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Shark and Roomba vacuums are two dominant robot vacuum brands in the top-tier of quality vacuum cleaners in the market. While Shark’s market reputation predates robot vacuum cleaning, iRobot’s Roomba is renowned as the pioneer in robot vacuuming and continues to ride on the wings of this market edge to its own advantage. We've reviewed many Roomba models over the years but this is the first time we've looked into Shark's Robots.

Roomba vs Shark

Both Shark and Roomba produce robot vacuums that can remove long hair and pet hair. The latest iterations of their little machines have improved programming, logical navigation, adaptability to different floor types, great suction, and better edge-sweeping capabilities.

Shark and Roomba have vacuum models that can empty themselves. For example, the Shark IQ R101AE has a self-emptying charging base that can hold 30 days of dust and debris from the vacuum. Roomba also has models e.g the Roomba i7+ which has a self-emptying base with 60-days dirt and debris holding capacity.

The major difference between the two brands is in their price and navigation. Shark robot vacuum models are generally cheaper than their counterparts in the Roomba product line. However, Roomba vacuum cleaners have much better navigation and mapping capabilities. Another difference is their suction power and the amount of noise they produce. Most Shark vacuums are quieter and have more suction power than Roomba vacuums.

In this review, we will dive deeper to explore the intrinsic features of both brands. We will take on similar models in the product lines of both Shark and Roomba Vacuums, compare them and advise on which ones in our own judgment we think are best.

Shark Vacuums

Shark Robot Vacuum

The new robot vacuum brands in the Shark product line include:

  • Shark IQ Robot Vacuum R101AE
  • Shark IQ Robot Vacuum R100; and
  • Shark ION Robot Vacuum R87.

These three products have WiFi with app and voice control. Both R100 and R101AE have mapping feature. However, only the R101AE has a self-emptying base. The products are perfect for a variety of floors. Other robot vacuums by Shark include the Shark R75, and Shark R85 etc.

Shark vacuums are the winner when it comes to budget and they also have stronger suction power with adjustable power settings. They work perfectly on non-carpet floors as well as carpet floors.

Shark robot vacuums usually have one rotating brush and two side brushes for effective edge-cleaning. Another main feature of Sharks is the use of magnetic strips as a virtual barrier to keep an area off from the machine.

Roomba Vacuums

Roomba Essentials

iRobot Roomba is an established robot vacuum manufacturer with both low end and high-end models.

In terms of comparison, low-end Roomba 690 and Roomba 675 can be compared with Shark's R75 and R85.  

Medium and higher range models of the Roomba such as the 900 series and i7+ come with more features including longer run times and better cleaning performance. iRobot’s Roomba i7+ is the leader in the category of self-emptying robot vacuums with 60-days dirt holding capacity. By contrast, Shark's top of the range robot vacuum can only hold dirt for 30 days. 

Roomba vacuums are known to have a better cleaning system with two main rotating brushes for effective cleaning. The Roomba also comes with models that have more efficient mapping and navigation than the Shark.

Shark IQ Robot™ Vacuum R101AE vs Roomba® 960 Robot Vacuum

Both the Shark IQ Robot R101AE and Roomba 960 belong to the mid-tier range of robot vacuums. They both have advanced sensors with improved navigation. They can handle households with 2 or more rooms and can remove pet hair and long hair.

Header

Shark IQ Robot™

Roomba® 960 

Weight (lbs)

5.87

8.6

Dust/ Dirt Capacity

30 days of dust/ debris

0.3 L

Type of Filtration

Non-washable filter

Non-washable filter

Suction Power (pa)

1400 (estimated)

900

Warranty Length

1 Year Limited

1 Year Limited

Included Tools and Attachments



Charge Time

4-6 hours

2-3 hours

Run Time

60-90 mins

75 mins

Shark IQ Robot™ Vacuum R101AE

Shark IQ Self-Empty Base Robot Vacuum, Black

Shark IQ Robot vacuum has stronger suction power than its predecessor Shark 850. It is designed to pick up large and small debris, as well as pet hair on carpets and hard floors. With the R1010AE, you no longer need to be untangling hair out of the vacuum. Its self-cleaning brushroll has a built-in plastic comb which removes pet hair and long hair from the brush roll as it cleans and leaves no hair wrap on the brush.

