Last Updated : Feb 2019
If you are anything like me, vacuuming is the last thing you look forward to at the end of the week.
Wouldn’t it be great if you have a full-time cleaner that came in every day and cleaned the floors while you’re at work or at the gym? Wouldn’t it be even better if you knew the job was being done properly and nothing was missed (including under furniture, tables, and chairs)?
With the introduction of the Shark ION Robot, I think my wishes have come true. By combining the power and reliability of Shark with Robot technology, voice command and WIFI access, the daily cleaning is done while you work, play or sleep and your weekends can be spent doing final touch ups instead of the whole house.
In this review, we’ll investigate how the Shark ION Robot works, what you need to look out for, and if its worth the money or just an expensive toy.
For a quick introduction, let’s have a look at the advertising produced by Shark
The Shark ION Robot is a battery-powered smart vacuum cleaner produced by SharkNinja.
Shark produce several versions that offer everything from scheduled cleaning, boundary fencing, WIFI control, a mobile app and the top of the line feature that allow voice control through Google Alexa.
For a long time Roomba (Sharks competitor) has been the market leader in the robot cleaning space and based on the market reaction, we think this is all about to change.
In fact, if you look at the NASDAQ for IRBT, you’ll notice a drop of 13% in the value of iRobot (the producers of the Roomba) on the day Shark announced their new robot. And if this wasn’t bad enough, the market responded further with a huge 40% drop in value between August and November 2017.
The product announcement caused Spruce Point Capital, a notable short-selling firm, to reiterate its "Strong Sell" rating for iRobot with the comment
SharkNinja has a proven track record of disrupting numerous home appliance markets with dynamic market strategies, and superior products,” Spruce Point said. “With 88% US market share, iRobot’s share can only go down from here.
With competitive pricing and comments like this from the market, the Shark ION Robot range has quickly become one of the most popular robots available on amazon.com
The Shark ION Robot has three brushes that work together to sweep and lift dirt from hard surfaces and carpets.
The two spinning brushes pull dust and dirt in from the side and direct it toward the main performance brush in the middle of the robot.
These brushes work really well along edges and into corners that other circular robots can sometimes miss.
The edge of the dustbin has a fine comb that is designed to stop hair tangling around the main performance roller. While this works to reduce the amount of hair on the roller, there is still occasions where the hair needs to be removed manually.
Shark has supplied a special tool that runs down a groove in the roller to help cut and remove hair. If the hair is wound really tightly, the tool can be used to lift the hair, and a pair of scissors can be used to easily remove the longer strands.
The side brushes also need regular manual cleaning. Hair and fibers can easily get tangled in them. They also wear down over time and can be easily pulled off for replacement.
The following video from Shark shows how to maintain and replace the rollers and brushes
Shark recommends that the main roller is replaced every 6 to 12 months when the rubber sweepers or bristles appear visibly worn. The side brushes need to be replaced when they are visibly worn or damaged.
Not only does the robot create an internal map of your floor layout, but it also has sensors built into the front of the unit to help it avoid obstacles and to stop it falling off cliffs.(eg stairs)
The Shark navigates around the room by sensing walls and gently bumping into smaller objects it can’t see in advance. As it goes, it learns the layout of the room and can move through doorways into other parts of the house.
At first, it looks like the robot is making random movements around the room – but over time it eventually covers the entire floor. With that said, it may not complete the entire layout in a single session. Instead, it remembers where it has been and is programmed to follow a different path each time – filling in the gaps it missed in the day(s) before.
While it is learning the layout, it can sometimes get stuck under low lying furniture (especially if the restriction above it slopes towards the floor).
This won’t be a problem for most people as the unit is just under 2.6 inches tall and can get under furniture that other manufacturers can’t.
Another issue is that it can sometimes navigate too far from the docking station to be able to get home on the remaining battery power at the end of a cycle.
Both of these issues are easily resolved by adding a second docking station to the setup or by using the boundary strips to stop it going under selected furniture or down long hallways away from the primary cleaning areas.
Rugs and carpet edges don’t seem to be a problem as the robot has the ability to climb up and drop down from edges that are about 3/4 inch high.
Dark or black rugs and floors are an issue. The Shark will try to avoid them as it thinks it is approaching a cliff or drop and will turn away from the rug.
