Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101, REVIEW
By William | June 6, 2018
Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101
A Detailed Review of the Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 Cordless Stick Vacuum!
The Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 is an upright bagless battery-powered stick vacuum equipped with features for cleaning all hard floors, low pile carpeting, and above-floor cleaning tasks.
SharkNinja designed this model to fill the Intermediate price range gap that currently exists between the economy and premium models.
SharkNinja – the Company
Listed as SharkNinja Operating LLC (formerly EuroPro,) this progressive company started in 1995 and has grown to include offices and facilities in the US, Canada, UK, and China. SharkNinja products can be purchased from major retailers around the world.
It has been recognized for 5 of the last 6 years as one of Inc. Magazine’s “fastest growing American Companies.”
Characterized by user-friendly designs and state-of-the-art technology, SharkNinja strives to maintain an environment that encourages “breakthrough thinking” and the “next big thing” with customer satisfaction at the forefront of every new product design.
- Motorized Floor Brush for removing trampled in deep down dirt from any floor surface
- Swivel Steering for almost effortless fatigue-free navigating around obstacles
- LED Headlamps flood your floor with bright light so the dirt can’t hide
- Smart Response Technology touchscreen panel enable you to select from (4) different cleaning modes for enhanced performance
- One Touch On/Off Power Switch eliminates finger fatigue
- Removable ION Battery Pack enables you to upgrade the runtime
- Up to 25 Minutes Runtime Maximum suction, 40 Minutes on Normal suction without motorized floor brush
- Light Weight at only 3.8 lbs. for almost effortless cleaning
- Large Capacity Dust Cup reduces down time while emptying
- 2-in-1 Handheld Vacuum for exceptional cleaning versatility
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Filtration System: Trap allergy-causing particulates. Filters are Washable.
- Included: (1) Lithium-Ion Battery, (1) Charger Unit, Pet Multi-Tool, Anti-Allergen Dusting Brush, and Duster Crevice Tool
- 5-Year SharkNinja Manufacturer’s Warranty, 2 Years Battery
Check Out this Cool SharkNinja Demo VIDEO!
After only 23 years SharkNinja LLC is still in its infancy compared to other American floor care companies. But, in that relatively brief time it has managed to ascend to the top with its groundbreaking, inventive home care products.
SharkNinja has made a science out of testing their newest concepts while they are still in the prototype stage to make sure they work the way they were envisioned. They submit their concept product for testing by volunteers from the general public to uncover faults so they can be addressed before releasing it for sale to the public. These are such an important steps in the development process of any successful product, yet some manufactures seem determined to avoid this proven method of operation.
In 2017 SharkNinja was awarded the JD Power & Associates, Highest in Customer Satisfaction Award among upright vacuum brands, performing particularly well in two of the six factors: ease of use and price.
Dyson came in at a close 2nd, and Meile a close 3rd.
What you Should Expect from a Cordless Stick Vacuum!
Over the last couple years cordless vacuums have become the “must have” appliance. As our lives have become busier and more complex we look for anything that promises to save us a few minutes of precious time in our daily routine.
The prospect of being tethered to a power cord has always been an unpleasant part of operating a vacuum cleaner. Our knee jerk reaction to cord-free vacs is typically “yea, I need one of those.”
Unfortunately a lot of customers are disappointed to discover their new “must have wonder machine” doesn’t measure up to their expectations. The truth is, they simply lack the raw power and capacity to compete equally with a traditional plug-in corded vacuum, powered by 120 Volts of household electricity.
A cordless stick vacuum however, can be an invaluable addition to your cleaning arsenal. They are especially useful for maintaining already mostly clean carpeted floors; for quick clean-ups and messes. They are perfect for cleaning area rugs. But, where a well-designed cord-free stick vac can be the most useful, is for cleaning hard floors.
Keep in mind a battery-powered vacuum still requires recharging which means you are not entirely free from the bondage of a cord and receptacle.
