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There's a reason Shark vacuums are a top buy—the brand's offerings come with powerful suction, fully-sealed HEPA filtration systems, and comprehensive warranties, all at affordable prices. We researched Shark's complete inventory of vacuums and tested eight models in The Lab, evaluating each on setup, maneuverability, noise level, effectiveness, and ease of emptying.
While finding your perfect vacuum depends on your specific needs, we determined that the best model for most people is the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum. It has a very long battery life, powerful suction, and a compact design.
Here are the best Shark vacuums.
Best Overall: Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
Very long battery life
Folds in half for easy storage
Powerful suction on all surfaces
Vacuum basically moves itself
Collection canister could be bigger
No attachment storage
Handheld model is a bit heavy
Who else recommends it? Bob Vila and The Strategist also picked the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum.
What do buyers say? 89% of 2,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this 4 stars or above.
The Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum was the clear winner in our search for the best Shark vacuum—and best vacuum in general. It features powerful suction on all surfaces, a storage-friendly handle, and generally quiet operation. As we discovered in The Lab, it has the power you need to leave your carpets deeply clean and your hardwood floors sparkling. This model earned a perfect 5-star rating for its effectiveness and didn't cause any debris to scatter in the process. In fact, it cleaned up every material in just a pass or two, regardless of flooring type. We found that the 1.4-quart dust bin empties easily, but given the vacuum’s powerful suction and long-lasting battery, we do wish it had more capacity.
However, the Shark vacuum does feature a flexible wand that is a real game changer for reaching under furniture. You can stop ignoring the dust bunnies under your sofa, since Shark designed this vac with a hinge that gives the floor head greater reach. Plus, the Vertex series from Shark includes dual rollers in the floor head and one is equipped with grippy rubber fins to maintain contact with the floor. While making use of the 60-minute battery life, which is significant compared to many other cordless models, you can feel this technology working. Our tester noted the vac essentially pulls itself, and called it "flawless" before giving it a 5-star rating for maneuverability.
Notably, you can also make this vacuum more compact for storage, since the handle can fold in half. Its canister converts into a handheld vacuum you can use, too, but our tester found the handheld vac to be decently heavy. It may be fine for grabbing a few cobwebs, but don’t expect to use it overhead for a long time. There's also not a designated spot for attachments, which was disappointing, so you'll need to repurpose a box or bin to keep the attachments together in your home.
If you're looking for the powerful suction of an upright vacuum but the convenience of a cordless stick vacuum, this is the one for you. And with such a long battery life, you could vacuum your apartment multiple times or clean an entire two-story house before having to charge it. For all of these reasons, plus the easy 3-minute assembly time, this is our top pick.
Best Budget: Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum
Swivel steering for easy mobility
Brush roll shut-off for bare floors
Dust bin is easy to empty
No self-cleaning brush roll
Hair gets caught and tangled
If you need a basic yet beloved vacuum that won’t break the bank, consider the Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum. This model has fewer vacuum features than others, but it costs less, too. Our testing team gave it a 5-star rating for its simple setup—it was assembled and ready for use in less than five minutes—and a 4.5-star rating for maneuverability. They found it difficult to move around on carpet surfaces, and docked its rating for this reason, but did add that the vacuum is not too heavy overall.
As a corded, upright model, you won’t have to worry about running out of battery power with this pick by your side. The 25-foot cord gives plenty of reach and the lift-away canister is useful for accessing hard-to-reach areas. Our tester did find the canister was best used from the ground. In addition, the hair easily collected in the stationary brush roll in our testing on hardwood floors, which blocked the vacuum from picking up debris very effectively. The model tended to push around heavier materials like popcorn kernels. All of these insights led to a low effectiveness rating.
However, the anti-allergen seal and HEPA filter means this vacuum does effectively trap dust. You'll also enjoy the clear dust bin that allows you to see what you're capturing in real-time and releases very easily with the help of built-in latches. At this price point, you can't beat it.
Best Stick: Shark HV301 Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum
Good suction on all surfaces
Converts to a handheld model
Very flexible and nimble
On the noisier side
Doesn’t stand up on its own
A good stick vacuum should be lightweight, but not necessarily light-duty. The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum made an impression on our tester for its maneuverability and effective suction on all types of flooring. It needed help transitioning from a hard surface to a rug, giving it a maneuverability rating of 4 stars. However, the stick vacuum proved to be nimble and flexible when navigating the living room obstacle course. Our tester pointed out that it seamlessly reached under the couch. It twisted and turned around the coffee table, too. It “moves with me," noted our tester.
