Shark Vacuums Overview
Headquartered in Canada, Shark is one the leading vacuum producers in the U.S. market. Over the last decade, they have aggressively competed with Dyson for the top spot. They continue to innovate in the bagless vacuum sector, namely with their DuoClean and Zero-M technology.
In this article, we explain the different types of vacuums and technologies made by Shark and take a look at how they perform.
This page is an overview and you’ll find links to more detailed reviews of the different vacuum series from Shark.
We also take a look at how they match up with the competition.
Use the links below to navigate to your interests.
Shark Vacuum Summary
It can be incredibly confusing trying to decipher which Shark vacuum is right for you. Especially if you’re not familiar with their technologies and naming conventions.
Shark makes 4 different types of vacuums:
- Corded Stick
- Cordless Stick
They have a huge selection of uprights and its one of their largest product categories. No surprise there since uprights have been around much longer than the newer and more compact vacuum types.
Shark’s uprights are unique in that all of them have the Lift-Away feature. You’re basically able to transform the upright into a canister vacuum where you hold the canister in one hand while pushing around the cleaner head with the other.
We think this feature is excellent and it gets the bulky canister out of the way if you need to vacuum under a bed or other furniture. Vacuuming stairs are also much more comfortable in Lift-Away form.
The real advantage comes from being able to have the power and capacity of an upright and make it just as maneuverable and easy-to-use as their corded stick vacuums.
Using the vacuum’s cleaner head in Lift-Away mode requires having the “Powered Lift-Away” feature, instead of simply “Lift-Away.” Powered means you can power the cleaner head motor with the handle and hose, while the plain Lift-Away can only transform into the canister and be used with non-powered attachments, such as a dusting brush or crevice tool.
What about the corded stick vacuums?
This type of vacuum isn’t too common, but if you like the form factor of the Shark ION or Dyson cordless stick vacuums, then imagine that but never having to worry about the battery dying or needing to charge it.
With the cordless stick vacuums from Shark, you can expect to get about 20 to 30 minutes of runtime from a single battery pack. The two models we’ve recommended below come with two battery packs. For most people, this is enough time to vacuum majority of their home or at least hit all the high traffic areas.
The dustbin capacity on the corded stick vacuums is generally larger than the cordless models, but it’s not a huge difference unless you opt for one of the higher-capacity corded models. Either way, you will most likely need to empty the dustbin before depleting both batteries, and with the cordless models you will need to keep an eye on the dustbin.
Shark Vacuum Technologies & Design
Right now, it’s all about the DuoClean and Zero-M features. Here’s an example of the combination cleaner head with Zero-M and DuoClean brushrolls.
The paint-roller-like DuoClean brushroll grabs larger debris and brushes off the fine dust from bare floors and pulls it into the suction area. This works really well. You can watch this video below to see the Shark APEX AZ1002 in action.
The Zero-M comb and brush guard does a great job of keeping hair off the brushroll. It’s not perfect, but it’s way ahead of the competition.
In addition to these brushrolls, the overall design of the new cleaner heads seems to provide better suction ability despite some of the newer vacuums having less power than their predecessors.
We suspect one factor in this improvement is the row of bristles that surrounded the cleaner head opening. It helps keep debris from getting thrown behind the brushroll and limits airflow from this area, which in turn concentrates the suction towards the front of the vacuum.
Shark APEX Series
Hands down, the APEX vacuums are Shark’s leading uprights. The new AZ1002 combines the DuoClean and Zero-M features and crushes the competition on bare floors and carpet.
Shark Navigator Series
The Navigator series has been around a while and is still relevant. The ZU561 is a compact upright with one of the largest dustbins available, even bigger than the APEX AZ1002 above, and it has the Zero-M cleaner head for actively removing hair from the brushroll as you vacuum.
Top Pick: Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed
Shark Rotator Series
As of the time we published this article, the Rotator series isn’t very relevant anymore. None of the vacuums have the new Zero-M or DuoClean features. We think this is a good thing and hope that Shark just focuses on the APEX series so that it’s not so confusing to try to pick a vacuum. With that said, if you found the NV752, our top pick, at a steep discount then it’s not a bad buy.
Top Pick: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Truepet
Shark DuoClean Series
These are the first iteration of the Shark uprights with the DuoClean brushroll. These are still good vacuums, but instead of having the DuoClean feature be available in one vacuum line it’s now ubiquitous among the Shark vacuums. We certainly wouldn’t pass one of these up if it’s on sale.
Top Pick: Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed
If you’re at all unsure about which upright you should buy, then we recommend going with the Shark APEX Series. It’s the most powerful, fully-featured upright you can buy from Shark. Not only that, we think it’s better than the competition.
The APEX uprights are on the heavier side, so if weight and size is a concern, then consider a corded stick vacuum. You can get the Zero-M or DuoClean cleaner heads, but on a smaller form factor vacuum.
Shark Rocket Series
Zero-M means you don’t have to worry about cutting tangled hair from around the brushroll. We’ve seen greatly improved performance when picking up large and small debris on carpet and bare floors with both the Zero-M and DuoClean cleaner heads. If your home mostly has carpet, then we recommend the Zero-M model.
