Unless you have a daily housekeeper ala Alice from The Brady Bunch or The Jetson’s Rosie, it’s very helpful to have great tools that make your household chores so much simpler – and maybe even more pleasant. In order to do that, some research is required. In this article, we’re going to predominantly focus on vacuum cleaners that will make your life easier.
What is the best Shark vacuum? Shark offers several vacuums, with a model for every surface and cleaning need. Here are the top picks, by category, based on user reviews:
- Shark Navigator Upright
- Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless
- Shark APEX Upright with DuoClean
- Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright HV306Q
- Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away Bagless Vacuum NV501
- Shark Rocket DuoClean HV382
- Shark Rotator Lift-Away TruePet Upright
- Shark Rocket Ultra-Light with TruePet Hand Vacuum
- Shark ION Robot Dual Action
- Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless
Shark offers several models that focus on multi-floor surfaces such as carpet, tile, and hardwoods. There are also models that provide their own brush cleaning function. To find the best vacuum cleaner for your floors and upholstery, you first need to decide what features are important to you. We’ve done the research to help take some of the guesswork out.
Comparing the Shark Vacuums to Find Your Best Match
Perhaps you’ve already completed preliminary research and have decided you definitely want to buy a Shark vacuum cleaner because they seem to present the best value for all of the features they offer.
Here are 10 models you can compare in one easy view. You will be able to compare the model of the Shark, the vacuum’s weight, some of its features, how much cord is available, and the overall star rating each has on Amazon.
|Shark Model||Vacuum Weight||Features||Cord Length||Amazon Reviews|
|Best Overall Model: Shark Navigator Upright||12.5 Lbs.||25 Ft.||4.4 out of 5 with 502 reviews|
|Best Cordless: Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless||8 Lbs.||Cordless||4.5 out of 5 with 602 reviews|
|Best Upright: Shark APEX Upright with DuoClean||17.1 Lbs.||30 Ft.||4.3 out of 5 with 684 reviews|
|Best for Upholstery: Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright HV306Q||7 Lbs.||27 Ft.||4.2 out of 5 with 1,634 reviews|
|Best for Carpet: Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away Bagless Vacuum NV501||25 ft||4.3 out of 5 5,321 reviews|
|Best for Hard Floors: Shark Rocket DuoClean, Ultra-light Corded HV382||17.7 Lbs.||30 ft.||4.4 out of 5 with 143 reviews|
|Best for Pet Hair: Shark Rotator Lift-Away TruePet Upright||16.7 Lbs.||30 Ft.||4.4 out of 5 with 2,818 reviews.|
|Best Handheld: Shark Rocket Ultra-Light with TruePet Hand Vacuum||Less than 4 Lbs.||easy-to-empty dust cup.||15 ft.||4.5 out of 5 with 1.094 reviews|
|Best Robotic: Shark ION Robot Dual Action||9.6 Lbs.||Cordless Robot||4.1 out of 5 with 540 reviews|
|Best Budget Buy:||(See Best Cordless)|
|All-Around Great Vac: Shark DuoClean Professional with Self-Cleaning Brush roll Upright Corded Bagless||17.7 Lbs.||Premium powerful pet brush for deep cleaning. Self-cleaning brush roll. Dual brush roll to capture both long pet hair and fine dirt and dust. Detachable pod to allow for easier furniture and stairs cleaning. LED headlights.||30 Ft.||4.8 out of 5 with 28 reviews|
|Powerful Handheld: Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum||1.4||Great for cleaning the car tampered nozzle for capturing large debris Multi-surface tool for upholstery, carpets, and pet hair. ION charging dock for fast charging accessory storage.||Cordless||4.5 out of 5 with 470 reviews|
We’ll discuss some of these features in greater depth below and how to compare them to find out which model is best for your needs. Before we do that, let’s talk about a few vacuums with bags. (Yes, they still make them!)
