Shark ION F80 MultiFLEX Cordless Review

The F80 is Shark’s latest cordless stick vacuum that includes majority of their newly developed features, including the DuoClean brush rolls and MultiFLEX wand.

A common problem with these top-heavy style stick vacuums is that they can’t stand up on their own. The F80 pictured here is leaning against the wall. MultiFLEX has a few purposes, but this is one of the problems that Shark solved with it.

MultiFLEX is a joint at the middle of the wand that lets you rest the handheld portion of the vacuum down near the cleaner head. Also, you can activate the MultiFLEX feature while vacuuming to get under furniture without having to bend down yourself.

DuoClean and MultiFLEX are truly smart features and make Shark one of Dyson’s top rivals in the cordless vacuum world. So far, we’ve yet to see Dyson compete with these technologies.

MultiFLEX At A Glance

Here’s a quick look at how the MultiFLEX feature works. There isn’t any soft material on the bottom of the handheld to protect your wall if you lean it against it, however, it is smooth and shouldn’t cause any damage if you’re careful.

Activating the MultiFLEX feature solves this problem. The button for lifting it back out of MultiFLEX mode is easily reachable without bending over much and you don’t have to lean over to pick up the handheld.

Shark ION vacuum resting on wall
In the standard position, the vacuum won’t stand up on its own.
Shark ION MultiFLEX feature
The Shark ION MultiFLEX feature helps solve this problem.

Contents


Pros

  • Includes 2 removable batteries.
  • Freestanding with the MultiFLEX wand.
  • DuoClean cleaner head designed for transitioning seamlessly from carpet to hard floors without sacrificing performance.
  • Lightweight
  • Removable lid on the cleaner head that gives easy access to the brush rolls for cleaning.
  • Washable Filters
  • Powered On/Off by a button. No trigger.

Cons

  • Small dustbin
  • Non-HEPA Filtration

Design

The Shark F80 design is extremely similar to that of the Dyson cordless vacuum series at a glance. The guts of the vacuum are in a detachable handheld with a simple wand extending down to the cleaner head. This also means majority of the weight of the vacuum in held in your hand.

A notable difference between the Shark F80 and Dyson V-Series stick vacuums is the removable battery. Shark’s decision to go with removable batteries instead of permanent, non-user replaceable batteries make all the difference if you have a large area to vacuum. You can charge the used-up battery while you’re still vacuuming.

Put simply, two batteries are better than one.

Shark handheld with parts numbered
Shark handheld description

The Shark F80, like most vacuums has 2 filters: a pre-motor filter and an exhaust filter.

Weight

Fully assembled, the F80 weighs about 8.2 lbs. That’s around half the weight of a typical upright vacuum. No wonder people find this style of vacuum to be convenient, especially if you have a multi-level home or have mobility issues.

Shark F80 weight distribution

The MultiFLEX wand can be detached at the handheld or at the cleaner head. That means for above-the-floor cleaning you’ll be holding about 3 to 4 lbs. Now, that is more than a simple hose attachment on an upright vacuum, and we found vacuuming above your head for an extended period to be uncomfortable. With that said, you can reach much further with this stick vacuum than you can with a hose from an upright.

Shark F80 Cordless StickShark P50 Cordless UprightDyson V8 Cordless StickDyson V10 Cordless StickShark IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless Stick
8.5 lbs12 lbs5.9 lbs5.75 lbs8.7 lbs

As you can see, there isn’t a huge difference in the weights of the Dyson V10 and the Shark F80, but it is noticeable. However, a majority of the weight difference is in the DuoClean cleaner head. It’s bulkier and contains two brush rolls instead of one. In fact, just the orange hard floor brush at the front of the vacuum weighs 0.43 lbs alone. That means most of the additional weight is not in your hands but on the floor.

Filtration

Stick vacuum filtration is often not up to par with what we see in full-size uprights. It’s difficult to squeeze all that hardware in such a small package. While the Shark F80 does not have HEPA filtration, it uses a common two filter system with a pre-motor filter and exhaust filter.

Shark F80 Pre-motor filter
Pre-Motor Filter
Shark F80 exhaust filter
Exhaust Filter

How often you need to wash the filters depends on how frequently you vacuum and how big the messes are. The pre-motor filter needs to be cleaned much more frequently than the exhaust filter. From our experience, the pre-motor filter should be washed at least once a month, which is also what Shark recommends. According to Shark the exhaust filter should be washed once every 9 months, or as needed.

