Shark DuoClean Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Review

Shark’s first cordless upright cleaner offers cylinder cleaner versatility and impressive Boost power run times.

Verdict

The Shark DuoClean Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is top-spec. Despite some operational quirks, it delivers unrivalled versatility, solid cleaning and good run times.

Pros

  • Feels light in the hand
  • Great for hard floors
  • Lift-Away perfect for stairs
  • Good edge cleaning
  • Easily emptied

Cons

  • Doesn’t deep clean carpets
  • Small bin for an upright
  • Odd default power settings
  • Slow to charge (circa 3.5 hours)

Key Features

  • Review Price: £479.99
  • 28V cordless power
  • Upright and Lift-Away versatility
  • DuoClean floor head
  • LED headlights
  • Motorised pet tool
  • 3.5-hour charge time
  • Up to 50 minutes run time
  • Washable HEPA filtration
  • Five-year guarantee (two years on battery)

What is the Shark DuoClean Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT?

Billed as Shark’s first cordless upright cleaner, the DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT neatly rolls a host of innovations into a single battery-powered design. It delivers solid upright and cylinder cleaning, with good suction on Boost mode, an effective DuoClean head and a great little pet tool.

For the price, it doesn’t give a super-deep carpet clean and the charger is woefully slow, but for all-round cordless cleaner freedom, the IC160UKT is as versatile as they get, giving you the flexibility of a traditional upright, combined with a handheld cleaner. If you’re looking for something that can do everything, then this could well be the product for you.

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Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – Design and features

Comfortably bagging the award for longest bagless cleaner name on the planet, meet Shark’s DuoClean Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet IC160UKT. Let’s just call it the IC160UKT.

Given the girth of the name alone, you can tell this model resides at the upper end of Shark’s vacuum cleaner range and is packed with features. It’s Shark’s first cordless upright cleaner, it uses the fabulous DuoClean twin-brush floor head and has a Lift-Away section, which means it can be used as a portable cylinder-style cleaner too.

It’s quite an odd-looking beast. The IC160UKT’s main cleaner gubbins is set low down, with a compact 0.6-litre bin flanked by the motor housing on one side, and the near-cylindrical battery compartment on the other. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we think it looks a little ‘cosmetically challenged’.

Thankfully, form follows function and the idea of keeping the workings low equates to much less perceived weight in the hand compared with hand-stick style models. As such, the IC160UKT hides its 5.6kg weight incredibly well, feeling very nippy and manoeuvrable as an upright, and tipping our scales at just 2.5kg plus hose in Lift-Away mode.

It’s cleaning chops come courtesy of a 28V motor, powered by a bespoke 2900mAh battery pack. In Lift-Away mode, without the powered tools, this should give you up to 50 minutes of cleaning time before needing to recharge the battery directly on the cleaner or in its supplied dock.

Power controls are push-button electronic on the handle, in handy thumb reach of the main grip. There is a power on/off switch, the Boost mode button and the ability to toggle between the hard floor and the carpet setting. The latter increases the brush-bar speed on the floor head. The floor covering toggle switch is disabled when only the detail tools are fitted.

With the DuoClean floor head attached, power defaults to the standard power and, rather frustratingly, you have to hold down the Boost button to engage higher power. With just the detail tools attached to the hose, the Boost button defaults to ‘on’.

As you normally need more power for wide tools like a floor head – where the airflow is less concentrated – and less power for smaller tools and dusting duties, this here is arguably the wrong way around. Either way, we would prefer the Boost button to stay engaged when pressed, rather than act like a spring trigger.

The IC160UKT upholds Shark’s usual high standard of build quality, with all clips and catches being chunky, easy to use and well labelled. The Lift-Away section comes off easily, the bin empties through a full-sized flap and the washable filters pop out with ease.

A clever design touch routes the exhaust air through a large HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) rated post motor filter and then out through vent holes in the battery pack. This helps to keep the battery cool, particularly if you run the machine on Boost mode for any length of time.

The equipment roster includes crevice, upholstery and dusting tools, a powered pet tool, a flexible hose and an extension tube. All of the tools can be used on the extension tube or attached directly to the handle, although the DuoClean floor head’s upright boot-style tube makes it tricky to use outside of the upright configuration.

A small cloth tote bag is supplied to keep your accessories together in the cupboard, but there is sadly no onboard tool storage.

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Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – Accessories

We have been big fans of the various iterations of Shark’s DuoClean floor head for a while. Appearing across a number of the brand’s top-spec cleaners, such as the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away NV801UKT, this innovative design uses two rotating brush bars. The forward bar is a large, flocked roller, while a standard bristle bar brush runs behind.

The forward brush picks up the finest dust and debris, and a fixed comb ensures the particles are then groomed out of the flocked roller into the vacuum airflow. The bristle brush offers two rows of medium stiff bristles to sweep up larger debris and beat carpet pile into releasing its dirt. A line of soft bristles behind the rollers keeps airflow focused under the rollers.

The DuoClean head is straightforward to clean thanks to easily removable rollers. Features also include a flexible tilt and pivot neck for steering and two rows of LEDs along the front to pick out fluff in the gloomy recesses behind the sofa. A green light on top of the cleaner head shows when the brush bars are spinning.

