Best Shark vacuum cleaner 2021: Our favourite models for all your cleaning tasks
Shark produces some of the best vacuum cleaners around, but which one is best for you?
Choosing the best vacuum for your needs can be a tricky task, which is why narrowing your choices down to a particular brand can help. Shark is one of those brands whose products cover all the cleaning bases and their vacuums are popular with those looking for an alternative to more expensive brands such as Dyson and Miele.
Shark’s vacuums take in sturdy, reliable uprights for large homes with lots of carpet, convenient cordless sticks capable of thorough cleaning and carrying out smaller jobs in tight spaces, and even handheld vacuums for smaller spillages.
We’ve picked through the product catalogue, compared specifications and put Shark’s products through our rigorous tests to come up with our definitive list of favourites.
Best Shark vacuum cleaner: At a glance
- Best for large houses: Shark DuoClean Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- Best for smaller spaces: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner
- Best overall option: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- Best option under £60: Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model
- Best handheld option: Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum
How to choose the best Shark vacuum cleaner for you
What kind of vacuum do you need?
The big question to ask yourself before splashing out is the type of vacuum cleaner you’re looking for. Most people will be familiar with the concept of an upright, corded model and, predictably, Shark has plenty to choose from. These are great for covering large areas of carpet and hard floor, but will need unplugging and plugging back in as you move around the house. They have high-capacity dust collection bins but tend to be the most unwieldy type of vacuum to carry around and use.
Stick vacuums, either corded or cordless, are smaller, lighter and easier to use. They convert easily into handheld vacuums you can use to clean more delicate items and allow you to clean in awkward places. Whether you should go corded or cordless is a personal choice. Cable-free cordless vacuums are significantly easier to move around the house and aren’t tethered to a wall socket, giving you the flexibility to move around on a whim. The downside is that they’re battery-powered and have a limited runtime before needing to be recharged.
A handheld vacuum won’t replace either of the other types but is a very useful device to have around as a secondary option. These smaller units are easier to get out and use, particularly if you only need to gather up a small spill. They’re ideal for cleaning in places that are problematic for bigger vacuums, such as your car boot, and are useful to have close to hand in the kitchen, garage or utility room.
Other Shark features to look out for:
- DuoClean: Shark’s DuoClean motorised floor heads have two rollers. The first is a soft roller designed to capture dirt from a hard floor. The second is a brush roller, which agitates carpet pile for deeper cleaning.
- Anti Hair Wrap: Long hair, pet or human, can wreak havoc with the rollers on a vacuum, preventing them operating at maximum efficiency. Shark’s anti hair wrap combs the hairs out of its rollers as it gathers them, to stop them getting stuck.
- Lift Away: Some of Shark’s upright vacuums can be lifted off the motorised floor head and carried around, which is good for cleaning stairs and high places. The handle is removed from the extension pole and attachments can be added, adding greater flexibility to what are otherwise large and heavy vacuums.
- Flexology: The name that Shark has given to the bending extension pole on its stick vacuums. This lets you push the vacuum under low objects and makes them easier to store.
- TruePet: You’ll notice some Shark models come with a TruePet option. This is a handheld attachment that uses the power of the air being sucked up the vacuum to spin a turbine. This is connected to a rotating brush, giving the efficiency of a motorised tool without the need to recharge a battery.
How we test
To ensure we can properly compare the performance of all the vacuum cleaners we test, we put them through a barrage of challenging tests. We measure suction to get an idea of how powerful each vacuum is. If they use batteries, we time how long it takes for them to run down. Where the device has more than one power setting, we repeat the tests on them all.
We also test their cleaning ability with measured spills of flour and Cheerios, on both hard floor and carpet. Each vacuum is given one pass to to see how much it can collect, and we weigh how much is collected to compare to every other vacuum we’ve previously tested.
The best Shark vacuums to buy in 2021
1. Shark DuoClean with Lift-Away NV702UK: The best Shark vacuum for whole-house cleaning
Larger houses need a solid, sturdy vacuum cleaner that can tackle everything, from rooms with wall-to-wall carpet to hard floors and tricky stairs. The Shark DuoClean Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Lift-Away is the perfect fit, delivering a fine balance between heavy-duty floor coverage and the flexibility to get into tricky corners and high places.
In its upright mode, the vacuum has a huge floorhead to cover large areas with the most efficiency. It uses Shark’s duo-clean technology, which incorporates both a rotating soft roller at the front, for picking up dust and debris on hard floors, and a brush roller behind for lifting dirt out of carpets, all without having to swap any attachments. In our tests, it performed superbly on both surfaces.
