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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best Shark handheld vacuum cleaners

In the car, on the stairs, under the couch — the number of places you can use a handheld vacuum goes on and on. These miniature versions of an upright vacuum are light enough for single-handed use but with the suction to get rid of messes in a flash. They’re perfect for small spills or maneuvering in tight spaces.

Shark is a well-known name in the vacuum world. The company features standard canister vacuums as well as their hand/stick vacuums, which provide flexibility in how they are used. Some designs are specialized for pet owners who want to eradicate pet hair from their flooring. Some feature an ergonomic handle for those with limited wrist and hand strength. Yet other models are designed for reaching into tight cracks and crevices like those found on stairs and in vehicles.

To find the best handheld vacuums from Shark, it helps to read a comprehensive buying guide. Think about how, when, and where you’d like to use the vacuum. Then, examine the important features offered by Shark to determine which product is right for you.

handheld vacuum
Shark vacuums can be registered upon purchase. The whole process is even easier when you scan the vacuum’s QR code. Registering your vacuum can make it easier when starting a warranty claim or getting repair services.

Key considerations

Types of Shark handheld vacuums cleaners

Handheld only: These models are the traditional and most common handheld vacuums. They feature a canister with a dust cup/dustbin within a molded handle piece that's attached to a nozzle. Shark has a different take on this design by supplying different heads that can be attached to the end of the nozzle for more cleaning power on carpet and heavy debris.

Handheld/stick: Handheld/stick vacuums have the reach of a stick vacuum with the weight and mobility of a handheld. These models differ from a handheld-only vacuum in that they have a long nozzle onto which you attach a brush head. These models are great for cleaning your floor in between vacuuming with a full-size machine. Their long reach is also great for cleaning drapes.

Handheld portable canister: These handheld vacuums feature a canister with a flexible hose attachment for upholstery or the car. They also include brush attachment heads, but they can only attach directly to the canister, not the hose. These models tend to be more difficult to maneuver than a traditional handheld design, but the flexible hose can reach into spaces a traditional vacuum cannot.

Storage

Handheld vacuums are small, so they don't take up a lot of space. However, you still need to have somewhere to store it. Shark provides either a charging dock or a charging base in which to store the vacuum when it’s not in use. Some models can be mounted on the wall, while others can only stay on the floor. If you’re looking to save some floor space, opt for one that can be wall-mounted.

Accessories: Each handheld vacuum is designed to use a certain number of included accessories. Some models have onboard storage while others come with a storage bag. Onboard storage is the most convenient, but if you want to add a few accessories to your collection, a storage bag gives you more flexibility in the number of accessories.

Weight

Shark’s handheld vacuums range in weight from 1.4 to 4.0 pounds. Everything in that range can be considered lightweight, but if you have limited mobility or strength in your hand and wrist, an ultralight model might be best for you.

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Expert Tip
Shark provides a two-year limited warranty on all of its handheld vacuums. To activate the warranty, you need to initiate a warranty claim and provide a receipt as proof of purchase.
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Shark handheld vacuum features

Charging

Shark has a couple of different setups for charging its handheld vacuums.

Charging station: First are those models that come with a docking station and separate portable charging adapter. With these models, the docking station only holds the vacuum; it does not charge it. Charging only takes place when the portable adapter is plugged into the vacuum, which can be done while it’s sitting in the docking station.

Charging dock: The second method is an all-in-one charging dock. The dock itself is plugged into an electrical outlet, so every time the vacuum is put into the dock, it gets charged (unless the dock is unplugged).

Cordless handheld vacuums

When most people think of handheld vacuums, they think of cordless handheld vacuums. These appliances are highly convenient because you never need to search for an outlet when you want to clean. However, the runtime/battery life is short, and it must be charged frequently.

These appliances are rechargeable. Get into the habit of recharging your hand vac after every use. Each model has an indicator light that lets you know when the battery is fully charged and ready to go.

Corded handheld vacuums

Not all Shark handheld vacuums are cordless. For those with a cord, the cord can vary in length from 6 to 25 feet, depending on the model. Obviously, a longer cord gives you a greater range of motion and mobility, so if you’re deciding between two corded models and the cord length is the only major difference, opt for the one with the longer cord.

Extra tools

The accessories can often make all the difference in the value of a vacuum. Each model comes with a few extra accessories, but all the tools we list are not compatible with all models. Decide which tools will work best in your situation and choose a Shark handheld vacuum that includes those.

Crevice tool: Almost all the Shark handheld vacuums come with some kind of crevice tool that allows you to reach between car seats or inside the creases of upholstery cushions. Some models also include a mini crevice tool for those extra-tight spaces.

Brush head and/or pet tool/brush attachment: Models designed to remove pet hair include a brush head and are designed to deal with the massive amounts of fur shed by your favorite four-legged friends. The pet tool can also be used to clean stairs and floors.

Hose: A few handheld models include either a flexible or hard extension hose. Depending on the type of hose, it can be used to clean hard-to-reach corners or draperies and upholstery.

Dusting brush: There are two types of dusting brushes available: a soft duster and a standard duster. These have bristles to stir up the dust so the vacuum can suck it into the dustbin. The bristles on a soft duster are for use on delicate surfaces.

Duster crevice tool: A duster crevice tool looks like a standard crevice tool except it has bristles on the end to disturb the dust so it can be successfully vacuumed.

Wide upholstery tool: The extra width on this tool makes short work of couches and other large pieces of upholstered furniture.

Mattress tool: This tool is very similar to the wide upholstery tool because it also provides extra width, which makes quick work of cleaning your mattress.

Scrubbing brush: Stiff sharply angled bristles give this tool an edge over a dusting brush.

