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Shark Rocket Upright (HV302)

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Avg. consumer rating = 92/100 

The Shark Rocket is a relatively new vacuum cleaner and is somewhere between a stick vac and an upright.  It is similar to the Dyson stick vacs, like the DC44, except the Dysons are smaller, lighter and cordless while the Rocket has a power cord. Dysons are also more expensive.  Consumer ratings are very good for the Rocket.  Owners like that the machine has strong suction, is fairly maneuverable, and is effective at dealing with pet hair.  But it is a bit top heavy and can be hard on the wrist.

Consumer Insights
We found the Rocket on several online retail sites several of which have owner ratings –as shown in the table below.  When averaged these ratings provide a score of 91.9 out of 100 (or about 4.6 stars out of 5).  You may wish to check out our table of stick vacuum ratings for comparison purposes.  We often update vacuum scores and the table below was upated in February 2016.  It is interesting to note that generally when we update ratings, the score usually drops.  This is likely due to the aging of the vacuum and the fact that owners find more issues with the machine over time.  However, in the case of the Shark Rocket HV302 the score in 2014 was 84 and now - almost two years later - the score has jumped to 92.  This is not something we often see.

Ratings Updated February 2016
 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  4.6 stars out of 5  1772
 Bed Bath & Beyond  4.5 stars out of 5  213
 Target  4.5 stars out of 5  110
 Macy's  4.5 stars out of 5  5
 Overstock  4.7 stars out of 5  23
 Consumer Reports  3.7 stars out of 5  3
 Lowe's  4.6 stars out of 5  38
 Canadian Tire  4.8 stars out of 5  63
 Home Depot  4.7 stars out of 5  41

 

A review of consumer comments and input from several sources provides the following Rocket likes and dislikes:
 
PROS
- Maneuvers well
- Effective on pet hair
- Overall machine is light
- Good for stairs
- Fairly strong suction

CONS
- Small dust canister that does not detach from vacuum
- Hair tangles easily in brushroll
- Top heavy and can be hard on wrist over time
- No HEPA filter
- Attachments don’t store on vacuum

The consumer score (91.9) for this stick vac indicates that most owners are pleased with their purchase.  However the score isn’t perfect and there are some issues such as those highlighted in the “Cons” section above.  The most common complaint is the weight of the handheld portion of the vacuum.  Quite a few folks report a sore wrist or arm after vacuuming for long periods.  This has even resulted in some owners returning the unit.   In addition, there are a number of comments that the unit aggressively pulls itself forward when vacuuming and that it requires significant effort to pull it back (some don’t find this to be an issue but others do).

On the positive side most consumers report that the Rocket has plenty of suction and that it provides good pickup.  There are a few filters to maintain but they are reportedly very easy to access and clean.  Also, many folks compare it to a Dyson stick vac while highlighting that it is much less expensive.   On our site we also found that both machines (Dyson stick vac and Shark Rocket) get similar consumer ratings.  For example the Dyson V6 Absolute scores 95/100 while the Shark Rocket scores 92/100.

You can read more owner comments and Shark Rocket customer reviews on Amazon if you wish.

Rocket Upright Vacuum
Operates as an upright

 Features & Other Information 
The Rocket is a 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner.  It operates like a stick vacuum and with the wand removed also as a handheld vacuum.  It uses cyclonic technology which involves rapidly spinning the air entering the vacuum such that the dust and debris are removed.  This approach is the common “bagless technology” we read so much about today.  It ensures no loss of suction (assuming you keep the filters clean) and you will see this frequently highlighted in the Shark Rocket marketing materials.  The Rocket is powered by a 4.2 amp motor.

