Shark IZ400UK / IZ400UKT & IZ420UKT Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

10.0 out of 10
10.0 out of 10

The Shark Stratos is Sharks’ brand new range of vacuum cleaners, which Shark believe are game changing vacuum cleaners that are going to change the way people clean their homes.

OK, that might sound a bit far-fetched, but Shark clearly believe they’ve created a new range here worth shouting about, they’re making some fairly bold claims, and naming the range after one of the largest and most powerful ancient Greek cities makes it very clear that they think a lot of their new range.

Unlike its namesake, this new vacuum cleaner range from Shark doesn’t come with a 5,000-seat Amiptheatre, 22 gates, and 55 towers (which is a good thing, as it wouldn’t be a particularly light vacuum cleaner if that was the case), but it does come with a bunch of brand new features including Anti Hair Wrap Plus, Clean Sense IQ, Anti-Odour Technology and up to 2 hours run time!

Shark is good at developing really useful features, their original Anti Hair Wrap feature I think was a stroke of genius, but the new feature has taken this even further, and some of the other features they’ve developed for the new range really do look impressive, so we’ll go into more detail on these shortly.

The IZ400 & IZ420 are the cordless stick models in the new Stratos range, and these are the models that we’re going into detail on in this article, although it’s worth pointing out that the new Stratos range isn’t purely about cordless vacuum cleaners.

Unlike their biggest competitor, Dyson, Shark are still developing corded vacuum cleaners, so the Stratos range includes both corded and cordless vacuum cleaners. I think this is a clever move by Shark, as it makes the range far more inclusive than Dyson’s latest range and all of their future ranges, given that Dyson has pledged to only develop cordless vacuum cleaner technology going forward.

A Winner for Pet Owners

Apparently, nine out of ten pets would recommend the Shark Stratos range to their owners. Oh, wait, maybe I read that wrong, anyway, Shark definitely have pet owners in mind with this range, and if you read through the user reviews you’ll find the ability of the Stratos to deal with pet hair is something that many users are praising this new range for.

Their anti-odour technology helps to do away with “wet dog smell”, which is a pong I think most pet owners either can’t stand, or can’t smell due to “nose blindness”, so in either case this is a feature you’ll possibly benefit from if you have furry friends.

The Anti-Allergen complete seal is another strong feature for any homes shared by pets and those with allergies relating to pet fur and dander, and hayfever sufferers of course given that this seal also prevents pollen and other airborne allergens and pollutants from being blown back into the air.

Their new more advanced anti-hair wrap feature (currently exclusive to the new Stratos range) is another great one for pet owners, it’s designed to do a better job with shorter hairs and to do a better job of ensuring hair doesn’t get wrapped around the brush roll.

One Model – Three Versions

Something Shark often do is to create a number of very similar model numbers, so it can often be slightly confusing when trying to figure out which is the best model to go for. As discussed, we’re focusing on the Shark Stratos cordless stick models in this post, so that is the following models:

IZ400UK. This is the lowest cost option, and comes with a single rechargeable battery with up to 60 minutes run time, and doesn’t come with the powered pet tool.

IZ400UKT. The T version comes with the powered pet tool, the smaller motorised brush attachment designed for digging pet fur from sofa fabric and so on, but it’s worth noting that these are also great for hoovering stairs and cars. This version also comes with one battery, so up to an hour of hoovering on one charge.

IZ420UKT. This is the premium bundle, it comes with the pet tool and two rechargeable batteries, allowing you to quickly reload and carry on vacuuming, so a great option for bigger homes or for people who just love hoovering, each to their own.

Shark Stratos Cordless Stick Features and Benefits

Shark have come out with some corkers over the past few years where features are concerned, with real obvious benefits.

Quite often when reading the features and benefits list of a range of small appliances, what you’re really reading is the efforts of a marketing team at embellishing (exaggerating) very boring and standard features that are really nothing to shout about.

As I’ve said, though, Shark has a history of delivering practical features with real benefits, and they’ve done that in spades with the Stratos, having dug even deeper than usual to create an even more impressive bag of features and benefits.

This video below from Shark gives a quick overview of the features of their Stratos range.

 

Clean Sense IQ Technology

In a nutshell, what this feature does is to allow the vacuum cleaner to detect how dirty the current surface is that you’re cleaning, and automatically apply the appropriate level of suction power. This optimizes battery life, by preventing you from needlessly selecting higher modes than the floor you’re cleaning requires, and this, of course, will have a knock-on effect on energy efficiency meaning that you’ll theoretically have to charge the battery less.

 

Anti-Odour Technology

This is the “Anti Wet Dog Smell” feature as discussed, and it works with an air-freshening cartridge in the brush head. It’s a really clever feature that leads to the air being freshened with a pleasant odour while you’re doing the vacuuming.

Anti-Hair Wrap Plus

Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap feature is one the key features that I think let’s shark stand ahead of a lot of the competition. Does anyone get any pleasure from spending time faffing around with the brush roller on their hoover, trying to remove hair that has got tangled around the rollers? I don’t know why I’ve asked that question, to be honest, as I know the answer is NOOOOO, no one wants to spend their time doing that.

Like all the bests inventions, this feature just seems really simple and obvious, there’s simply a sharp comb that works to catch the hairs from the brush roller, snaps the fibres, and then allows these cut-up strands of hair, animal, human, or otherwise (Alien?) to be sucked into the waste bin.

