When shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, chances are you have run across the Shark name more than a time or two.
Shark vacuum cleaners span across the market, including compact handheld vacuums, powerful upright vacuums, convertible stick 2-in-1 vacuums, and even robot vacuums.
Today we’ll be breaking down every popular Shark, analyzing Shark vacuum reviews, models, performance, and hopefully helping you discover which is best for your home!
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This guide is a comprehensive look at a collection of Shark vacuum reviews. The Shark brand extends into many different vacuum categories, but can one name really excel at manufacturing multiple kinds of vacuum cleaners? Let’s jump in and find out now.
Shark vacuums fit under the larger subset of SharkNinja, which is the parent company that produces a variety of home cleaning tools and small kitchen appliances. It is a family-owned company and are currently on the third generation of leadership.
The company’s vacuums typically are user-friendly and have a simple aesthetic, sometimes using a pop of color to call out certain accessories or features, like the white and red design of the Shark Rotator upright vacuum. Perhaps the biggest challenge with Shark vacuums is simply understanding which Shark vacuum model is truly best for you.
|Rotator Pro||Navigator Pro||Rocket Deluxe Pro||Pet Perfect II||ION 750||ION 720|
|Power||Corded; 30' cord||Corded; 30' cord||Cordless||Cordless||Cordless||Cordless|
|Runtime||NA||NA||~40 mins||~20 mins||~60 mins||~60 mins|
|2-in-1||Lift-Away Canister||Lift-Away Canister||stick + handheld||None||None||None|
|Dust Bin||1.3 liters||2.1 liters||0.9 liters||0.3 liters||Unknown||Unknown|
|Weight||15.5 lbs.||13.5 lbs.||8 lbs.||4.2 lbs.||5.5 lbs.||5.5 lbs.|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Shark Vacuum Features Explained
The sheer number of Shark vacuum models would make it difficult enough to choose, but it’s even more difficult with Shark’s less than intuitive naming conventions. Features like SharkFlex, DuoClean, and APEX sound great, but what do they actually mean?
Use the quick reference guide below to help break down some of the catchy names:
Vacuuming up large debris can be a hassle for many vacuums, due to the front face of the vacuum, which gets in the way and prevents the vacuum from sucking up large debris.
To address this issue, Shark introduced DuoClean, a design that directly impacts the cleaning head of a couple different Shark vacuum cleaners. This modified head is great for picking up large debris, like cereal, beads, or small piles.
Vacuum cleaners with the DuoClean use a larger roller and don’t have the front face. Without this barrier, the vacuum is able to roll over large debris and the roller can pick it up to be transferred to the dust bin. This is similar to the design of the Dyson V8 or Dyson V10 Absolute stick vacuum.
Ion is simply the name that Shark uses for their cordless vacuums. ION vacuums use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power and do not require a cord. Exact run time varies by model, but generally falls somewhere between 30-60 minutes.
IONFlex & SharkFlex
Shark also has two collections of stick vacuum cleaners that can virtually fold in half for easy storage and to clean hard-to-reach places. These vacuums use a compressed hose in the middle of the upright stick to provide a “joint” for the vacuum to bend at. This is called FLEX technology and is offered in a corded or cordless body.
IONFLEX: This is the cordless version of the FLEX technology. The ION part of this series represents the lithium-ion battery, which it uses to provide power to the vacuum.
The two vacuums with IONFlex technology include the IONFlex 2X DuoClean (model IF251) and IONFlex DuoClean (model IF200W or IF201). These stick vacuums are essentially identical, the main difference being that the 2X comes with two lithium-ion batteries so you can charge and vacuum at the same time.
SHARKFLEX: If you don’t mind the hassle of a cord, Shark also offers the SharkFLEX DuoClean (model HV391). This stick vacuum includes a 30′ cord, the flexible stick, the DuoClean roller brush head and an assortment of accessories (varies by model.)
Many of the vacuums in the Shark lineup come with a feature called “Lift-Away”. This title is for upright vacuums cleaners that have a canister that can literally lift away to become a portable handheld. The portable canister works like a more traditional canister vacuum rather than a handheld since you have to use the hose nozzle to suck up debris.
