The 9 Best Shark Vacuums of 2021

Find the right model for you from this beloved brand

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Shark Vacuum Cleaners

The Spruce

Our Top Picks
"This model features a microfiber pad that picks up dirt from hardwood and switches to rugs and carpets with the flip of a switch."
"This bagless vacuum incorporates a motorized brush and pet multi-tool."
"Shark's most powerful vacuum balances intense suction with innovative, time-saving details."
"This models is a technologically advanced vacuum cleaner with powerful suction that's suited for homes with a lot of hardwood."
"This sleek stick model is powered by a rechargeable battery offers 30 minutes of cleaning time."
"In addition to its upright mode, this vacuum can also be broken down into a handheld version to tackle stairs."
"The Rotator Professional boasts plenty of suction power to extract dirt and debris from carpeting."
"This versatile model's detachable hand vacuum is perfect for tackling small jobs."
"This smart robotic vacuum deep cleans your home and empties its dust bin automatically."

There's a reason why Shark brand vacuum cleaners make frequent appearances on The Spruce's best lists—with their dependable suction and performance, intentional designs, and ease of use, they're some of the most accessible and satisfying vacuums on the market. If you happen to be a Shark loyalist, we can hardly blame you.

Of course, the selection of Shark vacuums to choose from is only getting wider. And if you aren't totally sure which one is the right choice for your household (and the kind of messes it tends to accumulate), it's easy to feel overwhelmed. That's why we've pored over the current options at Shark and selected our favorites in nine different categories. Whether you want a powerhouse that handles all surfaces or a nimble stick vacuum to tackle quick clean-ups, there's a Shark out there for you.

Here, find our picks for Shark's best vacuum cleaners.

Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away & 2 Microfiber Pads (NV356E)

Weight: 13.7 pounds | Bin Volume: 70.4 ounces | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Pet power brush tool, dusting brush tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Large dust cup

  • Powerful

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Can't reach under low furniture

When it comes to getting a clean home, the Shark Navigator Professional NV356E is our top choice. With lift-away technology and a brushroll shutoff, this is a practical choice for hardwood floors or any solid surface floor cleaning, as well as carpets.

The Shark Navigator NV356E has a bristle brush that will agitate carpet fibers to remove deep-seated dirt but can be deactivated to protect hardwood floors from scratches and wear. But what really sets apart this Shark vacuum for hardwood floors is the included Dust-Away attachment with a microfiber pad. When using the Lift-Away vacuum in canister mode, simply attach the Dust Away tool, which is essentially a large microfiber pad that will pick up fine dirt and dust from hardwoods, tiles, and more. People that have actually used the Dust-Away attachment say that combining suction with the microfiber pad means the vacuum will suck up larger items in its path while sweeping up dust and fine particles with the pad’s surface.

The biggest complaint about the Shark Navigator Professional NV356E is that the floorhead isn’t as wide as some other models. The cleaning path is only 9.5 inches wide. However, the dust cup is an impressive 2.2 dry quarts so you won’t need to make frequent trips to empty this vacuum during cleaning sessions.

"One thing we don’t like about the design is how wobbly the canister is—especially when used on hardwood floors. When we were using the extension wand with the various attachments, we put the canister on the floor and it was constantly rocking back and forth."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester

Best for Pet Hair: Shark Rotator TruePet - NV752

Shark-Rotator-TruePet - NV752
Very Good

Weight: 15.6 pounds | Bin Volume: 28.16 ounces | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Pet multi-tool, brush tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Extremely effective at removing pet hair

  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • On the heavier side

If you have pets, you likely have an ongoing battle to keep fur and dander under control. The Shark Rotator TruePet NV752 is a popular choice when shopping for a Shark vacuum for pets.

Built on the popular Rotator model upright vacuum that many love for its deep cleaning and lift-away functionality, the TruePet model from Shark incorporates a motorized brush and pet multi-tool. The result is a powerful vacuum with sustained suction that can be used to eliminate pet hair buried deep in carpets, stuck between seat cushions, or clinging to drapes.

