If you thought that cylinder vacuum cleaners were dying out and everyone was moving towards “stick” hoovers, think again. While some manufacturers, Dyson in particular, appear to have dropped all attention from anything but cordless vacuum cleaners, Shark has actually grown its focus to include the wider hoovering population, which we think is a very good move.
Cordless stick vacuums with the power of corded uprights and cylinder vacuum cleaners may be at the cutting edge when it comes to vacuum technology, but they’re not for everyone. They’re quite a lot more expensive, generally speaking, and in addition to the cost, while the latest cordless vacuum cleaners can come close when it comes to suction power, they do so at the expense of battery life and therefore total cleaning time.
When you want to put a cordless vacuum cleaner in the power mode that would bring it close to even the minimum power setting on one of these Shark cylinder cleaners, you have to make do with only a few minutes of cleaning time, and you need to keep the trigger or the boost button pressed in too, on many models.
By focusing purely on one kind of vacuum cleaner, Dyson (who recently announced they’re only going to be focusing on cordless vacuums going forward) have turned their backs on a huge percentage of the population who aren’t yet sold on the benefits of cordless given the cons and the cost.
Shark have acknowledged that this is an important part of the vacuum cleaner market and that the competition doesn’t do a great job, so they’ve launched their own range.
This is actually quite a big deal because Shark has never had cylinder vacuum cleaners before as part of their offering so the fact that the number 1 hoover manufacturer in the UK has decided to go down this road means we should stand up and pay attention.
Shark offers a comprehensive range of upright, corded and cordless hoovers and they are best sellers for Shark in the UK. They’ve sold literally millions and millions of them, and their products have a very good reputation.
So if you’re considering one of the new Shark cylinders, but you’re wondering if and why you should choose one of these Vs. something like a Henry Hoover which is a proven winner in this category over a period of decades, then keep reading.
One thing to mention if you’re into helping the environment is that Shark has moved to making as much of the packaging as possible recyclable with lots of paper and cardboard to ensure it can go straight into your recycling bin and be used again.
This may not be the number one selling feature, but in a world where manufacturers are still using a ridiculous amount of plastic just for packaging, in a time where most of us are aware that drastic action needs to be taken to repair the damage we’ve already done to the environment, I think this does need to be highlighted.
When it comes to looks, the Shark CZ250UKT & CZ500UKT might not be the most beautiful of home appliances, it looks a bit more modern than a Henry (sorry Henry, I love your smile, but your look is more classic than hi-tec), but it’s very unlikely you’ll be keeping your Shark cylinder out on show for your friends to see when they come over for coffee but Shark have gone out of their way to make this look good straight out of the box.
It’s matt black with a rose gold strip and whilst it doesn’t have the same appeal as the latest iPhone it’s not a bad looking piece of kit.
Before we get into the features and benefits it’s worth explaining the difference between the CZ250UKT and the CZ500UKT.
Basically they are identical except for the floorhead that comes with the CZ500UKT is Sharks latest and very clever “Duo Clean” system, while the lower cost CZ250UK doesn’t feature Duo Clean. The Duo Clean system means that in addition to the roller brush, there is a soft roller which increases versatility over different floor types, and helps to prevent “snow ploughing” when you’re hoovering on hard surfaces.
Duo clean really comes into its own on hard surfaces, so if you’re only cleaning carpets then you probably don’t need to spend the extra money on the CZ250UKT version, however if you have a combination of carpets and hard floors then it’s probably worth paying a bit more for the Duo Clean head.
There’s no additional cost for hoover bags, and emptying the waste container is very simple, being done with just a couple of clicks & then emptying into the bin. It’s also a decent size at 1.6 litres so you’re not going to have to empty it after every clean, which is good news, especially when it’s chucking it down. Emptying a hoover into the outside bin while getting soaked isn’t the kind of treat most people would look forward to at the end of doing the hoovering, although I suppose it’s refreshing?
While corded cylinder vacuum cleaners aren’t as lightweight as the latest cordless vacuums tend to be, the cylinder itself is just under 4Kg, so you’re not likely to give yourself a hernia picking it up to carry up the stairs etc. It has 4 “smooth-glide” wheels on the bottom, too, so moving it around the house is less dragging & more gliding. It’s no surprise that Shark have thought this one through as cylinder vacuum cleaners do tend to have a reputation for being a bit awkward to move around.
This is a nice bit of existing technology from Shark, that they’ve carried over from their upright cleaner range that enables the central wand to bend so that it goes right under sofas and low level furniture without you having to bend down.
It does make me smile when I’m reminded of their tagline for this feature, which is “bends so you don’t have to” I do wonder if they really meant “bends because you can’t”, or in my case at the moment thanks to a bit of a bad back, it would be “bends because it doesn’t want to listen to all the moaning and groaning you’ll make if you have to.”
Joking apart, it is a very smart feature, in which a very carefully positioned hinge allows you to get the brush head under sofas, beds and so on without much effort on your part, as the video below demonstrates.
Like the folding wand, above, which allows you to easily hoover under furniture, the Anti hair-wrap feature is another one of those inventions that just makes so much sense and seems so obvious that you’re left wondering why this hasn’t always been a thing.
