9 Best Shark Vacuums: Buyer’s Guide, Review and Comparison

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Best Shark Vacuum

Shark is perhaps the closest brand to Dyson when it comes to innovation.

Today, we’ll be looking closely at the best Shark vacuums available right now.

Bear in mind that Shark does have a wide range of options in their product range, but at least for the first part we’ll be looking at three main categories – the Best Overall, Best Budget, and Best Cordless.

Most of their products are either upright or stick vacuums. Notice that I did not put any canister vacuum option in this list because the “Lift-Away” system found in a lot of the newer Shark uprights has the same functionality.

Also, most of the “best” picks have the DuoClean system which in my opinion is one of the most ground-breaking vacuuming tools that was designed.

Our Pick for the Best Shark Vacuum

Best Shark Vacuum: Shark APEX DuoClean AZ1002

Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M AZ1002

The APEX DuoClean AZ1002 with Zero-M is currently Shark’s latest and their most powerful vacuum to date. It’s the newer version of the older APEX AX952 that does not have the Zero-M feature that resists tangles from cleaning long hair. This variant is one of their best-performing vacuums, but unfortunately, it’s also one of their most expensive options. If you live in a home with a lot of pets, or with someone with long hair, this is an excellent choice.

Despite its bulk and weight (at 16 pounds), the APEX AZ1002 is one of Shark’s most versatile upright thanks to the “powered lift away” feature that gives it more mobility and less strain on your forearms when cleaning floors.

One of the biggest strengths of this vacuum is its suction.

It has the most suction of any Shark upright and outdoes other brands such as the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and Miele U1 Dynamic.

It even has more power than the previous APEX upright despite having the same size motor.

This power also translates favorably on cleaning as it gobbles up everything on hard floors and carpet.

Best Budget

Shark LiftAway Speed NV771

Shark Lift-Away Speed NV771

Just in case the Shark APEX with Zero-M technology is too costly, then have a look at the NV771 which is a part Shark’s “Speed” series. It’s a more compact option that weighs just 13 pounds. This upright is an excellent option for smaller homes because it has a narrower cleaning head that will fit on tighter areas better. Unfortunately, it does not have the powered lift away feature so you cannot use the main cleaning nozzle in this mode.

Like the APEX above this, it also has a fully sealed system and HEPA filtration, meaning allergens will not seep through the exhaust and will help keep the air indoors clean.

It also has decent power generating more airflow than the Dyson Ball Animal 2 at the cleaning head.

This is impressive as the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a more expensive option and does not perform as well on hard floor.

Even if the Shark Lift-Away Speed isn’t the cheapest budget option, it does offer a lot of value because it uses high-quality materials, performs well on just about any surface indoors, and has a sealed system that keeps allergens inside the dust cup.

Best Cordless

Shark ION P50

Shark ION P50

The Shark ION P50 is our pick as the best Shark cordless vacuum because it has the most power and the only option with a fully sealed system. It’s unique in that the dust bin and motor are near the base of the vacuum making it light on the forearm when vacuuming floors. The Powered Lift-Away system further reduces this weight and gives it better range under furniture.

It also has the largest bin size of all the cordless Shark selections, allowing it to clean a larger area before emptying.

The DuoClean tool on the main nozzle does an excellent job at cleaning surface dirt. This feature is one of the most creative innovations in the vacuum cleaning industry.

It combines a soft roller and a bristle brush that works on nearly any surface inside the home.

Likewise, it does a superb job at cleaning fine dust to extra-large dirt such as fruit loops or cheerios.

Table of Contents

Shark Vacuum Comparison Chart

Before I go further, here’s a quick overview of the best Shark vacuum cleaners:

BEST OVERALL

Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M AZ1002
  • Type: Upright
  • Weight: 17.1 lbs.
  • Cord length: 30 ft.
  • Dirt capacity: 1.5 dry quarts.
  • Warranty: 5 yrs.

BEST BUDGET

Shark LiftAway Speed NV771
  • Type: Upright
  • Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Cord length: 30 ft.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.9 dry quarts.
  • Warranty: 5 yrs.

BEST CORDLESS

Shark ION P50
  • Type: Cordless stick
  • Weight: 12.03 lbs.
  • Run time: up to 55:22 mins.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.54 dry quarts.
  • Warranty: 5 yrs.

LIGHTER UPRIGHT OPTION

Shark Powered Lift-Away NV803
  • Type: Upright
  • Weight: 14.5 lbs.
  • Cord length: 30 ft.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.9 dry quarts.
  • Warranty: 5 yrs.

TANGLE-FREE CARPET CLEANER

Shark Navigator with Zero-M ZU561
  • Type: Upright
  • Weight: 13.4 lbs.
  • Cord length: 25 ft.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.9 dry quarts.
  • Warranty 5 yrs.

LIGHTWEIGHT STICK ALTERNATIVE

Shark ION F80
  • Type: Cordless Stick
  • Weight: 8.7 lbs.
  • Run time: up to 87 mins.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.3 dry quarts.
  • Warranty: 5 yrs.

PREMIUM HANDHELD

Shark ION W1
  • Type: Cordless Handheld
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs.
  • Run time: up to 9:28 mins.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.08 quarts.
  • Warranty: 1 yr.

