Shark WANDVAC System Review
Avg. consumer rating = 90/100
The Shark WANDVAC System is both a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum. It is also cordless and the lightest Shark stick vacuum that we’ve reviewed to date. We were impressed with the unit’s cleaning abilities and we tested it on carpet, hard flooring, edges and even pet hair. But the Shark WANDVAC System is really best for small home cleaning and quick pickups. Leave the larger, deep cleaning sessions to bigger more powerful machines.
|Lightweight||Limited run time|
|Good for quick pick-ups||Small dust cup|
|Includes charging base||Avg edge cleaning|
|Sleek design||Avg on hair|
|Stick vac and handheld||Will not stand on own|
|Good on carpet and hard floors||Not for larger homes|
|Not too loud|
|Can do overhead cleaning|
|Best for...||Hard Floors & Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||Yes|
|Approx. Weight||5.9 lbs|
|HEPA Level Filtration||No|
|Power Cord Length||Cordless|
|Motor Driven Brushbar||Yes|
Disclosure: We approached Shark and requested the WANDVAC System so we could do a review. Shark sent one over. Please note that this in no way affects our review.
We found 750 owner ratings at several retail outlets - see table below. When we applied a weighted average to these figures we got an overall score for the vacuum of 90.4 out of 100. This is a good score - not stellar but still quite good. You can compare this score to that of other stick vacuums in our stick vacuum ratings table or you can compare it to all other vacuums on our site in our searchable vacuum cleaner finder application.
|Source||Consumer Rating||# Ratings|
|Amazon||4.4 stars out of 5||323|
|Target||4.6 stars out of 5||157|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||4.7 stars out of 5||139|
|Best Buy||4.4 stars out of 5||93|
|John Lewis||4.8 stars out of 5||38|
What’s in the Box?
- Shark WANDVAC handheld vacuum
- Cleaner head
- Charging Base
- Duster crevice tool
- Pet multi-tool
- Owner’s manual
- Quick start guide
Run Time Tests
In our run time tests we ensured the battery was fully charged and we ran the vacuum non-stop on medium pile carpet, low pile carpet, and tile (hard floor). We used a stopwatch and recorded the time until the vacuum shut itself off. The test results are shown below:
|Floor Type||Run Time|
|Medium pile carpet||10 min 53 sec|
|Low pile carpet||11 min 13 sec|
|Tile floor||12 min 13 sec|
At about 11 minutes on carpet the run time was a little disappointing. We were hoping to see at least 15 minutes on carpet. Also, while the machine ran longer on low pile carpet than medium pile carpet, it was only by about 20 seconds.
The WANDVAC performed a little better on our tile floor. This was expected as there is less resistance on the brushroll so there is less energy expended. On our tile floor we got a run time of just over 12 minutes, which may be enough for some smaller spaces but would probably not be sufficient in a larger apartment or home. Again, think small spaces and quick pick-ups for this machine.
To some extent the short run times were expected. This vacuum is compact and lightweight and it has a small battery. There is often a trade-off between run times and vacuum weight (longer run times require large, heavy batteries).
The vacuum also has a BOOST power mode which is engaged by pressing a trigger on the underside of the handheld unit. However it is really only useful for short bursts of power and not something you want to hold down for longer cleaning. As such, we did not measure run times in BOOST power mode. They would be shorter than those described above.
Battery & Charger
The WANDVAC System uses a lithium-ion battery which will impart full power until such time that the battery is depleted and the vacuum simply shuts off. This is a great feature as battery power doesn`t wane while you vacuum.
The battery is rechargeable and swappable. It fits into the handle of the handheld unit and it easily slides out and also easily clicks right back in. This approach is very handy should you have more than one battery. If you have multiple batteries, when one battery is depleted you simply slide it out and click a freshly charged battery in and continue vacuuming. Note however that the WANDVAC system only comes with one battery. Should you want an additional one you will have to buy it.
Fully charging a depleted WANDVAC battery takes about 3.5 - 4 hours. Three LED bars on the handheld vacuum indicate where the battery charge stands (one third charged, two thirds charged, or fully charged).
The vacuum will not stand on its own so it is very handy to have a charging base where it can be easily stored. The charging base is a better option for us than a wall mount (we don't want to put holes in our walls installing the wall mount). The base sits on the floor and holds the vacuum in full stick vac mode or in two parts (handheld on one part of the base and wand/cleaner head on another part of the base – see image below). The base also holds the duster crevice tool but unfortunately will not hold the pet multi-tool. Why Shark did not provide space on the base for the pet multi-tool is something of a mystery but they did not.
Of course, as the name “charging base” suggests, the charger can also be attached to the base so your vacuum will charge while in the base. When the battery is fully charged it is ok to leave the vacuum in the base (with the charger attached) – it will not do any harm.
