If you're looking for a comparison of Shark vs. Roomba, you've come to the right place.
Shark and Roomba vacuums make life easier for many homeowners around the world by taking away a once-cumbersome chore.
You can set their vacuums to clean your floors and carpets while you're at work or busy doing things that you enjoy.
Shark and Roomba are two of the most well-known vacuum brands, and both of them sell many products.
This review will explore whether Shark or Roomba is better.
What Is Better, a Shark or a Roomba?
Both Shark and Roomba robotic vacuums are similar in size and the way they work.
A robotic vacuum cleaner uses a series of sensors to detect obstacles, dirt spots, and steep drops in the floor like stairs.
Let’s explore what makes these two companies and their products different.
Roomba Robotic Vacuums
Roomba introduced its first vacuum cleaner in September of 2002. Roomba was the first, and all others followed.
Roombas are sold and distributed by iRobot and sometimes use the iRobot brand. You can operate all Roomba models manually by carrying them to the room where they will be used and pressing a button.
Most Roombas are between 13.3 and 13.9-inches in diameter and are about 3.4 to 3.7-inches high. The Roomba has two wheels, and the brushes are located between them.
The brushes are small and generally about 5 to 8-inches long depending on the model. Roomba also has a multi-pronged brush that will move debris toward the cleaning head.
Roomba’s sensors and software can detect if the wheels are slipping, if it gets stuck on an electrical cord, or if it gets trapped in any other way.
Here are a few of the more popular vacuums Roomba has to offer.
- Roomba s9+
- Roomba i7 7159
- Roomba i3
- Roomba 981
- Roomba 692
Shark Robotic Vacuums
The Shark brand evolved from Euro-Pro, which is a company that dates back over a century. It is best known for its upright vacuums, and it entered into the robotic vacuum market sometime after Roomba.
One of the main differences between the two companies is that Roomba only focuses on robotic vacuums, and Shark has a wide range of many types of vacuums that are designed for different purposes.
Here are a few of the more popular Shark robotic vacuums you might find.
- IQ Robot Vacuum with XL Self-Empty Base
- ION Robot Vacuum
- IQ Robot Vacuum R101
- ION AV751 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum
- Shark ION R87
Various robotic vacuum cleaners have different features that set them apart.
For instance, they may include tangle-free brushes, more powerful vacuums, separate debris canisters, and different ways to avoid obstacles.
With some of them, performance maps can be displayed on your Smartphone.
Some newer Shark models use a set of cameras to systematically cover the entire floor.
They can even move to their recharging bases and beacons on their own. Other models allow you to be able to customize and reprogram them to avoid certain areas.
Both Roomba and Shark have a wide range of models available. Roomba tends to stick to the basic function of cleaning the floors and added new features as the product evolved to what it is today.
Shark takes a different approach and tends to develop models that are designed for specialized tasks, like pet hair or mopping the floors.
Shark takes this same approach in its other vacuum cleaner designs, too. Shark tends to offer more models, but each model is more highly specialized in what it does and the features it includes.
When it comes to the range of models available, Roomba offers 11 vacuum cleaners in several different lines.
The Roomba S9+ is the entry-level model and is still known for its impressive suction when compared to other robotic vacuum cleaners.
In the mid-range, you find the Roomba i3, i7, and J7. In this category, you find both standard and self-emptying versions.
Self-emptying robot vacuums place the contents of the dust bin canister into a disposable bag on the base station.
Some Roomba models offer voice control. You can even set some areas where you do not want it to enter.
Later Roomba models, such as the J7, can identify objects on the floor and navigate around them. This is handy if you have pets that have the occasional accident.
Roomba robotic vacuums have evolved through six series to the latest ones we have today. Here are the Roomba series and vacuums that are included.
- S Series: Roomba S9+ and Roomba S9
- i Series: Roomba i7+, Roomba i7, Roomba i3+, and Roomba i3
- e Series: Roomba e5
- 900 Series: Roomba 960
- 800 Series: Roomba 890
- 600 Series: Roomba 690 and Roomba 675
The Shark Ion, IQ, and AI are the only model series available in the United States, but they offer several variations of each. The Shark Ion is the entry-level model and does exactly what you would expect it to do.
It can be controlled by either voice or a smartphone app. The Shark IQ is the mid-range model, and it uses row-by-row cleaning rather than random patterns to make sure that it cleans all of your floors.
The Shark IQ also has a self-emptying version that can hold either 15 or 30 days of dirt.
Shark AI is the latest addition to Shark’s line of robot vacuum cleaners and was only introduced in late 2021.
It is considered a top-range model and has an object scanner so that it can make its way around your home in the most efficient manner. This one can even mop your floor as well as vacuum it.
