The Best Shark Robot Vacuums 2021 [Reviews, Alternatives & Comparisons]

written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on July 26, 2020
updated on June 19, 2021

Because of the dozens of Shark products in the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose, especially when they share subtle differences like country codes or colors, or when they have features you don’t need or that don’t improve cleaning or usability.

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, and hardwood floors), today’s update will also compare specific models from the lineup, while offering insights into some capable and affordable alternatives from competitors for units that are lacking one way or the other. Let’s get started.

Alert: long post ahead! Use the Table of Content below to skip to sections of interest

Shark robot vacuum reviews

More than a dozen Sharkies have been released to date. To keep things simple, ONLY three of those will be reviewed. They’re the Shark IQ AV1002AE, Shark IQ AV993, and Shark Ion AV753. These three models have been selected based on their value for money, usability, and vacuuming abilities.

With that said, here are the top three Shark robot vacuums worth the money. 

Three of the best Shark robot vacuum cleaners to buy

Shark IQ AV1002AE self-emptying robotic vacuum cleaner review

shark_iq_av1002ae_self_emptying_robot_vacuum
Shark IQ AV1002AE

The first item on this list of the best Shark robot vacuum is the IQ AV1002 AE (IQ AV1010AE is the same model with the regular style brush). 

It turns out the Shark IQ AV1002 self-emptying vacuum cleaner like most high-end models is feature-rich with straight-line cleaning. It can self-recharge/resume/evacuate, map floors, target rooms for cleaning while resisting hair wrapping. Additionally, the Shark IQ AV1002AE offers flexibility and customization through app and voice integration

Talking of cleaning performance, the IQ AV1002AE does a nice job removing dust, dirt, fur, allergens, crumbs, etc from hard floors (stone, marble, laminate, linoleum, hardwood, etc.), as well as carpets and rugs (low- through medium-pile, w/o fringes). Its soft tangle-free brush roll protects floors from scratches, increases the life of the roller, decreases upkeep, and helps maintain peak performance. What’s more, the side brushes extend to reach corners and wall edges while doing enough to avoid scattering debris in open areas. A climbing height of up to 2” also provides the Shark IQ bot with smooth passage through thresholds and tall rugs. Not to mention it’s only 3.5″ tall, translating to improved reach and coverage.

Concerning navigation and mapping, while things are looking better on this one (compared to its predecessor the IQ RV101AE), it’s still nothing compared to the experience of a laser-guided bot. In other words, the Shark IQ AV1002AE can take three days or more, depending on home size, to complete the map. Even with a full map, this robotic cleaner may get confused if you move items. Also, while it has the ability to automatically recharge and resume cleaning jobs, the Shark IQ AV1002AE typically runs for 90 minutes with a recharge time of about 3 hours. 

Prices go up or down but currently around $600 on Amazon. If you can afford it, the Shark IQ AV1002AE self-emptying robot vacuum is worth it since you’ll be getting nice-looking and fresh floors with little or no effort on your part. Not to mention you’ll have more time to do more of the things you love doing. Still, the IQ AV1002AE gives you peace of mind from knowing it receives timely updates for usability improvements and bug fixes, parts are readily available, plus you can get support when you need one.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Smart & efficient
  • Quiet operation
  • Awesome design 
  • Solid hardware
  • Organized & intensive cleaning
  • No additional expenses on dirtbags

Cons

  • Navigation and mapping is a work in progress
  • Can currently safe ONE floor map
  • Shark app DOESN’T allow more than one scheduled cleaning a day, and you can’t schedule a single or group of rooms

Great but not flawless, the Shark IQ AV1002AE vacuuming robot is an ideal choice if you:

  • Don’t live in a multi-level home
  • Live in a home up to 2000sqft
  • Have hard floors (tile, hardwood, laminate, etc.) or carpets (medium- and high-pile) with fewer obstacles
  • Have pets or people with long hair
  • Want a robot that cleans in neat rows and is less hands-on

Shark IQ AV993 robot vacuum review

shark_iq_av993_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
Shark IQ AV993

Featuring #2 in this list of the best-rated Shark robot vacuums is the IQ AV993 model–which is essentially the IQ AV1002AE (#1 on the list) WITHOUT the standing bin and interactive mapping.

