Shark StainStriker review: an easy-to-use portable spot and stain eliminator carpet cleaner

I've reviewed the SharkStain Striker. Here's how it performed on carpeted and upholstered surfaces.

Shark Stain Striker on floor next to cabinetry
(Image: © Future / Terri Williams)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

If you have pets or kids—and carpeted and upholstered surfaces - spills and stains are a constant concern. However, the Shark StainStriker Portable Spot and Stain Eliminator Carpet Cleaner makes it quick and easy to remove stains and refresh carpets and upholstery. Keep in mind that if you want wall-to-wall carpet cleaning, you’ll need a larger machine.

Pros

  • +

    Space saving design

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Includes various attachments

  • +

    Good price

  • +

    Cleans well

Cons

  • -

    Had to use extension cord

  • -

    Best for smaller spaces

Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Shark is one of the most popular vacuum brands in America. It makes everything from robot vacuums and upright vacuums to cordless and handheld vacuums to carpet cleaners (and also makes hair dryers, fans, and air purifiers).

The Shark StainStriker Portable Spot and Stain Eliminator Carpet Cleaner is one of the company’s latest offerings, and is a portable and lightweight version of Shark’s full-size models.

It’s a convenient way to remove stains and odors from carpets, area rugs, and upholstered furniture. If you have people and pets tracking dirt into your home, it’s easy to get this cleaner out and quickly remove stains. And if your pets make the occasional mess on carpets or sofas (or even in your upholstered vehicles), the Shark StainStriker can handle that as well.

For over a month, I tested the Shark StainStriker to see how it compares to our list of the best carpet cleaners. I tested it on my 17 carpeted steps, as well as rugs, and other carpeted areas. Keep reading to see how the Shark StainStriker performed.

Shark StainStriker: Price & availability

The Shark StainStriker is priced at $119.99 on the Shark website. On Amazon, the list price is $139.99.

It’s priced competitively, as most brands that offer these types of compact and portable carpet and upholstery cleaners sell at a range of $120 to $150. 

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Shark StainStriker: First impressions

The Shark StainStriker arrived in a brown, cardboard branded box, and inside of that, a more colorful branded box. Everything was packed securely to keep the carpet cleaner safe during the shipping process.

The machine includes various parts, including the CarpetXpert tank, dirty water tank, StainStriker tank, and hose. Attachments include a crevice tool, 3.5in hand tool, 7in hand tool, hose cleaning tool, and pet mess tool. Bissell also included 6 ounces of Deep Clean Pro Formula, and 12 ounces of OXY multiplier. There’s also an instruction manual.

Shark StainStriker: Set up & assembly

The Shark Stain Striker includes an instruction manual, and I actually needed to read it before getting started. That’s because there are several parts with different functions. I removed the CarpetXpert Tank and filled it with water—to the fill line. (I can use hot water, but it shouldn’t be hotter than 140°F). Then, I topped it off with Shark Deep Clean Pro Formula to the concentrate fill line and then put the tank back into the machine.

Next, I removed the StainStriker Tank, filled it with Shark OXY Multiplier, and replaced the tank.

After that, it was a matter of choosing the desired tool. The crevice tool is used to clean in tight spaces. The 3.5in hand tool is designed to clean small stains on both carpet and upholstery. There’s also a 7in hand tool, which makes it easier to clean larger stains.

The Pet Mess Tool is an interesting attachment. It’s designed to clean up pet messes (like bile), and keep it in the container (inside of the Pet Mess Tool) instead of being sucked up into the unit’s interior and dirty water tank. This can provide a more hygienic way to clean up after your favorite four-legged family members.

shark stain striker with all accessories

(Image credit: Future / Terri Williams)

Shark StainStriker: Design

The Shark StainStriker’s design is quite impressive. The compact appliance is equipped with everything needed for spot cleaning and to clean in small areas. The various attachments make it easy to clean efficiently and effectively. I also like the smart storage solutions. The hose wraps neatly around the cleaner. It’s also easy to store the cord on the side of the carpet cleaner, so everything is nicely contained.

There aren’t a lot of buttons to fumble around with. After choosing my preferred tool and pressing the On button, the carpet cleaner is ready to go.

Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about the Shark StainStriker—and this may be a problem specific to me—is that I had to use an extension cord. I have 17 steps separating my foyer from my living space. There’s not a wall outlet in the foyer, so I have to use an extension cord and plug it in the wall outlet in the garage. This only lets me clean roughly half of the steps. At the top of the steps, fortunately, there are several close wall outlets to choose from. However, I still have to use an extension cord to reach the midway point on the steps.

Score: 5 out of 5

Shark StainStriker: Key specs

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The specs of our Shark Stain Striker review unit
Model no:PX201
Wattage450W
Cord length12ft
Hose length4.3ft
Clean solution tank1.25ltr
Dirty water tank720ml
Noise82dB
Dimensions15 x 11.57 x 12.83in (h x w x l)
Weight8.51lbs

Shark StainStriker: Performance

 The Shark Stain Striker cleaned my carpeted steps very well. In the photo above, I cleaned the left half of the stairs, and you can see the difference between the two sides.

 However, I should note that the area should be vacuumed first to remove any loose debris, since this is a carpet cleaner, not a vacuum cleaner.

There’s a lever on the hand tool to press and this sprays water on the carpet. If the area needs to be scrubbed, I merely allow the bristles to scrub the area. And then, I tilt the hand tool forward and move it across the wet area to extract the water.

