If you live in an apartment where you don’t have room to store a full-sized upright vacuum, cleaning the place may become an issue. Especially if you’re a dog or cat owner!

If your place also has a lot of hard-to-reach corners, that also rules out most of the robot vacuums. If all this sounds familiar, check out the Shark Wandvac Self-Emptying System as a cleaning tool. In this vacuum review, we’ll look at this powerful, lightweight cordless vacuum and share the results of our tests so that you can decide if this vacuum suits your house cleaning needs.

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    Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System Vacuum Review image
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    Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System: First Impressions & Specs

    Shark is a big brand name in the vacuuming world. Shark vacuum cleaners are often compared to some of the most popular vacuums on the market, like Dyson’s.

    The Shark Wandvac is designed as a lightweight cordless stick vacuum that empties itself. So if you’re someone who regularly forgets to empty your vacuum’s dustbin (or maybe you’re like me and just don’t like doing it), the Shark Self-Empty System is a perfect find for you. The system takes this bit of maintenance off your hands, and you always have your vacuum ready to start cleaning your house.

    Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System: First Impressions & Specs image

    Another obvious perk of this vacuum is that it’s cordless and ultra-lightweight. I’ve experienced a few handheld vacuums before, which were too heavy for me to finish cleaning in one go. The Shark Wandvac System weighs 13.85 lbs (6.3kg) together with the charging base (which you won’t have to move during cleaning).

    The vacuum itself transforms from the upright stick to an above-floor vacuum and to a small hand vacuum that only weighs 2.1 lbs (0.9kg), which you can use to quickly clean a spill without any effort.

    Before we move on to talk about the Shark vacuum’s design and performance, here’s the list of tech specifications of this cordless vacuum cleaner.

    • Dimensions: 8.75 x 11 x 43.5 in (22 x 28 x 110cm)
    • Weight: 13.85 lbs (6.3kg)
    • Type: cordless bagless stick vacuum
    • Cleaning path width: 8.35 in (21.2cm)
    • Capacity: 2.2 lbs (0.99kg)
    • Dust cup capacity: 0.13 quarts
    • Filter: HEPA H-10, washable
    • Wattage: 120W
    • Voltage: 14.4 Volts
    • Noise level: 80 dB
    • Extra accessories: duster crevice tool, pet hair multi-tool
    • Battery type: lithium Ion
    • Color: white
    • Price: $329.99 on the Shark website and Amazon.

    Design and Unpacking

    The Shark Wandvac comes unassembled, with all parts fitting together in one box. After taking all of the contents out of the box, you can either use a quick start guide to put your cordless vacuum together or do it without using any instructions. The whole system is intuitive. I put the Shark Wandvac together in a matter of minutes without looking at the guide.

    What’s in the Box

    Design and Unpacking image

    Here’s everything you’ll find in the box while unpacking your Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System vacuum:

    • Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System Vacuum
    • Self-Empty Charging Base with HEPA filter & quiet mode
    • Duster crevice tool
    • Pet tool
    • Quick Start Guide & Owner’s Guide

    Right from the start, I recommend doing one thing that will improve the look of your Shark Wandvac vacuum – peeling off all the labels you find on it. The labels are a thoughtful touch. Each of them helps you assemble and get to know how the vacuum works, but they spoil the overall appearance of the gadget. I believe the labels are there to be peeled off after (or even before) the first use.

    Design and Unpacking image 2

    The Shark Wandvac feels well-built and not fragile. The body of the vacuum, as well as the charging dock, are made of sturdy hard plastic. All parts easily connect together, and don’t feel like they’d easily break in case you drop them. The smaller part of the vacuum – the ergonomic handheld vacuum – feels super light and comfortable to hold.

    Design and Unpacking image 3

    The charging base doesn’t take up too much space, so you’ll be able to find a corner to tuck it in, even in a small apartment. The whole unit, together with the vacuum, doesn’t take up too much space either, so you won’t have a problem storing it in tight spaces. Plus, it looks stylish and modern. If anything, it’ll complement your apartment.

    Design and Unpacking image 4

    The back of the charging dock comes with an accessory storage space where you can attach one of your accessories – the duster crevice tool or the per multi-tool.

    Design and Unpacking image 5

    One thing that I found frustrating was the power cord, which I found too short for my apartment. You’ll probably have to find a place for the charging station right near the plug for the charger to reach the wall easily. Alternatively, you’ll have to use an extension cord as I did.

    On the other hand, if you place the dock too close to the outlet and don’t want the charging cord to be visible, you can wrap the excess cord around the cord management slot near the bottom of the dock base.

    On the handle of the vacuum, right under the power button, you’ll find three bright LED lights. These lights indicate how much battery you have remaining in your vacuum. Three lights are illuminated when the vacuum cleaner is fully charged, two lights for mid-charge, and one light for about 30% charge left. When the light starts blinking, you’ll know it’s time to pause your cleaning and charge your Shark Wandvac handheld vacuum.

    Design and Unpacking image 6

    Cleaning Performance

    I found the Shark Wandvac Self-Emptying system to be a great help around the house. We tested the vacuum on hard floors, and it had no problem picking up large debris and fine dust. We don’t have a carpet at home, but the test we did on a couch proved that this vacuum could tackle different types of surfaces.

    However, before you get to cleaning, you need to assemble your Shark Wandvac vacuum and put it on charge.

