So my expectations for Shark’s new super-smart robot vacuum were pretty low — especially since I hate most robot mops. I’ve tested many over the years, and few seem to be faster or more effective than just pulling the manual Swiffer. But time has passed, both for me and Shark. Now that I live in a larger home with different types of floors, the Shark AI Ultra has become one of my most reliable cleaning companions. It may not be as tough as Ecovacs’ bulky and expensive Deebot X1 Omni, but it’s surprisingly effective for half the price.
Location and location
If you’re familiar with robot vacuums, you know that they tend to be quite finicky about their placement. This doubles as a robot vacuum that doubles as a mop. If you want to be able to start the vacuum cleaner from your phone, without carrying it into the kitchen, you have to… well, find a place to put it in the kitchen. This way, the robot won’t have to travel and dribble across your carpet.
Most of the robot vacuums I’ve tried can be stored safely in discreet spots (I even parked a few under the couch), but oftentimes the cleaning spots take up more space. You will likely have to move the litter box And the The dog’s treat box in the kitchen, as I did, to make room for the Shark AI Ultra. Accessories are also a problem. Some vacuums, like the iRobot Roomba j7+, have storage bins inside the docking station, but others like the Shark require you to empty a shelf in your closet.
When you switch between wiping and sweeping, you also have to switch trash, so I needed to find a suitable spot where I wouldn’t forget that, either. It comes with an effective and great-smelling cleaning solution. (If you don’t like it, you can use plain water.)
Shark dock itself is fairly unobtrusive. I measured it at 14 inches high and 19 inches deep, which isn’t too big compared to other docking stations that automatically unload. After I plugged it in and charged it, it accurately mapped my (now larger) house after a 20-minute mapping run—a huge improvement over my first Shark robot vacuum.
for each one of them
Everyone uses a robot vacuum and mop differently. Some people want their whole house to be taken over after the kids are in bed, a routine is established, and they wake up to a sparkling new home, like a group of elves came in the night.
I used to clean like this. But now that my husband is traveling for work and I’m a single parent to a second-grader, a dog, and a grouchy hamster during the week, I take portions from my clean when I can get it. Shark’s SharkClean app (iOS, Android) is remarkably simple and easy to use. Once my house was set, I assigned separate rooms and added a no-go area around the fireplace, which is where voids tend to fall.
When my kids are at school, I pick up the kitchen, fill the mop basket, and seal it in the bottom of the robot vacuum. I particularly appreciate that the app gives a time estimate (that’s reasonably accurate) of how long the cleanup will take. I was also surprised at how effective the scanning was. It is very difficult for a robot vacuum to properly calibrate the sweep. If it releases little fluid, it is ineffective. Too much use and leaves the floor a water-soaked mess.
Shark’s box releases enough cleaning fluid, most of all shaking Also mop to clean the floor. If you select UltraMop in the spot-cleaning app, you can see the herringbone pattern in the floor as it sweeps. The microfiber cleaning pad, which was easy to place inside the container and remove, showed a lot of that grime.