Here is a list of Shark robot vacuums:
- Shark ION 900 Series: Shark AV970
- Shark ION 800 Series: Shark ION RV871 and Shark ION R85
- Shark ION 700 Series: Shark ION RV761 (aka: ION R76 or R87), Shark ION RV2001WD (aka ION 75), and Shark ION R72
- Shark IQ: Shark IQ RV1001AE, Shark IQ RV100AE, and Shark IQ R101
- Shark AI: Robot Self-Empty XL
When it comes to range and the choices offered, both Roomba and Shark offer many selections in their various model lines.
We have discussed the basic differences between models, but within each of them, the categories can be broken down further.
You can easily find one that does exactly what you need it to do at a price range that is affordable to you. As it turns out, both Roomba and Shark offer 11 models and variations.
Roombas tend to be slightly more expensive than Sharks. Roombas begin at about $275 and can go as high as $1,100.
Sharks tend to range from $250 to $650. When you compare Shark to other vacuum cleaners, Shark tends to be on the lower price end and appeals to the budget-minded consumer.
If you want a self-emptying Shark robot vacuum, you can expect to pay around $600.
When it comes to what you get for the price, Shark tends to offer more advanced features at a lower price.
When comparing battery life, it is important to select two models that are almost equally matched and in the same range.
One of the differences in models as you move up in price is that the more expensive ones tend to have longer battery life. This holds true for both brands.
For instance, if you compare the Roomba i3 to the Shark Ion RV871, the Roomba has about 75 minutes of runtime and the Shark has about 90 minutes.
When you compare the Roomba 675 to the Shark Ion AV 751, both of them have about 90 minutes runtime before they need to be charged.
On lower-end models, Shark tends to have a slightly longer runtime.
As you move up in models, they tend to even out and be almost equal.
One thing you might want to know is that most of the vacuums of either brand will recharge and resume on their own. Older models do not do this, and you have to take them to the charger and restart them manually.
One of the features that newer models offer is that when the battery begins to become depleted, the vacuum will head back to the base on its own and recharge.
Once it is fully recharged, it will remember where it left off and resume vacuuming.
Roomba uses a 1,800 mAh NiMH battery, and Shark uses a Li-ion 2,550 mAh one. When it comes to the battery, Shark uses a little bit larger one, but in many cases, the runtimes are similar.
Some Shark vacuum cleaners offer up to 120 minutes of runtime and are more appropriate for larger homes.
When it comes to battery life, Li-ion batteries tend to last longer, but how well you care for your battery can affect how long it lasts.
For instance, the temperature at which you store it can have an effect. Batteries are rated for a certain number of charge/recharge cycles, so how much you use them also affects battery life.
Just as with other vacuum cleaners, you must empty the dust bin of the Roomba and Shark every time it is used.
You must also remove hair or other debris from the rollers frequently.
In general, robotic vacuums need these actions performed more frequently than upright vacuums.
Even though a Roomba must be cleaned more frequently than Shark models, it typically doesn't take more than a few minutes.
Roomba dust bins are about 0.5 liters and self-emptying options are available.
Most Roomba dust bins are about the same size without much variation.
Shark dust bins range anywhere from 0.16 liters to their standard dust bin that is about 0.43 liters. Shark also has some models with extra-large dust bins of up to 0.66 liters.
The size of the dustbin is important depending on the size of your home and whether you have pets.
If you do not have a self-emptying model, having to empty the dust bin more frequently can be cumbersome.
Even though the task is easy, it is much better if you have a larger dustbin.
With self-emptying models, the dust bin size is not as important because the unit will simply return to its base to empty the dust bin and then go back to where it left off.
This is true for either Roomba or Shark models.
Shark includes HEPA filters with its devices that can remove about 99.97% of bacteria and other fine particles.
Roomba uses a different technology that it calls the AeroVac system, and you can get HEPA detectors on some of the upper-range models.
Not all Roombas have HEPA filtration, but HEPA filtration is standard on Shark vacuums.
No independent information could be found on how well Roomba’s system works in removing allergens, mold, and pet dander from the air other than the claims by the company itself.
Shark uses proven technology and filtration known to remove allergens from the air.
One of the drawbacks of HEPA filtration is that you must change the filters when they become clogged.
Both Shark and Roomba offer a one-year limited warranty as standard.
One reason why Shark comes out ahead in this category is that it also offers an option to purchase a 2 or 3-year extended warranty.
For both manufacturers, the warranty only covers factory defects and does not cover normal wear.
They also do not cover any issues related to owner neglect or misuse.
When it comes to features, both Shark and Roomba offer a long list of extras.
Of course, those in the lower price range only offer the basic functions, and you can expect the more expensive ones to offer more.
One difference is that Shark tends to offer higher-end technology at a lower price point than Roomba.
