by Garrick Dee
Updated December 5th, 2018
Most dedicated carpet or bare floor cleaner can only clean one surface – either carpet or bare floor.
Rarely do you see something that can do both.
Now I use the term cleaner loosely here.
I’m not talking about a vacuum cleaner but a floor scrubber without any suction whatsoever and this is how the Shark Sonic Duo is unique.
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 how does it manage to clean both bare floor and carpets?
Well, it does it using a back and forth scrubbing action from two cleaning heads.
On bare floor this works well as a polisher to bring out the lost shine on bare floor, tile, vinyl and stone surfaces.
On carpet this machine rather differently from traditional deep cleaners.
Shark says that their carpet cleaning solution “penetrates deep and attaches to the stuck-on dirt on fibers, as it dehydrates the stuck-on dirt”.
The cleaning solution will attach itself to stuck-on dirt, dry it up into a clumpy residue that’s easier to clean with an upright.
Read more about this technology here.
So basically what machine is doing is spreading the cleaning solution on carpet which you will need to vacuum later.
Does it really work?
We’ll find out in this review.
- This machine has two-in-one functionality of a carpet and bare floor cleaner
- Cleans both surfaces using a scrubbing action (at 1,000 scrubs per minute)
- Comes with 2 washable microfiber pads (one for bare floor and the other for carpet)
- Equipped with “AirGlide” Maneuverability
- In the package you’ll get 4 cleaning solutions – one dedicated hard floor and for carpet, a spot remover and a polishing solution
- Has swivel steering
- LED headlights
- Weighs 18 pounds and has a 22 foot cord
- Backed by a 2 year warranty
- A versatile machine that you can use to clean carpet and hardwood
- Great in terms of removing stains and polishing hardwood
- Great in removing carpet stains
- Easy to maneuver thanks to the swivel steering even on carpet
- LED headlights really come in handy when polishing bare floor
- Washable pads means you don’t need to buy more cleaning pads just to use this product
- Great as polishing tool on bare floor (particularly hardwood)
- No vacuum functionality – you will need to vacuum before using this
- Pretty heavy at close to 20 pounds (but not as heavy as a traditional carpet cleaner)
- Short power cord
- Does not work as well on carpet as advertised
This machine is unique in a lot of ways, first it uses back and forth scrubbing action to agitate floors (yes that includes carpet) but none of the products I’ve reviewed so far has this feature.
How is this product different from traditional carpet cleaners?
Most carpet cleaners on the other hand will use hot water extraction to sanitize and pick up trapped dirt and allergens that’s stuck deep under all the fibers.
The Shark does not use hot water nor does it suck up dirt, it uses a cleaning agent plus the back-and-forth agitation of the microfiber cleaning pad to spread the cleaning agent.
Leave the cleaning agent to dry on the carpet and work its magic.
After it dries up, vacuum the area using a strong upright or canister vacuum.
Shark says the cleaning solution will separate (or dehydrate) dirt from the carpet fibers as it dries up so when you vacuum it, it will leave behind a clean, bright and fresh smelling carpet.
Sounds good in theory but we’ll find out later on how well this work in real life (video below).
It’ll take less time to clean carpet
But one advantage I could see is that it will take less time to clean your carpets. But you will have to vacuum after the solution dries up to remove every last morsel of dirt.
Out of the box, you’ll get all cleaning solutions for carpet, bare floor as well as a polish for wood and hard floor which is a great deal for the price.
You’ll also get 2 microfiber pads (both washable), one for bare floor and the other for carpet.
Moving this hybrid cleaner around shouldn’t be a chore thanks to its AirGlide and swivel feature which consumers’ say does its job.
It also has LED headlights (this feature is not available on the ZZ500) that help in terms of visibility, especially on hardwood.
Here’s a video from Shark on how this works…
Remember that this machine does not have any suction whatsoever. So before using is to scrub any bare floor surface, make sure that you vacuum it well using an upright or canister.
First step would be to clean all the loose dust and contaminants scattered on the floor.
Next step would be prepping the cleaning solution and here’s how you do it…
Once you’ve mixed the solution it’s time to load up the bottle on the machine.
When you look closely at the buffing pads, it has a smooth and scrubby section.
Use the smooth pad to spread the solution on the floor and buffing. The scrubby pad is for polishing and scrubbing of stubborn grime that a mop cannot clean.
The system works by spraying cleaning solution (which works very well in loosening up grime) on the floor and when you go over it with the machine.
The back and forth motion of the cleaning pads work its magic to buff, scrub and polish off any caked on dirt and grime, resulting in a clean and spotless surface that would be impossible if you use a mop and bucket approach.
The cleaning pads are absorbent enough to not leave any residue behind.
According to Logan of VacBin, this machine works great in terms of cleaning most bare floor surface with the exception of granite which is tough to clean.
Here’s Logan’s demo on demonstration on hardwood…
Remember that the pads for bare floor have a green outline and set it on setting one which is for bare floor.
Another demo, this time polishing hardwood using Shark’s polishing pad (orange) and the polishing solution…
To properly install pads make sure to align the arrows (printed on the pad) to the front of the machine.
Also make sure that you’ve cleaned the floor using the green pad before polishing it.
Another important point to remember is that you have to squirt the polishing solution directly on the floor and not through the machine. Only the hard floor and carpet cleaning solutions go through the machine.
