With a dedicated pet hair tool, removable battery and folding tube, Shark’s DuoClean Cordless TruePet IF250UKT has a features list as long as its name. Twin batteries promise super-long run-times, filtration is HEPA quality, and the potent DuoClean head sports LED headlights.
It works, too, with a total of around 24 minutes’ run-time, even on the most powerful carpet-cleaning setting. It’s a little unwieldy in the hand, heavy to reach high cobwebs, and the main floorhead tends to pull forward. Yet its cleaning power on hard floors and carpets alike is supremely impressive. This super-versatile Shark is a serious competitor to Dyson’s mighty V-series.
The DuoClean TruePet is Shark’s serious entry into the cordless cleaning market. By that we mean it comes boasting serious performance and an equally serious £480 price ticket. It exhibits a pistol grip design, hand-held and stick versatility, and a powered floorhead for hard floors and carpets alike.
Headline features include the removable battery and dock-charger, and an innovative folding tube. The latter not only makes the DuoClean easier to store, but it allows the head to more easily get under low obstacles. Deep cleaning under the sofa? Not a problem.
The Shark comes with two batteries, and as such offers twice the run-time. You can charge them in the supplied dock, on their own or even when they’re in the cleaner body. The cleaner has two power settings and two brush-bar speeds for the powered head, providing a wide range of run-times.
The main DuoClean floorhead is quite a beast. Significantly heavier than any of Dyson’s V-series floorheads, it does pack in twin motorised brush bars and eight very bright LED headlights. The soft-flocked brush bar will pick up dirt and fine dust from hard floors. The rear bar packs in two rows of traditional carpet-beating bristles. It rolls on two large wheels and has a tilt and turn neck movement.
There’s no shortage of other accessories in the box, either. A long crevice tool accompanies a dedicated upholstery brush and good-sized dusting tool. You also get Shark’s innovative Anti-Allergen Dust Brush. We couldn’t test how well this long-reach tool removed allergens but it proved ideal for dusting windowsills and getting behind radiators.
The TruePet version here also gets Shark’s funky Motorized Pet Tool. This is a small powered brush bar tool with a multi-angle floor plate. Uniquely it folds up for storage, although that seems like a whole lot of engineering to save a very small amount of space. We can’t fault the actual tool design, though.
We missed having a wall-mount dock for the Shark, but it does come with a cloth bag to keep all the accessories neat and tidy.
Sign up for the newsletter
Get news, competitions and special offers direct to your inbox
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – Design and features
The handheld unit alone weighs in at a reasonable 1.58kg with the battery pack locked and loaded. That is, coincidentally, exactly the same weight as the Dyson V8. The Shark looks and feels a bigger unit, though. With the battery and motor in front of the pistol grip, it simply feels heavier to wield.
Attach the folding tube and DuoClean floorhead, and the whole ensemble tipped our scales at 4kg – that’s close to 1.5kg heavier than Dyson’s V8 with tube and Direct Drive floorhead attached. This isn’t a major issue when cleaning, since much of that weight is sitting on the floor, but when you move between rooms or carry it upstairs, you’ll certainly notice it. The Shark hits back on the portability front with its instant fold-over storage position and dedicated carry handle.
Floor cleaning in ‘stick’ mode, the Shark is pretty lengthy. It certainly won’t be a stretch for taller users. Our opinion regarding the lack of pivoting neck on the main floorhead is mixed. While it allows precise direction of the head with a simple twist of the wrist, it does feel a little hefty. You need to put the effort in to steer and navigate.
The folding tube is just plain weird but, blimey, it works. For getting under low obstacles without having to bend down it’s simply brilliant. Many areas under our sofas and cabinets that hadn’t seen the light of day for quite some time benefitted from a thorough vacuuming. The only downside of the design is that the tube’s folding mechanism adds weight when you’re cleaning up high.
Power on/off is a central button on the real panel. Unlike a trigger, this does allow you to switch on and leave it running without further input. Buttons to the right and left cycle through low/high power and slow/high speed for the brush bar, with illuminated graphics.
