If you can get your hands on one of the best Shark vacuums, you know you've got a good vacuum cleaner. We are big fans of Shark here at Real Homes for many reasons. The main one is the quality, which makes these vacs stand out from all the other incredible vacuum cleaners available.
The sheer range of clever vacuum tech on offer from the brand is something that we have found so useful over the past couple of years. You can get a thorough clean by selecting a model that has DuoClean technology, which refers to the two brush rolls used for the maximum gathering of dirt and dust on carpets and hard floors. If you're a pet owner, you're covered too, with Anti Hair Wrap technology that makes cleaning run more smoothly. Multi-Flex allows you to create an elbow in the stick, giving you a bend that gives your back a break.
Given that there are so many phenomenal Shark models out there, it's understandable if you need a little more clarity. To make things easier, we've tested and then directly compared as much of the product line as we can — cordless, robot, upright and more — so that you can find the machine you've been waiting for.
Below, you'll find all our top picks with an in-depth look at how they performed when we tested them. We'll also help you determine which one is best for your space.
The best Shark vacuums of 2023
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With a lightweight, cordless design, this particular vacuum is loaded with the latest DuoClean Powerfins setup, Multi-Flex technology, and the Anti-Allergen Seal (washable HEPA filter) that make it a winner across the board. It offers up to 60 minutes of charge, though the run time decreases to 12 minutes as you go over carpet or activate Boost mode. Charging is as simple as plugging into the removable battery on the vacuum or fully separating the battery to charge on a countertop.
Our reviewer Jaclyn found going cordless to be a truly liberating experience, making any cleaning job feel possible. The Hypervelocity Suction feature (yes, it's actually called that) is noticeably effective with this vac, with Jaclyn feeling as if propelled her along to do her cleaning. Emptying this vacuum was made easier by the max fill marking line. Though it would be better if there was a bigger capacity for dust.
Good to know
While Jaclyn had no complaints performance-wise, we found the Multi-Flex technology to be underwhelming, with less control than we needed over the movements to get low under furniture. The Multi-Flex was handy, however, as it allows the vac to fold over into one piece for storage.
Read our full Shark Vertex HZ2002 review.
Shark Stratos is the latest line of vacuum cleaners from the brand. It has all the features we love and more. If it wasn't for the expense of this vac, it would be at the top of our list to buy. It's one of the best vacuums for pet hair out there, too.
Tried, tested, and very much loved by our head ecommerce editor Annie, the Shark Stratos IZ862H is really easy to use thanks to Clean Sense IQ technology, which automatically controls the power (or suction) depending on what you're cleaning. She finds it more than capable of cleaning her spacious two-bedroom apartment, and it picks up the hair her pug leaves behind with total ease. Its battery life is also very impressive considering its suction power. Its LED lights also make it easy to see what you haven't cleaned yet. Another feature we love is that it works with recyclable pods to emit a rather lovely smell as you clean to rid your floors of any lingering pet smells. It comes equipped with Flexology tech (so the vac bends instead of you) and a DuoClean Floorhead with Anti-Hair-Wrap, making it ideal for transitioning across all floor types.
Yep, there are more features we want to shout about. Another incredible thing about this vacuum is that the stick folds, so it can stand upright and out of the way. This makes it great for apartments and smaller homes. Also, this particular model comes with a pet hair removal tool and a bag for keeping all the tools together.
Read our full review of the Shark Stratos IZ862H, which we wrote in the UK. The only difference between these versions is that in the US it comes with different tools.
For sucking up small messes, tackling dirt from the car, or giving upholstery a boost, the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Cordless Handheld Vacuum is here to refresh your space. Even better, this one is built for households with animals. The self-cleaning pet power brush easily cleans pet beds and furniture fabric. If you’re regularly reaching for a larger vacuum to clean up pet hair, the lightweight Shark UltraCyclone could very well become your go-to for smaller jobs. It comes with a handful of useful accessories, too.
As with all of Shark’s full-size cleaners, the UltraCyclone also utilizes a self-cleaning brush to prevent hair from getting wrapped around the roller. Our previous appliance editor Jen found that the mini motorized attachment did an excellent job of lifting dirt from one of her rugs, filling up the 0.45-liter dust canister with its sheer power, and collecting pet hair with ease. Jen also found that the level of power remained consistent throughout using this vacuum, even though there were only 15 minutes of power available to her.
Good to know
The 10.8 V battery provides similar cleaning power to a regular vacuum, although you only get 15 minutes on a charge and a recharge takes about six hours. The dust compartment is pretty small, but it’s easy to empty and large enough for spot cleaning.
Read our full Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ review.
If you're looking for a vacuum that can do it all and deliver an impressive clean, this is the purchase you need to make. Billed as Shark's most powerful vacuum, the Shark Vertex Upright is also Shark's most premium upright offering, with design features like Powered LiftAway, DuoClean Powerfins, a Self-Cleaning Brushroll, Hypervelocity Accelerated Suction, and Anti-Allergen Seal Technology.
