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Shark vs. Roomba

Shark Robot Vacuum vs. Roomba Robot Vacuum: What To Choose?

October 16, 2021 / 0 Comments

Our expert editors independently review, test, and recommend products to help you make an informed decision. We may earn commissions on purchases made from our product links.

Today, we’ll answer one of our most asked questions: Shark vs. Roomba – which one is better? After numerous debates and hours spent researching robot vacuums and going over their features, we’re ready to deliver a final verdict.

As a team of robot vacuum enthusiasts, it was essential for us to be familiar with the range of vacuums these two amazing brands offer. Now we’ll reveal the biggest pros and cons of the Roomba and Shark, their features, and the top three robot vacuums of each brand to eventually announce the winner.

To make your purchase much easier, we’ve also put together a short buying guide with important criteria that should influence your decision. Now, let’s see which manufacturers are behind these two brands and what they have to offer.

iRobot

iRobot is the manufacturer behind Roomba robot vacuums. This is one of the first companies to produce robot vacuums and one of the most reputable up to date. iRobot offers a wide range of models, depending on your needs and budget. View on Amazon below.

iRobot has two major lines of robots, Roomba and Braava. Roomba vacuums are meant for dry vacuuming, while Braava models are meant for wet mopping. Today, you’ll learn more about the various Roomba lines the brand offers:

  • S Series
  • i Series
  • e Series
  • 600 Series
  • 800 Series
  • 800 Series

Aside from robot vacuums and mops, iRobot also has one handheld vacuum model and sells accessories for their products.

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Shark

Shark is another famous brand that produces various types of vacuums (upright, handheld, cordless, robot, corded stick, mops, irons, air purifiers, and parts and accessories for their products. Although Shark hasn’t been in the robot vacuum game for a long time, their range is impressive.

The lines you should know about include:

  • Shark IQ
  • Shark ION 700 Series
  • Shark ION 800 Series
  • Shark ION 900 Series

Their range might not be as extensive as iRobot’s, but they’re constantly introducing new products and new technologies. 

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Shark vs. Roomba Robot Vacuum: Pros & Cons

Shark and Roomba are two reputable brands for robot vacuums. If you’ve asked around about which robot to get, the chances are that your family and friends have recommended at least one of their models. When you can’t decide which one to buy, take a look at the pros and cons of each product line. 

Shark

Shark might be your go-to brand for cordless, stick, and corded vacuums, but will you choose it for your next robot vacuum? Here are the benefits and drawbacks of the brand’s robot vacuums. View on Amazon below.

Pros
  • Shark robots are more affordable compared to Roomba
  • Shark vacuums are bagless, which means there is no need to purchase a replacement bag for the dustbin
  • These robots are smaller and more lightweight than Roomba vacuums
  • Shark vacuums are equipped with sensors that prevent them from falling off stairs or tables 
Cons
  • Shark’s dustbins are generally smaller than the ones in Roomba vacuums
  • Shark robots don’t clean as thoroughly as Roomba robots
  • Not the best option for thick, heavy-traffic carpets
  • Shark’s vacuums have a shorter runtime 

Roomba

As one of the best robot vacuum brands on the market, Roomba has numerous benefits. Their features are extensive, even if you opt for the most affordable model. But, since no product is perfect, this brand also has certain cons you need to know about. View on Amazon below.

Pros
  • Roomba vacuums have excellent cleaning power and perform better than Shark in this category
  • They have a longer running time compared to Shark vacuums
  • Their navigation is quite precise and helps the robot study and learn the home’s layout without bumping into things
  • Roomba vacuums have large dustbins that gather a lot of dirt, dust, and debris
  • Vacuums are equipped with Keep Out Zone technology to help prevent the robot from getting in certain areas
  • Voice commands can be used to direct the robot when cleaning your home
Cons
  • iRobot makes some of the most expensive robots on the market
  • Roomba robots use bags to collect dirt, and debris, so you’ll need to invest in new bags regularly
  • Roomba vacuums are slightly larger, heavier, and more difficult to maneuver than Shark robots
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Features

Robot vacuums have come a long way in the past few years. Brands constantly release new designs with better, more innovative features. But are all of those features essential, and are they worth your money?

We’ve put together a list of what you should focus on when getting a new robot vacuum. These features can make or break the deal.

