This vacuum promises a great deal of things both in the advertisements and even on the box of the product itself. It claims to have more power than a Dyson DC40 upright vacuum cleaner. Shark then goes further and shows the Rocket next to various upright vacuums in their advertisements. Shark markets the machine as a replacement for an upright vacuum. Unfortunately the Rocket simply lacks the performance to compete with an upright vacuum, and has other flaws that prevent me from recommending the Shark Rocket to most people in the market for a vacuum. Read on for more information about why I can’t recommend the vacuum.
The Shark Rocket is quite easy to push on carpet, at most times feeling almost self-propelled due to its light weight and fast brushroll. That said, the ease of use is negated as you will be spending a great deal of time going over the same spot multiple times if you want to actually clean your carpets. Unfortunately, the Rocket seems to lack much weight on the cleaning head, as such the brush cannot dig deep into the pile and get out any dirt. Furthermore, the dirt that is on top of the carpet is often either pushed forward (this is called “snowplowing” by the vacuum industry) or shot out the front as the suction is too weak.
The Rocket was also bad at pet hair pickup, leaving most of the dog hair on the floor rather than in the bin. In addition, the Shark doesn’t have a HEPA filter or a sealed bin (more on this in the Design Flaws section below), which caused me to launch into a sneezing fit after using in (in fact, it took 3 takes to get the Carpet section of the video review because I kept sneezing). This means that the dust and dirt that you just spend time picking up will be blown out the exhaust and land on your floor again. Overall, the carpet cleaning experience is inexcusably bad, and a sick joke for a machine claiming to “Out clean full-sized vacuums” (Shark’s website and the Rocket box).
The Shark Rocket has two ways of cleaning hard floors: the Dust-Away attachment, or the standard cleaning head with the brushroll. Both of these methods have their problems, and neither will do a great job at getting your floor clean. To start, let’s talk about the standard head. First, the head sits low to the floor and will not suck up large particles, instead pushing them along. Second, you cannot turn off the brushroll, only turn it to low speed, which will still kick the dirt that enters the head out. Third, the suction is too weak, and as such dirt won’t get picked up.
On the Dust-Away side, things aren’t much better. First, the suction channel is raised too high for the weak suction to be used effectively. This means that most dirt and dust will not get picked up by the Rocket. You can see this in the review video as the honey nut scooters were pushed across the floor and not picked up. Second, the vacuum will not stand up by itself and will fall over quite easily when in this mode, even when leaned against something like a wall or a chair. Third, the pad tends to simply push most of the dirt along the front edge, which can end up scratching your floors.
The one area where the Shark Rocket does well would be attachment usage. The Rocket’s light weight allows you maneuver it into tight spaces and get the dirt. The Rocket comes with three attachments in the box: a wide dusting tool, a combo brush, and a crevice tool. All three tools are good quality and do a good job at getting dirt and cleaning most items. Once again the lack of good filtration is a problem as the dirt that you just collected is being blown out the exhaust.
Due to the sheer number, I simply put my findings into a bullet pointed list.
- No HEPA filtration
- Bin leaks dirt due to lack of a seal
- Cord attached and bin not removable (when you want to empty the small bin, you must take the cord with you as the bin is attached and not removable)
- Does not stand up in any mode
- Weak suction
- Filters get dirty fast
- Snowplowing is a problem on carpet
- No option to turn off brush
- Small bin
- Cord hook not ergonomic at all
These are just the flaws I found in the short amount of testing I have done with the Rocket.
Overall the Shark Rocket is a very disappointing machine, because it promises so much, yet delivers so little. Overall, I cannot recommend the Shark Rocket in good faith as the machine does not perform anywhere near as well as it should, especially for its price ($150-250 depending on package). Perhaps Shark will fix these flaws and release the Shark Rocket 2, but until then, I would stay away from the Shark Rocket.