When Shark came up with the Rocket series to challenge Dyson in the 2-in-1 stick niche, but there was a big problem – it had a cord.
And while the cord provided some additional power, the wire is a significant limitation and inconvenience for some.
Related: Please check out my in-depth guide on the best Shark vacuums and find out which Shark cleaner would be best suited for your needs.
So Shark went back to the drawing board and came up with the ION Rocket series. This time they cut the cord and now have a high capacity lithium-ion battery that runs as much as 30 minutes.
It may have a similar design to a Dyson cordless, but it does not have a trigger.
All the buttons are at the back of the vacuum, so you won’t strain your fingers pulling it.
A quick look at the features
- ION power pack lithium-ion battery will run as long as 30 mins
- An optional removable battery is available that can extend run time to as much as an hour
- LED headlights
- Anti-allergen seal
- Interchangeable tools allow it floor-to-ceiling versatility
- Weighs only 7.2 pounds
- 0.33-liter dry dirt capacity
- Anti-allergen complete seal – this means it has HEPA filtration
- Plug-in charger can be plugged on the battery on or off the vacuum
- Comes with a mini-turbo brush for cleaning upholstery
- Works on bare floor and carpet
- 5-year warranty
- Decent run time (up to 30 minutes)
- LED headlights help a lot with visibility
- Interchangeable tools allow this the versatility to clean floors up to the ceiling
- Long warranty (optional extended warranty is available in Amazon)
- A good option for spot cleaning pet hair on floors and upholstery
- It won’t be able to clean embedded dirt as well as a Dyson
- Small dirt bin – smaller than a Dyson V8
- Does not have the DuoClean brush roll so it won’t perform as well as the IONFlex
- Top-heavy design can be tiring on the arm
- No wall mount
I was very impressed with the technology behind the Shark Rocket series. From the first generation stick to the latest HV382 with Duo Clean.
What was missing was a cordless variant that would have freed it from the limitation of a cord.
And now the wait is over thanks to the ION Rocket IR101.
The ION Rocket IR101 has the same architecture as the IONFlex but minus of DuoClean system with the soft roller bar in front. This cordless only has the bristled brush so performance on bare floor won’t be as good.
All Dyson cordless vacuums from the early DC35 to the latest V11 utilize a trigger mechanism. And while Shark copied the architecture, it added it’s own flavor. With the IR101, Shark has something unique…
This is the interface, and it looks better if you compare it to some of the uprights in the market. It looks like a touchscreen interface with four different options – bare floor mode, carpet mode, normal suction, and max suction mode.
Again, this is proof that Shark is doing its best at trying to catch up with Dyson, and this design is impressive.
Floor to Ceiling Versatility
So we have to thank Dyson or the innovation and to Shark for being bold enough to challenge them.
The interchangeable tools and removable wand make it all possible. And combine that with the lithium-ion battery that runs for around 30 minutes. You have an excellent tool for cleaning areas around your home.
These tools include a Pet Multi-Tool, Duster Crevice Tool, and Anti-Allergen Dust Brush that’s a godsend for folks who have a hard time cleaning under furniture.
Here’s a photo of the anti-allergen dust brush.
You’ll notice how thin the tool is and will fit under furniture that’s has a low profile opening.
To help with visibility, this vacuum has two LED strips that will light up the path and help you track dust.
Washable Foam Filter
Like all Shark vacuums, the IR101 comes with a washable foam filter. This isn’t the same as the one found in Dyson that has a HEPA pre-motor filter. Filtration won’t be as good as a Dyson, so you’ll have to wash the filter more often.
Anti-Allergen Complete Seal
Despite the lack of a pre-motor HEPA filter, this one has an Anti-Allergen post-motor filter.
So if you have any allergy, this is pretty safe to use. But take note that you still are exposed to dust when you empty it.
Removable Lithium Ion Battery
Shark comes with a lithium-ion battery that’s removable. What’s unique about this product is that you can charge it with plug on the vacuum or unplugged.
This is great when you buy a second battery because you can charge the battery while using the vacuum.