Maintenance

In general, both Roomba and Shark vacuums have proven to be easy to maintain. We’ve been working with the two brands for years now, and we can confirm it won’t take you very long to clean out their robot vacuums.

It’s hard to generalize in this department, because each brand has at least one difficult-to-clean robot that gathers too much hair on the brushes or in the wheels.

Still, the great thing about both manufacturers is they design robots with parts that are easy to remove, clean, and then put back in. In other words, even if your vacuum has a messy wheel or a dirty brush roll, you’ll be able to take it out and clean it within minutes.

Design

These two brands specialize in creating aesthetically pleasing robot vacuums that won’t ruin your modern home interior. Most of the robots come in an elegant black color; some even feature stunning gold details. They are mostly designed in a round shape that is recognizable for most robot designs.

There is an exception to the round-shape rule, however. The Roomba S9 model is built a little differently and is more D-shaped. Thankfully, the design is still very elegant and presentable.

This particular vacuum has a different shape because it aims to clean all edges and corners to perfection. The unique shape helps it get closer to the walls and clean any hard-to-reach spots with ease.

When it comes to size, generally, Shark vacuums are slightly smaller. That usually makes them more lightweight, and they take up less space. The difference is minor, though, at just a fraction of an inch.

If you want a robot that will clean under furniture, we recommend the Shark line of vacuums. Still, there is no guarantee the model of your choice will fit under all of your furniture, so you should check their height and dimensions before purchasing.

Dustbin Size

Both brands offer a broad selection of robot vacuums, meaning you’ll be able to find one with a dustbin size that will fit your needs. This is an essential feature because it determines how often you’ll need to empty the dustbin and how much debris it can collect. If you live in a large house that requires frequent cleaning, we recommend getting a model with a large dustbin capacity.

In general, Roomba vacuums are equipped with bigger dustbins. If you don’t mind investing in more expensive products, you should opt for Roomba.

However, if your budget is limited, Shark will do the job. The size of their vacuums’ dustbins is not as big as Roomba’s, but they are still acceptable for most households.

Roomba and Shark have models with dustbins the owner has to empty, but they also offer self-emptying containers. This is primarily the case with more expensive, high-end vacuums of each brand, but if you hate having to empty the dustbin, they can be a worthy investment.

One notable downside of Roomba robots with self-emptying dustbins is they use bags that you’ll need to replace once they’re full.

It’s true that using bags is more hygienic, but some people don’t like how unsustainable that option is and hate having to spend extra on purchasing them frequently.

Bagless designs, such as Shark, don’t have any additional costs for bags and are easier to maintain. All you need to do is clean the canister from time to time, and that’s pretty much it.

Price

In general, Roomba robot vacuums are around double the price of Shark vacuums. There is no doubt that iRobot is one of the most reputable manufacturers of robots and continually invests in making the highest quality products available on the market.

Shark is a great brand too, and it offers much more affordable robot vacuums. Their products have advanced designs and come with a range of features that will prove they’re great at cleaning your home.

If you have a limited budget, you can either opt for one of the cheaper Roomba designs or go for a Shark vacuum.

Suction Power And Cleaning Performance

Roomba is undefeated when it comes to suction power and cleaning performance. No matter how many reviews you’ll read, they will all say the same. This brand focuses on delivering products to make cleaning your household a breeze.

This doesn’t mean Shark robots won’t clean your carpets and floors, though. On the contrary, they’re great at their job, just not quite as good as Roomba. Actually, some Shark models have a higher suction power than Roomba models, but they’re still not as efficient.

Another thing we wanted to discuss is pet hair. If you own a dog or a cat, you already know how stubborn their hair can be and how hard it is to get it out of your carpets. All robots will gather it from your floors to some extent, but when a model performs especially well on carpets, that one’s a keeper.

We’re a team of pet owners and pet lovers, so we decided to test Roomba and Shark vacuums to see whether they’re suitable for pet hair. They all performed great, especially the high-end models. 

Also, getting all the hair and dander out of your carpets is important if you have a family member who struggles with allergies.

Cleaning Time

Roomba robots have a longer cleaning time compared to Shark robots. Their average cleaning time is 90 minutes for smaller models, while the advanced ones can clean for 75 minutes.

In some cases, Roomba vacuums will run out of battery before the estimated run time. This happens because Roomba models have a special feature that notices dirt and areas of your home that require more attention.

