Shark IQ R101AE Robot Vacuum w/ Self-Empty Base [Review, Alternatives & FAQs]]

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on October 6, 2019
updated on December 9, 2019

At half the price of a certain Roomba i7+, and with a bagless clean base, the Shark IQ r101ae sounds too good to be true, or is it? Let’s find out!

Shark iq robot vacuum r101ae review

Key highlights of the Shark iq robot vacuum to include setup, navigation, mapping, cleaning ability, app functionality, build quality will be reviewed in greater detail under this subheading.

Setup

Having found a suitable location for the dock, plug the dock to a power source. Next up: start charging the Shark iq r1001ae. 

While charging is ongoing, you can proceed by downloading the SharkClean app.

In the SharkClean app, you can:

  • Register and rename the Shark iq robot
  • Reset mapping data
  • Adjust the volume level of the notifications
  • Receive notifications if the robot has errors while running
  • Instruct the Shark IQ to evacuate more frequently. This setting can be turned on for homes with high debris or for pet owners with heavy shedder dog/cat breeds

Controls & settings

There are several ways to initiate and pause cleaning on the Shark iq r101ae. One way is to link up with your home assistant and, after that, give commands. 

The second way is to commence and stop cleaning via the app. 

Another way is to press the Clean and Dock button on the device. 

There are more settings within the app with provision for making further choices based on your requirements.

For instance, you could toggle the suction strength. When the Shark floor cleaner is in cleaning mode, you can hit “find my Robot,” and it will play a tune loudly so that you can locate where in the home it’s currently hiding. Also, the history tab will show a calendar and provide stats/info for the month’s total cleaning history. You may click on a specific date to see the breakdown for that day.

Pairing the device to a Wi-Fi or smart device isn’t required to start cleaning; it’s, however, necessary for accessing extra features to include scheduled cleaning and room cleaning.

App

I should mention that the SharkClean app sometimes doesn’t recognize connections. Or the SharkClean app may connect, only to lose connection shortly after starting a cleaning cycle, without any reason.

Self-empty base

Its bagless self-empty base powers the automatic dirt emptying function of the Shark self vacuum robot. That, in addition to the design of the base, which lends itself to easy handling.

  • Shark iq r1001ae’s clean base has a transparent window, helpful for knowing when it needs to be emptied. There’s also a notification via the app to this effect.
  • The self-empty base holds up to 30 days of dirt. Besides you won’t be emptying for weeks, it’s very EASY to clean.
  • Emptying is comparatively quiet and quite effective too.

On Sale −9%
Shark IQ R101AE with Self-Empty Base, Wi-Fi Connected, Home Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors Robot Vacuum (RV1001AE), 30 Session Capacity, Black
  • Forget about vacuuming for up to a month with washable, bagless self-empty base. Holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris
  • Unbeatable suction vs. any Shark(R) robot vacuum for pick up for large and small debris, as well as pet hair on carpets and hard floors
  • Self-cleaning brushroll removes pet hair and long hair from the brushroll as it cleans-no more hair wrap
  • Schedule cleanings, target specific rooms or areas with the Shark (R) Clean App or voice control with Alexa
  • Total home mapping with room select maps your home and lets you choose which rooms to clean or avoid

No-go lines

While the r100ae supports room cleaning. As of the time of this writing, the Shark iq vacuum cleaner doesn’t support no-go lines, aka keep out zone–it instead comes with boundary strips. Also, Shark didn’t provide an expected release date.

Noise level

Tested at 70 decibels (dB) by Vacuum Wars, it’s obvious the Shark clean robot isn’t a quiet machine. As far as the noise is concerned, the self-cleaning brush roller with the yellow fin can’t be excused.

Mapping

Without mincing words, the mapping of the Shark floor cleaner lacks, particularly when you consider the time it takes and the accuracy of the map. 

Shark noted that mapping could take several runs. In my experience, mapping can take up to 10 races. And this is me being generous. 

Also, I found the usability of the created map to be sporadic.

And while it’s possible to run the Shark automatic vacuum in a multi-level home, be aware it can currently only save one map.

In truth, moving furniture and the likes can confuse and ultimately delay map creation. I do think that this is a bug that hopefully will be fixed with subsequent firmware updates.

