When shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, the range of products and manufacturers can be staggering—with many models having exorbitant price tags. Shark vacuums are affordable options, designed for effective cleaning with multiple styles and accessories to choose from.
The best Shark vacuum for you will depend on the size of the area you need to clean, surface type, and whether you need a full-size device or something more compact. The Shark vacuums below represent top performers in their respective categories, based on efficacy, vacuum type, and overall value.
- BEST OVERALL: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
- BEST FOR PET HAIR: Shark Rotator Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum
- BEST FOR CARPET: Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean
- BEST FOR HARDWOOD FLOORS: Shark Rotator Professional Upright Corded Vacuum
- BEST CORDLESS: Shark ION Lightweight Cordless Upright Vacuum
- BEST ROBOTIC: Shark ION Robot Dual-Action Robot Vacuum
- BEST STICK: Shark Rocket DeluxePro Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum
- BEST HANDHELD: Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum
Types of Shark Vacuums
Shark manufactures four main vacuum types: upright, stick, robotic, and handheld. Read on to learn about the characteristics of each type, and the cleaning tasks they’re suitable for.
Upright Shark vacuums are the most powerful type, ideal for cleaning dust and debris stuck deep in carpet fibers. These vacuums typically have a large bag or canister to store the dirt, and the head of the vacuum is wide, making it easy to clean a large surface in a short period of time. Note that the larger size of these models requires suitable storage space.
The upright Sharks offer corded and cordless options. Corded vacuums have the advantage in power and performance, while cordless ones are more versatile and easier to maneuver, since they’re not attached to a power outlet.
A stick Shark vacuum is essentially a smaller version of an upright Shark. Stick models can also be corded or cordless, though their main benefit is how lightweight they are compared to their upright Shark counterparts. They’re easier to lift over carpet transition bars, or to carry up and down the stairs.
The motor on a stick Shark vacuum is typically less powerful, the vacuum head is not as wide, and the collection bin is smaller than that of an upright vacuum. These reductions may seem like a disadvantage at first, but stick vacuums are much better suited for apartment living, and for houses with narrow rooms or hallways, because of their maneuverability.
Robotic Shark vacuums don’t have a lot of power, but they make up for it by being relatively autonomous. You can set one of these vacuums on a timer to activate once a day and clean up the floor it’s on. While they can’t go up the stairs, they also won’t fall down the stairs due to sensors in the front of the device.
Robotic vacuums work well in apartments or small houses with hardwood or tile floors. They’re not optimal for larger homes because the dust-collection bin is very small and they take a long time to cover every part of the floor. They also lack the power to effectively clean pet hair or very deep carpets.
Handheld Shark vacuums function well for cleaning a car or stairs, or to reach more difficult areas around the home. They weigh less than stick, upright, and robotic models, but will usually have more power than robotic vacuums and may feature pet-hair-specific functions.
Handheld vacuums are typically cordless, and some upright Shark vacuums have one built in as a helpful cleaning alternative. These handheld vacuums are great for cleaning upholstery, drapes, furniture, and mattresses.
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Shark Vacuum
Before buying a new Shark vacuum for your home, keep in mind these critical factors.
One-floor apartments or condos do not typically need a large upright Shark vacuum, though a stick, robotic, or handheld model would work well for the small space. However, large bungalow houses could use the robotic vacuum for ongoing cleaning and an upright Shark vacuum for concentrated cleanup.
For a home that has more than one floor, taking the weight of the machine into consideration is necessary, because it needs to go up and down the stairs. Larger homes may still benefit from an upright/handheld combination, as robotic vacuums’ usefulness diminishes when stairs are involved. Homes with more than two or three stories would do best with a stick Shark vacuum instead of an upright one because a stick model is easier to carry up multiple flights of stairs.
The type of floor the vacuum must clean should determine the type of vacuum required.
- Tile, linoleum, hardwood, and other non-fibrous floors can be cleaned with any Shark vacuum, though the power of an upright Shark vacuum may not be necessary. Robotic Shark vacuums are ideal for non-fibrous flooring and some light area rugs.
- Area rugs can be more difficult to vacuum because of the suction power needed to clean the fibers. For multiple area rugs, consider a stick, robotic, or handheld Shark vacuum.
