The Best Shark Robot Vacuums of 2021 [Reviews, Tips & Tricks]

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on July 26, 2020
updated on November 8, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Shark manufactures and sells high powered cleaning machines. Recently robot vacuums were added to the lineup. Shark’s robotic cleaners excel in pricing, cleaning ability, hardware, design, innovation, and parts availability and affordability with improvements needed in mobility, software, product, and customer support.

Thankfully you’re in the right place if you want to know the best Shark robot vacuums available right now in the market and their offerings.

Besides reviewing their performances and suitability for specific vacuuming situations such as pet hair, high-pile carpets, or hardwood floors including deals and links to where to get authentic parts. Today’s update will also offer some insights into some capable and affordable alternatives from competitors. Let’s get started.

Which are the best Shark robot vacuum?

To date, Shark has released more than ten robot vacuums spanning the beginner, intermediate and advanced categories. 

Starting with the latest, here are in-depth reviews of seven of the best Shark robotic vacuum cleaners.

Shark AI Vacmop robot Pro (R2001WD) review

Newest in the lineup, the Shark AI Vacmop pro (R2001WD) is the version with the mopping attachment. You may choose the regular version (R2000WD) if you don’t need mopping. 

Concerning mopping, Vacmop’s water tank doesn’t seem to hold a lot. However, the package comes with a 12oz starter solution for easier, thorough wipes–doesn’t disinfect but leaves shiny, nicely smelling floors behind (no streaks or residues).

Moving on, and despite the 100 oscillation per minutes claim, mopping methodology (where you fill the tank, slab the mop pad, and attach to the back of the robot) remains the same; results/performance didn’t show much of a big difference either compared to other vac and mop combo models.

Away from mopping, there’s also the vacuuming function deserving of a few words. 

The Shark AI for starters is capable of cleaning hard floors (stone, marble, laminate, linoleum, hardwood, etc.). Further, its soft tangle-free brush roll protects floors from scratches, increases the life of the roller, decreases upkeep, and helps maintain peak performance. Here’s a video from Tech Reviews and More demonstrating the pet hair cleaning ability of the Shark AI robot:

And just so you know, a max climbing height of 2” provides the Shark AI with smooth passage through thresholds and access to tall rugs.

Another thing worth mentioning about the Shark AI is the utility side brushes–they slow down in corners and along wall edges without scattering debris in open areas.

The AI feature… well, I don’t know, maybe some kind of a gimmick. It doesn’t look like nor is there a mention anywhere that this thing self-learns. There’s a front-loaded laser system, though, which ensures a gentle back and forth movement and from what I can tell does a great job at recognizing and avoiding obstacles while untangling itself from difficult situations. Shoestrings and power cords may still get tangled, however.

Mapping is faster and precise on this one if it helps to add. Nathan from Robot Masters mentioned in one of his videos, don’t know his home size, that the Shark AI completed mapping his house in two runs but I have also seen a couple of reviews mentioned their robot took longer/didn’t complete a map. 

Here’s Nathan’s video, where he dives deeper into his experience with the Shark AI Vacmop (note: long video!):

This Shark AI Vacmop robot has active carpet detection (avoids carpet in mopping mode while ramping up suction in vacuuming mode). The Shark AI vacuuming and mopping robot also lets you tell the robot to clean a certain room or stay out of an area.

From the foregoing, the AI Vacmop has better navigation, mapping, cleaning ability, and increased features than previous models. 

Unlike the IQ option, the Shark AI floor robot currently doesn’t support automatic dirt disposal (nor is compatible with the base of the Shark IQ). It supports one map. Working time is 90 minutes; shouldn’t be a deal-breaker since the Shark will return home to charge up and automatically resume cleaning where it left off–a particularly important consideration if bigger floor plans are involved. 

On the downside, the dustbin of the Shark AI vacuum and mop robot is smaller and a little finicky to deal with especially when trying to trash its contents. 

Plus, you probably don’t want to run it while having dinner, talking to people, or watching TV.  

Also, there’s been a couple of negative feedback about Shark’s app (saying it’s slow and buggy), added to some WIFi connectivity and mapping problems.

Firmware updates can definitely improve things, but then this might take time plus considering the status of this robot and the current paucity of information, I’d likely be holding out. If you can’t wait, consider the Roborock S5 max instead with similar pricing but better navigation, mapping, software, and cleaning ability.

Enter your email below to receive notification for when the Shark AI floor robot is ready for prime time.


