This machine was one of the hardest machines I have ever had to review, It has so many functions, and does so many things right, yet at the same time fails at the thing it promises to do so well at. This machine will always have a place in my closet, and hopefully shark will learn from the failures of this model and craft a model to correct these problems.
In addition if you haven't read my pre-review blogging of my experiences I would HIGHLY recommend you do that. It contains results from some of the tests I did with the sonic duo on many types of floors and in various situations. It can be found HERE.
Formula and Pads
At the heart of the Sonic Duo cleaning system is the Shark solutions and pads that are made for the machine. These formulas are concentrated (more on that later) and work with the reusable pads (that come with the refill formula). The system (at the time of writing) has four pads that can be used with it: Carpet, Carpet Stain, Hard Floor, and Polish. Each pad is unique and the pads are color coded to prevent confusion.
Here are the various pads that can be used with the machine:
Hard Floor Cleaning:
Hard Floor Polishing:
Carpet Cleaning Performance:
When it comes to carpet performance this machine promises the moon, claiming to get your carpets "1.5 times brighter" and to remove ground in dirt from below the surface. When I first heard these claims I was quite skeptical as they sounded far too good to be true, but their "demonstration photos" showed a very large amount of improvement, so I gave Shark the benefit of the doubt, thinking of all of their previous success and hoping that they once again hit it out of the park. I eagerly got the floor vacuumed, the solution prepared and the pad attached, going slowly to let the machine try and get anything it could, waiting to see the carpets become bright and clean again, but the brightening never happened. Although I was disappointed by the lack of carpet brightening I was very pleased to see that some of the tough stains that have been in the carpet for a great deal of time (and resisted many attempts to remove them) have vanished.
Overall I have changed my ideas on how the machine works, thinking of it as a machine that removes stains as opposed to a machine that can be used for maintenance cleaning and brightening. In this regard the machine is significantly worse than a Hot Water Extraction machine or HWE, which never fail to brighten my carpets, AND remove all the stains. To sum it up carpet performance is my only complaint about the machine, and I think there will be many others in the same boat with me, having complaints about the Sonic Duo on carpet.
For carpet cleaning I cannot recommend this machine, which is a disappointment.
If you are looking for a carpet cleaner check out the Hoover SteamVac
Hard Floor Cleaning:
On hard floors this machine kicks butt! The Sonic Duo is almost magic when it comes to cleaning hard floors, the dual heads vibrating their way to a clean floor. This system works by first spraying solution out onto the floor which loosens the dirt and acts as a suspension buffer to get the dirt off of the floor and into the pad. The pads are designed with three different sections on them, a smooth and soft section to absorb and buff, a scrubby section to scrub tough dirt and spots off of the floor, and a noodle section to get into all of the nooks and crannies while mopping up the dirt and solution mixture. The pad works quite well and is always dirty after I am done cleaning a floor with the Sonic Duo, leaving the pad dirty and the floor shiny and clean. Every floor I have thrown the Sonic Duo at has seen great results, with the lone exception being the granite, however the granite is almost impossible to clean.
The Sonic Duo makes the task of cleaning a hard floor very easy, allowing you to get the job done quite quickly and leave the floors absolutely spotless. The machine lives up to the claim of getting the job done in half the time of a mop and bucket. the results are also better than a mop and bucket, as the sonic duo does not spread dirty water over the floor, instead spreading new solution over the floor before picking up the dirty solution in its absorbent pad.
Hard Floor Polishing:
If the Sonic Duo mad my hard floors shiny after they were cleaned, the polish makes them sparkle, after applying the polish my hardwood floors shined like they were brand new. This is a shine that they haven't had for many years, but the Sonic Duo was able to do it. The polishing process starts by first going through the hard floor cleaning process and waiting 5 minutes for the floor to dry. After the floor is clean and dry the polishing pad is attached to the Sonic Duo and the polishing process begins. Polish is squirted onto the floor and the sonic duo rubs and buffs the polish onto the surface of the floor, making it shine and truly sparkle. Once you are done with the polishing process an hour should be given to let the polish dry before walking on the floor again.
The Shark Sonic Duo is a great machine on hard floors, but overall it just falls flat when it comes to carpeting, getting the stains out, but not doing much more than that. I will be keeping the sonic duo in my closet, as it is an amazing hard floor cleaning and polishing machine, but will not be asking any more from it in terms of carpeted performance.
Overall, if you are looking for carpet cleaning, keep looking. If you are looking for hard floor cleaning and the occasional carpet spot removal the Sonic Duo is the machine for you.
Carpet Score: 4/10
Hard Floor Score: 10/10
Overall Score: 7.5/10