Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review
You can find vacuum cleaners in all sorts of form factors and at various price points. However, robot vacuums that can also mop remain a niche offering, delivering hands-free deep cleaning, which generally comes in at a higher price. The Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop is one such vacuum.
The Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base does come with the same kind of limitations as with other models, including the best robot vacuums. You’ll still have to do your own deep cleaning from time-to-time. In addition, you’ll need to remove whatever miscellaneous items you or your loved ones have left stranded on the floor for it to deliver a proper clean. But, outside of those parameters, this robot vacuum will do a fantastic job of keeping your place clean.
Particularly suited for use on hard floors, especially with that mopping functionality, the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base can keep up with the best vacuums in keeping your space clean. And, its hands-free operation is made even better by a super intuitive and easy-to-use app that delivers all the flexibility you need, including the ability to turn on the vacuum when you’re not even home.
No vacuum is perfect, though – not even a unit from such a reputable brand as Shark. As such, there are a couple of areas in which the Shark falls slightly short. The first is its high price, although there are models that command an even higher price. The second is a battery life that is just okay, but made worse by the fact that the vacuum takes a long time to charge back up. However, unless you need to vacuum constantly, this is unlikely to be a big point of contention; you’ll be able to get a good amount of cleaning done every day, if you so choose. Just note that the vacuum will require a good half-day to get back up to 100% if you’re pushing it to its limits.
That said, I’ve found this robot vacuum to be an excellent option for most people, in no small part because of the quality app by which it’s supported.
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base: Price and availability
List price: $699 / about £559 / about AU$1,054
Only available in the US
There’s no denying that dual-functioning cleaners that can both vacuum and mop command a higher price, and the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 is no exception. The Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base bundle reviewed here, which includes a self-emptying charging base, will set you back $699 / about £559 / about AU$1,054. Forgo that charging base, and you can save some money, with the model setting you back $449 / £360 / AU$681.
The vacuum can be bought direct from the Shark website or via resellers such as Best Buy. At the time of writing, the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base was on offer, with $200 off using the promo code ROBOT200 through Shark, or $150 off at Best Buy.
Although not necessarily considered a “cheap” robot vacuum, you can certainly spend much more. The iRobot Roomba Combo J7 Plus is a fantastic vacuum and mop model that also comes with a self-emptying base, but it will set you back an eye-watering $1,099 / £999 / AU$2,199. Then there’s the Eufy RoboVac G30 Hybrid for $369 / £369 / about AU$561, but it doesn’t save mapping for future reference, nor does it come with a self-emptying base.
Only available in the US at the time of review, Shark products – including its robot vacuums – are available in other territories, so hopefully this product will make its way to your part of the world soon.
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review: Specs
The Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base comes with a robot vacuum and base station. At the time of writing we could only retrieve the specs for the robot vacuum.
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review: Design
Arrives with bagless self-emptying charging base
Mopping functionality dependant on which dustbin you use
Cleaning solution included in bundle doesn’t last that long
The Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop is a sleek-looking robot vacuum that’s available to buy either on its own or as a bundle with the bagless self-emptying charging base. It comes with two different dustbins, one that just collects debris and another with an attached washable mop pad. The 2-in-1 functionality comes courtesy of that second bin, since it holds the water and cleaning solution mixture used for mopping.
Like most robot vacuums that can map, the unit has a raised center for mapping and navigating. And, it has a few onboard controls for starting or docking the unit. There’s one side brush (with an extra included as backup) to push in debris into the unit’s path, and a robust brush roll. The brush roll is notable for its different design, using alternating brushes with rubber liners to pick up debris. Both the side brush and brush roll are easily removable.
As far as the base goes, this HEPA bagless self-emptying base seems to mostly remove small particles such as dust from the dustbin (so you won’t need to empty it very often). However, you’ll still need to expel the contents of the dustbin itself regularly.
The bundle comes with a few different extras. There’s an extra side brush as mentioned, but also an extra mop pad as well as a bottle of starter solution. Just be aware that having run the vacuum a few times a week for a month, I’ve almost already exhausted that container of solution.
Design: 4.5 / 5
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review: Performance
Solid cleaning with mopping functionality, with floors drying quickly
Edge cleaning is decent
Does a good job avoiding small obstacles
As good as robot vacuums have become, they’re still not at the point of replacing the need for a deep clean every now and then. And, that remains so with the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base, which we’ll get into later.
That said, this Shark vacuum works wonders within its limitations, clearing dust and debris extremely well. It can be set to vacuum in a matrix pattern – which Shark calls “Matrix Clean” – where it will vacuum in straight lines both along the width as well as the length of a room to ensure all spots have been cleaned.
For a more specific example of its cleaning prowess, I dumped a bunch of breadcrumbs on the kitchen floor, which ranged in size from fine particles to sizable pieces. After just a 10-minute clean, the floor was shiny and spotless.