Shark R101AE robot vacuum comes with an app for schedule cleaning and targeting specific rooms or areas using the Shark (R) Clean App or voice control with Alexa or Google Assistant. Additionally, with the improved navigation, you can select which rooms you want to be vacuumed and the machine will logically navigate your house.

One of the outstanding features of the Shark R101AE vacuum is that it self-empties. The auto-emptying dock can hold your dirt for up to 30 days. This means you wouldn’t have to bother about vacuuming for up to a month, a significant reduction in the cost of using your vacuum in addition to its environmental benefits.

Pros

  • Price is reasonable for a self-emptying robot;
  • The Shark IQ R101AE Robot™ is designed with IQ NAV™ advanced navigation technology. This feature enables it to navigate around obstructions as it cleans your house. With its upward-facing sensor, the robot identifies unique reference points to aid its navigation.
  • Premium robot vacuum with an auto emptying feature. The vacuum’s bagless base has a dirt holding capacity of up to one month.
  • Self-cleaning brush. Eliminates untangling hair from brushes
  • Can choose specific rooms to clean, and uses app and voice control (Alexa and Google). For example, you can tell the robot to only clean the living room or master bedroom.
  • It creates a map of your home in the app. This allows you to select specific areas where you want the robot to clean. It doesn’t repeatedly travel over areas where it’s already cleaned, an improvement over the ION R85 in this regard.
  • It has the ability to grab large debris such as leaves, crumbs and food particles from the floor.
  • When working and the battery is exhausted, it returns to the charging dock to charge and resumes cleaning when charged.

Cons

  • Struggles with mapping and may not learn your home layout. Might take several runs before mapping successfully or might not be able to map at all.
  • There are concerns for people with allergies.  This is because the auto-empting feature doesn’t come with an allergen lock. Thus the unseen allergens might escape during auto-emptying. iRobot has been able to solve this problem by introducing the Automatic Dirt Disposal with AllergenLock™ bag in its Roomba i7+ model. The bag holds 60 days of dirt, dust and hair.
  • The machine can be unpleasantly loud, especially when in max mode.
  • Shorter run time compared to charging time;
  • The Shark control app may crash occasionally;
  • Sometimes it misses its way and can’t return to base;
  • Creating no go areas requires placing magnetic strips at specific points that you do not want the robot to clean. That’s a bit stressful.

YouTube Review Video

Shark IQ Robot Vacuum

is available at a discount price on Amazon:

Roomba 960

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

The Roomba 960 is near perfect when it comes to mapping home layout and navigation. The machine is smarter; it can recharge itself when the battery is down and resumes cleaning where it left off.

In addition, Roomba 960 is easy to maintain. Its dual rotating brushes pick up a lot of debris and do not tangle hair. It is most suitable for carpeted floors but can work fine on other floors as well.

Pros

  • Roomba 960 uses a Power-Lifting Suction which delivers 5X the air power for improved pick-up performance. It also has an intelligent mapping system and a premium 3-stage cleaning system that cleans dirt and pet hair.
  • The 3-stage cleaning technology utilises the main brush under the body and side brushes tilted at an angle to pick up dirt and debris in corners and edges. The side brushes flick dirt on the path of the main brush where the motor will power suction.
  • Dual brushless rollers, logical and efficient cleaning, recharges and resumes cleaning.
  • Has a “Spot" button that tells the machine to spot cleans a certain area in the house.
  • The Roomba 960 uses the Aeroforce (5x suction) motor for cleaning. The stronger suction power is engaged when the carpet boost mode is activated on harder to clean spots.
  • In terms of battery power, Roomba 860 typically lasts for 75 minutes. However, the machine is able to navigate itself back to its charging dock when it detects low battery and is able to resume cleaning where it stopped.
  • iRobot Roomba 960 uses the iAdapt navigation technology, the leading and most advanced mapping system in the market. It is equipped with sophisticated iAdapt 2.0 which is also known as Smart Mapping & VSLAM. With the aid of a camera, the robot intelligently maps out your home and creates a blueprint you can save via the iRobot app. It uses this map to systematically execute cleaning in the most efficient and time-saving manner.
  • App features include Start or pause cleaning, cleaning schedule, customisation of cleaning, Status monitoring, Reports of cleaning metrics, Live notification. 