All in all, the vac turned out to be a great cleaning partner that never quits on you, since it's not powered by a battery. It was able to easily pick up all the materials on the low-pile carpet, and ultimately earned a 4.5-star rating for effectiveness—getting docked for slightly struggling on the high-pile rug and also not easily navigating the hardwood floor. Notably, at nearly 4 feet, this vacuum is much taller than expected. Since it doesn’t stand up on its own, either, you’ll have to lean it against your furniture or gently rest it on the floor if you need to pause your vacuuming session. However, like many other stick vacs, you can use the Shark Rocket in handheld mode, with or without an extension, to clean furniture, ceilings, stairs, and more.
Best Upright: Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum
Multiple surface settings
Easy to assemble and empty
Has an 11-foot cord
Difficult to reach under furniture
Lacks a self-cleaning brush roll
For an upright vacuum that works well on carpets and bare floors, look no further than the Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum. This model has adjustable suction levels and brush roll speeds to maximize your cleaning efforts. Don’t expect it to be as light or nimble as a stick vacuum, but know you'll be pleased with its maneuverability and effectiveness. In our testing, it impressed our tester with how easy it was to push across hardwood floors and carpets of all pile heights. They only docked it for its bulkier design, which made it difficult to reach under lower furniture, and poor transfer from a flat surface to a rugged one. (They ultimately gave it 3 stars for maneuverability for these reasons.) In terms of effectiveness, it captured all the materials in fewer than five passes and was pretty straightforward.
The Navigator series is basic in its features, but has a removable dust bin and plenty of cord length for cleaning average-sized rooms. Plus, accessories like the motorized brush, upholstery tool, and crevice nozzle can be used to deep clean specific areas of your home. The fully sealed system with a HEPA filter locks in dander and allergens, while the dust bin is quick and easy to empty. Our tester gave the process of emptying the machine 5 stars, and also noted that it's pretty quiet for a powerful pick.
Best Wet-Dry: Shark VacMop Pro Cordless Wet/Dry Stick Vacuum
Very easy to assemble
Has a light on the floor head
Must purchase more refill pads
Must continuously hold the power button
Capture dry debris and spiff up your hard floors with a multi-purpose vacuum like the Shark VACMOP. It is designed for use on sealed hardwood, tile, or laminate floors, and glides effortlessly on them all. A tank for Shark cleaning solution, which is included in your purchase, is built into its body. The floor head uses replaceable mop pads that include a unique chamber for collecting debris, and features an easy-release button so you don't have to touch the dirty pad when your cleaning session is done, too.
In our testing, the VACMOP earned a perfect score of 5 stars across every category. It was described as being very lightweight, and a great option for small spaces or those with limited mobility. While it offers an easier way to mop floors, keep in mind that you’ll need to hold the power button down to trigger the vacuum function of this wet-dry vac. While it's easy to spray cleaning solution onto your floor thanks to a well-placed button on the handle, you may also need to refill the solution often. The canister isn't very big, which may not bode well for larger cleaning jobs. However, you'll enjoy a light on the floor head that does allow you to see into the nooks and crannies of your home.
Best Handheld: Shark WV201 WANDVAC Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Powerful suction on all surfaces
Limited battery life
Long charging time
Weighing 1.4 pounds, the Shark WANDVAC Cordless Handheld Vacuum is the smallest member of the Shark vacuum family. However, despite its size, it offers powerful suction for small messes. While we didn't test this pick in The Lab, The Spruce's home product tester put the vacuum through real-world testing, trying it out on pet hair, crumbs, dust, and debris. They noted that it picked up everything so quickly, but was pretty loud when doing so. In addition, although assembly was simple, the handheld pick needed to be charged fully before use, which took about two and a half hours.
This handheld vac is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a high-speed brushless motor. It runs for 10 minutes before needing a recharge, which definitely isn't long and was one of the biggest downsides for our product tester. Clearly, it's meant for quick clean-ups, like picking up spilled cereal or removing crumbs from car seats. The dust bin is also small but easily empties with the push of a button. You can make use of a duster crevice tool and multi-surface pet tool, both of which store neatly on the charging dock when not in use. Ultimately, our tester only docked the WANDVAC for its charge time and noise level, giving both attributes a rating of 4 stars.
Best for Carpet: Shark Navigator DLX Upright Professional Vacuum
Dust bin is quite large
Has swivel steering
Operates pretty quietly
Assembly requires a screwdriver
Bumper on floor head pushes debris
The Shark Navigator DLX Upright Professional Vacuum offered powerful suction and performed great on low, medium, and high-pile carpets in The Lab. For that reason, it's the right choice if you're looking for a vacuum cleaner that'll effectively clean your area rugs and carpeted floors. It was given an overall rating of 4 stars for its cleaning effectiveness—meaning, on average, it cleaned up the cereal, popcorn kernels, and strands of hair in just three to five passes. At 3.5 quarts, the dust bin of this upright vacuum is larger than most, too. Our testing team loved this feature and found the dust bin to be super easy to empty.
