SharkNinja is a renowned company known for manufacturing classic upright vacuum cleaners. But now, they are diversifying their product range. They did it with the new cordless, the Shark IONFlex DuoClean, and now, they are doing it again, but this time with their new Shark ION Robot.
Many other companies such as iRobot, Neato, Xiaomi, Miele and ILIFE are also manufacturing robotic vacuums, so how’s Shark ION different? Well, for starters, it comes with a working smartphone app which allows you to control and schedule it as you please. This already puts the ION in front of 75% of the competition. Next, we are looking at a product equipped with 2 side-brushes and a carpet-ready brush roll. Its slick design adds up to the package. There are many other points to cover here, including the fact that Shark sells 4 different models of this robot: the R72 (720 series), the R75 (750 series), the R85 (850 series) and the S87 (850 WV series) so let’s look at the ION robot in more details.
- 1 Specifications
- 2 Comparing various Shark ION models: R72 (720 series) vs R75 (750 series) vs R85 (850 series)
- 3 Pros of Shark ION robot vacuum
- 4 Cons of Shark ION robot vacuum
- 5 Final words
No matter the model, the vacuum is circular in shape; the body is either matte grey or light gray, with a black finish. Three buttons are present on the top. The center button is trivially the “Clean” one. The other two side buttons are “Dock” and “Max” respectively. Earlier versions (720) had “Spot” button instead of “Max”. The Max suction mode can be used if you need the robot to work at its best (most of us do), while “Spot” cleaning means that the robot will move in a circular pattern around a designated point.
Product specs outline
Here’s in a nutshell what this product is all about:
|Suction power||1000 Pa (estimated)|
|Clean area||1000 sqft (estimated)|
|Battery capacity||2550 mAh|
|Expected charging time||3 hours|
|Expected run time||60 min|
|Full bin sensors||No|
|Dustbin capacity||10 oz (0.3 liters)|
|Virtual walls||Magnetic strip|
|Noise level||62 db|
|Country of manufacture||China|
2 side brushes and a main brushroll agitate the debris, which is then sucked by the powerful airflow created by the motor into the bin which lays in the back of the robot. The bristles of the brush roll are high-tensile and are arranged in a helix pattern. The 2 side brushes have bristles with variable length. This collectively allow the robot to better pick up dirt particles.
The R85 series (RV850, RV850BRN, RV850WV, RV851WV) promise 3x the suction power of the R75 series (RV700, RV700_N, RV720, RV720_N, RV725_N, RV750, RV750_N, RV750C, RV755). And since the battery remains unchanged, this is only possible conclusion is that Shark installed a new motor on their R85 models. I estimated the suction power of these 2 to be at 1000 Pa and 1400 Pa respectively. That means the ION robots are more than capable of vacuuming hard floors such as wood, tiles, linoleum, marble and so on, as well as low-pile carpets. Its small dimensions and its low profile of only 2.6 inches allows it to clean under furniture and in small areas.
The battery is a mediocre 14.4 V/ 2550 mAh Li-Ion. This helps the robot to work continuously for approximately 1 hour. After a complete cleaning session, it takes 3 hours to have the robot fully charged.
Shark ION robot is equipped with numbers of proximity sensors which allow it to avoid hitting furniture or anything hard that comes in its way. Moreover, these sensors also tell the robot how to turn around if it detects cliffs or stairs, and last but not least, how to return to the base when it’s out of juice. Shark calls this “Smart Sensor Navigation” on its original model, and “Smart Sensor Navigation 2.0” on the latest R85 models. For me, it’s all the same, as without a laser or a camera, the robot cannot possibly construct a decent virtual map. The result is that the robot moves semi-randomly, and given a multi-room environment, it might fail to clean everything or to safely return to the dock.
If features a large HEPA filter, which needs to be replaced every now and then. The problem is that it is pretty pricey ($15 or so). The producer recommends that you change this filter once every 2 months in the product manual, but I think that if you clean it properly, it can last even 6 months or more.
The R75 has a bin which can store 14 oz or dirt. The R85 can store 21 oz in their XL dust container. These are pretty comfy, there are a lot of robots with way smaller bins. However, I prefer those that are accessible from the top (see e.g. in the Xiaomi).
Here’s what’s inside the box of a 720:
All models except the S87 (R72, R75 and R85) come with the following:
- the Shark ION robot body
- 2 side brushes
- 1 HEPA filter
- the charging dock
- 8 ft. of BotBoundary strips
- a remote control with batteries
- the product manual and the quick starting guide
The S87 is a 2-in-1. I guess Shark couldn’t help themselves making a combo unit, even in this niche. Besides the robot vacuum, you also get a slick cordless handheld with the name W1. The charging dock has been re-engineered to accommodate both units. Finally, the box includes 3 accessories which are linked to the W1: the multi-surface pet tool, the crevice tool and the soft dusting brush. Since Shark sells the cordless W1 for more than $120 separately, the S87 is an interesting deal to say the least.
You’ll get a 1 year warranty. Nevertheless, I advise you to buy directly from Amazon and enjoy the benefits of their stellar returning policy.
- Can be operated by the smartphone app
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Comes with passive magnetic strips to be used as virtual walls
Speaking of spending money, the R75 is under $300 at the moment. The following R85 and S87 are expected to reach $400, which makes this product mildly expensive. Sometimes, you can find the R85 at a cheaper price here.
Comparing various Shark ION models: R72 (720 series) vs R75 (750 series) vs R85 (850 series)
|Model||Bin size||Max Power||Navigation|
|Shark R72 (720 series)||14 oz||1000 Pa (estimated)||Smart Sensor Navigation|
|Shark R75 (750 series)||14 oz||1000 Pa (estimated)||Smart Sensor Navigation|
|Shark R85 (850 series)||21 oz||1400 Pa (estimated)||Smart Sensor Navigation 2.0|
Pros of Shark ION robot vacuum
- Makes a low noise (if not used on Max setting)
- Accepts voice commands (via Alexa or Google Assistant).
- Can be scheduled by smartphone
- Works well on hard floors and thin carpets
- Has a large bin
Cons of Shark ION robot vacuum
- Weak battery
- Hard to connect
- Expensive replacements
Shark ION is the first robot vacuum of this company. It performs very well, but there’s still room for improvement. That being said, if you’re after a versatile robot which can be scheduled using your smartphone, this product might be the right choice for you.
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