When the sensors see a dirty area, the vacuum will focus on cleaning it and spend more time and power there. The robot will also increase the suction to get all the debris and particles that make the carpet dirty. So, when this happens, your Roomba will run out of battery faster, and it will need to recharge.

Shark robots are equipped with high suction, which wastes their battery life quite fast. That’s one of the reasons why these robots have a shorter running time. They’re a good alternative for smaller houses because they’ll finish the job without stopping for an empty battery.

The average cleaning time of Shark vacuums is one hour.

When Roomba and Shark robots run out of battery, they go back to their charging dock. Not all models will go back to cleaning where they left off. This depends on the model, not the brand.

If you invest in a more expensive Roomba or Shark vacuum, it will resume where it left off. The more budget-friendly models will start cleaning again once they’re charged, but not exactly where they left off.

Brushes

Roomba robots have two brush rolls, while Shark vacuums come with a single long brush roll. The two Roomba brushes rotate opposite to each other, allowing them to get as much dirt as possible.

Some models are also equipped with self-cleaning brushes. This is important for families with pets because pet hair gets tangled in cleaning brushes very easily. These self-cleaning designs are the signature for Shark.

Roomba, on the other hand, uses rubber brushes without any bristles. When the two brushes rotate in opposite directions, they prevent hair or debris from sticking to their surfaces.

The side brush situation is a little different. Roomba robots have a single side brush, while Shark robots have two. These side brushes are responsible for pulling up debris from corners and edges. The number of side brushes isn’t as important with Shark robot vacuums because they only clean edges on one side due to their unique shape.

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Top Three Shark And Roomba Robot Vacuums

After going over each brand’s range of robot vacuums and their features, it’s time to reveal our top favorite robots from both Shark and Roomba. Will you find your next purchase among these six amazing vacuums? The answer is yes!

Many people are torn between these two reputable companies and need a bit of help when choosing their ideal robot vacuum. Below you’ll find the best models for every budget across three different categories.

Shark

  1. Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL
  2. Shark IQ Robot RV1001
  3. Shark ION Robot Vacuum RV761

Shark’s customer service number is 1-877-581-7375.

Roomba

  1. iRobot Roomba s9+
  2. iRobot Roomba E5
  3. iRobot Roomba 675

iRobot’s customer service number is 1-800-727-9077.

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Our Winner

Did we manage to choose a winner in the Shark robot vacuum vs. Roomba robot vacuum? Although the two brands have released some fantastic vacuum models with innovative technologies, we were still able to pick a favorite.

Roomba is a superb brand of robot vacuums, and they will always be our favorite. If you put the high prices aside, these vacuums excel in most other categories, no matter which brand you compare them to. Roomba vacuums have a long running time, are extremely powerful, pick up dirt with ease, are sleek, and are easy to clean.

Now that you know that Roomba is our winner in the Roomba vs. Shark battle, let’s summarize the reasons why we made this decision.

Since we went pretty deep into reviewing each feature, it’s safe to say that Roomba products performed better and have more advanced features. We chose this brand as a winner because of its amazing suction power that manages to get up to 99% of the dirt, dust, and debris present on your carpets and floors.

Plus, most of Roomba’s designs have large containers and can cover significant areas without charging. These vacuums use bags in their dustbins, which are hygienic and easy to remove. The robots go back to their charging dock when their batteries run low, and the high-end models also resume their work where they stopped.

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Rating Criteria

These are some of the leading rating criteria we used to determine which robot vacuums are better. Although we personally tested most of the products from each brand, we also spent a lot of time reading about their specifics, measurements, features, performance, and much more.

We wanted to list the main rating criteria we used to announce a winner in the Shark robot vs. Roomba robot battle.

  • Cleaning Performance
  • Price
  • Runtime 
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Buying Guide & Reviews

To better understand why Roomba vacuums are so great, we decided to break down each rating criteria separately and compare Roomba’s vacuums to Shark’s in depth.

Cleaning Performance

The ultimate winner when it comes to cleaning performance is Roomba. Their vacuums are so good you’ll feel like you got a brand new carpet.

As we mentioned before, most Roomba models are equipped with sensors that detect when an area is very dirty and needs a more detailed clean. The robot will spend more time there, activate a more powerful suction, and clean it thoroughly.