Four Bagged Vacuum Options
We know that all Shark vacuums are bagless, so if you have your heart set on a vacuum with a bag, here are a few options you may be interested in considering:
|Make and Model||Vacuum Weight||Features||Cord Length||Amazon Reviews|
|Kenmore Elite 31150||20 Lbs.||Bagged upright vacuum powerful tackling of pet hair Beltless agitator to reduce maintenance. Flexible hose and lightweight want to reach 10’ beyond the base unit.LED light on nozzle.5-position height adjustment.||30 Ft.||3.9 out of 5 with 762 reviews|
|Hoover Commercial WindTunnel||19 Lbs.||Hard bagged upright. IntelliBelt to protect the vacuum by automatically shutting down when a brush-roll jam occurs. Ready to use right out of the box.Sealed allergen system.Built-in the USA.||40 Ft.||4 out of 5 with 47 reviews|
|Oreck Commercial XL Commercial Upright||8.2 Lbs.||Bagged upright. Multi-floor cleaning.12-inch wide cleaning path.Side-edge roller brush.2-speed quick switch. Automatic floor adjustment makes it easy to move between carpet and hard floors.||40 Ft.||4 out of 5 with 2,915 reviews|
|Panasonic Vacuum Cleaner||20 Lbs.||Bagged upright. Powerful, quiet motor.15-inch wide cleaning path.HEPA filtration to capture all of the tiny particles.Easy to retrieve attachments. Automatic floor adjustment makes it easy to move between carpet and hard floors.||24 Ft.||3.9 out of 5 with 783 reviews|
Comparing Vacuum Cleaner Features
When you’re ready to begin comparing appliances, you want to make sure you are comparing similar things to one another. The total number of rating stars something has could be completely subjective if someone else’s priorities are different from your own.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget this factor – until you have to haul your vacuum up or down the stairs or throughout your 2,500 square foot house.
If you have young children or pets, or you entertain frequently, chances are you are vacuuming (at least the public parts of your house) multiple times per week. Dragging around 25 pounds of vacuum for an hour of vacuum duty can get exhausting.
All of the Shark models we picked out are under 20 lbs. and many are under 10. Ideally, you want to go as light as you can without compromising power and suction. The Shark Navigator Upright is not only a high-suction cleaning machine, but it comes in at just 12.5 lbs.
Granted, most building codes require that outlets be placed no more than six feet from the entrance door and 12 feet apart, at most. If your vacuum cord only stretches 12 feet, you’re likely to fray and wear your cord out rather quickly as you try to stretch it to its limit before unplugging and moving to the next most convenient outlet.
Unless you’re going cordless, opt for as long a cord as you can get. Aside from the handhelds, all of the options we chose had a cord between 25 and 30 feet long.
Central Systems, Canister Vacuums vs. Uprights
- Central Vacuums
Where are you in your process? Do you have the flexibility to install a central vacuum unit? Some people love them; some hate them – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground on this one.
There is no doubt that the best time to do it is while your house is being built. You can get someone to come out and install one and you can even install one yourself, but it’s not likely to be cheap or easy.
- Canister Vacuums
Some people feel like a canister vacuum is akin to having the vacuum puppy dog following them around. Others find the longer hose of a canister vacuum a much easier way to handle vacuuming the stairs, draperies, or upholsteries in their house.
For the best of both worlds, Shark makes a canister conversion kit and canister caddy to transform your upright into a canister!
- Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Upright vacuums offer a level of control that canister and central vacuum cleaning systems don’t. The only extraneous object to track with an upright vacuum is the cord. Plus, uprights also offer attachments that make extending the cleaning length much more reasonable.
Vacuums with Bags vs. Bagless Vacuum Cleaners
Many new vacuum cleaner models have moved to a bagless, or canister, dirt collection process, but some still offer the bagged collection option. There are pros and cons to each.
Bagless (All Shark vacuum cleaners are bagless)
Pros: Many bagless vacuum cleaners have a compartment that is visible, which is a plus, so it is easy to see when it needs to be emptied. Some people experience a sense of cleaning accomplishment as they see the canister fill with fibers, pet hair, dirt, and dust particles. Most of the bagless vacuums have strong HEPA filters to capture small particles.
Cons: Many bagless vacuum cleaners have a compartment that is visible. There are some people that prefer to live life in a mild level of denial and get grossed out when they see how much dirt is actually in their carpet or on their floor.
When it’s time to empty the canister, there isn’t anything to keep the dust from floating up when you dump the contents into the bin. This is a significant challenge for serious allergy sufferers.
