I first got eyes on the Shark Stratos Cordless at an event in Berlin last year (2022), which seemingly appeared to solve a lot of cordless vacuum woes: suction, runtime, and flexibility. It also solved an issue that I didn't even think would be an issue until now, which is the odor-neutralizer technology.
With a young family and a molting head of long hair, I struggle to find a vacuum cleaner that is up for the challenge, so I was eager to put this Shark vacuum through the wringer. I used it for two months in my home, which has a combination of carpets, hard floors, and many rugs.
Read on to see how it got on with the day-to-day clean-ups and the specific tests I set for it. Then, check out our best cordless vacuum cleaner buyer's guide to see how it compares. For more, head to our main guide to the best vacuum cleaners overall.
Jennifer Oksien (Jen) is the editor of Top Ten Reviews. She has tested and reviewed countless vacuum cleaners over the years, all with very different specs and list prices, so she knows what to look to obtain a decent vacuum.
Jen tested the Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum around her family home, challenging it with daily debris and a series of in-house tests to see how it handled the mounting messes. It was used for a couple of months and will continue to be used for the greatest test of all: longevity.
Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum: First impressions
When the Shark Stratos Cordless arrived on my doorstep, I was able to lift it from my porch through to the front room, down a narrow hallway, with ease. When I opened the box, I noted that minimal packaging had been used, and of the packaging that was there it was all recyclable.
In the box are the DuoClean, PowerFins, HairPro floorhead, flexible wand, control unit, odor neutralizer technology cartridge, battery, plus two accessories: Duster Crevice Tool and Anti-Allergen Brush. For the majority, it did all seamlessly clip and slot together, although I struggled to secure the intensity dial over the odor neutralizer technology cartridge into the floorhead. It took a few goes at turning the dial until that, too, felt secure.
Out of curiosity, I fired up the vacuum cleaner to get a better sense of the weight, movement, and sound before its first use. It was easy to maneuver back and forth across the carpet, and I could hear the change in gear as the CleanSense IQ kicked in as it picked up areas of heavier dirt. Within a few seconds, I could also smell the aroma released from the odor cartridges, which, although I wasn't put off by it (it's almost pleasant), I appreciate that some may prefer an alternative smell in their home, such as vanilla or fir tree.
Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum: Key specifications
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Row 0 - Cell 1|
|Model||IZ862H / IZ400UKT|
|Capacity||0.18 gallon / 0.7L|
|No. of settings||3 + Boost|
|Runtime||Up to 60 minutes|
|Dimensions||114 x 27 x 17in (h x w x d)|
|Attachments||Multi-Surface Tool, 8” Crevice Tool and Motorised Pet Tool + accessory bag|
Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum: Price & availability
The Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum has a list price of $499.99/£429.99 and can be bought either directly from Shark Clean or through retailer sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target. Since its launch last year (2022), I've seen it regularly discounted on all listed sites, so it would be prudent to check back on those and also bookmark our Shark Black Friday deals page for a fast track to the stick vacuum should it be discounted later on in the year.
Shark Stratos Cordless: Design
At a glance, the Shark Cordless Vacuum looks like your average stick vacuum cleaner; the floorhead is positioned at one end of a wand, with a dust cup and controls at the other. Look closer, though, and you'll see that all those 'average' components have been souped up in one way or the other.
The floorhead has been bolstered with Clean Sense IQ, which has an indicator to visually show when power has been increased and when the floor is clean again. The floorhead also has odor-neutralizer technology that is made up of an intensity dial (this is what you see) and a cartridge. A twin pack of replacement cartridges can be bought for $14.99 from the Shark website.
Moving on up the wand is 'MultiFlex technology.' This is a fancy way of saying that the wand can bend to clean under furniture (nothing new), but then it can be folded over for compact freestanding. This is a major pain point of mine; past cordless vacuums forever kept falling over or lying on the floor because I hadn't gotten around to mounting a doc to the wall, yet this was all solved by Shark with a super flexible bend. It also meant that I could charge the Stratos without having to remove the battery - a major plus point where space is more limited or if time never seems to be on your side (like me) and you want to do something quickly.
Tracking up the wand to the handle, controls, and dust cup, the layout is relatively the same as on other cordless vacuums. It feels really comfortable to hold, and you can easily switch between the three power modes - CleanSense IQ (Auto), Eco, and Boost - when holding the handle. The dust cup is on the other side and underside of the controls, so it's all very nicely balanced.
The Shark Stratos Cordless comes with a Duster Crevice Tool and Anti-Allergen Brush that can be used when the vacuum cleaner is transformed into a smaller handheld.
Note: I reviewed the Shark Stratos Cordless in the UK in a gold colorway. In the US, this colorway is 'Ash Purple'.
Shark Stratos Cordless: Performance
I used the Shark Stratos Cordless in my home for two months, lifting day-to-day debris off the ground and first floor, plus stairs that join the levels. I also converted it into the handheld mode to lift crumbs from the upholstery.
Along with the daily chore of vacuuming, I also set the stick vacuum some specific tasks: to vacuum a scattering of rice puffs and a mound of sugar.