When using this vacuum to clean up after a renovation period at home, our reviewer Jaclyn found that it suctioned everything in its wake with minimal repeat passes. And hair? It never wrapped around the self-cleaning brush roll or clogged the vacuum shaft, so it's safe to say this vacuum is pet parent-approved. The LiftAway feature also made cleaning the stairs during testing significantly easier, though this vacuum definitely felt bulky and a little tiring to operate after a while.
Good to know
The one-quart capacity got Jaclyn through all our tests before needing to be emptied out. One disadvantage is that this is the heaviest Shark vacuum out there, a feature sadly felt in our tests, so one to avoid if you need a more maneuverable pick.
Read our full Shark AZ2002 review.
Shark's IQ Robot is here to help you reclaim your time so that you won't have to lift a finger when it comes to vacuuming. With powerful suction and the same anti-hair wrap feature involved with full-size vacuums, this robot is a winner for pet-friendly homes, too.
The vacuum was tested in an environment with plenty of pet traffic thanks to our reviewer Jaclyn's dog, Reese. By replacing her usual cordless vacuum with this robot version, Jaclyn found that there was a true luxury in no longer having to empty a dust bin every five minutes. She reveled in the ability to program and monitor cleaning progress from the sofa, thanks to the app.
In our tests, it was clear that this vac works very intuitively, with wheels that help it seamlessly go between hard floors and area rugs with finesse. It moves in methodical back-and-forth patterns, while not being caught off-guard by any furniture in its wake.
On the first day of testing, Jaclyn found the separate dust bin in the base was relatively full from covering about (1,000 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. There are a few ways it could've been better with pick up though. Cleaning the edges between her hard floor and area rug and collecting larger pieces of debris, like cereal or paper scraps, proved to be difficult for this robot.
Good to know
It can take several cycles for the robot to "map" your home, according to many reviewers. For us, 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 area. 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.
Jaclyn reviewed the Shark RV1001AE vacuum over at our sister site, Homes & Gardens.
This Shark Wandvac is an excellent and affordable buy for small homes. It is a 2-in1 buy, which means you get a cordless stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum for the price. It's lightweight, making clean-ups super easy, and it comes with a sleek charging stand for neat storage.
During testing, our reviewer Annie concluded that the suction was impressive considering its affordable price tag. Though she didn't notice a huge difference between the normal and boost modes. The easy storage element made this vacuum a winner, too, thanks to the fact she could simply prop the Wandvac back on a dock that sits in the corner of her kitchen. It's not the most powerful Shark vacuum on this list, but it does perform very well as a handheld model. We'd say avoid it if you have pets as it's not the best at collecting pet hair when used as a stick model. And it's definitely not one for larger homes either. For apartments and small houses, it's great.
Annie found that the real game-changer with the Shark Wandvac system was the multi-surface tool, which has removable bristles for different sorts of messes. She loved using the head with bristles to rid her sofa of her dog's hair and then removing those bristles in order to tackle her kitchen countertops and other smaller spaces.
Read our full Shark Wandvac review.
There's no denying the appeal of a robot device that can vacuum and mop. Hence, the VACMOP. Shark's latest iteration harnesses AI technology with LIDAR Navigation, and Home Mapping for a very smart experience. It currently sits at number seven on our list because we haven't reviewed it yet.
About this vacuum
The Shark VACMOP is a game changer in the intelligent robot domain. It's a great appliance for streamlining two chores. Guided by AI Laser Vision, which intelligently detects and avoids objects and cliffs, the VACMOP quickly learns the layout of your home and worked best at detecting and navigating around larger objects.
However, the mopping abilities left something to be desired for some reviewers as it only succeeded at scrubbing surface-level stains. You can run either a vacuum or a vacuum and mop cycle, with the mop requiring much more prep to set up and clean up, but this is expected of typical for mopping vacuums. The carpet detection feature is handy for avoiding soaking wet rugs.
You'll find the most control over the VACMOP with the app. You can schedule cleanings, view reports of completed cycles, create an interactive map of your space, and specify high-traffic areas and no-go zones within your space. For instance, the high-traffic zone feature prompted the robot to perform extra passes of those areas, ensuring the best clean possible. The VACMOP also features the beloved DuoClean Powerfins and self-cleaning brushroll for maximum results.
We haven't yet tested the Shark AI VACMOP, but we think it's important to include for those who want to double up and purchase a vacuuming and mopping robot.
The Shark Navigator NV352 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 like attachments, it's well equipped with a wide upholstery tool that handles pet hair on furniture, and two crevice tools, a lengthy 24-inch one, and a compact 5.5-inch option for reaching tight spaces. Finally, the brush roll shutoff feature allows you to instantly switch from deep carpet cleaning to gentle bare floor cleaning. The only reason it's last on our list is because we haven't tested it yet.
