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Surprise For Yet Another Dyson Owner
on October 6, 2016
I never thought I’d be writing a review on a vacuum cleaner, but in this case after having had Dyson's for over 15 years this one earns a mention. Don’t let the price or name fool you, this easily out performs the Dysons in many ways. The Dyson(s) this is replacing is the DC07 Animal and DC27 ball vacuum. I have no regrets. My reviews are normally pretty long-winded, but I feel there's a lot to cover here for a product you hope to only buy once and service you for many years.
The product is fairly well constructed; however, it is not as heavy duty as the dyson. The clips are a little flimsier, and a little smaller. The Dyson is no champion in this department either as it’s entirely plastic and I’ve replaced pieces many times over the years. This seems to be rugged enough in places that matter, and I’m pleased to find the extension tube is made of metal. Parts snap together well and easily, and it seems to require far less effort to reconfigure. Size-wise it’s closer to the ball vacuum, power-wise the larger DC07. The powered floor brush is the same width as the Dyson ball, which is to say not very wide. It does have a window at the top so you can see if something is beginning to wind around the brush before it can cause trouble. Overall the weight and size make it an excellent choice for those with petite builds or senior citizens.
I’ll say this right up front though, this is not a particularly good looking vacuum cleaner. It’s decent enough, and certainly that’s not what you buy them for. Some parts are quite handsome, but the general appearance of the tank is industrial at best, and just a bit cluttered over all.
Here is a bit of a mixed bag. Ergonomically the Dyson has obviously had some top flight industrial engineers working on it, as everything is snug, streamline and compact in the ways all the parts fit together. Once you know how to reconfigure the Dyson to extend the hose, it makes sense but does have a bit of a learning curve. The Shark by contrast is simpler in many ways, if a bit fussier.
The “Lift-Away” canister allowing it to detach from the base is absolutely brilliant, and makes cleaning things like stairs, blinds, ceiling cobwebs etc. much easier. It’s far lighter than the Dyson, and easier to use. The swivel feature is similar to the ball vacuum, less sexy but works just as well. Basically, this is like having a canister and upright vacuum cleaner in one unit.
There are certain aspects that nearly appear to be tacked on, such as the cord holder. The Dysons have this on the back, and it’s quite easy to access and use. Here it’s on the side, and winding the cord really works best only going one direction as the lower clip is tucked in and a bit out of the way. The tool holder as well is not really integrated, rather a small ring with 2 friction holders for the crevice tool and brush that you put onto the upright extension during assembly. Assembly BTW is a very simple and straightforward proposition, and helps you to understand how to reconfigure. Additionally, the red 2 position on/off rocker switch looks like it came right off the parts rack of a radio shack.
The handle is well placed, well configured and comfortable to use. The main roller head is easy to tilt and the balance is quite good. Removing the tank is straightforward, and definitely one of the biggest selling points of this machine. I never liked having the hose stretch from the Dysons, which would inevitably fall over.
One thing the Shark is definitely lacking is the one hand or one finger type of ergos of the Dyson. For instance, the canister must be released via 2 flip style clips at the bottom vs the pushbutton release of the Dyson. When it comes to cleaning the Shark wins, but when it comes to those extra little amenities, you’ll have to pony up a few extra hundred dollars. However, I believe the Shark does have some advantages beyond aesthetics.
This is one of the highlights of the Shark. The Dysons have a HEPA filter which consists of a little flat filter that rests on a ribbed plate and sits at the base of the canister unit. Comparatively the Shark may seem overly complex with its multi-step filter system in 2 different locations. With the very first use it was obvious how insufficient the Dyson was in this regard. It always smelled like I was vacuuming before. With the Shark, it smells clean. There is nothing going back into the air. One look at the base filter and you know how well it’s working, it was positively filthy. Luckily these filters are made to be cleaned. The base “pre motor” filter consists of a felt filter with a foam filter on top, and then the “post motor” air return filter is a HEPA filter inside of an egg crate style frame. This is the grill you see on the front, and is easily accessed. The pre motor filter is accessed when you remove the canister. For allergy sufferers this is 5-star stuff.
I have a couple of issues when comparing to the Dyson. The first being potentially important for allergy sufferers. Typically, the bag-less canisters have a little door at the bottom you open up to empty it. On the Dysons, the release for the door is at the top of the tank. You can lower the tank into a trash receptacle with one hand and pull the little release ring with your index finger, releasing the contents well away from your face and hands.