Shark isn’t clean on how long the run time is, but according to reviews, it ranges between 20 to as much as 45 minutes. If you use it on bare floor mode, run time will be longer.
Smart Response Technology
Another great feature is the Smart Response Technology that detects the floor type and adjusts brush roll speed automatically.
So if you’re running this on bare floor, the brush roll won’t spin as fast. But when you move to carpet, it spins faster for better agitation.
However, this vacuum lacks the DuoClean feature found in the IONFlex, so don’t expect the same performance.
This stick vacuum will have enough suction and agitation to pick up dirt on bare floor. But you might say, “Garrick, why did you say that it won’t perform as well as the IONFlex”?
The most significant difference between the DuoClean brushes and a standard bristle brush is how it would handle large chunks of dirt.
This is what separates the Dyson V8 Absolute and the Shark DuoClean series from the rest of the vacuums. If you have a large pile of dirt, these two brands have soft roller heads that will pull dirt.
For regular everyday messes, the ION Rocket would have enough suction and agitation to do the job.
One particular tool that you will find useful would be the under appliance wand that makes cleaning under low profile furniture.
First things first, don’t expect this vacuum to deep clean carpet. Its main job is to clean high traffic areas and prevent messes from piling up.
The compact design allows it to clean deep under furniture. The cleaning head and wand can go as low as 180 degrees. Add the LED headlight, and you can tract a lot of dust.
Cleaning upholstery shouldn’t be a problem with the pet multi-tool that’s great for cleaning hair and embedded dirt on fabric sofas or chairs.
You can even use this on flat surfaces inside your vehicle. It also comes with a crevice tool to clean up loose dirt.
|Attachments||Duster Crevice Tool|
Anti-Allergen Dust Brush
|Brush roll on/off||No|
|Charger||Plug in charger|
|Charging time||3-5 hours|
|Battery life||20 - 30 mins|
|Net weight||7.2 pounds|
|Shipping weight||12.75 pounds|
|Dust capacity||0.3 dry quarts|
In terms of the reviews, it got so far, this product looks promising. Lots of folks like the compact and lightweight design plus it is cordless, so nothing gets in the way.
But as with all stick vacuums utilizing a similar design, this product is top-heavy because the motor and bin sit on top.
Power is adequate for quick clean-ups and does 80% of what an upright does.
Run time will vary; if you don’t turn on the max, this will run anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes.
Some reported as low as 10 minutes, so there could be an issue with the battery, but you can easily claim a warranty on that.
If a Dyson or the IONFlex is too expensive, this is an excellent alternative because it has decent power, run time, and enough tools to do a lot of tasks inside your home and vehicle.
You can buy this cordless from Amazon for less than $110. And it’ll be eligible to their 2-day free shipping if you join Prime.
Extended warranties are also available up to 3 years if you want that extra peace of mind.
This lightweight and versatile vacuum is another great alternative to the expensive Dyson V6 and V8 series. It comes with a removable battery that you can charge on the vacuum or off it. So if you buy an extra battery you can still charge it while using the vacuum.
I’ve never seen this type of flexibility in a cordless before so another thumbs-up to Shark for coming up with this. It does not have the soft roller bar found in the DuoClean version, but it performs well enough. And if you consider the $200++ price difference, I think you’ll be okay without it.
One useful tool is the anti-allergen dust brush that looks much like the under appliance tool. This will work great at hard to reach areas under furniture. Overall this looks like a good buy at the current price point.
A Budget Cord-Free Vacuum
- Ergonomics - 93%93%
- Surface Cleaning - 92%92%
- Quality - 90%90%
- Design - 88%88%
- Value - 90%90%
The Shark ION Rocket IR101 is one of the cheapest Shark cordless stick vacuums available right now. Unfortunately, Shark has discontinued production so the ones you’ll see on sale are second-hand vacuums that are refurbished, so I wouldn’t recommend buying this option. It does not have the Duo Clean system so don’t expect it to perform as well as the newer Shark cordless stick vacuums such as the ION P50 and F80 which I would recommend ahead of this model.