Shark AI vs. Shark IQ: Which Is Better?
In this article, we will compare the Shark AI vs. Shark IQ line of robots.
If you are looking for a cheaper Roomba alternative, one of your best options is Shark. But how does the Shark AI differ from the Shark IQ?
There’s a rumor online that the latter is the “dumber Sharks,” but how true is this?
Let’s find out!
Shark AI vs. Shark IQ: Main Differences
The biggest difference between the Shark AI and Shark IQ models is their navigation software and sensors. IQ Navigation is limited to row-by-row coverage, while AI Laser Navigation offers object detection and avoidance, virtual no-go zones, and more.
The UltraClean mode is a targeted, deep-cleaning mode that allows your Shark AI robot vacuum to focus more on high-traffic areas or spaces that need more cleaning. During this mode, the Sharks will increase their suction power and clean in multiple directions.
The self-cleaning brushroll avoids clumps of pet hair and long strands of human hair from wrapping around the main brush. This feature greatly reduces manual cleaning time of your robot vacuums.
The Shark AI RV2610WA model, also known as the Shark AI 2-in-1 robot vacuum, offers simultaneous vacuuming and mopping. When Sonic Mopping is engaged, it scrubs your floors at high speeds.
Why Shark AI?
Shark IQ models use LiDAR tech to scan the environment in your home, thus creating a map that they will use to detect and avoid objects when cleaning even if that takes place at night with the lights turned off. The best part of the AI line is that they can adapt to changes in furniture placement and more. Rest assured these robots will deliver total coverage across your floor, plus you can set up no-go zones using the SharkClean app for areas you don’t want the robot to enter. This is a convenient feature if you have dogs or if you work remotely.
Shark AI Ultra Robot Vacuum Self-Empty (AV2501S)
The Shark AI Ultra AV2501S is one of the few products in Shark’s lineup utilizing LiDAR technology, thus it works faster and more precisely in positioning and contactless detection compared to units that use gyroscopes and infrared systems alone.
Owing to this tech, the robot vacuum provides a map of your home and recognizes objects four inches or taller as an obstacle. Rest assured the robot will gingerly approach delicate items and maneuver around them, thus avoiding risky collisions. Since it’s LiDAR, this little helper can work day and night for you and it is surprisingly quiet when running.
The best part about the Shark AV2501S is it makes two thorough cleaning passes back and forth before cleaning from side to side. Also called UltraClean, activating this mode allows you to deep-clean single rooms, high-traffic zones, or specific spots.
As such, the robot doesn’t leave any gaps and it optimizes dirt collection, thus saving battery life.
As for suction, this model offers high-power “Max,” default “Normal,” and energy-saving “Eco.” The SharkClean app has all the powerful tools to let you command your robot. You can name rooms, identify high-traffic areas, draw no-go zones, set schedules, and more!
Got allergies? Hate takin’ out the trash? Enjoy a hands-free operation! The robot will head back to its docking station to empty itself and while that process can be as loud as a jet engine ━ thankfully, it only lasts for three seconds. What’s more, the Self-Empty Base features TRUE HEPA filtration, capturing roughly 99% of allergens down to 0.3 microns in size.
But as a pet parent to a dog that sheds an ungodly amount, what really stood out for me is the PowerFins, and I’m sure you’ll love it as I do even if you don’t have pets. Comprising flexible silicone fins, it digs deep into carpets and engages floors directly and continuously. It’s a self-cleaning brushroll, so it delivers non-stop hair removal!
- Adapts to constant changes at home and cleans in all light conditions
- No more unnecessary collisions with its 360 vision and advanced obstacle recognition
- Cleans in two complete passes back and forth, then side to side in UltraClean Mode
- Everything can be controlled via the app… or your voice
- Offers hands-free operation with the self-cleaning brushroll and self-emptying dock
- Only maps 1 floor
- Has a fairly small dustbin, thus the robot might need to self-empty more frequently than expected
Shark AI Ultra Vacuum & Mop (RV2610WA)
If you are a vacuum enthusiast, I bet you know how disappointing hybrids can be. Oftentimes, it’s either they fail at mopping or they deliver subpar performance in both. However, the Shark Ultra 2-in-1 robot vacuum is here to break away from the norm with its Sonic Mopping.