Heads up: the delete map function is longer available as of the October 26 firmware update.

Evacuate & resume

Evacuate and resume features of the Shark iq robot is a timer-based function that will return at intervals, say 30 minutes, to empty itself regardless if the bin is full or not. 

So, if you’re wondering, no, the r1001ae robot cleaner doesn’t have a full bin sensor.

Charge time & battery life

Admittedly the Shark iq robot auto recharges and resumes. 

Between 4 – 6 hours of charge time should give a run time of about 60 minutes on max power settings. 

Breaking it down, and when you consider charge breaks in between cleaning, therefore translating to prolonged cleaning, especially in ample spaces.

Suction

The suction of the Shark iq is powerful. Vacuum Wars found this to be 23 cfm.

Navigation

Getting confused in dark environments is one of the problems of camera navigation. It turns out the Shark iq robot is camera-based. 

Another navigation issue I noticed with the Shark robot entails not returning to its base consistently plus it gets stuck far too frequently, at least compared to other robot vacuums in its category (Roomba i7+, s9+; Roborock s5 & s6; Newton d7; Deebot 950).

Maintenance

Maintenance required of the Shark IQ R101AE is similar to your experience with other robot vacuums–except upkeep on this one is MINIMAL and less demanding.

First, you want to consider the thought Shark put into this model by opting for a brush + fins roller design as against the 100% bristle of the other robots that get clogged with hair, therefore, increasing maintenance work. It’s also easy to see improvements in the underparts of the Shark to include areas around the brush & wheels that usually get tangled with hair and as a result affecting suction.

Parts

While it’s only reasonable to replace worn parts (battery, extractor, brushes, wheel, etc.), even this would take time before it becomes necessary considering Shark iq parts are pretty solid. The booklet lists part-numbers and where to get replacements. Alternatively, you can click this link.

Troubleshooting

Use these tips for troubleshooting common problems (charging, docking, and navigation) of the Shark iq robot.

Firmware & software updates

Robot vacuum updates are of two types. Device and app. Firmware and software updates are used to improve features and fix bugs.

The latest firmware update (3.4.11v) took effect on October 26. The SharkClean app runs on 2.1.7v. Because update happens automatically, which means you won’t be notified.

Although there was a widely reported planned November update. As of the time of this writing, nothing of such, unfortunately.

To know the firmware number your device is operating, go to settings in the SharkClean app. Click Shark iq and scroll to the bottom.

As per the October update, no significant improvement except you can now factory reset the robot plus cleared maps have moved to the Map tabs. I also noticed the latest update removed the map delete function.

Enter your email address below to be the first to know when Shark releases a new firmware or software update.


Deals & Offers

The Shark self-cleaning vacuum back in August when it was first released sold for $549. Since then, it has witnessed several changes in price, even reaching as low as $399 on Black Friday.

Enter your email in the form below if you’d like to be the first to know about new deals and offers on the Shark iq robot.


Shark iq robot alternatives

Could it be you prefer the Roomba i7+ but not the price? Or maybe in your case, you think a laser navigation robot vacuum will serve you better since it doesn’t get confused even with low lighting? 

Whatever your choice or needs, this section has you covered. 

Or in plain English, here are capable, durable, affordable, and reliable alternatives to the Shark iq r1001ae vacuum cleaner.

Roomba (i7+ & s9+) vs Shark iq r101ae

 

So the Roomba i7+ similar to the Shark is a self-emptying robot vacuum cleaner. 

Unlike the clean base of the r1001ae, though, which is bagless, the base of the i7+ is bagged, with each bag (two comes with a unit of the device) estimated to hold up to 30 runs of dirt. With the implication of the bagged clean base of the i7+ being increased cost of ownership, if you prioritize air quality, then the i7+ is your go-to. 

Moving away from the auto-emptying functionality of the Roomba i7+ to its suction and noise level.

Vacuum Wars in its test noticed the Roomba i7+ has an air power of 17 cfm compared to Shark’s 23 cfm. Roomba s9+–another self-cleaning autonomous cleaner from Roomba–has airpower of 22 cfm. On the noise level, the i7+ and s9+ register at 68dB and 72dB respectively, with the Shark iq robot at 70dB. 