The head is not too tall and the neck folds back well, giving good access under low obstacles. The vacuum is rather large front to back and very heavy, but other incarnations of the DuoClean head have proven their worth.

If the DuoClean head is too big to be practical, you can switch to the motorised pet tool. This neat tool uses a single-powered brush bar with stiff bristles and a tilting floorplate to help keep it flat to the surface. The neck is fixed and there are no fancy LEDs, but the pet tool is lightweight, well-built and easy to dismantle for cleaning.

Shark’s supplied trio of detail tools simply pushes onto the handle or extension tube. The upholstery tool is usefully wider than the norm and fitted with side vents to help prevent loose fabric from being drawn in. The dusting brush has a rotating offset neck, useful for getting the right angle when you are reaching high, but the bristles are rather stiff for pure dusting duties.

The crevice tool is a good length, but the business end is rather too chunky for anything bar fairly big crevices. There is no onboard storage for any of these tools, but you do get a little cloth bag to keep them tidy in the cupboard. The accessories roster is complete with a neat charging dock that takes up precious little room on the worktop and a wall-wart style power adapter.

Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – Charging and run time

Shark’s 28V system and removable 2900mAh battery are right up there with the highest-capacity cleaner battery systems. The industrial design is very smart too, with a three-LED charge status display, pop-up handle that releases the battery from the cleaner and battery pack cooling, courtesy of cleverly routed exhaust air. Add in the on-cleaner or in-dock charging, and it is clear that Shark has put a lot of R&D time into this system.

Yet the supplied charger is underpowered for such a big capacity battery, so charging takes a while. In our tests that was over three and a half hours from flat to fully charged.

Without a second battery, the Shark is realistically a ‘clean and forget until the next day’ cleaner. The extensively vented battery pack could easily cope with a more potent fast-charger too, so that is an opportunity missed.

Thankfully, the 2900mAh does return your patience with its charging time with decent run times. During use, the charge indicator on top of the battery gives you a good visual guide to how much run time you have left. However, power modes and run times are a bit convoluted.

In normal power dust-busting mode, with just the non-powered detail tools attached, the IC160UKT managed over 49 minutes, falling just seconds short of the headline runtime figure.

Punch up the power to the Boost setting and you get a whole lot more suction and a whole lot less run time – just shy of 16 minutes in our tests. Yet the suction and airflow feel three times as potent in Boost mode.

In full upright configuration, with the DuoClean floor head running in carpet mode and the cleaner on normal power, we regularly got just over 33 minutes. That is a very decent amount of upright cleaning time.

However, Boost mode with the DuoClean head running doesn’t deliver anything like the epic suction power of Boost mode with just the dusting tools attached. Subsequently, the Boost run time is longer with the DuoClean head, at a decent 20 minutes and 30 seconds on average in our tests. The effort of holding the Boost button down for over 20 minutes will give you serious thumb cramp though.

There is clearly some interesting electronic power management going on here, and we are not sure it’s entirely logical. The Boost mode suction power is lower with the floor head attached, and floor heads traditionally need more suction power due to the wider pick-up area.

Moreover, if you are going to have a trigger button for Boost mode, designed so you are only likely to hold it down briefly, then at least make it powerful enough to nearly pull the pile from the carpet for a really deep clean. We want the equivalent of a turbo-charged nitrous button that puts the cleaner into warp drive (ideally complete with blurred starfield across the living room).

Unfortunately, the IC160UKT’s Boost mode simply doesn’t deliver with the floor head attached. The carpet test results in a surface clean rather than a deep clean, even with the awkward Boost button held down constantly.

Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – How noisy is it?

Like many Sharks we have tested, the IC160UKT has a purposeful sound, but it isn’t too noisy. Well, not on its normal power setting anyway. With detail tools or the floor head attached on the lower power setting, the noise output is a peaceful 70-72dB.

The DuoClean floor head does add its bit to that level. But it counters by muffling the noise of the air-rush, so it’s about the same output either way.

Bump up the power with the Boost button and things get a fair bit more energetic in both suction power and noise. Expect around 78dB with either the floor head or detail tools. That is getting up there, and the overall sound mix includes quite aggressive high-pitched whine. So, the IC160UKT is a bit Jekyll and Hyde with the noise output: quiet on standard power, a bit noisy on Boost.

Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – How does it cope with hard floors and carpets?

In upright mode, this Shark feels very light in the hand thanks to the low-down weight – there is very little pressure on fingers. On hard surfaces, where there is little resistance to movement, it is a fast and effective upright vacuum cleaner. The Lift-Away is even lighter and easier still to move around.

With just the details tools attached, there is a marked difference between the normal power and Boost power modes in both the noise and the suction.

A hand-over-the-nozzle test reveals a good deal of vacuum power on both modes, but the volume of airflow is relatively low on the normal power setting. Step up to the Boost mode and much more air is sucked through the system for a commensurate increase in dirt pick-up.

The forward soft flocked roller of the DuoClean brush is ideal for hard surfaces, such as laminates, tiles and parquet. It picks up dust and dirt well even on the low-power mode, thanks mainly to its excellent sweeping abilities.

