A handheld cleaner that can easily tackle floors, the Shark WandVac System WV361UK is a great grab-and-go cordless vacuum.
- As powerful as a regular cordless
- Very light
- Extremely flexible cleaning
- Relatively short battery life
- Bin emptying is rather energetic
- UKRRP: £199.99
- USARRP: $239.99
- Battery lifeThere’s a single battery provided that gives up to 16 minutes of runtime, and charging takes three hours. The charging dock can take an additional battery.
- Vacuum cleaner typeThis is a handheld vacuum cleaner that has a wand and floor head so that you can tackle larger jobs.
There’s been a resurgence in handheld vacuum cleaners, which provide quick grab-and-go cleaning for small spills. With the Shark WandVac System WV361UK, however, you get the best of both worlds: a handheld vac for quickly dealing with contained areas of mess and a full floor head to tackle an entire room.
Of course, you’ll need more storage space for a device such as this, and the 16-minute run-time means you’re limited to the area you can clean. Excellent performance and the option to add a second battery may extend its usefulness, though.
- Incredibly light and very simple to use
- Weighs less than 1kg in handheld mode
- Clever docking and charging system
- Bin-ejection system is a little energetic
The Shark WandVac System WV361UK uses a similar design to Shark’s other handheld vacuum cleaner, the Shark WV251UK. The main vacuum is an elongated tube, with a handle at the rear and air intake at the front.
The WV361UK is a little larger than the older WV251UK, since it takes a slightly larger battery; plus there’s a 0.25-litre bin here up from 0.1 litres in the previous model. That may not sound like a huge amount of dust collection, but factor in the relatively short battery life and that this cleaner is aimed at quickly tackling smaller spills, and it more than does.
An eject button on top of the cleaner springs the bin forward for emptying. It’s a little energetic, so ensure you have the cleaner centred over a bin – or you may just fling dust all over your floor.
You can fully remove the bin assembly to get to the HEPA filter at the back, and to clean out the internal bin. Shark recommends that you clean the filter once a month.
What really makes the WV361UK different to previous handheld models is that you get a wand in the box, which extends reach and lets you use a proper motorised floor head. Overall, it makes the vacuum cleaner a little larger than a regular handheld (690 x 62 x 79mm), but still very slim.
More importantly, this is one of the lightest vacuum cleaners I’ve reviewed at 3kg with all of the accessories attached. Disconnect the wand and floor head, and the vacuum’s weight drops to under 1kg – that’s super-light, and makes cleaning up high, getting into tighter areas and moving the vacuum cleaner around far more easy.
That lightweight body also means this cleaner is easy to push around; I found it quick and nimble with the motorised floor head attached. This model is an Anti-Hair Wrap unit, so its brushes won’t become clogged with hair during cleaning.
The controls are simple to use, too. There’s a single power button on the front to turn on the cleaner in ION mode (regular power), and you can squeeze the button at the back to temporarily engage Boost mode for tougher spills.
These kinds of controls make a lot of sense: you only use Boost mode while the button is engaged, quickly upping power when you need more and then dropping it down to regular mode straight away. This helps to extend battery life. The Boost button is quite hard to spot, however – and, in stick mode, it can be difficult to get the correct hand angle to press it.
Converting from stick to handheld mode is easy: just grab the two switches on the side of the vacuum to detach it from the wand. Reconnecting is just as simple, making it easy to move from floor to detail mode in the shortest time. It’s a shame, particularly given how light this vacuum cleaner is, that it won’t stand up on its own. I’ve only seen the Hoover H-Free 300 manage this.
When not in use, Shark has a charging stand for this vacuum cleaner into which you clip the wand and floor head, standing the cleaner vertically. You can charge the WV361UK in this dock, and there’s a spare charging dock at the rear for an optional second battery.
The stand can also hold the standard crevice tool, so you’ll only need to find storage space for the multi-surface tool, whose removable brush leaves you with an upholstery brush for tackling sofas and other soft furnishings.
