The Shark

It weighs less than two and 1/2 pounds, yet it claims to be strong enough to pick up two 16-pound bowling balls! Is the Shark hand-held vacuum really such a whale of a deal? Or will it leave you fishing for something better?

We first try the Shark on a collection of nuts and bolts, which makers say are no problem for this small hand-held vacuum. Right away, we notice the 600 watt vac is strong enough to suck-up the hardware. But... the pieces keep getting gripped in the Shark's jaws! The air-hole is simply too small. If we continue wiggling the pieces inside, the Shark continues to gobble them up. But who wants to do this all the while? You might as well just sweep it up by hand.

Next, its onto a test of dirt, pebbles, debris and ever-popular but messy popcorn. Again, the Shark has a big appetite, but can't "chew" fast enough to swallow! Mounds of debris keep gathering over the air hole. And the Shark isn't quite strong enough to break the popcorn into smaller bits.

The Shark claims to be able to pick up two 16-pound bowling balls. We wanted to test that for you, but she needed a special funnel to do that, and it's not included. Actually, the funnel isn't even on the replacement parts list. So we have no way of proving or disproving that claim.

We move outside, to test the water on car upholstery. The Shark just treads water with grass littering the trunk... you can't see any difference. But it does pick up pebbles and loose dirt from the floor mat. And the hose is small enough to fit inside tricky places. Also on the positive side, the Shark is very light, just over two pounds. The attachments just pop into place. And the reusable dirt bag is easy to take off and put on.

Bottom line? The Shark is powerful enough to pick-up heavier items. But the opening is too small for most of those items to fit through! The attachments are flexible enough for small spaces. But no rotator brush means it's not good for getting hair or clingy stuff off rugs or upholstery.

So overall, we give the $30 Shark a C+. It's no better or worse than other hand-held vacuums we've tried.