Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review: Small but mighty

Vacuuming awkward spaces like car interiors and furniture can be a pain with a hefty upright, which is why you might invest in something like the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum. It’s light, slim, and conveniently small, and it’s designed to make it easy to keep those awkward crevices clean.

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Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review: What you need to know

Best known for its DuoClean cordless stick vacuums, the WV200UK is Shark’s first foray into the world of handheld suction. Measuring 43cm from end to end, the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum is designed to keep the corners of your home, office, or car clean: it won’t match your regular upright, but it will theoretically make a fine replacement for your tired old dustpan and brush.

In the box, you’ll find the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum itself, plus two head attachments – one for deep crevices, one for pet hair – and the charging dock. The model I’m reviewing also comes with a second battery, which means double the usage time. Not all of these particular models are sold with two batteries.

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Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review: Price and competition

You’ll have to pay a respectable £180 for the twin battery model; the single batter model is £130. Simply put, this is a lot of money for a handheld vacuum. The Dyson V7 Trigger is the only rival that costs more, at £200; Hoover’s tiny Jovis Plus will set you back £80, and the Vax Gator is £100. Admittedly, the latter two machines are more basic than the Shark, so it does depend on what you’re after.

Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review: Features and design

Fundamentally, though, what that high price gets you is a high-quality product. The first thing that strikes you about the Shark Cordless is how stylish it is: it’s not often I use that word to describe a vacuum cleaner but in this instance, it seems more than appropriate.

The machine itself is wonderfully sleek, with a trim frame that makes clever use of the space available. It sits comfortably in the hand, with the weight nice and central and it has a way of making you feel less a cleaner than a household Jedi. I particularly appreciate the fact that Shark has opted for a button, rather than a finger-operated trigger to turn the machine on and off. Holding the machine like a club is definitely kinder on the wrist than a trigger-activated machine like the Dyson V7.

Complementing this stylish handheld vacuum is a narrow charging dock that can charge the spare battery and store one of the two attachments. It’s no coincidence that the dock is angled so as to imitate a Shark’s fin but it’s also compact enough to sit neatly on a chest of drawers without getting in the way. The matte black-and-grey finish of both vacuum and dock is a far cry from the lurid orange trim of the Shark DuoClean that we reviewed, and to be honest, it’s a welcome change. I would be quite happy to leave this portable cleaner out on display.

The Shark cordless is a simple vacuum cleaner with no variable power modes: it’s either on or off. Above the power button, ever so slightly out of reach of my thumb, is the bin release mechanism. The Shark can’t go long without being emptied but, fortunately, it’s a hassle-free experience. Simply hold the machine horizontally over the bin and release the catch. The bin flips outward and hurls its contents with remarkable force, so be careful where you aim.

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Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review: Performance and usability

At 0.25l that bin is, sadly, pretty small. It’s fine for collecting dust and other tiny bits of detritus but move on up to something like cereal and you’ll find that it needs emptying constantly. Of course, a bigger bin means a more unwieldy machine, but even a vacuum like the Black and Decker Dustbuster offers 0.4l of bin space without compromising too much on weight.

The battery doesn’t last long, either, running for a mere eight minutes before needing to be topped up. Despite this, though, I didn’t once find myself caught short, mid-clean. And if you do run out of charge, the Shark handheld has a couple of aces up its sleeve. First, it only takes 2hrs 30mins to charge; that’s a lot shorter than the 12 hours the Vax Gator needs to replenish its battery. Second, the Shark can be purchased with a second battery pack which sits in the charging dock, ready a little more cleaning time. The twin battery model costs £50 more but the doubled run-time is certainly worth the money.

So the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum looks the part, but we’re not here simply to admire it. Fortunately, the Shark also performs exceptionally well. The angular head has a wide enough opening to make short work of everything from flour to uncooked pasta, and slots very nicely down the back of the sofa for an incredibly satisfying clean.

The crevice tool can help in really tight spaces but for most jobs the regular head will suffice. This intelligent design is aided by a powerful vacuum motor that has no real use for a “boost” mode; carpet or linoleum, the Shark handheld powered through my cleaning tests without breaking a sweat.

It’s a light machine, which means you can keep it aloft for quite some time without feeling the weight: this makes it an ideal candidate for removing dust or cobwebs from bookshelves, curtain rails and ceiling corners (if you can reach that high).

The biggest issue I found was that the filter can become clogged quite quickly when dealing with thick powders like flour. Like every other detachable part of the Shark handheld, however, the filter is easy to remove and can be cleaned by bashing it into a bin.

When faced with the cramped spaces of my Ford Fiesta, the Shark didn’t bat an eyelid, taking on dried mud and ingrained dust with equal vigour. The soft bristles of the crevice tool proved particularly useful for vacuuming dashboards and cupholders. A bigger vacuum might have done a better job of removing particularly tough bits of gravel but the Shark wins that particular contest by virtue of its size and manoeuvrability.

Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review: Verdict

The Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum might be small but it’s a very appealing alternative to the traditional cordless stick vacuum. In fact, it might be the best-looking vacuum I’ve ever seen (sorry, Henry) and it offers a level of sheer convenience that not many of its competitors can match.

Where most handhelds might sacrifice power for portability, the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum strikes a good balance between the two. This is a vacuum cleaner that more than earns its price tag.

Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum review
Bin capacity0.25l
Charge time2 hours 30 minutes
Run time8 minutes per battery
Filter typeHEPA
Dimensions (WDH)9.5 x 22 x 38.5cm
Weight1.3kg
Guarantee2 years (including battery)

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