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Shark WandVac review

Need a powerful handheld vacuum? The Shark WandVac could be ideal

Shark WandVac
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Shark WandVac is a powerful cordless vacuum cleaner that’s ideal for small clean-up tasks. It’s lightweight and great for cleaning up high but its run time is only 16 minutes, and its dust cup fills up very quickly so it’s not designed to clean your entire home.

Pros

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    Strong suction

  • +

    Easy to empty

Cons

  • -

    Noisy

  • -

    Short battery life

  • -

    Small dust cup

One minute review

The Shark brand is a big name in the vacuuming world and Shark cleaners are often compared to Dyson’s in terms of power and suction.

The Shark WandVac is designed to be used as a handheld vacuum cleaner, but it does come with a floor head, so you can also use it as a stick vacuum to clean hard floors and carpets.

It’s designed to be incredibly lightweight, but still packs a punch when it comes to power, and the range of included attachments promise to help you clean a variety of areas from tight corners to your kitchen floor. So much so in fact, we think it's one of the best vacuum cleaners you can buy.

If you’re looking for a cordless Shark vacuum that’s designed to power around your whole house, the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Flexology Cordless Vacuum Cleaner has great flexibility, a boost mode, and good battery life, and currently sits in our list of the best cordless vacuum cleaners. It’s best to think of the Shark WandVac as something you’d grab if you’ve just spilled flour all over the floor and needed to quickly clean it up. 

Shark WandVac price and availability

  • List price $119.99 / £179.99 

The Shark Wandvac is available in the US and the UK, and will set you back 119.99 / £179.99. It's not currently available in Australia 

Design

  • Very lightweight 
  • Can be used as a handheld or a stick vacuum 
  • Anti-hair wrap cleaner head

The Shark WandVac has been designed for those times when you need to clean up a mess and you need to do it fast, and it can be used as a handheld cleaner with various attachments, or in stick mode with the 11.2-inch / 28cm-wide floor head to clean larger areas.

It weighs under 1kg in handheld mode, and is easy to maneuver in stick mode – in this mode, according to Shark, the US model weighs 5.8lbs, while the UK model is 3kg – that makes the US model a little lighter, which may be down to the slightly different head design. 

Putting the vacuum together is simple, and you can add attachments by slotting them in until they click into place. If you’re using the Shark WandVac as a stick vacuum, the anti-hair-wrap floor head has self-cleaning silicone ‘Powerfins’, rather than conventional bristles, which prevent pet or human hair from getting stuck. 

To convert the WandVac to a handheld vacuum, all you have to do is remove the wand and floor head and you’re good to go. If you’re cleaning your car or other awkward spaces, a crevice tool is included, and there’s also a fluffy brush head that’s ideal for cleaning blinds or delicate surfaces. 

The dust canister capacity on this Shark vacuum is just 0.25qts / 0.25 liters, which when you compare it to the Dyson V11 Absolute which has a 0.2-gal / 0.76-liter bin, is very small, although it’s worth noting that handheld vacuums tend to have smaller bin capacities because they’re not designed for cleaning your entire home.

Emptying the bin is simple – you just push down a lever with one hand and the dust cup cap opens at an angle to let the contents fall into your bin. It took us a few attempts to make sure the opening of the dust cup was right over our bin, but because the action is quite fast the dust cloud is minimal.

There are two ways to charge the Shark WandVac. The first is by simply plugging the handheld part of the vacuum into the charger. The second method is by using the charging dock, which comes as standard – this way you can simply finish cleaning and place the vacuum on the dock, and it’ll start charging.  

Shark WandVac

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

  • Loud in use 
  • Good suction 
  • Lightweight for cleaning up high  

We tested the Shark WandVac thoroughly to see how it performed across a variety of tasks, including cleaning up food debris and also finer dirt and dust. We put the battery to the test to see if it lived up to the promised run time. 

The first thing we noticed is just how loud this vacuum cleaner is. In its standard cleaning mode with the floor head on it hit 82 decibels – the average vacuum cleaner is around 75 decibels. And when you use the Boost mode the volume increases even more, so this is worth bearing in mind if you prefer a quieter model. 