The HEPA rating comes courtesy of two-stage filtration. Under the top cover panel there’s a large foam cylinder filter. You also get a small post-motor filter beneath the handle. Both are washable. We found cleaning the Shark’s main filter particularly messy. It dropped dust everywhere simply getting it out of the machine.
Emptying the Shark is straightforward enough. With no tools or tubes attached to the main body, you simply open the front flap and the debris drops out. It works faultlessly most of the time – but big quantities of pet hair did confound emptying. They tended to become wrapped around the core of the cyclone and stuck fast. This required diving in with fingers to pull out the fluff and dust. Total bin capacity is on a par with other top-spec cordless cleaners, however.
All of the tools can be used directly attached to the handheld cleaner or on the end of the folding tube. As with other Shark cleaners we’ve tested, clip design and robustness it top-notch. Almost every clip and lever has its function clearly labelled. Everything clips together and unclips afterwards with precision.
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – Charging and run-times
The removable batteries and charge dock are superb features of the Shark DuoClean – two batteries even more so. Moreover, these batteries pack a generous capacity and present clear LED charge level indicators.
For a fully exhausted battery, charge time is around 3.5 hours. Stick both in the dock and that time creeps up at least another hour or so.
Run-time is variable and depends on use. Or, more accurately, on the power level you choose, whether you have motorised tools connected, and the speed they’re running at. Shark claims a max run-time of 44 minutes, yet read the small print and you’ll see that the figure relates to using both batteries.
Sure enough, with just a dusting brush attached, each battery offered around 23 minutes of cleaning on low power mode. A total of 45-46 minutes using both batteries is more cleaning than most home owners are ever likely to need.
The other end of the spectrum offers shorter run-time, but it isn’t as restricted as you might expect. In high power mode, with the DuoClean floorhead running at high speed, we achieved a stellar 12-13 minutes from each pack. That’s a serious amount of high-power cleaning – and close to double that of Dyson’s V8 on high power. Okay, the Shark doesn’t quite have the sheer suction grunt of the Dyson, but with that sort of run-time per battery and two batteries, Shark owners can clean on full power for way, way longer.
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – How noisy is it?
Not very, is the short answer. It isn’t as quiet as the best mains-powered vacuums but it’s very good for a cordless. Trying to suppress the noise of a high-power motor and high-speed fan in a small, handheld cleaner is a challenge, yet the Shark’s simplified air-flow and dual filters go a long way to stifling the noise.
On its low-power mode with an open-ended static tool – such as the dusting brush – it produced around 70dB of noise. That’s very good for a cordless cleaner. It’s a mid-toned motor and air noise isn’t as intrusive as the very high-speed whine of some cordless vacs.
On full power with the DuoClean floorhead running at high speed, noise output saw a fair rise. We measured around 78dB cleaning over a hard floor. This is still very good for a potent cordless cleaner, making this Shark one of the quietest combined handheld/stick models we’ve tried.
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – How does it clean hard floors?
On the lower power setting the Shark packs an admirable suction punch. A simple hand-over-the-end test suggests a fair bit more suction than the Dyson on low power, if not the air-flow rate. Ramp that up to the higher power setting and the Shark’s suction scales admirably. It’s up there with lower-powered corded cleaners but doesn’t quite match the Max power of Dyson’s V8. Given the Sharks extra run-time in this mode, however, it’s more than a fair trade-off.
Over hard floors the DuoClean head is simply superb. It deals with dust, pet hair and our spilled oats test with ease – even on the cleaner’s low-power setting. Push the power to the max and it pulls dirt out of deeper nooks and crannies admirably. It’s easy to steer on hard floors and the powerful front lights are perfect for chasing down escapee fur-balls in darker recesses.
The Shark passed our hard floor test of spilled oats with flying colours. One simple forward pass cleaned the area with ease. Absolutely no oats were pushed away or jettisoned out. The backstoke was more a formality than a necessity – a fantastic result. The head went on to do a grand job on parquet and ceramic tiles generally. There was also plenty of side-suction to pull in debris from the very edges of the room.
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – How does it clean carpets?
Carpet cleaning was pretty good, too, but not without some caveats. A single pass on the carpet test dispatched almost all the test powder, and the backstroke cleared up the last surface remnants. Some of the heavier carpet cleaning powder remained visible in the pile after these two passes, however. The soft-flocked roller at the front of the head does limit how aggressively the traditional beater bar behind can agitate into the pile.
