With its dual batteries and wide range of bundled accessories, the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner (Twin Battery) WV251UK is a powerful, compact cordless vacuum that you can use for quickly cleaning up smaller spills. Performance is excellent, matching that of a large cleaner, but we'd welcome more storage for accessories.
- Charges both batteries at once
- Good range of accessories
- Powerful performance
- Little storage for accessories
- Bin eject is a little too energetic
- Review Price: £179.99
- Cordless handheld vacuum
- 420 x 60 x 55mm, 0.69kg
- Crevice tool with dusting brush, pet multi tool, wide upholstery tool
- 0.1-litre bin
- 16 minutes' battery life
Calling on a full-sized vacuum cleaner for any minor spills around the home can be a faff. The Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner (Twin Battery) WV251UK is here to help: this tiny wand vacuum cleaner has the power of a full-size model in a grab-and-go format. The model I’ve reviewed here was the special edition in matte black, but the regular version has the same features and performance.
Shark WV251UK design and features – Simple grab-and-go unit, but it could do with more storage
- Dual batteries and charging
- You only get room on the stand for one accessory
- Shark provides most of the accessories that you need
Designed to be convenient and easy to use, the Shark WV251UK is a small and lightweight vacuum cleaner. Measuring 420 x 60 x 55mm, and with a weight of 0.69kg, it’s incredibly light in the hand; it’s well balanced, allowing you to direct it at the mess you need to clean up.
It’s a rather nice-looking vacuum cleaner, all sleek and smooth, and I love the matte-black finish of this model.
You can use the vacuum cleaner without a nozzle, turning it on via the slider switch and placing the front of the cleaner on the surface you wish to clean. However, this model also ships with some accessories. You get the crevice tool with flip-up dusting brush, plus a multi pet tool (a small upholstery brush) – both of which ship with the standard model. There’s the option of the wide upholstery tool, too, which is great for tackling larger areas of mess.
It’s a bit of a shame, then, that the charging stand only has room to accommodate one of these accessories. You’ll need to find space to store the other tools. The single-battery variant offers space for two accessories.
Two batteries are supplied in the box, and Shark’s neat design means that one battery charges in the vacuum cleaner while the other plugs and charges in the stand. As such, you’ll never have to worry about checking which battery is fully charged, as they’ll get topped up at the same time.
As is usual for this kind of cleaner, the bin is small at just 0.1 litres. However, since this cleaner is designed for picking up small spills, this size is perfect for the job at hand.
Shark has an eject system for the bin: press the button and the bin swings open downwards. It sounds like a good idea, but my sample was a little energetic and the rice I use for testing was pinged outside of the bin. A hand underneath to more gently open the bin is recommended.
You can remove the HEPA filter and bin separately to give both a regular clean, before leaving to dry and reinserting.
Shark WV251UK performance – Very powerful and good coverage with the tools
- The same kind of power you’d expect from a regular cordless
- The optional wide tool can speed up your cleaning
- With the bundled pet tool and 2-in-1 tool most jobs are doable
I started out by testing the vacuum cleaner’s suction performance, using a water-lift gauge and an anemometer for air velocity. Using these two figures, I can approximate the AirWatts (AW) of the vacuum, which came in at 42.36AW. That’s pretty much par for the course for a handheld spot vacuum cleaner, and is around the same level of power you’d see from the mid setting of a regular cordless cleaner.
Spot cleaners require a fair amount of power, since they tackle most jobs through suction alone; cordless cleaners will often use motorised brushes to agitate dirt, aiding the cleaning process.
It’s important to note that AirWatts alone don’t tell you the full story of how well a vacuum actually performs. It’s the internal design and how well the tools make contact with a surface that makes the real difference.
To start, I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour onto carpet, and then used the wide upholstery brush to swipe through the middle. As you can see from the results below, a single sweep was enough to clear a path, and it took just a couple more swipes to pick up everything.
Next, I sprinkled a teaspoon of rice onto the hard floor. I used the vacuum without attachment to move through the middle of the area. The vacuum made a clear path through the middle, without throwing rice back out onto the floor on the backwards pass.
I then used the dusting brush on the rim around the bi-fold doors, which often collect cat hair and – because these are in a kitchen – slightly dirty grease. The WV251UK managed to rid most of the surface dirt, but small traces remained. I’ve seen more powerful vacuum cleaners do better – so for some jobs you’ll need to whip out your full-sized vacuum.
Finally, I tackled a velvet sofa, which is often covered in cat hair. Using the pet multi tool, I swiped forward and back against the grain. While the vacuum managed to pick up most hair, some hairs stubbornly remained stuck to the chair. You can certainly use the Shark WV251UK for quick clean-ups, but a motorised pet brush will be required for deeper cleans.
Each battery provides eight minutes of runtime, for a total of 16 minutes. It then takes 2.5 hours to recharge both batteries. With 16 minutes in total, you’ll have enough power to tackle the types of job for which this cleaner is designed.
I measured the noise of the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner (Twin Battery) WV251UK at 82.3dB, which is loud for a vacuum cleaner – but in line with other handheld models. Given that this cleaner will be used for short bursts, the sound levels aren’t too much of a problem.
Should you buy the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner (Twin Battery) WV251UK?
Small, powerful and convenient, the Shark WV251UK is a useful grab-and-go cleaner. Thanks to its selection of attachments, it can clean up most spills with the ease and power of a larger vacuum cleaner.
Competition is tough, though. The Hoover H-Handy 700 is cheaper, offers similar levels of power and comfort, and runs for 12 minutes from its single battery. This cleaner has neater storage, although Hoover’s accessories have smaller heads than those of Shark, so it can take a little longer to clean.
For those who own a Vax ONEPWR, the Vax ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vac is a barebones add-on (it comes minus a battery) that’s super-cheap.
Much of which you choose will come down to price. At full retail price, the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner (Twin Battery) WV251UK costs £179.99, which is expensive – and possibly hard to justify, making the single-battery version, the WV200UK, a better choice for many, while my list of the best cordless vacs has alternative choices.