Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum Review
Avg. consumer rating = 88/100
The Shark Stratos cordless vacuum is a hefty and powerful machine. It also comes with many of Shark’s popular features including anti-tangle technology, two brushrolls (one soft, one with fins), a flexible wand (has a joint), odor neutralizer technology, self-adjusting suction, a HEPA filter, and more. It really is the most feature-rich cordless we’ve seen in some time. It only comes with one battery however, and some owners wish it had a longer run time in maximum power mode.
|Strong suction||Hefty for a cordless|
|Good pickup on carpet||Short run time in Boost mode|
|Limits hair wrap effectively||Cannot stand on its own|
|Reasonable battery life||No stand or wall mount|
|HEPA level air filtration||Only includes two tools|
|Quiet in low power mode||Fairly expensive|
|Both stick vac and handheld vac||Loud in Boost mode|
|Decent size dust canister||Cannot store tools on-board|
|Easy to use controls|
|Headlights on cleaner head|
|Best for...||Hard Floors & Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||Yes|
|Approx. Weight||8.9 lbs|
|HEPA Level Filtration||Yes|
|Power Cord Length||Cordless|
|Motor Driven Brushbar||Yes|
Disclosure: We approached Shark and requested the Stratos cordless so we could do a review. Shark sent one over. Please note that this in no way affects our review.
A number of owner ratings were found at several well-known, popular retail outlets. They are provided in the table below. When a weighted average was applied to these figures the resulting score was 88/100 (or 4.4 stars out of 5). This is a pretty good score - but not stellar. The biggest detractors seem to be the unit’s weight and the disappointment of not getting a full 60 minutes of run time (see our Run Times section further down in the review for an explanation).
|Amazon||4.2 stars out of 5||44|
|Costco||3.7 stars out of 5||37|
|Best Buy||4.5 stars out of 5||69|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||4.6 stars out of 5||139|
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
- Vacuum cleaner
- 2 pre-motor filters
- 1 post-motor filter
- Duster crevice tool
- Anti-allergen dusting brush
- Removable (“click-in”) battery
- Odor neutralizer cartridge
- Quick start guide
The package only includes two tools which is a little disappointing. It would have been nice to see more, and a motorized tool would have been a welcome addition. As it stands you get a duster crevice tool and an anti-allergen dusting brush. They are robust and do the job.
The duster crevice tool provides extended reach and allows you to get into cramped areas. It also has a brush that can be extended to the end for cleaning delicate surfaces.
The anti-allergen dusting brush has very fine nylon fiber bristles that are designed to pick up fine dust and allergens from surfaces.
A button on one corner of the battery allows it to be easily removed from the handheld component. It simply clicks back into place. This “click-in” design is desirable as it allows you to use a second battery to double your run times (should you buy a second battery). It also allows you to easily replace an old battery if you want or need to.
This is a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery with the following specifications:
- 2350 mAh
- 25.2 V
- 59.22 Wh
The battery can be charged on or off the vacuum.
The LED vacuum controls are on the vacuum handle and at your fingertips. You can turn the vacuum on and choose one of three power modes: ECO, IQ, or BOOST.
ECO is the least powerful of the modes, while BOOST is the most powerful. IQ provides power depending on how much dust/dirt is being pulled up by the vacuum. If there is lots of dust/dirt then the power increases, and if there is small amount of dust/dirt then the power decreases. This is driven by an infrared sensor near the end of the handheld component. Its location is marked on the side of the handheld nozzle so you can occasionally clean it with a cloth (see Cleaning the Sensors in the quick start guide). If the IQ setting is not working properly it is likely the sensor is obstructed and needs to be cleaned.
The control panel also shows, in large numbers, the percentage of battery power remaining. These numbers count down from 100% in real time as you are vacuuming.
Marketing materials for the Stratos state that the vacuum will provide up to 60 minutes of run time (with some stipulations). Some owners have expressed disappointment that the unit is not providing them a full 60 minutes. We’ve seen this kind of thing over and over when it comes to cordless vacuums. The manufacturer highlights a run time specification and when it isn’t matched by the owners experience there is frustration. So why does this happen so often?