The most important thing you can do when washing your filters is to let them dry for at least 24 hours. Any moisture left in them that gets into the vacuum can not only cause damage, but your vacuum’s exhaust will smell horrible.

Bottom of shark f80 handheld

Pictured above is the bottom of the Shark F80 handheld where the exhaust filter and battery are housed. Immediately below the exhaust filter cap is the battery and it’s release switch.

Now, as we said this isn’t HEPA filtration. Shark does offer a cordless with HEPA filtration, the Shark P50 Cordless Upright.

Battery

The Shark F80 comes with two batteries and a charging dock. You can charge the battery while it’s inside the vacuum, or use the dock. With the equipment provided, you can only charge one battery at a time. However, you can buy additional batteries separately.

Shark ION Batteries and Charger

Having removable batteries is a unique selling point for Shark’s cordless vacuums. Dyson batteries are not removable and this remains a clear advantage in favor of Shark. The Dyson V10 does get a slightly longer runtime on its single battery than the Shark F80 does on a single battery, however, being able to swap batteries easily pushes the Shark F80’s runtime far ahead of the Dyson V10.

Shark ION F80 MultiFLEX Cordless – Using the 2 batteries that are included.

HandVac – 80 Minutes
Hard Floors – 60 Minutes
Carpet – 50 Minutes

Shark ION P50 Powered Lift-Away Cordless

HandVac – 50 Minutes
Hard Floors – 30 Minutes
Carpet – 28 Minutes

Shark ION X40 Ultra-Light Cordless

HandVac – 50 Minutes
Hard Floors – 32 Minutes
Carpet – 26 Minutes

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless

HandVac – 40 Minutes
Hard Floors – 25 Minutes
Carpet – 25 Minutes

Dyson V10 Absolute Cordless

HandVac – 60 Minutes
Hard Floors – 40 Minutes
Carpet – 20 Minutes

Integrated batteries, like we see in the Dyson V10 or even in Macbook laptops, typically are more efficient due to the design not having to include the component that allow for the battery to be removed. Space can be used up more efficiently and the battery cell can be larger. However, Shark’s system just works well. Two batteries are better than one.

DuoClean Brush Rolls

DuoClean has become one of Shark’s signature technologies that has made its way into just about every vacuum they produce. One brush roll made for hard floors and another for carpet.

For a long time, the solution to vacuuming on hard floors has been to turn off the brush roll and rely on the vacuums suction to pick up debris. This is because the brush roll spins too fast and throws debris around instead of picking it up.

Fine dust and very small debris does not get picked up well when there is zero agitation from the brush roll. Suction alone often isn’t enough to pull it free from the floor.

That’s where the DuoClean concept shines.

Shark F80 DuoClean cleaner head with lid off

The DuoClean cleaner head on the F80 has a removable lid, which makes it extremely easy to clean. Pet and human hair does get tangled around the brush roll, like usual, so you will need to keep it clean. Being a cordless stick, the cleaner head can easily be detached from the wand, so you don’t have to awkwardly flip the vacuum over to try to clean it.

The plush brush roll at the at the front can also be completely removed from the cleaner head if it needs additional cleaning. However, our experience has been that hair does get tangled around it, likely due to the fine comb that creates the lines you see around the brush.

Shark F80 underneath cleaner head

The additional brush wall lining the rear and sides of the suction area help keep a good seal against the floor and keep debris from flying behind the vacuum. This same design is seen on other new DuoClean vacuums and has greatly improved the cleaning performance over older models.

Power Settings

The vacuum controls are within thumb’s reach on the handheld. It’s super convenient to switch between carpet and hard floors, or activate ION Boost to increase suction power.

shark f80 power settings

Switching to the hard floor setting reduces the rotation speed of both brush rolls and audibly seems to increase suction power.

You will get the most battery life vacuuming on hard floor as powering the brush rolls on carpet takes considerably more effort. Keep that in mind when look at our Battery section above. Manufacturers often print the biggest number they can, but in fine print they mention that that runtime isn’t even with the cleaner head attached, but rather just running the handheld.

Dustbin

The capacity of the F80’s dustbin is 0.3 dry quarts (0.09 gallons) up to the “Max Fill” line.

No doubt, it’s small. However, vacuuming a 1200 sq. ft. apartment the dustbin needs to be emptied once, maybe twice if we haven’t vacuumed in a few days.

