If you're looking for a vacuum with strong suction, premium features, and a reasonable price tag, you'll be considering Shark vacuum cleaners. Our experts love them, but it's easy to get confused between models. They make cordless and upright vacuums in the Stratos and Vertex lines, but which is better?
Our experts have tested these alongside the best vacuums on the market. We've put Shark's cordless and upright models head-to-head to help make the decision of which vacuum cleaner you need that extra bit easier.
From capacity to agility, here's everything you need to know to pick between Shark's Stratos and Vertex vacuum lines. I think the Stratos line is better. When it comes to cordless vacuums, I think the Shark Stratos cordless is best; for uprights, choose the Shark Stratos Upright.
Stratos Upright vs Vertex DuoClean
Winner: Shark Stratos
These two cordless models are some of Shark’s most popular vacuums. They’re both excellent investments, but the Stratos is double the price. For some homes, this is a warranted extra investment, but for others, you can opt for the cheaper version and not feel like you’ve missed out.
In terms of sheer power, the Vertex Lightweight Cordless is better. It was close to faultless across our tests, with our only complaint being that the dustbin is small. If that's a deal-breaker for you, you'll be glad to hear that the Stratos’ dust bin is over twice as large as the Vertex's. When it comes to emptying them, the Vertex opens and with some forceful shakes, will empty. The Stratos has CleanTouch Dirt Ejector technology, which is a wordy way of saying that you can empty it without having to reach inside. For thoroughness, we like the Vertex, for overall experience, we prefer the Stratos.
In terms of suction, the Stratos is good. We haven't managed to test this ourselves, but some reviews suggest that this is better than the Vertex on low-pile carpets. The Vertex, on the other hand, is better on hard wood floors. This could be a deciding factor depending on the most common floor type in your home.
Both models boast DuoClean PowerFins technology on their floorheads, which is really another wordy way of saying that they’re thorough. If you have pets and need that extra something, the Stratos has an extra addition of HairPro technology. Reviews suggest that this isn’t a gimmick: pet owners consistently comment on the fact that they don’t have to cut hair out of the rollers.
When it comes to usability, the Stratos is packed with more luxurious features. The Clean Sense IQ automatically detects floor types, so you can use the LED interface to switch between eco and boost modes too. The crude Vertex controls only allow you to switch between carpet, bare floor, and boost, so if you need to conserve battery, it’s much more difficult with the Vertex.
The feel of the Stratos is generally nice and lightweight. Even though it’s lighter than the Vertex, we still enjoyed the Vertex and found it to be an equally lightweight and easy vacuum to handle
|Header Cell - Column 0||Stratos Cordless||Vertex Cordless|
|Dimensions||13.78 x 10.24 x 51.18 inches||15.35 x 10.24 x 47.05 inches|
|Dust bin capacity||0.68 l||0.32 l|
|Weight||8.9 lbs||9.04 lbs|
|Battery life||Up to 60 minutes||Up to 60 minutes|
|Suction settings||Smart IQ, Eco, Boost||Bare floor, Carpet, Boost|
This is the luxury version. It's lightweight with a large capacity and smarter technology in comparison to the Vertex. It's nicer to use and navigate around, but you'll pay twice the price of the Vertex for those little pleasures.
This might be more basic than the Stratos, but it's brilliant nevertheless. Lightweight and agile, we've called it the 'best budget' vacuum in our buying guide. It compacts down and is easy to store when you're not using it.
Stratos Cordless vs Vertex DuoClean
Winner: Stratos Upright
Our experts consider the Stratos to be the best upright vacuum of all time. It has powerful suction, an agile design, and the same effective, odor-neutralizing cartridge that we love in their cordless models. Even on pet-hair this was mess free and easy to clean.
The Vertex comes close to the Stratos in power. It's excellent across a range of debris and floor types. It's also lighter than the Stratos, so easier to move around. However, when we tested the Stratos, we found the dustbin limiting. The Vertex's dustbin is another .5 quarts smaller, making it a little frustrating to do thorough cleans with.
