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Shark vacuums have become some of the most popular of their kind on the market, but choosing from the many models can be daunting. There are best-selling upright vacuums, sleek stick vacs, and innovative cordless models that take on multiple cleaning tasks. Shark emphasizes powerful suction and fully-sealed HEPA filtration systems that capture that capture particles like dust and dander. How can you know where to begin, let alone what to add to your cart?
To start, consider the type of vacuum that best suits your cleaning needs, whether it be collecting pet hair or getting into the tight corners of your home. Danielle Lessing, the VP of Global Product Development at SharkNinja, advises, "The most important consideration for consumers to keep in mind when choosing a vacuum is that each vacuum category targets a different type of clean.” We tested several of these top-notch Shark products to see exactly how they clean, look, and feel, and what's actually worth your money.
When shopping, your options include upright vacuums for whole-house cleaning, lightweight stick vacuums for everyday clean-up, handheld vacuums for spot cleaning, and robot vacuums for total hands-free cleaning. In addition to type, you'll also want to consider whether a corded or cordless vacuum is better for your situation—both can be effective at times—and what type of accessories come with the machine.
Here are the best picks for Shark's best vacuum cleaners.
Best Overall: Shark Apex Upright Vacuum - AZ1002
Weight: 16 pounds | Bin Volume: 1.5 quarts | Cord Length: 30 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 11 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: HEPA
Soft front roller
11-inch cleaning path
Steeper price point
Heavier than some other models
The Shark APEX AZ1002 offers powerful suction, advanced cleaning capabilities, and useful features, making it our top choice for a Shark vacuum cleaner. With DuoClean rollers, this upright vacuum is equally capable of capturing dirt and debris from bare floors and carpeted surfaces. In addition, a self-cleaning brushroll minimizes the chances of accumulated hair becoming tangled inside the floorhead.
Like many other best-selling shark vacuums, the APEX AZ1002 is equipped with a lift-away canister that adds to the vacuum’s versatility. In this model, however, the brushroll continues to spin in its lift-away mode, giving you a more powerful clean. This is especially useful for cleaning carpeted surfaces, like stairs and spots under furniture, and an 11-inch cleaning path width means you can cover more of your home with every roll of the machine.
While this upright vacuum is heavier in comparison to other models on the market and certainly weighs more than a stick vacuum, our product tester found that it does offer easy maneuverability and is a real pleasure to use. When your cleaning job is complete, the 1.5-quart dust bin empties with a simple push of a button. Last but certainly not least, the Shark APEX offers a fully-sealed system and HEPA filtration, and operates quietly. It really covers all of the cleaning bases.
"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 Budget: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 Upright Vacuum
Weight: 13 pounds | Bin Volume: 1.2 quarts | Cord Length: 25 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 9.5 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: HEPA
Swivel steering for easy mobility
Brushroll shut-off for bare floors
Good suction on hard floors and carpeting
No self-cleaning brushroll
Brushroll won't spin in lift-away mode
Shark offers plenty of full-featured vacuum cleaners, but if you need a basic model that won’t break the bank, then consider the Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum. This popular, long-time Shark model has fewer sought-after vacuum features than other models. However, it costs much less and still offers a quality clean. A corded, upright model, you’ll get plenty of suction for hard surface floors and carpeting. The dust bin holds up to 1.2 dry quarts, while the anti-allergen seal and HEPA filter mean this vacuum effectively traps dust.
You’ll sacrifice features like a self-cleaning brushroll, so if long hair frequently collects on your carpet or furniture, you’ll spend more time detangling than you would with other Shark vacuums. Notably, you’ll still be treated to the lift-away functionality, though, enabling you to use this upright model in canister mode—which is great for vacuuming stairs or other elevated areas.
Best Cordless: Shark IZ440H Vertex Pro Cordless Vacuum
Weight: Not listed | Bin Volume: 1.0 quarts | Cord Length: Cordless | Cleaning Path Width: 10 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: HEPA, foam, and felt
Long battery life
Flexible handle for better reach
Must continuously hold a trigger for boosted power mode
A cordless vacuum cleaner should be convenient and capable, just like the Shark Vertex Pro. This model stands out for its impressive battery life, as well as its flexible cleaning wand that provides better reach underneath furniture or more compact storage. Cordless vacuums are handy for touching up floors on a daily basis or as a high-power replacement for sweeping. In the case of this pick, the lithium-ion battery provides nearly an hour of runtime, which is very impressive when compared with the 10 to 20 minute runtimes of many other cordless vacs.
In addition, the DuoClean PowerFins of this model improve contact with floors for more efficient capture of dirt and debris, whether you’re using the vacuum on carpet or bare floors. It’s a great pick for a home with kids or pets, since it’s designed to handle cereal, crumbs, dirt, and hair with ease. The 1.0-quart dust bin empties quickly with very little mess, while the washable filters make for easy maintenance. The only downsides? It has a rather top-heavy design, and you must continuously hold a trigger to use the extra power mode.