I vacuum the ground floor of my home every day and the 1st floor a few times per week. The reason why I vacuum every day is because I have a messy toddler who, somewhere, not only drops food down themselves but also on the floor. It's also 'fun' to throw food, apparently.
The Shark Stratos Cordless takes this daily challenge in its stride. Cereal, biscuit crumbs, cake, and chunks of toast are no match for it.
To add to the mix, I also have a lot of thick, long hair that I unintentionally molt around the home. Across the hard floors and carpets, the brushroll did a fabulous job of listing hair off the surface of the flooring and, with the self-cleaning abilities, did not get caught up around either of the two brushrolls.
The specific tasks I set for the Shark Stratos Cordless had equally impressive performance results.
The rice puffs were picked up in one pass-through, and none were blown away from the path of the vacuum cleaner. The sugar was picked up superbly, too, yet, unlike with the rice puffs, the Clean Sense IQ increased the suction to lift the granules. At a guess, this is because the sugar weighs more than rice puffs, so the brush roll had to work a little harder to lift the latter and banish to the dust cup.
I found vacuuming the stairs easy enough when using the Stratos, although I was fully aware that the floorhead may be too heavy for some to lift up and over the steps when using as an upright vacuum cleaner. Convert to a more compact handheld by doing away with the wand, and the weight is a lot more balanced on a more nibble vac.
The duster crevice tool and anti-allergen brush attachments can be clipped onto the end of the wand when the floorhead is not in use. This makes reaching for the cobwebs in the corner of the room more achievable. The attachments can also be clipped onto the handle for a more targeted clean on upholstery.
To fully recharge from zero to maxed-out it takes just three hours, and you can expect to achieve a runtime of up to 60 minutes (depending on the suction setting) with consistence performance all throughout.
In terms of the noise level, I measured 72dB on Eco and CleanSense IQ (when no dirt was detected) and 84dB when on 'Boost.' This is the equivalent noise range to the inside of a car or loud singing.
Shark Stratos Cordless: How Does it Compare?
The closest competitor to the Shark Stratos Cordless is, in my opinion, the Dyson V15 Detect. It was released a few months prior to the Stratos and boasts the same dust cup capacity ( 0.18 gallon / 0.7L) and the same runtime (60 minutes) and will adjust the suction power in heavier areas of dirt on the floor. Granted - it doesn't have the Odor Neutralizer Technology.
The only other cordless vacuum that I am aware of and/or have tried out that has scented filtration is the Numatic Henry Quick. It's the first stick vacuum from the brand, renowned for its heavy-duty bagged canister vacuum cleaners. It's also the first in Numatic's range, like Shark's, to have a removable scent capsule for freshening up the appliance - and you're home. Note: this vacuum cleaner is only available in the UK.
Shark's latest vacuum, the Shark Cordless Detect Pro, doesn't have this Odor Neutralizing Technology (it feels like a step back to me), but it does have a self-emptying base. This, too, solves the storage woe because it means that you don't need to mount any docking station; just slot the stick into the station. It then goes on to limit the amount of times that you need to empty the dust cup since this vac will do it for you from the docking station.
We have equally compared the Shark Stratos vs Shark Vertex, two popular vacuum ranges. The Shark Vertex stands out with its IQ Display, which provides real-time information, whereas the Stratos takes a unique approach by incorporating Odor Neutralizer Technology. There's a $50 difference in the price (the Vertex being the cheaper option), but it was felt that the advanced sensor-based cleaning, odor control, superior pet hair handling, and extra battery warranty of the Stratos pipped it to the post.
Should you buy the Shark Stratos Cordless?
|Price||For all the tech and functionality, you're getting a fabulous vacuum cleaner for the money.||5/5|
|Design||It's pretty perfect but I feel that some may struggle with the weight of the floorhead and / or prefer a different odor||4.5/5|
|Performance||I can't fault it. All debris on-test was lifted, and no hair became wrapped around the brushbars.||5/5|
Buy it if...
You have pets
The Shark Stratos Cordless has odor neutralizer tech onboard, which guards against the pet hair and dander picked up.
You live in a hairy home
Short and long hair was easily picked up and sent straight to the dust cup without hair wrapped around the brushbar.
You have limited storage space
The Shark Stratos Cordless has a flexible design that can be folded for compact, freestanding storage.
Don’t Buy It if…
You want a larger dust cup
The Shark Stratos Cordless has a dust cup capacity of 0.72 qt, which may not be big enough to clean the larger home - unless you're prepared to empty it frequently.
You have a large home
Along with the dust cup, which is on the small side, the 60-minute runtime may not provide enough power to finish the job.
How we tested the Shark Stratos Cordless
- It was the only vacuum cleaner in my house
- Used for two months
The Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum was the only vacuum cleaner in my house. This meant that it was tasked with cleaning all manner of messes, big and small. From puffed rice to long hair, the stick vacuum had its work cut out for it, but I found it handled all that life threw at it like a pro.
I used it for two months. The dust cup was emptied every other clean, there was no hair wrapped around the brushbar, and the odor neutralizer technology is still going strong.
See more about how we test