Shark Stratos IZ420UKT cordless vacuum review

The Shark Stratos cordless vacuum is a winner on all counts

Image of Shark Stratos vacuum
(Image credit: Shark)
Ideal Home Verdict

The Shark Stratos Anti Hair Wrap IZ420UKT is a true star of the cordless vacuum world, with incredible suction and new features to rival even the most advanced competitors. The Clean Sense IQ Technology works to detect and then act upon the given level of dirt or debris on your floors, and the Anti Odour capsules are an added stroke of genius. It might be one of the more expensive Shark buys (with an RRP of £549.99), but it's most definitely the brand's best offering yet.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Hair and debris pick up is spot on

  • +

    CleanSense IQ makes cleaning more streamlined

  • +

    2 battery packs means you'll never run out of time

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Lacks a stand/place for tools

  • -

    New dust tool is fairly useless

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The Shark Stratos IZ420UKT cordless vacuum was an exciting recent launch for me, as Shark models are usually high on our list of the best cordless vacuums, with the brand offering huge variety when it comes to stick models in particular. The Shark Stratos is the newest flagship range, and after trying it out, I'm happy to report that it successfully reaches stratospheric heights in terms of technology, suction and design. 

This vacuum aims to solve many of the age-old cleaning dilemmas that make cleaning so often tiresome. First up, you've got unrivalled hair pickup with the Anti Hair Wrap Plus technology, and suction power that will make a noticeable difference on carpets as well as hard floors. 

Then there's the CleanSense IQ feature, which adjusts that wonderful suction power in the areas where you need it the most, without you needing to think about it. And if you hate nasty musty vacuum bin smells, then just wait until you hear about the Anti Odour Technology that Shark have to offer to make the Stratos one of the best vacuums ever. Keep reading for my full thoughts after extensively testing the vacuum at home for several months below. 

Shark Stratos Anti Hair Wrap Plus Pet Pro cordless vacuum IZ420UKT specifications

Image of Shark Stratos cordless vacuum cutout image

(Image credit: Curry's/Shark)
  • Max. run time: up to 120 minutes (spilt over two batteries)
  • Charge time: 3.5 hours per battery
  • Bin volume: 0.8 litres
  • Weight: 4.07kg
  • Dimensions: 1140H x 270W x 170D mm
  • Modes: normal, boost, eco, CleanSense IQ
Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Our Ecommerce Editor Molly oversees appliance content at Ideal Home, including vacuums and cleaning. She's tested several Shark vacuums in the past, including the Shark CZ500UKT DuoClean & Anti Hair Wrap Bagless Cylinder, which is a corded model. She tried the Shark Stratos out at home for a number of months before writing this review, and found that it quickly beat out other vacuums she was testing at the time.

Unboxing the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT Cordless Vacuum

Image of Shark Stratos box

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

I was very excited about receiving the Shark Stratos. A big part of my job is testing new cleaning releases, and the best Shark vacuums haven't let me down yet. I was also lucky enough to attend a press event where I saw the new technology that the brand is using, and couldn't wait to get my hands on it myself.

To cover the basics, out of the box this vacuum is a sleek cordless model with lots of attachments to make use of. You'll likely use it most of the time in normal upright mode, with the DuoClean brushrolls contained in the vacuum head. For above-floor cleaning, you also receive a crevice tool, multi-surface tool and dust brush. I tested the version with two batteries, and there's a sleek dock you use whenever you need to charge up.

Everything that came with this vacuum felt high quality, and I loved that there was a tote bag in the box that you can all cram the accessories in. On the whole, though, I do think Shark has missed a trick by not including a charging dock where you can situate your vac and all of its attachments. I've learnt that a dock tidies up your house no end and means you don't have to hide attachments away in bags or cupboards.

The thing that really caught my attention about the new cordless Shark Stratos is that it claims to have the 'best ever hair pick up', which is a huge consumer concern. There's also new technology in the form of 'Clean Sense IQ', which in non-jargon terms is a LED bar on the head of the vac which lights up in areas that need more suction power applied, to rival the technology you can see in competitors, such as the Dyson Micro 1.5kg

Another big push from Shark with this release is the addition of an Anti-Odour cartridge, which claims to be able to banish that horrible, musty smell you can sometimes get when emptying your vacuum's canister. It works with both a cartridge that you pop into the dust bin and a dial to turn the effect up or down. There's only been one scent released so far, in 'ocean breeze', but this clever feature goes a long way to make cleaning more enjoyable, with the only downside that repurchasing the inserts will cost you £4.99 a pop.

First impressions

Image of Shark odour neutralising capsule

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

I was all over the Anti-Odour technology feature from the minute my vacuum arrived, fitting the dial into the vacuum head and dropping the cartridge into the bin, so I could assess the scent. The scent is strong enough to mask any crimes in your dust bin, and not offensive to my smell tastes at least. A resounding win, and one that will make a difference if you are sensitive to dust-heavy smells. The other new addition here is the anti-allergen dust brush attachment, which is designed to be used when the vacuum is in handheld mode. 

Overall, the look and feel of the vacuum is a winning formula for Shark in my eyes. Sure, it's never going to be as pretty as a Dyson, but it's sleek and compact, and the colourway works really well. 

Using the Shark Stratos

The Shark Stratos won me over from the offset with its incredible suction power. Though it's slim and lightweight, as soon as you hit the power button on the handle, you feel this vacuum roar into life. Using it in stick mode on carpet initially, I was impressed by the visible lines this left where it had really gotten into the depths of the fabric and pulled up dirt. The same can be said of hard floors too, with the wheels on the DuoClean head also really helping me along.