Shark vacuums showed a significantly lower cleaning performance. They simply didn’t capture particles, dust, dirt, as well as Roomba. They have a high suction power, but they’re not as effective at cleaning surfaces.

Price

This is the only category where Shark is a winner. There is no doubt Roomba vacuums are among the most expensive products on the market. That’s why Shark stepped up their game and decided to create more affordable alternatives that are still high-quality.

However, if you consider how Roomba robots are simply better at cleaning floors and carpets, it’s a good idea to pay more to get more. Even the most affordable Roomba options are superior to numerous robot vacuums available on the market.

Although Shark vacuums are more affordable, they take more time to finish the job and aren’t as effective at getting all the dirt, dust, and debris off your floors and carpets. Roomba vacuums are worth the investment in exchange for cleaner carpets.

Runtime

Roomba robots have a longer runtime, as we mentioned before. This factor is critical to us because it makes the robot more efficient and able to cover larger areas before going back to its charging dock.

However, one thing to keep in mind about runtime is only the more expensive Roomba and Shark vacuums will resume their work where they left off prior to running out of battery. 

When your robot is out of battery, it will go back to the charging dock. But if it doesn’t come with a resume feature, it will start cleaning the house all over again. It’s much better to opt for a line of vacuums with a long runtime such as Roomba.

Needless to say, Roomba robots are the winners in the runtime category. Shark robots are powerful, but the high power tends to quickly drain the battery and lower their running time.

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FAQ

Is the Shark robot vacuum better than Roomba?

Deciding whether a Roomba or a Shark robot vacuum is better really does come down to personal preference, your cleaning needs, and your budget. Both brands of robot vacuum have a lot going for them, but one might be more suitable for your needs than the other.  

If you’re looking for a robot vacuum with a longer runtime, more suction power, and a bigger capacity, then look no further than Roomba. 

If you’re looking for an option that’s more lightweight, more budget-friendly, and has fewer cleaning and maintenance requirements, then a Shark robot vacuum may be better for you.


Can you move a Shark robot vacuum to different floors?

You can move the Shark robot vacuum to different floors but you’ll have to pick it up and place it on a different floor. This is the only way to get it to clean different floors of your home since it cannot navigate stairs. Shark is designed to run on one floor, and the app that you use it with is programmed according to the specifics of that floor.


Can Shark robot clean multiple floors?

Shark robot vacuums aren’t designed to map multiple floors. Most of the awesome features of Shark — voice commands, scheduling, in-app no-go zones, and the like — are only applicable to one floor in your home. 

If you live in a duplex or a multi-story home, then, you will have to manually carry Shark from one floor to another once it’s finished its cycle on a specific floor. When you’re using Shark on multiple floors, you must not use the app as the app is programmed according to the specifics of one floor.


Can Roomba clean in the dark?

Since most Roombas use sensors, cameras, and self-generated light to work, they require a steady source of — at the very least — ambient lighting to perform properly. 

While you technically can still use these Roombas in the dark, this is not an efficient way to use these robot vacuums as they will struggle to get the job done without light. Plus, your sleep may be interrupted by random banging noises as Roomba struggles along trying to clean. 

Newer models, though, like the Roomba i3+ and s9+, have been designed to work as efficiently at nighttime as they do during the day. 


How many years will a Roomba last?

Roombas are investments, and they should have a life expectancy to match their price tag. Generally speaking, Roombas are expected to last a year or two before their batteries give out. This time range is just a guideline, though, because how well you treat your Roomba will impact its lifespan. 

Using your Roomba regularly increases its life expectancy, as does cleaning its brushes and filter, storing it in a cool, dry, place, and plugging it in as soon as its battery dies.

Conclusion

So, Shark or Roomba, which one is better? As we revealed in our winner section above, we wouldn’t trade our Roomba vacuums for anything in the world.

There are many reasons why these vacuums by iRobot are superior compared to Shark and other robot vacuum brands. One of the most important reasons is their ability to suck up dirt, dust, and debris with high efficiency. 

When you add the long cleaning time, large dustbin capacity, easy maintenance, sleek design, and numerous other great features, you have a winner!

If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with Roomba or Shark, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media. 

About Maricel Dee

Maricel Dee is a writer & blogger on all things home improvement. When she's not writing on her favorite home improvement topics, you can find her immersed in her own home projects.

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