Best Shark Vacuum 2021: We tried and tested Shark's top-selling models

Here are our thoughts on the best Shark vacuum, where we break down the models that will best fit your lifestyle

Best Shark Vacuum
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(Image credit: Shark)

Curious about a new Shark vacuum? We don't blame you, they're among the best vacuums in a crowded vacuum market. 

We spent weeks testing a variety of Shark vacuums, including upright, stick, cordless, and robot models to determine which is the best Shark model. 

Shark makes a vacuum for every home and need. For those who want a deep clean, aka everyone, several Shark models make use of exclusive DuoClean technology which offers not one, but two brush rolls for maximum contact and pick up on both carpets and hard floors. Pet owners will be pleased that Shark's vacuums are well-equipped to handle pet hair with features like anti-hair wrap, DuoClean brushes, and self-cleaning brush rolls. Many models also suit those who are sensitive to allergens and dust with Anti-Allergen Seal Technology and HEPA filtration. Portability and convenience are other top priorities as almost all the vacuums we've rated convert into a handheld vacuum or feature Shark's Lift-Away technology, making them even easier and lighter to use for above floor and stair cleaning. 

You'll also feel secure in your purchase knowing that every Shark purchase is backed by a 5-year warranty. 

We've rounded up our top picks below. Keep scrolling to see our reviews to find the right vacuum for your home and lifestyle. 

Best Shark Vacuum Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-awayReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Shark)

1. Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-away DuoClean PowerFins, and Self-Cleaning Brushroll

Best Shark vacuum for power

Specifications
Type: Upright, bagless and handheld
Container capacity: 1 quart
Weight: 16.38lb
Dimensions: 12" L X 15.09" W X 46.25" H
Cord Length: 30ft
Max Power: 1344w
Charge time: N/A
Running time: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Powerful suction power on hard floors and carpets+Powered Lift-Away motor and accessories offer flexible cleaning options for cleaning stairs, under furniture, and tight corners+Ample dust-bin capacity+Hair doesn't get caught in self-cleaning brushroll+HEPA filter 
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy to operate-Fumbled with attachments that didn't want to pop out-Motor emits a lot of airflow, that feels warm and causes papers to blow in its wake-2 out of the 3 included accessories store on board, and are easily knocked off

If you're looking for a vacuum that can do it all and deliver an impressive clean, this is the vacuum you need. Billed as Shark's most powerful vacuum, the Shark Vertex upright is also Shark's most premium offering, with design features like Powered Lift-Away, DuoClean Powerfins, a Self-Cleaning Brushroll, Hypervelocity Accelerated Suction, and Anti-Allergen Seal Technology. 

The verdict
From visible debris to ground-in dust, the Shark Vertex suctioned it all with minimal repeat passes. And hair? Never wrapped around the self-cleaning brush roll or clogged the vacuum shaft, so I think it's safe to say this vacuum is pet-parent approved. 

The Vertex is loaded with features that make it versatile for cleaning a range of spaces, and I admit I struggled with its weight (over 16 pounds) and fumbled with the Lift-Away, it delivered exactly the type of clean I wanted.  

Perhaps, of most interest, the one-quart capacity got me through all of my cleaning tests before I had to empty it out, enabling me to get the job done without having to pause to empty the dust cup until I was actually finished.

Best Shark Vacuum Shark HZ2002 Vertex Corded Ultralight DuoClean PowerFins Stick VacuumReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Shark)

2. Vertex Corded Ultralight DuoClean PowerFins Stick Vacuum with Self-Cleaning Brushroll (HZ2002)

Best lightweight Shark vacuum

Specifications
Type: stick, bagless and handheld
Container capacity: .32qt
Weight: 9.05lb.
Dimensions: 12" L X 15.09" W X 46.25" H
Cord Length: 30ft
Max Power: 680w
Charge time: N/A
Running time: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Powerful suction power on hard floors and carpets+Super lightweight and easy to use+Removable handheld component offers flexible cleaning options+LED Lights guide base+Digital display feels high-end+Stores compact+Hair doesn't get caught in brush heads+Highly recommended for pet owners
Reasons to avoid
-Won't stand on its own (top-heavy)-Small capacity dust bin-Concerned about the plastic base of the removable handheld deteriorating from constant release and being jostled to put away or keep upright-No HEPA filter

The Shark Vertex Corded Ultralight vacuum is a lightweight stick vacuum that rivals upright counterparts with its suction performance. The entire unit itself is just over 9 lbs., but the handheld component weighs in at under 3 lbs, making it extremely easy to carry around the home. An ample 30-foot cord ensures you'll never be too tethered to the wall, and can cover vast areas without having to unplug. Though, the .32 quart bin does fill up rather quickly, so, if you have pets or haven't vacuumed in a bit, you might not be finished with your cleaning job before having to empty the bin. 

The verdict
This ultralight stick vacuum works like a dream on hardwoods, and definitely had the right amount of oomph to get through the carpets. It also stores compact, but the trade-off involved having to remove the handheld from the wand and hanging it close to the floorhead for stability. 

