We've currently tested over 25 Shark vacuums. Shark manufactures homeware goods like irons and mops in addition to vacuums. Unlike other brands like Samsung or BISSELL, which focus on a limited range of vacuum designs, Shark offers a little bit of everything, including robot vacuums, secondary handheld configurations, and corded and cordless designs. Their vacuums come at a variety of price points, so you can find something that fits your budget.
For more recommendations, check our articles for the best vacuums for stairs, the best vacuum cleaner brands, and the best car vacuums.
The best Shark vacuum we've tested is the Shark Stratos Cordless. This cordless stick vacuum sits at the top of Shark's lineup of cordless stick options and features a broad range of convenience features. One of the most significant is its Clean Sense IQ system, which uses infrared sensors to adjust its suction power on the fly depending on how much debris is being picked up, resulting in improved performance on most surfaces compared to its immediate predecessor, the Shark Vertex Pro Lightweight. It also features an odor-neutralizing system that works via a replaceable cartridge in its floorhead, which is handy for pet owners. Its folding wand makes it easy to clean under most furniture while reducing its vertical footprint when it's stowed away.
It has the newest iteration of Shark's DuoClean twin-roller floorhead, comprised of a soft roller and a self-cleaning finned roller. Despite this self-cleaning billing, pet hair can still get trapped in it, and since this primary brushroll isn't removable, it can be a bit of a nuisance to clean. This vacuum can run for up to an hour on a charge, which is pretty good by the standards of other cordless vacuums. If you don't want to worry about running out of charge, the Shark Stratos UltraLight is a solid option, even if it lacks the cordless model's automatic power adjustment feature, has a smaller dustbin, and has a non-folding wand.
Check out the Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away if you're looking for something a little cheaper, as it's one of the best Shark vacuums for pet hair we've tested. While its upright design makes it bulkier and less maneuverable than a stick vacuum like the Shark Stratos Cordless, the flip side of this larger body is a bigger dustbin with a greater debris capacity, so you won't have to empty its dustbin quite as often. Performance is superb on a wide range of surfaces, as it easily clears away debris on hard floors and low and high-pile carpet. There are two different surface settings for bare floors and carpeting, though they only change the speed of its brushroll and not the height of its floorhead, so it's still liable to get stuck on rug tassels and thick carpeting. Unfortunately, it lacks the Stratos' automatic power adjustment feature and odor-neutralizing system.
It uses a similar 'Lift-Away' design to many other conventional Shark uprights, which lets you pick up and carry its canister body separately from its floorhead, so you can easily clean under tables and chairs with its hose. However, it's worth noting that it isn't as well-suited to cleaning large areas as corded models, as it can only run for about 40 minutes when used in its traditional upright configuration. If you aren't entirely sold on the vacuum's cordless design and prefer using a corded vacuum for longer cleaning sessions, the Shark APEX UpLight is a fantastic alternative that delivers similar performance.
The Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV is a great choice if you're looking for a Shark vacuum that's a little more affordable and among the best Shark vacuums for pet hair that we've tested. While it's bulkier than the cordless Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away, it's worth a look if you prioritize deep cleaning performance and don't want to worry about running out of charge. Its dual-brushroll head helps it clear away debris on a wide range of surfaces, from bare floors to low and high-pile carpet, and it's pretty effective in dealing with messes in shallow cracks and crevices.
This vacuum uses the brand's 'Lift-Away' design, which lets you pick up and carry its canister body separately from its floorhead, making it easier to clean tight spots. While its range is limited compared to cordless models, the power cord is pretty long, meaning you can clean larger areas without swapping outlets. Still, if you don't want to worry about sticking close to a power outlet, the Shark Cordless Pet Plus is the best cordless Shark vacuum at a mid-range price point that we've tested. It's more maneuverable than the Rotator ADV but falls short in debris pickup performance.
The Shark Rocket Corded is the best budget Shark vacuum we've tested. Compared to a higher-end model like the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV, this corded stick vacuum doesn't feel especially sturdy, has a smaller dustbin, and a weaker suction motor, so you'll probably need to make an extra pass or two to fully clear away the same amount of debris. Nevertheless, this is still a good option for something affordable. At just over eight pounds, it's heavier than many cordless stick vacuums, but it's still much lighter than the Rotator, making it a lot easier to maneuver in tight spots or to pick up and carry around.
