If you're looking for a new vacuum then make it be the best Shark vacuum you're money can buy. The Real Homes team love a Shark vacuum because the quality is built to last, and the features are a solution to cleaning problems we didn't even know existed (we're big fans of innovation, and making our lives easier). In fact, we think they are some of the best vacuum cleaners around. There, we said it.
Shark is a renowned brand thanks to the innovative designs of its vacuums, from the various attachments that allow you to clean more extensively to the bagless technology that makes emptying your vac out so much easier. They were also early adopters of anti hair-tangling tech on their brushes which those of us with long locks know to be very handy.
Ranging from cordless stick models to handheld picks, there's something to suit everyone thanks to Shark's extensive range. But because there is such a great selection to choose from, we are offering our expertise to explain the differences – and conclude which models come out on top.
We've extensively tested and reviewed the top-rated models out there to give you the lowdown on everything from power to price. Even if you're just looking to find out more about the range on offer, then we've got summaries of each model to read up on. Keep reading to find the Shark vacuum to change your cleaning routine completely for a fresh start to the new year.
Shark terminology: an explainer
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Shark produces some of the best cordless, stick, robot and canister vacuums. When you look at some of their products by type, it can be a little tricky to work out the differences – especially with a letter and numeral-based naming convention. Then they have terms like 'LiftAway', 'DuoClean' and 'Flexology' in their titles, just to add to the confusion.
Luckily, we have studied the variety of Shark vacuums available and now have a good grasp of what the various names mean.
Shark's LiftAway technology allows you to lift the canister away from the main body of a corded vacuum cleaner. This is great for reaching areas where your cord can't. Stairs, car upholstery and even behind your sofa are easily in reach when you buy a Shark vacuum with LiftAway.
Then, there's Anti Hair Wrap. This one is slightly more self-explanatory. Anti Hair Wrap is designed for homes with pets and long-haired occupants. It will pick up all the hair from carpets and wooden floors, but prevent it from getting tangled around the brush roll thanks some self-cleaning tech.
Flexology is used to describe Shark vacuums where the wand can be straight and also angled. This means you can bend your Shark vacuum low, thanks to an elbow-like hinge in the wand, which is great for getting under furniture and around corners without having to do all the bending yourself.
Finally, DuoClean is the name of Shark's self-adjusting brush roll. If you find a Shark vacuum with DuoClean in the name, it means the brush roll and bristle bars will adapt from hard floors to carpet automatically, without you having to change the roll or switch any settings.
The best Shark vacuum cleaners 2022
If you want a Shark stick vacuum that doesn't cost the earth, the Shark Anti Hair Wrap & DuoClean IZ201UK is the cordless vacuum cleaner for you. It does lack some of the luxury features you'll find in other models, such as noise dampening and easy bin emptying, but at its heart this is a classic, powerful Shark cordless vacuum with a lightweight design and useful cleaning elements.
During testing, our reviewer Lola was looking out for which features from Shark still excelled with this model despite the exceptionally affordable price. There are plenty of similar features here compared with our number one Shark pick, including the Flexology wand, and the Anti-Hair Wrap floor head. Both performed well, though Lola found that the vacuum head isn't quite slim enough to get under kitchen cabinets, meaning that some bending down to get fully underneath is needed. When it comes to suction, this vacuum was best used on boost mode, though this does cause a significant drain on the battery power, which is already lessened at a maximum of 80 minutes.
This vacuum doesn't come with TruePet, but you can always buy it as an add-on. It does come with DuoClean (it adjusts between floor types), which really did the job in our tests. The included attachments mean that you can access handheld mode with this vacuum very easily, and Lola loved the LED headlights on the main vacuum head, a nice touch for getting to all the dust and dirt on your floors.
This Shark CZ500UKT has specially engineered features to make your life easier, including that trusty Anti Hair wrap technology, which is great for pet owners, and Dynamic Technology which makes operating it super lightweight and easy.