Best for Carpet: Shark Rocket Zero-M Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum
5″ Crevice Tool, Pet Multi-Tool, Precision Duster, Wall Mount
DuoClean means there are two brushrolls with one designed for cleaning bare floors. We’ve seen greatly improved performance picking up large and small debris on carpet and bare floors with the Zero-M and DuoClean cleaner heads. We recommend getting the DuoClean model if you primarily have bare flooring in your home.
Best for Bare Floors: Shark Rocket DuoClean Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum
Pet Multi-Tool, Crevice Tool, Wall Mount
In general, the corded stick vacuums have a slightly bulkier body than the cordless models. They have similar weights, but the cordless P50 model, at 12 lbs, is actually almost as heavy as the Shark Navigator Speed ZU561.
One of the common complaints with this new style of stick vacuum is that they can’t stand up on their own. Even if they could, they would be incredibly top heavy and easy to knock over. I can guarantee the number of complaints of knocking over their vacuum only to have the body crack and shatter would skyrocket if this were a feature.
Shark has a remedy for this problem with the new MultiFlex feature that allows the vacuum’s wand to bend and let the vacuum rest just above the cleaner head. This lowers the center of gravity and is a simple way to solve this problem.
The Shark Cordless F80 has the MultiFlex feature and is our top pick.
The Hoover Linx, pictured below in the middle, is a stick vacuum that’s been around a long time and is something most people are accustomed to. They look like a miniature upright. The Shark Rocket, and similarly the Dyson cordless vacuums, have this new design that has the guts of the vacuum right in your hand with a long pipe extending to the cleaner head.
In the past, one of the basic vacuum features that you would lose with a stick vacuum, like the Hoover Linx, is the detachable hose with an assortment of attachments to be used for above-the-floor cleaning. The design of the Shark Rocket and similar stick vacuums let you put accessories directly on the handheld. That means you get added versatility with the smaller stick vacuum form factor.
Shark ION Series
Cordless freedom with the performance of the DuoClean cleaner head. The IONFlex 2X comes with two batteries that give you a combined 28 to 46 minutes of power depending on if you use the vacuum as a handheld, on hard floors, or on carpet. Two batteries are included and the runtime is determined using both batteries combined.
Longest Battery Life:
Shark ION F80 Cordless Stick with MultiFLEX and DuoClean
60m on Hard Floors / 50m on Carpet
8″ Crevice Tool, Upholstery Tool
The ION P50 has the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal with a HEPA filter. You don’t get quite as much battery life as the IF281 above, but this is one of the few stick vacuums from Shark that has improved filtration. This model is a few pounds heavier and has a larger dustbin. Two batteries are included and the runtime is determined using both batteries combined.
Extra Capacity Model:
Shark ION P50 with DuoClean
About 30m on Hard Floors & Carpet
Duster Crevice Tool, Dusting Brush, Upholstery Tool
One thing to keep in mind with Shark’s cordless vacuums, is that they mostly quote runtimes as the combined runtime if you use two batteries for the models that include 2 batteries. The two models we’ve recommended here do include two batteries.
The amount of runtime you get depends on if you’re using the vacuum as a handheld, on carpet, or on bare floors. You get the most time using it as a handheld since it doesn’t have to power a brushroll. Carpet provides more resistance for the brushroll, so it has a shorter runtime than on bare flooring.
Depending on how often you vacuum you may find that you have to empty the dustbin more than once during a vacuuming session. The thing about cordless vacuums is that it’s much easier to get started vacuuming and you might find yourself vacuuming more frequently than you did before when you had to drag out the big upright.
More frequent vacuuming means you won’t be filling up the dustbin quite so fast.
Here’s a quick glance at the weight of some of Sharks other vacuums and some competitors.
|Shark Rocket DuoClean Ultra-Light||Shark ION F80 MultiFLEX||Dyson V10||Hoover Linx||Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M Powered Lift-Away||Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed|
|Corded Stick||Cordless Stick||Cordless Stick||Cordless Stick||Full-Size Upright||Compact Upright|
|10 lbs||8.7 lbs||6 lbs||7.3 lbs||16 lbs||13.4 lbs|
|Model# HV382||Model# IF281||Model# 180846-01||Model# BH50020PC||Model# AZ1002||Model# ZU561|
Robot HandVac Combo
This is a combo set of the R85 Robot Vacuum and the W1 Cordless Handheld Vacuum. The docking station will hold and charge both vacuums. We recommend the R85 over the R75 due to improved navigation. This model works with Wifi and can be voice controlled with products like Amazon’s Alexa.
Wifi & Voice Activated
Includes Cordless Handheld Vacuum
0.66 Dry Quart Capacity
8 ft. Boundary Strips Included
1-Hour Cleaning Cycle
Top Robot Vacuum
This is the Shark R85 Robot Vacuum that has improved suction, dustbin capacity, and navigation compared to the R75 model. You can schedule cleaning or start your vacuum from anywhere with the Shark Robot App, or you can use voice controls with Alexa or Google Assistant.
Wifi & Voice Activated
0.66 Dry Quart Capacity
8 ft. Boundary Strips Included
1-Hour Cleaning Cycle