The Shark Stratos UltraLight is the flagship corded stick vacuum in Shark's extensive product lineup, effectively replacing the Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded. It differs from its predecessor with the introduction of a slightly updated brushroll design featuring the company's PowerFins HairPro technology and an odor-neutralizing cartridge that plugs into its floorhead. It's a great alternative to one of the company's corded uprights if you're looking for something more maneuverable or a solid alternative to a cordless stick vacuum if you don't want to worry about keeping a battery topped up.
The Shark Stratos Corded is very good on bare floors. It easily clears away small and bulky debris on this surface type, and it does a fantastic job of clearing out debris from shallow cracks and crevices, like grout lines on tile floors. It's also reasonably lightweight and quite maneuverable. However, while it incurs low ownership costs, there are still quite a few parts in this vacuum that need regular cleaning.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight corded stick vacuum is a very good option for low-pile carpet. It's effective in handling pet hair as well as solid debris on this floor type. It's also portable enough to be maneuvered easily in cluttered environments. Unfortunately, there's no brushroll off switch, so it's likely to get stuck on obstructions like rug tassels.
The Shark Stratos Corded is great for cleaning high-pile carpet. It does a fantastic job handling solid debris and pet hair on this surface type. It's also pretty maneuverable, has an easy-to-use design, and a fairly long range. However, there's no floorhead height adjustment, meaning the vacuum can get bogged down on plush carpeting. It also has quite a few parts that need regular cleaning.
The Shark Stratos Corded is a good choice for dealing with pet hair. Its twin roller floorhead is fantastically well-suited to dealing with hair on bare floors and carpeting, while the included miniature turbo brush does a great job of cleaning strands of hair on upholstered surfaces. Its odor-neutralizing cartridge is a pretty uncommon feature for a vacuum of this type and helps to minimize any unpleasant scents you might encounter while vacuuming. It also has an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. However, it's worth noting that its primary brushroll isn't removable, making removing any tangled hair a hassle, even if the manufacturer advertises the roller as self-cleaning.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight corded stick vacuum is great for vacuuming stairs. While it's heavier than a lot of cordless stick vacuums, it's still lighter than most corded models, and it doesn't take much effort to pick it up and carry it down long flights of stairs. Its nearly 30-foot power cord is also long enough to clean all but the tallest staircases. You can quickly reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum to clean any tight spots.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight is a good fit for cleaning the inside of your car. Its range of more than 30 feet is fairly long for a corded model, though you might still need to use an extension cord if you don't have any nearby power outlets to plug into. It can be quickly converted into a handheld vacuum and comes with a handy array of attachments, including a miniature turbo brush tool for cleaning floormats, a crevice tool for tackling debris in tight corners, and an upholstery nozzle to help clear away debris on seats. Unfortunately, there are no hard or soft-bristle brushes to dislodge stubborn dirt or to clean any delicate plastic surfaces.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight is a poor fit for workshop cleaning. It can't deal with liquid spills, and it isn't designed to tackle heavy-duty debris like metal or wood shavings. That said, it does a fantastic job with lighter household debris on hard surfaces.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight is only available as a single variant, referred to as HZ3002. You can see the label for our test unit here.
Let us know in the discussions if you come across another variant of this vacuum, and we'll update our review.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight corded stick vacuum represents a marked upgrade over its immediate predecessor, the Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded. It does a better job handling debris on most surface types, has a HEPA filter, and features a convenient, though not necessarily essential, odor-neutralizing system. That said, unlike its predecessor, it lacks a set of brush attachments for cleaning delicate surfaces or dealing with stubborn debris.
If you're looking for an alternative, see our recommendations for the best corded vacuums, the best lightweight vacuums, and the best bagless vacuums.
Despite their similar names, the Shark Stratos UltraLight and Shark Stratos Cordless target slightly different audiences. The UltraLight is a corded model that represents a good portable substitute for a mid-range conventional upright, while the Stratos Cordless is an upper mid-range cordless stick vacuum. Both vacuums feature Shark's new odor-neutralizing cartridge and upgraded PowerFins floorhead. However, the cordless model also has an automatic power adjustment system, not to mention better build quality and a flexible wand.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight is better than the Shark Rocket Corded. The Stratos feels sturdier, takes up less room when not in use, is fitted with an onboard HEPA filter, has a longer range, and has a more powerful suction motor, resulting in better performance on most surfaces. However, the Rocket is a little lighter.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight is better than the Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded. The Stratos has a HEPA filter, weighs a little less, and has an odor-neutralizing system. Its redesigned floorhead also results in better overall debris pickup performance. Meanwhile, the Vertex does come with a pair of brush attachments.
The Shark APEX UpLight and Shark Stratos UltraLight each have strengths. The APEX has a higher-capacity dustbin, a wider array of attachments, and exerts a slightly stronger suction force, resulting in better debris pickup in cracks and crevices. Conversely, the Stratos is lighter and more compact. It also features an odor-neutralizing system to help tamp down on unpleasant scents.
