Shark Pet Cordless Stick review – a pet vacuum with no bark or bite

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum is a rare dud

A Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum on a carpet
(Image credit: Shark)
Homes & Gardens Verdict

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum isn’t the most powerful or versatile option from the brand, and I wasn't wowed by its performance. The cordless stick vacuum is lightweight and compact, but it’s underpowered and doesn’t perform well on carpeting. Overall, I think it's best-suited for use on hard floors or as a hand vacuum, but for that purpose, it’s quite pricey and only comes with a crevice tool.

Reasons to buy
  • +


  • +

    Boost setting for extra power

  • +

    Effective on hard floors

  • +

    Works well as a hand vacuum

  • +

    Includes HEPA filter

  • +

    Good battery life

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not very powerful suction

  • -

    Not effective on carpeting

  • -

    Awkward top-heavy design

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Cordless vacuums are often ideal for quick everyday cleaning, and if you have pets, these cleaning tools are perfect for sucking up clumps of hair and removing fur from furniture and other upholstery. However, many cordless vacuums are quite pricey, which is why the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum caught my eye. 

Also marketed as the Shark Rocket, this cordless vacuum has a lightweight, battery-operated design, and it’s more affordable than many other stick vacuums, retailing for around $200. By comparison, Dyson’s popular stick vacuums start at $400 and rise to more than $1000. The Shark has a large floorhead and multiple suction settings, and I wanted to see how well it would handle the surplus of pet hair in my home, and earn a place as one of the best vacuums for pet hair.

I tested this vacuum for two weeks, using it to clean up after my two long-haired dogs and rambunctious cat. While there were several things I liked about its design
– such as the lightweight form and HEPA filtration – I don’t think it’s the right vacuum for everyone. 

Product specifications

A Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Dimensions:14.96 x 10.24 x 46.06 inches
Weight:7.63 pounds
Dust Bin Capacity: 0.83 quarts
Cleaning Path:10.63 inches
Max Battery Life:40 minutes
Voltage:21.6 volts
Wattage:181 watts
Warranty: 5 years

Who would it suit?

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum is best-suited for light-duty cleaning around the house. Its floorhead isn’t the most powerful, even on the boost setting. It can pick up dirt and spilled food, but it’s not very effective for getting deep into carpets. While it’s marketed as a pet vacuum, it’s also not the best for picking up fur – long strands of pet hair can get wrapped around the brushroll, and because there’s no pet attachment, it can’t be used to clean upholstery or furniture. 

I actually think this model works best as a hand vacuum – it was great for vacuuming the stairs in my house and cleaning in tight areas of the bathroom, thanks to its cordless design. The battery lasts long enough for most cleaning sessions, and its lightweight form is easy to carry up and down stairs. 


The box of the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum was quick and easy to unbox and put together. The pieces were packaged in cardboard and each wrapped in plastic to prevent scratching, and there were only five total items in the box—the vacuum body, tube, and floorhead, along with the charger and crevice tool. 

I was able to snap the pieces together without consulting the directions, but I quickly realized that there was no way the vacuum would stand up while assembled, as it’s very top-heavy. After looking at the diagrams on the box, I realized that the body of the vacuum can be removed and hooked onto the front of the tube. This allows it to stand upright for charging, but it is a bit inconvenient to have to take the vacuum apart before storing it. I think a wall-mounting docking station would have been a better design, instead of the plain plug-in charger. 

Camryn's Dog next to the assembled Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

The main body of this vacuum is designed to be hooked onto the front of the tube while charging – this allows the vacuum to stand upright – and you do have to reassemble it before use. The body clicks into the tube easily, and the controls are right at your fingertips. There are separate suction settings for hard floors and carpeting, and the latter increases the brushroll speed. There’s also a trigger that you can pull to activate the “boost” setting, increasing the vacuum’s suction, but I typically only used it for short cleaning spurts, as you have to hold it down the whole time.

Test 1: Hard floors

Testing the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum on a hard floor

(Image credit: Future)

The vacuum performs fairly well on hard floors, including hardwood and laminate, and it’s easy to drive around and maneuver into tight spaces thanks to its small, lightweight form.

I used it to vacuum my kitchen and bathroom, and while it’s not the most powerful in terms of suction, it was able to pick up loose pet hair, crumbs, and even cat litter without sending particles flying around. The dustbin is large enough that I only needed to empty it once per cleaning session, and I love that the vacuum has a HEPA filter and allergen seal to keep dust trapped inside.  