The vacuum is relatively lightweight at just under 8 lbs but as mentioned by many a consumer the bulk of the weight is in the handheld portion of the unit.  Some consumers feel this weight distribution makes the vacuum hard to hold for long periods of time and that it tires the wrist and arm.  This is a common complaint but it is only fair to point out that not all owners feel this is a problem.  It is likely a function of the strength of one’s wrist/arm.  The Dyson DC44 by comparison weighs about 5 lbs and even this machine gets complaints about being top heavy and hard on the wrist.

 

Rocket Handheld Vacuum
Operates as a handheld

One of the key differences between this and the Dyson stick vacuums is that the Rocket is corded.  This has its pros and cons.  A corded machine does not lose power over time as you vacuum but there is a level of convenience compromised.  Corded vacuums can only work within the radius of their reach as defined by the length of the power cord.  Also, as you move from room to room you have to plug and unplug the machine – depending somewhat on the length of the cord.  While the cordless vacuum does not have these inconveniences the drawdown of power can leave some owners frustrated.  These vacuums usually generate strong cleaning power for 15 to 20 minutes maximum and sometimes less.  If you have cleaning jobs that last longer than this you will be out of luck.  Also, recharge times take several hours (5 to 6 hours is considered fast).

Many Shark vacuums are directly compared (By Shark) to Dyson vacuums and the Rocket is no exception.  Shark maintains that independent tests have determined the Rocket deep cleans carpet better than a Dyson DC40.  The DC40 is a full size upright by the way.  The testing was for “Carpet Embedded Dirt Removal Effectiveness”.  We can’t speak to the accuracy of these tests or the particular details of the tests so we simply take this with a grain of salt.

There are several versions of the Shark Rocket but they are all very similar (we are addressing the HV302 in this article).  One of the key differences is the length of the power cord and they differ as follows:

• HV300 = 27 feet
• HV301 = 30 feet
• HV302 = 30 feet
• HV302Q = 30 feet
• HV300W = 32 feet

The Rocket is designed to clean both carpet and bare floors.  The power switch on top of the vacuum (seen in image below) turns the vacuum on and also offers two brushroll speeds; "Gentle" (setting I) for bare floors and area rugs and "Deep Cleaning" (setting II) for carpet.  These settings determine the speed at which the machine’s motorized brushbar rotates.  The “Deep Cleaning” setting results in the brushbar spinning very quickly while the “Gentle” setting slows the brushbar significantly.

 

Power Switch
Power switch with brushbar speed controls

One thing to be aware of is that the Rocket comes with a thermal safety switch.  This switch will shut the brushbar off should the motor start to overheat.  This is designed to ensure the motor does not get damaged but it can be disconcerting if you do not know what has happened. In this case the motor needs to cool before turning the vacuum on again. Shark states that it can take about 30 minutes before the switch resets and allows you to turn the vacuum on again.

Several tools are included although which tools come with which model are something of a mystery (this seems to be common issue with Shark vacuums).  We would suggest checking carefully with the retailer to determine what tools will be provided with your Rocket.  Generally speaking you will likely get:

- A 12 inch crevice tool (a narrow tool that is useful for getting into tight areas)
- A dusting brush (good for removing dust from most surfaces)
- A pet upholstery tool (can be used to remove pet hair from curtains, furniture and delicate fabrics)
- Dust-Away attachment (for dusting and vacuuming at the same time - operates similarly to the Dyson DC56)

There appears to be a deluxe tool package as well as can be seen in the image below (screenshot from the Shark website) but we don’t believe this comes standard with the HV302. 

 

Shark Rocket Tools
Shark Rocket Tools

 

A bottle of ”Dust-Away” and 1 microfibre pad are also included with the machine – these work with the Dust-Away attachment (see video below).  Tools can be attached to the end of the metal wand or directly to the handheld portion of the vacuum.  An accessory bag is provided for tools storage as they do not fit on the vacuum itself.

Dust Away attachment video:

The vacuum includes a wall mount complete with plastic anchors and screws.  This is a good storage option which makes it easy to access and helps keeps it out of the way.

