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Product Review: Shark Vacuum Cleaners

Chances are, three or four years ago you may not have heard of Shark vacuum cleaners.

But in the last couple of years Shark have become really popular,  competing with the big names such as Dyson and even our favoured Miele. At Just Helpers we’ve taken a closer look at what Shark has to offer, and put them to the test ourselves.

Why Consider Shark Vacuum Cleaners?

Shark have quickly gained a reputation as a good value, effective product. Shark Vacuum Cleaners recently scored highly in consumer testing carried out by Which?. In May 2019, Which? rated the Shark Lift Away NV590UKR corded vacuum cleaner as the best cheap upright cleaner.  And we do love a Which? review here at Just Helpers! This model scored particularly well on carpets, and on dealing with pet hair efficiently.

Choice

There is a mind-boggling range of options when it comes to choosing a Shark vacuum cleaner. Are you looking for:

  • a traditional corded model for reliable, long-lasting cleaning power,
  • a battery cordless for go-anywhere convenience
  • A light-weight stick vacuum for maximum portability
  • Extra power or attachments to deal with pet hair or allergens

Shark has all these options and more – in fact, researching all the models available is a task in itself!

The Just Helpers team tested two models from the range of Shark vacuum cleaners.

Shark Duoclean IF200UKT True Pet

This model is a cordless vacuum cleaner. The battery gives you 20 minutes cleaning on the standard setting, or 12 minutes of turbo. Shark sell additional batteries so you can always have one on charge, if you need a longer cleaning time.  This can often be a challenge for our colleagues who normally vacuum the whole house in one go.

A big feature of this model is its flexible wand, which is great for reaching under furniture and up high to those pesky cobwebs.

We loved this feature. It’s especially handy for reaching under heavy furniture such as sideboards. The flexihose is easy to operate with one hand, just by pushing a button. This feature also means the vacuum cleaner folds down for storage, so it takes up less room and doesn’t fall over, a handy feature in many new build London flats with limited storage options. This model also comes with several attachments and a handy bag to store them in. As it is a “pet” model, it includes a turbo brush for dealing with animal hair. However, we found this really useful for vacuuming the stairs, too.

Another useful feature is the removable wand, which converts the vacuum into a handheld – great for quick clear-ups, stairs, or for vacuuming the car interior. We found this model to be effective on both hard floors and carpets. Although it is not quite as powerful as a corded vacuum cleaner, it is certainly very convenient and easy to use.

Shark Rocket HV300 UltraLight Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

This is a more traditional corded vacuum cleaner, so there are no worries about running out of battery power! However, its simplicity is a bonus – it is really simple and effective. This model has separate attachments for hard floors and for carpet. Our team described the carpet head as having ” a spinning brush like a torpedo”! The hard floor attachment has a handy cloth to trap dust as you go.

Our tester (our wonderful Ops Manager Monika), has a cat, and found this model to be very effective on pet hair. In addition, this Shark has a big capacity – Monika vacuumed a three bedroomed house from top to bottom before it needed to be emptied.

Filters

Another great feature of Shark vacuum cleaners is the washable filters. Both of these models include a washable, anti-allergy filter, which prevents particles which cause allergies from passing back into the air.

Value for Money

Shark Vacuum Cleaners are a less expensive option than big names such as Miele and Dyson. If you choose your model carefully, with features that suit your needs, you can get a fab vacuum cleaner at a great price too. Plus it’s worth checking the Shark website as they often have some brilliant offers available.

The Just Helpers Verdict

Overall, we were impressed by Shark Vacuum Cleaners, This comparative newcomer is well worth considering next time you choose a vacuum cleaner for your home.

Appliances Review: Dishwashers

Following the long running theme of reviewing household appliances to minimise the disturbances to your already busy lives I am moving on to Dishwashers.

It won’t be a surprise to those who know me that I highly recommend a Miele Dishwasher, but I’ve also reviewed a few others below using a mixture of hands-on experience in clients homes and Which? reviews.

