Shark vacuum buying guide - how to choose and how to get the best price
There are a wide variety of Shark vacuum cleaners to choose from, all with different features and accessories - which means it can quickly become confusing when trying to work out which ones are worth buying, and the best value.
We reveal which Shark vacuums have performed best in our independent vacuum tests, how reliable they are, and how to make sense of pricing and model variations and find the best Shark vacuum for you at the best price.
- and - get straight to our top vacuum picks
- - discover the best deals we've found so far across Dyson, Shark and more
Are Shark vacuums any good?
We’ve tested most of the Shark range and uncovered some great vacuums, although others haven't proved so impressive.
As well as the cleaning performance, which Shark is right for you depends on the size of your home, your budget and what kind of surfaces you need to clean.
Corded models are generally cheaper than cordless – around £250 or less. Most Shark cordless vacuums are around £350.
Shark vs rivals: what features set it apart?
Going toe to toe with big competitors such as Dyson, Samsung and Miele, Shark vacuums tend to have attention-grabbing features:
- 'Duoclean' technology - all the latest Shark vacuums have two counter-rotating brush bars in the main floorhead. This is becoming more common and is said to help capture both larger debris and fine dust across different floor surfaces.
- Flexology - this is a flexible hinge built into the cleaning tube that will bend so you can reach under furniture (and fold the vac over for easier storage). Dyson has recently started including a ‘Reach under tool’ attachment with its cordless vacuum to compete with this feature.
- Lift-Away - lets you detach and lift the dust container to make it easier to clean areas such as stairs or high-up places with the flexible cleaning tube.
- LED headlights - you’ll be surprised at how many extra bits of dirt and debris you’ll spot during vacuuming with LED headlights on the floorhead. Plenty of cheaper competitors have this feature, though Dyson doesn't.
- Anti Hair Wrap - this handy feature uses a comb at the back of the floorhead to pull hair from the brush bar during use and send it up into the dust container - helping you avoid a tangled brush bar (which reduces suction and is a hassle to clean).
- Five-year warranty - most vacuum cleaners come with a one or two-year warranty, but Shark has a market-leading five-year warranty, even on its cordless models.
- Attractive sale prices - Shark vacuum prices can jump around a bit, but when the good deals are on they can be very cheap indeed. Some cost less than £150 when on sale, so make sure to shop around for the best deals to make sure you don’t miss out.
How to get the best deal on a Shark vacuum
Shark vacuum prices often fluctuate by hundreds of pounds.
We’ve found older models can sometimes cost more than newer ones, and entry-level models can be on sale for a higher price than the pet version, despite coming with fewer accessories.
To help you get the best price, we've pulled together historical pricing data for the Shark range.
The tables below show the lowest, typical and highest prices for Shark’s cordless and corded ranges. You can use it as a reference to see if the price you've found looks promising.
Guide to Shark cordless vacuum prices
Guide to Shark corded vacuum cleaner prices
Table notes: Pricing information correct as of 17 November 2020. Pricing data for available Shark vacuums taken from Pricerunner and Pricespy to give a general market overview - retailers and prices may differ from the above.
Making sense of the different Shark models
The two key Shark ranges are:
- Shark Lift-Away upright vacuums - Like a traditional upright vacuum, but you can lift the dust canister off the base and hold it, making jobs such as cleaning the stairs easier. Most are plug-in models, but some are cordless.
- Shark slim stick vacuum cleaners - Slim and lightweight vacuums with the motor either in the floor head or a handheld unit. Can be corded or cordless.
You may also see Shark vacuums labelled as:
- TruePet - Includes a mini turbo pet tool for cleaning sofas, stairs etc
- Plus / XL - Plus models have a slightly wider floorhead, which can appeal if you’ve got large areas to cover in your home. XL versions have both a wider floorhead and a larger dust capacity, so you can cover large spaces without the need to empty the container as often.
Shark model codes explained
One thing to look out for when browsing Shark’s ranges is the letters at the end of the model code. This helps indicate what you get.
- Ends with a H - extra filtration technology for allergy sufferers.
- Ends with UKBT - extra spare battery included (two batteries total).
- Ends with UKT - comes with a mini turbo tool for pets.
- Ends with UKTT - comes with spare battery and mini turbo tool for pets.
- Ends with UKTDB - comes with three batteries and mini turbo tool for pets.
For Shark’s cordless stick vacuums, it works slightly differently:
- The IZ201 models come with a single battery.
- The IZ251 models come with more than one battery (usually two).
- The IZ251UKTDB comes with three batteries.
Are Shark vacuums reliable?
As the importance of living sustainably becomes increasingly stark, you want to be sure that a new vacuum you buy won’t break down and be sent to the scrap heap before its time.
Shark does have replacement parts on sale, available via the . This means that if a certain part of your vacuum breaks down it should be easy to replace the faulty part instead of buying a whole new vacuum and throwing away the old one.
Another important factor to consider when buying a cordless vacuum is the availability of replacement batteries. Lithium-ion batteries inevitably lose their ability to hold a charge over time, so you need to be able to buy replacements so you don’t have to replace the whole vacuum when its battery dies.
Shark batteries cost around £80, which is obviously quite pricey but relatively standard for this size of battery.
Shark handheld vacuum cleaners
It’s small and incredibly light, with a charging station you could set on a desk or kitchen counter.
The version comes with a spare battery you can swap in if the first one runs out, and it’s often on offer for the same price as the original, so make sure to check the price of both before you buy to get the best value.