Both the Stratos and the Vertex have LED lights on the nozzle and DuoClean PowerFins, but the Stratos steps ahead of the Vertex for two key reasons: it has the HairPro Power brush and odor neutralizer cartridges.
Even though this takes longer to assemble, if you have pets and need to clean up their hair and clear up their smell, the Stratos is unmatched. You can even opt for a TruePet Upgrade on this model, which means you get an extra duster crevice tool, dusting brush, multi-angle dust brush, anti-allergen dust brush, MultiFLEX wand, and steam mop. If you go for the basic models, you'll get almost identical accessories, except the Stratos has a DuoClean PowerFins HairPro brushroll and the Vertex has a DuoClean PowerFins brushroll, which just gets more tangled with hair. You'll only notice the difference if you have pets.
The Vertex boasts a 12" cleaning path, which is wider than other vacuums, it's even 1.4 inches wider than the Stratos. If you have a big home, this kind of distance adds up. It makes for an effortless clean, especially considering the vertex is nearly a pound lighter too.
The Stratos is good for pets, deep cleans, and those who suffer from allergies. The vertex is good if you want a lighter weight vacuum and you don't mind often emptying it. It also has the best performance out of the two, but only marginally.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Stratos Upright||Vertex Upright|
|Dimensions||46.5 x 10.6 x 11 inches||46.5 x 12 x 10 inches|
|Power||1344W||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|Dust bin||1.48 quart||0.99 l|
|Weight||17.2 lbs||16 lbs|
|Noise||74 dBA||74 dBA|
|Accessories||HairPro brush roll, self-cleaning brushroll, self-cleaning pet power brush, powered lift-away, crevice tool, upholstery tool, HEPA filters, odor neutralizer||PowerFins brushroll, self-cleaning brushroll, self-cleaning pet power brush, powered lift-away, crevice tool, upholstery tool, HEPA filters|
Number one in our best upright vacuums buying guide, this is exceptional. If you own pets, you'll love the tangle-free brush roll and odor-neutralizing catridges. It has better bin capacity than the Vertex and it's still lightweight and agile. You can upgrade to the TruePet for even more accessories.
With powerful suction, a nimble floorhead, and thorough floorhead, this is an excellent upright vacuum. We really like it, but it lacks bin capacity and the rollers get more tangled with pet hair. It's also not much cheaper than the Stratos.
What is better, Shark Stratos or Shark Vertex?
Whilst I've rated the Stratos vacuums as better, this is a generic conclusion. I like the Stratos vacuums for thorough cleans, especially on homes with pets. However, if you want a simple, powerful vacuum, you won't go wrong with the Vertex.
What's the difference between Shark Stratos and Shark Vertex?
The Stratos vacuums tend to have more technology for avoiding hair tangles in the rollers as well as odor neutralizing cartridges. Other differences, such as dimensions, weight, and capacity are model dependent.
Are Shark vacuums any good?
Some of our experts prefer Shark vacuums to Dysons. In fact, they make up the bulk of our recommendations in the buying guide for best Dyson alternatives. Shark vacuums boast excellent performance at a reasonable price.
How we test vacuums
At Homes & Gardens we like to test every vacuum before we recommend them to you. In our dedicated test center, we'll task our vacuums with cleaning hard wood, carpet, and linoleum floors, which have been scattered with a range of debris types. We'll also make notes on unboxing, emptying, and storing the vacuums, so that you know everything you need to.
In the infrequent event that we can't test a vacuum or are waiting on a review, we will do diligent research into a model. Our experts spend hours reading through user and professional reviews so that they know everything they need to about a vacuum. If you want to find out more, you can visit our dedicated page for how we test vacuums.
I like Shark vacuums, a lot. These four models are all fantastic and, if you're in the market for an upright or a cordless model, you won't go wrong with any of them. As someone who likes a really thorough clean, I tend towards the Stratos vacuums, because they can pick up pesky hairs and are much easier to empty and maintain. However, if you're on a budget or you don't need to be cleaning upholstery and crevices every week, you won't be disappointed with a Vertex.
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Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.
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