Edge cleaning on carpet was also very good for a cordless cleaner. There was very little powder remaining in the dip where the carpet wedged under the gripper. The best mains-powered vacuum cleaners are better still, but the Shark’s results were excellent for a cordless.
The issues we experienced while carpet cleaning were largely operational. Most noticeably, on the high-speed brush bar setting, the head literally pulls itself along. With both the flock-covered bar and the brush bar rotating in the same direction there’s a significant forward driving force. This makes going forward very easy as the Shark virtually drives itself. Coming back, less so. You have to overcome the rotational force of both bars.
Pull back steadily and the head moves positively, cleaning as it goes. Pull back sharply and the rear end of the head simply lifts off the ground, killing any cleaning power. The Shark takes a bit of getting used to on carpets. The head works, but it does get tiring fighting against the constant forward pull.
The effect is notably reduced if you switch to the slower brush bar (hard floor) setting. Moreover, there didn’t seem to be a great deal of difference in the head’s carpet cleaning performance as long as you went slow and steady. It’s a complete mystery to us why Shark didn’t make the rollers contra-rotating to cancel out the driving force issue.
Switch to handheld mode with any of the detail cleaning tools and the Shark simply shines. There’s plenty of suction power on even the lower power mode and all tools are well designed. The long thin Dust Brush is something of a star performer; our conservatory windowsills were cleaned in double-quick time. It’s a great tool for dusting between ornaments and other junk littering cabinet tops too.
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – How does it cope with pet hair?
The DuoClean main floorhead has plenty of suction and physical gumption to pick up pet hair from hard floors and carpets. While surface cleaning over carpets is fine, there are limitations. The flocked roller stops the stiff-bristled brush bar from digging in and beating out deeply entangled pet hairs.
A single pass of our test rug certainly sufficed for weekly pet-hair busting duties. All of the surface hair was removed even if the flocked roller didn’t plump up the carpet pile in the way of a dedicated bristle brush.
Switch to the small Motorized Pet Tool and the Shark turned into a pet-owners dream. It worked exceptionally well in the dogs’ beds and on upholstery, removing hair without sucking in loose fabric. At just 77dB noise output in such use, it isn’t so loud it will send sensitive pets running for cover either.
Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet – How easy is it to use on stairs?
Cordless, lightweight, powerful and with a dedicated small motorised cleaning head – that pretty much covers our wish list for cleaning carpeted stairs. The Shark doesn’t disappoint. We leapt gazelle-like from stair to stair wielding the sub 2kg combined weight of the cleaner and Motorized Pet Tool with impunity.
The tool works very well on carpeted steps. The few degrees of tilt in the base plate provide just enough manoeuvrability to keep it squarely planted. The body of the cleaner feels a little deep for the tool, however. It almost touches the same surface if you get the angles a bit lean. That didn’t cause us any issues and we soon got used to this quirk.
The main DuoClean floorhead isn’t suitable here. While it does connect directly to the cleaner, it’s simply too heavy and unwieldy for small steps – doubly so for our tightly angled staircase. You’re spoilt for choice with the other tools for hard-surface steps, however. The dusting brush or the Anti-Allergen Dust Brush work equally well. The latter is notably quicker since it covers almost an entire step in a single sweep. We struggle to think of a better cleaner for stairs.
Should I buy the Shark DuoClean Cordless TruePet?
Solid, cleverly designed and offering potent cleaning for hard floors and carpets alike, Shark’s IF250UKT is a superb cordless vacuum. Run-times are excellent, two batteries extend cleaning admirably, and the Motorized Pet Tool is great for cat and dog owners.
However, it does lack the overall finesse of Dyson’s cordless models. It can feel rather more cumbersome to use, particularly as the DuoClean floorhead constantly tries to drive the cleaner forward. It isn’t inexpensive at its near-£500 retail price, either. Yet the Shark’s cleaning capabilities and superb total run-time mark it out as a serious contender in the premium cordless cleaner market.
A superb all-round cordless cleaner with plenty of power, impressive run-times and two batteries.