According to Shark, the mop scrubs 1000x per minute when UltraMop is activated via the app. While I can’t determine the claim’s accuracy, the robot did delete melted coffee and other evidence of my clumsiness this morning. I also like that the pads are sustainable; you can just throw them into the washing machine.
Another selling point of the RV2610WA model is its UltraClean Mode which prompts the robot to increase suction and create multiple passes for a deep-clean. This model also boasts of better edge cleaning; CleanEdge technology uses blasts of air and corner recognition software.
Damaged furniture? Impossible. Obstacle avoidance is great, owing to its LiDAR technology. The robot detects any object 4.5 inches or bigger as an obstacle to avoid and figures out how to maneuver around it. The robot is so careful but even when it does bump against furniture, it doesn’t scratch. The robot will then do a minor adjustment and approach that obstacle at a slower pace the next time.
The Shark AI Ultra Vacuum & Mop is also perfect for homes with indoor fluffy pets because it comes equipped with a self-cleaning brushroll. And similar to the AV2501S model, it empties itself into a bagless base but this one is larger that can hold twice more.
- Vacuums and mops simultaneously
- Uses 360 vision and advanced obstacle recognition
- Cleans in multiple passes in UltraClean mode and offers better edge cleaning
- Controllable via the app… or your voice
- Enjoy hands-free operation with its self-cleaning brushroll and self-emptying dock
- Base can hold up to 60 days’ worth of debris
- Only maps 1 floor
- Self-emptying is not applicable when the robot works with the mop attachment
- Doesn’t avoid rugs and carpets during mop mode
Last update on 2023-05-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Why Shark IQ?
The Shark IQ models are the best budget-friendly self-emptying robot vacuums on the market. While the IQ robot vacs don’t have LiDAR navigation that could have given them 3D vision and AI capabilities, they continue to get better and better as they collect more data for their image database. The robots create logical routes and make parallel sweeps aligning to the walls. The robot comes with a physical boundary strip that will prevent it from cleaning areas you want it to avoid, such as pet bowls or shoe laces.
Shark IQ Robot Vacuum with XL Self-Empty Base (AV1010AE)
Cut to the chase — the Shark IQ AV1010AE is a fabulous option for those looking for a straightforward, budget-friendly robot vacuum that can empty its own dustbin. The robot will find its way back to the docking station, empty its own dustbin, and then go back to wherever it left off. With an extra-large base, it can hold roughly 45 days’ worth of dirt and debris compared to the 30-day standard capacity. The emptying base is also bagless, thus reducing ongoing costs.
There are three cleaning modes to choose from: Eco, Normal, and Max. Unless you wish to deep-clean a particular room, I recommend running the robot in Eco mode for a full house clean. Even in its lowest setting, this Shark does an excellent job of cleaning dust and debris knocked off of shoes. Not everything will be picked up on its first go-around, but the robot doesn’t stop until your floor is squeaky clean.
Unfortunately, the IQ AV1010AE falls behind with navigation and mapping because it doesn’t rely on a laser or camera-based system. Regardless, this model still has the upper hand compared to other robot vacuums within its price range because it cleans row by row instead of randomly bouncing.
Additionally, this little Shark generates a map of one level of your home as it goes about its business, although the robot will take more than a few runs to learn your home. After the robot finishes mapping, you can name each room and from then on, you can choose which room your robot cleans.
But before that, you may have to spend a generous amount of time taping down cables, picking up small items, and marking your pet’s corner with a magnetic boundary strip. Otherwise, your Shark could knock them over.
The lack of a self-cleaning brushroll is another gripe I have. This model uses what Shark calls a “multi-surface brush,” which is basically just a regular bristle brush. But if you aren’t too concerned about pets and long human hair, then this won’t be an issue.
