Shark corded vs cordless vacuum cleaners – which one should you buy this Black Friday?

It’s no secret that Shark is one of the best brands on the market, but will a corded or cordless version suit you best?

Shark Detect Pro vacuuming up dirt
(Image credit: Future)

There’s never been a better time to weigh up a corded vs cordless Shark as Black Friday rounds the corner. Often considered to be the crème de la crème of the vacuum world, Shark is known for its high-spec and high-tech vacuums… but these come at a price. So which type is best for your home?

Shark corded and cordless vacuum cleaners have regularly topped the charts of Ideal Home’s best vacuum cleaners list - so much so that we’ve even compiled a whole guide dedicated to the best Shark vacuum cleaners. But as this list is full of both corded and cordless options, we understand that it can be difficult to understand which one would suit you best.

Below, we dive into everything you need to know about these Shark offerings and how you can choose the best Shark vacuum for your own personal needs and requirements.

Shark corded vs cordless vacuum cleaners

If you’re reading this, you might be going back and forth, unsure whether to buy the best cordless vacuum cleaner or to opt for one of the best corded option instead. 

We’re here to help you decide once and for all, and it’s definitely a good idea to keep an eye on our Black Friday deals page, as vacuum cleaner sales have already kicked off. And you definitely don’t want to miss out on these Shark bargains. 

But how should you choose one of these Sharks over the other? We’ve pitted cordless and corded options against each other to see which one comes out on top. So, let the Shark battle commence! 

Which has a larger dust tank?

It’s long been thought that, as many of the Shark corded vacuum cleaners are generally larger than their cordless counterparts, they also have a bigger dust tank. However, that’s not the case. Shark vacuum cleaners vary across the board in terms of their dust tank capacity. 

For example, the Shark DuoClean Upright Pet Vacuum NV702UKT has been named ‘The Best Shark upright vacuum with a cord’ by our Ideal Home testers. And while it’s generally considered to be one of the best cordless vacuums on the market, it also has a relatively small dust tank capacity of just 0.3 litres.

This is much smaller than the corded Shark Deluxe Black Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Lift-Away, and its 1.1-litre dust tank - which is perfect for those who have pets or children and need to regularly vacuum their floor. 

Shark DuoClean in a hallway

(Image credit: Shark)

But what does a cordless Shark vacuum offer? Well, there’s also a wide range of dust tank sizes to choose from. The Shark Stratos IZ420UKT cordless vacuum (which we rated 5 stars out of 5 during our review) has one of the biggest dust bins at 0.8 litres. On the smaller side, though, you have Shark Detect Pro Cordless Vacuum Cleaner IW1511UK, which has a dust tank of just 0.4 litres.

However, it’s also worth mentioning the fact that Shark seems to be working hard on improving its dust bin technology… for a price, of course. Its latest premium cordless model, the Shark Detect Pro Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Auto-Empty System, comes with a 0.4-litre dust tank on the stick, as mentioned above, as well as a separate 1.3-litre Auto-Empty base that can store its contents for up to 30 days.

Ultimately, the dust tank capacities of corded and cordless Shark vacuum cleaners vary so much it's hard to pick a winner for this round.

Which has better suction?

If you’re wondering whether cordless vacuum cleaners are worth it, there’s a high chance that you have a few questions about suction. After all, Shark vacuum cleaners are extremely high spec - and that comes with a much higher price tag than other brands on the market. 

Because of this, you want to ensure that you’re getting the most for your money and buying a vacuum cleaner that won’t leave debris on the floor after a cleaning session. But are the rumours true? Do corded Shark vacuum cleaners have better suction?

Mains-powered corded vacuum cleaners have typically had better suction than battery-powered cordless vacuum cleaners, and this suction power is extremely reliable. However, there’s no doubt about the fact that the gap between these two versions has gotten smaller and smaller by the day.

When our Head of Reviews, Millie Fender, tried out the Shark ICZ300UKT Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner, she crowned it the ‘Best Shark vacuum cleaner for serious power.’ With a maximum power of 450W and three speeds to choose from, she found the suction power to be second to none. 

Using the Shark Detect Pro in a living room

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

She said, ‘I must confess, I didn't realise my carpets were in such a bad state until I reviewed this vacuum cleaner. I took it to my office where my dog likes to nap while I'm working, meaning there is a lot of fur that I've allowed to build up for the purpose of testing.’

‘The Shark ICZ300UKT left an embarrassingly visible line of clean carpet after just one pass, so after a few minutes of cleaning, I was very impressed to find the 0.6 litre dustbin completely full of fur.’

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that using different Shark modes on your cordless vacuum cleaner will drain the battery quicker - which might be something you want to consider if your floors get particularly dirty.

If you’re someone who has numerous pets or hairy individuals in the house, a corded vacuum cleaner could be a better option for you, as the battery life will be consistent, and you’ll never run out mid-vacuum.

Again, we’d say this round is a tie.

Which has a longer run time?