BUDGET HANDHELD

Shark Pet Perfect II
  • Type: Cordless Handheld
  • Weight: 2.7 lbs.
  • Run time: up to 10:40 mins.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.47 dry quarts.
  • Warranty: 1 yr.

BEST ROBOT

Shark ION R85
  • Type: Robot Vacuum
  • Run time: up to 88 mins.
  • Dirt capacity: 0.7 dry quarts.
  • Navigation: Random
  • Warranty: 1 yr.

Best Overall: Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M AZ1002

When it comes to overall cleaning performance and features, it’s hard to beat the Shark APEX AZ1002.

Of all the Shark uprights, this variant has the most power and airflow, even more than the more expensive Dyson Ball Animal 2.

It’s got every accessory that Shark has to offer, making it one most versatile whole-home cleaners despite its 17-pound weight.

That bulk is somewhat alleviated by the “Powered Lift-Away” system that allows you to use this as a stick vacuum.

What makes this a good option?

  • Outstanding debris pick up: This upright has superb airflow at 90 cfm which outperforms more expensive uprights such as the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and Miele U1 Dynamic. The strong airflow gives it first-rate performance on carpet or hard surfaces.
  • Zero Maintenance: The Zero-M technology does an excellent job of keeping hair from wrapping around the DuoClean brushes. It is truly another ground-breaking feature from Shark that helps save time.
  • Large dirt capacity: The AZ1002 has a large dust cup that can hold up to 1.5 dry quarts of dirt. It’s bigger than any of the Shark uprights available.
  • Highly maneuverable: Despite its size, it scores high when it comes to maneuverability thanks to the excellent swivel steering and upgraded rubber wheels under the nozzle. In Lift-Away mode, it becomes even more mobile even under furniture.

Potential issues

  • Heft: This vacuum tips the scales at 17 pounds, but the excellent steering, rubber wheels and Lift-Away feature diminish this concern.
  • Price: Being the premium options means you’ll have to spend some serious $$$. But it’s still cheaper than other more premium brands such as a Dyson.

Perhaps, the most impressive feature in this vacuum is the Zero-M technology. It sounds like a gimmick but this technology works!

Zero-M is little overhangs on top of the nozzle/brushes that actively remove hair as the brushes spin.

This feature greatly helps in keeping hair from wrapping around the beater bar making the AZ1002 out of the best options out there regardless of the brand for cleaning pet or human hair.

To round out the list of features: It’s got bright LED lights on the nozzle and handle, a bevy of tools for cleaning upholstery and stairs, and a fully sealed system that blocks out allergens.

Bottom line

The Shark APEX AZ1002 is an excellent option for the homeowner looking for whole-whole vacuum capable of cleaning any type of dry dirt. It’s got DuoClean and Zero-M technology that annihilates any type of dirt from fine sand to large cheerios without hair wrapping on the brushes.

Best Budget: Shark Lift-Away Speed NV771

Don’t misinterpret the term “Budget” as being the cheapest since the Shark Lift-Away Speed NV771 is far from it.

However, it’s the most inexpensive DuoClean Lift-Away upright available right now. It does offer a lot of value factoring in quality, power, performance, and filtration.

What makes this a good option?

  • Lightweight upright: Weighing at a smidge over 13 pounds, this upright is considered light for an upright.
  • Better precision: The narrower nozzle allows it to go into smaller spaces that a bigger vacuum would not be able to reach.
  • Superb build quality: The quality of plastics used such as the hose is excellent and will be able to withstand daily vacuuming tasks.
  • Excellent on hard floor and carpet: There’s no question that the DuoClean system will be able to handle any sort of dry dirt, large or small, on any surface inside the home.
  • Sealed filtration: This Shark has a fully sealed system that prevents allergens from seeping through. Not many vacuums at this price range have this feature.

Potential issues

  • No powered lift away: In “lift away” mode, you won’t be able to use the main floor tool. Since it weighs just 13 pounds, it shouldn’t be an issue but it limits the reach of this vacuum under furniture.
  • Lacks attachments: The NV771 only comes with two attachments – the upholstery and combination crevice/brush tool. It isn’t much but that’s one way that Shark kept costs down.

Like with any Shark with a DuoClean, this upright cleans extremely well. The main nozzle will be able to pick up anything from tiny dust particles to large dirt.

It does not have the powered lift away feature but it isn’t a big issue since the vacuum weighs just 13 pounds.

One downside to this exclusion is the limited reach it has cleaning under sofas or beds.

The dust cup has decent capacity at 0.9 quarts. Not as big as the APEX but still decent. Emptying it will also be easy since it’s an open design for easy access to removing debris.

Bottom line

The Shark LiftAway Speed NV771 is a good option if you prefer something lighter than the APEX. It does not have the powered lift away feature so the range will be limited under furniture. The compact size does make up for it.
Shark vacuums, even their uprights, are known for quality, innovation, and outstanding pick up on just about any surface. But most of the items in this list are expensive – costing over $200. If you want something cheaper, please don’t forget to check out our picks for best vacuums under $100. Budget-conscious shoppers should check this out.

Best Cordless: Shark ION P50

One of the most unique cordless vacuums in the market is the Shark ION P50.

It’s distinct in that it uses a lift away system that makes it extremely light when cleaning floors.

This feature also makes it one of the easiest to use above floors since you’re not carrying the weight of the dust cup and motor.

