Shark IQ Robot R101AE with self-draining base
“The IQ robot’s self-draining ability combined with the ability to only clean certain areas allows me to schedule 30 days and get a truly automated cleaning experience.”
Excellent suction power
Useful home mapping
I’m too lazy to make robotic vacuums.
I don’t want to make sure the pet’s shells are out of the way, pull my shoes out of the center of the entrance, and move my laptop cord and cell phone chargers so the robot doesn’t eat them. Above all, I don’t feel like emptying the trash can regularly. Time is money as they say. I recently had the opportunity to check out a new Shark robot vacuum called the IQ Robot. What does the Shark IQ Robot have compared to the millions of other robot vacuums on the market? Is it nicer? Smarter? Will it fold my laundry? What makes it so special
Like the more expensive Roomba i7 plus, the Shark IQ R101AE is also an automatically emptied robot vacuum cleaner. It’s also said to have exceptional suction, a self-cleaning roller brush, advanced mapping features, and a relatively affordable price point. Given that features tend to increase pricing, it’s comforting that Shark keeps them relatively available. Although iRobot recently announced its newest self-draining bot, the Roomba i3 Plus, which is priced at $ 600. It’s certainly new competition to think about, but let’s see if Shark’s self-draining robot still has what it takes to get big.
Even as more new competitors keep coming out, the Shark IQ R101AE is still one of the best robotic vacuums out there, but you should keep an eye out for amazing deals and loads of other bots that can clean for us.
When I opened the box, I found the Shark IQ robot that already had the self-cleaning roller brush, wheels and main components installed on it. To finish assembling the robot I just had to snap open the two front side brushes which are single-pronged. I also found the self-draining base that doubles as a charging station. Finally, there is a mat included in the package in case I wanted to set up the IQ robot on a carpet area. I did not use the mat because I placed the device on a hard floor.
Erika Rawes / Digital Trends
The set up process was very easy. It took less than five minutes. After I fully charged the robot, which took six hours to fully charge, I installed the Shark Clean app and connected the device to Alexa for voice control.
Yes it empties by itself and it’s pretty cute
Erika Rawes / Digital Trends
I can hear the dirt being sucked out of the robot every time the robot interacts with the docking station. The emptying station is also bagless, so I don’t have to worry about replacement bags or environmental damage from plastic.
Thanks to the self-draining bagless technology, I can leave the vacuum alone for about a month. When it’s finally time to empty the dirt, I just pick up the bin and press a button to toss dust and dirt into a trash can.
Much better mapping than previous Shark robots
Earlier Shark robotic vacuums like the ION R85 weren’t particularly good at card technology. The R85 has intelligent sensor navigation that can avoid objects and go around the house. However, it does not have a visual mapping.
The new Shark IQ Robot is way ahead of the ION R85 in this regard. It doesn’t repeatedly drive over areas that it has already cleaned and it creates a map of your house in the app that allows you to select specific areas for the robot to clean. For example, you can tell the robot to only clean the master bedroom or living room and it will know exactly where to go.
Powerful shark suction
This vacuum has amazing suction power. The suction power is better than most upright units I’ve come across. As a result, my floors were completely free of dust, dirt and dog hair. However, what really impressed me about the IQ robot was its ability to pick up large debris. We have a lot of trees on our property, so my family and I follow a lot of dried leaves. The robot picked up all the last leaves, crumbs and scraps of food that had been left on the floor from the day.
The IQ robot comes with 8 feet of magnetic strips that I can use to block areas where the robot should absolutely not drive. I cut the magnetic strips into smaller pieces and placed the strips in front of my dog’s crate, around their feeding area, and in front of an area that has lots of cords and charging cables. That way I don’t have to move anything before vacuuming or cleaning up, which defeats the purpose of automated cleaning.
Scheduling, auto-topping, and more
I can set the IQ robot to clean on a schedule. Typically, the robotic vacuum scheduling features aren’t all that useful as the user has to empty the trash can and prepare the cleaning area between cleanings. The IQ robot’s self-draining ability combined with its ability to only clean certain areas allows me to set a schedule for 30 days and have a truly automated cleaning experience. The robot has a battery life of 90 minutes on a single charge. However, if the robot runs out of battery juice or the dust bin fills up while cleaning, it will return to the station for more battery power or to drain itself and then resume cleaning.
The robot also speaks and lets me know if problems arise. If I can’t find the robot, the app has a feature to find my robot that will make the robot beep so that I can find the device if it’s stuck under a couch or in a closet. Since it is compatible with Alexa and Google Home, I can also use voice commands to control the IQ robot.
The robot is a little noisy
Erika Rawes / Digital Trends
This vacuum makes a lot of noise. It’s louder during operation than any other robotic vacuum I’ve used. It’s also extremely noisy when the robot dumps the dirt into the self-draining base. When it is emptied, it sounds like one of those vacuums in the car wash. It scared my dog the first few times, and now she looks at the robot every time it approaches the docking station and waits for it to make the loud noise.
For me, the volume on the device wasn’t too much of an issue as I can just pause my Hulu show when the vacuum approaches. But for those who have young children or in a domestic situation where they need a quiet robotic vacuum cleaner, this could be an issue.
A useful map of your home
When I tested the IQ Robot for the first time, it was just coming out and had some mapping issues that took me a while to get to know its surroundings. Since then, Shark has improved the mapping, and I have retested the device since these improvements.
The device had to vacuum my house for three days (three scheduled cleaning cycles) before a full map of my house was created. Once the map was ready I was able to set the robot to only clean certain rooms.
The robot had no problem finding the dock while it was still learning my home, and it was cleaned efficiently in an S pattern, completely picking up dirt from each room. It cleaned edges, corners, carpets and under tables. It didn’t get stuck anywhere and it didn’t have any problems finding its way around on chairs and tables.
The Shark IQ robot is guaranteed for one year.
The practical and powerful Shark IQ robot solves most of the problems that customers have with robotic vacuum cleaners. There are some downsides – notably the fact that the device works so loudly – but since the IQ robot is cheaper than other robots in its category, I’m still overall happy with the device.
Are there any better alternatives?
The main competitor to the IQ robot is the iRobot Roomba i7 Plus, an excellent machine with excellent mapping capabilities and exceptional cleaning performance. The two main differences between the IQ Robot and the i7 Plus are the price and the fact that the IQ Robot is bagless.
You can buy the IQ Robot for just $ 550, a savings over the original retail price of $ 600. The i7 Plus costs around $ 800. The i7 Plus is also self-draining, but the drain station contains disposable bags. The customer must replace the bag after the bin has been emptied 30 times. More recently, we’ve seen some who use artificial intelligence and cameras to use vision to better navigate objects and spaces. The Roborock S6 MaxV is one of them that can mop for $ 750 as well.
How long it will take?
With visual mapping and smart home compatibility, this robot is technologically exactly where it should be. Features like self-draining and the ability to select specific cleaning areas make it even better and take it a little off the curve. The IQ robot is well built but feels a bit plastic. Other robots I’ve tested feel more solid, but the Shark IQ still feels like a quality unit.
There is no reason to believe that the Companion app (Shark Clean) will end support for the IQ Robot anytime soon.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you don’t want to worry about vacuuming at all, this robot is a good investment.
For more options and exciting deals, check out our roundup of the best robot vacuum deals.