Shark IQ (r101ae) self-emptying robot vacuum review

It turned out the Shark AI is a freshman and needed some touches to be perfect, which was why I recommended not buying it (yet). 

Well, the Shark IQ is another one I wouldn’t recommend. Except, this time my suggestion isn’t premised on whether or not firmware updates can make things potentially better since there have been several updates that didn’t do much to improve its usability and operation. One year since its release and with at least two updates, Wifi and app connectivity issues haven’t been fixed. No-go lines still missing. App, navigation, and mapping are far from stable or reliable. 

In the midst of all these, the self-cleaning function remains solid and I think Shark IQ is competitively priced. Other than that, save your money and keep your sanity without wasting precious time troubleshooting/needless back and forth with customer support.

For some like-for-like alternatives, you should check out the Roomba i3+ & i7+, Ecovacs T8+, or Proscenic M7 Pro. 

See the Roborock S6 if you don’t mind the self-cleaning base. 

If you want the vacuuming and mopping function without the self-emptying base, consider the Roborock s5 max

All the mentioned alternatives, if it helps to mention, are 

  • Smart: they don’t get stuck or ram into objects nearly as much as the Shark IQ
  • Feature-rich: multi-level map support, in-app no-go lines, 2+ hours run time, etc.;
  • User-friendly: support cleaning at night + nondisruptive conversations during the day + stable Wifi connection + sleek app experience; and 
  • Have excellent navigation, mapping, and cleaning abilities.

Shark Ion (RV 720, R75, RV761, R85 & R871) reviews

Shark_ion_rv720
image of the Shark ion rv720
Shark_ion_rv850
image of the Shark ion rv850

Unlike the relationship between the Shark IQ and the AI Vacmop involving major upgrades in mopping and auto-dirt emptying, the Shark Ion family of the RV 720, R75, RV761, R85 & R871 share minor differences in appearance, controls & settings (remote or app), run time, accessories, and pricing; hence why they would be treated as one product going forward.

So the Shark Ion vacuuming robots bounce around in a ping pong style. They use sensors for pathing (vs. the optic camera or laser system of the Shark IQ and AI Vacmop) which explains their increased tendency to get confused, bump into objects, get jammed, or miss spots or rooms. In all fairness, bump-and-run is a standard for items in their category–although there are options from competitors such as the Roborock E2, E3, and E4 within a similar price range as the Shark Ions that clean in straight efficient lines and are more precise at hitting spots while being gentle around obstacles.

Talking about troubled spots or keeping the robot off unwanted areas–no-go zones aren’t available in any of the Shark Ion models. Instead, they use magnetic strips that come with some selected models. While it’s possible to carry the Shark Ion robots upstairs or anywhere else you want to be cleaned, beware cleaning will not be methodical since they don’t support (multi-level) floor mapping, nor can you clean particular zones or rooms.

Not feature-rich, yes. Cleaning ability is however not in doubt.

The Shark Ion robots pack some serious strong suction coupled with the utility side and center brushes that they make the best use of on different floorings (hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum, carpet) and under different vacuuming situations (pet hair, long human hair, dirt, dust, etc.).

Additionally, Shark RV 720, R75, RV761, R85 & R871 floor robots are quiet; run longer; hold a charge well and docks reliably; and can cross thresholds up to 1” height. And all of these without forgetting to mention their spacious dustbin (0.5qt on the R76 and 0.6qt on the R87) which assures reduced frequency of emptying and/or interruption to the cleaning cycle. Their pricing is the icing on the cake–Shark Ion robots depending on the model typically sell for between $150 – $300. 

Get the Shark Ion vacuuming robots if you: 

  • Live in apartments/have ~1000sqft home size
  • Have hard floors or carpets (medium- and high-pile) with fewer obstacles
  • Have pets or people with long hair
  • Want to clean at night or clean dark carpets
  • Want to have nondisruptive conversations
  • Don’t mind their random cleaning paths
  • Don’t plan running completely unattended
  • Aren’t looking for speed or efficiency
  • Want an affordable, practical, and effective robot vacuum

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Relatively affordable
  • Awesome design & hardware
  • Simple, straightforward operations
  • Smart, customizable & advanced functions
  • Cleans systematically & excellently
  • Automatic dirt emptying with no recurring expenses on dirtbags
  • Automatic recharge and resume
  • App and voice control support