Test 2: Carpet

Testing the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum on carpet

(Image credit: Future)

However, the vacuum didn’t do as well on carpeting. The area rug in my living room gets dirty quickly, as my two dogs lay on it constantly, so I tend to vacuum it every other day. The Shark was able to pick up visible dirt and any debris that was tracked onto the rug, but it didn’t do well pulling up dog hair. Even after using its boost setting, there was still quite a bit of fur left on the rug, and the surface didn’t look nearly as clean as when I use my full-size vacuum.  

Test 3: Handheld mode

Testing the handheld mode of the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum on stairs

(Image credit: Future)

After a few weeks of testing, I found myself mostly using the Shark as a handheld vacuum, as its lightweight size is easy to carry around the house. It comes with a crevice tool that attaches directly to the vacuum body, and it’s perfect for cleaning stairs, around baseboards, and in tight areas of my bathroom. I wish it came with other attachments, though – a dusting brush and upholstery tool would have made the vacuum even more versatile. I also don’t like that there’s nowhere to store the crevice tool on the body of the vacuum.

Cleaning and maintenance

Emptying the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum in the trash

(Image credit: Future)

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum has a fairly large 0.83-quart dustbin, and I typically only needed to empty it at the end of each cleaning session. To empty it, you remove the tube and hold the body of the vacuum over the trash can. There’s a lever on the side of the dustbin that you press down, and it opens the bottom of the bin to let debris fall out. A clump of pet fur would occasionally get stuck inside the bin and need to be fished out, but overall, it’s quite easy to empty and generally a hands-free task.  

How does it rate online?

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum has 120 reviews on the Shark website and an average rating of 3.6 stars. While people like the vacuum’s lightweight cordless design, many agree that the suction isn’t strong enough. Additionally, several reviewers say that the battery life decreases after several months of use. 

This vacuum also has a 3.6-star rating from around 670 reviewers on the Target website, many of whom have the same complaints about the suction power and waning battery life. However, like me, lots of people noted that the vacuum works better on hard floors than carpeting.    

How does it compare?

The best cordless vacuum we’ve tested is the Dyson Gen5, which costs around $650. It’s significantly more powerful than the Shark and can run for up to 60 minutes per charge. We particularly love that the Gen5 comes with a wide variety of attachments, including specialty heads for hard floors and carpeting, making it highly effective on both types of flooring. While it is quite an investment, it’s a worthwhile splurge if you want a cordless vacuum that performs just as well as a corded model.  

If you want a vacuum for pet hair, I can personally recommend the Shark Stratos upright. It's great on pet hair and loaded with handy pet features like anti-odor cartirdges, and lifts out of its body so that it's almost as nimble as this cordless. It's not that much more expensive, and while it's a little bulkier, I think it's much better than this vacuum. 

Should you buy the Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum?

The Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum isn’t the most powerful or versatile option out there today. It’s effective for quick cleaning tasks, working well as a hand vacuum and on hard floors, but it’s not ideal if your pets have long hair or your home has a lot of carpeting. It might be a worthwhile buy for everyday tidying if you can find it on sale, but its performance doesn’t justify its regular price tag of $200. If you’re going to pay that much, you’re better off spending a little extra to get a more powerful upright vacuum.  

How we test vacuums

If you want to know how we test vacuums, there are two main methods; in our homes and in our dedicated test centre. We use the test centre for more precise evaluation, and in our homes for a sense of how these vacuums perform in the real world. 

In all of our reviews, we test a range of debris on different surfaces. We use flour and sugar as a proxy for dust and tiny dirt, which shows us if a vacuum can handle this sort of fine cleaning. We use a 'pantry test' on spilled cereal to see how well the vacuum can handle larger crumbs, and it's an especially useful test if you have young kids. Finally, we test on old hair extensions to see how the vacuums can handle hair and fur. We test vacuums marketed as 'pet hair vacuums' in homes with dogs and cats to ensure that the vacuums we include genuinely remove pet hair. 

We repeat these tests on several floor types. We test on wood to see how well a vacuum can pick up dirt between the cracks of the planks, We test on lineoleum to see if the vacuum will scratch floors, and how well it forms a seal with the floor, and on carpet to see if the brush bar can beat dirt and debris out of the fibres. We also test all of these debris types on handheld mode, where applicable. 

For more information, see how we test.

Camryn Rabideau
Contributing Reviews Editor

Camryn Rabideau is a writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her five years as a product tester, she's tested hundreds of items first-hand, including many, many kitchen appliances for Homes & Gardens. Camryn does her product testing from her small homestead in beautiful Rhode Island.