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Shark IONFlex Review

The Shark IONFlex is an exceptionally easy to use product that cleans well and sweeps away the rest of the competition
The Shark IONFlex.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $400 List | $400 at Amazon
Pros:  Great battery life, fantastic at cleaning hard floors, very easy to use
Cons:  A little pricey
Manufacturer:   Shark
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Dec 14, 2017
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Convenience - 35% 7
  • Hard Surface Cleaning - 30% 9
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Carpet Cleaning - 15% 7

Our Verdict

Taking home the top score of the entire group and unseating a previous award winner, the Shark IONFlex is by far the best stick vacuum that we have tested so far. This cordless vacuum has swappable batteries — a fantastic feature that allows you to customize your battery life to match your cleaning needs. This product folds for convenient storage, includes the usual myriad of different vacuum attachments, and has a strong cleaning performance across the board, particularly excelling at cleaning hard floors.


Compare to Similar Products

 
The Shark IONFlex.
This Product
Shark IONFlex
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award  
Price $400 List
$399.99 at Amazon
$600 List
$599.99 at Amazon
$500 List
Check Price at Amazon
$300 List
$219.99 at Amazon
$599 List
$599 at Amazon
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Pros Great battery life, fantastic at cleaning hard floors, very easy to useUnmatched cleaning performance, very convenient and easy to useCompact, great at cleaning carpet, convenientFantastic cleaning power, versatile, easy to useGood at cleaning carpets, convenient
Cons A little priceyExceptionally expensive, on the loud side, doesn't pick up well when going "reverse" over debrisShort battery life, expensiveHeavy, loudDidn’t do as well as we hoped with hard floors, expensive
Bottom Line The Shark IONFlex is an exceptionally easy to use product that cleans well and sweeps away the rest of the competitionBy far the best of the best when it comes to these products, but your pocketbook is definitely going to take a hitThis high-end cordless model is one of the best you can get, but comes at a premium priceFor those that need a product to handle heavier messes, the Rocket is a great betThis premium offering from Dyson has some unique features but didn’t quite do well enough to nab an award
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Rating Categories Shark IONFlex Dyson V10 Absolute Dyson V8 Absolute Shark Rocket... Dyson V11 Animal
Convenience (35%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
Hard Surface Cleaning (30%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Carpet Cleaning (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Shark IONFlex Dyson V10 Absolute Dyson V8 Absolute Shark Rocket... Dyson V11 Animal
Weight 8.9 lbs 5.9 lbs 5.6 lbs 10 lbs 6.7 lbs
Cordless Battery Life 11:44 min:sec 8:19 min:sec 8:19 min:sec N/A 12:30 min:sec
Maximum Corded Reach N/A N/A N/A 33.5 ft. N/A
Measured Charge Time 210 min. 190 min. 240 min. N/A 220 min.
Noise Level 74 dBa 78 dBa 77 dBa 77.5 dBa 77 dBa
Model Number IF200W (we tested) V10 V8 HV380W V11
Battery Type Lithium-ion NCA or Li-aluminum (a type of Lithium-ion) Lithium-ion N/A Lithium-ion
Measured Cleaning Path Width 8" 9" 9" 8" 9"
Variable Suction Control Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Brush On/Off Switch: Slows the brush for hard floor No No Slows the brush for hard floor No
Storage Freestanding
in MultiFLEX storage mode
Wall Mount Wall Mount only Wall Mount; Or can detatch the top and hang it on the bottom and have it stand upright Wall Mount only
Bag Type Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless
Swivel Head Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soft Bumper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cordless Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Taking home the top score, the IONFlex bested the Shark Rocket DuoClean, our previous top scorer, by a few points. The IONFlex and the Rocket were on par in terms of cleaning performance and ease of use, but the IONFlex had a definite edge when it came to convenience. The IONFlex stores much easier than the Rocket and is cordless with a great runtime, edging out the corded Rocket.

The Best Overall stick vacuum  the Shark IONFlex.
The Best Overall stick vacuum, the Shark IONFlex.

Performance Comparison


To see which stick vacuum reigned supreme, we bought the top products on the market and tested them head-to-head to find the winners. We ranked and scored the performance of each vacuum in four metrics: Convenience, Ease of Use, Hard Surface Cleaning, and Carpet Cleaning.

The IONFlex folds for storage or to help get under those hard to reach places.
The IONFlex folds for storage or to help get under those hard to reach places.

Convenience


The most important of our rating metrics, the Convenience metric accounts for 35% of the total score for each stick vacuum. We evaluated how easy it is to store each vacuum, its weight, whether or not it is corded or cordless, and its maximum reach, as well as how easy it is to use it to clean non-floor areas of your home. The Shark IONFlex did very well, meriting a 7 out of 10 for its efforts, with the following chart showing how this compares to the rest of the products in the pack.


It is very easy to store IONFlex, with it quickly and easily folding in half to store free standing.

The Shark folded up for storage.
The Shark folded up for storage.

However, the IONFlex is a little on the heavy side, weighing in at 8.9 lbs — slightly more than the average product.


Even though this product is a little on the hefty side, it is still very easy to use this product to clean other areas of your home beside the floor. You can simply press a button to detach the floor head and swap in a different attachment.