Unfortunately, this vacuum is a bit of a hassle to keep clean; its floorhead's brushroll isn't removable, making it hard to clear away any tangled hair, and the latch that opens its dustbin can be a little tricky to access. Despite its relatively compact dimensions, it also takes up a bit of room when not in use.
The best Shark robot vacuum we've tested is the Shark AI Ultra Robot, and it's worth a look if you don't need the deep-cleaning performance of a manually-operated vacuum like the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. This robot vacuum can automatically empty its dustbin into an external dirt compartment mounted to its charging dock, reducing hands-on maintenance requirements. The AV2501AE variant has an extra-large dock with room for 60 days' worth of debris. Its LIDAR mapping sensor allows for quick and precise room mapping, and you can use its companion app to schedule cleaning sessions or set up no-go zones to prevent the vacuum from entering an area where it might get stuck or knock over something delicate.
However, it's worth noting that the SharkClean app is slow and buggy and occasionally provides incorrect status updates. This robot vacuum doesn't have a surface detection system that would allow it to change its suction power mode automatically. To adjust its cleaning mode, manually select it through its companion app for every cleaning job.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best cordless Shark vacuum with a handheld design that we've tested. Unlike the Shark Rocket Corded or any other Shark stick vacuum, it's only intended for quick spot-cleaning sessions. It does a fantastic job dealing with pet hair and solid debris on flat, even surfaces and delivers a superb overall performance on carpets and rugs. It feels well-built and has a simple design that incurs few recurring costs. It comes with a crevice tool for tackling messes in tight corners, a hard-bristle brush to dislodge stuck-on dirt and debris, and a turbo brush for cleaning furniture, though it isn't very effective for dealing with pet hair on upholstered surfaces.
Unfortunately, this vacuum's battery life of little over 10 minutes isn't especially noteworthy, even by the standards of other cordless stick vacuums, and you'll need to work fast when cleaning bigger messes. It also has terrible air filtration performance, so it isn't the best option if you suffer from allergies. If that's a concern, consider the Shark WANDVAC, which does a much better job of sealing in allergens like pet dander; you can further bolster its filtration performance by purchasing an aftermarket HEPA filter. However, it's pricier than the UltraCyclone and has a much smaller dustbin.
When comparing their lineup of cordless stick vacuums, Dyson's offerings tend to offer better debris pickup performance than most Shark models and tend to come with a broader range of attachments, as well as unique quality-of-life features like automatic power adjustment. However, they're also notably pricier than comparable Sharks, which usually feel better built.
BISSELL vacuums are generally cheaper than comparable Shark models, though that lower price tag is often reflected in inferior build quality, debris pickup performance, and air filtration performance.
Shark produces a variety of different vacuum types at various price points. They're smartly designed to reconfigure into a handheld design if you need a closer clean, and cordless options are available. When comparing their stick vacuums to Dyson's offerings, Shark vacuums feel better built and sturdier. However, they also tend to have a similar but slightly worse performance on carpet. Their upright vacuums usually perform better on all surface types than BISSELL vacuums.
Shark has a diverse lineup of vacuums, and their naming convention can sometimes be very confusing to parse out. In broad strokes, you can outline their model lineup as follows.
Mar 16, 2023: Replaced Shark EZ Robot with Shark AI Ultra Robot as 'Best Robot Shark Vacuum'.
Feb 17, 2023: Replaced Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away with Shark Stratos Cordless as 'Best Shark Vacuum' pick. Replaced Shark Cordless Pet Plus with Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Shark Vacuum' pick.
Jan 19, 2023: Due to current pricing, recategorized Shark Cordless Pet Plus as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Shark Vacuum' and Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Mid-Range Shark Vacuum'.
Dec 20, 2022: Replaced Shark Vertex Lightweight Cordless with Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Shark Vacuum' due to current pricing. Added Shark Cordless Pet Plus as 'Best Mid-Range Shark Vacuum' pick.
Nov 30, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for user needs.
Shark is a good household manufacturer that produces items like mops and irons alongside a selection of vacuums at different price points and styles. You can also use many Shark vacuums as handhelds, which is nice if you need to clean hard-to-reach places. If you want an easily portable model, Shark sells some cordless vacuums. However, they tend to have a few maintenance needs, and some models can be a little more tricky to clean.