Build quality is decent. The vacuum is mainly made from plastic, though its wand is lightweight, nonmagnetic metal. It feels reasonably sturdy for the most part, though like many other Shark vacuums, the thin clear plastic dirt compartment is a weak point.
Out-of-the-box setup isn't too hard, requiring only that you clip the wand to the floorhead.
User maintenance is somewhat demanding. Its parts are easy to access for the most part, but many require routine servicing.
Any part that you wash with water must be left to dry for at least 24 hours before reinstalling it.
Note: While there are no specific maintenance instruction requirements for the odor-neutralizing cartridge, it's important to note that you should only use the vacuum if a cartridge is inserted in the floorhead, even if it's completely depleted.
This vacuum incurs few recurring costs.
This vacuum is pretty easy to store. You'll need to wrap its cord manually, which is a bit of a hassle, but the vacuum itself doesn't take up that much space. You can mount its motor unit further down the wand to reduce its vertical footprint. There are also onboard storage slots for its included attachments.
This vacuum's dirt compartment is adequate. It looks like a dual-chamber system, but in reality, only the rear chamber is suitable for holding debris. Once debris fills past that point, which is little more than half the capacity of an alternative like the Samsung Jet 75, it starts to pile into the main cyclone chamber and back out of the wand. Thankfully, the entire dustbin is made of clear plastic, so you can tell how full it is at a glance.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight has a good range. Its power cord is quite long, allowing you to clean large spaces without needing to swap outlets.
This vacuum is pretty portable. While it's heavier than most cordless stick vacuums like the Dyson V8, it feels light in your hand in day-to-day use. It also happens to be slightly lighter than its predecessor, the Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded.
The Shark Stratos UltraLight has a few quality-of-life features. There are two floor settings: "Bare Floor", in which the brushroll spins slowly for dealing with debris on hard, flat surfaces to avoid scattering around debris and "Carpet", which speeds up the brushroll's rotation to improve surface agitation on rugs and carpets. Unfortunately, neither of these settings adjusts the brushroll height or suction power. There's also a headlight mounted inside the vacuum head to illuminate dark areas. The odor-neutralizing cartridge mounted in the floorhead does leave behind a fairly pleasant scent while cleaning that isn't too cloying.
The Shark HZ3002 comes with a couple of tools and accessories. There's a Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush tool, which is handy for cleaning pet hair from cloth surfaces. There's also a crevice tool for dealing with messes in far-off or tight spots as well as a straight-suction upholstery nozzle for cleaning furniture. Unlike the Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded, there are no hard or soft-bristle brushes included.
Bare floor performance is fantastic with the vacuum set to its 'Bare Floor' surface mode. It easily clears away small debris like rice and bulkier debris like cereal.
Debris pickup on low-pile carpet is great with the vacuum set to its 'Carpet' mode. It's very effective when lifting away fine debris like baking soda, and while you might need to make an extra pass to collect larger debris like sand, its performance in this regard is still quite strong.
This vacuum does a fantastic job on high-pile carpet when used in its 'Carpet' setting. It clears away the vast majority of fine debris like baking soda and larger material like sand that's been embedded in carpet fibers. However, its brushroll can get stuck on thick carpeting, most frequently when switching to the higher-speed 'Carpet' mode when the vacuum is already on high-pile carpets. To prevent this from happening, it's best to avoid placing too much downward pressure on the vacuum while cleaning this kind of surface.
This vacuum's real-world suction performance is poor. Its floorhead sits a little too high off the ground to create a tight seal. However, this doesn't prevent it from lifting away debris from carpets or within cracks and crevices.
This vacuum isn't too loud. It makes more noise than a comparably-priced cordless model like the Samsung Jet 75, but it won't be too disruptive for people nearby if you vacuum in a partially enclosed room.
Maneuverability is good. It's lightweight enough to be maneuvered easily in cluttered rooms. Its wand can be laid almost flat without the floorhead lifting from the ground, making it easier to clean under furniture. The integrated LED headlight makes it easy to see what you're cleaning in dark corners. It's also simple to reconfigure into a handheld to clean furniture and attach its turbo brush, crevice tool, or upholstery nozzle. Unfortunately, there's no brushroll off switch, meaning it can get stuck on rug tassels and plush carpeting. Its power cord also tends to get stuck on furniture. You'll also need to wind it back manually, which is a bit of an annoyance, especially after the cord has been unwound to its maximum length. In addition, unlike the Shark Stratos Cordless, it doesn't have a folding wand, which would enable you to clean under tables and chairs without having to crouch too deeply.
This vacuum is mostly effective in trapping fine allergens. While its onboard HEPA filter ensures most fine particles won't escape from the dustbin while cleaning, a small amount of lightweight allergens can be blown forwards from its floorhead.