Then there’s the DuoClean system. One of the reasons I like this technology is its ability to clean different types of debris.

It doesn’t matter if its extra-large stuff like cereal or fine stuff like ground coffee, this design will be able to handle it.

However, it won’t deep clean as well as the Dyson V10 or V11, or even the Bissell AirRam.

What makes this a good option?

  • Light on the arms: The lift-away feature makes it extremely light when vacuuming floors, upholstery, or even ceiling vents.
  • Spacious dust cup: The P50 has a larger dust cup even than the Dyson V10. It’s a 1-1/2 cups larger to be specific with the bin packed full and over the fill line.
  • Excellent at transitions: There’s no need to carry an extra tool with the P50. The DuoClean head does a tremendous job on rugs, carpets, and hard floors and is a better tool overall.
  • LED visibility: There are a row of bright LED lights on the nozzle and the hose that help visibility. If you have not vacuumed with LED lights, it’s a lot of help, especially under beds or tables.
  • Better than the V10 on hard surfaces: The DuoClean nozzle is particularly good at hard floors and less prone clogging up when cleaning huge piles of dirt.

Some issues

  • On the heavy side: The P50 weighs over 10 pounds and if this is an issue then go with the lighter ION F80.
  • Not as good as Dyson in deep cleaning: There’s no question that the P50 is superb in surface dirt pick up, but it lags behind the Dyson V10 and V11 when it comes to deep cleaning carpet.
  • DuoClean brushes not removable: You cannot remove the soft roller and bristle brush on the DuoClean head which makes it a bit of a pain to clean.

The low center of gravity allows it to stand on its own without the aid of a dock.

It’s got a really large dust cup for a cordless stick vacuum, perhaps the largest in its class at over 4 cups.

This capacity even dwarfs the size of the already huge bin of the V10.

Shark is also generous with the LED lights as both the main floor nozzle and hose have it.

Bottom line

The Shark ION P50 is one of the more unique cord-free vacuums with its low center of gravity and lift away feature that makes it extremely light despite its 10+ pound weight. It has the DuoClean nozzle that is superb at cleaning surface dirt.

Lighter Upright Option: Shark Powered Lift-Away NV803

Shark Duo Clean NV803 Review

While the Shark APEX with Zero-M AZ1002 is the best Shark vacuum feature-wise, the Powered Lift-Away NV803 may be the more practical option.

This compact upright is lighter at just 14.5 pounds and the narrower cleaning nozzle will fit in narrower areas whereas the AZ1002 would struggle.

It does not have the Zero-M feature or the power, but it’s still superb at handling any type of surface dirt.

The NV803 will be more prone to hair wrapping around the brushes, but if you’re not dealing with a ton of pet or human hair, the more compact frame makes up for it.

What makes this a good option?

  • Lightweight design: Weighing just 13.5 pounds, the NV803 is the lightest DuoClean powered lift away in Shark’s upright line. It’s even lighter than the Dyson MultiFloor 2.
  • Sealed system: Allergens, pet hair, dander, and allergens (up to 0.3 microns) will say inside the vacuum thanks to the fully sealed system that Shark uses. It’s one a few vacuums at this price range to offer such.
  • Superb build quality: Despite being a lighter model, the NV803 uses high quality materials in particular the hose that isn’t prone to tearing. The DuoClean brushes are sturdy and capable even tackling big messes.
  • Fits in tighter areas: The compact size of this upright enables it to fit better between furniture legs. You won’t be moving furniture as much with this in tow.

Some issues

  • No Zero-M: Being an older model, it does not come with the Zero-M technology which means long hair will wrap around the brush which can be a pain to remove.
  • Smaller dust cup: Compared to other Shark uprights, the NV803 has a smaller dust cup.

One of the reasons why this upright is popular is its compact design. The main cleaning head is shorter meaning it will fit in more areas other Shark uprights like the APEX can’t.

It’s also one of the lightest to use even in upright mode because of its reduced weight.

Depending on the variant, the attachments will vary. For the NV803, you’ll get the combination tool, upholstery brush tool, under appliance tool and the air-powered turbo brush.

Bottom line

The Shark Powered LiftAway NV803 is an excellent option for people looking for a lightweight upright that is capable of cleaning homes with a mixture of hard floors and carpet. It’s got excellent power and agitation with the DuoClean system capable of tackling any type of dry dirt.

Tangle-Free Carpet Cleaner: Shark Navigator with Zero-M ZU561

Going further this series of Shark uprights, let’s have a look at the Navigator with Zero-M ZU561.

This model is the upgraded version of the previous generation Shark Navigator that was one of the best options in its price range thanks to its superb cleaning performance on carpet.

The ZU561 addresses the issues that the older version had with its new features.

First and foremost is Zero-M technology. It’s a row of overhangs on top of the brush that actively prevents hair from wrapping up on the brushroll.

Hair wrap tests show that this technology works really well at preventing hair and other stuff from wrapping around the brush.

This is a good enough reason to upgrade from the older Navigator.

What makes this a good option?