Instead of sticking a flimsy attachment on the vacuum’s hose and hoping that you’ll be able to suction the pet hair stuck to your sofa, the Rotator True Pet allows you to attach a motorized brush to the hose and take the lift-away canister with you wherever pet hair lurks. Conquer those pet fuzzies under the bed or on your favorite chair with high-powered bristle action and powerful suction.

In addition, pet owners and allergy sufferers alike will appreciate the fact that this model of Shark vacuum also features a sealed air system and a HEPA filter to trap up to 99.9 percent of allergens. People that have used the Shark NV752 say that it’s definitely the way to go for pet-friendly homes and rave about the agitation and power of the motorized brush in comparison to other vacuums for pet hair that use turbine technology or suction alone to remove fur.

"The dust cup was empty when we started and it was almost full by the time we finished vacuuming the carpet. We were astounded by how much pet hair the Rotator TruePet picked up. The carpet looked cleaner and fluffier than it had in years."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester

Best Splurge: Shark AZ2002 Vertex DuoClean Upright Vacuum

Shark AZ2002 Vertex DuoClean Upright Vacuum

Weight: 16 pounds | Bin Volume: 32 ounces | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Pet power brush tool, dusting brush tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Extremely powerful

  • Self-cleaning brushroll

  • HEPA filter

What We Don't Like
  • Steeper price point

  • Heavy

With this advanced model, Shark has outdone itself: The self-cleaning brushroll is an improved version of previous designs, made to pick up even more pet hair with a single pass without the risk of hair wrap. The DuoClean system features silicone fins that maintain constant contact with the floor (even when transitioning from carpets to hard wood) and a soft roller that pulls in small and large debris to a more efficient extent than the original iteration of Shark's DuoClean technology. The LED-lit nozzle makes it easy to see exactly where to go to get every last bit of dirt and the 30-foot cord is long enough that you can coast across a room without having to move where you're plugged in.

The dusting brush, pet crevice tool, and self-cleaning pet power brush handle messes in small spaces and on furniture—and the HEPA filter and anti-allergen complete seal ensures that the dust and dander that they bring in stay trapped. The lift away pod, meanwhile, allows you to clean high up or under furniture without worrying about lugging the whole vacuum along with you (which, at 16 pounds, is on the heavier side).

In short, this model melds what you love about Shark vacuums with minor—but meaningful—upgrades, making it well worth its price.

Best for Hardwood: Shark Apex Upright Vacuum - AZ1002

Shark Apex Upright Vacuum - AZ1002

Weight: 16.1 pounds | Bin Volume: 28.16 ounces | Cord Length: 29.9 feet | Included Accessories: Pet power brush tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Soft front roller

  • Quiet operation

What We Don't Like
  • Steeper price point

If you’re looking for a technologically advanced vacuum cleaner with powerful suction, we recommend the Shark Apex Upright Vacuum. It will not only clean your room, but it will also clean itself! Armed with a self-cleaning brushroll for nonstop hair removal, this vacuum is one of the most efficient products Shark has to offer. 

The Apex is easy to assemble and features Shark DuoClean, Powered Lift-Away, and Zero-M technologies. In addition to its advanced design, this product sports a detachable canister that extends the reach of the cleaner head, making hard-to-reach messes a thing of the past. The Apex’s quiet sound design and performance on various surfaces—hardwood floors, carpet, even upholstered furniture—makes it suitable for cleaning just about any room of the house. Furthermore, the product’s advanced anti-allergen complete seal technology and HEPA filter add to its overall efficiency.