Below we have a simple diagram that shows the airflow path through the handheld. As the air enters the dustbin from the intake, heavier debris falls through to the lower chamber of the dustbin and the air flows through the metal mesh. The mesh prevents larger debris from making its way into the filter area. Finally, the air is exhausted through the bottom of the handheld.

shark f80 airflow diagram
Airflow Path

The openings into the lower portion of the dustbin, just below the metal mesh cylinder, tend to collect bundles of hair and dust. This is a problem when cleaning out the dustbin and you may need to remove any stuck debris manually, shaking sometimes isn’t enough.

shark f80 inside dustbin
Dustbin Interior
Shark f80 top view of filter area and dustbin
Top-down view into filter area that enters dustbin.

The more frequently you empty the dustbin the less hassle you will have cleaning it. Clumps of hair and dust just compound if they’re left in place, so be sure to check the problem areas we mentioned.

Here’s a quick glance at how the Shark F80 dustbin compares to other stick vacuums.

Shark ION P500.16 Gallons
Shark ION F800.09 Gallons
Shark ION X400.09 Gallons
Dyson V8 Absolute0.14 Gallons
Dyson V10 Absolute0.2 Gallons

Without a doubt, Dyson’s design has an impressive dustbin capacity for a stick vacuum. The Dyson V10 dustbin is the biggest they’ve ever made in a cordless stick vacuum. It is a bit awkward to use compared to the V8, but it’s bigger.

If you have a large home, say 1500+ sq. ft., then you will find that you have to empty the Shark F80’s dustbin at least twice during a vacuuming session. This means you will probably need to empty the dustbin about the same time you change batteries. We think this is still much easier than dealing with a large corded vacuum.

Attachments

The F80’s attachments are simple and typical for a stick vacuum. The upholstery tool on the left is great for vacuuming hair and dust that’s stuck on a couch. Given that you have about 37 inches of reach from the handheld to the end of the wand, with the cleaner head detached, the vacuum can easily reach a typical ceiling or fan.

Shark F80 attachments
Upholstery Tool, Crevice Tool, Battery Charger

Some Shark upright vacuums come with a motorized brush tool that can be used to clean stairs and upholstery. You don’t get anything like that with their stick vacuums, but the upholstery tool is effective in removing pet hair and other stuck-on debris that clings to fabric.

Other Design Considerations

We showed you the MultiFLEX feature at the beginning of this review and it’s an extremely easy way to put the vacuum at a resting position if you need to put it down or store it away in a close.

You can also rest the vacuum against a wall or furniture instead. Shark included soft pads on the bottom of the handheld that will allow it to rest against the wall without plastic touching the wall.

Shark F80 soft pads on handheld
Shark F80 resting against wall

Performance

In our performance tests, we look at the most common floor types: medium-pile carpet and hard flooring. Specifically, the type of hard flooring we have to test on is tile. Tile lets you see how the vacuum handles grout crevices while also showing how the vacuum would perform on hardwood and other types of hard flooring.

Carpet Performance

In this test we used oats and almonds to see how well the F80 performed with small and larger debris. The oats tend to cling to the carpet fibers, and you can see in a single back/forward pass majority of the oats are picked up and all of the almonds are picked up. It does take an additional pass to pick up the remainder of the oats.

This is really great performance and the front brush roll allows the vacuum to pull in large debris that otherwise would get pushed forward by the front of the cleaner head instead of entering the suction area.

Shark F80 vacuuming on medium-pile carpet

This vacuum test is somewhat of an extreme example on carpet since these aren’t the types of things you typically end up vacuuming on carpet. However, it goes to show you how well this cordless stick’s suction works in combination with the two brush rolls.

After using the F80 for over a month, I can say I am thoroughly impressed with how clean the carpet is. I’ve used it as my primary vacuum and I can’t tell the difference between the carpet now and when I used our full-size upright. I hesitate to say it’s a true replacement as I’m partial to do power of corded uprights, but the full dustbin after every vacuuming session doesn’t lie.

If you like to vacuum every other day, then the convenience of the F80 is undeniable. However, I like to do a monthly vacuuming with a full-size upright.

Hard Floor Performance

Without a doubt, if the majority of the flooring in your home is some type of hard flooring, then the F80 is the only vacuum you need.

Hard floors are much easier to clean than medium-pile or high-pile carpet. Even full-size uprights struggle on thick carpet. Naturally, cordless vacuums are more effective and get a longer battery life when vacuuming hard floors.

The DuoClean system has some of the best performance on hard floors that we’ve ever seen. Dyson also makes a cleaner head that features a soft, paint-roller like brush roll similar to the orange brush roll on the DuoClean cleaner head. However, you have to swap it out with the standard cleaner head when switching from carpet to bare floors. The Dyson hard floor brush roll performs as well as the Shark, but the added convenience of having the brush rolls combined into one makes Shark’s F80 an attractive option.