By lack of the Interactive Mapping function, the map generated by the IQ AV993 robot is for oversight/tracking purposes only (know what the bot had been up to or where it’s currently at). The map can’t be edited or stored, similar to what’s obtainable in the iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) and Roborock E4. As a result, you can’t get the IQ AV993 floor bot to clean your dining or only the kitchen area.

Interestingly, the Shark IQ AV993 robotic vacuum cleaner paths logically without aggressively bumping into objects or missing/skipping spots or rooms. 

With about 90 minutes run time on normal power level, the Shark IQ AV993 if and when it can’t complete the job will find its docking station (does this pretty consistently), juice up, and resume cleaning where it left off.

Additionally, its specially designed center brush (no bristles) ensures effective pick-up of debris on carpets and hard floors, since it’s able to resist hair. Not only that, the strong, long arm on the sides reaches out to claim evasive hair and dust in corners and along baseboards.

And, compared to the first-gen Shark, the IQ AV993 floor bot map floors more quickly and accurately. It doesn’t lose connectivity either, while also providing a seamless app experience.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Smart & efficient
  • Quiet operation
  • Awesome design 
  • Solid hardware
  • Organized & intensive cleaning

Cons

  • Navigation and mapping can use some improvements
  • DOESN’T support map saving or editing
  • Currently DOESN’T support Siri–only Alexa and Google Home
  • No support for app-based barrier, area & room cleaning
  • DOESN’T have the auto-dirt emptying system

Given its potentials and limitations, the Shark IQ AV993 vacuuming robot makes sense if you:

  • Live in an apartment
  • Live in a home up to 1200sqft
  • Have hard floors or carpets (medium- and high-pile) with fewer obstacles
  • Don’t mind missing out on custom cleaning and/or have some time to spare for emptying the onboard dustbin
  • Have pets or live with people who have long hair
  • Want a robot that cleans in neat rows and is less hands-on
  • Want WIFI, app, and voice functionalities

Shark ION AV753 robot vacuum review

shark_ion_753_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
Shark Ion 753

At number #3, and to conclude this list of the best Shark robot vacuums, is the AV753 model

For a quick one, the Shark AV753 robot vacuum excels in performance. Unlike the high-end models, this one relies on persistence/hard work to achieve clean floors on low rugs and hard floors. 

Related: best robot vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet

While doing well with fur and hair situations, hair wrapping around its rollers isn’t uncommon, as the brush of this model doesn’t have the self-cleaning design of the AV10002AE (number #1 on the list) and AV993 (number #2 on the list) models. It’s however quick and easy to clean the brush, filter, and dust tray.

Moving on, and besides the absence of a self-cleaning center brush, the Shark Ion AV753 robotic cleaner also DOESN’T support automatic resumption or evacuation. No laser, camera, or floor tracker. No room mapping or selection. Cleaning isn’t always logical too, resulting in potentially missed spots, repeated passes, and/or jamming problems. Further, the Shark AV753 model uses boundary strips for marking zones but doesn’t come with one.

It turns out the Shark Ion AV753 floor vacuum has limitations but that’s not unexpected of items in its category. In fact, it’s made to be just like that. It’s clearly not as intelligent or convenient to use as the advanced Shark models. It does its job of cleaning floors though, and quite brilliantly too. On top of being reliable since it doesn’t receive firmware updates and there’s no advanced tech that would otherwise complicate things. It’s also reasonably priced, typically selling around $200.

Pros

  • Low noise
  • Lower price: Typically selling under $200
  • Lightweight
  • Three color choices: white (AV751), black (AV752), and grey (AV753)
  • Good suction
  • Good enough battery life (up to two hours)
  • Simple, straightforward operations
  • Automatic recharge
  • App and voice control support

Cons

  • Basic/limited functionalities
  • More demanding

A good entry-level machine, the Shark Ion AV753 vacuuming robot makes sense if you:

  • Don’t live in a multi-level home
  • Live in an apartment or ~1000sqft home
  • Have hard floors and/or carpets (low-pile) with fewer obstacles
  • Don’t mind random cleaning paths
  • Don’t mind missing out on custom cleaning and/or have some time to spare for emptying the onboard dustbin
  • Don’t plan running completely unattended
  • Aren’t looking for speed or efficiency
  • Have pets or live with people with short hair
  • Want app or voice functionalities
  • Want an affordable, simple, and effective robot vacuum

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Shark robot vacuum comparisons

In order to make better decisions while maximizing value on your purchase, this section will do a straight-to-the-point comparison between popular Shark models.