- Lots of suction power
- Performs well on most surfaces in regular setting
- Battery life is quite short
There’s no point in having a lightweight vacuum cleaner if it doesn’t have the cleaning performance of a larger model. Starting out, I measured the cleaner’s power in AirWatts (AW), which is a measurement of suction power and airflow combined.
On the standard ION mode, the cleaner came in at 62.78AW, which is around average for a cordless vacuum cleaner in regular power mode. With Boost mode, I measured the vacuum at 124.65AW, which is around the same as the larger Shark IZ251UK. That’s impressive going.
While measured suction is one thing, the quality of the floor head, how well it can agitate dirt, and the contact it makes with the floor all play a part when assessing cleaning quality. For those reasons, I also run a set of real-world tests.
Starting out, I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour onto my test carpet. I then ran the cleaner through the middle on ION mode. With a single sweep forward and back, most of the mess was collected, bar some to the sides of the floor head.
I then tackled the rest of the mess, using ION power on the top and Boost at the bottom. Boost mode collected all of the mess with ease. What this shows is that regular mess will be easily handled in ION mode, but you’ll need to switch to Boost for tougher spills.
Next, I sprinkled flour right up to the skirting board on carpet tiles. This proves a tough test, with many vacuum cleaners struggling with the tight pile on the tiles. Indeed, on ION mode, the Shark WandVac System WV361UK left quite a lot of the flour behind.
Upping to Boost mode, the cleaner did a much better job – although I had to use the crevice tool to get the dirt right up against skirting board. Edge performance isn’t as good here as it is with some larger cleaners I’ve reviewed.
Next, I combed cat hair into my test carpet, running over the mess with the vacuum cleaner. Here, every bit of hair was removed.
Finally, I moved to the hard floor test, sprinkling a teaspoon of rice onto the floor. A single sweep through the middle on ION mode was sufficient to leave a clean path. And, no grains of rice fell out after cleaning, which is impressive.
Shark states that the WV361UK has a 16-minute run-time, although this is without the motorised floor brush. Attach a motorised tool and battery life is closer to 12 minutes. On Boost mode, you’ll get less than 10 minutes.
Is that enough? Well, the quality of cleaning here means that you can easily clean a single room or two on a single charge, plus there is the option to buy a second battery if you need to double this. Ultimately, this is a secondary cleaner for quickly tackling minor spills and small areas of dirt; you’ll need another cleaner for tackling whole-home cleaning. After the battery depletes, you’ll need to wait around three hours for it to recharge.
I found this vacuum cleaner quite noisy, peaking at 81.9dB on ION mode and 82.3dB on Boost mode. That’s a bit louder than most regular cordless cleaners, although the high-pitched motor here isn’t particularly annoying.
Straddling the ground between handheld and stick cleaners, the Shark WandVac System WV361UK provides the best of both worlds, with a grab-and-go cleaner that can tackle large areas and smaller spills alike. That makes it more flexible than other handheld cleaners, such as the Shark WV251UK, although you’ll need more space to store the WV361UK.
Battery life is good enough for one or two full rooms, which will suit most people, but a second battery will extend run-time should you need it. For whole-home cleaning, however, you’ll still need another cleaner, and my guides to the best vacuum cleaners and best cordless vacuum cleaners can help you find the right model.
Should you buy it?
If you want a flexible vacuum, this is a great choice. Quality floor cleaning with the motorised floor brush plus excellent handheld cleaning make this vacuum cleaner a great tool for any job.
If you need a cleaner for every job, then this probably isn’t for you. Relatively short battery life and a small bin mean that you’ll still need an alternative vacuum cleaner for cleaning your entire house.
The Shark WandVac System WV361UK isn’t only a powerful hand vacuum, it’s capable of dealing with floors, too, thanks to its motorised head and wand; plus, a smart charging dock and great performance make it a handy grab-and-go cleaner. A relatively short battery life means bigger jobs will require a full-size cleaner, although you can buy an additional battery to boost run-time.
It ships with one battery but the charging dock can charge a spare.
It lasts for up to 16 minutes and takes three hours to recharge.