In marketing materials manufacturers almost always highlight run times for the least energy consuming vacuum configuration combined with the lowest power setting (sometimes this is small print). In the case of the Stratos that is “up to 60 minutes”, “as a Handheld”, and “in ECO power mode”. The problem is that most people use the vacuum in much more energy intensive ways – such as a stick vacuum in IQ power mode.
We always test cordless vacuums in the most common usage configurations on the most common surfaces (yes, surface makes a significant run time difference). For the Stratos cordless we’ve tested the run times for the stick vacuum (with cleaner head) in each power mode and on both carpet and hard floors.
|37min 22sec||33min 8sec||9min 15sec|
|47min 9sec||47min 11sec||11min 15sec|
It’s interesting that on the hard floor the ECO and IQ run times are almost identical. This was not the case on carpet. Overall we’d say that the Shark Stratos cordless run times are actually fairly good. But bear in mind that these tests were done with the vacuum in one place and as such when in IQ mode it is not encountering much in the way of dust or debris. When there is little dust/debris IQ mode is kept at low power thereby resulting in what is likely very optimistic run times (in IQ mode).
The cleaner head sports Duoclean Technology which uses two brushrolls – one soft brushroll at the front of the cleaner head and another brushroll (main brushroll) in the center of the cleaner head. The main brushroll is not typical in that it doesn’t simply have two or three rows of bristles. Rather it has both rows of bristles and powerfins. It is also designed to limit hair tangle. We test how effective this is in the Cleaning Tests section below.
There are 5 LED headlights on the front of the cleaner head. We’ve found that once you get used to a vacuum with headlights it can be a little disappointing to use one without. The lights on the Stratos are sufficiently bright.
In addition, there is a “Clean Indicator” on top of the cleaner head. This light bar indicates the level of debris the the vacuum is encountering: “clean”, “medium debris”, or “heavy debris”. It’s essentially a bar that gets longer when the IQ sensor finds more dust/dirt in the incoming airflow and shorter when the IQ sensor finds less dust/dirt in the incoming airflow. I’m not sure of the value of this feature. You can hear the suction power increase or decrease in IQ mode so you don’t really need to be watching this light bar to know what is happening, but perhaps some owners may find it interesting or useful.
ODOR NEUTRALIZER TECHNOLOGY
This feature is designed to limit any bad odors that can gather inside the vacuum and it helps to expel fresh, clean smelling air. The Stratos comes with an Odor Neutralizer Cartridge which is easily installed in the vacuum cleaner head. The cartridge also has settings. You can twist it counter-clockwise to increase the odor elimination and clockwise to reduce the odor elimination.
We don’t have pets so we can’t say how effective this is at reducing pet smells but you can definitely smell the scent in the air while you are vacuuming and it lingers after you finish vacuuming as well. We found the scent to be pleasant enough.
See GREAT DEALS on the Stratos Cordless at Shark.com
MANEUVERABILITY & WEIGHT
We weighed the vacuum at 8.9 lbs. This is similar in weight to the Shark Vertex Cordless (9.0 lbs) but is heavier than most of the other cordless stick vacs we’ve looked at (mostly from other manufacturers). For example, the more expensive Dyson V15 is 6.8 lbs while the Dyson V12 is only 5.2 lbs. The heaviest cordless vacuums we review tend to be Shark units.
|Stick Vacuum||Weight (lbs)|
|Tineco A10 Hero||5.0|
|Dyson V7 (motorhead)||5.5|
|Tineco Pure One S11||5.7|
|Shark WANDVAC System||5.9|
|LG CordZero A9||6.0|
|Tineco Pure One S12||6.6|
|Tineco Pure One S15||6.8|
|Shark Rocket Pro||7.3|
|Shark IONFlex / ION F80||8.7|
|Shark Stratos Cordless||8.9|
|Shark Vertex Cordless||9.0|
The vacuum moves fairly well. The two spinning brushrolls pull it forward a little which makes it easier to move and it doesn't fight you on the pullback. It doesn't turn really tightly (like a Dyson for example) but it turns well enough. We found mobility on our low pile carpet and our tile to be reasonably good. The one thing we did notice however is that the unit is a little top heavy. This may result in hand/arm fatigue in long cleaning sessions for some people.
