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The best Shark robotic vacuum

The best time to vacuum is before you can see dirt on the floor. Unfortunately, most of us wait until the floor looks dirty before we consider cleaning it. With a Shark robotic vacuum, you can schedule regular cleanings and never neglect vacuuming again.

The best Shark robotic vacuum depends on your cleaning preferences. We like the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE because it is self-emptying, which allows you to go up to 30 days without even thinking about vacuuming. 

What to know before you buy a Shark robotic vacuum

How a Shark robotic vacuum works

A robotic vacuum may look different than an upright vacuum, but it cleans the same way. It uses brushes and rollers to agitate dirt so the unit can suck it up. Where it differs from other types of vacuums is in its automation. 

A robotic vacuum uses various sensors to detect walls, obstacles, cliff edges and more so it can navigate your home with less chance of needing assistance. A higher-end model uses data collected from its sensors to create a comprehensive map of your home to more efficiently accomplish its task.

What to expect from your Shark robotic vacuum

If you were driving along a familiar road and came to an impasse, you would have to take a moment to figure out a different route. For a robotic vacuum, an impasse could be a footstool just 12 inches away from where it’s usually located. 

A robotic vacuum will save you a great deal of time and do a great job, but there will be days when it gets hung up. This doesn't mean you purchased a faulty model; it simply means that some conditions have changed since the last cleaning, and your vacuum may require a little assistance.

Types of Shark robotic vacuums

There are three types of available Shark robotic vacuums: Shark ION, Shark IQ and Shark AI.

Shark ION: As the name suggests, a Shark ION vacuum bounces around somewhat randomly to complete its cleaning. This type of robotic vacuum is best for cleaning smaller areas.

Shark IQ: A Shark IQ is more intelligent than the Shark ION and will map out a row-by-row path instead of bouncing around to get the job done more efficiently.

Shark AI: The Shark AI is the smartest of the three offerings. This type of Shark robotic vacuum will map out a row-by-row cleaning path and detect and avoid any unexpected obstacles.

What to look for in a quality Shark robotic vacuum

Brushrolls in Shark robotic vacuums

Shark robotic vacuums have two advanced brushroll technologies: powerfins and self-cleaning brushrolls.

Powerfins: Powerfins are flexible silicone fins located on the brushroll that can dig deep into carpets and clean floors more thoroughly than bristles.

Self-cleaning brushrolls: If you have pets, a self-cleaning brushroll is a perfect solution. It keeps your floor clean without becoming a hair wrap victim so that the vacuum can clean more efficiently.

Dustbin capacity in Shark robotic vacuums

The dustbin is what holds all the dirt and debris that a Shark robotic vacuum picks up. The larger the dustbin, the greater the likelihood your unit will complete cleaning your entire home before needing to be emptied. 

At the top end of Shark's robotic vacuum price scale, the company has models that can return to their charging base and self empty. With these models, the homeowner only has to empty the base roughly once per month.

Mopping capabilities in Shark robotic vacuums

If you need to vacuum and mop, Shark makes a robotic vacuum that does both. It is called the Shark AI VACMOP.

How much you can expect to spend on a Shark robotic vacuum

The price for a Shark robotic vacuum ranges from $250-$600. Lower-end models are more basic. As the price increases, so do desirable features, such as object detection and avoidance and self-emptying. 

Shark robotic vacuum FAQ

How long will it take for my Shark robotic vacuum to learn the layout of my home?

A. It can take several cleaning missions before your Shark robotic vacuum learns the layout of your home. Remember that moving your furniture or even leaving your shoes in a different spot each day might cause your vacuum to continually change its cleaning route.

When is the best time to schedule a cleaning?

A. While many people think nighttime is the best time to schedule a cleaning, the vacuum’s noise may cause a lack of sleep. While robotic vacuums have highly advanced sensors, there are some situations where darkness might be misinterpreted by the unit, causing it to get stuck. Choose a time with natural light, perhaps when you are out of the house.

What's the best Shark robotic vacuum to buy?

Top Shark robotic vacuum

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE

What you need to know: This is the most intelligent robotic vacuum Shark has to offer.

What you'll love: The self-emptying feature means you won’t have to think about vacuuming for up to 30 days at a time. It has powerful suction, a self-cleaning brushroll and can be controlled by the SharkClean app.

What you should consider: The higher suction power on this model also means a louder operating volume.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Wayfair.

Top Shark robotic vacuum for the money

Shark ION Robot RV720 

What you need to know: This solid mid-range model offers an hour of cleaning time per charge.

What you'll love: There are intelligent sensors in this vacuum that help it to avoid obstacles. Use the remote to set a recurring cleaning schedule. It features dual side brushes for those tricky spots.

What you should consider: The setup of this model is somewhat tricky.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair.

Worth checking out

Shark ION R871

What you need to know: If you are looking for a lower-priced Shark robotic vacuum, this model could be a better fit for your budget.

What you'll love: This affordable robotic vacuum features a tri-brush cleaning system that employs side brushes, channel brushes and a multi-surface brushroll. It features an extra-large dustbin that can pickup debris for up to 90 minutes.

What you should consider: This model is not as adept at avoiding obstacles as the other vacuums on our shortlist.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's.


Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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