- Carpeting can have long or short carpet fibers. As the length of the carpet fibers increases, the power of the vacuum must also increase to ensure that enough suction power reaches the dirt and debris stuck deep down. For this reason, upright and stick Shark vacuums work best on carpeted flooring.
Corded vs. Cordless
The multiple types of Shark vacuums offer the choice between corded and cordless models.
Corded Shark vacuums are typically heavier and more powerful than cordless ones, making them ideal for carpeted flooring. They may come with a retractable cord to store the vacuum away neatly after finishing up, and the cord lengths range from 15 feet to 30 feet. Corded Shark vacuums will never need to recharge, but they do require plugging into an electrical outlet and may limit mobility.
Cordless Shark vacuums are a great option for smaller spaces, area rugs, and non-fibrous flooring like hardwood. While they usually have less power than corded Shark vacuums, they make up for it with increased maneuverability, with the occasional stoppage midway through vacuuming to recharge the battery.
Lithium-ion batteries and NiMH batteries are the two typical battery types used in cordless vacuums, and they have similar working times, lasting between 10 minutes to over an hour depending on the vacuum type. Lithium-ion batteries charge faster and last longer than NiMH batteries.
The most common unit of measurement for motor power output across all Shark vacuum types is wattage (W).
- Upright Shark vacuums typically have the most powerful motors, with a range as low as 500W and reaching up to 1,300W, making them ideal for thick carpeting.
- Stick Shark vacuums have a medium power rating suitable for light carpeting, area rugs, and non-fibrous flooring. Their power output usually falls between 200W and 600W.
- Handheld Shark vacuums are designed for short-term use at a low power output, good for spot-cleaning corners, behind furniture, upholstery, or a vehicle. They can also be a good option for area rugs, with a typical power range of 100W to 200W.
- Robotic Shark vacuums are the least powerful option. These vacuums are intended for over an hour of use on non-fibrous flooring, so they have a very low power range, just 25W to 100W. This low power output allows the battery to last for a long time while the vacuum moves autonomously about the home.
The difference between filters with and without allergy seals that trap pollen, dander, and pet hair is noticeable, especially for people who suffer from allergies or dust sensitivity. Asthma can weaken a person’s respiratory system, and excess household dust and debris can make it difficult to breathe.
If filtration is a priority for your household, ensure that the filter of the vacuum has a HEPA rating, which indicates it is capable of removing at least 99.97% of particles from the air that passes through the filter. Also worth considering is whether the filter is washable or if it requires replacing when it becomes ineffective.
The components and features that make up a Shark vacuum—including the weight, handle, wheels, and head—impact the maneuverability of the vacuum.
- Weight directly affects maneuverability because more weight is harder to move. Heavy Shark vacuums provide more power, but that also makes them more difficult to lift, carry, or turn—a poor choice for small homes, apartments, and narrow rooms, or for people that find pushing and carrying heavy equipment is a challenge. For better and easier maneuverability, choose a lighter vacuum.
- The handle is long and narrow on a stick Shark vacuum, allowing for easy twisting and turning of the vacuum head. Upright vacuums, on the other hand, typically have a heavier handle that makes the vacuum easy to push, but more difficult to turn.
- The wheels on a Shark vacuum can be small, single-direction wheels that are hard to turn, or can have swivel wheels, like those often used on robotic Shark vacuums that can turn in any direction. For better maneuverability, look for omni-directional wheels that can turn wherever needed.
- The vacuum head of a Shark vacuum comes in a range of widths, some of which can be hard to fit in tight corners. The vacuum may also have a swivel feature that will turn the head on a sharper angle than the handle, allowing for easy navigation around tight corners. If space is a concern, find a vacuum with a narrow swivel head for optimal maneuverability.
The noise produced by most vacuums is typically around 70 decibels, which isn’t enough to damage anyone’s hearing, especially when only vacuuming for about an hour at a time. However, for a noise-restricted neighborhood or apartment building, or if cleaning when household members are working or sleeping is necessary, then a quieter machine works best. Generally, as the power output of the vacuum increases, so does the potential for higher noise levels, unless mitigated by noise-buffering materials.
- Robotic Shark vacuums operate at about 50 to 60 decibels, though they lack power and are not as useful in homes with stairs.
- Handheld Shark vacuums have a compact body that doesn’t include a lot of noise-buffering material, so despite their low power they can produce a noise level between 60 to 70 decibels.
