Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum review: a powerful vacuum cleaner for busy homes


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May 26, 2023

Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum review: a powerful vacuum cleaner for busy homes

A versatile upright vacuum that can clean floors and comfortably reach up high or under furniture. My favorite feature by far is the enhanced brush-roll design, which lifts and removes hair without

A versatile upright vacuum that can clean floors and comfortably reach up high or under furniture. My favorite feature by far is the enhanced brush-roll design, which lifts and removes hair without becoming tangled. I'm also a fan of the anti-odor technology that leaves my home smelling lovely and fresh after a vacuum. I would have awarded this vacuum full marks, but the stretch hose falls short for reaching into the corners of the ceiling and debris becomes trapped at the top of the dust cup.

Fab hair pick-up

Easily transforms into portable handheld

Pleasant anti-odor smell

Short stretch hose

Debris becomes trapped in dust cup

A longer power cord would be useful

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I attended the launch of the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum in fall 2022, where it was introduced among other cordless and corded stick companions. Having taken them all for a spin around the room, putting them to task on some scattered oats and fluff, it was the upright model that caught my eye, given its size, power and attractive green hue.

Shark is renowned for creating some of the best vacuum cleaners around, with its models delivering for quality, innovation and power. Having enjoyed decades of success in the US, the brand now has global recognition. Dedicated to developing premium household appliances, from vacuum cleaners to steam mops, air purifiers and even some of the best hair dryers, Shark appears to be delivering what customers want.

Shark Stratos is the brand's most advanced range of vacuum cleaners. Shark's says these models deliver the best ever hair pickup, combining the Shark's signature DuoClean floorhead and new Anti Hair Wrap Plus. Some models in the range, such as the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum, even feature revolutionary anti-odor technology, which leaves your home and vac smelling fresher after a clean.

On test I found that there was a lot to love about this vacuum cleaner. Its power, hair and debris pickup, and dust cup capacity were all very impressive. However, I did feel a little tethered to the mains with only an 8m cord, and although emptying the dust cup was easy, I did need to reach inside it to free trapped fluff.

Known as the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum in the US and Shark Stratos Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum [NZ860UK] in the UK, this vacuum is available either direct from Shark or through resellers for prices in the region of $429/£400. In the US, you'll find it from Best Buy, Target and Walmart, while in the UK head to Amazon, Argos and John Lewis.

Its price is on a par with other ranges in the Shark collection. If you have pets then opt for the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum with TruePet for $499.80 in the US, or pick up the Shark Stratos Pet Pro Anti Hair Wrap Plus Anti-Odour Upright Vacuum [NZ860UKT] for £429.99 in the UK. Both models come with a dedicated pet hair removal tool.

Other vacuum cleaners in the Shark Stratos range include a cordless stick and corded stick cleaner. In all cases, savings could be enhanced with the addition of Shark promo codes currently available.

These specs are the same for US and UK Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum models.

The overall design of this upright vacuum is super-impressive. It comes with a number of features I've come to appreciate about Shark vacuums over the years, alongside a couple of new things that are unique to the Stratos range.

The first is Shark's signature DuoClean floorhead, made up of two motorized brush-rolls in the unit. It glides satisfyingly across carpet and hard floors, picking up all manner of dirt and debris. The Anti Hair Wrap Plus tech also means the vacuum picks up any hair from floors, without it ever becoming tangled around the brush rolls.

One of the new features that's worthy of mention is the anti-odor technology. Although not something I've paid much attention to before having tested this vacuum, it certainly will be now. An anti-odor dial can be inserted into the floorhead of this cleaner, with the dial rotated to select an odor intensity. The aim is to stop any dust cup odors filling the air; and I did notice a more pleasant smell following a session of vacuuming. Note that the dial isn't available in an array of smells, with the sea breeze-type smell the only one currently available. Sharks recommends replacing the cartridges every six months, with replacement cartridges available for £14.99 (2 pack) direct from Shark. At the time of writing, we couldn't find replacements in the US.