The robot will attempt to suck up power cords, very small toys, socks, underwear, and clothes etc, so it is recommended that you lift loose power cords and pick up clothes and toys before letting it get to work. Large toys are not a problem – it just means the vacuum cleaner will make more turns and take longer to cover your floor area.
If you have power cords hidden behind a TV cabinet, the boundary strips will help keep the robot away so you don’t have to deal with moving the cords.
Other owners have reported that it’s good at picking up loose sand after a visit to the beach, and can handle rugs with 2 inch long fringes. Users have also reported that the brushes are gentle and do not scratch or cause damage to hardwood floors.
BotBoundary strips are designed to keep your Shark ION Robot within an enclosed area. You can use them to designate no-go zones or to surround power cords or objects you don’t want the vacuum to bump into.
The Shark cliff detection automatically avoids staircases so you don’t need to use botboundary strips at the top of staircases.
It the example shown above, the botboundary is being used to keep the robot in the lounge, dining and kitchen area. Strips have been put across the hallway doors to keep it within the room.
However, if you wanted to clean the whole house, the robot is perfectly capable of moving between rooms as it learns the layout of your house or apartment.
While the robot normally works in straight lines and by making a series of turns, it also has a feature that allows you to thoroughly clean an area using a spiral pattern.
This can be quite useful if you drop cereal or dry pet food on the carpet or have an area of concentrated dust or debris you want to clean up.
The dustbin pulls out easily and holds a good amount of dirt. In most cases, you will want to empty it every couple of days.
The back of the dust container has a HEPA rated filter. This is great for allergy sufferers and people that are sensitive to airborne dust and allergens.
It’s important that you remove the filter BEFORE washing the dust container, as the HEPA filter is not designed to be washed and the manufacturer recommends that it’s replaced every two months.
As you can see in the photo of the dust container shown above, the robot is really good at picking up dust, dirt and pet hair.
Even though it doesn’t have the same powerful motor that bigger handheld and upright vacuum cleaners have, the robot is more than capable of extracting dirt and dust from your surfaces. This is largely due to the fact the suction low to the ground and dirt doesn’t have to travel far to get to the dust canister. It is also due to the fact that the robot tends to cover the same area several times and works at a much slower pace than you would with a manual clean.
It takes about 3 hours for the robot to fully charge in its docking station. If you don’t have a docking station handy, you can also charge the unit by directly connecting the charger cable to the robot.
Once its fully charged, the robot can clean for about an hour (depending on the surface types). As the battery nears the end its charge, the robot navigates back toward the docking station to plug itself back in. You can also send the unit back to the docking station manually by pressing the "Dock" button on the top of the robot.
In independent testing, the Ion Robot 750 lasted longer than the published 60-minute runtime. Often it lasted as much as 90 minutes before returning to the docking station for a charge.
Shark doesn’t give an indication of how often the battery needs to be replaced, and the robot is too new to the market to get feedback from other users. The Shark website indicates that it should be replaced when the "replace battery" indicator turns on.
Replacing the battery is fairly simple. The battery cover can be removed with a Phillips head screwdriver, and the battery clips into place. This video from Shark demonstrates the process:
If you have a large house and need to clean two independent areas or need to clean over two or more level, the Shark Ion Robot can work with more than one docking station. The stations are easy enough to pick up and move – but the convenience of having the second unit means you only need to move the robot around the house.
A second docking station also allows the robot to navigate to the closest unit when the battery is getting low. This can be especially useful in larger homes or houses with long hallways.
The difference between the RV720 and RV750/RV755 is that the RV720 needs to be controlled via the buttons located on the robot, or with the remote control provided in the box.
The remote provided with the RV720 works perfectly well and is really fast to set up. There is no need for WIFI passwords etc to get it working. The remote control allows you to set up schedules, cleaning styles and all the other functions accessible through the buttons built into the robot.
The RV750 and RV755 take it to the next level and allow you to control the robot using a mobile app and a WIFI connection.
The mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store. It gives you tips and trips, helps you troubleshoot any problems and receives notifications from the robot. The RV750 and RV755 don’t come with a remote control – so you will need to use a mobile device or the button on the robot to control it.
if you have Alexa or Google Assistant, you can also control the robot using voice commands. Alexa is set up by adding the "Shark skill" and Google Assistant is set up by linking your SharkNinja account to the "Home Control" page of Google Assistant.
