Inside this massive box is a vacuum. Actually, two vacuums. It’s the Shark Ion S87 system with a robot vacuum and a handheld vacuum. And the reason we wanted to check this out is because we recently did a review of a budget-friendly off-brand vacuum and that was around $120. But a lot of you wanted me to check out one of the more expensive name-brand systems too.
So this is the newest most expensive Shark robot vacuum on the market today that they were kind enough to send over for me to use the past couple of weeks. And we definitely have some thoughts on it. we think in the smart robot vacuum space, Shark is right up there with Roomba as one of the most well-known brands.
They’ve been making all sorts of vacuums for forever and their systems usually cost a pretty penny, this one being no exception. But you do get a lot of perks and features with a vacuum like this that might make it worth your while. And we think what separates the S87 model from all the others is you do get that second handheld vacuum, Shark’s W1 cordless that retails for $140 by itself. So that’s one of the reasons right there that this system is so expensive. And we will talk about how useful that vacuum is a little later too.
Inside the box, you get a bunch of different things, including obviously, the Shark Ion vacuum itself. And this little guy looks exactly like most of the other Shark robot vacuums that have been on the market for a while now. Up at the top, you’ve got three buttons: clean, to start a vacuum cycle, dock, to send it back to the charging station, and max, to initiate the max cleaning power cycle. And there’s also a battery indicator to show how much juice you have left.
This model of the Shark Ion is their Wi-Fi enabled one so most of how you control the vacuum is actually through the Shark app on iOS and Android and you can even use a personal assistant like Amazon Alexa. And I’ll, of course, walk you through the app in just a minute.
This model has the extra-large debris collection bin which includes a filter that you clean manually every so often after using the vacuum. And it’s actually really easy to clean and emptying out the bin is pretty simple too. The whole bottom portion flips right open so you can dump everything out and wipe it clean.
Underneath the vacuum, you’ll see its two larger wheels that make it move which also have a decent amount of suspension travel to get over different surfaces, along with a smaller wheel up front. There’s the main rotating brush there in the middle where all the dust and debris gets sucked up into, a couple more brushes on the side to funnel things in, and two rotating bristles up front to further collect and push whatever you’re vacuuming underneath. And these pop on and off easily too if you ever need to replace them.
The W1 cordless handheld vacuum is actually a pretty sleek looking thing. It’s got two buttons: one for power and the other for popping open its collection chamber, and that just flips open on the bottom when you’re holding it over a trashcan to dump everything out.
This vacuum also has a filter that pops in and out easily, which you can clean out every once in a while, and it also comes with a couple of extra attachments to make cleaning easier. There’s an extension head with a slimmer mouth for getting in like couch cushion creases and things like that. And there’s also one with really firm bristles attached for combing up pet hair and carpet.
Both the Shark Ion and W1 handheld sit neatly on one single charging dock which will rest on your floor. Now, with that extra handheld vacuum up top, this is going to take up a bit more room up against the wall, but all in all, we don’t really mind the whole setup here and we personally like having everything in just one space.
Like we said earlier, the Shark app is how you’ll primarily control the Shark Ion robot vacuum, and you can see here that it’s a pretty simple and straightforward setup. The main page has three cleaning mode options: quiet, normal, and max, and also a battery indicator towards the bottom.
It’s a very responsive app once you have the vacuum connected to your Wi-Fi network and the overall setup process was very simple. It just took a minute or two and it was good to go. The app also has a dedicated dock button which sort of calls the vacuum and tells it to come back home, and obviously, the charging dock is where both of these vacuums will be when they aren’t in use. And if for some reason your Shark has decided to run off, you can ping it with the app and it’ll play a sound to help you find it around the house.
One of the most useful features of the app is the ability to set cleaning schedules. So for example, if you want the Shark to clean once a week at a dedicated time, you can set that up and make it happen which means you never really have to think about telling it to clean. It’ll just do its thing automatically.
Now, as far as navigating my condo, the Shark does a pretty decent job. There’s a couple of important things to note here. Neither the app nor the vacuum have any sort of mapping or floor plan abilities, like the more expensive Roombas do.
So the Shark just has to roam around and explore on its own. And it’ll sense when it’s about to run into something, of course, but sometimes the route it takes is super random. However, if you want to control where it goes a little better, the system includes an eight-foot bot boundary strip so you can set up a no-go zone for the vacuum if you want to keep it in one room or out of another.
In my place, we actually only have hardwood and tile so we can’t comment on how well it handles carpet, but whatever it was vacuuming, usually dust in my place but also crumbs or hair or even like big pieces of cereal, for example, it never had any issues.
The whole cycle, depending on how big of a space you’re trying to vacuum, can take an hour or more on a single charge and it also depends on what mode you’re working on, whether it’s quiet, standard, or max. But the perk with the whole setup here is that you don’t have to do it yourself.
If you want to just quickly vacuum something up on your own, though, that’s where the W1 handheld comes in. We shouldn’t even have to say this, but obviously, this vacuum doesn’t connect to the app or anything like that. It’s just a standard handheld vacuum that does an equally good job at tackling any kind of mess. And we personally like the OneTouch bin emptying mechanism they have there on the bottom. It just pops open and drops all the crap out, which is very cool.
So here’s my overall verdict on the Shark Ion S87 system. It is very expensive, but if you look at it as though you’re paying $140 for the W1 handheld and about $360 for the Shark Ion robot vacuum, the price definitely makes sense and you are getting a little better deal here getting them both together. It’s also a name-brand vacuum from a well-known company like Shark so you’re definitely getting a product that’s going to get the job done.
Both of these vacuums will suck up pretty much anything. They’re easy to use. They’re easy to clean. And they’re just solid products all the way around. However, if you are willing to spend $500 for this system, it might be worthwhile to look into the Roomba i7 which does map your house and that one is just $200 more. On the other end of the spectrum, though, there’s really nothing wrong with a cheaper off-brand vacuum either for like $150, since with the Shark system, you’re mostly paying for the name here, in my opinion.