- Stick Shark vacuums will normally be more than double the power compared to a handheld vacuum, which also makes them louder. However, these vacuums still have a relatively low noise rating—between 65 and 75 decibels.
- Upright Shark vacuums have the largest motors and produce the most powerful suction, but all that power can produce noise levels between 70 and 80 decibels, making this style of vacuum a less suitable choice for quiet homes.
Shark vacuums come with a wide range of accessories, including pet-hair tools, dusting brushes, under-appliance wands, crevice tools, and upholstery tools.
- Pet-hair tools are designed to clean up pet hair and include simple attachments with thick fibers that pull hair in, powered rotating brushes to collect pet hair from the floor while the vacuum provides suction, or upholstery tools that lift pet hair off of furniture.
- Dusting brushes have a thin layer of fabric around the outside to help collect and trap dust. These attachments are great for windowsills, baseboards, and picture frames.
- Under-appliance wands are intended for vacuuming under larger appliances, like a stove or refrigerator, that would be difficult to pull out for cleaning.
- Crevice tools are narrow tubes that are designed to clean the crack between floor and baseboard, the seams in stairs, and other crevices that can otherwise be challenging to clean.
- Upholstery tools are necessary for homes with pets, to ensure the furniture remains clean. They’re also a good addition for cleaning mattresses, curtains, and blinds.
Our Top Picks
The top-of-the-line products below were chosen for quality, efficacy, and price to help you find the best Shark vacuum for your home.
This upright Shark vacuum is powerful, versatile, and maneuverable, with a swivel head for increased mobility. This model has the option to turn the motorized brush roll on or off depending on carpet or hardwood surfaces, or another non-fibrous flooring. It also features a pet power brush, a motorized handheld brush roll to better gather pet hair, plus a crevice tool for cleaning difficult to reach areas.
The Shark vacuum has a 30-foot cord and 1,200W of power for deep-cleaning thick carpets. Despite this high motor power, the vacuum only weighs 13.7 pounds. The dust collection canister can be lifted off the vacuum base to enable better access under furniture. The canister is completely sealed and has a HEPA filter that traps 99.9% of dust and allergens that pass through.
This upright Shark vacuum comes with a mini-motorized rotating power brush, designed specifically to collect pet hair. The TruePet vacuum also has a 2-in-1 pet multi-tool with a bristle brush and upholstery brush, to ensure even small hairs get sucked up by the vacuum. While it doesn’t have a swivel head, the canister can be lifted off of the vacuum base to clean the stairs or reach the edges of the ceiling with the crevice tool to eliminate spiderwebs.
The TruePet vacuum has a powerful 1,150W output and a sealed dust collection canister that uses a HEPA filter to catch 99.9% of dust and allergens. This vacuum can switch from carpet to floor mode with the controls located on the handle for more versatility while cleaning. The device features a 25-foot power cord and weighs 15.4 pounds.
For a new vacuum that can handle all types of carpet, check out this powerful upright Shark vacuum. The motor has a substantial power output of 1,350W, more than enough suction power to pull debris from the carpet fibers. The vacuum uses a dual-powered brush roll, instead of the usual single-powered type, to help reach deeper into carpet fibers and directly clean non-fibrous floors for a polished look.
Lights on the floor nozzle and handle of the Shark APEX vacuum make it easier to see dust and debris that may otherwise hide in the shadows of a room. The vacuum isn’t just great for carpets, as it also has a removable dust-collection bin to make it more versatile. That sealed, anti-allergen bin has a HEPA-rated filter, and it comes with an upholstery tool for furniture, drapes, and mattresses. This upright Shark vacuum weighs 17.1 pounds and comes with a 30-foot cord.
To really clean dust, dirt, debris, pet hair, and other allergens from hardwood floors, this Shark vacuum has a powerful 1,200W motor and a built-in LED lighting system on the floor nozzle. The vacuum has a low profile ideal for cleaning hardwood and other non-fibrous floors, with a swivel steering head that’s easy to maneuver on carpet or across hardwood.
The Shark Rotator Professional vacuum includes a dust collection bin that can be lifted away from the base and used with the included upholstery tool or crevice tool. The dust collection bin has a HEPA-rated filter and is sealed to keep allergens and dust from escaping. This model weighs 15.5 pounds and has a 25-foot power cord.