Cons

  • It does not self-empty
  • It is expensive when not in sales
  • Map disappears once the cleaning is complete

Youtube Review Video

Roomba 960

is available at a discount price on Amazon:

Comparison between Shark IQ R101AE and iRobot Roomba 960

The main advantage of the Shark IQ R101AE over Roomba 960 is its auto-emptying ability as well as its pricing. Roomba, on the other end, is the clear leader when it comes to home mapping and navigation. While the Shark struggles with learning the layout of your house, Roomba 960 has no problem mapping and navigating your house. In addition, the Shark might miss its way to the charging dock or get stuck, Roomba 960 does not.

Another plus for Roomba over Shark is its use of app-controlled virtual walls as against magnetic strips which Shark uses as barriers. Roomba is also preferable for larger houses because it has a longer average runtime. While most Shark robot vacuums only run for 60 minutes, Roomba brands can run up to 90 minutes on a single charge. This might be a preferable choice if you live in a larger home.

However, Shark R101AE is more suitable for different kinds of floors than Roomba 960. While Roomba can also work on different floors, it is most suitable for carpeted floors. Lastly, when it comes to getting support for products, iRobot's customer service is said to be unmatched in the industry.

Verdict: Which one should you choose?

It depends on your budget and what you really want. If you have a low budget and are fascinated with an auto-emptying robot, then Shark R101AE should be the choice. However, if you are looking for a robot that is more intelligent and can map and navigate your house without hassles, then the Roomba 960 is the clear winner.

Shark ION R87 Robot Vacuum vs Roomba e5 Robot Vacuum

Both the Shark ION R87 and Roomba e5 are entry-level robot vacuums without mapping capabilities. However, they are Wi-Fi enabled and come with a Smartphone app with voice control and can remove dirt and debris from carpets and hard floors.

Header

Shark ION R87

Roomba® E5 

Weight (lbs)

5.4

7.2

Dust/ Dirt Capacity

0.6L

0.7L

Type of Filtration

Non-washable HEPA filter

Non-washable High Efficiency filter

Suction Power (pa)

1400 (estimated)

900

Warranty Length

1 Year Limited

1 Year Limited

Included Tools and Attachments



Charge Time

3 hours

3 hours

Run Time

60 mins

90 mins

Shark ION R87

Shark ION R87, Wi-Fi Connected with Powerful Suction, Multi-Surface Brushroll and Voice Control with Alexa Robot Vacuum (RV871), 0.6 qt, Black

Shark Ion R87 can be classified as an entry-level robot vacuum as it does not have local navigation and it’s only capable of cleaning randomly. Its main strength is its affordability, quietness and great suction power.

The Shark ION R87 is a circular shaped vacuum with simplistic design that features buttons to access the Clean, Spot and Max features. While the “clean” button starts the basic cleaning, you can target small areas that need extra attention with the “spot” feature. The “max” feature increases the suction power in order to clean hard areas.

