Best Shark Vacuum of 2018 & Buying Guide
If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably considering getting a new vacuum. This can be an exciting prospect, but also a bit intimidating. How are you supposed to know what the best brands are for making vacuum cleaners, and how are you supposed to tell whether a vacuum will work well with your house?
That’s what we’re here to help with. Today we’re going to look at Shark vacuums, and explain why Shark is a good brand for making vacuum cleaners. Some brands have their customers in mind, and some don’t – which is why we’re going to do a solid review of Shark vacuums. At the end of the article, we’ve reviewed some of the best Shark vacuums. You’ll surely find one that’s suitable for you and your house.
Shark Navigator NV356E
Shark Navigator NV352
Shark Navigator NV42
Why would I choose Shark?
If you’ve read any of our other articles, you’ll probably recognize the name Dyson. Dyson makes vacuums that consistently reach the top 5 among our reviewed vacuums, and often makes the number one spot. Because of this, you might be surprised to know that Shark actually outranks Dyson in terms of reliability. Kind of fitting for a brand named Shark, no?
Shark also has a lot of vacuum models that continue to appear in our ‘best of’ lists, and that’s because Shark really does make some of the best vacuums around. They’re great for a variety of different tasks, from cleaning up cat litter to sucking out dirt that’s deep-set in carpets.
Shark makes a wide variety of different vacuums that can compete with the best of the best.
- They have a line of upright vacuums. Upright vacuums are the typical vacuum cleaner that most people think of when they hear the word ‘vacuum.’ They’re tall, strong, typically quite loud, and are the most powerful vacuums you can buy on the market.
- Shark makes lots of canister vacuums. Canister vacuums are smaller than upright vacuums and are great for people who are cleaning big rooms or who need to use their vacuum on a staircase or another surface that an upright vacuum can’t reach. Shark also pioneered the Lift Away system which allows you to lift your canister vacuum off the floor and clean underneath it without causing yourself an inconvenience.
- They have many other varieties of vacuums as well.
- Stick vacuums are as tall as upright ones but are usually much less heavy and easier to move around.
- Cordless, handheld vacuums are battery powered, very lightweight, and can be used to clean cars or furniture that you can’t bother to bring a full-sized vacuum into.
Shark’s vacuums all come with a variety of different features and different setup models that you can choose between.
- Shark makes both bagged and unbagged vacuums. Bagged vacuums are good because they collect the dirt in a bag which you can either, depending on the model, empty and put back in, or simply throw out and replace. Vacuums that require replacing the bags obviously will cost some extra money in the long run because of the price of replacement bags. Vacuums without bags often have a dirt cup which collects debris. These can either be emptied by the push of a switch, in higher-end models, or unscrewed, emptied, and replaced.
- Shark makes vacuums for a wide variety of different floors. Whether you have a hardwood floor, a carpet, linoleum, or even if you just need a vacuum for your furniture or for your car, you’re guaranteed that Shark has a vacuum that will suit your needs.
Shark is a good brand for a lot of different reasons. One of the most important things that underlies all of their products is the fact that their vacuums are consistently considered to be some of the most durable ones on the market. There was a study done on Consumer Reports that evaluated consumers who bought Shark vacuums. The ‘breaking rate’ after three years – the chance of a product breaking down or needing repairs after three years – was around 11%, compared to 21% or more for the next best brands.
Aside from that, Shark’s individual products all contain a number of different qualities.
Suction power. Of course, any vacuum needs some degree of suction power. Many of Shark’s vacuums have variable suction power, which can be easily adjusted by the flip of a switch or adjustment of a knob. This means that these vacuums are great for a variety of different cleaning jobs on different surfaces.
Additional attachments. Most vacuums come with, or are at least compatible with, a number of extra attachments known as tools. These tools can be used to get into hard-to-reach areas or clean additional areas that would be otherwise difficult or impossible to reach with the vacuum’s normal head.
Steering capability. This isn’t so much important for canister vacuums or handheld vacuums, which can typically be operated quite easily. However, standup vacuums are notorious for being uncomfortable to move around because of their height and the need to lean them backwards to roll them properly. Some of Shark’s vacuums have swivel-headed steering, which places the main part of the vacuum on a swivel and makes it easy to change direction with.
Filtration systems. Many of Shark’s vacuums use the HEPA filtration system. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air, and a HEPA filter filters out dangerous particles that can be present in the dust, dirt and debris that you’re vacuuming up. In a vacuum with a shoddy filtration system, these particles will just be regurgitated back into the air for you to breathe.
- Not every vacuum with a HEPA filter is as good as the others. Some HEPA filters aren’t attached properly. A properly attached HEPA filter will have a completely sealed gasket; some vacuums don’t seal the gaskets and unfiltered air manages to seep out between the gaps in the gasket.
So what are the best Shark vacuums?