"The vacuum has a very sleek floorhead and, when the canister is detached and the vacuum is powered in lift-away mode, it can get under low furniture for much more thorough cleaning. Unlike other Shark models that we tested, it can operate upright without the canister in all three surface modes."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester

Best Cordless: Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless Bagless Vacuum

shark-navigator

Weight: 7.5 pounds | Battery Life: Not listed | Bin Volume: 20.48 ounces | Included Accessories: None

What We Like
  • Cordless design

  • Extra large dust cup

What We Don't Like
  • Limited battery life

  • No attachments

If you want to vacuum without wrangling a cord, a battery-operated model is the best choice for you. Perfect for quick pick-ups or small spaces, the Shark Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum is a nimble, cost-effective choice.

The Freestyle is powered by a rechargeable battery that offers run times up to about 20 minutes, based on whether you are running it on high or low power. Note that this isn’t a lithium-ion battery, which makes this Shark vacuum lag slightly behind the competition in the cordless vacuum segment. However, it is affordable and the charging station is integrated into a handy storage dock for the vacuum.

This cordless vacuum by Shark might struggle to pick up cereal or larger debris. Even still, this vacuum makes it so much easier to vacuum high-traffic areas frequently or keep up in between deep cleaning sessions. If you’re looking for a light-duty vacuum with no cord hassle from Shark, the Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum fits the bill.

"Right out of the box, the Shark Freestyle Pro was straightforward to assemble. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. All but one of the parts snap into place."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester

Best Stick Vacuum: Shark APEX DuoClean Corded Stick Vacuum, ZS360

shark-apex-vaccum

Weight: 10 pounds | Bin Volume: Not listed | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Pet multi-tool, duster tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Converts to a handheld vacuum

  • Self-cleaning brushroll

What We Don't Like
  • Top-heavy design

Stick vacuums are a great buy for any busy household. They do a solid job at cleaning up everyday messes without the need of lugging out the big guns. While cordless options can seem like a smart purchase—they often have a short battery life which can leave you high and dry when you need it.

This new model has the ability to clean floors but it can also be broken down into a handheld version to tackle stairs, furniture, upholstery, and such. The best feature of this stick vacuum is the self-cleaning brushroll technology that eliminates the need to physically remove wrapped around hairs.

Best for Carpet: Shark Rotator Professional Vacuum- NV501

Shark Rotator Professional Vacuum- NV501

Weight: 15.5 pounds | Bin Volume: 51.2 ounces | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Dusting brush tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Powerful

  • Converts to a handheld vacuum

  • Wide floorhead

What We Don't Like
  • On the heavier side

Conquer carpet with a Shark vacuum that is up to the task, thanks to powerful suction and a deep agitating brushroll. The Shark Rotator Professional NV501 is a popular choice among people that have carpeted surfaces to clean and want the versatility and convenience of a Shark vacuum.

Equipped with a wider floorhead than the Navigator line of vacuums, the Rotator Professional will give you a wider cleaning path—which means less effort on your part to clean the floors. The advanced swivel steering built into the Rotator Professional vacuums makes it easier to maneuver, which is a plus since this vacuum weighs 15.5 pounds.

Under the floorhead is the key to the Rotator’s carpet cleaning abilities. Plenty of suction power combines with a bristled brush to extract dirt and debris from its hiding place in your carpeting and area rugs. This model of Shark vacuum is the perfect partner in marathon vacuuming sessions, thanks to its strong suction and impressive cord length.

Best 2-in-1 with Handheld: Shark Rocket DuoClean with Lift-Away Hand Vacuum - HV382

Weight: 7.5 pounds | Bin Volume: 17.28 ounces | Cord Length: 30 feet | Included Accessories: Dusting brush tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool

What We Like
  • Versatile design

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Small dust cup

  • Storage space for only two attachments

This stick vacuum is a corded model—meaning you will have to plug it in for operation. However, you don’t have to worry about charging batteries and finishing the job before the juice runs out. This vacuum is super lightweight and weighs only 7.6 pounds. The detachable hand vacuum weighs only 4.6 pounds and is perfect for tackling small jobs and tight spaces—like under the couch cushions or the seats of your car.