If you're in between a cordless and something lightweight but cored, and want to save a few dollars, keep the cord. It's long enough so you're not unplugging to change outlets every five minutes, and you'll never have to worry about running out of battery and waiting to charge. 

Best Shark Vacuum Vertex™ Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum with DuoClean® PowerFinsReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Shark)

3. Shark Vertex Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum with DuoClean PowerFins

Best Shark cordless vacuum

Specifications
Type: Cordless, stick, handheld
Container capacity: .34 qt.
Weight: 9.04lb.
Dimensions: 10.23" L X 9.65" W X 46.46" H
Max Power: 281W
Charge time: ~ 3 hours
Running time: Up to 60 minutes
Reasons to buy
+Easy to store+Great for unobstructed cleaning+Lightweight+Multi-flex build makes it easy to access hard to reach areas +HEPA filtration and Anti-Allergen technology
Reasons to avoid
-Only get 12 minutes of cleaning power on boost mode-Expensive-Small dust cup

Surprisingly, thecordless Vertex has a larger dust bin than its corded counterpart, by just a hair. Beyond its cordless and lightweight design, this particular vacuum is also loaded with the latest DuoClean Powerfins set up, Multi-Flex technology, and the Anti-Allergen Seal (washable HEPA filter) seen in the upright Vertex. 

It offers up to 60 minutes of charge, though the run time decreases as you work over the carpet, or activate Boost mode, at just 12 minutes. Charging is as simple as plugging into the removable battery on the vacuum or fully separating the battery to charge on a countertop. 

The verdict
Going cordless is truly liberating, and makes any cleaning job feel possible. Get into the tough spaces, and just grab when it's ready. The hard part is having to make sure it's charged before you're reaching for it, but once you do, it's incredibly easy to use. I had no issues with the vacuum losing suction power or interrupting my clean. It was really a delight to use.

Good to know

This particular design is Shark's most premium cordless, designed to go up against that well-known vacuum brand. It does come with an elevated price tag, which is still cheaper than the brands it is competing with. 

No complaints performance-wise, but I found the Multi-Flex technology to be underwhelming, and gave me less control over the movements to get low under furniture. The Multi-Flex was handy, however, in enabling the vacuum to store stable and compact without having to remove the handheld, as it folds over into one piece. 

Best Shark vacuum robotReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Shark)

4. Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL (RV1001AE)

Best Shark robot vacuum

Specifications
Type: Robot
Container capacity: 30 days of dust
Weight: 5.87lb.
Dimensions: 12.9 L X 12.6 W X 3.5 H
Max Power: 35.3w
Charge time: 6 hours
Running time: ~2 hours
Reasons to buy
+Controllable via app and Alexa/Google Assistant with Wifi+Self-Emptying base means you only have to deal with dust once every 30 days+No-go strips to create a boundary of where you DON'T want the vacuum to go+Effortlessly transitions between hard floors and area rugs+Quiet
Reasons to avoid
-Can take several cycles for the robot to complete a full map-The charging base requires a large clearance area around it and can not be moved, otherwise, the home mapping process will have to start all over-Can't be used across multiple floors/ room barriers -Had trouble picking up larger pieces like cereal, fallen paper-Hair still seemed to get caught 

Shark's IQ Robot is here to help you reclaim your time and you won't have to lift a finger... though, for the first few times, it's easy to get sucked into watching it to see it work. The addition of an extra-large self-emptying dust bin adds an extra level of automation that truly enables you to set it and forget it.  For daily

The verdict
First off, not having to deal with the dust bin every five minutes? Game-changer. And the ability to program and monitor progress from the sofa through the easy-to-use smart app? Bliss! It works very intuitively for a machine, with wheels that help it seamlessly go between hard floors and area rugs with finesse. It moves in a methodical back and forth patterns, while not being caught off-guard by any furniture in the way. On a single charge, it looks like it can get up to 2 hours of runtime, but if the battery gets low mid-clean, it can return to the base to charge before picking up where it left off, same if the dust bin is starting to get full. Genius!  

For suction, it's definitely got it. Even though you don't have to check the dust bin after every cycle, I was very curious to see how much had been collected. On the first day, the separate dust bin in the base was relatively full from covering about (1000 sq ft). On day two, there was significantly less, a sign that it had picked up most of the debris on day one, and everything else was routine upkeep.  But here's where it could have been better with pick up: the edges between the hard floor and an area rug, and collecting larger pieces of debris, like cereal or paper scraps that got pushed around, but not picked up. 

Good to know
It can take several cycles for the robot to "map" your home, according to many reviewers. For me, it only took two run-throughs to get a relatively accurate reading. Even if you didn't use no-go strips the first time, you can also do it on the map, and for future cycles, it avoids that areas.  Due to the mapping technology, if you move the base, the robot vacuum will have to recreate the map of your space from scratch. Also, there is only support for one map at a time, so it's not possible to move it between floors, or in spaces that are not consecutive. 

The vacuum operates at a relatively low volume that is not disruptive if you're nearby while it's running. However, when the robot self-empties into the dust bin, the sound is very loud and can be startling, if you're not expecting it. 

