Straddling the boundary between plug-in and cordless vacuum cleaners, the Shark Rocket Corded Stick Vacuum HV302 is a neat plug-in handheld. It offers decent reach, is quite light in the hand, and can deal with mess of all types – although it may need a few more sweeps than a more powerful plug-in model. It’s slightly fiddly to empty – but at this price, the Rocket’s minor flaws can be forgiven.
- Comfortable handheld design
- Good performance
- Low price
- Nice range of accessories
- Bin fiddly to empty
- USARRP: $199.99
- TypeA plug-in vacuum cleaner that looks, feels and acts like a cordless stick; it’s small and light, but with a limitless power supply.
No matter how good a cordless vacuum cleaner is, all models suffer from the same issue: battery life is limited. The Shark Rocket Corded Stick Vacuum HV302 is different: it’s a plug-in vacuum that’s built to be used as a cordless cleaner, giving you the best of both worlds.
It’s relatively cheap, and comes with a decent range of accessories. However, the bin is a little fiddly to empty and the cleaner could do with a little more power.
Design and features
- Handheld, like a cordless cleaner
- Good range of accessories
- Bin is a little fiddly to empty
If you ignore the cable hanging out of the rear of the Shark Rocket, you’d easily mistake this vacuum for a cordless stick. At just 8.2lbs, this is a relatively lightweight vacuum cleaner, although there are smaller and lighter cordless models, such as the Shark WandVac System, for those who want to cut down on bulk even further.
Everything about this vacuum cleaner is designed to ape a cordless model, right down to the detachable wand that hooks up to the motorised floor tool. With the wand in place, you can get up high to clean around ceilings, but you can remove it to get close-up with the provided tools.
In the box, Shark provides a crevice tool, a multi pet tool (a hard brush that converts into an upholstery tool), and a small nozzle that’s built for getting into crevices. The latter is great to valet a car, really getting into those hard-to-reach areas.
There’s no onboard storage for the tools, which is a bit of a shame. The main vacuum does have a storage hook, which you can use to either attach the cleaner to the base of the wand, enabling you to put the whole lot in a cupboard, or you can hang it via the optional wall mount.
There’s a regular dust cup underneath that holds 0.31qrts (0.078 gallons) of dirt. This dust cup can’t be removed from the vacuum cleaner’s body, which is a little frustrating since it makes the Shark Rocket more difficult to empty than your average cordless vacuum cleaner. The flap at the bottom also has a large bit of plastic that protrudes, pulling dirt and hair with it as it opens –so be careful when you empty the vacuum, to avoid spraying dust everywhere.
At the top of the dust cup is the foam filter, which you should clean regularly (Shark says monthly) to keep the vacuum cleaner operating optimally. A second post-motor filter sits round the back of the cleaner, which should be cleaned every nine months.
There are two power modes on this cleaner marked I (Bare Floor, Area Rugs) and II (High-Pile Carpets). These adjust the speed of the motorised floor brush (when attached), rather than adjusting motor power.
With a 25ft power cable, the Shark Rocket offers excellent reach. You should be able to get around most homes without having to switch power outlets multiple times. Within the reach of the cable, the Rocket really does feel like a cordless vacuum cleaner: it’s easy to push around, quick to nip round furniture, and handy for getting into smaller areas.
- Not too loud
- Decent performance on all surfaces
I started my performance tests by measuring the raw power of the Shark Rocket Corded Stick Vacuum HV302 in AirWatts: a combination of suction and airflow. Here, I recorded a score of 99.38AW, which is more in line with a small cordless cleaner than a plug-in model. The Dyson Micro, for example, offers similar suction on its Max mode. Buy a full plug-in cleaner, such as the Shark AZ2002, and you’ll get a lot more suction power.
Of course, raw power is one thing, but cleaning performance is another. For this reason, I also test how a vacuum performs in the real world. First, I spread a teaspoon of flour onto the test carpet, giving the Shark Rocket a pass through forward and backward. As you can see from the results, the carpet was mostly clean but there remained a trace of dust left in the middle of the carpet and towards the edges. A few more sweeps were sufficient to clear it all.
Next, I moved on to the edge test, where I spread a teaspoon of flour onto carpet tiles right up to the skirting board. It performed okay on a single pass-through, although it did leave a trace of dust in the middle of the sweep and some more by the skirting board. A few more sweeps were enough to clean up everything, although I did have to use the crevice tool to get out the final bits of mess.
Moving onto the hard floor test, I sprinkled rice onto the floor. A single pass picked up everything, and I was pleased to see that no grains dropped out of the floor head.
Finally, I combed cat hair into my test carpet and gave the vacuum cleaner a pass through. All of the mess was removed easily.
What these tests show is that the Shark Rocket is powerful enough to deal with any type of spill, although you may need a few more sweeps to pick up everything than if you were cleaning with a more powerful vacuum cleaner.
In terms of noise, I measured the Rocket at 79.3dB – that isn’t too loud, and is similar to a cordless vacuum cleaner on its maximum setting. Typically, cordless cleaners will be quieter on lower power settings.
Should you buy it?
If you want the power of a higher-end cordless cleaner at the price of a plug-in cleaner, then this is a great choice.
This vacuum isn’t as flexible as a true cordless cleaner, nor does it offer the power of many regular plug-in cleaners.
Although you can get better, lighter cleaning with a Dyson V15 Detect or Roborock H7, both of these machines cost a lot more than the Shark Rocket. If you’re after that handheld experience on a budget, without the drag of having to charge, then this is a good budget option. If you want something lighter and cordless, alongside alternatives and more powerful plug-in options, check out my guide to the best cordless vacuum cleaners.
How we test
We test every vacuum cleaner we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main vacuum cleaner for the review period
Tested for at least a week
Tested using tools to measure actual suction performance
Tested with real-world dirt in real-world situations for fair comparisons with other vacuum cleaners
You might like…
This is a plug-in vacuum cleaner whose design is similar to that of a cordless unit, giving you infinite run-time provided you’re near a power outlet.
There’s one at the top of the rocket, above the dust cup, and a second one hidden under a flap at the rear of the cleaner.
No, this is a plug-in cleaner, so will need to a power outlet to work. You can buy an optional wall mount for easier storage.