Cons

  • Not ideal for use at night or under low light conditions
  • Basic/limited functionalities
  • Not ideal for nondisruptive conversations
  • Not ideal for multi-level homeowners
  • Not ideal for allergy sufferers
  • Not ideal for people with large homes (1000sqft and up) 

Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
Shark Ion RV720 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_rv720_robot_vacuum
Shark Ion rv720 robot vaacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion R75 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_r75
Shark Ion R75 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion R751 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_r751
Shark Ion R751 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion R752 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_r752
Shark Ion R752 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion RV761 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_rv761
Shark Ion RV761 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion R85 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_r85
Shark Ion R85 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion RV871 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_r871
Shark Ion R871 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Shark Ion S87 robot vacuum
Shark_ion_s87
Shark Ion S87 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon

Who are the top Shark competitors?

From the foregoing, there’s been continued emphasis on Shark robots having some of the best prices but their high-end robots are doing catch-ups with options from other brands in terms of features, product support, software, navigation, usability, and cleaning performance.

Prior now, the likes of Roborock S5 Max, Roomba i7+, and Ecovacs T8+ had been suggested as legit alternatives. And just so you aren’t limited in your choices and to ensure a bang for your buck, here are competitors’ offerings and how those stood against the Shark’s.

Shark robot vacuums vs Roomba 

With Shark and iRobot selling budget and premium vacuuming robots (the Shark AI can act as a 2-in-1 + Roomba have dedicated mops), actively supporting their products via firmware updates, coupled with cheap and readily available parts–their premium products (except for the Shark AI Vacmop) run on a camera navigation system (aka VSLAM) which paths logically albeit less accurately and tends to struggle under low light conditions. 

As for cleaning abilities, I’d say Shark when it works does just as good a job as any Roomba. Roomba has a more refined software and is more convenient/easy to use, though, with features to include a full bin indicator and a bagged auto-dirt emptying base.

Talking about features, Roomba wins as their premium robots support 

  • Brushless extractor (for improved pickup performance on carpets and anti-hair tangle);
  • Multi-level mapping (supports up to ten-floor plans);
  • No-go lines;
  • Smart Top-up.

If you’re trying to make sense of the Shark IQ and Roomba S9+ or want to see a showdown between the Shark r76 vs. Roomba 960 but seeing I only compared Shark and iRobot at the surface level–visit this page for a more granular and in-depth comparison of popular products from these two brands.

Shark robot vacuums vs Deebot

The relationship existing between Shark and Ecovacs is a lot similar to the one between Shark and Roomba. First, both brands have the budget and premium models plus their software can use some improvements. Then, Shark is a generalist while Ecovacs is a specialist who has been in the game for as long as the iRobot and that explains why it’s leading in innovation (their latest release has the obstacle detection and avoidance feature, for example), features, cleaning ability, usability, and navigation. Shark on the other hand holds the undisputed title for the king of budget vacs and has a slight advantage in customer service and parts affordability and availability.

If you’re trying to make sense of the Shark IQ and Ecovacs T8+ or want to see a showdown between the Shark Ion 750 vs. Ecovacs Deebot N79S but seeing I only compared Shark and the Ecovacs at the surface level–visit this page for a more granular and in-depth comparison of popular products from these two brands.

Shark robot vacuum vs Roborock

Besides price and maybe the self-cleaning function–and it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s the budget or premium model–Shark got nothing on the Roborock. Is it Roborock’s pitch-perfect navigation, faster and accurate mapping, efficient cleaning, reliable software, excellent product and customer support, usable and useful features, or value for money? 

For some perspective, the Roborock E3 and E4, for near the same price as the Shark R75 and R85 move in a straight back and forth pattern with the Sharks bouncing off randomly. Even so, Roborock E-series automatically recharges and resumes cleaning, whereas the Shark Ions can only auto recharge. Similarly, the flagship Roborock supports multi-floor mapping, Smart Top-up, electronically controlled water settings, room-specific mop scheduling, and AI obstacle detection and avoidance, etc…functions which are noticeably absent in the flagship Sharks.

Now maybe you’re trying to make sense of the Roborock S6 and Shark IQ or want to see a showdown between the Roborock S5 vs. Shark Ion R85 but seeing I only compared Roborock and the Shark at the surface level–visit this page for a more granular and in-depth comparison of popular products from these two brands.

Shark robot vacuums vs Proscenic

Both brands excel in pricing, hardware, and cleaning ability with Shark leading in customer support and brand history.

