Issue 109

A Dog Owner’s Review: The Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

When I was growing up, I didn't know what I wanted to be. I certainly didn't expect to be known as the person to ask for advice before friends or family buy a new vacuum. If I'm honest, circumstances led me to what I now do but hey, a title's a title, I'll take it.

Recently, I was watching TV and an advert came on for Shark's DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner with a twin battery. It caught my attention because I'd been alternating batteries in my other cordless cleaner and found it was really useful to have the option of, albeit not highly usual. Mentally congratulating the company for the unique selling point for their cleaner, I thought nothing more of it.

A few weeks later, I was asked for my next set of reviews for K9 Magazine and decided I'd quite like to put the Shark cordless vacuum to the test with the help of my three dogs, Mia, Danny and Christopher and cat, insightfully named Catface.

Thankfully, Shark was good enough to oblige me and I received a Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner with TruePet and Flexology (at the time of writing on sale for £379.99 / RRP £479.99), and the twin battery which originally caught my attention, to put to the test.

Over the last three years or so I've become a huge cordless vacuum cleaner fan.  I'm always looking for ways to help me keep my cream carpets clean, even if it's for 10 minutes, from hairs and muddy paw prints and since I know any cleanliness has the chance of being relatively short-lived, I feel I need maximum results for minimum time spent to keep me sane.

Can't see hairs so they don't exist

Putting the Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner to the test

When the vacuum arrived, my initial thoughts were I'd be comparing to the Gtech AirRam K9Mk2, it's generally the vacuum I turn to daily and it's even the one my husband says he 'doesn't mind using'.

However the more I used the Shark vacuum cleaner and getting used to its features, the more I found myself comparing to the Dyson v8 Absolute rather than the Gtech.

The name is a bit of a mouthful when used in full, so let's break it down so it's a bit less daunting.

Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner with TruePet and Flexology - the TruePet part of its name means it comes with Sharks Motorised Pet Tool and Flexology refers to the fact it's designed to be easily stored.

The middle sector (flexi wand) bends with the click of a button, so it can stand upright or take up half the space when condensed down.

The batteries are charged in their own charging dock so you don't need to store the cleaner within easy reach of a socket, which can be a relief if you're short on space or sockets.

The Shark vacuum comes ready to assemble. It's all pretty straightforward and intuitive and the handheld part of the vacuum, which sits at the top and holds the dustbin, is the heaviest part of the vacuum in an overall pretty lightweight and nifty cleaner. I didn't think the vacuum would be that lightweight when I felt the weight of the handheld, but either I got used to it pretty quickly or it just wasn't as heavy as I first thought.

After assembling, I set both batteries in their holster to top up their charge and left for a couple of hours. Shark says after a single charge you get around 40 minutes of cleaning time for both. I found this to be pretty accurate, although if you use the suction at its highest setting, then you'll get a bit less.

Pros:

- It's cordless. A huge bonus, and something I wouldn't ever be without now.

Being cordless, it makes the task of vacuuming seem less like a big job and I found myself setting shorter periods of time to vacuum daily with decent results. Working full time and balancing that with three dogs, a cat, a husband, exercise, cooking and all the usual things life throws our way, it really does make a difference when you can tackle a job knowing it won't take you hours.

- On 'carpet' mode, it leaves quite an unusual first impression.

This is because the power of the suction propels the cleaner forward, meaning it sort of does part of the job for you almost, but don't let it fool you that it'll move backwards too - that's entirely your domain. This could have easily gone in the cons section for my husband though, he didn't like it - but I did. So it's a bit like marmite as a function I think.

- Switching from hard floor to carpet, or between suction/power settings is simple.

No messing around and they're in a really intuitive place where your hand sits to use the cleaner.

- It has a unique brush head.

Shark says most brushes have a single roll whereas what makes theirs different is that it "feature two unique rolls that work together to effortlessly remove the three types of common household messes from carpets and hard floors. Removing small and large messes in a single pass and effortlessly lifting that stubborn stuck on layer of dust, whilst restoring floors natural lustre. The addition of the second soft brush roll means you can enjoy a continuous deep clean without breaking your stride, moving seamlessly between carpets and hard floors without stopping to switch heads."

- Love the twin battery.

When you start to vacuum and decide to have a mass clean of the whole house from top to bottom, you don't want to be stopped halfway through because of a lack of battery power. You have around 20 minutes of battery time per battery.

- The brush has rubber trim across the front and combined with the orange bristles at the side, it grabs hold of those hairs embedded into the skirting boards very well.

The brush is also quite narrow so fits under most radiators quite easily.

- Lots of accessories for handheld use.

In truth, I've used only two, including the handy pet tool. I've still got to find out what the allergy tool is for, but if you know - then it comes with it and you'll be satisfied!

- Easy to clean filter.

The filter is at the top of the handheld - so easy to tap clean, I never wash to clean so avoid the musty smell.

Cons:

- The dust bin is relatively compact.

If you own pets and have pet hairs as well as debris and dust being collected, then you'll need to empty multiple times per use because of its size. To clean my home, I've sometimes emptied four times.

- The batteries.

They have 3 blue strips which when full and solid, show the battery is fully charged. When there is only 1 left and you're using, it can stop at any point. It may seem unfair to add that as a con, but when you don't quite know how long a battery has left, it leaves you in the dark as to when it's going to run out.

- Shark have tested against the newest model Gtech AirRam 2 for suction - however, I'm not sure I'd say I found the same results comparing the AirRamK9 Mk 2.

I say this because if I missed a vacuuming session and had two days to clean, I relied more on my Gtech to solve the dense hair problem quicker. This could be limited to my own experience though, who am I to argue with science!

So, would I recommend the Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner to dog owners?

It would depend entirely on what you're looking for.

It has lots of brilliant reviews on the Shark website from fellow dog owners and like I say, it's sort of become my go-to daily cleaner if I can vacuum daily - which I always need to, but don't always find the spare time to if I've been travelling.

The twin battery unit is more expensive than the Gtech too, which is priced around the £250-290 mark. For that kind of price range, a single battery Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner with TruePet and Flexology is quite comparable (£269.99 at the time of writing).

However since we're concentrating on the twin battery unit, the price of £379.99 / RRP £479.99 (at the time of writing) is much more in the ballpark arena of the Dyson v8 Absolute, which you can pick up for around £350-450. It's because of this that I find the comparison more striking between the Dyson and the Shark.

If I was being asked for an honest appraisal of the Shark or Dyson, I'd say go for the Shark, especially while it's on sale.

It outperforms the Dyson for quality, hair pick up and battery life and the design faults with the Dyson (for example, short battery life and the incredibly frustrating fact you have to hold the power button down as you use) are thankfully not found on the Shark.

Shark's cordless vacuum cleaner also doesn't need to be stored next to a socket. A lot of thought clearly went into designing it to make it as easy as possible for pet owners to use and store, and their pet tool is a marvel.

Thanks again to Shark for sending us their cordless vacuum cleaner so I - and my pets - could put it to the test.

Should Dog Owners Buy the Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner with TruePet and Flexology?
  • Quality
  • Durability
  • Easy to Set Up
  • Value for Money
  • Standard Design Features
3.7

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