When we first bought our house we were mesmerized by the gorgeous hardwood floors. After primarily living in carpeted apartments, we were excited for floors that were going to require a little less maintenance. We don’t have any pets (yet) but we quickly realized how much dirt and grass we were tracking in every day. This led to us having to vacuum or sweep 4-5 times a week just to keep the floors looking decent! While that may not seem like a lot, we didn’t want to feel like we had to do the same chore every other day in order to keep up with the house. Enter my obsessive research tendencies!
During my research, I had several moments where I thought, “man, do I really need a robot to do something that I know I have the ability to do?” So it took a few months and waiting until it went on sale before we pulled the trigger.
Our rough list of qualifications I was looking for:
Home Mapping (without boundary tape)
Average on price
The Shark we ended up choosing was on the higher end of our budget. I’ve linked the others it was up against below if you’re looking for something more budget friendly.
Finally we made our choice and I managed to snag the Shark IQ from Walmart ON SALE! I still don’t know how I managed it, but we got it for $299 instead of the usual $449. We were convinced that it must have been a refurbished model or something a truck ran over but when we got home, everything looked perfect. If you get the chance, keep an eye out at Target or Walmart to see if a random sale is happening. I also regularly post on my LikeToKnow.It page on when my favorite items go on sale.
The Set Up
The setup process was pretty easy and intuitive.
Take the robot out of its packaging, removing all the protective film and styrofoam, attaching the side brushes before turning the robot on.
Set up the docking station. You’ll want it plugged into a centralized location to where it will be cleaning, close to your wi-fi router, with no objects within 5 feet.
Place the robot on to dock to charge, ideally for at least 6 hours. You should see the indicator light flash and the robot will beep when it’s charging.
Download the ‘SharkClean’ app and login/create an account. You’ll pair with the device, set up a name for your robot (ours is ‘Tony Shark’), connect it to the wi-fi.
Prep your home for cleaning. Be sure to pick up any loose chords on the ground, pick up any small toys or clothes off the ground that you don’t want potentially sucked up. If there are rooms you don’t want your vacuum to enter then you’ll need to use the ‘BotBoundary Strips’ that should have come with the device. We have one on the slider door because he’s tried to go outside a time or two and gotten stuck!
What We Love
The first time we ran him, it took about 4 hours to charge up to 100% which was great. He ran for a little over 90 minutes and covered the downstairs more than once before he needed to return the dock. We are only using him downstairs, which is around 800-850 square feet. In my opinion, that’s a good cleaning run for that kind of space
He took care of the majority of dirt, both big and small. I tested it by spreading broken Styrofoam in random places around our downstairs.
Map creation generally occurs after 3-6 runs so it can accurately determine the layout of hard and soft surfaces. Once a map is created, I like the fact that I can tell the vacuum where to focus it’s cleaning power should it be needed.
It fit under most of our couches and entertainment centers.
It has decent sensors to keep it from loudly bonking into things around the house.
If the Shark IQ encounters an error while vacuuming and sends you a notification via the app Once you’ve pulled him out of wherever it got stuck or fell over, you push the button and it on its way again.
Speaking of the ‘Shark Cleaning’ app, it’s attractive and easy to use. You can watch your map take shape, add multiple units for multiple floors, see your cleaning history, change cleaning mode from Eco to Normal to Max, and even create a cleaning schedule for the whole house or designated separate rooms.
What We Didn't Love
It’s loud. Granted, I have little-to-no experience with robot vacuum cleaners but I wasn’t expecting it to sound like an animatronic parade in the background.
Starting and stopping. If you tell your vacuum to ‘Clean Entire House’ then there’s an understandable risk it doesn’t complete it before it runs out of charge. If that happens, it will return to the dock & you may walk around thinking, “looks great, good job vacuum” without knowing it didn’t finish. Then out of nowhere, 4 hours later, the robot melodically announces it’s cleaning again as if it was possessed! Thankfully, you can turn this restart/recharge feature off in the app.
It took a full reset of both Tony Shark and the app for the ‘Home Mapping’ feature to work. When we first got it, after about 15 runs the map seemed to be stuck at 65% completion. The problem is, if you’re not paying attention then you won’t know if anything is wrong. So, using my years of tech support experience, I nuked all the data from the device and the app so I could start fresh. We actually haven’t had any issues with him since and our map is finally complete after only 4 runs!
Yay or Nay?
Even with the occasional mishap, this is an obvious YAY for me! The fact that while I’m upstairs working from home I can have this vacuum running is a time saver. I run it anywhere from 2-4 times a week and only have to empty it maybe once every 1-2 weeks. It keeps me from being frustrated at all the little things on the ground, keeps critters from eating crumbs, and (thankfully) we can’t hear it from our home office. Even if you don’t get the Shark IQ, I would definitely recommend getting a robot vacuum cleaner. I can’t wait to update this review once we have a pet! ;)
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