Shark Stain Striker cleaning stair carpet

(Image credit: Future / Terri Williams)

A bottle of Shark Deep Clean Pro Formula is included, and I poured some into the CarpetXpert Tank. The formula is designed to provide a deep carpet cleaning experience, removing dirt and grime. Also included is a bottle of Shark OXY Multiplier, which is poured into the StainStriker Tank. According to Shark, when the multiplier is combined with the Deep Clean Pro Formula, it provides 20 times more stain-fighting results.  

I can’t verify those claims, but I was impressed with the difference it made while cleaning the carpet.

The Shark StainStriker cleans without making a mess, and the water comes out of the machine sufficiently enough to wet the carpet, but not enough to make the carpet soggy. The suction is also strong enough that I can tell it's removing dirt and water.

As a general rule, I would clean the left side of the staircase one day, and then clean the right side on the following day. Since I’m typically running up and down the stairs several times a day, I want to ensure that one side is always dry and I’m not tracking wet steps around my home.

Since I have leather furniture, I can’t use the Shark StainStriker on my sofas and chairs. However, I have used it to clean my chenille bath mats in between the times I toss them in the washing machine. Note: Regarding upholstery, Shark recommends doing a patch test on a hidden area. 

I’ve also used the Shark StainStriker to remove mud and dirt tracked into my house. It works well for small areas, and when I just need to do spot cleaning. However, when I decide to clean all of my carpeting, I tend to reach for something larger. I just started testing the Shark CarpetXPert with Stainstriker, which is a full-size upright carpet cleaner that is more suitable for this type of large scale cleaning.

shark stain striker dirty water tank

(Image credit: Future / Terri Williams)

The listed noise level is 82dB. However, when testing, it was more like 85 to 87 dB. Granted, I have birds chirping outdoors 24/7, and my HVAC turns on and off, so any of these factors could have boosted the noise level. However, don’t expect the carpet cleaner to be quiet.

Care is relatively easy. I simply remove and empty the dirty water tank, rinse the other water tanks, and clean the hand tools. It’s advisable to clean the unit after each use—and I do—since this helps to avoid any odors, mold, or bacteria. (Sharp does not recommend putting any of the parts into the dishwasher.)

Score: 4 out of 5

Shark StainStriker: User reviews

The Shark StainStriker has an Amazon average rating of 4.5/5. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and consumers like the ease of cleaning, quality build, size, appearance, and value. Regarding consumers who talked about suction, the comments are positive by a ratio of 2 to 1.

The Shark website has significantly fewer reviews (which is not surprising, considering the popularity of Amazon). Those reviews are also overwhelmingly positive, and 96% of buyers would recommend the product to others.

 

Should I buy the Shark StainStriker?

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AttributeNotesScore
Price & availabilityExcellent value for the money★★★★★
DesignCompact, lightweight, easy to use and clean★★★★★
PerformanceCleans thoroughly without being messy.★★★★

Buy it if...

You have pets and small kids

Pets and small kids are lovable but known to make messes. The Shark StainStriker makes it quick and easy to clean up after them.

You have fabric furniture

In addition to cleaning stains and messes on carpets, the Shark StainStriker can also clean upholstered sofas and chairs, as well as upholstered vehicle interiors.

You don't want to spend a lot of money

The competitively-priced Shark StainStriker won’t break the bank.

Don't buy it if...

You need to clean large areas

Unless you enjoy bending over for large periods of time, this is not the right cleaner for cleaning wall-to-wall carpet.

Your carpets are really dirty

The Shark StainStriker does an excellent job of cleaning carpets. However, if you tend to always have really dirty carpets, you’ll spend a lot of time stopping to add more water, and also going back and forth to the sink to empty the dirty water tank. Consider a larger carpet cleaner.

You don't like cleaning your cleaner

You need to clean this carpet cleaner after every use, or else you’ll end up with foul odors and bacteria in the machine.

How does the Stain Striker compare?

The Bissell Little Green ProHeat is a comparable portable carpet cleaner. It’s also affordable and provides a thorough clean. In addition, the machine is compact. In fact, it’s quite similar to the Shark Stain Striker—but the cord is much longer. The Bissell Little Green ProHeat retails for $123.59, and is currently on sale for $98.59.

If you need a larger carpet cleaner for wall-to-wall carpeting, the Shark CarpetXPert with Stainstriker, is a full-size upright carpet cleaner—that also includes the same attachmets in the Stark Stain Striker. It’s $299, but as a 2-in-1 carpet clean that also has a spot and stain cleaner, it’s worth the month..

How I tested the Shark Stain Striker

I tested the Shark Stain Striker in my home for a month. I used it several times on my steps for spot cleaning and also general cleaning. I used the various tools, depending on the cleaning task. I also used the machine on my chenille bath mat, and to do spot cleaning on general carpet areas. During the testing process, I observed quality, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.

Read more about how we test.

  • First reviewed: May 2024
Terri Williams
Freelance Writer

Terri is a freelance writer living in Birmingham, AL. She has tested hundreds of products, including kitchen appliances, vacuums, bedding, furniture, luggage, and tech gear. Terri has bylines at Architectural Digest, Forbes, Popular Science, CNN Underscored, NBC News, The Daily Beast, USA Today, and US News & World Report, as well as TechRadar, Homes & Gardens, and Tom's Guide.