Another demo on tile, one of the toughest areas in any home to clean because of the caked up oil and stains…
The next demo is on granite and stone tiles…
White it was able to clean the stone tiles, it didn’t do as well on granite. It was able to remove the streaks but it left a film over it which does not look good.
Another demo on tile to see its effectiveness…
In this demo, it was able to clean the tile but it wasn’t able to clean the grout. You’ll need baking soda and vinegar to clean grout.
When you watch the infomercials, Shark claimed that this machine will make your carpet and rugs 1.5 times brighter.
Could Shark found the secret sauce in making your carpets clean without using hot water extraction?
Shark says that their carpet solution breaks down dirt and grime stuck on carpet fiber.
It does this by dehydrating grime, removing moisture leaving behind a dry, clumpy residue that’s easy to vacuum.
In essence you will need to vacuum before and after using this machine on carpet, the last step an added step and will take some more time.
Here’s a video showing how to use the Sonic Duo on carpet…
If you want to clean stains make sure to spray those areas with the pre-treatment solution to loosen up stains before scrubbing it with the Shark.
By the way, it comes with two pads for carpet, one is the standard pad for cleaning and another pad with spaghetti like bristles for removing stains.
Both pads have the purple lining to help distinguish it from other pads.
Will work the same on carpet as bare floor
The cleaning system works the same on carpet as on bare floor, you press a lever to spray the cleaning solution on carpet then let the scrubbing pads do all the work.
If you need to clean stains then you’ll have to switch over to the carpet scrubbing pad with “bristles” to help agitate and remove stains.
According to Shark you will have to wait 2 hours for the carpet cleaning solution to crystallize and dry up before going through the area with a vacuum cleaner.
Here are the results…
In terms of general carpet cleaning, it wasn’t able to do much other than remove the pet stain.
When Logan vacuumed the carpet it was only able to pick up some strands of pet hair and not the crystallized carpet solution that Shark claims you should be able to pick up after it dries up.
Here’s another demo on a dirtier carpet…
And here are the results…
Again in terms of stain removal (except for the food coloring stain), this machine does a good job in lifting it up and keeping it on the pad.
Shark backs this up with a 2 year warranty.
|Includes||1 Carpet/Rug Cleaning Pad|
1 Carpet Scrub 'n Stain Pad
2 Hard Floor Cleaning Pads
1 Polishing Pad
12oz Carpet Cleaner
10oz Activating Pretreater
12oz Wood and Hard
16oz Wood and Hard Floor Polish
|Separate Container For Clean and Dirty Liquid|
|Cord Length||22 feet|
|Auto Cord Rewind|
|Net weight||18 pounds|
|Shipping weight||17.9 pounds|
Consumers either loved or absolutely hated how this hybrid cleaner worked. Those who liked it said that it did a fantastic job on both carpet and bare floor.
On carpet, it gave them a lightweight solution to deal with carpet stains as opposed to bringing out a heavy 20+ pound cleaner/extractor this machine weighs less than 20 pounds and literally glides over carpet thanks to the 1,000 scrubs per minute.
Some consumers even said that their carpets look brighter and smelled better using the Shark Sonic Duo – something that I did not expect after watching the videos above.
Here are some of the photos these consumers shared in Amazon…
On bare floor consumers say it was easy to use and was effective in removing stains and caked on dirt.
In terms of maneuverability, this machine scored high points as well, consumers would prefer using this over a more traditional hard floor or carpet cleaner that had water tanks fitted on them.
People who didn’t like the product say that pads soil quickly and will not cover a large area.
One workaround to this limitation would be buying extra pads to eliminate downtime.
Will not clean very dirty carpets well
On carpet, consumers weren’t happy with this product say that it didn’t really clean their carpets well, that it looked the same before and after using this.
One consumer refuted this saying that you will need to really take you time and let the scrubber work on the carpet to really clean carpets.
He used it 3 or 4 times before he saw a difference on this carpet flooring.
Don’t expect this carpet to do miracles on your carpet, it can remove stains but that’s just about it.
Before using the polishing solution make sure to read the instruction manual or it’ll ruin floors
Do not put the bottle on the machine as you would the carpet and hard floor cleaning solution. But you need to apply it directly on the floor.
Be sure to use the polishing pad along with the polishing solution and work it slowly for the polisher to restore the shine on your floor.
You can buy this hybrid cleaner from Amazon for less than $220. And it’ll be eligible for Amazon’s free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.
If you’re looking for a quick solution to remove caked on dirt and grime on bare floor surfaces like hardwood, tile or linoleum, the Shark Sonic Duo is one of the best in the business in cleaning these types of surfaces.
But if you’re looking for a carpet cleaner, this machine, I’m sorry to say does not live up to the hype.
Yes, it will be able to remove surface stains. But in terms of making your carpet 1.5 times brighter that could be asking for the moon.
According to a lot of consumer reviews, this machine was able to make their carpets look clean. Take these reviews with a grain of salt.
Get this if your home has a lot of hard floor surfaces with some carpet. But you will still need a separate carpet cleaner to really deep clean carpet or hire a professional.
Take note that the Sonic Duo does not have any vacuum functionality. So you will have to vacuum first before and after using this (do the latter, if you’re cleaning carpet).
If your home does not have any carpet, save $10 and go for the hard floor cleaner (minus the LED headlights).