For harder-to-reach areas, the voluminous 1.1-litre collection bin can be lifted away from the base and the handle detached from the wand. Add one of the useful attachments, such as the clever vacuum-powered Pet Power Brush, and you can tackle stairs and upholstery without having to take the entire thing with you.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 305 x 260 x 1,180mm (WDH); Weight: 5.25kg; Bin capacity: 1.1L; Vacuum type: Upright; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: 750w
2. Shark Anti Hair Wrap with Flexology and TruePet HZ500UKT: The best Shark vacuum for smaller spaces
When an upright cleaner is too heavy and bulky but you don’t want the limited battery life of a cordless stick getting in the way of your chores, Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner is the way to go. Although you’re tethered to a power socket with this vacuum, its generous 10m cord is long enough to cover plenty of floor without needing to keep switching sockets.
The motorised floor head uses Shark’s DuoClean technology to combine hard floor and carpet cleaning in a single unit, which is ideal for homes that have a mixture of surfaces, and it has anti-hair wrap tech to keep maintenance to a minimum. The extension pole has an articulated elbow in the middle, so you can use it to clean under awkwardly low furniture without bending over; this also means you can fold the vacuum into a more compact package for storage.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 260 x 410 x 1,180mm (WDH); Weight: 5.25kg; Bin capacity: 0.3L; Vacuum type: Corded stick; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: 450w
3. Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins, Flexology & TruePet IZ300UKT: The best Shark cordless vacuum
Shark has a wide range of cordless stick vacuum cleaners that are all good options for their price. If you want the absolute best of the bunch, though, look for one with PowerFins in the name, such as this IZ300UKT.
The PowerFins are attached to the brush roller in the Shark’s DuoClean floor head. They’re made from stiff fabric, arranged in a chevron on the roller, and they agitate deep into the carpet and flick debris into the path of the suction tube. Nestled alongside lines of brushes on the same roller, this design performed brilliantly in our tests, rivalling the best cordless vacuum cleaners around.
Read our fullfor more details.
Key specs – Size: 260 x 245 x 1,180mm (WDH); Weight: 4.58kg; Bin capacity: 0.7L; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Vacuum power: 309W
4. Shark Anti Hair Wrap with Flexology IZ201UKC: The best Shark cordless vacuum for under £350
Shark’s cordless stick has a range of features you won’t find in rival devices. Chief among these is the DuoClean motorised floor head, which has both a hard floor roller and a carpet brush, so you don’t have to change it when you switch to a different type of floor.
It also bends in the centre of the extension pole, which is useful for reaching under things and storing the vacuum in small spaces, and it has anti hair wrap rollers that keep them from getting knotted up with long hair.
When you need to, you can disconnect the handle from the extension pole and use it as a handheld vacuum, attaching one of the supplied tools to help tackle a wide variety of cleaning jobs, from getting into crevices to brushing the pet hair off upholstery.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 260 x 245 x 1,180mm (WDH); Weight: 4.1kg; Bin capacity: 0.7L; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power: N/S
5. Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model: Best Shark handheld vacuum for less than £60
Giving the whole house a once-over with an upright or stick vacuum cleaner is one thing, but there are times when all you need is a tool to perform a spot clean or tidy up a single spillage. The Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model is perfect for this. It comes with a handy motorised head that we found worked effectively for collecting any stubborn mess, not just pet hair, and is also supplied with a crevice tool and a brush attachment.
There are other handhelds that offer greater suction, but Shark’s clever design traps the collected dirt in a secondary chamber away from the vacuum workings, which helps ensure the vacuum doesn’t clog up or lose suction while you’re still cleaning.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 520 x 95 x 109mm (WDH); Weight: 1.39kg; Bin capacity: 0.45L; Vacuum type: Handheld; Bagless: Yes; Suction power: N/S
6. Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum: The best Shark vacuum that’s always at hand
Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon
The next time you need to do an impromptu tidy up, wouldn’t it be nice to simply reach out and grab a fully charged cordless handheld, instead of having to scrabble around in a cupboard only to find that the last person to use it didn’t recharge it?
That’s the idea behind the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum. It lives on your work surface, cradled in its own charging dock, which can also be used to charge an optional second battery and hold an attachment.
The cleaner doesn’t look out of place or take up too much room but battery life is rather short at eight minutes and bin capacity limited to 100ml. However, for a quick ever-ready cleaner it’s perfectly sufficient.
Key specs – Size: 95 x 220 x 385mm (WDH); Weight: 0.6kg; Bin capacity: 0.1l; Vacuum Type: Handheld; Bagless: Yes; Suction power: N/S