Home and car detail kit: This kit comes standard with some handheld vacuums, but it can be bought separately for many others. It includes an extra hose, miniaturized versions of the crevice and dust tool, as well as angled tools to reach all the cracks and crevices in your vehicle.

Color

A few of Shark’s handheld vacuums include color options. The color really doesn't affect performance, but it can certainly boost your mood or provide a seamless look with your full-size vacuum.

The lithium-ion batteries used in Shark’s handheld vacuums eventually begin to wear down, which shortens their run times after a while. How long that takes depends on how and how often the vacuum is used.

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Shark handheld vacuum prices

Inexpensive

Basic Shark handheld-only vacuums start at around $40 to $50. These simple models come with a few extra tools, such as a crevice tool, motorized brush, and dusting brush. They have a docking station and adapter cord.

Mid-range

Shark handheld portable canister models run anywhere from $75 to $100. They typically come with an upholstery tool and, at 15 feet, some of the longest power cords among the handheld models.

Expensive

Shark’s latest handheld-only model has a narrow design for targeted suction and a charging dock. It falls into the $125 to $140 range. These models come with a few accessories, onboard storage, and a charging dock.

Premium

At the top of the price range are the stick/handheld models that cost around $130 to $150. These vacuums have some of the features of the handheld-only models but also have a hard extension hose that can be used to clean entire rooms or draperies.

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Expert Tip
Some Shark vacuums have a replaceable battery while others don’t. Those that don’t must be disposed of once the runtime fizzles and the battery no longer holds a charge.
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Other products we considered

Not all of Shark’s handheld vacuums could make it onto our list, but here is a couple that were close contenders. Depending on your circumstances, they could still be the right vacuum for you.

The Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum has a narrow head design that reaches into small spaces. It's Shark’s lightest vacuum at a mere 1.4 pounds, making it a great choice for those with limited strength and mobility.

The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect XL LV901 Handheld Vacuum has a powerful extra-large pet brush that successfully removes pet hair. It includes a crevice tool and has a power adapter with a separate docking station.

If you like the idea of a cordless stick vacuum cleaner but want something a little more substantial, consider a cordless stick vacuum from Shark. These cleaners offer rapid, lightweight maneuverability beneath furniture and in other tight areas.

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Tips

  • Use the right tools. The right tools, especially crevice tools, can increase the versatility of your vacuum. For example, Shark hand vacuums are excellent for detailing cars, and a crevice tool is essential for the job.
  • Read through the owner’s manual. It has instructions on how to correctly use the charger to power the vacuum. The instructions can vary by model, but with some, the vacuum should not be left plugged on its charger beyond the prescribed charging time. The reason: it could damage the battery or shorten the battery life. The vacuum should also be kept out of high temperatures and humidity.
  • Empty the dust cup regularly. The dust cup, also called the dustbin or canister, is not very large on a handheld vacuum. To keep things running smoothly, this reservoir should be emptied each time you use the vacuum.
  • If you’re looking for an affordable wedding or graduation gift, a handvac is a practical choice for someone who is starting to build their home. Shark offers several great options on Amazon. When perusing online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, you can also find great deals from brands including Bissell, Black + Decker, Hoover, and even Dyson.
  • Learn about other vacuum cleaner types to make sure this is what you want. Shark also makes affordable robot vacuums, canister vacuums, and upright vacuums. Robot vacuums require the least amount of physical effort. Canister vacuums and uprights require pushing and some maintenance, but their powerful suction is often worth it.
handheld vacuum
Runtimes on handheld vacuums vary by model and the tools being used. Motorized heads eat up battery power faster than suction alone. Keep in mind that a single charge may only last 15 to 20 minutes. These vacuums are meant for short, quick cleanups only.

FAQ

Q. Do Shark hand vacuums have HEPA filters?

A. Shark handheld vacuums may have one or more standard filters, but they don’t include HEPA filters.

Q. Can I purchase extra accessories separately?

A. Each model has certain accessories that are included, but they rarely include all the tools and accessories that could potentially be used with the vacuum. But don’t worry: shark tools and accessories are also sold separately, so you can replace or add to your arsenal at any time.

Q. I’m looking for a bagless vacuum. Would a handheld vac fit the bill?

A. Maybe. Shark handheld vacs are bagless; the debris they pick up is stored in a canister and emptied periodically. But the answer to this question depends on how much debris you wish to pick up. If you need something for small jobs, a handheld Shark vac may be perfect. But if you intend to vacuum whole rooms with your new appliance, choose an upright bagless vacuum instead; the capacity is far greater.

Q. How do I know when the filter needs to be cleaned?

A. It's time to clean the filter when there’s less suction, the vacuum stops picking up all visible dirt and debris, or the airflow becomes restricted. Most of the time, the filter only needs to be tapped clean. However, if it’s particularly dirty, you can run water through it until the water runs clear.

Do not use soap. Let the filter completely air-dry before you reinstall it in the vacuum. Do not use forced air or apply heat to dry the filter.

Q. What amount of voltage does a Shark handheld vacuum cleaner have?

A. It depends on the model. Shark Wandvacs have around 10 volts (nearly 11 volts) of power. The Shark UltraCyclone’s power is actually measured in watts (80 watts). 

Q. I like colorful appliances. What colors are available in the Shark handheld vacuum space?

A. It depends on which model you’re looking at. The Shark Wandvac is available in slate, gold, and a pretty blue shade called “Cove.” The Shark Wandvac Pet Pro is available in royal blue, sage green, and mauve. The Shark Ultracyclone Pet Pro is black with gold trim. Many consumers appreciate the fact that neutral and subtle colors are available that provide a “gentle” pop of color.

 

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