Shark IQ RV1001AE vs. Shark IQ AV1010AE vs. Shark IQ AV 1002AE

shark iq r101ae_self_emptying_robot_vacuum
Shark IQ R101AE

Starting with some background information, the “IQ” in their names is Shark’s way of saying all three models have brains and minds of their own to plan and follow a methodical path to cleaning.

“RV” (as in the RV1001AE & RV100s) represents the first generation of Shark robot vacuums, similar to how the Xiaomi lineup is Roborock’s first attempt.  “AV” (as in the AV1002 & AV1010 models) represents the second generation which Shark claim is an upgrade on the first generation the “RV” in areas like navigation, mapping, and carpet cleaning. The random numbers after their generation codes (as in 1002, 1001, 1010) are store codes similar to how the Roomba i6 and i8 are Amazon’s and Costco’s versions of the iRobot Roomba i7.” AE” at the end is how you know they’re self-emptying models. 

Talking of model numbers, not only are they difficult to remember, but they’re also very confusing. The Shark’s model number for the AV1010AE is AV1110ARUS (per the registration sticker on the bottom of the robot). In case you’re reaching out to support, the model number at the bottom of the bot is what you should mention, not the one listed on the product page. 

From the brief intro above it’s clear the Shark IQ RV1001AE, AV1002AE, and AV1010AE are all smart/fully automatic robotic vacuum cleaners and essentially the same (which also explains why only one product image featured) except the AVs are an upgrade on the RV model. The RV1001AE was Shark’s first model with the auto-dirt emptying function–and the one with the most complaints about navigation, mapping, and connectivity. The AV1002 and AV1010 (AV1010 being the AV1002 with the regular brush style) were released to address these problems. And yes, with the AV10 (02/10) mapping is now quicker (although it could still take days depending on home size and layout). Movement is now more intentional, too, with fewer jamming and better object avoidance and crossing ability. 

Keep in mind none of the three models support multi-level mapping.

Meanwhile, and as earlier mentioned, there’s no significant difference between the Shark IQ AV1002AE and AV1010AE other than the no-bristle brush design of the former. In any case, brushes aren’t interchangeable.

Therefore, get the

Shark IQ AV1002AE self-emptying robot vacuum if you have long hair (anything beyond the shoulder) or live with a squad of dogs and cats.

The

should suffice in a house w/o or w/ a few less shedding, short-haired animal breeds.

Related: best robot vacuum for pets

Shark IQ RV1001AE vs. Shark AI 211WD

shark iq r101ae_self_emptying_robot_vacuum
Shark IQ RV1001AE
Shark_AI_211WD_mop_and_vacuum_robot
Shark AI 211WD

Actually, it’s unnecessary getting into details about the offerings of these two bots seeing they don’t work as expected.

One time the Shark IQ is clearing its map and forcing a reset. Another time it’s the AI model trying but failing to find its home base. There’s also the notorious WIFI connectivity issue. Additionally, both models are very loud such that it’s difficult to answer conference calls if working from home.

To put it simply, I DON’T recommend the Shark IQ (R1001/AE) or Shark AI (2001WD) robots, at least for now, or until Shark actually commits to making these machines work as expected. Of course, I’ll not hesitate to come back and update if there are improvements in functionality, so consider bookmarking this post.

Shark ION robot vs. Shark IQ

So, the Shark Ion vacuuming robots bounce around in a ping pong style versus the straight line pathing of the IQ model. They use sensors for mobility against the optic camera and/or floor tracking system of the Shark IQ models. 

Because they don’t use intelligence to clean floors–rather persistence–there’s increased tendencies of getting lost, stuck or confused, bumping into objects, or completely missing spots or rooms. In any case, these aren’t flaws as these machines are built to just vacuum floors. Their low tech ensures consistency of operation and low maintenance.

The IQ models on the other hand have brains and minds of their own–aka mapping. They know where they are, where they’re going, and if or when things have moved in the house. This level of thoughtfulness–coupled with upgraded processors, strong suction and airflow, mopping attachment, specially designed extractors, auto-clean bins, etc.–ensures convenient and efficient vacuuming. Expectedly, the Shark IQs don’t come cheap. Typically selling between $350 – $600. Also, their advanced tech plus frequent updates increase the possibilities of broken functionality.