  • No more tangles: The Zero-M technology is a game-changing feature that prevents debris from wrapping around the main brush. It’s not just a gimmicky term but a tried and tested feature that works!
  • Exceptional option on carpet: The improved floor nozzle design and Zero-M gives this the edge over the older version in cleaning carpet. It surprisingly does better on larger debris despite having less power and airflow.
  • Better than expected on hard floor: Behind the brush is a rubber strip that improves the seal and gives this upright better pick up ability on fine stuff like sand and powder.
  • Lightweight: This upright weighs 13.4 pounds which makes it easier to move around than heavier uprights.
  • Fully sealed: The ZU561 is one of the least expensive choices that has a sealed system that basically keeps dirt inside the bin.

Some issues

  • No powered lift away: There’s no option to use the main cleaning nozzle in lift away mode. It hampers the reach this vacuum has under furniture.
  • Can’t pick up large debris: The lack of the DuoClean system hinders its ability to clean large bits of dirt.

Another upgrade is the rubber strip behind the nozzle gives it a better seal. This feature improves how it tackles fine debris like sand on hard surfaces. It also improves pick ability on crevices.

These upgrades allowed Shark to put in a smaller motor to keep the weight down.

But it is still heavier than the older Navigator that weighs 12.5 pounds.

Still, the lower weight and swivel steering (again, same as the older version), make this easy to maneuver around furniture.

The lack of the powered lift away feature does limit its ability to clean underneath beds though.

Bottom line

The new Shark Navigator ZU561 is a worthy upgrade over the older Navigator upright. With the Zero-M technology, cutting off hair from the brush is a thing of the past. Hard floor performance is also better thanks to the better seal and overall design of the brush.

Lightweight Stick Alternative: Shark ION F80

Now let’s move on again to Shark stick vacuums and we’ll be looking at the ION F80.

This model is the upgrade version of the Shark IONFlex and has the same FLEX-able wand that makes it easier to access areas underneath furniture.

It actually has less airflow but runs longer than the previous IONFlex series.

Both have the removable ION battery that makes it easy to replace just in case something goes wrong.

The ION F80 has two batteries that will run up to 87 minutes combined. Not even the Dyson V11 can come close to this staggering figure.

Only the Bissell AirRam runs longer but it doesn’t have the same versatility as this stick vacuum.

What makes this a good option?

  • Staggering battery life: Both ION batteries combined will run for up to 87 minutes! With the main cleaning head it will still run for up to 57 minutes (combined).
  • Flexible wand: This model has the IONFlex feature that allows you to clean under furniture without bending over.
  • Self-standing: Another benefit of the IONFlex is the ability to store this vacuum standing without the need for a dock.
  • Excellent pick up on carpet and bare floor: The DuoClean head does an outstanding job at cleaning hard floors and carpets. Perhaps the biggest benefit of it is its ability to different debris sizes without the need to change the cleaning head.
  • Bright LED lights: Having this feature increases visibility and is very helpful especially in darker areas.

Some potential issues

  • No sealed system: The F80 does not have a sealed system or HEPA filtration so fine dust and allergens will seep through the exhaust.
  • Top-heavy design: Despite having the same weight as the Dyson V10, this version is more top-heavy for above-floor cleaning.
  • Self-propelling: On carpet, the cleaning nozzle has a self-propelling feel on high power because of the brush roll. An effort is needed to fight this and it can be straining on the arm. Putting it in default mode erases this issue altogether.

This model actually uses the same battery as the IONFlex but Shark reduced the airflow to be able to extend the run time.

One advantage the DuoClean system has over a more traditional brush design is that it does not rely so much on airflow.

It also has an excellent seal and scores high with crevice pick up tests.

The tools out of the box will depend on the variant. Standard attachments include the upholstery and upholstery tool. Some options may include the car detail tool. These will vary depending on where you buy it.

Unfortunately, this option does not have the anti-allergen complete seal system meaning allergens will leak through the exhaust. If this high-priority then opt for the more expensive ION P50.

Bottom line

The Shark ION F80 is the longest-running Shark cord-free option and will run for more than 80 minutes! It has similar features as the IONFlex but with better battery life. Folks looking for a vacuum with an extended run time will appreciate this stick vacuum.

Premium Handheld: Shark ION W1

Now, let’s move over to Shark handhelds. In comparison to stick vacuums, Shark does not manufacture a lot of handhelds. They have around four handheld options – the ION F1, Pet Perform (LV801), Pet Perfect II, and the Rocket (HV292) which is a corded option.

The ION W1 is Shark’s latest and lightest handheld vacuum to date weighing just 1.5 pounds.

Its sleek design looks futuristic and perfect for small cleaning tasks around the home. This is the same vacuum found in the Shark S87 robot.

What makes this a good option?

  • Extremely lightweight: Weighing just 1.5 pounds, this handheld is tremendously light. Ergonomics is very good because of this compact design.
  • Easy to empty: The one-button bin release system works well at emptying debris.
  • Sealed filtration: It comes with a fully sealed filtration that keeps dirt inside.
  • Decent power: Even with its small frame, the W1 did well in debris pick up.

Some issues

  • Small bin: The W1 can only hold up to half-a-cup of dirt in its extremely tiny bin.
  • Not good enough tools: You won’t get much when it comes to attachments, only the upholstery tool that does not work as well as the mini-motorized attachment of the V7 Trigger.
  • Short run time: This handheld will run for only 9:28 mins.

It’s hard to expect much more from such a compact machine.

The size limitation puts a cap on the suction and capacity. Besides, people who will be buying this will do so for the smallest cleaning tasks.