The Rocket also comes with a crevice tool, upholstery tool, dusting brush, and a Hard Floor Hero—which is perfect for use on solid flooring that needs a touch-up. There is only room to attach two of the three smaller attachments (crevice tool, upholstery tool, and dust brush), which can be an inconvenience if you think you’ll misplace the loose attachment. One other thing to note is that this 2-in-1 model of Shark vacuum has a rather small dust cup at just .42 dry quarts.

This is a great Shark vacuum to consider if you are debating between a Shark hand vac and stick vacuum. With the Shark Rocket DuoClean, you’ll have easy access to a larger corded stick vacuum for cleaning more square footage along with the convenience of a smaller hand vacuum for quick jobs.

Best Robotic: Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE

Battery Life: 90 minutes | Cleaning Path Width: 5.63 inches | Mapping: Yes | Filter Type: Replaceable | Brush Type: Brushroll and side brushes | Smart Capabilities: Yes

What We Like
  • Self-emptying

  • Effective at removing pet hair

What We Don't Like
  • Difficulty with home mapping

This robotic model makes whole-home cleaning about as hands-off as it can get. Featuring home mapping technology, customizable room selection, a base for self-emptying, and the option to enable voice control through Amazon Alexa, the Shark IQ Self-Empty XL handles the grunt work of vacuuming easily and efficiently. If its battery gets low in the middle of a job, it will return to its charging base and resume cleaning after refueling.

For all its tech-savvy capabilities, this vacuum doesn't skimp on pure cleaning power. The self-cleaning brushroll is designed to remove pet hair without tangling and the suction is powerful enough to extract debris of all sizes across floor surfaces. Plus, the spinning side brushes make sure even tight corners and spaces under cabinets get cleaned.

Final Verdict

The best Shark vacuum the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum (view at Amazon), which easily switches from hardwood to carpet with the flip of a switch. If you're looking for something with all of the bells and whistles, consider the Shark AZ2002 Vertex DuoClean Upright Vacuum (view at Amazon), which also has a self-cleaning brushroll and lots of attachments to help you keep all parts of your home clean.

What to Look for in a Shark Vacuum

Type

From full-sized vacuums to stick and handheld versions, there’s a Shark vacuum to get any job done. The question is what kind of job do you want to get done most often. The size of your home, as well as the types of flooring you have, should drive your choices. 

Feel

Shark vacuums come in various weights and with varying capabilities. While heavier models may do more heavy-duty cleaning, if you’re going to have to haul a vacuum up and down stairs frequently, then you may want to consider lighter models. Also, consider how easy one is to maneuver, particularly if you want to get into tight spots and corners. 

Features

Do you want a cordless vacuum? One that also has a light so you can see in the dark spots? Or perhaps you want one that means you never have to remove those wrapped-around hairs from the vacuum's brushes? Shark makes models with all these features and more. The type of flooring you have as well as how often you use your vacuum should dictate your choices.

FAQs

How do I clean a Shark vacuum?

You'll need to refer to your model's manual to know exactly how to clean it. But, in general, you should empty the dust cup into the trash, using the model's bottom release button, then wipe out the vacuum's interior with a dry microfiber cloth.

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 24 hours to air dry completely, after which you can reinstall them. You'll know the filters are due for a cleaning when the vacuum's airflow or suction decreases. All that said, read your Shark vacuum's manual beforehand, to make sure your particular model has a rinsable filter.

How long do Shark vacuums last?

Shark products purchased from authorized retailers come with a warranty ranging from one to seven years, which covers repairs and replacements for defective parts. Taking advantage of this warranty will help keep your model in shape for longer. More generally, you can expect your vacuum to last for about eight years, depending on how much you use it and what you do to maintain its performance.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Sara Coughlin, a freelance writer and The Spruce’s small appliances expert. From canister models to dustbusters, she’s researched what it takes for a vacuum to stand out in a vast and broad market—and what to look for in up-and-coming models.

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