More traditional handhelds, like the Eureka EasyClean, have a nozzle on the body of the handheld which sucks debris up, unlike the Lift-Away canister which uses the hose.
Shark Apex vacuums include a series of advanced features, including Active-Glide wheels and Noise Reduction Technology. The body style is a bit more rectangular with a clear dust bin viewing panel on the front of the vacuum.
Apex Technology is basically always paired with DuoClean Technology (listed above) although it doesn’t always go the other way around. The most popular APEX upright vacuum is likely the Shark APEX DuoClean Powdered Lift-Away upright vacuum (AX951).
Best Shark Vacuum for 2018?
So what’s the best Shark vacuum for 2018? This is a tough question to answer. Everyone’s definition of what’s the “best” is subjective.
Is it the best for carpets? Best for pet hair? Is it the best value? The easiest to use? The most convenient? All of these are important factors to consider when choosing a vacuum. But they might not all be as equally as important to you.
Below we’ve created an in-depth flow chart to help you work through the important features in a vacuum for you. By following the simple questions you can easily find the best Shark vacuum for you or if you prefer a more detailed analysis click to continue along down the page.
Shark offers a wide selection of cordless stick vacuums, from basic to advanced models.
This vacuum line-up is lightweight, easy-to-maneuver, and tends to offer less dust bin capacity and on-board accessories compared to a full-size upright.
But the added convenience of a vacuum that is flexible and functional could easily outweigh the cons, depending on what exactly you’re looking for.
SHARK ROCKET ION | The Shark Rocket ION is a powerful cordless stick vacuum with a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. It supports an upgradable battery as well if you’re looking for an extended run time. This vacuum is a 2-in-1 style, in that it can run as an upright stick vacuum or as a handheld for on-the-go cleaning.
Accessories include a crevice dusting tool, a pet multi-tool, a dust brush, and battery with charger. With the standard battery, you can expect about a 30 minute run time (up to 60 minutes with the extended-run time battery.)
Even with the added weight of the battery pack, this model is still ultra-lightweight, coming in at 3.8 pounds.
SHARK ROCKET COMPLETE (WITH DUOCLEAN) | The Shark Rocket Complete comes with DuoClean Technology and is a corded, lightweight stick vacuum. It weighs right under 10 lbs. as an upright and 4.6 lbs. as a handheld.
This vacuum comes with the advanced DuoClean dual brushroll cleaning heads for large debris cleaning, stuck-on dirt, or high-pile carpet. There are also LED lights integrated onto the floor nozzle as well as the hand vacuum.
SHARK ROCKET DELUXEPRO | The Shark Rocket has a similar body style as the Shark Rocket ION, but it is a corded version. The Shark Rocket series is actually one of the only vacuum styles in the Shark stick vacuum line-up that is a corded unit.
It is a little bulkier than the Rocket ION and heftier as well, weighing in at around 8 lbs. The price point is actually pretty similar to that of the Rocket ION so it just depends on whether you want cordless or corded.
For the lowest price, check out the Shark Rocket DeluxePro Ultra-Light (HV321). For added accessories and attachments, check out this model— it’s got the same name, but includes the extra accessories shown in the Modern Castle review of the Shark Rocket DeluxePro.
Shark Rocket Vacuum Series
The Shark Rocket series is made up of 2-in-1 vacuums that can run as a stick vacuum or a handheld. Some of the vacuums in the Rocket series have the DuoClean dual brushroll, like the Shark Rocket with DuoClean, and some do not, like the Shark Rocket Deluxe Pro.
The Rocket is designed for user who need a vacuum that wears multiple hats. The Rocket is lightweight, ranging from 7 pounds to just under 10 pounds. All of the vacuum cleaners in the Rocket series are corded vacuums that range from a 25′ cord to a 30′ cord.
There are quite a few Shark Rocket stick vacuums on the market right now. Models come with different features and accessories, including the Shark Rocket DuoClean (model NV380W and model HC382), the Shark Rocket DeluxePro (model HV320W), or the standard Rocket (model HV300W).