Bottom line

The Shark ION W1 is an extremely light and compact handheld perfect for the smallest cleaning tasks. Don’t expect too much when it comes to performance and battery life, but for its size it is capable.

Budget Handheld: Shark Pet Perfect II

Moving on to the budget handheld option, Pet Perfect II is a “perfect” alternative if the ION W1 is too small or costly.

The Shark Pet Perfect II actually outperforms more expensive handhelds such as the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser.

It’s pick up ability is excellent thanks to its high airflow and high-quality motorized brush.

Nozzle size is also sufficient enough to pick up greater quantities of larger debris such as fruit loops and cheerios.

It also is a great option for cleaning pet hair on stairs or upholstery.

What makes this a good option?

  • Above-average airflow: The Pet Perfect II has 43 cfm of airflow which is a touch lower than the Dyson V7 Trigger. It is an excellent value for the price you’re paying.
  • An excellent option for pet hair: The high airflow and stiff bristles make give it above-average pet hair cleaning performance.
  • Decent recharge time: It takes 5 hours to fully charge this handheld. Compared to the more expensive Black & Decker HHVJ315JDP27 that takes up to 9 hours, it’s considerably less.

Potential issues

  • The brush isn’t removable: The brush in the mini-turbo brush attachment isn’t removable. Shark does sell replacement tools with removable brushes for a reasonable price if it wears out.
  • Hair tangles on the brush: Unfortunately, hair will tangle on the brush and will require frequent maintenance cleaning to run smoothly.

This handheld is one of the best budget handheld options regardless of brand.

It does not have the refinement of a Dyson but it’s doesn’t cost as much.

There isn’t much of a difference between this handheld and the V7 Trigger when it comes to airflow.

And even if the V7 Trigger has the better brush tool, the Pet Perfect II’s brush performs well as far as picking up debris.

Bottom line

The Shark Pet Perfect II offers consumers a decent, inexpensive handheld option to more costly brands such as the Bissell, Dyson and Black + Decker. That is if you don’t mind constantly cutting wrapped air on the brush.

Best Robot: Shark ION R85

Moving on to robot vacuums, Shark is now trying to compete with Roomba and Neato in this niche.

The ION R85 is their latest offering and is the same robot found in the S87 that also has the W1 handheld.

This robot is the upgraded version of the ION R75 with the biggest improvement found in the motor.

The ION R75 has the most airflow at its price range, matching the Neato D7 with 20 cfm on its highest setting.

It has more power than the Roomba 980 and I7 that tops out at only 17 cfm.

There are three power settings – quiet, normal and max. Even at the lowest setting, it is more powerful than the Roomba 690 by 2 cfm.

Unlike the Neato, however, the R75 does not have smart navigation.

It uses a more standard algorithm found in most robots at this price range.

But the good news it has side sensors that tell the robot to slow down when it detects obstacles.

So it won’t scuff furniture like the older Roomba robots.

What makes this a good option?

  • Outstanding power for its price: The R85 offers exceptional power for its price. Based on airflow tests, it has as much power as the much more expensive Roomba 980 and Neato D7.
  • Excellent design: The brush roll that Shark uses is a hybrid that combines standard bristles and rubber flaps that aid with agitation. Around the main cleaning brush are a set of bristles that create a great seal.
  • WiFi, Alexa, and Google Assistant compatibility: Not many robot vacuums in this price range have this much compatibility with these devices.
  • Decent at deep cleaning carpet: Surprisingly, the R85 scores 76% in the embedded sand, deep cleaning test which is better than the RoboRock E25, and Roomba 690.
  • Large dust cup: It can hold up to 0.7 dry quarts of dirt which larger than the Roomba 690.

Potential issues

  • Random navigation: The R85 does not have the smart navigation that the other higher-end robots have, but it’s still more efficient than most of the robots at this price range.
  • Exhaust blows light stuff: This only occurs at the highest power settings where the wind from the exhaust blows light, fluffy stuff like pet hair. But it isn’t as bad as the Roomba 690.

There’s a lot to like about the R85. It’s reasonably priced, powerful, quiet, clean well regardless of surface, and quiet – producing just 61 decibels on the MAX power setting.

All this can be attributed to its superb design of the main cleaning nozzle that does not require as much airflow to be effective.

There isn’t much of a difference with the low, medium and high setting when it comes to performance.

You can just leave it at the lowest setting and it’ll clean surface dirt well enough.

This robot does not have the smart navigating found in the more expensive options such as the Neato D7, Roomba S9 or RoboRock S6, but its performance and low price make up for this limitation.

Bottom line

The Shark ION R85 is a legitimate alternative to the Roomba 690 for people looking for a less costly option. It has much more power, a lot quieter, perform better, and will provide better value overall.

Best Shark Vacuum in 2019?

That’s a tough question to answer because there will be a lot of variables.

Fortunately, Shark has evolved through the years and their vacuums are more versatile than ever.

So to help you determine what’s best for your needs, let’s focus on the different features that Shark Vacuums have to offer.

Shark Vacuum Features Explained

Shark prides itself with its innovative feature that they’ve developed slowly through the years.

We’ll go through each one and explain the benefits and what its best for.

DuoClean

One of my favorite inventions from Shark is DuoClean technology. This technology solves one of the biggest issues that arise from conventional cleaning nozzles – its tendency to push large particles of dirt forward.