I mean, who wants hair wrapping around the roller brush off their hoover? I know I don’t, in fact, one of the things I find the most frustrating about our robot vacuum (I’ve got the Deebot N79S, which I’m very impressed with, by the way) is having to pull the brush roller off in order to remove tightly wound hair that has grouped together to form what looks like some kind of lightweight mountaineering rope.
I’ve actually had to replace the rollers on our Deebot a couple of times now because the rubber fins have been cut to shreds by hair, so it’s not just extra work, it can be costly over time.
It seems so obvious, now that they’ve done it, that just installing a kind of comb-like device which catches any hair and snaps it so it can’t wrap around the rollers, is a great idea.
The video below explains this feature in more detail:
Duo Clean Brush Head (CZ500UKT Only)
As I mentioned earlier, it’s only the CZ500 version that has this feature, and this is something that may prompt you to go for this model if you have hard floors as well as carpets.
This feature, as with many of Shark’s innovations, is very simple yet very smart & effective. In addition to the more usual brush roll, there’s a soft brush roll which works in unison with the main brush, and this really comes to play when it comes to hard surfaces.
It’ll actually give wooden floors a polish for you as you’re hovering, and it also helps to avoid the slightly frustrating “snow ploughing” conundrum that can occur when you’re trying to hoover up harder particles such as cat litter (why can’t cats keep that stuff in the tray?), dog or cat biscuits, and if you’re me – coffee beans (my cats probably wonder why I can’t keep that stuff in my coffee grinder).
See the video below for more on the DuoClean feature.
Motorised Pet Power Brush
Both the CZ250UKT & CZ500UKT models come with the “pet power brush”, a motorised power brush which, as the name suggests, is particularly good for cat and dog hair. This doesn’t have to be just for pet hair, though, it’s a smaller, motorised brush roll, which makes it great for vacuuming the sofa and any above-floor surfaces, and also great for hoovering out cars, as it acts like a mini floorhead.
The LED lights on the front of the main floorhead may sound like a bit of a gimmick, but it’s surprisingly useful as you may think you have cleaned thoroughly and then when you point the floorhead and the light shines directly in front it’s surprising how much more dust becomes visible and it definitely helps to do a more thorough clean.
5 Year Shark Guarantee
In case you needed any more reassurances from the number one hoover brand in the UK, it also comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee so you have complete peace of mind with a guarantee that is way beyond what you would normally get from most manufacturers.
The average guarantee period is normally 12 months or 2 years max so it just goes to show how much confidence Shark has in their own products to offer such a long extended guarantee at no additional cost.
All the controls, including the three suction power settings & the floor type selector are on the Handgrip, in a position where you can literally access them with your thumb, so very clever and convenient. A lot of cylinder hoovers only allow you to change suction power from the main unit itself so that’s a plus for Shark, taking people’s poor backs into kind consideration.
Retracting Power Cable
Another thing that corded cylinder vacuum cleaners tend to be renowned for is for power cables all over the place to get tangled up in. These come with an auto rewind which sits on the main unit which very responsive, a soft push and the cable will reel itself in.
It’s a 9 metre power cord which is longer than the average for cylinder vacs so that’ll help with less frequent plug changes and when you add that to the 2 metre length of the hoover wand itself then you have a very acceptable 11 metres of reach without having to look for another plug socket.
These vacuum cleaners deliver very strong and effective suction, which is one of the benefits of having a corded cylinder, the corded aspect means battery life isn’t an issue, and the fact that it’s a cylinder and not a hand-held stick means there’s a bit more space for the motor. The result is that the CZ250UKT & CZ500UKT deliver huge suction power.
When I say “huge” – the Dyson V10 for example, delivers just under 18 AirWatts (which is how suction power is rated) on standard mode (35 minutes of cleaning time), about 34 AirWatts on medium power (about 20 minutes), and it will deliver just a touch over 150 AirWatts on max power, very impressive for hand-held cordless, but on that setting, you’ll get a total of 5-6 minutes cleaning time, and then you’ll have to put it back on charge for three & a half hours!
The CZ250UKT & CZ500UKT official power rating of up to 175 AirWatts seems very impressive, but independent testing rated these models as delivering just over 90 AirWatts on eco mode, just over 227 AirWatts on standard, and a rediculous almost 285 AirWatts on max power – all with no worries about battery life
You’ll probably want to stay on low power in deeper pile carpets, with higher power you’ll probably struggle to move the brush head, but bump it up to max power on hard floors, and I’d challenge even the most stubborn, stuck on particle to resist that much power and a powered brush head.
See the video below for a detailed run-through of the CZ500UKT:
If you want the power, the cleaning time and the lower cost of cylinder vacuum cleaners without the usual snags of cylinders, such as being heavy and having a bit of a mind of their own when you’re trying to get them to follow you, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that is as effective as the CZ250UKT and CZ500UKT. Shark has taken all of the technology you’ll find in their upright hoovers and transferred it into this cylinder range.
These are real workhorses that are suitable for medium to large size homes as the large waste containers and huge 11 metre reach with the cord and hose means you can clean large areas with the minimum of fuss.