Cordless vacuums, like this Shark stick model, are ideal for either a tight apartment or a larger home, where a power cord might make it harder to fully clean the space. The lightweight design is only 12 pounds, easy to carry up and down the stairs or lift over carpet transition strips. While the motor isn’t as powerful as a corded Shark model, it does have a power output of 260W and a lithium-ion battery with up to 50 minutes of runtime.
The dust-collection bin is sealed to ensure allergens don’t escape, and the vacuum head has two powered brush rolls for deep cleaning on carpet or hardwood. Another feature that makes this cordless model versatile: users can separate the dust collection bin from the handle and base to easily carry the vacuum up the stairs or hold it up while cleaning the ceiling.
For an apartment, condo, or bungalow, this robotic Shark vacuum is a fantastic way to keep floors clean with almost no effort. Set up and charge the robotic vacuum, then schedule a time or start cleaning immediately with the included remote control. While it only has a 36W motor, it is a great option for hardwood, tile, laminate, and light carpets. It’s well-suited for homes with pets, and its self-cleaning brush roll won’t get tangled with hair.
The Shark ION robotic vacuum can operate for over 1 hour of cleaning time, due to the long lasting lithium-ion battery and the motor’s low power output. This vacuum weighs just 5.5 pounds, and the sensors ensure that it won’t fall down the stairs as it navigates through the house on its automatic cleaning cycle.
This stick Shark vacuum is corded, which isn’t common with stick devices, but this feature allows the motor, with an output of 500W, to be much more powerful than a typical stick model. Despite this additional power, it only weighs 8.6 pounds. The Shark Rocket DeluxePro comes with a 25-foot cord and a swivel head for enhanced maneuverability, plus several cleaning attachments, including a duster crevice tool, an extension wand, and a pet multi-tool.
This vacuum is a great option for many surfaces, like hardwood, laminate, tile, carpet, and upholstery. A built-in handheld vacuum can be removed from the base and used independently for vacuuming stairs, furniture, and hard-to-access locations. Combining the power of an upright vacuum with the maneuverability and flexibility of stick and handheld devices, it’s a great option for many homes.
To supplement a main vacuum, this handheld Shark model is convenient and effective. The 1.4-pound device has a 115W motor, providing a strong solution for cleaning vehicles, furniture, upholstery, and even a ceiling or other areas around the house where dirt and cobwebs can accumulate.
The WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum is powered with a lithium-ion battery, but the power output is intended for short bursts of strong suction for small cleaning jobs, which depletes the battery in only 10 minutes. Once done, just place the handheld Shark vacuum on the included charging dock so that it is ready when needed again. The vacuum comes with a washable filter, a crevice tool, and a pet hair tool to help keep the house clean.
FAQs About Your New Shark Vacuum
Continue reading below to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Shark vacuums.
Q. How do you clean a Shark vacuum filter?
It depends on the type of filter. Some filters are disposable and should not be washed but rather replaced when they lose their effectiveness. Washable filters can be carefully removed from the Shark vacuum, noting the order of removal because they must be replaced in the same order.
Take the filters to a sink of warm, soapy water and hand wash them thoroughly without being so zealous as to damage them. Once they’re clean, rinse them and allow them to air dry before replacing them in correct order.
Q. How do you empty a Shark vacuum?
To empty a Shark vacuum, follow these simple steps:
- Ensure the vacuum is off and unplugged, or the battery is removed.
- Hold the handle on the top of the Shark vacuum dust bin.
- Press the button on the front of the dust bin and pull up to remove the bin from the vacuum.
- Open the dustbin and pour it into a trash can.
- Put the dustbin back on the vacuum.
Q. How do you replace a power cord on a shark vacuum?
Do not replace the power cord on a Shark vacuum without previous experience working with electric equipment. To replace the power cord on a Shark vacuum, follow these steps:
- Unplug the Shark vacuum and place it on a surface that is at a comfortable height.
- Take apart the vacuum head—including the brush, belt, and motor housing—but be sure to sort each piece and the corresponding screws so they can be put back in the correct places.
- Loosen the fasteners on the old power cord and remove it.
- Use wire strippers on the new power cord to ensure enough metal is showing for an adequate connection.
- Connect the new power cord in the same position and configuration as the old power cord, and reinstall the motor housing, belt, and brush with the corresponding screws.
- Test the power to the Shark vacuum to ensure it is working correctly.