The Shark Wandvac performed poorly across most of our tests and is not a product that we would recommend. It is one of the more expensive handheld vacuums we have encountered yet exceptionally lackluster when it comes to cleaning. It isn't amazingly convenient to use and has a terrible battery life, though its compact form allows it to do a decent job reaching into confined areas. Regardless, it's hard to make a case for the Wandvac when there are other significantly better performing vacuuming products for a whole lot less.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on January 11, 2022, to include additional details and new sections to assist your decision-making process.
Shark Wandvac Review
Pros: Compact, does a decent job at cleaning tight areas
Cons: Expensive, terrible battery life, mediocre at cleaning
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|Pros||Compact, does a decent job at cleaning tight areas||Great for getting those hard-to-clean areas, good value||Fantastic at picking up pet hair, great value||Great for tough messes, inexpensive||Very compact, inexpensive|
|Cons||Expensive, terrible battery life, mediocre at cleaning||Lackluster battery life, takes two hands to operate, loud||Not the best for tight spaces, can't clean small gaps or corners||Not great with pet hair||Struggles with tough messes and pet hair|
|Bottom Line||This expensive handheld vacuum is a bit of a disappointment across the board||A great all-around vacuum that excels at cleaning hard-to-reach areas and pet hair||This vac excels at picking up pet dander and is a great choice for those that don't want to spend a ton||This vacuum is impressive with tougher messes and won't break the bank, though it has a few shortcomings||We think this is a great choice if you are looking for a highly portable or compact option for cleaning up light messes|
|Rating Categories||Shark Wandvac||Black+Decker Flex V...||Bissell Pet Hair Er...||Black+Decker HHVI32...||Bissell AeroSlim|
|Dust & Dirt (20%)|
|Tough Messes (20%)|
|Hard-to-Reach Areas (20%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Pet Hair (10%)|
|Specs||Shark Wandvac||Black+Decker Flex V...||Bissell Pet Hair Er...||Black+Decker HHVI32...||Bissell AeroSlim|
|Measured Weight (no tool)||1.3 lbs||3 lbs||2.6 lbs||2.4 lbs||1.2 lbs|
|Measured Weight (with heaviest tool)||1.4 lbs||3.1 lbs||3 lbs||N/A||1.3 lbs|
|Dust Capacity||0.076 L||0.5 L||0.73 L||0.61 L||0.1 L|
|Measured Runtime||9 min 45 sec||15 min||Without motorized brush: 20 min 42 sec
With motorized brush: 17 min
|15 min 24 sec||15 min 23 sec|
|Charge Time||2.5 hours||4 hours||8 hours||13.5 hours||2.75 hours|
|Measured Noise (at arm's length)||75.6 dBa||82.5 dBa||71.4 dBa||83 dBa||74 dBa|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Wandvac finished at the back of our test group. While it does clean difficult-to-access areas and picks up pet hair a bit better than some, it simply costs too much for us to be able to recommend.
Dust & Dirt
We began by comparing and scoring how well each portable handheld vacuum picked up the most common household messes: dust and dirt. The Wandvac was an average performer but below many others in our lineup.
The Wandvac took a bit longer than average to clean up flour from a plastic sheet in our dusting test, hampered by its small brush. This brush also leaves streaks while dusting, requiring multiple passes over this area.
The soft bristles on this brush struggled to clean dirt or dried mud, with this vacuum doing one of the worst jobs at cleaning mud from linoleum in our test. However, the soft bristles allow you to easily clean corners or on small ledges.
Next, we continued our evaluation of the Wandvac by seeing how it did with some tougher messes, as well as the amount of air its motor can move. This vacuum could suck up Mini-Wheats cereal without any tools attached, which is about the biggest particle type it can handle, but that's average for this vacuum category.
The Wandvac performed slightly above average when we challenged it to remove flour from a low-pile automotive-style carpet section. It vacuumed a decent amount of flour with either the bristle or crevice attachment, but it left leftover remnants in the fibers unless we scrubbed with the bristle brush and did a ton of passes.
It struggled a bit more at removing crushed-up oats from the same type of carpet or a couch cushion. The Wandvac kept sucking down to the couch cushion and left plenty of oat fragments and dust behind. It also left plenty of oats behind on the carpet, even flinging some to the side while cleaning, creating a bigger mess.
We then measured the airspeed of each vacuum by attaching it to our sealed wind tunnel with an anemometer to compare airflow. The Wandvac did quite poorly, only registering an airspeed of about 827 feet per minute (fpm), which is very low compared to the group's average measurement of 1300 fpm.
It's helpful to know how a contender performs in hard-to-reach areas, such as under common household appliances. Compared to others, the Wandvac did a little better in this metric, based on how well it cleaned out a sliding window track and on how far it could reach into a 1.25" and 3" gap — similar to what you would encounter cleaning under a piece of furniture or between the seat of your car and the center console.
The Wandvac is great for cleaning loose debris out of the narrow slot of a sliding window, quickly and easily sucking up all of the oats. It also has a decent reach, cleaning 13" into a 3" tall slot, which is quite far for these products, and 4" into a 1.25" space.
These handheld vacuums are all battery-powered, so our next metric compared each product's maximum runtime. Contenders with a longer battery life scored and ranked higher than those with short runtimes. Unfortunately, the Wandvac didn't impress us in this metric. It didn't even last for 10 minutes, dying after 9 minutes and 45 seconds. However, it does recharge quite fast, only taking 2.5 hours.
This metric looked at the ease of organizing and storing all the different tools and attachments, each vacuum's sound and noise level, and the ease of emptying the collection bin. The Wandvac earned a mediocre score, even though it earned some points for being lightweight, weighing about half as much as most other products.
Surprisingly, this device isn't that much quieter than some of the other larger products in the competition, and it has a higher-pitched whine that can be irritating. The different tools also aren't integrated, so you must exercise caution not to lose them. The dust bin is straightforward to empty, popping open as soon as you hit the switch. We consider this a positive, but the dust bin's extremely tiny size was a disappointment, so get ready to empty it often.
Our final tests focused on how easily the vacuums could clean up after our furry friends. We spread out donated pet hair on a couch cushion and a carpet sample to assess how much each contender picked up. The Wandvac vacuumed 99% of the hair from the cushion using its upholstery brush — we found this to be far more effective than its standard brush — and the vast majority of it made it into the collection bin without becoming tangled up on the brush head. It did almost as well on the carpet, but it left behind a bit more, and a decent amount remained trapped on the brush head rather than making it into the collection bin.
Should You Buy the Shark Wandvac?
It's tough for us to recommend the Shark Wandvac when almost every other product is far cheaper and performs better. Based on our testing, we can say this option pairs poor performance with a very high price tag. With higher-scoring contenders in our review and other floor cleaning champs out there, we think it's worth considering a different device for your cleaning needs.
What Other Handheld Vacuums Should You Consider?
For us, it's a no-brainer question; we think the award-winning Black+Decker Flex Vac BDH2020FL is worth serious consideration. Compared to the Shark Wandvac, it's less money yet offers a significant step up in performance. With that said, if the Wandvac's slim design is what initially caught your attention, perhaps you need a compact handheld vacuum to clean light messes in small areas, the Bissell AeroSlim might meet your needs.
— Austin Palmer and David Wise
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