The handheld itself weighs 3.7 lbs which isn’t too heavy. We find it is comfortable to use a handheld that is under 4 lbs (3.5 lbs or less is ideal but getting harder to come by). Following are the weights of the handheld units of some of the more popular cordless stick vacs we’ve reviewed.
|Stick Vacuum||Handheld Component Weight (lbs)|
|Shark Rocket Pro||3.44|
|LG CordZero A9 Kompressor||3.49|
|TIneco Pure One S11||3.49|
|Shark Stratos Cordless||3.65|
|Dyson V10 (Abs / Animal)||3.66|
|Tineco Pure One S12||3.69|
|Tineco Pure One S15||3.94|
|Dyson V11 (Abs / TD / Animal)||4.42|
|Dyson V11 Outsize||5.36|
The Stratos has MultiFLEX technology, which is essentially a hinge in the middle of the wand. This is a feature you do not see on many vacuums, outside of a few Shark machines.
The hinge allows the wand to bend a full 180 degrees. When bent at 180 degrees it provides the storage position for the Stratos cordless (the vacuum essentially folds in half and can sit upright).
Also, given that the wand can bend between 0 and 180 degrees, this feature allows the Stratos to get under low furniture without the vacuumer having to bend down too far.
We don’t use the MultiFLEX feature much to be honest but we do use it for storage and we have spoken with people who use it a lot and really like it.
One of the great features of the Stratos cordless is that you can detach the wand and you have a handheld vacuum. We found the handheld unit powerful and comfortable to work with (grip is also comfortable). With one of the two tools attached it is quite effective for small cleanups. It’s also handy for above ground work – like a countertop or a shelf.
Note that the tools can also be attached to the end of the wand for extra reach. This is great to get into hard to reach areas and for overhead cleaning.
The vacuum has two pre-motor filters and one post-motor filter. The pre-motor filters (one felt and one foam) reside in the handheld component and you have to remove the dust canister to access them (they are in the back of the dust canister). Both pre-motor filters are rinsable in water and reusable.
You also need to remove the dust canister to access the post-motor filter but it resides in the main vacuum. This is a HEPA grade filter so it is capable of removing a host of allergens from the air. It is also rinsable in water and reusable.
The Stratos has a sealed system – something Shark calls an “anti-allergen complete seal”. This means that no unfiltered air escapes the vacuum through poor seals or cracks in the vacuum body. All the air entering the vacuum is passed through the filters before it is exhausted from the machine. A sealed system is a very important feature if you want properly filtered air.
Shark states that the Stratos has a “high-capacity” dust canister. In our opinion it isn't super large but it is a reasonable size for such a vacuum. See some sample dust canister sizes in the table below.
| Stick Vacuum
||Dust Canister Size (gallons)|
|Tineco Pure One S15||0.12|
|Tineco Pure One S12||0.16|
|Tineco Pure One S11||0.16|
|Shark Stratos Cordless||0.18|
|Dyson V10 (Absolute/Animal)||0.20|
We found the dust canister to be large enough that we did not have to empty it too frequently, unlike our experience with the Dyson V12 or the Tineco S15. It is also pretty straightforward to empty. A button on the side of the canister opens the bottom door and dust/debris fall out.
NOISE LEVEL TEST
We used a digital noise level meter to do a noise level test. We measured peak decibels (over a 10 second period) at a distance of 3 ft from the cleaner head, on carpet with the brushrolls spinning. All vacuums undergo exactly the same test so noise level comparisons can be made.
Noise Test Results:
ECO = 64.9 dB
IQ = 69.1 dB
BOOST = 77.1 dB
We found the Stratos Cordless to be fairly quiet in ECO mode. It was, however, substantially louder in BOOST mode (enough to be a bit annoying). Some noise comparisons can be found below.
|Stick Vacuum||Low Power (dB)||Max Power (dB)|
|Tineco Pure One S12||61.1||66.7|
|Tineco Pure One S15||61.7 (Auto power)||67.6|
|LG CordZero A9||63.0||74.4|
|Tineco Pure One S11||63.3 (Auto power)||67.0|
|Shark Stratos Cordless||64.9||77.1|
|Shark WANDVAC System||70.3||72.2|
|Shark Vertex Cordless||72.9||72.9|
|Hoover ONEPWR Evolve||73.2||78.3|
|Shark Rocket Pro Cordless||74.2||75.1|
One thing we find a little annoying is that IQ power mode is very sensitive, so just a very small amount of additional debris sets it off and the power increases very quickly. And, as the noise tests showed, at higher power the vacuum can be quite loud. So when vacuuming in IQ power mode you will more than likely find the power going up and down a lot, and the noise level continually fluctuating between something comfortable and something loud.