These are the top three listed on SharkClean.com, but there are even more models on third party sites including an ultra-lightweight model (model HV302) or one specifically designed for pet (model HV322) … the list truly goes on and on.
Frankly, all of the different versions of the Shark Rocket can get a little overwhelming. On the Shark site alone, there are 13 different models of the Shark Rocket stick vacuum. This review is just barely touching the surface, but to get the basics on the Shark Rocket, what you really need to know is that it is:
- stick vacuums
- 2-in-1 design (acts as both an upright and handheld)
SHARK IONFLEX DUOCLEAN | The Shark IONFlex DuoClean is an ultra-lightweight (3.8 lbs.) cordless stick vacuum with an open-faced cleaning head, which is great for capturing large debris that may otherwise get clogged up with the Shark Rocket or Rocket ION series.
There are a couple hot words in this stick vacuum that you can use to help determine features about the vacuum. ION—that one means that this vacuum uses a cordless rechargable lithium-ion battery pack.
Flex refers to the style of the stick. IONFlex vacuums are cordless stick vacuums that have a flexible stick, allowing you to clean far under furniture (like beds or cribs) without having to get down on the floor. The Flex stick also allows you to store the vacuum, sitting upright, something that the Rocket line cannot do.
Lastly let’s talk about DuoClean—this refers to the technology of the cleaning system. Shark DuoClean vacuums use a dual brushroll system, one soft roller in the front and a secondary brushroll behind to help capture larger debris or stuck-on dirt and pull it into the dust bin.
SHARK NAVIGATOR FREESTYLE | The Shark Navigator Freestyle takes some design inspiration from the full-size Shark Navigator Pro upright, but at a smaller scale. Unlike the Shark Rocket series or the IONFlex DuoClean, the Navigator Freestyle is not a 2-in-1. With the dust bin being more centrally located, some users find this style to feel lighter in-hand. At 7.5 lbs., it has a similar weight to the Rocket Deluxe Pro.
The Navigator Freestyle uses a 10.8 V battery and has an XL dust bin capacity for easier whole-home cleaning. This vacuum is also almost half the cost of the 2-in-1 Shark stick vacuums. If you don’t need handheld, the Navigator Freestyle may be a great option for you.
SHARK FLOOR & CARPET SWEEPER | Possibly the least expensive and most basic stick vacuum that Shark produces, the Floor & Carpet Sweeper is the definition of a simple vacuum. (Honestly, it looks more like a motorized broom than anything else). It is cordless, has two different speeds, and can run for up to 55 minutes. It weighs 5.4 lbs., but the dust bin is located at the base so in-hand, it feels very light.
The side-aligned position of the brush is a nice design touch for edge cleaning. It doesn’t come with any fancy bells & whistles or jazzy accessories but priced well within the lower $ price tier, it’s a nice value for people looking for a simple vacuum for hardwoods or low pile carpet.
Shark upright vacuums reviews can be broken down into three distinct collections- DuoClean, Rotator, and Navigator. Under each of these categories there are many variations which include different sets of features and accessories.
Some may have the Lift-Away Canister, while others do not. Shark uses ‘Professional’ in the vacuum name to highlight upright vacuums that are especially advanced.
These may include special technologies, larger dust cups, longer lasting batteries, and / or an updated aesthetic.
Shark Traditional Upright Vacuums
Traditional uprights are larger and heavier than the stick vacuums listed above, but also offer more on-board accessories and stronger suction. There are many upright options, but most fit into one of the three categories listed below:
You can learn more about the differences of each model, and sub-models that float within each series below:
SHARK ROTATOR LIFT-AWAY PRO | The Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro (model NV501) is a 2-in-1 vacuum since it can be used as an upright or a handheld vacuum. Reasonably priced, the Rotator Lift-Away is less expensive than the Navigator series, but ofers a similar design. Accessories with the Rotator Lift-Away Pro includes a dusting brush, 12″ crevice tool, and a pet tool.
