Shark ION P50 Pros & Cons

Shark ION P50 Pros & Cons
In this article we discuss the pros and cons of the Shark ION P50 cordless vacuum cleaner.  The P50 is an interesting machine and it falls somewhere between a stick vacuum and an upright vacuum – perhaps leaning a little more towards being an upright.  It has a host of features and is quite a versatile unit.  But it also has some faults.  In this article we discuss both the good and the bad, and also provide videos.
We have model IC162 which comes with the following:
- Shark ION P50 Powered-Lift Away vacuum
- 3 filters – 2 pre-motor, 1 post motor (all inside vacuum)
- Lithium ION Battery
- Charging cradle
- Charger
- Duster crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Upholstery tool
- Manual & Quick Start Guide
1) Very quiet
The P50 is a quiet machine.  We tested the noise level against a number of other uprights and even a stick vacuum.  We placed a digital noise meter 3 feet in front of the cleaner head for each vacuum and recorded the peak decibel level.  The results are in the table below.
Shark P50 Noise ComparisonsAs you can see the P50 is quieter than the other uprights in the table, and while it is a bit louder than the Dyson V10 in Low Power Mode, it is quieter in both Medium and Max Power Mode.
2) Reasonably good run time
We find the run times for the vacuum to be reasonable.  They are not extremely long, but they are in the ballpark for most cordless units today – and perhaps even a bit longer.
Shark P50 run timesWe also test each and every run time and provide a table of tested run times in our P50 review.  We were impressed that each tested run time was longer than the official run time. 
3) Good maneuverability
The P50 is fairly lightweight for an upright vacuum.  It weighs about 12 lbs.  This light weight helps with the machine movement as does the swivel steering.  The cleaner head changes direction almost effortlessly with a twist of the wrist.
4) Cordless convenience
You really have to like the cordless convenience of this upright.  You just grab it, turn it on, and go.  It is indeed much more convenient than a corded unit.  There is no cord to unwrap, no finding a power outlet, and no winding up a power cord when finished.  In addition, with the lift away feature you can walk and vacuum pretty much anywhere.  You are not tethered by a power cord or by your distance from a power outlet.
5) Controls on the handle
Controls on the handle of the vacuum make life a little easier.  No bending over to flip a switch or press a button.  You can control vacuum on/off, suction power, and floor mode all with your thumb while you are vacuuming.
6) Dust canister is not too small
The dust canister is not that small – although we should also point out that it is not that big either.   It is, however, larger than some of the dust canisters we see on other cordless units. 
7) Lift-Away feature
This feature continues to appear on many Shark vacuums due to its popularity.  It essentially allows you to operate the vacuum like an upright, a stick vac, and even a handheld.   It extends your cleaning reach and increases the versatility of the vacuum. 
8) DuoClean Technology
Another great idea from Shark, DuoClean Technology uses 2 brushrolls in the cleaner head.  There is the typical bristled brushroll in the center of the cleaner head and also a soft roller brushroll at the front of the cleaner head.  Far from being a gimmick, this approach allows the vacuum to perform better on bare floors and larger debris.
9) Respectable cleaning on carpet and bare floors
Cleaning tests on low pile carpet and bare floors show the P50 doing a good job.  For an upright, it is especially good on bare floors – due to the DuoClean Technology.  We also ran a test on long white pet hair embedded into medium pile carpet and the P50 did a respectable job of pickup.  There was lots of tangling in the 2 brushrolls but this is fairly common (unless you have something with Zero-M Technology).
10) High-end filtration
The P50 has 3 filters.  There are 2 pre-motor filters and 1 post motor filter which is HEPA grade.  In addition, the vacuum has a sealed system which ensures that unfiltered air does not leak out of the vacuum and back into the home.  Only filtered air is expelled from the vacuum.
11) Headlights
Two lights on either side of the cleaner head turn on while you are vacuuming.  This is a nice feature as it helps illuminate dark or dim areas.  Headlights are also not always provided on cordless units.
12) Removable battery
The lithium ion battery can be removed from the vacuum.  This enables the ability to “swap” batteries – an important feature for those looking for longer run times.  Consider that you can buy a second battery and “swap” a charged battery in when the other is depleted.  This approach essentially doubles your run time.  Many cordless units do not allow this.  In addition, the battery in the P50 can be charged while it is in the vacuum or while it is in the charging cradle.
Following is a video in which we walk you through some of the things we really like about the Shark ION P50 cord free vacuum cleaner:

1) 50 minutes run time only in one configuration
The marketing materials state that the vacuum provides 50 minutes of run time.  Strictly speaking this is true.  But it is important to understand that the vacuum can be run in many different configurations (upright or handheld, on carpet or bare floor, in low power or high power).  You will get 50 minutes in only one of these configurations – handheld mode on low power.  With the other configurations run times are less.  In addition, we felt that in handheld mode on low power the suction wasn’t very strong. You may find yourself using high power when in handheld mode (which reduces run time).
2) Brushrolls cannot be turned off
While we like the DuoClean Technology, the brushrolls are spinning in both carpet and bare floor modes.  In carpet mode both brushrolls are spinning rapidly and in bare floor mode both brushrolls are spinning slower.  But the brushrolls cannot be turned off.  For most folks this is not an issue (we have tile so it is not a problem).  However, should you have very delicate wood flooring this could be an issue.  We should point out that we have not heard from anyone who has had an issue with this but theoretically it could be a problem.
3) No powered tool
The vacuum has power to the end of the handle and wand but there is no power tool.  Three non-powered tools are provided but a powered tool would help do a better job of deep cleaning carpet or even upholstery.
4) Tools are compression fit
This is something of a pet peeve with us but it is not a critical concern.  The Shark tools need to be pushed on and pulled off.  This is – in our opinion – not the best solution.  Sometimes tools that haven’t been pushed on hard enough can fall off and tools that have been pushed on too hard can be a pain to remove.  The better solution is to design tools that “click-fit” into place and are removed by depressing a button.
5) Short hose
If you want to quickly pop a tool on the end of the handle/wand and do some cleaning, you will find that you may get 4-5 feet of reach before you pull the vacuum over.  A short hose is possibly the result of having the Lift-Away feature – which you will have to use if you want to reach over 4-5 feet.
6) Edge cleaning
Edge cleaning tests showed the P50 wasn’t particularly good at cleaning up tight against a wall.  It left debris behind.
7) Not as powerful as a corded upright
You should probably expect that the P50 is not going to be as powerful as a full size corded upright (in our tests it felt like it was not).  Power and run times are often the sacrifices for cordless convenience.
8) Not that stable standing up
The vacuum does stand upright on its own which is nice.  Most uprights do but many stick vacs do not.  However, it is not very stable and it can be knocked or pulled over quite easily.
Following is a video in which we walk you through some of the things we dislike about the Shark ION P50 cord free vacuum cleaner:


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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

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