Elevate the power to Boost mode and the floor head gives improved suction, just enough to remove debris from the grouting between the tiles.

On our hard floor test over riven tiles, the IC160UKT did an excellent clean in a single pass, albeit in Boost mode. The normal power did get most of our spilt oats particles, but left some in the grouting grooves.

One minor issue with cleaning hard floors is that line of soft bristles at the rear of the floor head. While this does assist in concentrating the suction between the rollers, it can sweep particles back behind the floor head on the backstroke.

General cleaning over carpet is good. The DuoClean head on this model doesn’t drive itself forward with the tenacity of mains-powered versions. Both rollers running in the same direction make it easier to push forward than pull back, but it’s not overly arduous.

The cleaner’s low-down weight does add a little momentum and inertia to back-and-forth movement though. It takes a little more force to get going, stop and reverse than hand-stick style uprights, although the minimal carpet stick-down ensures things don’t simply grind to a halt.

Unusually, the carpet beating brush seems rather high off the surface, raised between the front roller and line of brushes at the rear. Consequently, the brush doesn’t really get deep into the carpet, so it doesn’t beat and agitate the pile very effectively. The result is a very good surface cleaning, but there’s less pick-up in the deep pile.

On our red carpet test, using the Boost mode, the DuoClean head produces an excellent surface clean in a single pass. The marginally higher suction power and solid airflow of the Boost mode does an excellent job right up to the skirting edge, creating one of the best cordless edge cleans we have seen. The result is a great surface clean, as long as you don’t look too closely.

Get up close and personal with the pile and plenty of our test mix of talcum, carpet freshening and baking powders is visible below the surface.

Repeat passes over the area comfortably pick up more of the dirt trapped within the pile, but the IC160UKT is clearly not meant for deep cleaning carpets.

While the supplied motorised pet tool clearly has its own animal-based agenda, it is a great little tool for spot-cleaning carpets and furniture. On Boost power mode, the combination of the suction power and brush bar do a great job.

For tackling those high-up cobwebs, this Shark works very well with either the crevice tool or dusting brush. However, our vertically challenged octogenarian tester suggested the metal extension tube was a little short to reach the highest parts of the ceiling.

Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – How does it cope with pet hair?

The Stevenson household menagerie does a good job of laying down a test bed of pet hair across hard floors, carpets and the sofa. A mix of coarse Labrador hair and fine Border Collie puppy fluff creates quite a carpet challenge for cleaners.

Using the DuoClean floor head and the Boost power mode, the IC160UKT acquits itself with good, if not outstanding, pet hair performance. On the living room test rug, a single pass back and forth reduced the hair count, but didn’t clean up fully.

Continuing with some repeat passes over the same area, this Shark did clean up pet hairs well as an upright, but it wasn’t an instant hit.

If you back down to the normal power mode, it takes even longer and there isn’t enough suction gumption to pull hairs and fluff off the roller. That leaves you with a very messy brush bar that will need cleaning regularly.

Switching to the pet tool proved very effective at removing hairs from the sofa, pet beds and the stair carpet. The lower power mode again lacked cleaning gumption, but on Boost it cleaned up with aplomb.

The fairly small bin does fill quickly when the Boost mode is used on pet hair. Yet it is very easy to empty, and the hair doesn’t get wrapped around the cyclone core like with many hand-stick cordless cleaners.

Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT – How easy is it to use on stairs?

Pull off the Lift-Away unit, attach the pet tool and head over to the stairs. The Lift-Away unit is low weight and the top handle comfortable to hold. It does tend to tip forward with the weight of the battery and motor, but it’s not overly arduous to hold.

The cordless operation and Lift-Away portability is close to the ideal scenario for stair cleaning. Unlike hand-held cleaners, Shark’s handle and tool alone are extremely lightweight and manoeuvrable. This allows you to veritably nip up a flight of stairs, cleaning as you go. It’s just as easy to flip your hand over to clean the step uprights too.

The pet tool is the carpet cleaner of choice for stairs and the dusting brush does a good job if you have wood steps. The lower power setting is fine for hard surfaces, but you will need the Boost mode to get the best performance from the pet tool, particularly if your stairs have a coating of pet hairs too. Use that and the IC160UKT is absolutely ideal for stairs.

Why buy the Shark DuoClean Cordless Lift-Away TruePet IC160UKT?

The IC160UKT is a solid addition to the Shark portfolio, being an effective cordless upright cleaner and a portable cylinder cleaner in one. Run times on the most effective Boost mode are reasonable, the DuoClean floor head generally excellent and the build quality is outstanding.

Yet, at this top-end asking price, we would have liked deeper carpet cleaning, a speedier charger, a longer extension tube and more logical and easier-to-use power settings. These minor caveats aside, the IC160UKT is an incredibly innovative, versatile and effective cordless cleaner. At this kind of price, the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute gives you more power. Check out our best cordless vacuum cleaners for more of our top choices, regularly updated.

Score


Score in detail

  • Usability 7
  • Cleaning performance 8
  • Features 9
  • Design 8
  • Value 8

Other

Type Cordless