The Rotator also comes in a variety of other special models. Depending on what features are most important to you, there is the Shark Rotator Lift-Away Speed (model NV683 or model NV601), XL Capacity (model NV755), Professional (model NV400), Slim-Light (model NV341), and even one for pet owners (model NV752).
The Shark Rotator is also available in a canister vacuum with upright wand and roller brush. The canister has two large wheels that allow you to roll the vacuum around the house, separate from the roller brush and wand. The canister model also has the Lift-Away functionality, enabling you to pop the handheld unit out and carry it around separately for smaller cleaning jobs.
SHARK NAVIGATOR LIFT-AWAY PRO | The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro (model NV356E) is one of the most popular models from the Navigator series. The Navigator Pro is a corded vacuum, that features a slimmer sleeker look compared to the standard Navigator while also having a dust cup almost 3 times larger.
This upright comes with the Lift-Away canister, upright roller base, hard floor attachment (with microfiber cleaning cloths), handheld wand, motorized brush tool, crevice tool, and dusting brush.
Similar to the Rotator, the Navigator comes in a variety of models with different features. For Navigators with the Lift-Away canister, you can get the standard Lift-Away (model NV581), the Lift-Away Deluxe (model UV440), or the Lift-Away Professional (model NV256E), listed above. See the full line here.
If you don’t need the Lift-Away canister and just want a sleek upright vacuum, there are a few other Navigator options without Lift-Away. Try checking out the Shark Navigator Professional vacuum (model NV70), the Navigator with pet tools (model NV22), or the Navigator Light (model NV105).
SHARK APEX DUOCLEAN LIFT-AWAY | The Shark DuoClean series gets a little wordy, but again, any of these fancy Shark names can be broken down. This particular model has the DuoClean dual brushes (for large debris or stuck-on dirt), Lift-Away canister for portable use, and the advanced features that come with the APEX name.
So what exactly is APEX?
Shark APEX vacuums are vacuum models that include a combination of advanced features and a redesigned body style. Additionally, APEX vacuums include what Shark calls its “Active-Glide” wheel, which is a smoother and less noisy wheel.
The following DuoClean vacuums are available with APEX:
- Shark APEX DuoClean Lift-Away Speed (model AX912)
- Standard APEX DuoClean Lift-Away– available in three colors (model AX9501, model AX951, and model AX952
The DuoClean online collection includes a few other upright vacuums that use DuoClean, but not APEX. These models include the Slim upright (model NV201), the DuoClean Lift-Away Speed (model NV800W) and the standard DuoClean Lift-Away upright vacuum. See full DuoClean line here.
If you’re familiar with Shark, then you’ve probably heard of Dyson also. Both Shark and Dyson have a large selection of upright vacuums, but there are definitely notable differences between the two. Discover how Shark compares to Dyson in our deep dive Shark vs. Dyson guide or see our detailed guide on Dyson vacuums here.
Handheld vacuums are lightweight and portable, and offer an assortment of convenient features and handy attachments.
Shark offers only two models that are exclusively handheld vacuum options.
If you’re looking for additional handhelds, be sure to consider the 2-in-1 stick vacuum models listed above.
SHARK CORDLESS PET PERFECT II | This handheld vacuum is a cordless unit that has a wall-mounted charger for convenience and comes with three versatile accessories- a crevice tool, a motorized roller brush, and a dusting brush. This battery can take up to 16 hours to fully charge and average run time is 7-15 minutes, depending on various conditions.
SHARK ROCKET CORDED | The Rocket corded hand vacuum is about twice the price of the cordless Pet Perfect II, but the corded power source means unlimited run time, as long as it’s plugged in. The Rocket handheld also comes with a dusting brush, motorized roller brush and crevice tool. This handheld vacuum also has the added benefit of an extendable hose for greater reach and versatility.
Shark robot vacuums are fairly new to hit the market, having just launched in fall 2017.
They are budget-friendly options for people who want the convenience of a robot vacuum, but maybe don’t need all the bells and whistles of more expensive models.