After exclusively using a cordless vacuum for a long time, our reviewer Molly was impressed and slightly disgusted by just how much dirt and dust this vacuum picked up across both her carpet and her hard flooring. Even after extensive cleans, it took a long time before the 1.6 litre dust bin needed to be emptied, and the collapse button on the bin made the emptying process straightforward, even if it wasn't perfect. She was a big fan of the smooth glide wheels on this model too, a feature that really helped her go from carpet to laminate flooring in her flat.
When we were testing this vacuum, one of the features we were most impressed by was the on-the-handle touchscreen control panel. It allows you to pick from a range of cleaning modes and suction settings without having to push any buttons on the main unit, and speeds up the whole vacuuming process.
After reviewing this pet-friendly favourite at home, it gets our vote for the best cordless vacuum from Shark and their best buy overall. Its running time of up to 120 minutes thanks to twin batteries is plenty, even for larger spaces. What’s the deal? Well, one battery can be charging while you’re merrily vacuuming, so there are no awkward pauses when you’ve run out of power. This model is also allergy-sufferer friendly too, with its anti-allergen complete seal that takes the exhaust air through a filter to prevent dust and allergens from being released.
Our reviewer Sarah put this cordless vac to the test on a variety of flooring types (tiles, parquet, carpet) in order to test its credentials. She found that extensive vacuuming sessions simply weren't needed thanks to the sheer suction power available to her and that the Anti-Hair wrap feature worked as promised, meaning she didn't need to waste time untangling the brush roll. Sarah also found the attachments that transform this vacuum into a handheld vac very useful for banishing pet hair on her sofas and stairs, with the lightweight design helping the process massively.
The things that really set this vacuum apart during testing and earnt it the top Shark spot were the easy maneuverability thanks to the Flexology wand, the array of handy attachments, and the wonderfully long battery life of 120 minutes, which is top of the range for a cordless vacuum. Even near to the end of the battery life, power didn't wane. Other things, like the foldable design and onboard storage for attachments, make this vacuum an easy appliance to keep around the house too.
Shark Stratos is the latest line of vacuum cleaners from the brand which has all the features we love, and more. If it wasn't for the expense of this vac, it would be at the top of our list to buy. Think you can mange with one battery? You can get this same vacuum cleaner for £479.99 (opens in new tab) (when it's not on sale) which will save a few pennies.
The Shark Stratos IZ420UKT is really easy to use thanks to Clean Sense IQ technology which automatically controls the power (or suction) depending on what you're cleaning. Its battery life is also very impressive considering its suction power, whilst its LED lights make it easy to see what you've not yet managed to get to.
Another feature we love is that it works with recyclable pods to emit a rather lovely smell as you clean, to rid your floors of any lingering pet smells.
Tech that it also comes equipped with is Flexology (so the vac can bend instead of you) and a DuoClean Floorhead with Anti-Hair-Wrap making it ideal for transitioning across all floor types.
Yep there are more from our verdict but one which will help with the storage is that the stick vacuum folds, so it can stand upright and out of the way. This particular model comes with a pet hair removal tool, a bag for keeping all the tools together and twin batteries,
Another cordless pick from the brand, the Shark ICZ300UKT Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner is a smart cleaner designed to aid pet-friendly homes. It has three modes to make the best of, though the battery life is most efficient when used on the eco mode, which we found is still powerful enough to tackle most spaces.
We're big fans of the PowerFins on this vacuum, another Shark specialty feature, which are silicone attachments on the hard roller which disrupt carpet pile to get deep into the fibres and pick up deep-rooted dust and pet hair. They work a treat, and made a noticeable difference when cleaning pet hair heavy carpets according to our reviewer Millie. While we found this vacuum heavier than most, the Powered LiftAway design means it's still portable if you want to take it up the stairs or to clean the car.
We found the key takeaways from this vacuum during testing were the very decent battery life (60 minutes on a non-motorised tool on eco mode), the LED panel for helping to switch between hard floors and carpets and the fact that it can stand up on its own unassisted, which makes everyday use and storage a whole lot easier.
The Shark IZ300UKT Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is one of Shark's premium cordless vacuums. It features PowerFins, which is a feature that goes extra deep into carpets and rugs to pick up more invisible dust and dirt than a regular vacuum.
