I agree: I have a lingering fear ever since I reviewed the Shark smart vacuum. The company’s other home appliances can be speculative in terms of price options, but when I received its first robotic vacuum cleaner, I ran it 35 times and it didn’t map. I lived in a 1,000-square-foot house where I could walk from my bed to my daughter’s bedroom in 12 steps.
So my expectations for Shark’s AI Ultra new robot vacuum were very low mainly because I hate most robots. I’ve tried it over the years, and few seem faster or more effective than just pulling out my Swiffer. But time has passed, for me and Shark. Now that I live in a large house with different types of floors, the Shark AI Ultra has become one of my most trusted cleaning companions. It may not be as rigid as the larger and more expensive Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni, but it performs amazingly well at half the price.
If you are familiar with robot vacuums, you know that they are often difficult to install. This doubles as a robot vacuum that acts as a mop. If you want to start a vacuum from your phone, without taking it to the kitchen, you have to… find a place to put it in the kitchen. That way, the robot doesn’t have to walk, drip, across your carpet.
Most of the robots I’ve tested can be stored in smart places (I’ve parked a few under the bed), but usually the enclosures take up a lot of space. Chances are you’ll have to move the trash can and dog food bin in the kitchen, as I did, to place Shark AI Ultra. Accessories are a problem. Some robots, like the iRobot Roomba j7+, have storage bins inside the station, but others like the Shark require you to remove the shelf from your room.
When you switch between mopping and vacuuming, you also have to switch between dusting, so I needed to find a good place that I would never forget. It comes with an effective and harmless cleaning method. (If you don’t like it, you can use plain water.)
Shark’s Bay itself is pretty unremarkable. I measured 14 inches high by 19 inches deep, which isn’t too big compared to other empty stations. When I plugged it in and charged it, it accurately photographed my (larger) house after 20 minutes of painting – a huge improvement over my first Shark robots.
To Each His Own
Everyone uses a robot vacuum and mop differently. Some people want to pack up their whole house after the kids go to bed, establish a routine, and wake up to a shiny new house, like a group of elves passed through the night.
I used to wash like this. But now that my husband is going to work and I’m raising two graders, a dog, and a wild animal during the week, I take my sanity for granted. Shark’s SharkClean app (iOS, Android) is simple and easy to use. After mapping out my house, I chose separate rooms and added a no-go area near the fireplace, where the toilets fall into.
When my kids go to school, I take it from the kitchen, fill the spray bottle, and lock it in the robot locker. I really appreciate that the app gives a time estimate (which is accurate) of how long it will take to clean. I was also surprised at how well the polish worked. It is very difficult for a robot vacuum cleaner to manage. If it produces too little water, it is not effective. Too much and leave your floor a dripping mess.
The Shark Bin produces enough cleaning water, and most importantly, it they tremble as they mop the floor. When you select the UltraMop in the app to view-clean, you can see a squiggly pattern on the floor as it mops. The microfiber cleaning pad, which was easy to slide in and out of the bin, showed a lot of dirt.