You probably don’t need us to tell you that the winner of this round is the corded Shark vacuum cleaner. After all, you could use a corded vacuum all day, every day, if you really wanted to. 

The same can’t be said for cordless vacuum cleaners. Without mains power at their disposal, these cordless vacuum cleaners rely solely on battery power to run - which means that they also rely on you remembering to put the batteries on charge when they’re running low.

Because of this, a corded vacuum cleaner such as the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Corded Stick Pet Vacuum will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you’ll never run out of battery during your cleaning adventures. 

shark bagless vacuum cleaner reduced in amazon prime day sales

(Image credit: Future)

But Shark does have an option for those who don’t want a corded vacuum cleaner but still want the ease of knowing they always have the charge to clean their house. Many cordless Shark vacuum cleaners, such as the Shark Stratos Anti Hair Wrap Plus Pet Pro, come with two 60-minute batteries. This means that you can keep one on charge at all times and swap it out when the other runs out.

Which is easier to use?

One of the reasons Shark vacuum cleaners have regularly topped the Ideal Home charts as some of the best vacuum cleaners on the market is because the technology is top-notch. This brand is known for kitting out both its corded and cordless vacuum cleaners with in-built functions and accessories that make vacuuming a breeze. 

That means that, aside from differences in suction power and battery run time, they normally offer many of the same technologies, such as Anti-Hair Wrap technology, DuoClean heads, Powerfins, Anti-Odour technology, Anti-Allergen solutions, and more. Of course, you should check the specs of each Shark vacuum cleaner to see exactly what each one offers. 

Because of this, the only real differences between the ease of use of corded vs cordless vacuum cleaners are the weight, the appearance, and the overall functionality of the vacuum cleaner in terms of buttons and controls. 

Switching from tile to carpet with the Shark IZ300UK Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Of course, the most obvious negative when looking at Shark corded vacuums is the weight and the fact that they need to be plugged in at all times. Corded vacuum cleaners are generally much heavier than cordless alternatives, and the fact that you need to unplug them and then plug them back in as you go around your house could be too much of a nuisance for those with dexterity issues - or a particularly large house!

This isn’t the case for cordless Shark vacuum cleaners, which seem to be getting lighter and lighter with each new drop. In fact, the newest Shark addition, the Shark Detect Pro, is just 2.76kg. This is an impressive feat, especially when you consider that the Shark Stratos Corded Stick Pet Pro Model (which looks incredibly similar in terms of aesthetics) is much heavier at 4.55kg.

In terms of appearance, that’s down to personal preference. And in terms of overall functionality and control panels, it’s fair to say that Shark corded and cordless vacuum cleaners are fairly similar - especially if you’re looking at stick vacuums. Most come with LED headlights to make hidden dirt and dust visible, as well as easy-to-use buttons and switches.

But if you’re looking for the easiest Shark vacuum to use, we’d have to go with a cordless Shark vacuum, purely for the manoeuvrability.

What’s the price difference?

Image of Shark Stratos during testing at home

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

Shark vacuum cleaners are undoubtedly some of the most expensive on the market, but you can rest assured that you’re buying a high-quality product from a respected brand for this price. But if you’re pressed on price, you might be interested to know which Shark vacuum cleaner is cheaper: corded or cordless? 

The most affordable cordless vacuum cleaner from Shark is the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Vacuum [Single Battery] IZ202UK, priced at £249.99 when it’s not on sale for even less. The brand’s most affordable corded vacuum cleaner is the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Corded Stick Vacuum HZ500UK, which has an RRP of £179.99. 

But since Shark routinely offer discounts on its corded and cordless vacuums, especially around Black Friday, we would always recommend waiting until your chosen vacuum cleaner is on sale to get it at the most competitive price.

Final verdict: Which one do you need?

In the battle of the Sharks, both corded and cordless Shark vacuums have their plus points and their negatives. While corded vacuum cleaners are considered to be more old-school, they are also considered to be the most reliable - especially if you’re someone who routinely forgets to charge the batteries. 

But there’s no doubt that Shark seems to be putting more time and attention into its cordless varieties. With increasing suction power and new and innovative dust bin qualities, cordless vacuums seem to be the vacuums of the future. Because of this, we’re leaning towards cordless Shark vacuums as our winner. 

Shark cordless vacuum cleaner close up of filter

(Image credit: Shark)

Molly Cleary, Ideal Home’s E-Commerce Editor and resident vacuum cleaner expert, echoes this thought. ‘I test vacuums for a living at Ideal Home, and though I've tried both cordless and corded vacuums from Shark, I'd definitely opt for a cordless version,' she says.

'I live in a flat, so having a cordless version just makes life so easy, and a shorter battery life is no problem for me as I simply don't have that much space to vacuum. Corded shark vacuums with more oomph will suit those with larger homes, however, so it's all really about what suits you and your home.'

Yes, ultimately, you should weigh up the pros and cons yourself to see which Shark vacuum would suit you and your needs best.

So, will you be picking up a Shark vacuum this Black Friday?

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.