- Bagless base can hold up to 45 days’ worth of dirt collection
- Delivers row by row coverage
- A budget option that can generate one map and provide room selection
- Decent battery life
- You need to run the robot in well-lit conditions
- The app doesn’t provide much control over the robot
- Much repping is required before you run the robot
- This model lacks a self-cleaning brushroll
- BotBoundary Strip is sold separately
Shark IQ Robot Vacuum with Self-Cleaning Brushroll & XL Self-Empty Base (AV1002AE)
Shark has dozens of models that are virtually indistinguishable. A good example is the Shark IQ AV1002AE. The only difference that sets the AV1002AE and AV1010AE is the type of brush they use. The Shark in question claims to be better because it comes equipped with a self-cleaning brushroll and therefore, it is a much better choice for pets in theory.
Coming from an owner of a double-coated breed, this Shark is a tremendous help with keeping up with the pet pair, but long human hair is another story. This model also comes with a roll of BotBoundary strip that you can use to keep the robot out of areas you don’t want it.
Is the Shark AV1002AE worth the extra dollars for its self-cleaning brushroll? If you don’t have to deal with pet hair, I suggest you buy the other because it is cheaper.
- Identical to the Shark IQ AV1010AE, except that it offers a self-cleaning brushroll
- Comes with one roll of BotBoundary strip
- Human hair can still get tangled in the brush
- The robot doesn’t do well in dim conditions
- You need to pick up small items, such as cords and socks before running the robot
Last update on 2023-05-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Shark AI vs. Shark IQ: How They Stack Up
To evaluate the performance of each robot vacuum, we ran a deep-clean of a 300 sq. feet studio apartment before scattering various types of common household debris for the robot to collect (sugar, black peppercorns, cereal, cotton balls, and shredded paper). We repeated the same process before starting each model.
We are impressed with the vacuum features of the two Shark AI models. Both the Shark IQ AV2501S and Shark IQ RV2610WA redocked with roughly 98% of the total amount of litter used for this test and we didn’t even have to put them on their highest setting.
We wanted to figure out what difference the UltraClean mode makes, so we redid the test and added finer debris, such as cornstarch and glitter. The results were still stellar and this time, the cleaning time was even cut by half.
The Shark IQ models AV1010AE and AV1002AE also delivered great cleaning results but take a tad longer than their AI counterparts. There were a couple of areas where they got stuck but they did find their way out of their own after two minutes or so. My biggest gripe, however, is that it’s risky to run these robots in real everyday situations if you skip on priming your house.
The Shark AI and IQ models all have great cleaning performance in low-pile carpets, picking up nearly the same amount. But when we up the ante by letting our dogs roll over the carpets, the IQ models clearly lagged behind in terms of pet hair pickup in carpets.
The Shark IQ models offer decent performance in high-pile carpet cleaning. But if you live with a heavy shedder or if your area has a high percentage of dust problem, you really cannot expect these robots to completely eliminate pet hair and the particles in the air that settle deep into the carpet fibers.
The Shark AI models weren’t made to be deep-cleaning wonders either. However, these robots are superior to the IQ models because of the way they clean. If you keep this in mind and run daily maintenance, then any of the Shark AI models can meet your expectations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Shark AI vacuum in the dark?
Can you use Shark AI without WiFi?
Is Shark just as good as Roomba?
Shark AI Models vs. Shark IQ Models: The Verdict
All Shark models have excellent pick up but because of the laser navigation and obstacle detection, the AI models have a significant cutback in cleaning time, and this feature optimizes battery life so that your robots can clean more spaces. The AI models are a lot better at getting themselves out of tight spots than the IQ models.
I would still recommend the IQ models for those willing to live with their flaws. But if you have pets and young kids that tend to leave cords, yarns, and other small items across floors or if you had a bad experience in the past with pet poo getting dragged by a robot vacuum, then you might want to consider any of the Shark AI models.