Now that you know why Shark is a good brand for making vacuums, it’s time to start looking at what their best models are. Once you’ve understood the different qualities you’re looking for in a vacuum, you’re on the way to making a good purchase.
The following vacuums have performed best and strike a balance of form, function, and finance. Basically, they’re among the best deals that you could hope to find among Shark vacuums, and we’re sure that at least one of these models will suit you and your house.
1. Shark HV302 Rocket Ultralight (Corded)
This is an awesome vacuum and one of the few high-quality convertible vacuum units that you can buy. It comes as a stick vacuum that can be easily adjusted to become a handheld vacuum.
Despite its convertibility, it still manages to be extremely lightweight, weighing less than eight pounds.
It’s good for cleaning up bigger debris because of its suction power, but it’s also more than capable of cleaning up smaller dust. It’s especially good at this because of its ‘Dust-Away’ attachment that sticks close to the floor and sucks up fine dust off your hardwood floors.
- One of the most convenient convertible vacuums available
- This is a very lightweight model that’s easily steered
- It’s made to be great for cleaning hardwood
- Is good at cleaning fine dust
- Can’t be propped up
- The filters tend to need to be cleaned often
2. Shark Navigator NV356E Lift-Away Professional
Ah yes, of course Shark’s Lift-Away system would pop up on a list of Shark’s best vacuums. This system was pioneered by Shark and allows you to lift the vacuum up on a support system while it’s in use. This allows you to clean underneath it and access areas that would otherwise be quite difficult.
This vacuum performs extremely well, even without the Lift-Away system. It’s a lightweight model coming in at only 7.5 pounds, which is incredibly light for a vacuum of this variety. If that didn’t make it simple enough to move around, then consider the fact that it has swivel steering. This takes away some of the awkwardness that most people experience when using standup vacuums, since you basically have to crank your whole body to turn the things.
On top of that, this vacuum uses a solid HEPA filtration system which ensures that you won’t have dirt or dust particles fly back into the air and assault your lungs. HEPA filters are ideal for anyone who suffers from allergies.
- A very lightweight model
- Great use of HEPA filters to prevent allergens from reaching you
- One of the best models for using the Lift-Away system
- Uses a swivel steer system for easy movement
- May require frequent filter changes
3. Shark Navigator NV42 Deluxe Vacuum
This is one of the cheapest models that Shark advertises, as well as one of the heaviest, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good purchase. It weighs in at fifteen pounds, making it the heaviest on this list, but it’s also one of the sturdiest in terms of how much damage it can take – despite that, though, this vacuum’s internal hardware starts to wear down after a year or so of use.
It’s advertised to be one of the more powerful Shark models, and it maintains a strong suction from the start of your cleaning job to the finish. There’s a system that’s included for cleaning up pet hair, as well as a dirt cup that can hold a fair amount of debris before you need to empty it. When you do empty it, it’s easy to release and doesn’t require much fiddling around.
It uses something known as brushroll shutoff, which ensures that you can clean both deep, thick carpets, as well as hardwood floors, without needing to switch to a different vacuum.
- One of the cheapest Shark models you can buy
- Has a strong, powerful and consistent level of suction
- Has a specialized pet-hair cleanup system
- Uses brushroll shutoff to ensure you can clean all sorts of different floors
- The dirt and dust cup is easily released and holds quite a bit
- Doesn’t last as long as the other models
4. Shark Navigator NV352 Lift-Away Vacuum
Another vacuum using Shark’s Lift-Away system, this version is a bit different than the previous one mentioned in the list. It still uses the Lift-Away system so you to clean underneath it and access areas that would otherwise be quite difficult.
This is still a lightweight model for a standup vacuum but it’s not nearly as light as the professional, coming in at just over 13 pounds. It’s still got a very high quality HEPA filtration system, which ensures that you’ll keep particles out of the air and keep you safe from allergies.
One of the main differences in this vacuum compared to the other Lift-Away model is the price. While not being hugely cheaper, it’s a couple dozen bucks less, and one of the only losses is the use of microfiber pads on the bottom, which make it less viable for cleaning hardwood floors without leaving a scuff. That said, it’s still a very good model for cleaning hardwood floors as well as carpets.
- Great filtration system for people with allergies
- While it’s heavier than the 356, it’s still a lightweight model
- Costs less than the 356
- Still uses the Lift-Away system
- A little bit top heavy
- Requires that you change the dust canister frequently
So which one’s the best?
For this competition, we’re choosing the Shark Rotator vacuum, the first one on the list, simply because of its wide range of versatility.
While the other models can mostly use the Lift-Away system, this is the only vacuum that can actually be converted into a different type of vacuum. The stick can be used for standing up to vacuum your floor, and it can be turned into a handheld unit for cleaning other areas and furniture.
It’s a very affordable model and for the price you can be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.