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 various prices, so you can find something that fits your budget.
The best Shark vacuum we've tested is the Shark Stratos Cordless. It's the flagship model in Shark's lineup of cordless stick vacuums, and as such, it's loaded with many convenience features. This includes its Clean Sense IQ system, which uses infrared sensors to measure how much debris is collected and allows the vacuum to adjust its suction power as necessary. It also features an odor-neutralizing system that works via a replaceable cartridge in its floorhead, which emits a detergent-like scent as you clean. The vacuum's folding wand makes it easy to clean under most furniture since you won't have to crouch deeply, and it reduces its vertical footprint when stowed away. It has the newest iteration of Shark's DuoClean twin-roller floorhead, comprised of a soft roller and a finned multi-surface roller.
Unfortunately, despite being advertised as self-cleaning, pet hair can still get trapped in the floorhead, and since this primary brushroll isn't removable, it can be a nuisance to clean. This vacuum can run for up to an hour on a charge, which is good by the standards of other cordless vacuums. If you don't want to worry about running out of charge, the Shark Stratos Upright is a solid option with a substantially greater debris capacity. However, it lacks the cordless model's automatic power adjustment feature and has a much bulkier upright body.
The Shark Cordless Pro is the best cordless Shark vacuum in the upper mid-range price bracket we've tested. This cordless stick vacuum shares quite a bit with the flagship Shark Stratos Cordless, with the same Clean Sense IQ automatic power adjustment and odor-neutralization systems. However, its lower purchase price comes with a few compromises; you'll need to make do with a less potent suction motor and a smaller battery, which can only offer a max runtime of about 40 minutes compared to the Stratos' approximate hour-long runtime. That isn't to say it isn't a good overall performer. It can easily clear away debris on hard floors, and while it has a less powerful suction motor than the Stratos, it's still capable of handling most kinds of messes on carpets. It uses a different floorhead design compared to the Stratos as well.
Instead of a dual-roller setup, it has only a single fluffy roller with angled fins that reduce the chances of hair buildup and provide surface agitation on carpets. This also ties into its one major advantage over the Stratos, not to mention most other Shark vacuums: you can completely remove this brushroll from its floorhead. While this may seem like a fairly minor change in design, it greatly improves user maintenance, as you can now easily clear away any stuck-on debris or tangled strands of hair, making it the best Shark vacuum for pet hair we've tested.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight is among the best Shark vacuums for pet hair that we've tested and a great choice if you're looking for something a little more affordable. It's the flagship corded stick model in Shark's lineup and borrows some features from the pricier Shark Stratos Cordless and Shark Stratos Upright. Like those two other vacuums, it features a replaceable cartridge to mask foul odors as you clean, as well as the newest iteration of Shark's twin-roller DuoClean floorhead, which features a primary brushroll with fins meant to reduce hair buildup. While it doesn't have the go-anywhere range of a cordless model, its operating radius of over 30 feet is still reasonably long and will be sufficient for cleaning most large rooms without swapping outlets.
Performance on bare floors, as well as low and high-pile carpet, is excellent, though unfortunately, there's no height adjustment for its brushroll, so it can get tangled in thicker carpeting. Build quality is also noticeably inferior to the Shark Cordless Pro, and it has a smaller dirt compartment that'll need emptying more regularly.
The Shark Pet Cordless (IX141) is the best budget Shark vacuum we've tested. Compared to a higher-end model like the Shark Cordless Pro, it's as basic as cordless vacuums get, with no automatic power adjustment capability, a simple single-roller floorhead, and a fixed-angle wand. It's cheap but delivers impressive performance on bare floors and low and high-pile carpet. It comes with a crevice tool for handling messes in tight corners, an upholstery tool for cleaning fabric surfaces, and a dusting brush to deal with debris on countertops or shelves.
Unfortunately, this vacuum is a hassle to keep clean; its floorhead's brushroll isn't removable, making it hard to clear away any tangled hair. Battery life isn't all that impressive either, topping out at about 40 minutes, though that's a downside shared with the pricier Cordless Pro. If you want to avoid running out of charge, the Shark Rocket Corded is a good substitute, albeit one that feels more cheaply built and doesn't perform quite as well overall.
The best Shark robot vacuum we've tested is the Shark AI Ultra Robot. 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; you can also 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. Performance on bare floors is excellent, though the vacuum has a harder time dealing with debris on low and high-pile carpeting.
However, it's worth noting that the SharkClean app is slow, 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 Pet/Rocket Pro Cordless 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. The CH951 variant 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 unfortunately, the latter isn't very effective for dealing with pet hair on upholstered surfaces.
Its 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 offer better debris pickup performance than most Shark models and come with a broader range of attachments and unique quality-of-life features like automatic power adjustment. However, they're also notably pricier than comparable Sharks, which usually feel better built. You can see a more detailed comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of each brand's offerings in this comparison article.
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 confusing. In broad strokes, you can outline their model lineup as follows.
May 05, 2023: Replaced Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away with Shark APEX Upright as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Shark Vacuum' due to current pricing. Replaced Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV with Shark Stratos UltraLight as the 'Best Mid-Range Shark Vacuum' due to current pricing.
Shark is a good household manufacturer that produces items like mops and irons alongside 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.