Best Multi-Purpose: Shark WS632 WANDVAC Cordless Stick Vacuum
Weight: 5.9 pounds | Bin Volume: .03 gallons | Cord Length: Cordless | Cleaning Path Width: Not given | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: HEPA
Can be used and stored in multiple configurations
Comes in a variety of colors
Power boost mode
Short battery life
No LED light on floorhead
The Shark WandVac Stick is well-equipped for multi-purpose cleaning, and offers the convenience of a cordless vac. Use it as a stick vac when cleaning hard surfaces or carpeted flooring and a hand vacuum when tackling small messes—or attach the wand to the hand vac for extra reach when cleaning corners or above-floor areas. With one-touch connection points, the design of the appliance ensures there’s no frustration or hassle when converting this vacuum from one cleaning tool to another. It also has a self-cleaning brushroll for tangle-free hair collection and washable filters.
Like other cordless vacuums, battery runtime is an important factor to consider. When used in standard cleaning mode, this model runs for 18 minutes. However, if you run the vacuum in boost mode, the cleaning time drops to eight minutes. Notably, the charging stand is compact and holds the vacuum, wand and accessories, which makes up for the short battery life at times.
Best for Pet Hair: Shark Swivel Navigator Pro Complete
Weight: 15 pounds | Bin Volume: 0.87 quarts | Cord Length: 25 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 12 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: HEPA, foam, and felt
Motorized attachment for removing pet hair
Adjustable suction levels
11-foot hose for better reach when using accessories
No lift-away canister
Lacks a self-cleaning brushroll
Pet parents will appreciate the capability and tools of the Shark Navigator Pet Upright Vacuum. This upright vacuum is designed to effectively clean both carpet and bare floors and features adjustable suction levels and brushroll speeds to maximize your cleaning efforts. Pet hair that clings to furniture upholstery, stairs, and other tight spaces doesn’t stand a chance when you make use of the included motorized pet power brush, upholstery tool, and crevice nozzle to deep clean any area of your home or car.
It is important to note that this vacuum lacks a lift-away canister and a self-cleaning brushroll. In the case of pet hair, a self-cleaning brushroll would be incredibly helpful in maintaining your appliance. However, an 11-foot hose is a thoughtful inclusion, and allows you to better reach any spot that needs a good clean with an included accessory.
Best Handheld: Shark Wandvac Handheld Vacuum
Weight: 1.4 pounds | Bin Volume: 0.08 quarts | Cord Length: Cordless | Cleaning Path Width: 3.35 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Not applicable | Filter Type: Fabric
Lightweight, ergonomic design
Limited battery life
Long recharge times
Weighing 1.4 pounds, the Shark WANDVAC is the smallest member of the Shark vacuum family—but, it offers powerful suction for small messes. This handheld vacuum is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a high-speed brushless motor. It runs for nearly 10 minutes before needing a recharge, which was the biggest downside for our product tester. Clearly, this Shark vacuum is meant for quick clean-ups like spilled cereal, removing pet fur from furniture, or removing crumbs and debris from car seats. Luckily, the dustbin is small, but easily empties with the push of a button.
In addition, a duster crevice tool and multi-surface pet tool add to the usefulness of this handheld vac. They also store neatly on the charging dock when not in use. Lastly, a removable, washable filter makes for easy maintenance of this Shark handheld vacuum. You'll just have to wait for it to charge up, which may be a while.
"I took the Shark WANDVAC off the charger and turned it on. I was actually startled by how loud it was (and so were all of the sleeping pets around me). But the suction was really powerful, so it was a welcome trade-off."—Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Best Upright: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E
Weight: 13.7 pounds | Bin Volume: 2.2 quarts | Cord Length: 25 feet | Cleaning Path: 9.5 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: HEPA, foam
Large dust cup
Lacks self-cleaning brushroll
Canister is wobbly
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away is the go-to choice for whole-house cleaning for several reasons. At 2.2 quarts, this upright vacuum has one of the largest dust cup capacities of all Shark models. This means you can stretch your cleaning session longer, without making frequent stops to empty the dust cup. If you have a large home, or a heavy load of pet hair and debris to collect, this feature makes a difference.
Other benefits of this upright Shark vacuum include a brushroll shut-off, meaning you can use this vac on hardwood floors without worrying about scratching the finish. When engaged, however, our product tester found the motorized bristle floor brush to do an excellent job of lifting dirt and debris from high-traffic area rugs. Not to be missed is a lift-away canister, which makes it easier to clean elevated areas like stairs or hard-to-reach places, such as underneath furniture or cobwebby corners. While this Shark model lacks some of the bells and whistles of high-end upright vacuums, the fully-sealed system with a HEPA filter, useful attachments, and impressive dust cup capacity qualifies it as an excellent choice for a mid-range, upright vacuum.