We found that the greatest strength of the Shark Navigator DLX is also its weakness. While the powerful suction made it faster and easier to remove debris, it also increased the effort we had to put forth to use the vacuum on the medium and high-pile carpets. Even still, our tester gives this Navigator model a 4.5-star rating for maneuverability and comments positively on the swivel steering. This type of steering will give you easier access to corners, and makes this pick a bit more pleasurable to use.
Best for Pet Owners: Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Handheld Vacuum
Pet hair brush tool
Easy to empty
A little bulky
Lack of attachment storage
The Shark Ultracyclone Pet Pro+ Handheld Vacuum excelled in all of our lab tests, but it really stood out when it came to sucking up synthetic pet hair. If you constantly find yourself reaching for a vacuum to zap pet hair off of your couches or rugs, this is the vacuum for you. In addition to brush and crevice tools, this handheld vacuum comes with a pet power brush tool that's specifically designed to loosen and suck up pet hair. This attachment will work well on furniture, linens, and even your car seats and floor mats.
In addition to sucking up pet hair quickly, we also love this vacuum's large and easy-to-empty dustbin. You won't have to worry about emptying it mid-clean. When it is time to empty the dustbin, it's simple and mess-free. This Shark model is a little bulky for a handheld vacuum, but we think the extra-large dustbin makes it worth it. And while the attachments are what make this vacuum really shine, there's no included storage for them, so you'll need to repurpose a box or bin to make sure you don't lose them.
Our first choice for a Shark vacuum is the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum, since this cordless model has long battery life, a flexible handle for storing it in your home, and powerful suction on all types of flooring. If you're sticking to a budget, you’ll still get a good clean from the Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum. This more basic Shark vacuum lacks features like a self-cleaning brush roll, but still qualifies as a quality upright vacuum thanks to its fully-sealed system with HEPA filtration and lift-away canister option.
Other Options We Tested
Shark WANDVAC Cordless Stick Vacuum: This vacuum came up short in nearly every category. It was best suited for picking up small debris on hard surface floors or low-pile carpet, but repeatedly leaked larger debris like popcorn kernels. The brush roll became tangled with the hair and we found popcorn kernels caught in the bristles, leaving our tester shaking the floor head. Overall, this model only earned a 2-star rating for cleaning effectiveness, which is the lowest of all the Shark vacuums we tested in The Lab. Another gripe was the small dustbin that opens too easily and during normal use. One-touch connection points do make the vac easy to convert to a handheld vacuum, but its battery life drops from 17 minutes to 8 minutes if you run the vacuum in boost mode, and it's quite difficult to maneuver.
How We Tested the Shark Vacuums
During our vacuum test, we tested 28 vacuums side-by-side in The Lab in Industry City, Brooklyn—seven of which were Shark picks. Our testers unboxed and set up each model first, timing how long it took to complete this process and how thorough the instructions were. From there, we put each pick through its paces, and evaluated its effectiveness on hardwood and three types of carpet. The vacuums were tasked with cleaning up measured amounts of hair, popcorn kernels, and a parent's constant companion: Cheerios. While testing, we noted how many passes were needed to clean up the materials, if any hair was tangled in the brush roll, and the vacuums' weight and portability.
In addition, we gathered insights on how well each pick transitioned from smooth floors to a carpet, and how long cordless models stayed charged. Our testers emptied dust bins, noting if the process was messy, as expected, or thrillingly simple. At home, additional vacuums were rated on the same attributes in real-world environments and situations. Our editors took all of the consistently applied testing data that was gathered at The Lab and at home, and boiled it down to the Shark vacuums we believe are the very best.
What to Look for in a Shark Vacuum
Shark makes a variety of vacuum types including upright, stick, and handheld models. Choose the type of vacuum that fits your cleaning objectives and preferences. Upright vacuums typically offer the most suction and dust bin capacity, but stick vacuums are super convenient for daily cleaning and maintenance of floors. A Shark handheld vacuum is ideal for small cleaning tasks in the house or car, and takes up minimal storage space.
Corded vs. cordless
When shopping for a vacuum, the decision between a corded and cordless model depends on your specific needs and priorities. A corded vacuum offers an unlimited runtime and is a good choice for whole-house cleaning. Pay attention to the length of the cord to minimize how often you’ll need to stop and switch outlets, though. Most upright vacuums have 25 to 30-foot-long cords.
Cordless Shark vacuum cleaners offer major convenience but are limited to shorter cleaning jobs since runtime is dependent on battery life. Most models will last between 10 and 40 minutes. But, take note: If you plan to use the vacuum cleaner on plush, high-pile carpet or use a higher setting, you’ll have a shorter runtime.