The vacuum has two washable filters which Shark claim will last the lifetime of the vacuum.  These are both accessed through the top of the handheld unit and there is a felt filter and a foam filter.  They can both be washed with tap water but must be perfectly dry before inserting back into the vacuum (the felt filter goes in first followed by the foam filter).  The Shark Rocket manual suggests the filters be washed thoroughly about every three months and that they may also need occasional quick cleaning (simply tapping loose debris off the filters and into the trash).

The dust canister on the Rocket is rather small with a capacity of 2 cubic feet but that is not too surprising given the size of the vacuum.  Most stick vacs do not have a large dust canister.  Some owners do complain that it has to emptied frequently however.   Also the dust canister does not detach from the vacuum – rather it is built into the handheld unit.  So to empty the dust canister you have to unplug the vacuum, detach the handheld unit, carry it to a dustbin and open the bottom of the dust canister to release the debris.  Some owners find this a bit of a hassle.  You can see a video of emptying the dust canister below.  It should be emptied when it hits the maximum fill line.

Emptying the dust canister video:

The Rocket has a higher profile nozzle than the Dyson stick vacs making it a little more difficult getting under low furniture.  It does have swivel steering however which helps it turn easily with the flick of the wrist.  The cleaning path width is a narrow 6 inches so if you are cleaning a large area you will have to make quite a few passes..  The Shark Rocket carries a respectably long 5-year warranty.

In Summary
If you are looking for a very lightweight upright for both carpet and bare floors then this vacuum may fit the bill.  As this machine is between a stick vac and an upright and because it has a very narrow cleaning path we wouldn't suggest it for large area cleaning - that is probably best left to a more full size unit.  The Rocket is also a good choice if you are frustrated with the lack of power or endurance of your cordless stick vac.  While Shark make an effort to highlight how much cheaper the Rocket is than Dyson stick vacs, there are also other stick vacs out there that are good but not quite so expensive as a Dyson – you can check out our list of Best Stick Vacuums.  And if you are after a lightweight upright we have a list of some good ones here.

Shark Rocket Manual
You can view the Shark Rocket Manual here.  The manual is a little short and frankly doesn’t provide much detail but it may help depending on what you are looking for.

 

 

Image Nigel Russco has been writing for Vacuum Cleaner Advisor for years and has a background in business and engineering, as well as a keen interest in anything related to vacuum cleaners. Connect with Nigel on Google+
 






 