The floorhead here is also home to another signature Shark feature: LED lighting. Helping to illuminate dust and help light up lower-lit areas of the home, such as the hallway, these lights are both functional and stylish.

In use, the Shark Stratos vacuum performed brilliantly for cleaning floors. However, it's pretty heavy at 17.2lbs / 6.7kg, which made it tricky to clean the stairs. Fortunately, you can detach the main unit from the floorhead and attach the wand to use it in its Powered Lift-Away mode. This makes it easier to clean under furniture, which isn't so easy in its upright form.

With the floorhead detached, I also gave the crevice and multi-surface tools a whirl. The crevice tool was good for reaching into the corners of the ceiling and cleaning along the top of the skirting, whereas the multi-surface tool was great for removing biscuit crumbs from the couch and bed. Usefully, there's storage space for both of these tools at the rear of the upright vacuum.

More generally, a slider switch on the handle allows you to choose between three floor settings: hard floors, low-pile carpets and thick-pile carpets or area rugs. The power button is also on the handle.

The 8m power cable wraps around the side of the vacuum on two hooks; one is next to the handle, while another sits next to the base of the dust cup. The dust cup offers a decent 1.3-liter capacity, which meant I didn't have to empty it after every cleaning session, and emptying is a simple matter of pressing the "dust cup release" button.

This upright vacuum also has an anti-allergen complete seal, which captures and traps 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum. Although this is difficult to test, my husband or I did notice that we didn't start sneezing and suffer watering eyes while this vacuum was in use – something that we can be sensitive to – so we'll take that as a win.

I've been using the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum as my main cleaner in my three-bedroom home for the past month. The ground floor has ceramic floor tiles in the kitchen, plus wooden floors and rugs elsewhere; the first floor is mainly carpeted. With a toddler, and life in general, this upright vacuum has certainly been challenged over the past month of testing.

On the hard floors, the Shark Stratos performed well, picking up rice crispies from the floor in a single pass. I kept it on the hard floor setting, and the cleaner worked perfectly. Our kitchen floor is also home to a rag rug, which I quickly learnt was best avoided with this vac; passing over it with the Shark Stratos, the cleaner would simply start to suck it up. However, most vacuum cleaners struggle on this rug, so it wasn't a problem.

Transitioning between the hard floors and the other rugs was seamless. I'm a big fan of the DuoClean floorhead – a tough one to beat in my opinion. While it performed perfectly fine on rugs with the hard floor setting, for a deeper clean I'd switch to the carpet / low-pile setting – and I could soon see fluff bunnies doing circles in the transparent dust cup.

With the floors cleaned, I next moved onto the cobwebs in the corner of the sitting room. I transformed the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum into its Powered Lift-Away mode and attached the crevice tool. While I managed to reach up into the corners of the room, it did prove a bit of a stretch with the 5ft /1.5m hose in our period property with high ceilings.

While the main unit was removed from the floor head in Powered Lift-Away mode, I attached the floorhead to the handle to vacuum the stairs. I had the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum plugged in not far from the bottom of the stairs, so I was confident that I'd have enough reach to clean to the top of the 13-step staircase – and so the 26.2ft / 8m power cable proved sufficient. It wasn't as easy to vacuum the stairs as it was using one of the best cordless vacuums, for example, it was certainly more manageable in this more portable vacuum mode than as an upright vacuum because the weight was more balanced.

On the first floor, vacuuming carpets, the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum excelled. Upright vacuum cleaners are known for being more powerful than cordless and handheld units, and this Shark vacuum cemented this fact further. I set it on "thick carpet / area rug" and moved the vac back-and-forth around the floor until all (reachable) areas had been vacuumed. By the time I'd finished, the dust cup was almost full – which was so satisfying – and my home smelt so much fresher.

This method of vacuuming my home was repeated every three to four days throughout the testing period of the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum.