The unique design of the DuoClean consists of the soft roller and bristle brush. It has been a staple in their newer upright vacuum product line. It excels surface dirt on carpet and hard floors and also capable of deep cleaning.

Shark solves this issue by adding a soft roller brush in from of a traditional bristle brush.

Using a soft roller increases the vertical clearance and so it is able to pick up larger bits of debris while still providing excellent fine debris pickup.

The key in this design I believe is the back part of the nozzle that strip of cloth that provides an excellent seal.

Shark vacuums that use DuoClean technology are also good at picking up dirt from crevices.

Also, the combo brush used in the newer options provides excellent agitation on carpet.

So these vacuums are great all-around options. It may not deep clean as well as a Dyson upright, but its performance on hard surfaces more than makes up for it.

IONFlex and SharkFlex

The IONFlex technology in Shark gives it flexibility for cleaning underneath furniture and for space-saving storage.

The IONFlex and SharkFlex features are one and the same.

This technology refers to the flexible part on the tube that connects the motor to the floor nozzle that allows the vacuum to “Flex” hence the term.

Shark uses a flexible hose to act as a “joint” so that you can clean under furniture without bending.

It’s activated with a release button and has quite a bit of play that allows forward and backward movement.

This technology allows for vertical storage without the assistance of a dock. Since the vacuum is folded, vertical real estate is also reduced.

IONFlex refers to the cordless vacuums that have this feature while the SharkFlex are the corded options.

There are a few IONFlex options that include the IONFlex, and IONFlex 2X.

Both these stick vacuums are similar – the latter does come with two ION Li-ion batteries. Then there’s the newer ION F80 that’s surprisingly less expensive than the IONFlex 2X. It also runs the longest of Shark’s cordless vacuums clocking at 87 minutes from the two Li-ion batteries.

The SharkFlex line does not offer as much diversity as there is only one option available which is the HV291.

Lift-Away

This is another exception invention by Shark. Most of their newer upright vacuums have what they call the “Lift-Away” technology which is a feature where you lift the dust bin away from the body morphing it to a more portable vacuum.

Shario Lift Away System
The Lift-Away feature is ingenious in that it transforms a normally bulky upright into a lightweight cleaning machine that you can use to clean areas like this sofa chair.

There are two sub-categories to this – the standard lift away and the powered lift away.

The standard lift away feature is the older technology where only the above floor tools are usable in this mode.

Upright vacuums with this feature are on the lower end of the price range and lighter.

The powered lift away is a more recent development where the main cleaning nozzle is functional in lift-away mode.

Shark Powered Lift Away
The Powered Lift-Away transforms a bulky upright into a sleek stick vacuum that can reach deep under furniture. Not having to carry the weight of the dust bin and motor reduces weight you have to carry on one hand.

This setup lightens the load on the arms when cleaning floors because the added weight of the dust bin is no longer there.

Using it in this mode gives it the ability to clean deep under furniture and also stairs.

Newer Shark uprights have this feature to be specific, the APEX and Rotator series. The models that have this feature are typically more expensive, bulky, and heavier, but have more power and better performance on carpet.

Zero-M

Shark DuoClean Zero-M Technology
The row of fangs above the brush roll is quite effective at removing hair. Just remember to keep the brush roll running a bit to give Zero-M time to remove hair that wraps up.

Another game-changing feature that Shark has introduced is Zero-M. I’m not sure what Zero-M (could be Zero-Maintenance) stands for, but this technology really works at keeping hair from wrapping up on the bristles.

Traditional bristles are prone to dust, hair (human or pet), dander, etc. wrapping on it requiring messy and tedious cleanups.

Zero-M is a row of fang-like protrusions above the brush that actively remove hair and prevent it from wrapping around the brush. This technology helps prevent messy build-up and saves time.

Shark Stick Vacuum Reviews

Shark has a wide range of stick vacuums with and without a cord. Their cordless range is more diverse and quite popular with some never before seen features.

The biggest strength of these machines is that these are versatile, easy to maneuver, light, and great for smaller tasks, but the small dust capacity does require more frequent emptying.

Most options here do not have a sealed system and has failed the 5-micron fog test with the exception of the ION P50. This means that allergens will seep through the exhaust and post-motor filter.

ION Series

Shark IONFlex 2X

Shark ION Flex 2X

The IF251 was one of Shark’s first stick vacuums with the IONFlex technology. It also has the DuoClean nozzle that works extremely well on hard floors and carpet. This variant is the same vacuum to the IONFlex IF201 but with two Li-ion batteries. It’s got LED lights for increased visibility. Other attachments in the package include the combination brush/crevice tool, upholstery tool, and under appliance tool.

Shark ION P50

Shark did something different with the ION P50. Instead of sticking with the traditional design, it uses a unique design with most of the weight near the cleaning nozzle. This change results in a vacuum that’s lighter to use on floors despite weighing more than 10 pounds. It becomes even lighter in lift away mode and more maneuverable.

Shark ION F80

Shark ION F80

The ION F80 is Shark’s newest cordless stick with the IONFlex system. Like the IF251, it’s got DuoClean and two Li-ion batteries, but this option is surprisingly cheaper than the IONFlex. It also runs the longest of all their cord-free options and can run for up to 87 minutes!