Pros: Bags keep all of the dust, dirt, pet hair, and cobwebs contained inside their packaging. As long as you don’t squeeze the bag you won’t have much, if any, dust escaping onto your hands and clothes. Bags also don’t have to be emptied after each cleaning is complete.
Cons: Bags are typically not transparent so you can’t easily tell when they are full and need to be replaced or changed. Unless your vacuum is newer, it may not have very strong filters that keep fine particles inside the vacuum – especially when the bag is getting full – or overfull.
The Power of One
It can be easy to get overwhelmed when you’re working to make an important purchase. A vacuum cleaner definitely qualifies as an important purchase.
Know How Much, and Often, You Need to Vacuum
When you’re working to decide what type of vacuum to buy, you may want to ask yourself some questions…
- Consider the size of your living space. Do you have a one-bedroom condominium or apartment, or do you have a 4,500 square foot house, or something in between? The total floor space you need to vacuum will help you decide if a lightweight rechargeable or a corded vacuum cleaner will be better for your living situation.
- Consider the total area needing vacuuming – and what’s covering it. Do you have a lot of carpet or is your space mostly hard floors? If you have a space that is entirely hard floors, it makes sense to look for a vacuum specially made for that purpose.
- Think about what other uses you may find for your vacuum. Do you have a lot of fabric upholstered furniture or do you stick with more of a leather look? If you have a lot of fabric upholstered furniture and/or draperies, attachment tools are going to be something that is important for you – after all, you wouldn’t want to try to lift an upright vacuum onto your sofa to clean the cushions.
- Think about your physical condition. Do you get winded easily? If you have challenges with your air capacity, you’ll want to buy a vacuum that weighs less than others and doesn’t require extra effort to move it. Likewise, if you have issues with back or arm strength, you’ll probably want to consider buying a vacuum cleaner that has a self-propel feature.
The above could all be things you want to consider when you are deciding which vacuum will be the best for your needs and could help you avoid the dreaded “shiny object syndrome” of getting excited about features that won’t help you.
Another plus to going through this process is that you will be able to be more intentional in your purchasing process.
How to Compare Vacuums to Find the Best One for You
When you’re deciding what you want your cleaning tools to accomplish, it’s helpful to make a list of the features that you’d like. The very top of your list, though, should focus on the one thing that’s most important to you. Determine what your one non-negotiable is.
Keeping your focus on the power of that one single item will help you narrow the field to a more manageable group.
Once you’ve narrowed your selection down, you can focus on those other features that are important to you – or even that you consider your nice-to-haves.
Granted, making lists isn’t for everyone, but if you can make a list and prioritize all of the features that you want, you’ll be able to narrow the field even more and improve your chances of finding the vacuum you want.
Why Do Shark Vacuums Include a Cancer Warning?
Let’s get to the bottom line on this topic first. This cancer “disclosure” that is attached to your vacuum is a California legislative mandated warning that is very unlikely to point toward any actual harm in this case.
This very same notification is required on any item that is manufactured in California. Here are some of the details around this particular requirement.
In 1986 the California state legislature enacted Proposition 65 which has required a disclosure be included with all products that may include chemicals suspected to potentially cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm as part of their manufacturing process.
Proposition 65’s official name is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. There are approximately 900 chemicals on Proposition 65’s overall list that are included as part of the mandated warning.
When a warning is placed on a product label it is because the manufacturer is required to disclose that they deem the amount of exposure is not “low enough to pose no significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
The reality, though, is that the product warning is required if the item contains a chemical on Proposition 65’s list that has even a 1 in 100,000 chance of causing harm. That’s a 1 in 100,000 is a .00001 or .001% chance. Minuscule by definition is very small.
One one-thousandth of a percent is even smaller than very small. This is why it is not of grave concern when you see it on your Shark label.
The “Right” Way to Vacuum
One general rule of thumb in house cleaning is that you always want to vacuum last. By doing so, you make sure you capture all of the dust that is knocked to the floor after you’ve dusted, smoothed the beds, and wiped off the doors and light switches.
Speaking of dust, before starting to make your vacuuming rounds, make sure you have emptied your vacuum’s canister or that the capture bag is not too full.
