Roomba Vs Shark: Which Vacuum Is Better Suited For Your Floors?

Modern life is busy and fast-paced. When your time and energy are consumed by tasks like work, parenting, self-care, and the ever-present side hustle, basic chores like vacuuming can be difficult to fit into your schedule. Enter the robot vacuum. Since these innovative household gadgets hit the mainstream market in 2002, many households have never looked at vacuuming the same way they did before. Although the original Roomba from the company iRobot was the first commercially successful robot vacuum, another brand has quickly defined itself as a direct competitor: Shark.

If you're in the market for a robot vacuum, you've probably wondered which robot vacuum you should invest in — Roomba or Shark. No need to worry; we've done the research for you. Consider this your guide to the pros and cons of Roomba versus Shark robot vacuums. Evaluate the features of each brand to determine which one will best serve your home, family, and lifestyle. 

Roomba: pros and cons

Roomba by iRobot is considered the original robot vacuum, though it wasn't technically the first hands-free vacuum ever to hit the market. The popularity of Roomba has made it a household name — especially since robot vacuums are all the brand makes. Roombas come in dozens of varieties — including robot mops — that range from basic models to those with mapping capabilities, object detection, and self-emptying behavior. All models are meant for general cleaning; the brand does not offer specialized models for specific purposes such as pet hair removal for allergy management. While some models are advertised as being suitable for pet hair removal, they do not all include HEPA filters for proven removal of allergens. However, some models do boast the ability to better avoid pet accidents left on the floor.

Some higher-end Roomba models — such as the j9+ — have the capability to mop your floors in addition to vacuuming them in addition to automatic filling and emptying. However, lower-end models lack such advanced mapping capabilities. This results in a mopping product that requires you to purchase invisible walls if you want it to avoid no-mop parts of the floor such as carpets and rugs. Where Roomba vacuums do shine is in higher suction across the board and a better ability to self-correct when stuck on an obstacle.

Shark: pros and cons

Shark robot vacuums are produced by a brand that sells a wide variety of handheld and upright vacuums and mops along with its robot vacuum models. Although Shark does not specialize in robot vacuums, the brand does offer more highly specialized individual products. The AI Ultra, for example, is marketed to pet owners and features more powerful suction, HEPA filters, and a self-cleaning brush roll. While much of the technology used in Shark products — including standard HEPA filters on all vacuums — is more advanced than that used in Roomba vacuums, Shark's prices are typically lower. The trade-off to that low price is that, since the company sells more than just robot vacuums, its variety of robotic models isn't nearly as diverse as iRobot's.

In terms of performance, while Shark robot vacuums are better at avoiding objects and not becoming stuck, they are not as skilled at self-correcting once already stuck. Shark robot vacuums that offer mopping abilities do not require strips and allow you to map out your space in an app on your phone, marking off areas such as rugs. If brand recognition, prestige, or nostalgia is very important to you, you may wish to stick with a classic Roomba for your robot vacuuming needs. However, if value is what you're after, Shark is more likely to measure up, especially for pet owners who are concerned about exposure to dander and other allergens.