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Comments  

0 # Dave DeGeorge 2014-07-10 11:50
The model HV300 Shark Rocket has many hidden negative features that only become obvious when you start using it. The vacuum cannot stand alone, is top heavy, and must be laid down when you are not using it, or it becomes a falling hazard. The motor is too close to the user\'s head when in operation; exposing the user to excess noise, contamination, and hazard in the event of an electrical malfunction. The cavity where the dust goes is much too small for average household needs, and is very difficult for disposal, cleaning and sanitizing. Opening it to remove causes the dust to be airborne and inhaled unless the entire motor is placed into a bag and shaken, which also raises much dust and contamination in the surroundings. Much of the odor and dirt remains in the compartment and cannot be easily removed without water rinsing; however the compartment is not waterproof. The filters require washing and complete drying before reuse which indicates that at least a second set of filters is required between drying or a long wait.In addition, some screws rust easily and should be stainless steel.In my opinion, the difficulty of cleaning, and disposal of the waste is the greatest problem; it must always be done after each use. A liner or disposable bag would have been a better solution. I would not recommend this vacuum to anyone with a large busy household.
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0 # Debi Andrews 2014-08-05 20:06
The belt on my Shark Rocket is broken. I looked on line about how to fix it but the brush doesn\'t lift out as the directions say. I can\'t even find the replacement belts online. Any ideas?
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-1 # KRISTIE MOORE 2014-08-08 09:08
I HATE IT FOR ALL THE CON REASONS ABOVE. I WISH I COULD GET MY MONEY BACK. IT IS NOT LIGHT WEIGHT AT ALL.
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0 # A Smith 2014-10-26 08:37
It\'s amazing! My rocket won\'t even move on plush carpet. I called Shark at 1-800-798-7398 and was told my rocket has no provisions for plush carpet. Most amazing was her telling me that plush carpet is no longer popular and when I asked what to do with my 4 month old Rocket, she suggested to possibly give it as a gift.
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0 # susan 2014-11-30 09:17
I let my rocket get too full and dirty and power switched off. I cleaned it all, but power won\'t come back (lights come on, but no motor sound). Any suggestions.
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0 # Nicole 2014-12-12 14:40
My belt broke on the brush bar. Can\'t find a new one anywhere,! Any body have any luck?
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0 # Guest 2015-01-06 18:25
Found one on ebay
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0 # Deb 2015-02-07 08:25
The rocket will not stand alone with the motor on the stick. The hinges on the dust bin are plastic. Of course the hinges broke. My main complaint is the quality of service I have received upon dealing with the claims department. I\'d like to mention that I never received any emails acknowledging my call or any tracking receipts. After three weeks of waiting for the promised replacement vacuum I decided that I needed to call again. They did have record that I called 3 weeks ago and the representative explained that it looks as though the Rocket will be shipped out tomorrow IF the FedEx truck comes. Again no email regarding acknowledging our conversation and still waiting to receive the vacuum.
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0 # kim 2015-02-27 13:53
I could have been a spoke person for shark I have a lot of shark products.
and I think they are a great product. until my belt broke on my shark rocket.
cant find one anywhere. I need my vac. for work. they want me to send my vac in to be worked on. come on it is just a broken belt. this is a big set back for me on shark products. just another way for a big company to make more money off of the customers. very disappointed.
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0 # mishell 2015-03-19 05:57
I happened to be watching the Shark Rocket infomercial and couldn\'t help noticing that it must be comparable to using a leaf blower! Way too top heavy and a motor too close to the user\'s head. It seemed impressive at first, but I lost any intention of purchase after watching the infomercial, and reading several comments from shark rocket buyers.
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0 # jgsartain 2015-04-02 16:29
Wow, I am totally surprised at all these bad reviews (of course haven\'t had a belt break). I am totally happy with my rocket. It easily leans up anywhere, goes places my Hoover never could, lightweight (I have back problems). Could only vacuum one room at a time with my Hoover...now I can vacuum all floors. Love that I can just take the brush off to vacuum edges, etc. Thought emptying was going to be a problem when I had to empty it so often when I first used it. However, the 2nd time I realized it had just been picking up all that my Hoover had missed. TOTALLY LOVE IT!!
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0 # Meg 2015-05-22 14:27
I PURCHASED THE ROCKET STICK VACUUM FROM BJ\'S. THE FOAM FILTER WAS MISSING FROM THE PRODUCT. HOW DO I OBTAIN ONE?
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0 # L. Lynn 2015-07-09 13:26
I bought the Shark Rocket on their site. I added an accessory and decided when I got it that I didn\'t need it.Never used it, didn\'t even open the box. Called to return it and couldn\'t get a refund unless I sent the whole vacuum back. So much for hassle free returns. Buy your accessories at a later date.
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0 # Lynn Tarallo 2016-02-23 14:50
I bought the pro rocket vac in September. Loved its cleaning power. After a month the muscles in my left arm are in constant pain, my shoulder also. It is now the end of February and the pain is steady. At first come up with any other excuse for my arm, pulled or tore muscle, stopped playing video games to no avail. My conclusion is the top heavy vac and the motion to unleash it to empty it. Heat, ibruprofin nothing eases the pain. So disappointed and injured.
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0 # SUSAN 2016-07-22 20:01
I love that this one cleaner can do so many surfaces! With 4 boys in the house, I know my floors could use some serious deep cleaning.
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About Me

Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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