Unless you’re a perfectionist, it’s hard to imagine that there could possibly be one right way to vacuum, but there are parts of the vacuuming process that help you power through the chore. The plus side of looking at the chore this way is that once you create a routine for yourself, vacuuming becomes faster than you thought it would be.
Many people approach vacuuming as if it’s the precursor to prepping for the Indy 500. Speed is the key to getting the job done and checked off the to-do list. This group might want to slow down to at least a Kentucky Derby pace to make sure they vacuum all of the surface areas.
If you are a perfectionist, however, you probably want to know that the book Cleaning and Stain Removal for Dummies suggest that you may have to go over the same spot as many as seven times to remove all of the dirt, dust, and dander from the carpet fibers.
Vacuuming a Carpeted Room
When you’re vacuuming a carpeted room, think of completing the process similar to how you would mow your lawn. Always slightly overlap each stroke to make sure you haven’t missed any areas of the floor surface and have compensated for the small areas in the vacuum head that may not include the brush head.
Remember to get into those tight corners too. To get this done, you may want to break out the crevice or brush tool to provide a more focused concentration on the smaller area. The brush tool is good for the baseboards as well.
If you are vacuuming an area rug that has a fringe, always start from inside the rug and move outward. Do not pull the vacuum back toward you as it will suck up the fringe, and then maybe part of the rest of the rug. This could lead to damaging not only your area rug but also your vacuum.
Vacuuming a Hard-Floored Room
Whether it’s tile, linoleum, or hardwoods, your vacuum works differently on non-carpeted floors.
Before starting on your hard floors, it’s a good idea to check the wheels of your vacuum to make sure they aren’t transporting any grit. Grit on the wheels of your vacuum may end up unintentionally scratching your floors – particularly hardwoods or laminates that may scratch easily.
Also, remember to choose the hard floor setting or to turn off your beater bar before working on your non-carpeted flooring for a similar reason. If there are any particles or inconsistencies in your beater bar, the rotation could end up causing scratches on your floor’s surface.
Similar to how you polish furniture with the grain of the wood, on hardwood or laminate flooring, always remember to vacuum in the direction of the planks – not perpendicular to them.
Five Steps to Properly Maintain Your New Vacuum Cleaner
You’ve done all of the research, spent time deciding what you needed and what you wanted, and have decided to make an investment in your new cleaning appliance.
Now you want to make sure you know how to keep your new vacuum performing at its optimal level of performance. Here are five things you can do to keep it operating well.
- Check before you hit “go.” If you bought a vacuum with a bag, make sure you have properly connected the bag to the nozzle. Make sure any hooks, holders or clips are securely attached in the proper place.
- Empty the canister or the bag on a regular basis. For a bag, replace the bag when it is 2/3 full – don’t wait until it’s completely packed with dirt and debris as it will clog the filter and spit the dirt back into your carpet. It’s a good idea to empty your vacuum’s canister after each cleaning session to keep it from becoming overfull and from being too heavy to lift to the trash can.
- Clean the filter on your canister vacuum each time you empty it. To clean the filter, gently knock it against the edge of the trash can – your filter may even be washable. Check your vacuum’s user manual to confirm the best way to care for your vacuum’s filter.
- Perform a brush inspection. If you didn’t buy a self-cleaning brush model, you’ll want to regularly check your vacuum’s brushes and remove anything that has been wrapped around them during the cleaning process.
- Check the belts and hoses. Make sure the belts that guide the brushes are still on the rollers. If they’ve slipped, you can easily put them back on their rollers. If the hose becomes clogged and you can’t easily shake the blockage free or loosen it by using a hook, your best action will be to take it to your nearest vacuum repair shop. These are usually fairly inexpensive visits and generally, have a fast turn-around time.
Whether you are looking for a way to capture all of that pet hair, the scattering dust bunnies, or the pine needles that just love to take a ride on the bottom of your shoes, a good vacuum will make a huge difference in how you feel about cleaning your lovely home.
Regardless of the bagless or bagged version, you have lots of options to consider. Shark offers vacuums that will provide you with the feeling of having a cleaning superpower. Your new vacuum will boost your energy and confidence with an effective way to clean your home.