Shark currently offers three robot vacuums in its ION ROBOT series, the 700, the 720 and the 750.
The design of the ION ROBOT uses a round shape and a combination of spinning brushes, a central roller brush, and suction to agitate and collect dirt, dust, and debris. Infrared sensors help the Shark ION Robot navigate around your home, bumping and adapting as it goes.
Compared to larger robot vacuums, like the bObsweep Pet Hair or Roomba 650, which are both almost 4″ tall, the Shark ION ROBOT is quite a bit smaller (see our Shark ION vs. Roomba comparison for more info). At only 12.6″ in diameter and 2.6″ tall, this vacuum can sneak under most furniture and has the smaller size needed to navigate difficult areas in your home.
Regarding other features, the Shark ION ROBOT vacuums do not come with any dirt detection technology or an indication of a full dust bin. Considering the lower pricetag, this isn’t entirely surprising. That being said, they do have the ability to schedule cleanings (by remote control or the app, depending on the model) and return to their charging base when the battery gets low.
SHARK ION ROBOT 750 | The ION ROBOT 750 is the only Shark model that enables a wifi connection and voice control. Shark has an app that you can download to your tablet or smartphone to control the robot vacuum. You can also use voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
SHARK ION ROBOT 720 | The Shark ION ROBOT 720 looks similar in overall design to the 750, but lacks the wifi connectivity and the ability to use the app. In exchange, the 720 model has a remote control that you can use start or schedule a cleaning cycle.
SHARK ION ROBOT 700 | The Shark ION ROBOT 700 is the most basic model in the ION ROBOT series, and frankly it’s a little hard to find. This particular model is not widely available online.
This model includes the same basic design features as the 720 and 750, but lacks the wifi control (like the 750). If you’re looking for a basic Shark robot vacuum, I would honestly probably recommend the 720 model over the 700, even if for no other reason than the hassle of finding replacement parts for a vacuum that the manufacturer doesn’t even sell on its website.
Shark has a seemingly endless supply of different models, sub-models, and specialty collections on the market.
Some are more popular than others, as you can tell from the number of consumer reviews floating around the web, but it can still difficult to know which model will work best for your family and lifestyle.
Instead of randomly selecting a vacuum off-the-cuff, or blindly selecting a model that other people like, it is a good course of practice to think about the ways you will use the vacuum, identify features that are important to you, and narrow down their collection until you find the perfect fit.
Here’s a couple questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to nail down your perfect Shark vacuum.
What is your budget?
A Shark vacuum can cost you anywhere from budget to more moderate prices, depending on the style, power, and capacity that you’re needing. But compared to the top-tier Dyson, Shark is a much more budget-friendly option.
For a Shark vacuum within the low price $ tier, you can get a portable handheld like the Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II, a lightweight stick vacuum like the Shark Floor and Carpet Sweeper, or even what some may consider to be a compact upright—the Shark Navigator Freestyle.
For the top-of-the-line Shark vacuums, ranging within the high-price $$$ tier, you can look at the Shark APEX DuoClean Lift-Away upright, the Shark ION 750 robot vacuum, or the Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean stick vacuum.
What features are you looking for?
There are many Shark features than combine to create unique vacuums, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
For vacuums that easily adapt to different spaces, check out the Shark line-up of cordless stick vacuums with DuoClean.
For powerful vacuums with on-board accessories and a portable canister, check out the Shark line-up of upright vacuums with Lift-Away.
- Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro upright vacuum
- Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro upright vacuum
- Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away upright vacuum
For tech-savvy vacuums that do the job for you, check out the current line of Shark robot vacuums.
So many ways to clean your home with a Shark vacuum. Still not sure which one to choose? If you have any questions or need help with your selection, contact us directly and we’d be happy to make a recommendation, based on your needs!
Last Updated - May 11, 2018
The following logs all major updates and changes made to this page.
- May 11, 2018 – Made major updates to both content and formatting. Added lots of extra information and improved our organization of existing information. Removed a section on 3rd party reviews.
- November 29, 2017 – original version of the page launched.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, and poodle, Tibbers.