Once Alexa or Google Assistant is setup, you can control the robot with commands like:
Both the remote control and the mobile app allow you to set up a cleaning schedule for your robot.
You can only setup one cleaning session per day. We don’t think this is a problem. However, you need to remember that the robot may not be able to cover the entire floor area in a single session, and it may take a couple of sessions (days) to clean everywhere.
|RV750||Shark ION ROBOT 750 Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity + Voice Control|
|RV720||Shark ION ROBOT 720 Vacuum with Easy Scheduling Remote|
**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews; you can also click the links above to check prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
With their low profile and sensor-based navigation, they can easily get around most rooms and can navigate through doorways to clean other parts of the house. Other than the fact the RV755 comes with two docking stations, the two models are exactly the same.
The inclusion of a HEPA filter is a welcome addition for people with allergies. The filter is rated to 0.3 microns.
The mobile app is basic and functional. The ability to schedule daily cleaning and to receive real-time notifications if the robot gets stuck or is unable to return to the charging station means you can quickly sort out any issues.
Setting up the WIFI password for the first time can be a bit of a hassle. But it only has to be done once when the robot is first installed.
Hooking the robot up to Alexa or Google Assistant makes voice commands easy. We really like the way you can ask for a status report to find out how much battery is left and what the robot is up to without getting up.
|Shark ION ROBOT 750||$230.79||View on Amazon|
You cant upgrade this unit to WIFI at a later date as it doesn’t contain any of the circuitry required to connect to WIFI.
Like the RV750, it has a low profile and can get under most things. It also has the same sensors and uses the same navigation to clean the house. It can be used with one or two docking units to extend its range.
Because you don’t need to connect this model to WIFI, it works as soon as you put the batteries in the remote.
The HEPA filter is rated to 0.3 microns and is great if you have allergies.
|Shark ION ROBOT 720||from $199.95||View on Amazon|
The unit can navigate through doorways and does a good job of cleaning houses with 4 or 5 rooms. For large houses or apartment split over several levels, you may need an extra docking unit to extend the robots range.
The battery lasts about an hour on a single charge. When the battery gets low, the robot navigates back to the dockign station to recharge
The robot is very soft on hardwood floors and doesn’t leave any marks.
The robot can climb up to 3/4 inch. It has no problems transitioning from hard floors to carpets and rugs, and back again. Shag pile rugs can be a problem (but there are not many robots that work on shag pile)
All of the functions can be controlled through the panel built into the robot if you don’t have WIFI.
The RV720 comes with a remote control and doesn’t use WIFI or a mobile app. It also can’t use voice commands.
The RV750 comes with WIFI and is used with a mobile app and optional voice commands through Alexa and Google Assistant. It doesn’t come with a remote control, and if you don’t have WIFI, you need to control the unit through the buttons on the robot itself.
The RV755 is the same as the RV750 – but it also comes with an extra docking station (2 instead of 1)
Other than the fact the Shark RV750 is between $100 and $200 less expensive than the Roomba 890, many of the features are the same (eg WIFI, Voice control etc)
The most notable differences are:
Unless you have shag pile carpets or rugs at home, you probably don’t need to look at other options.
However, if you want to look at other brands, we can recommend:
Using a robot cleaner is your house is all about convenience and how important your time is to you.
Where you used to vacuum the house once a week – now it’s more like once a month. And when you use the scheduling app, you don’t even need to set it off yourself. You can program the time and days you want the cleaner to do its thing – and check in occasionally to empty the dustbin and check the rollers.
Unless you don’t have WIFI in your house or apartment, the Shark RV750 is the model of choice. However, if you don’t intend to use voice commands or the mobile app, the Shark RV720 does exactly the same job for about $50 less.
Overall we were very impressed with the performance of the new Shark Robots. There’s no doubt your manual vacuum cleaner will still be used from time to time to clean areas the robot can’t get into.
But if you have pets or toddlers in your house, the regular daily cleaning is sure to be a huge time-saver.
Image credits: shareclean.com and Amazon.com