The Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model is a great-value handheld vacuum cleaner, ideal for anyone on a tight budget
- Great value
- Good cleaning results
- Easy to empty
- Unbalanced in the hand
- Low suction
- No stand or dock
Shark’s Cordless HandVac demonstrates that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent handheld vacuum cleaner. You can add this stylish-looking model to your arsenal of cleaning gadgets for around £60, and it’s ready and waiting to spring into action the next time you need to clean up a spillage.
Don’t be put off by its name if you don’t have a pet. The included motorised head may be good for gathering animal hair, but it proved just as proficient at picking up problematic spillages in our controlled tests.
Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model review: What do you get for the money?
The Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model lies somewhere between a small wand-shaped cleaner and a larger handheld device that you’d normally hold more like a watering can. It’s a sleek inline design with the handle at one end, the vacuum nozzle at the other and the collection bin in the middle. It measures 520 x 95 x 109mm (WDH) and weighs 1.39kg.
It comes with three attachments: a crevice tool, a brush and a motorised head with a rotating brush, which Shark calls a Pet Tool. Realistically, however, you’ll end up using this for any spillages of small particles, not just animal hair.
Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model review: What’s it like to use?
Because of its size, shape and weight, the Shark Cordless HandVac isn’t as well balanced in the hand as rivals that have their handles in a pistol grip arrangement, such as the Dyson V7 Trigger or the Gtech Multi MK2 K9. It doesn’t help that the motorised head is rigid and needs to be held at a specific angle to maintain the best contact with the surface it’s cleaning.
This isn’t a deal-breaker, as you should only be using it in short bursts for spot cleaning or getting to tricky spaces such as stairs, but the unwieldiness remains a constant if minor annoyance.
The bin is cleverly designed to empty without you having to remove the whole chamber from the main unit, with a button on the side opening the trap door at the bottom. If held over the bin, dust and dirt can be removed quickly and effortlessly.
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For the price, you can’t expect a charging stand, and there’s no option to hang it from a wall. This means you’ll have to leave it lying prone on a work surface unless you’re able to rig up your own hook to hang it from. The charging cable plugs into a hole below the handle, and you can’t remove the battery to charge it or replace it.
Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model review: How well does it clean?
I measured the suction of the Shark Cordless HandVac at 6.1kPa, which is low even for a handheld. For comparative purposes, the Gtech Multi MK2 K9 gets up to 9.1kPa and the Dyson v7 Trigger maxed out at 17kPa. When I took this measurement, I was ready to write the Shark off as an underachiever.
However, when I used it against our standard test spillage tests, I was blown away. Without an attachment connected, it easily gobbled up 26g of Cheerios on both carpet and hard floor. Where I’ve seen smaller handheld vacuums get clogged and overstuffed, the Shark has a clever design that traps the debris out of the way of the suction mechanism.
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The Cheerios come shooting up the tube, loop around the container’s domed end and are fired back along the bottom. Here they fall into a gravity trap – a separate compartment that isn’t sealed, but because of the angle at which you hold the device, prevents the loose Cheerios rattling around with further incoming debris. It’s ingenious and works a treat.
The same process stopped 50g of flour clogging the system. On the carpet I captured 49g of it on a single pass, leaving some powdery residue behind but nothing that the included motorised pet tool couldn’t handle. On the hard floor, it scooped up the lot.
Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model review: Should you buy it?
The Shark Cordless HandVac Pet Model is a bit of a bargain. It did a good job of cleaning our deliberate test messes, despite operating with a lower level of suction than some of its rivals.
If you’re regularly tackling troublesome or ingrained dirt then this might mean it’s not the cleaner for you, but the motorised head should be able to help loosen most dirt enough to get it freed up and collected.
If you want the strongest suction you’d have to opt for the Dyson V7 Trigger, which pulls through a lot more air than the Shark can muster. The Shark is also a bit fiddly to hold and the Hoover H-Handy 700 is better at offering a wand-like grip, although its smaller bin can’t hold as much dirt, while the Gtech Multi MK2 K9 has a more balanced feel in the hand.
However, all these alternatives are more expensive than the Shark, which we’d definitely recommend if you want to spend as little as possible but still get a useful and capable handheld vacuum cleaner.