In order to test out the power of this vacuum on pet hair, seeing as this is an animal- friendly model, our reviewer Millie tried it out for two weeks at home to see how it contended with her black labrador. She found it did a tremendous job at eradicating pet hair, even in trickier spots like around the dog's bed. Being able to control the various settings via the LED control panel was also a winner for Millie, as it also alerted her to the remaining battery life left for use. One important thing we would note is that while we love this vacuum for carpets, if you're working with hard floors exclusively then you might not need to pay out for its full range of capabilities.
As we found with other vacuums in this roundup, there's no denying that Shark's PowerFins technology present here is top-tier. We also enjoyed the numerous attachments which made it easy to switch out and turn the vacuum into a handheld. As far as charging goes, the whole process is also very simple, with a removable battery pack that you leave on your kitchen countertop to power up whilst you store your vacuum away elsewhere.
Our top pick of the best handheld vacuum cleaners for pets from the brand, the Shark CH950UKT is a powerful little machine designed to pick up concentrated messes in a jiffy. It's got a lightweight design and compact dimensions, but the battery life is limited to 15 minutes. That's not the longest, but it's more than enough for most handheld tasks.
Our Appliances Editor Jen tested the Shark CH950UKT on her stairs, skirting board and rugs. It held up well on all of them, with the motorized pet tool coming through as the star of this show, with the power to deal with even the most trodden-in of pet hair. Though there are only 15 minutes of battery to use per six hours of charging, Jen found that the impressive suction didn't fade as the minutes ticked along either.
There are three attachments included in order to make this handheld vacuum a versatile pet-friendly choice; a crevice tool, a scrubbing tool, and the motorised pet power brush. The crevice tool was handy for getting into corners on the staircase, though the brush fell down slightly due to the fact that pet hair ended up tangled in the bristles.
The Shark PZ1000UKT XL Anti Hair Wrap Upright Pet Vacuum is great for those who prefer bagless cleaners but find the dust container gets full too quickly, hindering your cleaning performance. Another of your quibbles with your current vac that hair – yours and the pets’ – gets tangled in the brushes? This vac is designed to remove that hair all by itself with the trademark Anti-Hair wrap technology so that you don't have to.
We rate this cleaner highly for those with large homes and/or messy occupants both two and four-legged. Our Appliance Editor Jen found that fewer trips to the bin were needed with this 1.6 litre dust tank, and that she didn't need to reach for the scissors to cut away hair thanks to the Anti-Hair wrap feature either. Another of Jen's key takeaways was that more ground can be covered thanks to the large floorhead, and she was ultimately a big fan of this vac's reliable, robust design. All in all, Jen found that very little other cleaning was required once she had this vacuum in her home.
Buy this vacuum if you'll make use of the very large capacity, the large DuoClean floorhead to help you switch between flooring types, and the phenomenal amount of power thanks to the corded design.
This Shark Wandvac is an excellent and affordable buy for small homes. It is a 2-in1 buy, which means you get a cordless stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum for the price. It's lightweight, making clean-ups super easy, and it comes with a sleek charging stand, for neat storage.
During testing, our reviewer Annie concluded that the suction on both parts of this vacuum was excellent, though it has to be noted that she didn't notice a huge amount of difference between the 'normal' and 'boost' modes. The easy storage element made this vacuum a winner too, thanks to the fact she could simply prop the Wandvac back on a dock which sits in the corner of her kitchen.
Annie found that the real game-changer with the Shark Wandvac system was the multi-surface tool, which has removable bristles for different sorts of messes. She loved using the head with bristles to rid her sofa of her dog's hair and then removing those bristles in order to tackle her kitchen countertops and other smaller spaces.
How we test Shark vacuums
Here at Real Homes we like to get some hands-on experience with each of the products we feature in our buyers' guides. This means that it'll help us to understand more about what you are getting for your money. That's why every vacuum you see featured in this guide has been tested at home by a member of the Real Homes team.