Also, Shark offers some features that Roomba does not have at this point.
We have already discussed some of the features such as self-emptying, the ability to control the unit from your smartphone, and others.
Shark and Roomba now offer self-emptying even on the lower-priced vacuums.
It is in the models in the upper price range where the differences in features become most important.
One thing to keep in mind is that Shark offers several models that are specifically designed to pick up pet hair and dander.
They offer higher suction power for this purpose. These models also have a self-cleaning brush roll. Roomba does not offer a model specifically for this purpose.
The upper models of both brands, including the Shark IQ, Roomba S9 plus, and Roomba i7, all have advanced mapping capabilities. They will create a map that you can access using a smartphone app.
You can schedule room cleaning, view the history, and many more functions.
In independent tests, Shark’s mapping capabilities tend to work more efficiently than those of Roomba.
In some cases, Roomba missed major areas of debris and saw them as an object to be avoided.
One thing to keep in mind is that the cleaning cycle differs between Roomba and Shark.
It also differs between models of the same brand.
When it comes to the number of features offered, Shark comes out ahead of Roomba.
This is especially true when it comes to mapping technology and the ability to pick up pet hair.
Many Shark models can also be controlled with Alexa, the Shark app, and using Wi-Fi.
Some Sharks are made for mopping, but unless you have one of those models, it is recommended that you do not let your Shark run over wet carpet or spills on the floor. Roomba does not offer these features.
How Well They Work
All things considered, the bottom line is how well they work.
Regardless of the price and features, it all comes down to whether you will need to spend time going back over the floor after the unit is finished.
Let’s see what the experience is like with Shark and Roomba.
Types of Flooring
Roomba tends to do a better job on many types of flooring from tile to laminate or low-pile carpet.
One thing to note is that Roombas are not designed for carpets with a deep pile.
They can also become stuck on rugs with tassels and fringe or on electrical cords. Newer Roomba models can reverse their brushes to escape these items.
Overall, Roomba does a better job of cleaning on many more floor types than the Shark, but just not carpet with a high pile. It does quite well on shorter pile carpeting or bare wood floors.
Shark uses a triple brush cleaning system that seems to be better at deep cleaning hardwood floors and low pile carpet.
The one you choose depends on the type of flooring where it will be used the most.
Getting Stuck and Object Avoidance
There are some key areas where Roomba stands out, such as its ability to back itself off electrical cords.
Shark is better at avoiding them, but if it does happen to become stuck, it will not be as likely to self-correct the problem as Roomba.
Most Roombas are low enough to go under most furniture.
Some Sharks are a little taller and might encounter problems with lower surfaces.
One thing to note is that Roomba has a flat front body style that allows it to clean in corners more effectively than the Shark.
With the Shark, you will still need to do a little bit of extra cleanup in the corners of the room.
Roomba tends to handle this more effectively.
One of Roomba’s drawbacks is that it tends to be a little behind when it comes to its software.
Roombas tend to get stuck in corners and on objects that the Shark will navigate around and avoid. Shark seems to do a better job at detecting stairs and ledges.
Roomba seems to do a better job than Shark when it comes to how well they work at picking up larger debris, such as cereal.
One thing that makes Roomba stand out is that it uses a patented 3-stage cleaning system.
The system loosens the dirt, lifts it, and then suctions the dirt and debris into the dust bin.
This system does an excellent job of cleaning most surfaces.
Shark only uses a standard brush system. This technology makes Roomba slightly better than Shark when it comes to performance.
Another thing that sets Roomba apart is that they tend to have stronger suction power than the Shark, except for Shark’s pet hair model.
When it comes to mapping, Shark comes out as the winner.
With Roomba, you have to place strips around your home to define the cleaning areas.
Shark uses mapping technology, and you do not have to place any type of barrier on your floors.
You also have more options for controlling your Shark using your Smartphone and other methods.
You can now see why Shark and Roomba are two of the top robotic vacuum brands. Both of them do a good job of cleaning your floors, and both of them have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see how they stack up in the final analysis.
- Range: Tie
- Price: Shark
- Battery life: Shark
- Dust bin: Shark
- Warranty: Shark
- Features: Shark
- Overall performance: Roomba
- Mapping software: Shark
- Obstacle avoidance: Shark
- Ease of maintenance: Shark
- Avoids getting stuck in corners: Shark
- Overall suction power: Roomba
- Brushes: Roomba
Roomba has several categories where it comes out the clear winner, but overall, Shark offers the best value.
Shark offers more features at a lower price, even though Roomba offers more suction technology and better brushes overall.
You will not go wrong with choosing products from either of these brands.
Which one is right for you all depends on the type of flooring you have, whether you have pets, or how many obstacles you have to avoid. Both are almost equally matched, but if we have to choose one, it would be Shark.