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Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight review: Light but powerful

 Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight.
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight.

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight: one-minute review

I was excited to put the Shark Stratos Corded vacuum to the test. While it isn’t the most future-proof model on the market – there’s no accompanying app loaded with smart features, nor is it cordless – it does its job very well.

In fact, my initial thoughts were that it would make a great in-between option for those who want more robust cleaning than a robot vacuum can deliver, or more convenience than a canister vacuum, but it’s much more than that.

While I won’t categorically say the Shark Stratos Corded, also known in some places as the Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight, is one of the best vacuums out there, although I do believe it’s worthy of inclusion, it is among the best Shark vacuums available; and certainly sufficiently powerful to be the only vacuum in the house.

However, it arrives at somewhat of a premium, at least in the world of stick vacuums, and there are some frustrations with the dust canister. Nevertheless, unless you’re on a budget, or have a significant amount of pet hair or dander to pick up (more on that later), it offers decent power to leave your floors looking clean and smelling fresh.

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight: Specs

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $299.99 (about £237, AU$450)

  • When is it available? Available now

  • Where can you get it? Available in the US. Only the cordless version available in the UK and Australia

Paying around $300 (about £237, AU$450) for a vacuum cleaner might seem quite steep for the majority. But, when it comes to vacuums, you get what you pay for – and with the Shark Stratos Corded, you’re getting good value for the price.

Shark does offer cheaper stick vacuums, such as the Shark Rocket Pro DLX that’s $100 cheaper. However, that model includes neither the two-brush roll system nor odor-neutralizer technology. Still, if you’re a fan of the corded stick form factor, then it offers the versatility of the Shark Stratos Corded model reviewed here.

The Stratos line – which Shark introduced in 2022 – is widely available in the US, UK, and Australia, but it’s only the cordless versions (also available in the US) that are being offered in the latter two territories, at a far more expensive at $499.99 / £499.99 / AU$1,299.99. That feels like a significant bump in price for cordless convenience and makes the Shark Stratos Corded’s $300 price tag look a little more reasonable.

  • Value: 4/5

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight standng against a wall
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight standng against a wall

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight: Design

  • Utilizes two-brushroll system

  • Small dust canister

  • Lightweight and modular

Available in a dark blue and silver colorway, the Shark Stratos Corded definitely looks striking once set up, even if it can’t stand up on its own. Take a closer look, and you’ll see that all the parts are attractive and well thought out.

The floor head utilizes a dual-brush roll system – one fabric, one bristled – that can be seen in all its black and red glory through the transparent top. Plus, the self-cleaning brush rolls ensure that no hair becomes wrapped or tangled around the barrels to slow down cleaning. The front of the floor head is also home to a strip of LED lights to illuminate the path in front so you don’t miss any dirt and debris, as well as the nozzle that houses the odor-neutralizer cartridge.

What I mistook as the lever to adjust the angle of the floor head turned out to be the locking mechanism for the telescopic tube. The telescopic tube easily clips into place, while the handheld vacuum clips into the top of it.

The handheld vacuum is essentially the brains of the operation. The two buttons that control the vacuum sit on its base right below an LED panel that indicates whether the vacuum is in carpet or hard floor mode. It’s here that you’ll also find the dust canister, whose 0.79qt capacity is fairly small. For example, it had to be emptied six times when vacuuming up two weeks of dog hair in the master bedroom.

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight

There’s a button on the front of the dust canister to pop it out of the handheld, and then two buttons on either side of the canister to open it on top. While I found it easy to empty, some might prefer a dust canister that opens from the bottom, allowing for quick emptying into the trash without any chance of any dust escaping.

Weighing in at just under 9lbs – or 3lbs, using the handheld on its own – the Shark Stratos corded is pretty lightweight. And, although you might at first think that the fact that it’s corded could hold you back, the cord offers more than enough length, 30ft to be exact, to reach across rooms.

The Shark Stratos’s modular design means that removing the handheld or the tube from the base and attaching one of the three included attachments is hassle-free. In addition, I found that the included crevice tool, upholstery tool, and pet power brush were sufficient to cover just about all my cleaning needs. Note that there are several other attachments available for purchase.

To those who might be wondering about how to keep the vacuum upright if it can’t stand on its own; simply unclip the handheld from the telescopic and clip it on the front of the floorhead stand. Then, it will happily stand unsupported all day long.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight: Performance

  • Excellent suction, regardless of use case

  • Dust canister and floor head a little sticky

  • Odor neutralizer makes everything smell fresh

When it comes to performance, I wasn’t expecting the Stratos Corded Stick Vacuum to be quite as powerful as it is. It takes just one or two passes over an area of mess to achieve a spotless floor, whether that’s on hard flooring or carpet. It proved just as adept at cleaning the edges and into corners of rooms with its wide brush rolls and floorhead. And, using the handheld portion with any supplied attachment delivered similarly stellar results when pulling pet hair off upholstery and sucking cobwebs from the ceiling.

The Shark Stratos Corded handled dust and small particles, pet hair, and large-ish bits of debris with aplomb. It even sucked up a piece of plastic that was a couple of inches in diameter in an instant. Of course, the LED light on the front helped ensure I didn’t miss anything.

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight floorhead on a wooden floor
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight floorhead on a wooden floor

As mentioned, unclipping the handheld and clipping on attachments is super easy. The only issues I’ve encountered when using this vacuum are when trying to pull out the dust canister, which can stick a little, and adjusting the floor head, which doesn’t tilt smoothly – although, when it does, it goes far enough to easily reach under furniture.

I thought the odor-neutralizer technology, which is essentially an air freshener in cartridge form, was a gimmick. And while I remain nonplussed over the fact that there’s only one scent available, it does leave floors feeling and smelling fresh. Note that you can adjust the strength of the scent by turning the cartridge in place. I’m definitely a fan.

  • Performance: 4.5 / 5

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight floorhead closeup
Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight floorhead closeup

Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight: Report card

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How I tested the Shark Stratos Corded Ultralight

To test the Shark Stratos Corded, I used it for a week to vacuum both carpets and hardwood floors in my house as well as the stairs, upholstery, ceilings, and under furniture. I tested the odor neutralizer to gauge whether it actually brings any benefit, and paid particular attention to how the vacuum performed along edges and into the corners of rooms, as well as its handling of debris of all sizes.

I’ve tested a lot of gear over the years from laptops and audio equipment to vacuum cleaners and air fryers, and so have been able to use my expertise to give an honest and fair opinion, not to mention a critical eye, to any product I test.

Read more about how we test

Tested December 2023