The vacuum comes with 2 tools:
1) Combination Duster Crevice Tool
2) Pet Multi-Tool
Both of these will fit on the handheld unit or on the end of the wand. The combination duster crevice tool is designed to get into hard-to-reach areas, tight corners, and along edges. The pet multi-tool has a removable stiff-bristled brush face. With the bristled face on the tool it is handy for tackling stuck-on debris, and with the bristled face off it becomes an upholstery tool which is good at removing pet hair.
The handheld vacuum that comes with the WANDVAC System is bigger than the Shark ION W1 handheld vacuum (which is sometimes referred to as the Shark WANDVAC). The handhelds look the same but they are not.
The WANDVAC System handheld vacuum weighs just over 2 lbs so it is quite lightweight. You can attach the tools to the end of the handheld or the end of the wand for extra reach.
The handheld seems a little long for most work but it provides a good reach and is great when you have a narrow area to get into. It’s pretty handy when cleaning an automobile interior. However, the length does amplify the weight on the wrist when you are holding it horizontal, and when using it like this it almost feels as heavy as some of the heavier handhelds we’ve worked with. Following is a list of handheld weights for several of the stick vacuums we’ve reviewed.
|Stick Vac Model||Handheld Weight (lbs)|
|Shark WANDVAC System||2.10|
|Dyson V7 Motorhead||3.07|
|Shark IONFlex/ION F80||3.43|
|Shark Rocket Pro||3.44|
|LG CordZero A9||3.49|
|Tineco Pure One S12||3.69|
|Shark Vertex Cordless||3.71|
|Dyson V11 Outsize||5.36|
The dust cup is small with a capacity of approximately 0.12 liters. For comparison purposes we’ve added a few examples of other cordless vacuum dust cup capacities below:
|Stick Vac Model||Dust Cup Size (liters)|
|Hoover ONEPWR Evolve||1.0|
|Dyson V10, V11, V15||0.76|
|Dyson V7, V8||0.53|
|Shark Vertex Cordless||0.32|
|Shark WANDVAC System||0.12|
With such a small dust cup you will probably want to empty it after each cleaning session.
To empty the dust cup you push a slider on the handheld unit forward and the dust cup springs open. The slider is just above the vacuum power button and some owners have complained that they sometimes hit the slider instead of the button thereby emptying the contents of the dust cup onto the floor. In all our time using the vacuum we did not get these controls mixed up so we did not find this to be an issue. Unfortunately you will sometimes find yourself using your hand to dig stuck dust and debris out of the dust cup. But this is fairly common with bagless vacuums (most are like this).
Shark suggests you clean the mesh screen at the back of the dust cup every time you empty the dust cup. The screen does get easily clogged so it is something you will probably have to do. It is a step we have not run into with most others cordless machines.
In addition to the wire mesh screen at the back of the dust cup, the WANDVAC also has a pleated filter which sits behind the dust cup. It can be easily removed and rinsed with water when dirty. After it is dry (about 24 hours) it can be placed back in the vacuum.
The Shark WANDVAC System stick vacuum is fairly light and we weighed it at 5.9 lbs. It weighs about the same as a Dyson V10. See table below for some sample cordless vacuum weights.
|Stick Vac Model||Weight (lbs)|
|Dyson V7 (motorhead)||5.5|
|Shark WANDVAC System||5.9|
|LG CordZero A9||6.0|
|Tineco Pure One S12||6.6|
|Shark Rocket Pro||7.3|
|Shark IONFlex / ION F80||8.7|
|Shark Vertex Cordless||9.0|
As a stick vacuum it is easy to move back and forth and easy to turn. We prefer a vertical grip to the more horizontal grip on the WANDVAC, but it still works fine. Some folks do find the grip a little large however, and this could be an issue for those with small hands.
The unit moves reasonably well on both hard flooring and carpet. It does not turn too sharply (some machines can turn a full 90 degrees, the WANDVAC does not) but it does the job.
|See GREAT DEALS on the WANDVAC at Shark.com|
The WANDVAC is a little quieter than we expected. You can tell when you start using it that it isn’t going to be one of those machines that will pound at your eardrums. We performed a noise level test (in both standard and boost power modes) and placed a digital noise level meter 3 ft in front of the cleaner head, and over a period of 10 seconds we captured the peak decibel level. We’ve done this test on a host of cordless vacuums and you can see results in the table below:
|Stick Vac Model||Low Power (dB)||Max Power (dB)|
|Tineco Pure One S12||61.1||66.7|
|LG CordZero A9||63.0||74.4|
|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|
|Shark Rocket ZS351||N/A||76.6|
While not being the quietest machine we have tested, the noise level was still at a reasonably comfortable level.
The cleaner head has a brushroll with both bristles and fins (what Shark calls powerfins). We've worked with this kind of brushroll before and they tend to be quite effective.
The cleaner head is specially designed to limit hair/string/thread tangle. The brushroll helps keep hair from tangling and there is a comb built into the cleaner head that “combs” the hair off the brushroll as it spins (see image below). This is a handy feature especially in homes with shedding pets. Hair tangle can be a pain as it results in having to clean the brushroll. You can get better access to the brushroll on the WANDVAC by removing the plate on the underside of the cleaner head (as we did in the image below) but you cannot remove the brushroll. In our Cleaning Tests section below we test the WANDVAC’s ability to reduce hair tangle.