You can read our full reviews by clicking the highlighted product titles in orange. However you get there, you'll see that they have been used for a number of weeks (sometimes months) in our own homes so that they are faced with real-life challenges. Sometimes, we're even fortunate to keep hold of the vacuum cleaners after testing which means that we can update our guides as we continue to learn about them over a long period of time.
We've considered all the important factors such as manoeuvrability, run-time, emptying of the canister (or bag), and general controls. For more on the way we test, head to our testing protocol, and to find out more about who reviewed the products in this list, have a read of the profiles below.
Jen is Homes Editor on TechRadar. Previously she has written for Ideal Home, Real Homes and Homes & Gardens as our Appliances Editor. From this list she has tested the Shark CH950UKT Cordless Handheld Pet Vacuum Cleaner (opens in new tab) in her home, and found it to be a valuable vac for dealing with pet hair, with great suction power. She's also had hands-on experience with the Shark XL Anti Hair Wrap Upright Pet Vacuum PZ1000UKT (opens in new tab), which she found to be a great pick for family homes.
Molly is an Ecommerce Writer for Real Homes, and covers floor care and cleaning appliances, to tell you the best pick to buy for your space. She tried out the Shark CZ500UKT DuoClean & Anti Hair Wrap Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum (opens in new tab) in her two-bedroom West London home and found it was a stellar cleaning companion, especially thanks to the anti-hair wrap feature. It has a large capacity which means you can go a little longer without emptying, and the LED headlights make picking up crumbs and dirt much easier. She enjoyed the large capacity of this corded vac, but has her eyes on the Shark Wandvac (opens in new tab) next in order to get to more small-scale messes in her home with no fuss.
Millie is small appliances editor at Ideal Home. She reviews everything from coffee machines to robot vacuums from her own home, meaning these tests have been carried out in the same conditions that you’ll be using the vacuum cleaner.
From this list, she had hands-on experience with the Shark ICZ300UKT (a cordless vacuum) and the Shark PZ1000UKT (a corded model), giving her the outlook needed to know which model is best for dealing with different issues in your home.
Our Deputy Ecommerce Editor Annie Collyer has tried the Shark Wandvac 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum (opens in new tab) from this list in her 2-bedroom flat, which she shares with her husband-to-be, her dog, and her house rabbit. She found that the handheld element was brilliant for dealing with her pet-friendly home.
Sarah has reviewed many vacuum cleaners for Real Homes, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real-life opinion and comparison on every model. From this list, she's had hands-on experience with the Shark Anti Hair Wrap & DuoClean IZ251UKTDB cordless vacuum (opens in new tab).
How does Shark compare to other models?
Shark models come with a variety of features to make life easier. Flexology means they can be folded down for storage, and offer greater reach under furniture. Hair Wrap prevents hair from getting tangled around the brush which can be a pain to clean and impacts on the effectiveness of your clean. There are also a handy DuoClean models that can be used in upright form, or carried like a small cylinder.
These set Shark vacuums apart from other vacuum cleaners and while not all models come with all of these features, Shark offers so many vacuums that you essentially get a pick and mix of the functions you need the most – keeping lower spec models nice and affordable.
In recent years, Shark has become a leader in cordless vacuum technology. Check out the shoppable video below to see how a leading Shark cordless vacuum compares to similar Dyson and Vax models.
So, which is the best Shark vacuum?
Choosing the best Shark vacuum is not an easy decision to make. They are all very good in their own right and we can't speak highly enough of them but if we to pick one (okay, two) then the cordless model we would recommend you buy has got to be the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with Flexology and TruePet (Triple Battery) IZ251UKTDB. What's brought it out on top is the incredible 120 minute runtime, and the anti-hair wrap tech which will make vacuuming the home with two and four-legged hairy companions so much manageable.
Prefer a corded vacuum cleaner instead? We can vouch for the Shark DuoClean Upright Vacuum Cleaner with LiftAway and TruePet NV702UKT. It has an eight metre power cord, Power LiftAway and is truly perfect for homes with pets thanks to the handy equipping of a pet tool. It's worth mentioning that as an upright, it has a large container (1.1 litres) which is great for cleaning around the larger home, too.
Need to recap? Jump back up to the top of our list ^