If you’re wondering what’s special about the hair wrap PLUS vs the standard hair wrap feature, they’ve simply made it work better. From what I can gather they’ve made the hair catches sharper and put them closer into the brush roll, to do a better job with hair, particularly shorter strands of hair.

Duo Clean

The Duo Clean feature features two brush rolls which work both independently and in unison, with one soft roller and a more standard harder brush roll. This makes Shark vacuum cleaners more effective at dealing with a wide range of particle sizes, it prevents the “snow ploughing” effect when trying to vacuum larger particles on hard surfaces, and it also means the soft brush gives hard floors a polish while you’re at it.

The video below from Shark provides a visual explanation of the Duo Clean system in operation:

 

Flexology

Not to be confused with reflexology which the auto spell checker is constantly prodding me to correct this to, this is a great feature from Shark, which they refer to with the strapline “Flexology bends so you don’t have to”, which I can never help but tweak to “bends because you won’t be able to get back up again”. Please don’t think I’m talking about you, I’m really talking about myself. Like many other people (slightly) over the age of 40, I suffer from issues with my lower back.

Nothing serious, just a slightly deteriorated disk, which has occasionally led me to not be able to get back up after bending down, which is embarrassing if done in public. So for me, this is feature that really does deliver a benefit because it means being able to hoover under low objects such as beds, sofas & tables by relying on the hinged wand instead of your own, much less flexible (in my case) spine.

Not only does the flexology wand bend over forwards to prevent you from having to, it also bends over backwards to allow you to simply stand it up, which makes storage very simple, just slap it in a cupboard.

Find out more about the Flexology feature in this video:

 

Motorised Pet Tool

Often mistaken to be a tool for motorised pets (OK, probably not all that often) motorised pet tools are smaller brush heads with powered bristle brush-rolls which are designed to dig out embedded pet hair from carpets and sofa cushions, they’re also a popular tool when it comes to vacuuming stairs. The pet tool on the Stratos range has been tweaked to improve it’s ability to deal with pet hair without it getting wrapped around the brush roll.

 

LED Smart display

This is a really simple, intuitive display which shows you the battery level, and what power mode you’re currently in. This is right by where your thumb is when operating the hoover, so you don’t have to contort yourself into a really advanced yoga pose in order to see this, it’s a nice big bright display too which is handy if you’re vacuuming in the dark, for example, and with the rate that energy bills are increasing, that’s probably not out of the question, and the LED lights on the brush head will help there too.

Anti Allergen Complete Seal

The Shark cordless stick vacuum cleaners have a HEPA filter, and this is a feature that you would struggle not to find on any modern bagless vacuum cleaner. Hepa (high efficiency particulate air) filters are filters made from tightly interwoven fiberglass or polypropylene fibres, and they’re incredibly effective at removing microscopic particles including mold, dust, pollen, bacteria and so on.

But because cordless stick vacuum cleaners are bagless, instead of the filter being part of the hoover bag (as there isn’t a hoover bag with a bagless hoover, obviously) the filter is part of the vacuum cleaner itself, which makes the seal crucial.

Put simply, the seal around the filter on bagless vacuum cleaners is responsible for how clean the air is which is being expelled. Powerful suction is a boast that vacuum cleaner brands are always keen to make, but what we have to remember is that the more powerful the suction, the more air being sucked through the filter at a greater velocity.

In addition to larger particles that we can see, this air contains much smaller particles such as dust mite feces, dust, pollen, pet dander and so on, which isn’t visible to the naked eye, and since cordless stick vacuum cleaners are bagless, the filter isn’t inside the bag. So unless there’s a very strong seal on the filter, what can happen is that these microscopic miscreants can be dug up from deep within carpet fibres where they weren’t doing a great deal of harm, inhaled by the vacuum cleaner and then fired out into the room to be inhaled by the inhabitants, yuck.

Shark are very proud of the complete seal around their filter which they have very imaginatively named the “anti allergen complete seal”.

Transforms effortlessly into a handheld

The main body of the Stratos cordless stick is very much handheld and portable, so by simply removing the flexology wand and fixing the required tool, it very quickly and easily transforms into a lightweight handheld cordless hoover.

Powerful

In terms of suction power, the Shark Stratos cordless stick vacuum cleaner is one of the most powerful on the market, and it’s Shark’s most powerful cordless vacuum cleaner so far, which is presumably mostly down to the high powered (309 Watt) motor. In terms of overall cleaning power the Stratos cordless stick is the first vacuum cleaner ever to get a perfect 100 score in the vacuum wars deep clean test, which is a particularly difficult test for cordless vacuum cleaners.

Lightweight

The main section of the vacuum cleaner weighs just over 1.6 Kilos, and the entire weight including the wand and the brush roller is just over 4kg, which makes it among the lightest weight premium cordless stick vacuum cleaners.

Maneuverable

This is a hard word to spell, but it’s an important feature where cordless stick vacuum cleaners are concerned, so I think it was worth the effort of frantically pressing different keys on the keyboard until the red line disappeared. If you watch the numerous reviews of the new Stratos cordless stick, you’ll see that most people agree that it does very well in this regard, gliding around obstacles with very little difficulty.

Verdict

The Stratos is Shark’s most feature-rich range of vacuum cleaners so far, and includes some really impressive practical features combined with astonishing overall cleaning power in the cordless models of this range. If you’re wanting premium features and powerful cordless vacuuming without going quite to the remortgaging requirements of owning the latest Dyson, I think there’s a very good chance that this is the perfect Shark cordless vacuum cleaner for you.