"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 Stick: Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless Bagless Vacuum
Weight: 7.5 pounds | Bin Volume: 0.64 quarts | Cord Length: Cordless | Cleaning Path Width: 10 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: Foam
Extra large dust cup
Settings for carpet and bare floors
Limited battery life
Lacks self-cleaning brushroll
A good stick vacuum should be lightweight, but not light-duty. The well-loved Shark Navigator Freestyle offers cordless operation and easy steering, as well as two speed settings to meet the needs of any bare floors or carpeted surfaces in your home. A thoughtful step-on button allows for an easy transition from one type of flooring to another. The battery-powered vacuum will take a few hours to charge, which isn't totally ideal, but runs for up to 24 minutes on bare floors and about 17 minutes on carpets or rugs. That's enough to get in a thorough clean of a room or two.
This Shark stick vacuum also has the ability to suction up fine debris like cat litter, large items like spilled cereal, and pet hair and dander. The dust bin may be smaller than what you’ll find on most upright vacs—plus, no attachments are included—but that’s to be expected for the slim profile of a stick vacuum.
"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 Robotic: Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE
Weight: 5.87 pounds | Bin Volume: 0.17 quarts | Cord Length: Cordless | Cleaning Path Width: Not applicable | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, tile | Filter Type: Non-washable
Effective at removing pet hair
Difficulty with home mapping
Not as effective for cleaning carpeted floors
Automate your cleaning routine with the help of the Shark IQ Robot Vacuum. Using built-in navigation software, this Shark vacuum maps each room in your home, giving you the option to run a full cleaning session or choose specific rooms for the robot vac to focus on. Plus, this vacuum includes a self-empty base that only requires you to empty the contents about every 30 days, especially if it's only tackling a light-duty cleaning job.
This robot vacuum features Shark’s self-cleaning brushroll, giving it the ability to suction up hair from hard surface floors and carpets without being slowed down by tangled hair. Proximity sensors keep the vacuum from crashing into furniture, while cliff sensors prevent the vacuum from falling down stairs. In addition, Shark provides boundary strips that you can use to create no-go zones, such as pet dishes or power cords. As with most robot vacuums, don’t expect a deep clean comparable to a full-size, upright vacuum. In the face of carpeted floors, this robot vac is certainly not the best in the business. However, it does a great job of keeping up on dust and debris in between cleaning sessions.
Our best overall choice for a Shark vacuum is the Shark APEX AZ1002 DuoClean, since it’s equipped with useful features for whole-home cleaning. A dual brushroll system for bare and carpeted floors, along with lift-away canister capability, HEPA filtration, and powerful suction make this a top-notch vacuum. If you're on a budget, you’ll still get a good clean from the Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum (view at Amazon). This more basic vacuum lacks features like a self-cleaning brushroll, and has a more narrow cleaning path. However, it still qualifies as a quality upright vacuum, thanks to its fully-sealed system with HEPA filtration and lift-away canister option.
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 cleaning needs and priorities. A corded vacuum offers 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. Most upright vacuums have 25- to 30-foot 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 that if you plan to use the vacuum on plush carpet, or use a higher power setting for max suction, you’ll have shorter runtimes.
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 tight spots around appliances, behind furniture, or in the car; a duster to gently grab dust and debris from soft surfaces like lampshades and curtains; and, finally, a wand extension tool for extra reach when cleaning above the floor. More specialized accessories, like a motorized pet brush or specialized floorbrush for hardwood floors, can provide a more gentle or effective 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 brushroll. Instead of using scissors to clear hair wrapped around the brushroll, some Shark vacuums are equipped with a self-cleaning brushroll that is designed to clear accumulated hair and pet fur without user intervention. It works by using silicone fins to grab hair from brushroll 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 with your vacuum, such as removing dust from stairs, ceilings, and upholstery. Just remove the detachable pod, and you have a canister you can carry 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 floorhead with its spinning brushroll 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 brushroll for wrapped hair, string, or lodged debris and carefully remove any obstructions using scissors. According to 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 afterwards 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, floorhead, hose, and wand. Consult the owner’s manual for your specific Shark vacuum to determine the best way to take your vacuum apart. Always be sure the vacuum is unplugged or removed from its charging stand before disassembly.
To disassemble a Shark vacuum, you’ll usually start by unhooking the hose from the body of the vacuum, then unclicking and removing 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 floorhead compartment and remove the brushroll. You can then inspect the pieces or deep clean your vacuum before reassembling as indicated in your owner’s manual.
What is the typical lifespan of a Shark vacuum?
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, and researched the most popular options for Shark vacuums including upright, stick, handheld, and robot models. As an experienced product researcher with years of experience in covering large and small appliances, she carefully evaluated each model based on its features, cleaning modes, and accessories. In addition, reports from The Spruce's product testers and trends among customer reviews were also taken into account, along with an interview we conducted with Danielle Lessing, who's the VP of Global Product Development at SharkNinja. All of the vacuums featured have washable filters and a removable dust bin for quick and easy clean-up.