Hands-on review: Shark Anti Hair Wrap Vacuum Cleaner
Image credit: SharkNinja
The ideal product for hairy households willing to splash out on a premium vacuum cleaner.
SharkNinja may not be such a big name in the UK as Dyson, but it is hard not to draw parallels between the two. SharkNinja seems to be trying to prove that any item – no matter how mundane – can be taken to the next level with smart engineering. The latest Shark product range is the ‘Anti Hair Wrap’ vacuum cleaner: an upright vacuum cleaner range intended to harness pioneering new technology for the purposes of… tackling hair wrapping. OK, as a society we are facing bigger problems than hair getting tangled in the ends of our vacuum cleaners, but you can’t blame Shark for setting its sights on smashing this one.
We have been using the vacuum cleaner for almost two months now, with no serious problems encountered so far.
The Anti Hair Wrap Vacuum Cleaner is pleasantly compact: it is just under 120cm high, 26cm wide and 30cm deep, making it ideal for slipping away next to a bin or in a cupboard. Its size means the dust cup does need to be emptied reasonably frequently: you can get away with once a month for a one-bed flat, but a house will fill it up much faster. Emptying the cup is fairly quick and easy, although stubborn tangles of hair may need tugging out by hand.
The vacuum cleaner has a smart new feature in its LED ‘headlights’, which are found at the front of the main head attachment. They may sound gratuitous but proved very useful for cleaning poorly-lit rooms and under furniture.
The vacuum cleaner is not noisy; you don’t have to shout to be heard over it. Its suction is good: strong enough that we keep accidentally sucking up its cable (there is no cordless option available). Just using the main head attachment, the vacuum cleaner removed all types of dirt from hard floors – hair, fluff, sequins, flour, soil – with no visible remains, and did a very good job on carpets too. At 750W, it is a little more power-hungry than your bog-standard Henry vacuum cleaner (620W) but much more energy efficient than comparable premium models; for instance, the Dyson Big Ball Animal Upright is 1,200W.
The one big downside of the model is that it can be unwieldy. At 6.5kg it only weighs as much as a small dog but becomes tiring after just minutes of pushing that mass around one-handed (although to be fair to SharkNinja, this is an issue shared by all vacuum cleaners with this upright form factor). There is the option to unplug from the main vacuum cleaner body by switching to a different head attachment or with the ‘lift-away’ function (leave the main body on the floor and plug the main head attachment into the end of the vacuum tube) but the vacuum tube is quite short and we pulled the vacuum cleaner body over a few times while experimenting with lift-away and different attachments.
The USP for this vacuum cleaner is its anti-hair-wrapping technology. Now, we have a real problem with hair. This reviewer’s hair is very long (1m+). We have been frequently compared with Rapunzel or – less charitably – Samara from 'The Ring'. When wearing sunglasses back-to-front, we look exactly like Cousin It. Factor in the hirsute partner and the long-haired miniature sausage dog we babysit every week, and you get one irregularly hairy flat. Piles of hair gather in gross little piles. Sometimes, before visitors come over, we’ll scoop up and bin a few handfuls of hair but we may as well be picking it up with chopsticks given the sheer volume that ends up on the floor.
We are used to rubbing a hoover head repeatedly against a carpet, stirring disembodied hair up into tight nests, then picking it off the end of the vacuum cleaner head and dangling it, trying to get it sucked in and out of sight. Among our regular duties, it’s probably one of the most disgusting: up there with unblocking the shower drain, cleaning liquifying veg out of the back of the fridge, and using Twitter.
The Shark Anti Hair Wrap vacuum cleaner promises to: “[Remove] hair from the brush-roll so you don’t have to” and we are pleased to say that we have stopped having to do this since switching over to this model.
The vacuum cleaner head has two motorised brush rolls with rubber flaps to prevent hair getting stuck in the bristles, and a comb catches loops of hair and pass them up into the dust cup. The system is also kept constantly vibrating to keep hair loose and prevent it becoming trapped. The brush roll is not always spotless: this reviewer’s very long hair can get wrapped around the brush roll many times and remain there. However, the instruction manual reassures us that this is normal, and the hair will eventually make its way to the dust cup, and we haven’t seen build-up over the past weeks.
Bear in mind that it is only the main vacuum cleaner head, which has the full set of anti-hair-wrapping features, so hair can still get tangled in the other attachments. The model we tested comes with Shark’s tried-and-tested small-pet hair-focused head, however, which is well suited to cleaning stairs and fitting in gaps.
Shark is not the most budget-friendly brand, but it’s a great option for buyers who are 1) looking for a premium-feeling vacuum and 2) fed up of James Dyson. The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Vacuum Cleaner NZ801UKT this reviewer sampled comes in at £349.99 (reduced to £199.99 for Black Friday 2019), with other models in its anti-hair-wrapping range varying from £329.99 to £399.99. If you have long hair or pets and you’re willing to splash out a bit, this is worth the investment.
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