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Shark Canister Pet Vacuum Review

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Avg. consumer rating = 88/100 

The Shark CZ351 is a canister-style vacuum cleaner, and while Shark has made canister vacuums before, it is a style rarely produced by this manufacturer. In our tests the Shark Canister Pet CZ351 performed very well on both short pile carpet and hard flooring – we were impressed. The unique brushroll with a combination of bristles and flexible fins really does help with pickup. We also found the unit to be fairly quiet which is always a nice feature in a vacuum cleaner. However, it only comes with two basic tools (crevice tool, upholstery tool) and accessory storage is awkward.

Green Check Mark s Retractable power cord   Red Cross s Cannot extend/retract wand
Green Check Mark s Limited hair wrap on brushroll   Red Cross s Wand is bulky
Green Check Mark s Easy and intuitive controls   Red Cross s Flex hose is not reinforced
Green Check Mark s Reusable, rinsable filters   Red Cross s Awkward tool storage option
Green Check Mark s HEPA level air filtration   Red Cross s No bumpers on canister
Green Check Mark s Sealed vacuum body   Red Cross s Not great on large debris or edges
Green Check Mark s Headlights on cleaner head   Red Cross s Cannot turn brushroll off
Green Check Mark s Great pickup on carpet   Red Cross s Doesn't include soft dusting brush
Green Check Mark s Great pickup on hard floors      
 
Quick Specs
Type Canister
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 17.1 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length 25 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 5-years

 

CONSUMER RATINGS
We found owner ratings on several sites (see table below). When these figures were averaged we got an overall score for the Shark Canister Pet of 87.8 out of 100. This is a respectable score but not stellar. You can compare it to the score of other canister vacuums in our Canister Vacuum Ratings table or you can view all vacuum scores on our site in the Vacuum Cleaner Finder application.

Source
Consumer Rating
# Ratings
Amazon 4.4 out of 5 65
Home Depot 4.3 out of 5 6
Best Buy 4.3 out of 5 3
 

Disclosure: We approached Shark and requested the Shark Canister Pet Vacuum so we could do a review. Shark sent one over. Please note that this in no way affects our review.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
The Shark Canister Pet is a relatively sparse package but it does contain the essentials. Also, one of the first things we noticed when opening the box was that there was no plastic to speak of. All parts were wrapped in recyclable paper. Good to see.

what's in the box?

The box contains:
- Shark Canister Pet vacuum
- All three filters
- Crevice tool
- Upholstery tool
- Operating manual

TOOLS
Two tools come with the Canister Pet:
- Crevice Tool
- Upholstery Tool

Shark Canister Pet Tools

Both tools are non-motorized. They fit on the end of the wand or the end of the handle. It would have been nice if there was also some kind of dusting brush (something with soft bristles). If you want a dusting brush you will have to buy one.

There is a tool clip that can be attached to the wand and will hold both tools (handy to have the tools with you while vacuuming). We found the tool clip a little awkward however. The wand is already bulky and the tool clip, with tools attached, just makes it more so.

CLEANER HEAD
The cleaner head has one brushroll. The brushroll has flexible fins (Shark refers to them as powerfins) and half-rows of soft bristles. We’ve seen this kind of brushroll on other Shark vacuums before and in previous tests it provided good pickup. We perform cleaning tests further down in the review.

Shark Canister Pet cleaner head top

Shark Canister Pet cleaner head bottom

The Canister Pet brushroll is also referred to as “self cleaning” and it is designed to limit hair wrap. Note that the brushroll cannot be easily removed for cleaning so the ability to reduce hair wrap will make brushroll maintenance easier.

The cleaner head itself is a little on the narrow side. We measured the length of the suction channel underneath the cleaner head at about 8.5 inches. A narrow cleaner head has both pros and cons. It helps when vacuuming in cramped areas and it can also help with maneuverability, but it requires more passes to clean a given area and can result in longer cleaning sessions, especially in large open areas.

The cleaner head has a row of LED lights along the front which illuminate the cleaning area. The lights are on when the vacuum is on. See the Canister Pet at Shark.com

The vacuum can be purchased with a single brushroll cleaner head (the model we have) or with a dual brushroll cleaner head. The model with the dual brushroll cleaner head is called the “Vertex”. The Vertex cleaner head is similar to the cleaner head provided with the Canister Pet but it also has a soft brushroll at the very front of the cleaner head. We’ve worked with Vertex models before (Shark Vertex Upright revew, Shark Vertex Cordless review) and they tend to perform well on both carpet and hard floors. In addition, they are good at picking up larger debris, cleaning right up to the front of the cleaner head, and removing stuck-on dust from hard flooring. See the Vertex Canister at Shark.com.

CONTROLS
The LED controls are literally at your finger tips, on the handle. They are intuitive and very easy to use – you can press the buttons with your thumb while you vacuum. See image below

Canister Pet Controls

There are three power levels (low, med, max) and two floor type settings (hard floor, carpet). There is also a vacuum power on/off. When the vacuum is turned on the power defaults to low and the floor type to bare floor. The unit defaults to these setting every time the vacuum is turned on.