…..Back to My Review!
The Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 is equipped with an array of interesting, but mostly basic features. I would categorize it as a meat & potatoes vacuum with a little bit of desert thrown in for good measure.
SharkNinja typically does an excellent job with its fit-up of injection molded parts. All assemblies fit together nicely to form strong units.
They uses good quality components such as switches, sensors, etc. which seldom present a problem. Overall, the Shark IR101 feels rigid enough to last an acceptable period of time.
The digital DC motor used in the IR101 is state-of-the-art and provides maximum suction power with minimum weight and power drain.
Overall, the build quality of the Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 is on par with the more expensive Dyson V8 Absolute.
You can expect 20 up to 30 minutes of runtime with the Shark IR101. This will vary depending on how much you use Maximum power and what type of flooring you are cleaning. Runtime will decrease when vacuuming carpet because it puts additional strain on the motor.
These runtimes can be doubled by using a 2nd Optional Battery Pack.
The huge advantages to this arrangement are that if you choose to purchase a second OPTIONAL BATTERY PACK you can swap out the discharged pack for the freshly charged one and keep on truckin, allowing you to finish your cleaning job.
Plus, when a battery pack reaches the point where it will no longer hold a charge after 2 to 5 years, simply replace it with a new one, saving your local landfill of another useless vacuum.
What is Smart Response Technology?
SharkNinja has implimented a Touchscreen Panel Interface that is conveniently located on top just ahead of the handle. It enables you to select from 4 Icon Mode buttons: Carpet Mode, Bare Floor Mode, Normal Suction, and Maximum Suction.
For normal cleaning touch the Normal Suction Mode Icon or when you encounter a particularly dirty area touch the Max Mode Icon. When you are vacuuming rugs or carpet press the Carpet Mode button which speeds up the motorized floor brush. Or, when you vacuum hardwood or smooth floors, press the Bare Floor Mode button which slows down the floor brush so you don’t scatter large debris such as dry pet food or cereal across the room.
Watch this Brief Demo VIDEO!
Smooth and Hard Floors
As I expected, the Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 is a very good performer on hardwood, engineered, tile, Vinyl, stone, concrete, and other hard floor surfaces. However, it is not as good as the Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum (IF201) which features “DuoClean” technology.
The Smart Response Technology works very well by allowing you to slow down the motorized brushroll, making it easy to suck up large debris such as dry cereal and pet food.
SEE: Best Cordless Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
The Shark IR101 performs well when cleaning low pile carpet and rugs. It works better than expected on Medium pile carpet, but not great. On Deep pile or Soft Plush carpet this vacuum works OK for surface cleaning of debris when the dirt that hasn’t been trampled in, but don’t expect deep cleaning results like you would get with a full-sized corded Hoover or a Dyson.
The Shark IR101 does a very good job of removing pet hair from low pile carpeting, rugs, and hard floors.
The issue of course is that hair tends to take up a lot of space in the dust cup so you would find yourself having to empty the dust cup relatively often, especially with a pet that is prone to shedding a lot.
If you’re not like some of my carpet cleaning customers, who wait till their floor has a layer of hair on it before cleaning it, you will find the Shark IR101 very useful.
Also READ: Best Vacuum for Pet Hair
The Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 receives my highest marks for User Friendliness. This vacuum is very light at only 3.8 lbs. making it very easy for even the smallest person to use with one hand for overhead or floor cleaning.
The Swivel Steering makes navigating around obstacles almost effortless.
Another “user friendly” feature you probably won’t appreciate unless you have used other cordless vacs is the One Touch On/One Touch Off Power Button located just ahead of where your thumb rests on the grip. You won’t suffer any finger fatigue from having to hold down a trigger switch like you find on other brands.
The Smart Response Technology interface touchpad is the best idea yet for controlling a vacuum. No programming to deal with or sensors to go bad like other brands.
Also, the headlamps are a huge benefit that really helps make the task of cleaning easier.
