Shark ION Robot Vacuum Review
A basic but effective robot vacuum cleaner
Offering basic navigation, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum doesn’t have the most powerful suction, but it cleans well by covering areas multiple times. There’s a decent app and voice control, but this robot lacks the full mapping and advanced controls of its more expensive rivals.
- Low price
- Useful app
- Simple operation
- Very basic navigation
- Few additional features
- USARRP: $259.99
- TypeA standard robot vacuum cleaner that doesn’t come with a mopping option
- ConnectionYou can control this vacuum cleaner using the App, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
There’s no doubt that robot vacuum cleaners can make life easier, but they can also be expensive. The Shark ION Robot Vacuum is a basic robot vacuum that lacks the most powerful navigation and cleaning features, but it does a good enough job of vacuuming – and it has a useful app, too.
Design and features
- Decent app but few features in it
- Bin leaks slightly on emptying
- Simple controls on top
This is a far more basic robot vacuum cleaner than much of the high-end competition, such as the Roborock S5 Max – hence the low price. From the outside, though, there isn’t much that’s notable between this robot and the competition. It’s another round robot vacuum cleaner that drops onto its charging dock.
There are three controls on top of the robot: a button to start a clean, one to send it back to the dock, and a third to turn on the Max mode to boost suction.
Flip the robot over and you’ll see a standard brush bar, which can be removed to make it easier to cut away tangled hair, plus two side brushes that sweep dirt in from edges into the main vacuuming path.
What you don’t have on this vacuum cleaner is a LiDAR sensor on top for proper mapping. Instead, this vacuum cleaner uses proximity sensors to feel its way around a room and objects.
There’s a standard dust cup that pulls out of the back, revealing the washable filter. This dust cup has quite a large opening, so be careful as you pull it out – it’s very easy to spill dust out of it.
It might be quite a simple vac, but the Shark ION Robot Vacuum can be connected to your home Wi-Fi network (2.4GHz only) using the Shark app. Once in the app, though, the set of controls presented is far more basic than what you’d see with much of the competition. You can start and stop a clean, and then set the vacuuming level (Eco, Normal and Max), plus you can schedule cleans and view the cleaning history.
This robot doesn’t generate a map, so you can’t set no-go zones, pick an area for intensive cleaning, or generally get finer control over its operation.
Having a Wi-Fi connection does mean that you can add Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control.
- So-so suction power
- Poor at the edges
- Eventually covers most areas
Without proper mapping and navigation, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum isn’t as targeted and precise as its rivals. Rather than mapping out the best route around a room, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum instead moves off and works its way across the room, reacting to obstacles and walls as it finds them.
It can often lead to the robot spending some time trying to extricate itself from problems. In my house, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum spent a good deal of time backing out of some dining chair legs, although it did get out. Importantly, I didn’t have to rescue this vacuum cleaner during testing.
I did have to clean up a bit before the robot went out. Without advanced navigation or a camera of the type you get on the Roborock S6 MaxV, this robot can hit obstacles or become caught on wires, so make sure its path is clear before you start.
To test cleaning performance, I ran my regular tests. First, I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour onto my test carpet. Since the Shark ION Robot Vacuum keeps on cleaning until it’s time to recharge, it takes a rather long time to fully cover a stain. Over a 45-minute cleaning session, before I sent the robot back to the dock, it passed over the carpet a few times, each time getting a bit more of the mess. Eventually, I was left with a generally clean carpet.
Next, I sprinkled flour onto a hard floor. Again, it took the Shark ION Robot Vacuum a while to fully remove all the mess, but it was mostly gone bar a bit of dust remaining.
Edge performance wasn’t as good, however. Rather than finding an edge and following it, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum kept hitting the mess head-on, turning around and moving off. This left quite a bit of flour behind. Ultimately, if you do end up buying this cleaner, you’ll still need to get out a regular cordless vacuum cleaner to tackle edges and spots.
Battery life is rated at up to 90 minutes, which should mean that you’ll be able to cover a floor of your home. The trick is leaving the vacuum cleaner to exhaust itself so that it more thoroughly covers an area. This isn’t particularly efficient, but it works. If you upgrade to a more expensive Roborock cleaner, you’ll find that it cleans faster since it’s more methodical approach allows it to work out where it has and hasn’t cleaned.
In terms of noise I measured the vacuum at 58.3dB on its Normal power setting, which is very quiet for a robot vacuum cleaner.
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Should you buy it?
If you just want something cheap and basic, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum gets most of the basics right, cleaning well enough.
If you want advanced controls and a more methodical approach to cleaning, then spend more on a robot vacuum cleaner that has full mapping and advanced navigation.
Without better navigation and controls, the Shark ION Robot Vacuum cleans by repeatedly going over areas. With so-so suction power, it can take the vacuum a good few swipes to pick up everything. This isn’t particularly efficient but, ultimately, with the exception of edge cleaning, it is effective.
Advanced controls, such as spot, area and intensive cleaning, are missing too. If you’re looking for a cheap and basic cleaner then this robot does the job, but check out my guide to the best robot vacuum cleaners if you want something smarter.
It works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
No, this vacuum cleaner has suction only.