The IONFlex is nicely labeled where it can be detached to add attachments or clean out the brush.
The IONFlex is nicely labeled where it can be detached to add attachments or clean out the brush.

This cordless vacuum also has an excellent battery life, lasting for 11:44 at max power.


While this wasn't the longest, you can simply swap the batteries when it dies, effectively doubling your runtime. It also charged relatively quickly, taking about 3.5 hours to completely charge.

The front brush makes quick work of hard surface debris.
The front brush makes quick work of hard surface debris.

Hard Surface Cleaning


Our next metric, responsible for 30% of the total score, judged how well each product did at cleaning up messes on floors like hardwood, tile, or laminate. We used rice, flour, pet hair, cereal, and oatmeal as our sample types of messes, conducting each test on a section of hardwood laminate floor. The Shark delivered a phenomenal performance, tying for the top score with a 9 out of 10.


The Shark did an exceptional job at collecting flour, doing one of the best jobs of the entire group.

The IONFlex can extract most of the flour stuck in the cracks in just 2 passes.
The IONFlex can extract most of the flour stuck in the cracks in just 2 passes.

It essentially got all of the flour on the surface, only leaving a tiny amount in the cracks between boards.

It continued its stellar performance in our rice test, collecting all of the Cheerios without any issue, just like the Shark Rocket. It also impressed us with its prowess at picking up rice, only taking a single pass to collect all of the mess.

The IONFlex easily picked up the oats in one pass.
The IONFlex easily picked up the oats in one pass.

This vacuum didn't do an amazing job at collecting pet hair, but none of these products did. It still tied for the top performance overall and you should really consider a full-size vacuum is you have extensive pet hair collection that needs to be done. Finally, the Shark finished out this metric with another awesome performance, collecting the entirety of the oats in a single pass.

The light up interface of the IONFlex.
The light up interface of the IONFlex.

Ease of Use


Comprising 20% of the total score, our Ease of Use metric evaluated how well each product cleaned in close to edges and under furniture, as well as if it had swivel steering, its noise level, and the different power options available. The Shark IONFlex earned an 8 out of 10 for its showing, being extremely easy to use. This is at the top of the pack.


The Shark IONFlex has both a high and low power mode, for when you need maximum cleaning power or maximum battery life. It also has the option to slow the rotating brush down, for when you are cleaning hard floors.

This vacuum cleans in quite close to the edges of a room, only leaving trace amounts of debris behind.

The Shark performs better edging along the wall rather than head on.
The Shark performs better edging along the wall rather than head on.

This model also has a swivel head for easy maneuvering.

The swivel steering makes the IONFlex highly maneuverable.
The swivel steering makes the IONFlex highly maneuverable.

The Shark did earn points for being one of the quietest vacuums of the bunch, measuring in at 74 dBa in our test.


This model is also very adept at cleaning under furniture, flexing in the middle to allow you to reach quite far under furniture.

The IONFlex bending so you don't have to.
The IONFlex bending so you don't have to.

The Shark reached the entire distance under our simulated sofa test without flexing, but it required you to crouch down. It reached 34" with the flex, allowing you to remain standing.

The IONFlex reached to the end of our simulated couch.
The IONFlex reached to the end of our simulated couch.

This model doesn't really have any storage for accessories, requiring you to keep them elsewhere — most likely with the second battery and charger.

The front roller of the Shark working its magic on Cheerios.
The front roller of the Shark working its magic on Cheerios.

Carpet Cleaning


Taking responsibility for the remaining 15% of the score, we judged how well each product did at cleaning carpets. We used the same testing process as our Hard Surface metric, though we conducted each test twice, on both flat and fluffy carpet. The Shark IONFlex finished out our tests with a strong showing, earning a 7 out of 10.


This vacuum started off with an excellent showing at picking up rice, collecting essentially all of the debris on both low and medium-pile carpet with only two passes.

The IONFlex did almost equally well at picking up oats on fluffy carpet as it did on short-pile carpet.
The IONFlex did almost equally well at picking up oats on fluffy carpet as it did on short-pile carpet.

The IONFlex also did quite well at collecting flour, matching the performance of the Shark Rocket. It also picked up the vast majority of the pet hair, though there were a handful of some rogue hairs that evaded the vacuum.

The Shark did leave a few residual oats behind, matching the performance of the Dyson V8 on the low-pile carpet. It did a little worse on the fluffier carpet, leaving quite a bit more oat fragments behind, putting the Shark IONFlex on par with the Hoover Linx and the Shark Navigator Freestyle. The Shark finished out this test with a solid performance at collecting Cheerios, doing a great job on both low-pile carpet and medium-pile carpet.

Value


The Shark IONFlex is a bit on the pricey side, but it is the best. However, there are definitely better options out there if you are looking to maximize the best bang for the buck.

Conclusion


The Shark IONFlex is a fantastic, all-around stick vacuum that excelled in a majority of our tests. This product does a good job at cleaning both hard and soft floors and is extremely convenient and easy to use. However, it is a bit expensive, so this product might be a better option if you don't have a messy enough home to warrant a full-size vacuum and only want a stick vacuum, compared to having both.


David Wise and Austin Palmer