Shark ION X40

The ION C40 is an F80 without the IONFlex system and only one battery. That single ION battery will run for up to 40 minutes in the handheld mode and 30 minutes in stick vacuum mode. It has DuoClean so it will do well on hard floors and carpet. The toolset inside the box includes a crevice and a suction only upholstery tool.

Rocket Series

Shark Rocket with Zero-M ZS351

The ZS351 is one of Shark’s newest stick vacuums that have the Zero-M technology that resists tangles very well. It’s a beefier version of the HV302 with twice the dirt capacity (0.74 vs. 0.31 dry quarts) and a longer power cord (by 5 ft.). It’s an excellent option if you want a stick vacuum that can clean lots of hair on carpet. Unfortunately, this model does not have the DuoClean system so don’t expect too much on hard floor.

Shark Rocket Complete HV382

The Rocket Complete is a corded stick vacuum that has a similar design to the IONFlex minus the IONFlex feature. One advantage this model has over the cordless is the larger dust capacity at 0.91 liters. But this upsize also increases weight making it more top-heavy. So it using on the floors and above it is tiring.

Shark Rocket Deluxe

This model is the older version of the HV382. It does not have the DuoClean system or the larger bin, but it’s a lighter option more suitable inside homes with carpet.

Shark Rocket HV302

The HV302 is the oldest in the “Rocket Series” and the least expensive option. Like the Deluxe, it does not have the DuoClean nozzle which won’t do as well on hard floor. This is one of the lightest option Shark’s corded “Rocket” stick vacuum but has the least power. It is a great option for cleaning carpet, stairs, and inside the vehicle because of the “car detail kit”.

Traditional Shark Upright Vacuums

For people who need something that can deep clean carpet, an upright vacuum is a better alternative.

These vacuums are heavy, but it offers more suction, airflow, dirt capacity, plus all the bells-and-whistles that a stick vacuum may not have.

Shark upright vacuums can be divided into three categories: Navigator, Rotator, and APEX.

Navigator vs Rotator

Shark Navigator vs Rotator

There isn’t much of a difference between the Shark Rotator and Navigator.

One of the differences I notice is that some Rotator models have the powered lift away system while the some Navigator options I see only have the lift away system.

Another difference is the shape of the filter. Navigators use a flat-shaped filter and the Rotator use a cylindrical shape. Both offer HEPA filtration and have post-motor HEPA filters.

There isn’t much of a difference in terms of performance. Both categories offer similar cleaning performance. It will boil down to choosing between the DuoClean head vs. the more traditional brush design.

Shark Navigator ZU561

The ZU561 is the newest in Shark’s Navigator line up with the Zero-M technology feature. This variant actually has a smaller motor than the older NV352, but will do better at cleaning fine dirt on hard surfaces thanks to the better seal. It’s got a fully sealed system and LED headlights.

Shark Navigator NV352

The NV352 is one of Shark’s more affordable upright offerings available. It’s got a powerful 1,200-watt motor that has outstanding cleaning performance on carpet. And it’s one of the few upright vacuums in this price range that has a fully sealed system and the cheapest in the Navigator lineup with the lift away system.

Shark Navigator FreeStyle SV1106

Technically not an upright but a stick vacuum, but it’s got the shape of an upright body minus the cord. It’s one of Shark’s best budget offerings that offer will vacuum carpet decently well. It does not have the advanced features such as the Lift Away or DuoClean, but if you don’t mind the limitations, it is worth a look.

Shark Rotator NV752

The Rotator NV752 is one of the more popular options in Shark’s Rotator series thanks to its large dust cup, powerful motor, and deep cleaning performance on carpet. The dust cup can hold a whopping 3.2 dry quarts of dirt! Unfortunately, it does not have DuoClean so it will be limited to cleaning carpet.

Shark Rotator NV803

If you prefer something with DuoClean, the NV803 is a better all-around option. It’s basically the same vacuum as the NV752 but with a different floor nozzle. The attachments are just about the same as well as the price. Choosing between the two will boil down to preference. Personally, I’d go with this option because of the DuoClean.

APEX Series

The APEX series is Shark’s newest upright offering that offers all the bells and whistles. It’s got noise reduction, an extra-large bin, Powered Lift Away, DuoClean, and Zero-M. These uprights are also the heavies and bulkier than their other alternatives. If your priority is cleaning performance, look no further than the APEX series.

Shark APEX Upright AZ1002

The AZ1002 is Shark’s most technologically advanced upright will all their features slapped in. This upright has DuoClean, Zero-M, LED headlights, noise reduction, and powered lift away making it one of the most versatile uprights available regardless of brand. It is also one of the heaviest at 17 pounds!

Shark APEX DuoClean ZS362

The APEX ZS362 is a newer version of the Shark Rocket Deluxe. Oddly Shark now has it in its APEX series despite being a corded stick vacuum. This option has the Zero-M feature that actively removes hair from the brush roll as it cleans. It’s got LED lights on the nozzle and handheld unit to aid with visibility.

Shark Handheld Reviews

Handheld vacuums are lightweight options that are tailor-fit for cleaning small messes. Shark does not have as many options in this category as they have with uprights or stick vacuums. Right now, they have three options.