The only user friendly issue I have with the Shark IR101 is that it doesn’t stand on its own. You have to prop it up on a nearby piece of furniture, lay it on the floor, or return it to its wall mount bracket when you need to take a telephone call or when you finished cleaning.
This issue is a bit annoying at first but you do get used to it after a while.
If Parking is a significant concern, I recommend that you take a look at the Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum (IF201)
The main virtue of this motorhead design is the ability to easily remove the floor brush, to convert it into an effective handheld vacuum.
The floor brush unit easily snaps on and off with one hand so you can replace it with the included Anti-Allergen Dusting Brush or Duster Crevice Tool for above-floor cleaning.
Or, snap on the Pet Multi-Tool to clean stairs, upholstery, car interiors, and more.
The Anti-Allergen Dusting Brush lets you easily clean around items on shelves
If you can’t see what you are vacuuming you are just guessing and possibly wasting your time. These dual bright headlamps really light up the floor ahead so you can see where the dirt is.
Vacuum cleaners are all about getting dirt out of your house. So, good filtration is a huge consideration when shopping for a new cleaning machine. This is especially important if you or someone in your family suffers with allergies or other respiratory issues.
The Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 comes equipped with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal which includes washable Pre-Motor Foam and Felt Filters and a washable Post-Motor Filter that do an excellent job of trapping fine dust particles. More importantly, they are housed within a Sealed System which means dust cannot escape around the filters to be blown back out into the air you breathe.
The system is not as effective as Dyson’s HEPA pre-motor filters available on their V6, V7, V8, and V10 series.
- Up-gradable runtime
- Easy to operate
- Dust Cup is easy to empty
- Exceptional 5 Year Warranty
- Not Free-standing, but you can remove the head and hook it to the Wand so you can park it anyplace without leaning it or using the wall bracket.
- No place to store accessories on the vac
- 25.2v Removable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
- Up to 20 minutes Runtime Max Power, 30 minutes Low Power
- 3.8 lbs.
- 0.3 dry quarts Dust Cup Capacity
Summary & Recommendation
The Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 fulfills its designated role of the bridging the gap between the higher-priced models and the, shall we say, el cheapo economy models.
I am impressed but not surprised at the quality and the overall cleaning performance on hard floors, low pile carpet, and area rugs. You will really appreciate it when someone tracks in a lot of dirt and leaves a mess on your door mat because it’s so convenient and time-saving to just grab your Shark IR101 instead of dragging out your heavy corded vacuum.
The more expensive Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum (IF201) or the Dyson V8 Absolute deliver a more thorough cleaning performance on all flooring materials. Only you can decide if the marginal performance difference is worth the more than marginal price difference.
If your home is a combination of hardwood flooring and low pile carpeting or area rugs this vacuum is definitely a viable option.
I believe the Removable Battery Pack feature is the smart way to go if you believe a cordless stick vacuum is right for you. It makes it possible to upgrade the runtime to suit your needs and indefinitely extends the overall life of this product.
I really like the Smart Response Technology and the idea of a Touch Screen for operating the vacuum. It’s not at all gimmick like some other vacuums I have reviewed. It makes the IR101 intuitive to operate.
Depending on the size of your home and your circumstances this battery-powered vacuum could be used as a primary vacuum, especially with a second optional battery pack.
I believe the Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101 offers excellent value at its current price point of around $200. With the exceptional SharkNinja 5 Year Warranty you can sleep at night should some problem pop up.
If it was my money…
If it were up to me and my budget was set near the $300 limit, this is the vacuum I would choose.
If I, or someone in my family, suffered with respiratory issues I would probably look for a way to afford the Dyson V8 Absolute with HEPA Filtration or the Dyson Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute with Whole-machine fully-sealed filtration system traps 99.97% of particulates down to 0.3 microns.
Once again, SharkNinja has responded to the market with the Shark ION Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum IR101. I believe you would be very pleased with this product. I highly Recommend this vacuum!