Cleaning Test - CARPET
In this test we placed a carefully measured amount of small-to-medium sized debris on low pile carpet and ran the vacuum over it in one pass. We then determined pickup percentage by weight. A sample run can be seen in the video below:
Percentage pickup was 99.9% which is excellent. We have seen pickup at this level before but it isn’t too common. We believe this is in no small part due to the effective brushroll. We’ve tested other Shark vacuums with this kind of brushroll and they all perform well on carpet.
One thing you may have noticed if you had the sound on in the video clip above, is that the vacuum noise started increasing in pitch as we moved along the line of debris. It is a guess on our part, but we believe this may be due to the dust cup getting very full. Remember that this is a very small dust cup and we are tackling a fair bit of debris in the test.
We also tested the vacuum on larger debris (fruit loops). It does ok but you can see the large debris has a hard time getting under the cleaner head and some of it gets pushed ahead of the vacuum (video below). However what does end up under the cleaner head does get picked up.
Cleaning Test - HARD FLOOR
We performed the same small-to-medium sized debris test on tile with the following results:
Percentage pickup on the hard floor was 96.9% which is good. It is not exceptional but it is a reasonable result. We sometimes see higher but this is usually with a more powerful machine or with a specialized brushroll (soft rollers often do a great job on hard flooring).
Cleaning Test - HAIR
This vacuum has a cleaner head that is designed to reduce hair wrap. We decided to test it on a combination of short white pet hair and long black human hair.
In this first clip we test the vacuum on a large amount of short white pet hair and long black human hair.
As you could see in the clip, the vacuum got totally bogged down with the hair and the brushroll stopped spinning. It would appear the vacuum is just not powerful enough to handle this amount of hair. So we redid the test with about half the amount of hair and we moved a little slower.
In this last test we still had some hair stuck on the brushroll but much of it was gone. These tests indicate that the anti-tangle brushroll is working but, in our opinion, the low power of the vacuum reduces its effectiveness (more power helps push the brushroll through the comb). If you have lots of hair to deal with this may not be an ideal solution. However if you have smaller amounts of hair then the technology will likely do its job.
Note: We were easily able to remove the tangled hair from the brushroll by simply pulling it off by hand, but we did notice that the two small wheels on the underside of the cleaner head (see image in section “Anti-Tangle Technology” above) got jammed with hair and one of them became hard to move. It was harder to clean the hair from these wheels but we were able to do most of it by hand. For some of the tougher bits we used a pair of needle nose pliers to latch on and pull the hair away.
Cleaning Test - EDGES
In this test we placed chili flakes up tight against a baseboard. If a vacuum has very good edge cleaning it should be able to pick up all the flakes.
As the video shows edge cleaning for the WANDVAC was average. It did pick up most of the flakes but not those up tight against the wall. We’ve seen machines that pick up pretty much everything and we’ve seen vacuums that leave a wide swath of flakes (and inch or more) along the wall.
The WANDVAC System has a respectably long 5-year limited warranty. However the battery is only warranted for 2-years.
We like that this is both a handheld and a stick vacuum. It ensures you don’t have to buy two different vacuums to get that versatility.
The ergonomics of the WANDVAC are pretty good – once you get used to what buttons and sliders to push. It moves fairly well and it doesn’t weigh too much. The base is also a great feature that keeps the vacuum easily accessible and charged.
Carpet cleaning was excellent and hard floor cleaning was good. The cleaning results were better than expected for such a lightweight machine with a smallish battery.
The swappable battery is a feature we wish all cordless vacuums had. We are starting to see this more and more and for good reason. A second battery (which you would have to buy in this case) will effectively double your run time.
It does have a BOOST power mode but you have to hold a button down and it’s something we didn’t really find that convenient to use. It’s there if you really want a little more power – but it will also hit your run time.
Run times (in normal power mode) were a little disappointing with times around 11 minutes on carpet and 12 minutes on hard floors. To some extent this is expected. The vacuum is lightweight and it has a smallish battery.
Fortunately the WANDVAC system is not too loud. It’s not as quiet as some other cordless machines but it certainly is not too loud and it is quieter than most full size uprights.
This isn’t the best choice for larger area cleaning or tough cleaning jobs. It also isn’t going to work that well in homes with lots and lots of pet hair. The vacuum is not designed to be a powerhouse with long run times. It is designed for smaller homes and quick pick-ups and wihtin these parameters it is pretty effective.
You can check WANDVAC System pricing at Shark.
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
The manual for the vacuum is simple and straightforward. It isn’t too detailed but it covers the basics, such as assembly, battery (charging, removing, recycling), controls, cleaning modes, emptying the dust cup, cleaning the filter, maintaining the vacuum, and warranty. You can see a copy of the manual here: Shark WANDVAC System owner’s 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.