While the software of Proscenic used to be like the Shark’s, it looks as though things have improved on their latest release–the M7 Pro. Also, mapping, navigation, and usability seem to be better on the Proscenic. Shark has items in the beginner (R75, R85, R87), intermediate (AV970) and advanced categories (IQ & AI Vacmop) whereas Proscenic makes items for the intermediate (850T) and advanced categories (M7 Pro) only. Talking about their flagship models the Shark IQ and Proscenic M7 Pro–both with the self-emptying function–Shark is a bagless system (you get to save money on dirtbags but risk contaminated air) while Proscenic is a bagged system (ongoing expenses on dirtbags but you get fresh, healthy air in return).

Now maybe you’re curious about the Shark IQ and Proscenic M7 Pro.

Seeing I only compared Shark and the Proscenic at the surface level, visit this page for a more granular and in-depth comparison of popular products from these two brands.

Where to buy Shark robot vacuum parts and accessories?

Authentic Shark robot vacuum parts and accessories are available on their website and Amazon store. You’ll receive notifications via the app on when and what parts need to be changed. 

What Shark updates are being released? 

Shark releases firmware updates on an ongoing basis for bug fixes, usability improvements, and feature addition/removal.

Updates roll out in batches and existing owners would be notified. However, if you’re holding off for particular updates about any Shark models–then feel free to enter your email below for as-it-is-happening updates via emails.


What are the best deals on Shark robotic vacuum cleaners?

As previously mentioned, Shark robots for the most part are quite affordable but could still be out of the reach of many. Or even if you could afford the retail price you sure wouldn’t mind some savings.

The good news is you can save money on some of your favorite Shark robot vacuums. Right now there are no Shark robots on sale with a discount. This section of the guide will however be updated with new deals as they drop, so you want to keep an eye out or visit this page for deals from other brands. Also, you can visit the Roborock deals page on Amazon. Alternatively, use the form below to subscribe to price alerts.


Conclusion

Shark bots in the beginner category (R75, RV761, R85, S87, etc.) are decent in features and give pretty much reliable operations and effective results. They’re worth it if they’re within your requirements. The AI model gets a pass mark considering the upgraded mapping and navigation system which means it should do better than the IQ option. That mentioned, the Shark AI Vacmop wouldn’t be getting my endorsement for the same reason as the AV970–it’s prone to issues common with new bots. I suggest waiting at least six months of post-release before buying. Good on you if you’re able to wait that long. If you can’t, and are looking for a good alternative, check the Roborock S5 Max.

For the IQ model, really look elsewhere. One year since its release and with one firmware update after another this robot remains a shadow of itself. With the several options in the market at attractive prices and with the advancement in robot vacuum tech, there’s really no excuse for the Shark IQ not to work properly. Options such as the Roomba i7+, Ecovacs T8+, or even the Proscenic M7 Pro (self-emptying docks sold separately) although at higher prices, are worth it if you’re looking for like-for-like alternatives.

Battery life ain’t Shark’s strongest point, either. 120 minutes is the highest I’ve seen and this is even on their budget options as 90 minutes is very much a possibility. Not to mention those numbers can drop if there are a lot of carpets involved. It can be argued the premium models have recharge and resume. Well, that’s true, except one has to factor in recharge time typically 4 – 6 hours. That’s four to six hours of zero vacuumings!

Regardless of which model you choose, though, there are upkeep/ongoing expenses on parts.

You’d have to clean the main brush, wash filters, switch mop pads, refill water tanks and empty the bin of your Shark, maybe more frequently if you have messy pets or long hair. You should also pay special attention to the dustbins of the RV1001, RV200(1)WD, and AV970 or you’ll throw out everything it just gathered before having the chance for proper disposal.

Parts as earlier mentioned are available on Shark’s Amazon store. I’d advise getting your robots from there too. This is because Shark warranties ONLY apply to products purchased from authorized sellers. 

Lastly, the mopping function of the Shark AI Vacmop–or any combo model at all, at least for now–don’t compare with a human with a mop or dedicated mopping robot, so you want to keep that in mind. Nonetheless, it’s adequate for light spills, dust, and dirt. Heavier, sticky materials can be pre-treated with a squirt of floor cleaner, a Bona maybe?

Further reading

Simplifying robot vacuum terms–understand the meaning of mapping, suction, Recharge & Resume, Smart Top-up, LIDAR, VSLAM, multi-floor mapping, etc. as mentioned in the above guide and how these affect usability and performance.

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