Which Shark HEPA Filter do I need?

With so many different vacuum models, it’s no wonder finding the correct Shark HEPA filter can be difficult or confusing.

In this article, we explain how a HEPA filter work and how they protect you from airborne dust and allergens. We’ve also included an easy lookup table to help you identify the correct filter for your Shark Vacuum cleaner.

The average vacuum cleaner releases particles that are smaller than 50 or 60 microns. By using a HEPA filter, you can reduce this by only allowing through particles that are less than 0.3 of a micron wide. For people that have allergies, this makes the task of vacuum cleaning tolerable again.

To ensure the efficiency of the filtration system, the filters need to be changed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many of the Shark filters look very similar, and finding the correct filter cannot be done by sight alone. refer to the following table to locate the best filter for your machine.

Shark HEPA filter lookup table

Shark Part # Suitable for Best Deal
XHF350/XFF350 NV350, NV351, NV352, NV355, NV356E, NV357, NV360, NV370, NV391, UV440, UV490, UV540 View on Amazon
XHF400/XFF400 LA400, NP319, NP320, NV401, NV400, NV402, NV70, NV80, UV420 View on Amazon
XHF450/XFF450 NV450, NV480 View on Amazon
XHF500/XFF500 NV200, NV200C, NV200Q, NV201, NV202, NV202C, NV400, NV402, NV450, NV472, NV480, NV500, NV501, NV502, NV503, NV505, NV510, NV520, NV552, UV560 View on Amazon
XHF650/XFF650 AX950, AX951, AX952, NV581, NV581Q, NV650, NV650W, NV651, NV652, NV750, NV750W, NV751, NV752, NV755, UV795 View on Amazon
XHF680/XFF680 NV680, NV681, NV682, NV683, NV800, NV800W, NV801, NV803, UV810


What is the use of a HEPA filter?

Even in the cleanest houses, everywhere you look will have spores, mold, and bacteria. They can be found in the carpet, on hardwood floors, and on most other surfaces throughout the house. They don’t normally cause a problem – but if you are in any way allergic, the act of vacuuming a house stirs the particles into the air and causes them to be ingested into your lungs and nostrils. For many people, the reaction can be as simple as runny eyes and can be as bad as a full-blown allergic skin reaction.

A HEPA filter is designed to stop particles from being released into the atmosphere.

Unlike other types of filters, HEPA filters are highly regulated and guaranteed to trap at least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. The 0.3 microns guarantees that almost all bacteria, mold and spores are trapped inside the filter.

To give you a better idea of the size of a micron, the human eye can only detect items that are at least 10 microns wide. With that in mind, 0.3 microns is many times smaller than we can perceive on surfaces and in the air.

Size of various particles in microns:

  • Human hair – 25 to 75 microns
  • Pet Dander – 0.5 to 25 microns
  • Spores – 3 to 40 microns
  • Mold – 3 to 12 microns
  • Bacteria – 0.3 to 60 microns
  • Car emmissions – 1 to 150 microns

How do you clean a HEPA filter?

You can’t clean a HEPA filter with compressed air, a water blaster or washing it under a tap. The only way to sort out a dirty HEPA filter is by replacing it with a new unit.

If you imagine dense spiders web, you can only begin to appreciate the ability for this type of filter to trap dirt. Basically, it is created form a mesh of random fibers that are designed to let dirt work their way through the filter until they reach a point they can no longer escape. Some of the gaps are big enough to capture large particles, and others are so small that even a 0.3-micron bacteria can’t pass through.

The fact the fibers are not uniform in size is what makes the filter so efficient. The only other way to trap large and small filters would be to put several layers of different density on top of each other, with each layer trapping progressively more and more dust and dirt. This Wiki article has a good explanation of how the filtration mechanism works. Through a series of Interception, Impaction and Diffusion actions, the different types of particles are trapped and prevented from being released back into the air.


The HEPA filters are highly efficient, and when combined with the suction power that Shark is renowned for, an excellent clean is possible with all of the dirt and debris being trapped inside the vacuum cleaner, instead of being released back into the air to cause discomfort and to resettle back into the environment.