Pros

  • Adjustable cleaning, power and control. 
  • Delivers powerful suction.
  • Cleans different kinds of floors as well as carpets. The machine has a main brush roll and two side brushes which clean the debris before it is sucked in by a strong airflow into the bin.
  • Improved edge-sweeping achieved by the bristles of side brushes which are made of variable lengths.
  • Because it has a low profile of just about 2.6 inches, it can clean under furniture.
  • It has a large number of proximity sensors and cliff sensors which protect it from hitting any object along its path. Besides, the sensors also help the robot vacuum to identify and turn away from stairs and cliffs.
  • The machine can also be controlled and monitored using the free dedicated app.
  • The app can be used to set optional daily cleaning schedules
  • Control your robot's cleaning power with Quiet, Normal or Max modes. You can also set Quiet Time during specific times of day or night.
  • The app works with voice commands (Alexa and Google Assistant).
  • Shark robot vacuums come with a large HEPA filter.
  • It comes with magnetic strips that you can cut and lay on the floor to prevent the vacuum from running where you don't want it to like around wires.
  • The machine returns to its dock after cleaning.
  • At a noise level of around 62 dB, the machine is relatively quiet.
  • It is relatively cheap for its features.
  • Wifi-enabled smartphone connectivity

​​​Cons

  • The HEPA filter needs to be replaced frequently and it is quite costly. For the best working conditions, a change of filter is recommended every two-six months.
  • It takes about 3 hours to charge fully and has expected run time of 60 minutes.
  • It sometimes gets stuck in corners and can be repeating the same actions over and over again.
  • It might crash into walls and furniture.
  • Might stop working when it gets to cliff edges.May have a short functionality life span.

YouTube Review Video

Shark ION R87

is available at a discount price on Amazon:

Roomba e5

iRobot Roomba E5 (5150) Robot Vacuum - Wi-Fi Connected, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard, Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum, Black

The Roomba e5 is a reliable robot vacuum with dual brushless rollers and not bristles that get long hair stuck in. Its two rotating bars give the robot enough working surface area for debris pick up. iRobot claims that the Roomba e5 picks up more pet hair than any other vacuum.

Most of the e5 control comes from the iRobot home app. Via the app, the Robot can be named. This name can then be used alongside voice commands, as well as see the status, battery level and cleaning reports.

Pros

  • Dual brushless rollers, a good fit for long hair and pets. The dual multi-surface rubber brushes instantly adjust and flex to stay in constant contact with carpets and hard floors.
  • Powerlifting suction that delivers 5X the air power for improved pick-up performance
  • Comes with patented Dirt Detect Technology and smart navigation.
  • The Roomba e5 uses what is called a high-efficiency filter, a kind of filter of HEPA’s quality. With this technology, the e5’s filter will capture 99% of allergens in the home.
  • Suitable for moderate or small floor plan less than 1100 square feet.In terms of navigation, the e5 uses the iAdapt technology which works well for the device.
  • The robot intelligently navigates under and around objects as well as under furniture with the aid of its full suite of sensors to help thoroughly clean your floors.
  • Has multiple control options such as mobile apps of voice commands
  • The battery has a longer runtime of 90 minutes. e5 comes with a 3300mAh lithium-ion battery pack. This is the largest celled battery Roomba robots use.
  • The battery automatically docks and recharges after each run. When the robot detects that the battery has fallen below 15 percent charge, it will stop the cleaning cycle and return to the Home Base to charge full and then wait until the next scheduled clean, or a manual restart by you.
  • Wifi Connectivity, Edge-Sweeping Brush, Auto-adjust Cleaning.

Cons

  • Roomba e5 is expensive for a random navigation model.
  • It can get stuck sometimes and might miss the home base
  • The charger might fail sometimes
  • Not suitable for large houses
  • Thrives more on hard floors than carpets
  • Because of its random motion, the vacuum might miss cleaning some spots
  • It is quite loud

YouTube Review Video

Roomba E5

is available at a discount price on Amazon:

Comparison between Shark ION R87 and iRobot Roomba e5

The Shark R87 is quieter and has more suction power when compared to Roomba e5. While Roomba e5 can sense a stir or cliff and turn back, Shark R87 often stops at the edge and begs for help. Many users complained about charger failures of Roomba e5 model whereas there is no such complaint about Shark R87.

Verdict: Which one should you choose?

Shark ION R87 is the winner when it comes to performance/price ratio in this entry-level range robot vacuums. However, in terms of reliability, the Roomba e5 trumps Shark R87.

Last update on 2020-04-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API