Let’s get a couple of things out of the way up front. The Shark Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean IZ201 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner doesn’t roll off the tongue in the same way that the V11, the TriFlex or the Powerstick Jet does. Shark does not give its vacuum cleaners economical names.
Nor is it as aesthetically pleasing as some of the luxury brands, with a cleaning head striped in red, black and yellow that’s reminiscent of hazard symbols or the colouring of snakes you’d be well advised to avoid.
In every other respect, however, this might as well be a luxury model. It’s a brilliant appliance with a solid cleaning performance and features, such as headlights, a storage mode and the Flexology wand, that make it great value for its price point.
Price and availability
The Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean IZ201 is widely available from online retailers and has an RRP of £249.95. It was originally priced at £349. It comes in orange (the model we tested, which you’ll see in the pictures) and teal.
At the time of writing, it’s selling for approximately £249 at almost all stockists. You can buy it from John Lewis for £249, the Shark site itself for £249.95 and Currys PC World for £249. But if you’re ready to purchase, check around to make sure you’re getting the best price – especially as we’re heading towards Black Friday, when some products may be discounted.
If you have a higher budget, you can buy the IZ251UKT model, which comes with an extra battery. At the moment, the version with the spare battery is available for £349.93 from Shark or £369 from Amazon UK.
What you get in the box
The IZ201 model includes the vacuum itself, with a removable battery. You can charge the battery either when it’s in the vacuum cleaner or alone. There’s also a motorised cleaning head with bright LEDs to help you to seek and destroy dust and hairballs – and if you haven’t tried a vac with lights on the front, it makes a real difference when cleaning dark corners and under furniture.
You’ll also get the jointed Flexology wand and three small attachments: a crevice tool, a brush head and another cleaning head which has a textured surface that’s ideal for brushing down furniture and clothing and removing pet fur.
You can buy an additional motorised tool specifically for pet hair but I wouldn’t bother with that. I have a dog and a cat and the tools provided did a fantastic job at removing pet hair from fabrics.
Design and performance
The IZ201 has strong suction and a great design.
One of the nicest things about it is how easy it is to empty the bin, remove the wand and change the cleaning attachments. I’ve tested a lot of vacuum cleaners and one of the annoying things about even very expensive, well-made cleaners is that the joints can be very stiff.
I often find myself struggling to remove the wand for a bit of spot cleaning and, after a brief fight (with the appliance braced against my foot), wind up using the main head anyway.
But the IZ201’s attachments slide off easily and its bin pops open without argument. It’s these things that make using a vacuum cleaner on a day-to-day basis simple and stress-free.
At 4.1kg, it isn’t the lightest cordless cleaner on the market. The Dyson V11, for example, is 2.97kg. (If weight is very important to you, the Halo Capsule is the lightest cordless cleaner we’ve tested, weighing in at only 2.6kg.)
However, its broad, wide cleaning head and rollers means that it remains well supported on the floor while you vacuum. And when used as a handheld cleaner, it weighs only 1.8kg.
In spite of the fact that I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since the dim and distant pre-lockdown days, I was quite comfortably able to hold it over my head for ten minutes at least to vacuum all the blinds in my flat.
The Flexology wand is one of the features that sets this cleaner apart from others on the market. The cleaning wand has a joint half way down its length. Click the lock release and it bends like a flamingo’s knee, so you can vacuum under the sofa and tables without having to bend or stoop. When you’re done, you can snap it back into place with a satisfying flick of the wrist.
The Flexology stick has another function. You can fold it right over to put the vacuum cleaner into storage mode. The cleaner can charge in this mode, which means that, unlike most cordless cleaners, you don’t need to hang it on the wall to charge and it’ll only take up a small amount of space (70 x 26 x 27cm).
The dustbin is quite small at 0.7 litres but that’s the case for most cordless cleaners on the market. The Dyson V11 is only slightly more capacious, at 0.76l, while the Miele TriFlex and the Powerstick Jet have just 0.5 litres of space.
It’s very easy to empty and it contains a washable HEPA filter. A HEPA filter is industry standard and will remove at least 99.97% of particles in the air down to 0.3 microns in size. Bear in mind that this is a bagless cleaner, so if you have a dust allergy there will still be a pain point when you’re at risk from dust clouds as you empty it into the bin.
The motorised cleaning head is well designed, with two rollers in the large base. The size of the cleaning head does make it more difficult to get into tight spots but the efficient suction means that it’ll clean all the way to the wall.
You can move between the carpet and hard floor settings with a switch on the handle, so there’s no need to change the head between different types of flooring.
And what of the anti hair wrap technology? It really works. The roller has a rubber fin that stops the hair from binding too tightly and makes it easy to remove. However, the cleaning head also has two tiny rollers – one on either side – and I found that these picked up and became clogged with pet fur, which was much more difficult to get out.
I’ve tested vacuum cleaners with a display screen, which I’ve found to be useful for keeping an eye on battery life. It’s much easier to get a sense of how much battery life you have left if you’re looking at a display that says 65% rather than judging by three or four lit bars (the value of one lit bar could mean anything from 1% to 25%).
The IZ201 shows battery life in a three bar display. When a third of the battery is almost up, that bar will flash. It’s not as accurate as a percentage, but it’s quite helpful.
The only flaw in the IZ201 is that it has a battery life of 40 minutes – and that’s at the lowest power setting. For general use, switching between settings, I found that half an hour was a realistic battery lifespan. By comparison, the Dyson V11 will give you almost an hour of cleaning time, although again at the lowest power setting.
The lithium-ion battery will charge in 3.5 hours, which again matches competitors.
Half an hour plus of cleaning time is fine for me and fine for most flat dwellers, but if you have a larger home and want to buy the IZ201, we’d recommend buying the version with a second battery. That does push the price up to £349.93, if you buy direct from Shark, but it’ll give you 80 minutes of cleaning time in total and still for considerably less than cleaners with similar specs.
The top-flight cleaners on the market (the Dyson V11, the Miele TriFlex, the Samsung Powerstick Jet) have comparable specs but cost comfortably twice as much, meaning this Shark cordless is in a league of its own.
There are some features you’ll miss out on: most notably, the V11’s display screen, which is really handy to ensure you don’t get surprised by a dying battery. But if I had to choose between that and the Flexology wand, I would go for the latter.
The only area in which the IZ201 can’t compete is in battery life, where it’ll give you 40 minutes compared to the luxury brands’ 60 minutes. But if you have a large home, we’d highly recommend getting a second battery anyway.
Having tried this vacuum cleaner, I wouldn’t pay more for another one and I think it’s worth every penny of its asking price.
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