Shark Pet Perfect II

The Pet Perfect II is perhaps Shark’s best performing cordless handheld. It has almost as much airflow as the Dyson V7 that costs hundreds more and an excellent job at debris pick up. This handheld comes with three attachments that include a crevice tool, mini-motorized tool, and a dusting brush. Run time isn’t a strong point as it will run for just under 10 minutes and 5 hours to fully charge.

Shark ION W1

This handheld is Shark’s latest handheld option. It’s sleek design and lightweight construction makes it only suitable for the lightest of cleaning tasks. If you want something that will fit in the tightest spots, this is a no-brainer choice.

Shark Rocket Corded

The only corded handheld in Shark’s lineup. It’s an excellent tool to have for cleaning pet hair on upholstery thanks to the motorized brush tool. Having a cord, run time will not be an issue. However, the plug is somewhat short at less than 20 feet.

Shark Robot Vacuums

Robotic vacuums are autonomous machines that do the vacuuming work for you. Shark is relatively new to this market, but their products look promising offering features only found in vacuums at a much higher cost.

Their robots don’t come with the high-end features such as smart navigation or dirt detection but it is a workhorse that will do the job.

Shark ION S87

This is Shark’s most expensive robot vacuum. It’s not actually a new product but a combination of two – the ION 750 robot and the ION W1 handheld. So essentially, you’re getting two products out of the box. For people who are looking for an all-around solution without buying anything extra. This robot isn’t the same as the Roomba I7+ with the self-emptying bin, but just a robot vacuum with a dock for the handheld vacuum.

Shark ION R85

The ION R85 is Shark’s newest robotic vacuum and the only one with WiFi, Alexa, and Google Assistant compatibility. So it is compatible in any modern home with these devices. It’s got excellent airflow, outclassing the more expensive Roomba I7 and 980 which are easily a few hundred dollars more expensive. And it’s got as much power as the Neato D7 which is tops of all robotic cleaners in terms of airflow.

Shark ION RV720

For folks who want something more basic, the ION 720 is an outstanding no-frills robot cleaner. It’s similar in design to the more expensive 750 but it does not have WiFi connectivity, Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility. Instead, it uses a remote control. It’s a very basic robot vacuum with navigation that just pinballs around a room, but it’s quite gentle with furniture and not bump into objects.

What’s the best shark vacuum for me?

With such a vast selection of vacuums, it can be confusing to pick one that will specifically fit your needs.

To help answer what’s best, we’ll have to look at the following questions. This will go a long way in dissecting the features that are important and features that aren’t.

How much are you willing to spend?

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the budget. Shark vacuums range between $50 to hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, even their most expensive option is still cheaper than a Dyson, so you’ll have some wiggle room and have a better warranty.

If looking for the cheapest option is of high priority, then the Shark Pet Perfect II is an excellent choice for people looking for a handheld. The Shark Navigator NV352 is an exceptional option for those looking for an inexpensive upright while the Shark Navigator SV1106 is outstanding for those looking for a cordless upright.

For those looking to spend a little bit more for better refinement and quality, the Shark Rotator Speed with DuoClean will not disappoint. It’s got DuoClean that is excellent on various surfaces plus “Lift-Away” for above floor jobs.

If money is not an issue then go with the APEX upright with all the bells-and-whistle features. It isn’t the lightest but this upright has serious power for cleaning any type of mess inside the home.

What features are you looking for?

One of the biggest strengths of Shark vacuums is its versatility. Most of their upright and stick vacuums are multi-purpose machines that can do more than just one task. So choosing between these options will boil down to budget, and specific attachment preferences.

Let’s get into specifics.

For people looking for a lightweight stick vacuum that can clean above floors equally well, any of these options will be tremendous.

For those looking for more power let’s say for whole-home cleaning, these uprights will be beneficial.

  • Shark APEX AZ1002: with Zero-M, DuoClean, and “Powered Lift-Away”, great for carpet and bare floor.
  • Shark Navigator Speed NV771: with Zero-M, DuoClean and “Lift-Away”, lighter and more compact option than the APEX series.
  • Shark Navigator ZU561: with Zero-M and “Lift-Away”, great for deep cleaning carpet minus the tangles.

For folks looking for something autonomous, then a robotic vacuum would be sufficient.

There you have it, a complete, detailed guide of the best shark vacuums available. If you’re still confused and not know what to choose, please contact us (or comment below) and we’ll be happy help and make a recommendation.

2 thoughts on “9 Best Shark Vacuums: Buyer’s Guide, Review and Comparison”

  1. I have looked online for 6 months to review the difference between Shark Rocket duo clean HV380, 381 and 382 in terms of accessories and cost. I have found mixed results, some say they go up in price with the HV382 the most expensive, but also the vacuum with the most accessories. How do you compare them cost wise and attachments included? There is about $100 difference between the HV380 and HV 382. what are you getting with the more expensive one?

    I really appreciate your responding.

    Lee Wentworth, lee3200@sbcglobal.net.

  2. Hi Lee,

    All Shark Rocket DuoClean models are the same machines except for the attachments. Shark isn’t clear with its documentation what accessories come in the package. Why not have a look at their newer corded stick vacuums such as the ZS351 (https://amzn.to/2ZkoJlo) and APEX ZS362 (https://amzn.to/2HlcwGR).

    The price difference between these newer models and older ones are just minimal. You might want to consider these options.

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