No.1 rated Best Buy by Which?: The Miele G6620 SC

It comes as no surprise to us that a Miele appliance is first in the Which? rankings. Highly rated for its energy efficiency as well as its capacity and excellent cleaning and drying. Main issue is that, due to its energy efficiency and ability to get your dishes bone dry at the end the cycle takes 3 hours, also with the handy extra cutlery drawer in the top it also reduces the 2nd drawer capacity meaning you may struggle to put some larger items up there like a big mug. Overall, Which? rates it as ‘Practically Perfect’. The icing on the cake for me is that at the end of the wash, the door pops open (secured by a nifty child safety catch) allowing the steam to escape and your dishes to complete their drying cycle. Genius!

A good buy under £550: The Integrated Bosch SMV69M01GB

The energy and water efficiency of this dishwasher is excellent when used on the slightly longer Eco program. It is very good at avoiding water marks even on glass and leaves everything very dry. The one down side it that the cutlery drawer is a bit fiddly to load and unload.

Best slim line under £350: The Integrated Belling BELIDW45

With several programs to choose from this dishwasher can be flexible with your washing needs ranging from a long Eco program to a short wash. It is, however, quite noisy compared to other dishwashers and the slim line layout sometimes makes it difficult to cram everything in without unknowingly restricting the wash of items adjacent or underneath – I guess this is often a problem for slim line dishwashers.

One thing that you always need to compliment your dishwasher is an effective dishwasher tablet.  In our experience Lidl does very well with it’s own brand, and the highly recommended Finish tablets also produce a great, dirt free, tea stain busting, glass sparkling clean.

As part of our regular cleaning service we will always unstack a clean dishwasher or load an empty or half empty dishwasher.

My Miele obsession

Household appliances are a huge part of our lives, and we take them for granted until they get in the way, either by breaking down altogether or, more frequently, causing us some doubt as to their performance standard.

“Is that rattling normal?” “Really, you need more salt again?” “I put it to 200°C just like the recipe said but it’s just not browning!” You could say that these occurrences are just minor disruptions, but when you add them up with all other appliances running your life, it can start to drain.

It would be my advice to not cut corners on choosing the devices and appliances you add to your home, they could be part of your life for a long time. We tend to choose a fridge freezer based on value, forgetting that we would spend hours researching the purchase of a car even though our fridge freezer is in our lives for about the same amount of time, if not more!

I can’t give you advice on the best sound system, or the best in home security system, but get me going on vacuum cleaners and you’ll never hear the end of me.  Miele is a German brand with the tag-line “forever better”. I’m not normally a sucker for tag lines or advertising, but for me, this brand has proved its worth over and over and many of their products are featured highly by Which?

John Lewis and Amazon sell most of the Miele vacuum cleaner range. They start at £99.95 and prices span all the way up £499.99 for the Scout RX1 bot. Robotics aside, the features that make some more expensive than others are mostly arbitrary: specialist filters for pet hair, capacity, fancy attachments. At their core, each vacuum cleaner has the unique technology relying on an age old system: the bag.

Bags get bad press but they are not necessarily the runt of the litter. Bags keep more dust out of the filters so you have to clean them less regularly, ultimately allowing them to last longer. Bags also maintain consistently good suction up until the point that the bag needs emptying.  Gone are the days when bags were fiddly and frustrating, leaving you wheezing in a cloud of cat hair, if anything they are often cleaner and simpler to empty than bagless options.

The benefits of the Miele vacuum cleaner do not stop at their bags; my experience has also found them to be durable, portable and practical: Bits do not tend to break off, unlike other more fancy brands. They are light and wheel about well, unlike trendy upright types. Practical internal storage of attachments means they don’t get lost, and finally, when you thought I might have exhausted my long list of praise – the power cable is longer than your average and retracts with one touch of a button, very handy indeed!

I can’t write a post on Miele Vacuum Cleaners without mentioning the Scout RX1 robot. A round robotic vacuum cleaner commonly found on YouTube comically carrying round cats and babies in methodical straight lines and circles. Unfortunately technology needs to evolve a little bit more before it can compete with our Helpers, one such bot in a friend’s house has several blind spots that it never cleans, while running over and over other spots to the point of almost wearing the carpet out! And for the price, you could get 40 hours of one of our lovely Helpers who can come and make your bathroom and kitchen sparkle at the same time.

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