With the Shark, the release tab for the door is at the bottom of the canister opposite the hinge, which means you can’t drop the tank down into the trash can to release it, it needs to be up high enough so you can press the button. This means potential to get your hands dirty, or some of the dust and dirt to miss the can. Normally I’d go outside and do this right into the garbage can – if you do the same just make sure it’s not windy!
Additionally, the interior design of the canister has a flaw compared to the competition. Towards the top of the unit there is an inverted tube which comes close to the outside wall similar to the Dyson. However, the Shark has interior braces that trap dog fur. It can be easily dislodged by banging it, but you might not have that option. Again, this means you might be having to deal with potential contamination and sort of nullifies the excellent filtering of the unit.
The first thing I noticed when I switched it on was how quiet it is! I was positive that something like this would have to be far noisier. It’s most likely that newer models of Dyson are quieter, but I’ve had experience with 4 now and they all sound about the same. A higher pitched whirring sound with the Shark can be heard opposed to the deeper Dyson Roar on the carpet. As far as real cleaning, this positively outperforms the large Dyson. It’s easier to use and maneuver, and pulled far more out of the carpet than the Dyson did. Yuck! I had no idea. We have a medium pile carpet throughout the upstairs, and 2 long haired dogs. It was obvious that this thing was digging down much deeper than the Dyson from the tracks. The motorized brush also has an indicator light on it that lights green when the brush is working, and turns red if there is a blockage or jam. Another nice feature the Shark has is a little ring you can turn to cut down on the suction if it’s becoming too hard to push.
One thing worth mentioning could bother some people. On my cut pile carpet the Shark leaves brush marks, think of a rake on sand opposed to just the flat sweep I'm used to with a Dyson. I'm not sure if this really bugs me or not, and it probably varies from carpet to carpet. I don't have any other similar type to check this on. You can certainly tell in an instant that it has been vacuumed however.
The supplied Dust Away attachment with the detachable pad is a clever little extra that acts like a Swiffer on steroids. It works quite well right up to the wall, as well as sucking up all that dust and grit that manages to make its way in between gaps of the plank style hardwood floors. There is basically an open section in front of the pad to get the big stuff, and behind it is the pad which gets the dust and fine stuff that is usually missed by a vacuum even with a beater bar. You will still need to do the occasional wet mopping as things just get stuck on the floors, but for regular cleaning this is a nice option to have.
This is a smaller attachment with a beater bar that is powered by suction. It’s rather cleverly constructed and works well on upholstery or stairs. It’s much smaller than the Dyson Animal attachment, and far more useful. The Dyson was too large to use for pretty much anything I ever found. It’s about 4 ½ inches wide so it’s perfect for chairs and sofas. I was actually sort of surprised at how much it actually got off of the upholstery compared to just a regular brush attachment. This was a pleasant surprise inclusion; I didn’t know it would be in the package.
- easy to use
- swivel base easy to maneuver
- incredibly powerful
- suction control
- fantastic filter system
- bag free design
- 2 position power switch (motorized brush head on/off)
- motorized brush head with blockage/jam indicator light
- motorized brush head viewing window
- portable lift-away canister for easy cleaning of stairs or hard to access areas
- hardwood/tile floor attachment
- pet upholstery attachment
- 30’ cord
- easy cord release
- 5 year warranty
- questionable aesthetics/ergonomics
- fussy design
- some materials a little flimsy
- no soft brush attachment
- dustbin door release at bottom means possible contact with contents
- motorized head only 11” wide
Wow, that’s it. I suppose one more con would be this is not a proven commodity. After a year I’ll check back in, but I would imagine Shark would have another model out by then. I can say in the last few days this little thing has really impressed me. Enough to write a review about a vacuum cleaner, which I never thought I would. But for $180, I honestly thought I was making a mistake. Instead it’s one of the smartest things I’ve done, thanks to the excellent reviews from Amazon customers.
In summary, besides the astounding power and cleaning performance of the Shark, there are 2 things I really love about it. The first is the Lift-Away design. I can’t say enough about how cool this is. It’s like having a canister vacuum you can carry around and get cobwebs, stairs etc. with without having to drag something around behind you. The second is the fantastic filter system. While I’m not a huge allergy sufferer, I had no idea how much crap was being blown back in the air with the Dyson. Combine these features with a lightweight, easy to maneuver and hard-sucking product they’ve fulfilled their promise.
While ergonomically lacking behind the Dyson, they’ve hit a good balance of features and performance, cutting corners where it would be least noticed and giving the consumer every bit from their hard earned dollar. I was dubious of Shark because of infomercials etc., but now I know they’re not throwing their money away on fancy packaging or industrial design with questionable returns.
5 stars, highly recommended.