CANISTER BODY
The canister has two large switches on top – one to turn the vacuum on/off and another to retract the power cord. They are designed to be operated with your foot which is convenient as you don’t have to bend over to use them, just tap them with your toe.

Shark Canister Pet foot switches

The underside of the canister has four 360 degree rotating caster wheels. These ensure the unit moves smoothly in all directions. We did expect that the canister would have some kind of bumper around the perimeter to stop scuffing or scraping of walls/furniture, but it does not. The perimeter of the canister is hard plastic.

The canister also houses a 25 ft retractable power cord, three filters, and the dust canister. The power cord pulls out easily and retracts well. You have to hold the retract switch down to make the cord retract. A retractable power cord is a very popular, time saving feature. 25 ft is also a decent length for a canister vacuum (perhaps not for an upright). We’ve seen plenty of canisters with shorter power cords.

WEIGHT
We weighed the different components of the vacuum:

Wand & cleaner head = 5.13 lbs
Canister = 9.64 lbs
Hose & handle = 1.99 lbs
Tools & tool clip = 0.38 lbs

So:
Total vacuum with tools = 17.1 lbs
Total vacuum without tools = 16.8 lbs

At about 17 lbs we’d have to say the vacuum isn’t really lightweight, however the canister is pulled along on wheels so you don’t feel the full weight of the machine when vacuuming. But if you lift the entire vacuum (carrying it up stairs for example) you will feel that the unit is not particularly light.

Most of the full size vacuums we test these days range from about 13 to 17 lbs. Of course the cordless units are much lighter (see Cordless Vacuum Reviews).

MANEUVERABILITY & HANDLING
We’ve moved the canister around on both low pile carpet and hard flooring. It moves reasonably well on hard flooring and ok on carpet. There is nothing special about the movement but it works. Like most canisters, you do have to tug it along.

The cleaner head pulls itself forward a bit on carpet due to the spinning brushroll. This is not too pronounced but you will also notice it when pulling the cleaner head back towards you – its fights you a little. Turning on carpet is average and while the two large wheels at the back of the cleaner head help, the cleaner head still doesn’t turn that sharply. The cleaner head and canister are easier to maneuver and turn on hard flooring.

The Shark Canister Pet also has a flexible wand – something Shark calls MultiFLEX Technology. We’ve seen this on a few of the other Shark vacuums we have and while we don’t find ourselves using it much, it has been brought to our attention from readers that this feature can be really useful – especially for those with some mobility issues. For example, one can bend the wand in the middle which makes it easier to get under low furniture without bending over too far. The flexible wand also helps when storing the vacuum. The wand can be essentially folded in half reducing the height of the vacuum.

Shark MultiFlex Technology

Shark Canister Pet storage

While the flexibility of the wand may be an asset, we did find the overall weight and bulk of the wand to be a little off-putting. We were hoping for a more lightweight and perhaps even telescopic device. But the wand is rather heavy and bulky, and it cannot be expanded or collapsed.

You will find yourself occasionally having to pick up the canister and move it about. The compact size of the canister and large handle on top make this easy to do.

CLEANING TESTS
All cleaning tests were performed in Max power mode.

Carpet test
We created debris from a mixture of split green peas, flax seeds, chili flakes and ground cheerios. This is designed to mimic fine-to-medium size debris (approx 56g in total). It was placed in a 5 foot long line on short pile carpet and the vacuum was run over it in about a 10 second pass. The vacuum was set to carpet mode and max power.

Shark Canister Pet carpet

Results were excellent. Pickup was so good there was nothing remaining on the carpet after the test. It is one of the better results we’ve seen over the years.

Hard floor test
We performed the same test on tile and once again pickup was excellent. In our testing it is common to find that a single cleaner head performs well on one surface but not quite so well on another. The Canister Pet cleaner head did a stellar job on both carpet and hard floors.

Shark Canister Pet hard floor test

 shark vacuums See GREAT DEALS on the Canister Pet at Shark.com
 

Large debris test
We placed Fruit Loops on low pile carpet and ran the cleaner head over them. We were able to pick up the Fruit Loops but there was a lot of back and forth and the vacuum had a tendency to push some forward (front of the cleaner head is low). We’d say that large debris pickup is average to below-average. It will do the job but you have to work at it. It is likely that the Vertex version of the vacuum, with the soft roller brush at the front of the cleaner head, would be more effective in this test.

Shark Canister Pet large debris test

Hair test
In this test we used short white pet hair and long black human hair on low pile carpet. Pickup is important but we are also looking at the amount of hair left on the brushroll - remember that this is a “self-cleaning” brushroll.

hair test

In the test we found hair pickup to be good (most machines do this well enough). With respect to the self cleaning brushroll, we did find that it reduced hair tangle but it did not eliminate it. After our test we still had some hair on the brushroll. When you continue vacuuming with these kind of brushrolls you will often find that any remaining hair gets stripped off the brushroll. We tried that, but in this case some of the hair was pretty stuck (see image below).