Thankfully, I never needed to empty the dust cup mid-clean. Although the 0.28 gallon / 1.3 liter isn't the largest I've seen, it's still pretty generous and proved sufficient capacity for cleaning my entire home. A slight niggle was with regards to emptying, where debris (mainly fluff) would become wedged at the top of the dust cup, requiring me to reach my hand inside to free it – which isn't a very pleasant job.

In terms of other maintenance, the dust cup will benefit from a wipe clean inside every now and then to keep it looking, and smelling, fresh. The filters will also need to be rinsed; these can be accessed after releasing the dust cup. Thankfully, the Anti Hair Wrap Plus tech means the one job you won't have to do is untangling any hair around the brush bars.

For noise, this vacuum cleaner measured between 81dB - 100dB depending upon the mode (portable or upright) it's in, which is loud considering the majority of vacuum cleaners tend to have a noise level reading of around 80dB.

You want an upright vacuum cleanerThis is without a doubt the best upright vacuum I've tested, arriving with all the best tech.

You have hairy residentsWith Shark's best ever hair pickup and Anti Hair Wrap Plus, short and long hair isn't a challenge for this upright vac – and you won't even have to remove hair from the brush roll.

You're sensitive to allergensAnother handy feature for pet owners is that this vacuum comes with an Anti-Allergen Complete Seal, keeping 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum.

Having a scented vacuum isn't your thingThe Shark Stratos Upright is designed to be used with an anti-odor capsule, so if you don't want a fragrance released each time you vacuum, look elsewhere.

You want to also vacuum the carThe cable on this mains-powered vac is unlikely to be long enough to make cleaning the car possible.

If you want a Shark vacuum but not an upright, here are a couple more options to consider...

Shark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ IZ862HPart of the Stratos range, this cordless stick has a flexible head and wand that allows you to vacuum at 90-degree angles and beneath furniture without bending down. And something that the upright vacuum doesn't have is Clean Sense IQ tech, which senses how much dirt is on a floor and adjusts the suction power accordingly.

Read our full Shark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ IZ862H review

Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins & Flexology IZ300This Shark cordless vacuum is a powerful option that picks up dust and debris from carpet and hard floors with ease. It's simple to use with its handy accessories and Flexology tech, which allows it to reach under furniture, and also be used as a handheld cleaner.

Read our full Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins & Flexology review

I've been using the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum as and when it's been needed for around one month. It's been my main vac, although I've also been reviewing the DreameTech L10s Ultra (a robot vacuum) at the same time.

The Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum has been used three-to-four times a week to deep clean the carpets, stairs and into high-up areas around my three-bed home. I've used all the key features of the upright vacuum including the DuoClean floorhead, Powered Lift-Away mode, and all three levels of suction. I emptied the dust cup several times throughout the duration of the review, with the majority of the collection being wool fluff from the carpets.

I've been actively reviewing vacuum cleaners for three years, although my experience working with home appliances extends past a decade. My lessons over the years have taught me what's important in a vacuum cleaner, and what are the best features to have.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January 2023

Jennifer Oksien is TechRadar’s Homes Editor. Jennifer (Jenny) has over a decade of experience as a digital product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UKs leading retailers and magazine titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home and Livingetc. Generally, you’ll find her watching the latest Netflix series, digging around in the garden or attempting to make a cake that is edible.

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List price: $429/£399Available in US & UKPrice: 5/5PriceDust cup:No. of speeds: Hose length: Cord length: Weight:Floorhead glides over carpets and hard floorsOdor tech in floorhead releases a pleasant smellEasily transforms between an upright to portable vacuumDesign: 4.5/5Impressive vacuumingEasy to transform into a portable vacLove the odor emittedPerformance: 4.5/5You want an upright vacuum cleanerYou have hairy residentsYou're sensitive to allergensHaving a scented vacuum isn't your thingYou want to also vacuum the carShark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ IZ862HRead our full Shark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ IZ862H reviewShark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins & Flexology IZ300 Read our full Shark Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with PowerFins & Flexology reviewI used the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum as my main vac for one monthIt was used to vacuum the floors, stairs and harder-to-reach areasRead more about how we test