Suction power
On my first use, to my shame, the suction was so effective that even after just five minutes, the Stratos' dust bin was filling up. I noticed on this outing too that any hair pulled up into a separate part of the dust bin - clinging around a conical structure in the top - meaning that you can see exactly how much hair it has picked up. 

I've been using this vacuum for a good few months now and I've not yet had to cut out any hair from the head of the vacuum. Instead, it all travels straight up to the dust bin, which makes cleaning a whole lot easier, and proves that those bold Anti Hair wrap claims really are true. 

Image of Shark Stratos cordless vacuum dust bin

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

CleanSense IQ
The CleanSense IQ feature is an exciting development from Shark, and can be seen on the head of the vacuum in the form of an LED bar. When the vacuum senses more debris, it'll amp up the suction power used, and the bar will illuminate to reflect that.

I was a bit worried that this was going to be more of a gimmick than a truly useful feature, but over time I've come to view it as a useful addition to my cleaning routine. 

Areas that I might not even have guessed were high traffic (like around my bed), light up like a Christmas tree with this feature, and mean that I pay more attention to them on my next vacuuming session. The sheer amount of dust picked up when in this mode means that I stick to it most of the time even though it drains the battery a little faster. There are also Eco modes and Boost modes to choose from, but with CleanSense doing the work for me, I don't see them as overly useful.

Image of Shark DuoClean Anti Hair Wrap head with Clean Sense IQ

(Image credit: Future/Molly CLeary)

Attachments
Other nice touches with this vacuum include the headlights on the DuoClean brush roll head, which are fantastic for getting under cabinets, beds and other furniture to capture dust. 

Switching out to handheld attachments is so simple with the Stratos; one touch of a button and you're able to tackle your stairs, car or countertops with a more dedicated nozzle. In truth, the new dust tool attachment I mentioned earlier is frankly disappointing and doesn't really do much at all, but it's not really a leading feature, and I can most definitely live without it. 

Battery 

Image of Shark battery and battery port

(Image credit: Shark/Curry's)

I tried the two-battery Shark Stratos model, which with an RRP of £549.00 I feel is an expense I would not be able to stretch to if I was buying this myself. Two batteries mean that you can clean for up to 120 minutes (my flat is tiny, so I would never need that long), but I just wanted to test one battery at a time, as I feel that it's more applicable to most homes, who'll probably invest in the one battery model.

In short, one battery definitely lasts for the 60 minutes that Shark promises, and I felt that the charge time also held up even when I took a week or so off from using the vacuum at a time. The large display on the handle enables you to see exactly how much battery you have left and means that I'm always aware of when I need to pop my battery on charge. I've never been left without charge in a pinch, and I think that even medium-sized homes would find the Shark Stratos a winner when it comes to power.

 

Image of Shark Stratos during testing at home

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

Care and maintenance 

The dust bin on the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT is fairly small, at 0.8litres, meaning that those looking to clean areas that are far away from their main bin might struggle. On the flip side, I think that making the capacity any bigger risks ruining the sleek feel of this vacuum, and I'm happy that SHark has kept it smaller.

Like most cordless vacuums now, the Shark Stratos uses a point-and-shoot mechanism, which means the canister collapses out into your main rubbish bin when you empty it. Unlike some vacs I've tested, the mechanism here is seriously powerful, and I've not yet had to fish any hair or dust out from the bin manually.

Giving the dust bin a wipe to properly eradicate dust inside is a must with all bagless vacuums, and I've found that you probably only want to go about a month before you give a deeper clean to this vacuum. That's because the sensors in the CleanSense IQ head will stop working if they become clogged with dirt or dust, and you'll lose one of the merits of this very expensive vacuum. 

Comparison 

The question that everyone wants to know when it comes to buying the Shark Stratos is: how does it compare to a Dyson? A few months ago at Ideal Home we tested out the Dyson Outsize, which is a similarly built cordless vacuum with a significantly higher RRP (£699.99). We awarded the Outsize 5 stars after testing it and were confident that it would wow anyone who picked it up. 

For a long time, it didn't seem that Shark could compete with the wow factor that Dyson vacuums hold. Finally, the Stratos goes a long way to changing that view; it has great suction, it looks nice, and it is so unbelievably effective at both picking up and then getting rid of dirt and dust at home. 

It's also more affordable and might be more reliable in the long run (by comparison, our reviewer's Dyson Outsize broke down 10 months into using). The only sticking point? Dyson, like heritage brands such as Le Creuset, still wins out when it comes to prestige, and customers will always want to invest in the name regardless of performance comparisons.

Should you buy the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT cordless vacuum?

If you've read this far, then you might have gauged that I am a huge fan of this vacuum, and that I'd tell anyone it's a worthwhile investment. I test a lot of different vacs, and this is the one model that I've fought to keep in my flat (even though we definitely do not have room for it!). It really is unmatched for me in terms of suction power, and I've grown addicted to those clean vacuum lines it leaves in my carpets. 

I do often wish there was a neat little charging stand that this vacuum could sit on - rather than having to separately find a space to house the battery charger and all of the attachments. But this is a small gripe, and if you want a truly phenomenally performing vacuum,  then I can wholeheartedly get behind the Shark Stratos. 

About this review, and the reviewer 

Molly is an Ecommerce Editor at Ideal Home and covers all things appliance related, with an emphasis on vacuums and floorcare. She received this sample of the Stratos from Shark in September 2022, meaning she's had plenty of time to get to grips with it as part of her testing process.

She lives in a two-bedroom flat with both carpet and hard floor to allow to her to test the suction power and was allowed to keep this sample for long-term testing, meaning we can revisit our verdict in the coming months in case of any issues or further thoughts. 

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.