor is at the base, moving this around will not be difficult.

The swivel steering also improves maneuverability. It has a low profile design so reaching areas underneath furniture will not be difficult.

But that nimbleness comes at a price – a very small dust bin. If you have a large home with lots of carpet in it, you may need to empty this 3 or 4 times depending on how much dirt you’re cleaning.

The good news is the dirt cup is easy to remove and empty. So this should be a minor issue unless you’re cleaning a huge pile of mess in a big room.

It doesn’t come with a HEPA filter so allergy sufferers should go with the Shark Rocket NV752 or NV803. Or maybe a bagged vacuum.

If it’s pet hair, you’ll smell remnants of it coming from the exhaust. If that’s an issue, then you may want to consider its primary competitor the Dyson Cinetic as an alternative or the Shark Navigator.

Here’s a brief preview and an unboxing video from Kode1996…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knuGeKmoC_s

If you noticed right at the end of the video, the reviewer mentioned that it does have a post motor filter but it is very thin and porous which means it will not filter out microscopic allergens and odor out.

Here’s another unboxing video courtesy of VacBin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjc9f89Eby4

Logan gives us a brief history lesson here, he mentions that this design is similar to the early sweepers that the Shark company manufactured when they were primarily producing sweepers so this is an old school design and Gtech isn’t the first in using this layout.

If you look at Amazon there are two variants the AH401 (that comes in green) and AH452 (in blue). The green one is cheaper by around $50 (a heads up wink, wink)…

Take note that this is a totally different product than the Shark Rocket HV series that has gotten its inspiration from the Dyson DC series cordless vacuums.

Bare Floor Performance

Unlike Dyson uprights that relies on pure suction to pick up dirt the PowerHead uses a combination of suction and a soft bristled brush they call the “gentle hard floor brushroll” to pick up not just dirt but also tiny dust particles that are almost invisible to the naked eye.

It does perform well in terms of picking up dirt and dust on flat areas but it will struggle a bit pick up dirt hidden in deep crevices.

You’ll see in the video below that it left dirt inside cracks of hardwood. This type of flooring isn’t common right now so it shouldn’t be an issue on surfaces without these cracks.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=gaAAxd9dY1Q

It has pretty good edge cleaning but it only has edge cleaning on the right side of the cleaner head.

As I’ve said, it has difficulty cleaning dirt in between cracks and crevices so if you have a similar type hardwood surface at home, you may be better off with an upright with stronger suction like the Dyson Ball.

Carpet Performance

Between bare floor and carpet, the Shark Rocket Powerhead really excels in cleaning carpet. I’ll spare you all the talk but I’ll show you a demo.

To give you a real life example on how this vacuum performs how about a torture or a “big mess” test courtesy of Kode1996. Sit back and relax as these videos are close to an hour long.

Dirt you’ll see in the video is a mix of sand, pet hair, paper, pebbles and pet litter.

Most of you will not have to clean a mess this big but it is good to know that this vacuum is capable of cleaning these type of mess – the downside is you have to empty the dirt bin a lot.

Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpodZZ69018

Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNL3VysTnIw

Upholstery Performance

This upright is strictly a floor cleaner. It does not have any attachments that will help you clean upholstery.

Pet Hair Removal

This vacuum is capable of cleaning big piles of pet hair on bare floor and carpet. Howevery it will not be able to clean upholstery because it lacks tools.

Attachments and Accessories

It only comes with an extra hard floor brush roll and that’s about it.

Cord Length

Cord is around 25 feet long and it does not have any cord rewind.

Filter Clean up

There are a total of three filters. Two of them are inside the bin. Check the illustration below to see exactly where it is.

Dirt Cup

After emptying the dirt cup the next step is to open the top part by pushing a lever to access the two foam filters.

Filters

These two filters are washable but before placing them back inside make sure it is dry.

A third filter is a post-motor filter right behind the motor.

It isn’t particularly thick (it is made from felt) so it will not filter out allergens so allergy sufferers may want to opt for an upright with HEPA filtration or a bagged vacuum.

Warranty

Shark backs this upright with a 5 year warranty.

Product Specifications

Features
AttachmentsNone
Adjustable handle height
Yes
Cord Length25 feet
Auto Cord Rewind
No
Motorized brush
Yes

It comes with two
Brush on/off switch
No
Swivel
Yes
Headlight
Yes
Filter clogged indicator
No
Full bin indicator
No
Bagless
Yes
Multi-surface
Yes
Self propelled
No
Net weight9 pounds
Shipping weight14.6 pounds
Hose lengthNo hose
Cleaning Path10.5"
Overall reachN/A
Dirt capacityN/A
Filter typeWashable
PowerN/A
Voltage120 volts
Manufactured inChina
Warranty5 years

Customer Reviews

This is a new product so it does not have too much in terms of reviews in Amazon but for the folks who’ve purchased it they pretty much liked what they go out of this product.

The biggest positive being the weight – at just 9 pounds it was lighter than most uprights and when you compare it to heavyweights like the Oreck or Hoover, the difference is night and day.

In terms of performance consumers liked how this performed in both hardwood and carpet. One consumer in particular liked how this product cleaned their “soft” carpet.

It had just enough suction to clean carpet well without being too hard to push.

As you’ve see in the videos above, power is more than enough to clean low to medium pile carpet.

The biggest issue would be the size of the bin and the need to empty it more frequently.

Reviews aren’t the same in terms of performance on hardwood. Some say that it did well while others mentioned it lacked suction.

Consumers also compared this to the Shark Rocket True Pet and while the True Pet is a little more versatile, the PowerHead provides better cleaning power on both carpet and bare floors.

The low profile head and swivel steering make this easy to maneuver around and below furniture but it isn’t nimble enough to use on stairs.

Aside from the lack of suction power to clean dirt off cracks, the small dirt cup will require you to empty this several times when you clean a large room.

The filtration also isn’t great because it does not have any HEPA filters and it does not have a cyclonic system that keeps dirt from clogging it.

Price

There are two variants in Amazon – the Blue and Green. Right now the blue variant (or AH452) is cheaper by around $10 compared to the green (or AH400).

A more versatile solution to this would be the Shark Rocket with Duo Clean (or HV382). It has a larger motor, better agitation and performance on bare floor and it can clean upholstery thanks to the interchangeable tools. It will also cost $140 more but if you have the extra $$$ it would be worth the investment.

To Wrap It Up

This vacuum is a great lightweight option for people looking for a nimble piece of cleaning equipment capable of cleaning bare floor and carpet.

While it has enough suction to pick up surface dirt on most bare floor surfaces, it lacks suction and will struggle cleaning dirt in deep cracks and crevices.

It does perform better on carpet thanks to the strong agitation. In the videos I’ve seen, the PowerHead was able to pick up even large amounts of sand, pet hair and litter.

In terms of deep cleaning capabilities, it still lacks the true deep cleaning performance of a Rainbow Vacuum or a Dyson Cinetic but the mobility you get makes up for it.

You can use this as an in-between cleaner if a cordless stick vacuum does not cut it for you. If you don’t want to spend over $200 for a Shark Rocket Duo Clean then this is a great cheaper alternative.

The technology looks promising but it still has room for improvement in terms of filtration, size of the dirt bin and possibly adding a cyclonic system to further improve performance.

A post motor HEPA filter would also be a great addition to future models.

Garrick Dee
 

Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide that originally focused on cordless vacuums but he has now expanded to reviewing corded vacuums and carpet cleaners to be able to provide a more complete guide in terms of choosing the right cleaner.

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