We tested the WandVac on hard floors with a flour mixture that resembled fine dust and dirt, and the vacuum sucked up everything in its path with ease, although it did cause some small crumbs to scatter further away. On carpet, the cleaner also coped very well with the mixture, and we didn’t need to use the Boost mode. 

Next, we tested the Shark with larger debris on hard floors and found that the machine again did a good job, although it did take a few sweeps back and forth to scoop up all of the mess. We also noticed at this point that the dust cup filled up very quickly, which may have been impacting its ability to pick up.

We found the WandVac actually performed better on carpets – in standard mode it was able to pick up large pieces of debris, but it was even better in Boost mode, as you’d expect. We did notice that after cleaning up just one pile of larger debris (we used oats) the dust cup was pretty much full; however, this machine is designed primarily for cleaning up spills and other smaller cleaning jobs, so as long as you’re not expecting to be able to clean your whole home without a trip to the bin this shouldn’t be an issue.

We found the Shark WandVac was very light and easy to use with the crevice tool attached, and the suction was strong enough to provide a thorough clean, making it ideal for awkward jobs like cleaning your car or stairs. 

We also used the vacuum around the house as a general cleaner to see how it fared, and we were impressed with the amount of dust it picked up, desp

Shark WandVac

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life

  • 16 minutes run time
  • Choice of charging options
  • Full charge takes approx 3.5 hours  

Shark claims the WandVac can run for 16 minutes as a handheld vacuum cleaner, which is definitely on the short side as vacuums go, but should be long enough if you just need to clean up a spill of crumbs or give your car a quick spruce-up. 

When you attach the floor head the cleaning time is reduced, which Shark does state, and we found that the battery only lasted 12.5 minutes, without us using the Boost mode. For us, that wasn’t really long enough to clean the entire home from top to bottom; however, that’s not what the WandVac is designed for. If you need a whole-home cleaner, consider something like the Dyson V15 Detect instead, which offers a run-time of up to 60 minutes.

The battery takes around three and a half hours to fully charge – you can either plug the charger into the handheld section, or use the charging dock that comes with the machine as standard.  LED lights on the WandVac’s handle tell you how much battery you have remaining: three lights are illuminated when the cleaner is fully charged, and we found in our tests that one light signaled roughly five minutes of cleaning time left. 

Shark WandVac

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Shark WandVac?

Buy it if… 

You want a vacuum to quickly clean up spills

The Shark WandVac is ideal for those times when cereal and the like is spilled onto the floor and you need to clean it up quickly and easily. It’s also great for cleaning high-chair trays, or spilled food from a pet bowl. 

You want a lightweight cleaner

The WandVac is light and easy to use, making it a fantastic choice for high-up cleaning of blinds and curtains. It’s also a good option if you need a portable vacuum for cleaning your car. 

You want a vacuum that’s easy to empty

The dust canister on the WandVac takes seconds to empty – all you have to do is press a button and the dirt will fall out, without a huge cloud of dust leaving a mess behind. 

Don’t buy it if… 

You want a vacuum for cleaning your whole house

While this Shark model is capable of cleaning your whole home to a high standard, the maximum battery life is just 16 minutes, which for most people won’t be enough to clean their home from top to bottom.

You need a quiet vacuum cleaner

The WandVac is definitely not the right choice for you if you need a vacuum that operates quietly – it reaches 82 decibels, which is louder than the average vacuum cleaner (around 75 decibels).

You need a vacuum with a large dust canister 

The dust canister on this Shark vacuum is very small, and is only really suitable for cleaning up a pile of debris, or perhaps cleaning just one room, so look at other models if you don’t want to be making regular trips to the bin.

First reviewed: June 2021

You might also want to check out our Shark Anti Hair Wrap Flexology Cordless Vacuum Cleaner (opens in new tab) review.

Sophie writes about all things appliance-related and is currently the Home Editor at TechRadar's sister site, Top Ten Reviews. When she's not testing coffee machines and appliances, Sophie is thinking of eating delicious food, and asking people what they're having for dinner.