Best Shark Vacuum Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum nv352

(Image credit: Shark)

5. Shark Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum NV352

Best Shark vacuum for the value

Specifications
Type: Upright, corded,
Container capacity: .9qts
Weight: 13.9lb.
Dimensions: 10.24" L X 10.24" W X 45.27" H
Cord Length: 25ft
Max Power: 1200w
Reasons to buy
+Under $200+Reliable+Effective at picking up pet hair+Good assortment of attachments+Lift-Away +HEPA filtration 
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky-Prone to tipping over-No anti-hair wrap or self-cleaning brush roll technology

The Shark Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum with Wide Upholstery and Crevice Tools is one of Shark's most longstanding models and for good reason. The reliable upright offers incredible value, suction power, and even HEPA filtration. If you're keen on attachments, it's well equipped with a wide upholstery tool that handles pet hair on furniture, and two crevice tools, a lengthy 24-inch, and a compact 5.5-inch for reaching tight spaces. Finally, the brushroll shutoff feature allows you to instantly switch from deep carpet cleaning to gentle bare floor cleaning. 

The verdict
While it looks hefty and bulky in appearance, it's actually considered lightweight for an upright, and the swivel steering makes it easy to handle. The Lift-Away technology adds increased flexibility to reach under tight spaces or for above floor cleaning. 

If you're looking for a high-performing vacuum that can handle hard floors and carpets with the same amount of finesse while also saving a few dollars, the Navigator is a well-proven choice. In fact, it has over 9,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. 

Good to know
The top-heavy design is prone to tipping over, and some users find the 25-foot cord just a tad shorter than they'd hoped. 

Best Shark Vacuum Shark wandvac cordess stickReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Shark)

6. Shark Wandvac System Ultra-Lightweight Powerful Cordless Stick Vacuum with Charging Dock

Best Shark vacuum for quick clean ups

Specifications
Type: Cordless, bagless and handheld
Container capacity: .13 qt.
Weight: 5.8lb
Dimensions: 10"L X 11.2" W X 44"H
Max Power: 225w
Charge time: 3 hours
Running time: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Very lightweight and sleek design+One-touch release to empty dust bin+3 cleaning positions+Charging base to discreetly store+Thoughtful attachments+Available in various fashion color options
Reasons to avoid
-Small dust bin-Dust bin release button is directly underneath power button, possible to confuse-One power strength option-No LED light

Shark's WandVac has its time and place for use. It's essentially an extension of the popular Wandvac handheld with added functionality to clean floors and out-of-reach areas. While it is a sleek, lightweight machine with a compact charging station, the micro-sized dust cup limits and single power setting how far you can take your cleaning experience. But, for quick clean-ups, it'll be handy to have the WandVac within close reach. 

The verdict
It's a little more niche of a product, but early reviews are highly favorable. For quick clean-ups and light housekeeping, it's a delight to have on hand.  The 3-in-1 design conquers floors, above floors, and hard-to-reach corners with ease. The handheld vacuum part weighs just over 2 pounds and is like waving around a wand to clean with. 

In regards to the price and design, the vacuum is definitely on the high end. It also doesn't feature any LED lights, which we'd hope something at this price point of almost $250 would have. However, for its size, it's truly packed with suction power. 

Good to know
The WandVac is what I would consider a companion vacuum... you won't want it to be the only vacuum in your home as it has limited power options and a very small dustbin. However, if you're looking for something that is lightweight, offers the convenience of a hand-vac, and has the right amount of power to get the (quick) cleaning job done, I think you'll be satisfied. 

The built-in base has devoted space to hold the crevice tool, but no support for the dusting brush, which was odd. 

How we test the best Shark vacuums

Here at Real Homes we like to get some hands-on experience with each of the products we feature in our buyers' guides. This means that it'll help us to understand more about what you are getting for your money.

Each time we hear of a new product announcement or we see a product with outstanding user reviews, we just have to check it out for ourselves. You can read our full reviews by selecting the highlighted product titles in orange. Those you see in this hue have been used for several weeks (sometimes months) in our own homes so that they are faced with real-life hurdles. Sometimes, we're even fortunate to keep hold of the vacuum cleaners after testing which means that we can update our guides as we continue to learn about them over a long period of time. 

We've considered all the important factors such as ease of use, maneuverability, run-time, emptying of the dust bin (or bag), and general controls. In any instance where we have been unable to review but couldn't miss not featuring the vac, we've taken into account feedback from other users who have left reviews on the website where they purchased it from. 

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Jaclyn Turner
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn is an eCommerce editor at Future Home Interest, and scouts out the best of the best for buying guides to help you fill your home with housewares you will love. She joined the team in January 2021. She has previously worked with sites like Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, and MyDomaine, but got her start at the trade mag Home Furnishings News, which fueled her excitement for innovation in the home category and seeing the newest launches.  When Jaclyn's not working, she loves long strolls through HomeGoods, unwinding with a chilled glass of Rosé, and entertaining her Cavapoo puppy, Reese.