The robot vacuum also has “CleanEdge” technology for removing dirt closer to walls. However, in my experience, it didn’t seem to perform that much better than, say, the Bissell Spinwave R5, still missing about an inch or so from the wall, at least when mopping.
Nevertheless, in part it’s the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot’s mopping ability that makes its cleaning ability so stellar. The floor after a clean feels glorious to walk on barefoot. And its judicious use of water and cleaning solution meant that my floor was dry in a matter of minutes.
Like all other robot vacuums, this cleaner isn’t going to clean large pieces of debris. For example, I found a 2-inch long piece of tape stuck in the brush roll after one cleaning session. So, as well as picking these up before you set the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot off on a clean, you’ll also need to pick up any obstacles that are sitting on the floor – although, unlike many other robot vacuums, it does a good job of avoiding most obstacles on the floor. However, it will give those obstacles a wide enough berth that you’ll end up with dirty spots on the floor.
Note that you’ll want to pick up any thicker rugs, too. The Shark vacuum will happily clean over thinner floor coverings, but it became stuck on my bath rug, whose half-inch long strands twisted the side brush’s bristles.
In terms of noise, you can easily have the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mop running in the background while tending to other tasks. With the vacuum-only bin, the Shark measured in at 50dB, while the vacuum-and-mop combination raised the volume to 57dB, which is about the same as a running refrigerator.
As far as cleaning the vacuum itself, I’ve emptied the dustbin only following several uses, and haven’t yet needed to empty the base, even though I’ve had the vacuum running for about a month. Of course, the mop pad is due for a spin in the wash; but, again, I’ve been using it for a month and yet it still delivers clean results.
Performance: 4.5 / 5
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review: App
Incredibly easy to use
Can set carpet zones and even do spot cleaning from app
Can engage vacuum even when you’re not home
One of the features I most appreciate about this robot vacuum is the accompanying app. Not only is it simple to set up – you just allow the vacuum to glide around your space to create a map – but it creates a clear mapped layout that’s super simple to manipulate.
I’m able to section off different areas so that, if I want, I can just have the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mop clean the kitchen or living room. I can also set the strength of cleaning (there are three settings to choose from, depending on how dirty or how much energy you want to conserve) as well as direct it to spot clean, all from the app.
Additionally, you can create carpet zones so that it won’t use the mopping function when cleaning or moving over those areas. Having tested that setting with just some floor rugs (as well as an imaginary one to see if the robot vacuum would still mop), I noticed that it’s a bit tedious setting the zone accurately; but the robot vacuum will indeed steer clear of the designated area.
Some other key features of the app worth mentioning is that it offers voice assistant support, but only for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It keeps a history of prior cleanings, while also enabling you to set scheduled cleans, although you can only schedule one per day. Also impressive was the fact that I didn’t have to be on the same Wi-Fi network to set the robot vacuum on a clean. I could do this while I was on my way home.
Rating: 5 / 5
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review: Battery life
Battery life is OK, but not great
Takes a long time to charge back up
Not ideal for those who need to run a robot vacuum multiple times a day
If there's any feature of the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mop with XL HEPA self-empty base that I could consider subpar, it’s battery life. While robot vacuums – and vacuums, in general – consume power quickly, 40 minutes of vacuuming and mopping with the Shark depleted battery life by 50%. This means that the cleaner will deliver a not terrible – but not great, either – 80 minutes of use when also using the mopping functionality. While the robot vacuums that offer better battery life often only give you 30-40 minutes more, it’s the charging that proved most bothersome.
After one cleaning session, I had the Shark robot vacuum docked with a battery life of 5%. Three hours later, it had charged to just 50%. No wonder the app only lets you schedule one cleaning session a day. There’s a good chance that both the overall battery life and charging speed are good enough for you, but, if you’re hoping to rely on a robot vacuum for continuous cleaning of a messy household, you may want a model that offers more juice.
Battery: 3.5 /5
Should you buy the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base?
Buy it if...
Don't buy it if...
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base review: Also consider
If a robot vacuum isn't for you, why not consider a cordless vacuum? There's no automation, but you retain freedom from cables.
How I tested the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base
I've been using it in my home for one month
It's been tested on low-pile and deep-pile rugs, and two different types of hard flooring
I controlled it using the app and/or Amazon Alexa
To test the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop with XL HEPA Self-Empty Base, I used it for a month to vacuum and mop the hardwood floors in my apartment. I also tested all the features listed in the app, from mapping to different levels of cleaning.
I took note of how well the vacuum cleaned the edges of a room as well around obstacles, not to mention running it over different surfaces including two different types of hard flooring, and two different thicknesses of rugs.
Read more about how we test
First reviewed April 2023