Taking home high scores and unseating previous award winners, the Shark IONFlex is a truly excellent stick vacuum. This cordless vacuum has swappable batteries — a fantastic feature that allows you to customize your battery life to match your cleaning needs. It 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. If you want an excellent vacuum at a friendlier price than a Dyson, this is one to consider.Editor's Note: Updated on January 11, 2022, the IONFlex now includes new sections designed to help you make a decision on the best product for you.
Shark IONFlex Review
Pros: Fantastic at cleaning hard floors, very easy to use, swappable batteries
Cons: A little pricey
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|Pros||Fantastic at cleaning hard floors, very easy to use, swappable batteries||Convenient to use, great at cleaning||Great value, convenient, does well with hard floors||Decent at cleaning hard surfaces, inexpensive||Inexpensive|
|Cons||A little pricey||A bit loud||Could be better at carpet||Harder to use, loud||Poor carpet cleaning ability, harder to use, less convenient|
|Bottom Line||This is an exceptionally easy to use product that cleans well and sweeps away most of the competition||If you are looking for the absolute best of the best when it comes to stick vacuums, this is one of our all-time favorites||If you are shopping for a stick vacuum and don't want to break the bank, then we think this is a great option||This inexpensive model cleans decently, especially when it comes to hard surfaces||This lightweight vacuum may be super cheap, but don't expect much in terms of performance|
|Rating Categories||Shark IONFlex||Shark Rocket Pet Pro||Moosoo XL-618A||VonHaus 600W 2-in-1||Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik|
|Hard Surface Cleaning (30%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Carpet Cleaning (15%)|
|Specs||Shark IONFlex||Shark Rocket Pet Pro||Moosoo XL-618A||VonHaus 600W 2-in-1||Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik|
|Weight||8.9 lbs||7.8 lbs||5.1 lbs||4.5 lbs||3.4 lbs|
|Cordless Battery Life||11:44 min:sec||20:37 min:sec||22:40 min:sec||n/a||n/a|
|Maximum Corded Reach||n/a||n/a||n/a||21 ft||17.5 ft|
|Measured Charge Time||210 min||150 min||340 min||n/a||n/a|
|Noise Level||74 dBa||73 dBa||67 dBa||77 dBa||73.5 dBa|
|Measured Cleaning Path Width||8"||10.25"||7.75"||8.75"||9"|
|Variable Suction Control||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Brush On/Off Switch?||Slows the brush for hard floor||Slows the brush for hard floor||No||n/a||n/a|
|Storage||Freestanding in MultiFLEX storage mode||Freestanding in MultiFLEX storage mode||Wall mount only||Stands up; falls over easily||Stands up; falls over easily|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Sitting in the upper echelons of our test group, the Shark IONFlex is an excellent vacuum at a fair price for what you get. Its ability to switch modes when switching floor surfaces without having to physically disconnect and swap out the brush head makes it ideal for spaces with various surfaces throughout.
The most important of our rating metrics, this 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, its maximum reach, and how easy it is to use it to clean non-floor areas. The IONFlex did very well, earning a respectable score.
It is very easy to pack the IONFlex away, quickly and easily folding in half to store free standing. However, it is a little on the heavy side, weighing in at 8.9 pounds — slightly more than average for our tested vacuums.
Even though this product is a little on the hefty side, it is still effortless to use to clean other areas of your home besides just the floor. You can simply press a button to detach the floor head and swap in a different attachment.
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. Most stick vacuums in our review don't offer the ability to switch the battery, and this can be a game-changer if you have a larger area to clean. The IONFlex also charges relatively quickly, taking about 3.5 hours to charge completely.
Hard Surface Cleaning
Our next metric, responsible for 30% of the total score for each product, judged how well each vacuum did at cleaning up messes on floors like hardwood, tile, or laminate. We used rice, flour, pet hair, cereal, and oatmeal as our sample messes. The IONFlex delivered a phenomenal performance, tying for a top score.
This vacuum did an exceptional job at collecting flour, one of the best jobs of the entire group. It essentially got all of the flour on our test surface, only leaving a tiny amount in the cracks between boards.
The IONFlex continued its stellar performance with rice, Cheerios, and oats. It collected all of the Cheerios without any issue and impressed us with its prowess at picking up rice, only taking a single pass to collect all of the mess.
This vacuum didn't do an amazing job at collecting pet hair on a hard floor, but none of the products did. The IONFlex still tied for the top performance overall, though, and it's smart to consider a full-size vacuum anyway if you have extensive pet hair cleaning needs.
Ease of Use
Comprising 20% of the total score, this metric evaluated how well each product cleaned close to edges and under furniture, if it had swivel steering, its noise level, and the different power options available. The Shark IONFlex again scored at the top of the pack as it is extremely easy to use.
This device has both a high and low power mode so that you can prioritize 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, and it cleans in quite close to the edges of a room, only leaving trace amounts of debris behind.
This model also has a swivel head for easy maneuvering and, while not the quietest, isn't overly loud either.
The IONFlex is also very adept at cleaning under furniture, flexing in the middle to allow you to reach quite far under furniture without bending over. This vacuum could go the entire distance under our simulated sofa without flexing, but only by crouching down. It reached 34" with the flex, which allowed us to remain standing. We love this ergonomic feature.
This model doesn't have any storage for accessories, requiring you to keep them elsewhere — most likely with the second battery and charger.
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 on hard surfaces, though we conducted each test twice on both flat and fluffy carpets. The Shark IONFlex finished our tests with a strong showing here.
This vacuum started with an excellent showing at picking up rice and flour, collecting essentially all of the debris on both low and medium-pile carpet with only two passes. It also picked up the vast majority of the pet hair, though a handful of rogue hairs evaded the vacuum.
The IONFlex left a few residual pieces behind when tasked with oats. This problem was worse on fluffier carpet than flat carpet. It had no issues chomping down Cheerios, though, no matter the carpet type.
Should You Buy the Shark IONFlex?
The IONFlex is an impressive vacuum that won the hearts of testers and excelled in every testing metric. This vacuum folds for storage, has swappable batteries, and works well on almost every surface. There is much to love about this high-end option, and we think readers will agree. Without hesitation, these factors make it one we would certainly recommend to a friend.
What Other Stick Vacuum Should You Consider?
The price of the IONFlex could be a deal-breaker for some as it is similar to the cost of a standard vacuum which is high for a secondary cleaning product. If you are looking for something for a tighter budget, we think the Moosoo XL-618A is the one to consider. With respectable results on hard floors and good results for convenience and hard surfaces, we think most folks will be pleased with the performance and the lower price. If you are looking for the absolute highest scoring product with the best results in most metrics, then the Shark Rocket Pet Pro is the one for you. With a comparable price to the IONFlex, this Shark earned one of the highest overall scores in the group and is a stick option you're sure to fall in love with.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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