We created test debris from ground fruit loops, chili flakes, flax seeds and split green peas (fine, small, medium size debris). This was placed in a 5 ft long line on low pile carpet and the vacuum was passed over it. This is a visual test and was performed in IQ mode and in ECO mode.
You can hear the vacuum power ramp up in IQ mode as the infrared sensor detects the high level of debris. The vacuum power is high for most of the test and as you can see there is almost nothing left (at least visible to the eye). This is an excellent result.
We expect the pickup in IQ mode was so good because of the high level of suction power. So we performed the same test in ECO mode. Remember the sensor is not operating in ECO mode so the power is set to the lowest level and it remains there regardless of how much debris is encountered.
The results in ECO mode were a real surprise. The pickup was almost as good as it was in IQ mode and only a very close inspection showed any difference at all. I believe these solid results are predominantly driven by the very effective cleaner head and its two brushrolls.
Hard Floor Test
We performed the same test on a hard floor (tile).
The results were pretty good, but not perfect. Some smaller debris was left behind and there was some scatter. We performed the test again in ECO mode.
It’s interesting that ECO mode performed as well (or possibly even better) on our tile floor than IQ mode did. It seems the suction is sufficient in either mode but the spinning brushrolls are resulting in some scatter, and in IQ mode the faster spinning brushrolls may be resulting in more scatter.
We placed long black human hair and short white pet hair on low pile carpet and ran the Stratos over it. Remember the Stratos cleaner head is designed to limit hair tangle.
There was almost no hair tangled in the brushrolls. An excellent result. We’ve performed this test on other vacuums with basic cleaner heads (no anti-tangle technology) and they tend to get very bound up with hair.
Edge Cleaning Test
In this test we placed chili flakes up against the baseboard along a wall. We ran the vacuum up tight against the wall to see if it will pick up all the flakes.
As you can see there were quite a few flakes left along the wall. Some vacuums will pick up everything while others struggle with this test. We’d say that the Stratos was a little below average in the edge cleaning test when compared to other cordless machines. However, as shown in the video clip, you can always do the edges with the crevice tool and that does a good job – it’s just extra work. The Stratos upright is an example of a machine with much better edge cleaning capabilities.
In terms of cleaning prowess, on low pile carpet the Shark Stratos Cordless is excellent. Pickup is very good, even in the lower power mode ECO (which also provided a respectable 37 minute run time).
Pickup was also quite good on hard flooring but there was a little bit of scatter. Going over the debris a second time picked up pretty much everything.
The unit’s anti-tangle technology works very well keeping the vast majority of hair from tangling in the brushrolls. Coupled with a HEPA filter, a sealed system, and odor neutralizer technology, the Stratos is a very good choice for homes with pets.
We did find that one would have to use a crevice tool to clean up tight against edges as the cleaner head doesn’t do this particularly well.
In ECO mode the vacuum is quiet but in BOOST mode it is loud. Also, in IQ mode the power jumps up and down at the slightest amount of debris and this results in the noise constantly fluctuating between quiet and loud.
Run time tests showed pretty respectable battery life – based on our experience working with cordless machines from a host of manufacturers.
Overall we think the Stratos Cordless has more pros than cons. It is feature-rich and most of the features actually enhance the machines ability to do its job well. It may be a little hefty but movement is still fairly good.
In our opinion this is a good choice for a cordless vacuum. Of course it’s a little pricey so you may want to keep an eye out for discounts or sales.
Check the Stratos Cordless price at Amazon
Check the Stratos Cordless price at Shark.com
The Shark Stratos Cordless vacuum carries a 5-year limited warranty.
The manual provided with the Stratos Cordless is really a one page Quick Start Guide. Frankly it has very limited information and you may find yourself searching online for additional details (or just trying to figure out some things on your own). You can see a copy of the manual here: Shark Stratos Cordless Manual
Nigel Russco has been reviewing and testing vacuums for over 14 years. He is a professional engineer and uses his review platforms to help consumers determine which vacuum cleaners are the best for their cleaning needs. Follow Nigel on facebook or view his vacuum review videos on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.