About this vacuum
While it looks hefty and bulky in appearance, it's actually considered lightweight for an upright vac, 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.
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.
We have not yet tested the Shark NV352, but we included it in this guide thanks to its excellent user reviews (4.6 stars out of 5 from 20,000 Amazon ratings).
How we test 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 understand more about what you are getting for your money. That's why nearly every vacuum you see featured in this guide has been tested at home by a member of the Real Homes team.
You can read our full reviews by clicking the highlighted product titles in orange. You'll see that they have been used for a number of weeks (sometimes months) in our own homes, so they are faced with real-life challenges. Sometimes brands kindly gift us the vacuum cleaners after testing, so we can update our guides as we continue to learn about them over a longer period of time.
We've considered all the important factors, such as maneuverability, run-time, emptying of the canister (or bag), and general controls.
Meet our Shark vacuum testers:
Jaclyn was our ecommerce editor at Real Homes but now writes for Homes & Gardens. Jaclyn has tested three Shark vacuums from this list. She has tested our standout top pick, the Shark Vertex HZ2002. She was impressed by the lightweight, multi-flex design, which makes everyday vacuuming much easier. She also tried the Shark AZ2002 vacuum and gave it four stars. This corded model is powerful but a little harder to store. It's definitely one for larger homes. Lastly, Jaclyn tested the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE over at Homes & Gardens, where she gave it four out of five stars.
Our head ecommerce editor Annie has tried the Shark Wandvac and loves it as a handheld vacuum for getting into corners, cleaning her upholstery, and dusting her skirting boards. Otherwise, she uses the Shark Stratos IZ862H as her main vacuum and thinks it's brilliant at cleaning the mess her pug Doug leaves behind on a daily basis. What's more, it automatically adapts its suction to your floors based on how dirty or clean they are. It works with scent pods to make your home smell nice as you clean and it folds to store. Oh, it also bends underneath furniture. But all of this comes at a rather hefty price tag.
Jen is homes editor on TechRadar. Previously she has written for Ideal Home, Real Homes, and Homes & Gardens as an appliances editor. From this list, she has tested the handheld cordless Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ in her home and found it to be a valuable vac for dealing with pet hair and that it has great suction power, hence the 4.5-star rating.
How to choose the best Shark vacuum
Many of Shark's vacuums, whether cordless, corded, or robotic, have similar technologies that you may see referenced among its key features.
To help you choose the best Shark vacuum, we've defined some of the most common technologies and terminology that you may come across.
- LiftAway Technology: The detachable design allows you to lift the canister away from the main body of a corded vacuum cleaner. This is great for reaching areas where your cord can't, like the stairs, car, or upholstery. Upgrade with Powered LiftAway, which also houses the motor, so you can carry the centralized part of the machine around, without the brush head.
- Self-cleaning brush roll: This one is slightly more self-explanatory, and is the ultimate holy grail for homes with pets or really anyone with long hair. It will pick up all the hair from carpets and wooden floors, but prevents it from getting tangled around the brush roll thanks to some self-cleaning tech that makes for a much more streamlined cleaning session. Goodbye, wrapped hair.
- DuoClean: This refers to Shark's dual brush-roll cleaning system for nonstop contact on carpets and floors with a traditional brush roll and a soft front roller to pull in all particles and give hard floors a polished look and so you pick up more in every pass. Upgrade and look for DuoClean Powerfin tech with a silicone PowerFins brush roll to get deep into carpets. The silicone fins are gentler on hard surfaces (bristles can scratch these areas) and pick up more hair with no hair wrap issues. It eliminates cleaning gaps for a more comprehensive clean, too.
- Multi-Flex: This feature is seen on cordless Shark vacuums where the wand can be straight and also angled. It means you can bend your Shark vacuum low, thanks to an elbow-like hinge in the wand. It's great for getting under furniture and around corners without having to do all the bending yourself.
- Anti-Allergen Seal: Shark's sealed filtration system captures and traps 99.9% of dust, allergens, dander, and more to keep them out of the air and in the machine. It's typically comprised of pre- and post-motor filters and HEPA filtration technology.
So, which is the best Shark vacuum?
Choosing a Shark vacuum is not an easy decision to make. They are all very good in their own right and we can't speak highly enough of them, but if we had to pick one (okay, two) then the very best model we'd recommend is the Shark Stratos IZ862H, which is a pet-friendly model. If you've got the money to spend, it's undeniably brilliant thanks to the fact it automatically adjusts suction power, it works with scent pods to make your home smell nice, it bends under your furniture and it folds for storing.
If you have no more than $400 to spend, then the Shark Vertex HZZ2002 is great. Similar to the above, it bends to clean under furniture and it folds to store. It doesn't have CleanSenseIQ, so it adjusts suction power on its own. It doesn't work with scent pods either. Otherwise, it's lightweight and easy to use.
- If you're on a tight budget, there's always a Shark vacuum deal out there, too.