Shark F80 vacuuming on tile floor

In the test above, there were a few pieces of oats that remained on the grout between the tiles, but 99% of the debris was cleaned up. Though it’s not shown here, we also tested the F80 on coffee grounds and it easily picked up everything, however, some of the coffee remained stuck to the brush bristles underneath the vacuum – the ones around the suction area. Continuing to vacuum after the test easily removed them, so it wasn’t a problem.

We were thinking the coffee might also remain stuck in the front brush roll, but it was clean. The fine comb that’s built into the cleaner head does a good job of keeping debris from staying on the front brush roll.

Corners and wall base are typically trouble areas for vacuums. We tested the F80 to see how well it could pick up oats against our cabinet base.

Shark F80 on hard floors against wall base

The small brush on the side of the cleaner head does help in pushing debris away from the wall base and into the suction area on a second pass. As you can see 99% of the oats were picked up, which is rather impressive. The wood base isn’t quite flush with the tile so a few pieces do get stuck underneath, but detaching the handheld and suctioning them out is no trouble.


Competitor Comparison Table

It’s good to know a little about some of the competing models in the cordless stick vacuum category, so that you can know you’re making the right decision. These vacuums aren’t cheap.

Dyson is the leading competitor with Shark’s cordless vacuums, and their V-series cordless stick vacuums are extremely popular. However, there are even some other Shark vacuums that are worth considering if you’re looking to get something cheaper, or with different features.

Shark ION F80 MultiFLEX Cordless StickShark ION P50 Powered Lift-Away Cordless UprightShark IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless StickDyson V10 Cordless StickDyson V8 Cordless Stick
Battery2x removable ION Power PacksSingle removable lithium-ion battery2x removable ION Power PacksNon-removable lithium-ion batteryNon-removable lithium-ion battery
Handvac Runtime80 minutes50 minutes45 minutes60 minutes40 minutes
Hard Floor Runtime60 minutes30 minutes40 minutes40 minutes25 minutes
Carpet Runtime50 minutes28 minutes28 minutes35 minutes25 minutes
Weight8.5 lbs12 lbs8.7 lbs5.75 lbs5.9 lbs
Dustbin Capacity0.09 Gallons0.16 Gallons0.09 Gallons0.2 Gallons0.14 Gallons
FreestandingYes, with MultiFLEXYesYes, with MultiFLEXNoNo
Model#IF281IC162IF251180846-01214730-01
View at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at Amazon
View at Best BuyView at Best BuyView at Best BuyView at Best BuyView at Best Buy

The removable battery makes for a compelling reason to favor Shark cordless vacuums over Dyson. However, Dyson still boasts impressive stats when it comes to weight and dustbin capacity. Their performance is top-notch as well.

Keep in mind, the battery runtimes in the table are considering both batteries combined for the F80 and IONFlex models.

The freestanding ability of the Shark is debatable, because while using the MultiFLEX feature to put the Shark cordless vacuum into a resting position is very easy, it isn’t really as simple as simply letting go of the vacuum and leaving it standing. So, we don’t want to be misleading, but it is true that you can put the vacuum in a position such that it doesn’t need to rest on anything.

The P50 is, at its core, an upright vacuum. That means that by design it stands upright on its own. However, with its Powered Lift-Away feature you can use it similar to a stick vacuum. Though it only comes with a single battery, you can purchase another one separately.

Shark ION F80 vs. Shark ION X40

The F80 and X40 are Shark’s leading cordless stick vacuums. Put simply, the X40 is a more affordable and simpler vacuum than the F80.

So, the main differences are as follows.

  • The X40 comes with a single battery, while the F80 includes 2.
  • The X40 lacks the MultiFLEX wand.
  • Price

The design of the handheld portion of the vacuum is essentially the same.  They have the same 0.09-gallon dustbin, filter, power settings, and battery life.

The likely reason for the lower price on the X40 is because of the single battery. 

Among the Shark cordless stick vacuums, the X40 is perhaps the most similar to the Dyson V-series, due to the lack of MultiFLEX and an extra battery.  So, if you were to compare it directly with the Dyson V10, the V10 has a longer runtime and a larger dustbin.  However, Dyson is noticeably more expensive.

In conclusion, the X40 is a more budget-friendly option that retains the excellent performance we’ve seen from the DuoClean, but compromises on some of the quality-of-life features such as battery life and MultiFLEX.