Too long; didn’t read:

Get one of the

Shark Ion bots (RV 720, R75, RV761, R85 & R871)
if you want something affordable, capable, and simple. 

If you can splurge, the

Shark IQ models (AV1002AE, AV1010AE, or AV100S)
will reward you with perpetually clean floors. 

Shark robot vacuum alternatives

Whether you dislike the Shark brand or particular aspects of specific models. Or maybe the features that are important to you aren’t available in your preferred choice. Regardless of your situation or needs, the good news is there are options from competing brands.

That mentioned, here are four feature-rich, capable, affordable, and reliable substitutes to specific Shark robotic vacuum cleaner models.

Four of the best Shark smart home cleaner alternatives

The best Shark IQ AV1002AE alternative: Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 Plus

deebot_ozmo_t8_robot_vacuum_and_mop
Deebot T8

Recall while I was reviewing the Shark IQ AV1002AE machine in the early part of this guide, where I mentioned its mapping and navigation imperfections. Another area of concern I noted was the fact that the Shark IQ AV1002AE doesn’t support multiple maps and room-level scheduling. And while the bagless system of the Shark does enough to filter air, and is economical, emptying the canister of month-old crud may not be as convenient, especially for people who are sensitive to tiny particles.

Therefore, if any of the above scenarios resonate with you, the Deebot Ozmo T8 Plus is definitely one to take a chance with. It does all the good stuff you like in the Shark, on top of having: 

  • Stable and functional maps (up to three maps allowed for saving); 
  • Gentle and precise pathing; 
  • A bagged auto-empty base station that keeps the air fresh;
  • The ability to avoid getting stuck on shoes, cords, socks, kids’ toys, etc.; and
  • The ability to perform whole house or room-specific cleaning multiple times daily.

Related: Deebot vacuum reviews

The best Shark IQ AV993 alternative: iRobot i3 Plus 

irobot_i3_plus_self_emptying_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
irobot i3 Plus

Do you love the Shark IQ AV993 but hate that it doesn’t empty itself? 

You’re in luck because a certain iRobot Roomba i3 Plus performs just as well as the Shark with the added benefit of being able to empty its own bin. Pricier than the Shark, no doubt–but the dustbin of the Roomba i3 has a full bin sensor that prolongs cleaning while preventing overfill. It gets better because the auto-dirt stand of the Roomba i3 Plus is bagged. While there are ongoing expenses on dirtbags, it’s actually your best bet, particularly if you have skin flakes, allergens, cat litter, or fur situations.

 

Related: Roomba vacuum reviews

The best Shark AI RV2001WD Vacmop alternative: Proscenic M6 Pro

proscenic_m6_pro_vacuuming_and_mopping_robot
Proscenic M6 Pro

The first and only hybrid robot from Shark which is exactly why I gave it a mention even though it didn’t feature in the list. The decision not to feature the AI 2001WD on my list of the best Shark robot vacuums was, however, intentional, as you’ll soon see. 

Without mincing words, the Shark AI (2001WD) Vacmop isn’t ready for prime time. Connectivity, navigation, and mapping being top issues users are currently grappling with. 

Fortunately, the Proscenic M6 Pro in the same price range as the Shark (under $400) doesn’t only spot a functional navigation and mapping system. It also performs just as good, if not better, than the Shark in terms of organized, intensive vacuuming and mopping (you can vacuum only, mop only, or do both simultaneously).

The Proscenic M6 Pro if it helps for additional context map rooms well without inflating home size, creating imaginary rooms, hampering editing, or forcing reset times and times again. 

Further, and while the Proscenic M6 Pro may tangle stray cord and the likes. Unlike the Shark, though, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as to impact its operation or the ability to complete cleaning jobs.

And talking features the Shark lacks that are available in the Proscenic M6 Pro, a few of which include: 

  • Multi-level map support (up to five-floor plans can be stored) 
  • Selective, zoned, and edge cleaning
  • Multi-schedule
  • Quiet operation (the rubber fin on the Shark’s brush just makes too much noise on wood floors)
  • The ability to work on a 2.4 or 5Ghz bands
  • A handy remote for the uninitiated or persons who can’t or don’t want to set up on the Internet. Which makes sense since the ProscenicHome app is still a work in progress.

Too long; didn’t read–The Proscenic M6 Pro as a like-for-like alternative to the Shark RV2001WD vacmop offers better value for money.

Related: Proscenic robot reviews