    The Setup Process

    After you get your cordless handheld vacuum out of the box, you’ll need to go through the setup process before you get started cleaning. Luckily, assembling the Shark Wandvac isn’t complicated and will only take a few minutes of your time. To assemble the vacuum, connect the wand to the nozzle of the main brush and then connect the hand vacuum to the wand.

    When you put each part in place, you’ll hear a distinctive click. To assemble the dock, slide the charging post into the slot located on top of the charging base until it clicks into place. Then place the vacuum on the dock in a downward motion. You’ll know it’s properly attached when you hear the emptying of the dust cup process begin (it’s pretty loud, so you won’t miss it).

    Cleaning Performance image

    Make sure you fully charge your Shark Wandvac vacuum before the first use. That should take about 3 hours.


    Thanks to the different accessories included in the package, there are many different ways you can use the Shark Wandvac System to clean your apartment. If you prefer the upright stick mode, you can keep the PowerFins floor nozzle on for a deeper floor cleaning. Or you can ditch the wand and switch to the handheld vacuum cleaner mode with an accessory of your choice.

    Cleaning Performance image 2

    In our experience, the PowerFins nozzle is the best for general floor cleaning. The suction power is strong enough to pick up all of the messes in our apartment. We also tested it in our neighbor’s place, which has a massive dog hair problem, and the vacuum did a wonderful job there as well. The self-cleaning brushroll must be really working since we never experienced any hair wraps or traps during testing.

    Cleaning Performance image 3

    The duster crevice tool is perfect for cleaning up any tight spaces you may have in your apartment. In my experience, it was the spider web on the ceiling of our mezzanine that I kept looking at but could never get to. The Shark Wandvac + the duster crevice worked great at picking all of that up for me.

    Cleaning Performance image 4

    The multi-tool is designed for pet hair and upholstery and will do a great job at cleaning your car as well. Shark Wandvac is probably one of the best cordless vacuums for car cleaning, thanks to its portability and lightweight design. Detach the handheld vacuum from the wand and carry it inside your car without worrying about a power cord getting in the way. You can use both accessories for cleaning the vehicle’s salon and for getting into tight corners.

    Cleaning Performance image 5

    Aside from car cleaning, I found that this hand vac works great on furniture, dusty window sills, bookshelves, and stairs. In other words, all of the places that a standard stick vacuum would struggle to get to.

    The handheld part of the Shark Wandvac system has a dust cup, which you can empty manually or let the vacuum do it automatically once you place the vacuum back onto the charging dock. The dust cup has a small capacity of 0.12 liters. When you slide the release button forward, the dust cup will swing open.

    Cleaning Performance image 6

    The Self-Emptying Process

    If you’re not a fan of emptying the vacuum’s dust bin yourself, the Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System can do it for you. After you’re finished cleaning, place the vacuum on the charging dock until it clicks.

    Once it’s attached, you’ll hear the auto-evacuation process begin. The self-emptying process is rather loud (surprisingly, not as loud as the auto-emptying on the Botslab S8 Plus), but it only lasts for 10 seconds.

    If you need the vacuum to be quiet, you can disable the auto-emptying process for the time being. To do that, press the mute button on the charging dock. Quiet mode is perfect for when you don’t want to disturb other people or pets in the house.

    Cleaning Performance image 7

    The best part about the auto-emptying feature is that you can forget those nasty dust clouds when you empty the vacuum’s dust bin manually. The Wandvac automatically empties fine dust, debris, and allergens into a sealed system with HEPA filtration.

    Short Run Time

    The first time I got to use this vacuum, I felt like it was too good to be true. And then I noticed that after about 12 mins of run time, the LED light started blinking, reminding me that I needed to put the vac on charge. The next time I used the Wandvac, I managed to get the whole 15 mins out of it, but that was its maximum.

    To be fair, I only have two small rooms, and I’m done cleaning before the battery runs out. But if you own a bigger home, this vacuum won’t suffice for any significant cleaning sessions. The Shark Wandvac is perfect for quick clean-ups but not for a top-to-bottom deep cleaning of your entire place.

    Battery Life

    The Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System comes with lithium-ion batteries pre-installed. You’ll need about 3.5 hours to charge the vacuum from zero fully.

    Shark claims that the unit will run for 17 mins at full charge, but remember that you can only reach those results using the handheld vacuum. When you attach the wand and the floor nozzle, the time is reduced by a few minutes, making the already short battery life even shorter.

    Like all lithium-ion products, the battery will naturally decrease in capacity over time. However, the Wandvac system comes with a long 5-year limited warranty, with a 2-year battery warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee. If the battery fails during the warranty period, you can request a free replacement.

    Should You Buy the Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System?

    Shark Wandvac Self-Empty System is a perfect vacuum cleaner for anyone who lives in a small-to-medium-size apartment, doesn’t like to empty the vacuum’s dust bin manually, and needs a versatile cleaning tool that can tackle different surfaces.

    Add the lightweight and portability factor, and you’ll get a definite yes to whether you should get this vacuum for your house cleaning needs. The only real downside of this cleaning beast is the short run time, so I wouldn’t recommend getting it as a primary vacuum cleaner for a big house.

    And if you’re looking for a fully-automated cleaning option, consider getting a robot vacuum that will do all of the house cleaning for you.

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