Shark CZ351 Hair Test

But we did find that it was very easy to just pull off. So we’d have to say that the self-cleaning brushroll works to “limit” hair tangle, but it isn’t perfect.

Edge cleaning test
Chili flakes were placed up tight against an edge where the carpet meets the wall (baseboard). Good edge cleaning will pick up everything while poor edge cleaning will leave a swath of chili flakes (we’ve seen some instances where flakes are left an inch or more away from the wall).

BEFORE

Edge cleaning test

AFTER

Edge Cleaning test after

The Canister Pet did an average job in this test. It left a thin line of chili flakes against the wall. We’ve seen better but we’ve also seen worse. If you really want to get up tight against the wall in this case you would have to use the crevice tool.

FILTRATION
The vacuum has three pre-motor filters – one foam, one felt, and one metal mesh. The foam and felt filters reside under the dust canister and are very easy to access. They can also be rinsed in water when dirty (Shark says do this every 3 months or so). The metal mesh pre-motor filter resides inside the dust canister. It is designed to be pulled out through the bottom of the dust canister and you will sometimes have to clean it off. You can usually just brush it off.

There is also one post-motor HEPA filter that sits underneath a panel on the back of the canister, and is also easy to access. The HEPA filter can be rinsed in water and, according to Shark, should be cleaned about every 12 months. Overall we’d say that filter maintenance is straightforward.

Fortunately the Canister Pet has been manufactured with a sealed system (Shark calls this an “anti-allergen complete seal”) which is an important feature for quality air filtration. This ensures that the vacuum does not leak unfiltered air back into the room.

There have been comments that the pre-motor filters require frequent cleaning. We have noticed that they get discolored fairly easy but we have not had to clean ours yet. So far we haven’t really noticed any difference in terms of the need to clean filters when comparing the Canister Pet to some of our other full size machines.

DUST CANISTER
The dust canister is easy to detach and we found it fairly easy to empty, although there is a large plastic insert in the center of the dust canister (where the metal mesh filter resides).  This insert sometimes gets in the way when emptying. As such, we found that we often had to reach into the canister and pull out dust/debris. We’ve seen this kind of thing with many (but not all) bagless machines.

Shark CZ351 dust canister

The dust canister has a capacity of 1.9 quarts which is fairly large. You will not find yourself having to stop too frequently to empty it.

NOISE LEVEL
We were impressed with how quiet the Canister Pet is. In fact it is quiet in all three power modes (low, med, max). We performed a noise level test using a digital noise level meter. On carpet, we placed the cleaner head and the canister three feet from the digital noise level meter and turned the vacuum on. We recorded peak decibels over about a 10 second period.

We’ve done this test on many vacuum cleaners over the years and in the table below you can see how the Canister Pet fared compared to a sampling of other vacuums.

Vacuum Model
Peak Noise Level (decibels)
Shark Canister Pet CZ351 (low power) 70.5
Shark Canister Pet CZ351 (med power) 72.5
Shark Canister Pet CZ351 (max power) 73.0
Shark Pet Pro ZU62 74.7
Shark TruePet NV752 75.2
Shark APEX AZ1002 76.1
Shark Rotator ZU632 77.4
Shark Vertex AZ2002 77.5
Shark Navigator ZU561 77.6
Dyson Ball Animal 2 78.7

 

Shark CZ351

WARRANTY
The Shark Canister Pet carries a 5-year limited manufacturer's warranty.

VERDICT
The Shark Canister Pet performed very well on small-to-medium size debris on both carpet and on hard flooring. If this is the extent of your cleaning needs then this machine is a pretty good choice. It also does a decent job on hair, and the self-cleaning brushroll does help to limit hair tangle but will not completely eliminate it. Edge cleaning and handling large debris were weaker areas for the vacuum.

Also, while the tools work well enough, there is no dusting tool. If you need the vacuum for dusting work then you will have to ante up and buy a dusting tool.

The vacuum is quiet and it is a joy to use in this respect. A loud vacuum can be difficult to deal with for long cleaning sessions. In addition, the unit has intuitive controls and it is easy to maintain.

The Canister Pet movement is average (neither great nor poor), but the wand is on the heavy/bulky side and the tool storage clip that attaches to the wand can make it even more awkward.

See Canister Pet pricing at Shark.com
See Vertex Canister pricing at Shark.com

VACUUM CLEANER MANUAL
The manual is written in English, French and Spanish. It is quite short and it does not contain much detail, however the basics are there. You will find information on assembly, storage options, operating the vacuum, vacuum features, basic maintenance, cleaning the filters, and troubleshooting. There is also information on the warranty and how to register your purchase. You can view the manual here: Shark Canister Pet Manual

 

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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.