Accessories shouldn’t be an afterthought when shopping for a Shark vacuum, since the right tools can help you complete your cleaning tasks more quickly and easily. Accessories typically include: a crevice tool for cleaning tighter spots around appliances, behind furniture, or in the car; a duster to gently grab dust from soft surfaces like lampshades and curtains; and a wand extension tool that'll help you reach spots above the floor. More specialized accessories, including a motorized pet brush and specialized floor brush for hardwood floors, may also be included with your vacuum. These can provide a more suitable clean in specific situations.
While some vacuums have filters that need regular replacement, a washable filter is both easy to maintain and minimizes the recurring expense of buying new filters. By regularly cleaning it, you can keep your vacuum operating at peak levels of suction and particle capture. Plus, you'll know that it's not being overworked. This feature is very handy for any household, but particularly one that's conscious of their environmental impact or sticking to a budget.
Anyone with long hair or substantial levels of pet hair understands the struggle that comes from a tangled brush roll. Instead of using scissors to clear hair wrapped around the brush roll, some new Shark vacuums are equipped with a self-cleaning brush roll that is designed to clear accumulated hair and pet fur without user intervention. It uses silicone fins to grab hair from the bristles as you clean.
Some Shark vacuums are equipped with a detachable canister that adds "lift-away" functionality to the machine. This is useful if you want to do a lot of above-floor cleaning, such as removing dust or debris from stairs, ceilings, and upholstery. To make use of this feature, just remove the detachable pod, and carry the canister with you. Use the hose of the vacuum and the appropriate attachment to reach elevated areas of your home and clean them thoroughly.
You should keep in mind when shopping that Shark vacuums offer both powered and non-powered lift-away canisters. When it comes to powered lift-away canisters, you're able to use the motorized floor head with its spinning brush roll while in lift-away mode.
How do you clean a Shark vacuum?
To clean a Shark vacuum, empty the dust bin after each use. Additionally, you may choose to lightly tap excess dirt and debris from the filters into a garbage can. Re-install the filters and dust bin once you're done.
Also, regularly inspect the brush roll for wrapped hair, string, or lodged debris and carefully remove any obstructions using scissors. According to Danielle Lessing, owners of Shark vacuums equipped with DuoClean Technology should “hand wash the soft roller as needed (using only water) and let it air dry for 24 hours before use.”
How do I clean a Shark vacuum filter?
Most Shark vacuums have reusable filters that you can rinse under water (without soap). They'll need at least 24 hours to air dry completely, but afterward you can re-install them. You'll know the filters are due for a cleaning when the airflow or suction decreases.
All that said, read your Shark vacuum's user manual beforehand, to make sure your particular model has a rinsable filter. For Shark vacuums with washable filters, you will need to rinse the pre-motor filters every 30 days. Any household with pets or heavy dirt accumulation might need to rinse the filters more often. Washable HEPA filters only need to be rinsed every 12 months.
How do you take apart a Shark vacuum?
The specific instructions for disassembling a Shark vacuum will vary by model, but most models have a canister, floor head, hose, and wand. To efficiently take apart a Shark vacuum, consult the owner’s manual for the specific model to determine the best way to do so. Always make sure the vacuum is unplugged or removed from its charging stand before disassembly.
To disassemble a Shark vacuum cleaner, you typically start by unhooking the hose from the body of the vacuum. Then, you remove the wand assembly. Next, lay the vacuum on its back and use a screwdriver (or other tool as indicated in the owner’s manual) to open the floor head compartment and remove the brush roll. Once you have completed these steps, you can then inspect the pieces or deep clean your vacuum before reassembling it as indicated.
How long do shark vacuums last?
Most Shark vacuums have a five-year warranty, which shows you about how long they're built to last. However, use and care factors will have a large impact on how long a vacuum sticks around in your home. Consumer Reports cites the average lifespan of a vacuum cleaner as being eight years.
Lessing suggests the following tips for extending the life of your vacuum: “If you don’t have our Anti-Hair Wrap Technology, we suggest removing hair from brush rolls at least once a month or sooner if you notice some jamming. Cleaning your filter frequently can also help extend your vacuum’s lifespan.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
Erica Puisis has been a writer for The Spruce since 2017. She's an experienced product researcher with years of experience in covering large and small appliances. For this piece, she used in-depth research and evaluations on features, cleaning modes, and accessories, in addition to the firsthand insights from our product testers at home and in The Lab, to inform her writing. She also conducted an interview with Danielle Lessing—VP of Global Product Development at SharkNinja—to learn more about the features of Shark vacuums.
Marisa Casciano is a senior commerce editor for The Spruce, and was in The Lab for the entirety of our vacuum test. She has firsthand knowledge of how our vacuum tests were both developed and performed, as well as where each product excelled or fell short. Before conducting lab testing, she scoured brand and retailer websites, and considered price, verified customer reviews, features, and design when selecting the vacuums to test. She also considered the latest technology, practicality, and real-life cleaning situations.