The Shark iq and the Roomba i7+ kind of even–with the Roomba s9+ having a slight edge on carpets. Regardless, multi-floor cleaning capability and coverage are topnotch. Roomba cleans in less time in my experience anyway.

That mentioned, cleaning in complete darkness or cleaning on dark floors or surfaces for all three robots might suffer setbacks. This is down to their camera navigation.

Coming to pet hair cleaning, I think the Shark has the advantage of getting less tangled with hairs giving its brush design.

The possible run time you can get on the Roomba i7+ and Shark iq stays at a little over an hour on low power (Shark with the lesser odds). While both the i7+ and r1001ae self-recharges and self-resumes, I find the Shark iq has a longer recharge time (4 – 6 hours) vs. Roomba’s 2 – 4 hours. Even so, the latest firmware update by iRobot (the company behind the Roomba) called Smart Charge and Resume now ensures the bot only charges for the duration of time needed to complete a cleaning job.

Keep out zones function, which is available in the Roomba i7+ and s9+, is missing in the Shark iq r1001ae. The mapping, room cleaning, navigation, and app integration of the Roomba i7+ and s9+ is also more refined.

Bottom line: The Roomba i7+ is a better alternative to the Shark r1001ae in terms of reliability and cleaning efficiency.

On Sale −9%
iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal- Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
  • Capacity volume - .42 liter. Empties on its own - you don't have to think about vacuuming for months at a time. Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal with AllergenLock bag holds 60 days of dirt, dust and hair.
  • Power-Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power* for improved pick-up performance. Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair you see and the allergens and dust you don't. *(Compared to Roomba 600 Series)
  • Intelligently maps and remembers multiple floor plans to clean your entire home. Patented iAdapt 3.0 technology with vSLAM navigation actively captures thousands of precise measurements each millisecond to optimize coverage.
  • Imprint Smart Mapping enables the robot to learn, map and adapt to your home, allowing you to choose which rooms are cleaned and when. Keep Out Zones offer added control to actively avoid specific areas and objects in your home.
  • Ideal for homes with pets. High-Efficiency Filter and AllergenLock bags trap 99% of pollen, mold, and dust mites so they don't escape back into the air.

Roborock s6 vs. Ozmo 950 vs. Shark iq r101ae

The Roborock s6 and the Deebot Ozmo 950 are yet another alternatives to the Shark iq robot. Roborock s6 or the Ozmo 950, though, neither has the auto emptying function. That mentioned, here are a few legit reasons you might want to consider the Roborock s6 or Deebot 950 as an alternative to the Shark iq r101ae.

Their 2-in-1 function is the first reason to consider the Roborock s6 or Ozmo 950. What that means is that you can vacuum and mop successively and successfully. 

Quietness (63dB vs. Shark’s 70dB) is another strong point of the s6. The s6 parts are cheap and readily available if it helps to mention.

Both s6 and the Deebot 950 have room cleaning, mapping, and keep out zone functions. On top of this, s6 and Ozmo 950 can save multiple maps and are better at resisting hair tangle. 

Each will run at least 2.5 hours on max power vs. Shark’s 1 hour on a single charge, which makes them ideal for larger homes.

Multi-flooring cleaning and coverage are excellent, the same as suction, with suction registering at 15 cfm for the s6 and 24 cfm for the Ozmo 950.

You also want to consider that both the s6 and the Deebot 950 runs on the laser navigation. Meaning, navigation (ditto mapping) is smarter, plus they don’t have problems vacuuming in dark environments or on black surfaces.

Bottom line: The Roborock s6 and Ozmo 950 is a better alternative to the Shark iq and Roomba i7 given their larger battery life, more refined navigation system and app, and superior carpet cleaning ability (particularly the Ozmo 950).

Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum, Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop with Adaptive Routing, Selective Room Cleaning, Super Strong Suction, and Extra Long Battery Life, APP & Alexa Voice Control
  • Best Robot Vacuum Award 2019 of Trusted Reviews. Astonishingly efficient: Using adaptive routing with edge optimized cleaning, S6 gives you comprehensive room cleaning fast.
  • Selective cleaning: Control exactly where you want S6 to go, and not go, from your phone. Including selective room scheduling, zone cleaning, and virtual no-go zones and barriers. No add-ons devices or magnetic tape required.
  • Powerful clean: Intense suction, enough to lift AA batteries, cleans deep into carpets and cracks in the floor. All without sacrificing a cleaning time of up to 3-hours in Quiet mode.
  • Easy mopping: Get your floors gleaming with a quick mop. Just snap on the mop unit, adjust the water flow rate to your preferences, and start a cleanup.
  • Quiet and convenient: With a cleaning volume of just 56db (equivalent to a typical conversation) in Balanced mode, you can clean any time day or night without disruption. S6 is also easy to maintain, and the integrated cable tidy in its dock keeps things elegantly wire-free. Any questions, 9 hours customer service from 20:00-5:00 am Eastern Time at 1-831-217-6425

Shark iq robot frequently asked questions

Is the Shark iq robot good?

The Shark iq robot is terrific but not flawless. It’s affordable and has impressive cleaning capability, but then mapping, navigation, and app need improvement.

How much does a Shark iq robot cost?

On Amazon and as of the time of this writing, the Shark iq robot costs a little over $500

The Roomba i7+ and s9+ (two self-emptying robovacs from iRobot), when compared with the Shark iq robot, should set you back by at least another $500.

How do I empty the Shark iq robot?

Follow the steps in this video:

What’s the difference between Shark r100ae and Shark r101ae?

There’s no difference. The same product listed as Shark iq r100ae at Target, Kohls, Best Buy, is the same product listed as Shark iq r101ae at Amazon and Shark’s website. You might even see it listed in some other places as Shark iq robot r1005ae. Keep in mind, the r101 is the Shark robot without the self-empty base.

Will the Shark iq work with any other of the Shark vacuums?

The Shark iq works only with the model it ships with. The same is obtainable of other self-emptying floor robot cleaners to include the Roomba i7+ and s9+.

Summary

Likes

  • Affordable
  • Low cost of ownership (bagless clean base, self-cleaning brush roll)
  • Admirable cleaning across multiple floorings
  • Select room cleaning ability
  • Automatically recharges and resumes cleaning
  • Automatically empties its dustbin

Dislikes

  • Loud
  • Navigation, app, and mapping functions need improvement
  • May not be ideal for people with allergies

Final Verdict

The Shark iq robot is pretty solid and up to par as far as hardware and design is concerned.

In terms of features–and except for the missing keep out zone function and the limitation in the number of maps that can be saved–the Shark iq r101ae seems adequate. 

The Shark is r101ae is, however, struggling to get those features to translate into effortless and efficient cleaning. As noted in the review, the Shark self vacuum has got unresolved app and mapping issues. The noise level also seems to be an essential feature. And although far and in between, there has been negative feedback on the navigation of the Shark iq robot. 

Shark, in reply to customer reviews, admits that an update will soon be released. Hopefully, this fixes the functionality and usability problems of the Shark iq robot. But until then, the Shark is robot remains what it is–a less expensive, pretty decent self-emptying automatic vacuum cleaner.

On a scale of 100%, here’s how I rated the Shark iq robot floor cleaner:

Features – 40%

Functionality – 20%

Build quality – 20%

Usability – 10%

On Sale −9%
Shark IQ R101AE with Self-Empty Base, Wi-Fi Connected, Home Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors Robot Vacuum (RV1001AE), 30 Session Capacity, Black
  • Forget about vacuuming for up to a month with washable, bagless self-empty base. Holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris
  • Unbeatable suction vs. any Shark(R) robot vacuum for pick up for large and small debris, as well as pet hair on carpets and hard floors
  • Self-cleaning brushroll removes pet hair and long hair from the brushroll as it cleans-no more hair wrap
  • Schedule cleanings, target specific rooms or areas with the Shark (R) Clean App or voice control with Alexa
  • Total home mapping with room select maps your home and lets you choose which rooms to clean or avoid

Take the next step

Given everything you’ve read so far, if you think the Shark iq robot will work out for you, then you want to go to the Shark iq robot Amazon product page. But if not, you can check out the Roomba i7+ (if you’re all in for an auto-empty option). If you don’t mind for the brand or the auto-empty feature, the Roborock s6 is a reliable, solid performer.

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