If you’ve ever felt torn between the convenience of a cordless stick and the power of an upright vacuum cleaner, you’ll understand why the Shark ICZ300UKT exists.
Similar in size and shape to Shark’s corded upright vacuum cleaners – the Shark NV702UK, for example – it’s more than capable of performing a whole-house clean. However, it runs off a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to worry about trailing cables or swapping sockets when the cord’s at the end of its reach.
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As usual with Shark, this corded upright is available in two models, the ICZ300UK and the ICZ300UKT. The former has red trim and is otherwise identical to the blue ICZ300UKT, except for the selection of attachments that come with it.See related Best Shark vacuum cleaner 2022: Our favourite models for all your cleaning tasksBest vacuum cleaner 2022: The finest corded, cordless, bagged and bagless vacuums tested and reviewedBest robot vacuum cleaner 2022: Clean up with the most effective robot vacuums
The ICZ300UK comes with a dusting brush, an upholstery tool and a crevice tool, while the ICZ300UKT, which is the model I’m reviewing here, gets an additional motorised anti-hair-wrap pet tool, which ups the price by £30. As you’d expect, this tool is great for getting pet hair out of upholstery but it’s also worth having for any smaller job, particularly vacuuming stairs.
Otherwise, the two units are exactly the same, measuring 260 x 250 x 1,080mm (WDH) and weighing 6.2kg. Both come with a five-year warranty.
The main floor head is crammed with Shark’s recent innovations, featuring both a soft roller for hard floor and a brush roller to agitate carpet. The carpet brush has the usual bristles, but also has Shark’s PowerFins – strips of stiff fabric that do a great job of flicking particles out of the carpet and into the vacuum inlet. It’s protected by Shark’s excellent anti-hair-wrap tech, which dramatically reduces the amount of hair that gets tangled around the rollers.
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This model also has Shark’s Lift-Away design, which means you can detach the main unit from the floor head and carry it to areas that might otherwise be difficult to reach with a full-size vacuum. The wand releases from the main unit, so you can add attachments and reach into awkward places, and you can also remove the wand from the handle if you need to just use the 1.46m hose for jobs like upholstery cleaning.
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Just like Shark’s cordless sticks, the ICZ300UKT has a removable battery that lifts out of the unit and charges in a separate dock – this takes around 3.5 hours from empty. The vacuum’s HEPA-rated filters are also removable and can be cleaned under running water.
The front of the vacuum houses the 0.6-litre dust collection bin. This isn’t any larger than Shark’s cordless sticks, which is a pity, but it should still be enough capacity to get you around the house in one go.
Where the ICZ300UKT trumps Shark’s stick vacuums is with its power. I measured the suction of the maximum Boost setting at 30kPa. This is almost 50% higher than the Shark IZ300UKT cordless stick and it comes very close to the power delivered by Dyson’s latest premium models, the Dyson V15 Detect and the Dyson V11 Outsize. Cleaning prowess isn’t just about the suction power, but it certainly helps.
The other recent innovation that Shark has brought to this model is the screen and control panel on the top of the handle, which debuted on the Shark IZ300UKT. This is mostly to display how much battery capacity you have left, shown as a percentage that decreases in increments of 10%. It isn’t as accurate as the battery gauge on the Dyson V15 Detect or V11 Outsize, but you get more information than on most cordless models.
There are three buttons below the screen that are used to control the Shark: one to turn the machine on and off; another to choose between hard floor and carpet modes (the roller speed is dialled back on hard floor); and the third to cycle the suction power through its three settings: Eco, Deep Clean and Boost. Having the controls and information on the handle is very useful, and it can be operated easily with your thumb.
Like most uprights but unlike most cordless sticks (except for the AEG QX9), the Shark ICZ300UKT can stand upright, unsupported. It sounds like a small thing but it’s an annoyance to have to find somewhere to lean your vacuum every time you want to stop or pause cleaning, so it’s a feature that I love on this Shark model.
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And, while its 6.2kg weight sounds significant, it doesn’t feel particularly heavy to push around. Most of the weight is kept just above the floor head, with the battery and all the workings of the main vacuum unit kept well below the mid-height point. This keeps the handle light and the vacuum nice and manoeuvrable. The downside is that vacuuming under low furniture and up to kickboards in kitchens can be tricky as there’s more bulk set towards the floor.
It’s also a bit of a fiddle to remember how to release all the various bits and bobs. Where the wand meets the top of the main unit, there are no fewer than five different buttons and release catches to separate everything, from the hose to the collection bin. It’s all well labelled, but I still found myself having to pause and think about which blue catch to press to release the collection bin.
Once you’ve released the bin, though, emptying is simple. There’s a handle on the top and a button on the front to release a trap door in the bottom, which allows the dirt to fall out with minimal further encouragement. Shark’s anti-tangle floor head works wonders at keeping the rollers free of hair, too.
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In testing, the Shark ICZ300UKT performed extremely well. The soft roller is by far the best tool vacuum cleaners have at their disposal for collecting larger particles, because they trap them without crushing and guide them gently towards the suction tube. On both carpet and hard floor, the Shark gathered all 26g of a 26g Cheerio spill in a faultless, virtuoso performance.
It didn’t carry its perfect performance over to the flour test, but it still did a decent job. On hard floor, I measured 44g of a 50g spill making it into the collection bin. However, apart from a small residue near the start of our pass, it certainly didn’t leave 6g of flour behind. I suspect most of the missing flour was lining the tubes or caught in the floor head and would work its way into the bin eventually as I performed other cleaning tasks.
On short-pile carpet, it gathered a reasonably impressive 45g on a single pass, rising to 49g when I went back over it a couple of times. This is an excellent result, and shows how good those fins are at scooping up dirt. Overall, it’s around what I’d expect to see from Shark’s recent vacuums, which have proved themselves brilliant at cleaning across the board.
When testing the battery life, I found that it lasted 47mins 36secs on its Eco setting. Powered up to the maximum Boost mode, the battery only lasted 11mins 43secs, although that’s not far off the norm for a cordless running at full pelt. These results are a bit better than the same tests run on the Shark IZ300UKT cordless stick, with an extra ten minutes squeezed out on Eco.
I was very impressed with the cleaning power of the Shark ICZ300UKT. It was as good at picking up spillages in our tests as you could hope to expect, with results rivalling the best cordless sticks around. The battery life is good, outlasting the Shark IZ300UKT and similar to the Dyson V15 Detect.
There are a few compromises with cordless stick vacuums that you don’t have to make with this cordless upright, such as its ability to stand up unsupported. It’s also more powerful than most. On the flip side, it isn’t quite as good at getting into corners with its main floor head, although the Lift Away unit, hose and wand extension make it possible to reach anywhere when disassembled.
Overall, I love it. The two rollers of the DuoClean floor head are hard-working and do a terrific job in a variety of tricky situations. And the ICZ300UKT comes with the perfect balance of attachments that give it the ability to tackle any cleaning job. It’s a larger, heavier-duty vacuum and a bit more of a fiddle to charge and configure than most cordless sticks, but this is a price well worth paying if you want a superlative cordless vacuum cleaner at a reasonable price.
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