Shark ION Robot vs Roomba: Which brand is better?

Shark Ion robot vs ROomba

Robot vacuums come in many varieties of feature complexity, reflecting different budgets and brands. This article will explore the relatively more basic Shark ION Robot in comparison to the top dog of the market, iRobot. Shark ION is a well known classic vacuum cleaner brands that has recently made transitions into the robot vacuum market and to date have only released a couple of models. Their robot vacuums are more suited to the mid-price range, whilst iRobots Roomba suits a variety of budgets, including the high end. Accordingly, this comparison article will match Shark ION against similar Roombas.

This Shark ION vs Roomba article will compare the most up to date Shark ION product, the R85, against one of the iRobots top devices as well as a similar price option. If you read our article which compares a significant portion of iRobots Roombas, you will see that the S9+ is the best but is very expensive. If you are looking to spend a large amount (over $500) then check out that article. Our recommend pick of robot vacuum:

Related: Roomba vs Bobsweep

Shark vs Roomba Comparison Chart

ModelShark IQ R101ROOMBA S9+ROOMBA i7+Shark ION R85ROOMBA 960
Designshark IQ R101roomba s9roomba i7+ with self disposal stationShark ION ROBOT R85Roomba 960
(40x Stronger)
than original
(10x Stronger)
than original
(5x Stronger)
than original
Resume Cleaning
Automatic Dirt
AvailabilityCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Shark IQ R101AE

shark IQ R101

When it comes to state of the art technology in robot vacuums, there is one feature that currently stands above all. Self disposal technology is considered the premium feature in robot vacuums with iRobot leading the way with Roomba i7+ and S9+. Shark ION have responded with their own version of this technology with the Shark IQ R101. This model holds up to 30 days worth of cleans at a very budgeted price in comparison to other brands. This is the best Shark ION Robot model and a fan favorite at the moment. The key features of the Shark IQ R101 include:

  • Self-Empty technology
  • Hardfloor and carpet cleaning 
  • Self-Cleaning Brushroll 
  • Dual Edge & Corner Brushes
  • Smart Mapping
  • Scheduling
  • Recharge & Resume Cleaning
  • Shark ION app
  • Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant
Shark Empty XL RV1001AE Robotic Vacuum, IQ Navigation, Home Mapping, Self-Cleaning Brushroll, Wi-Fi Connected, Works with Alexa
  • POWERFUL SUCTION:  Deep-cleaning power to take on...
  • NO HAIR WRAP:  Self-cleaning brushroll removes pet...

Roomba S9+

roomba s9

The Roomba S9+ is iRobot’s most advanced model and one of the only two which has Automatic Dirt Disposal. It is a much more premium device compared to the Shark IQ R101 but this comes with a much higher price tag. When it comes to every feature category, the Roomba S9+ is pretty much unbeatable. In every aspect, from Navigation technology, the design, and the cleaning motor, there is nothing quite like the Roomba S9+. It is the super sportscar of the robot vacuum market.

Summary of Features

  • Automatic Dirt Disposal
  • iAdapt 3.0 Smart Mapping technology
  • Superior Cleaning Motor – Unbeatable on carpets
  • D-Shape design to get close to walls 
  • Wider cleaning brush
  • Voice control
  • Advanced iRobot Home app
  • Self Recharge & Resume
  • Voice Control

Roomba i7+

roomba i7+ with self disposal station

The Roomba i7+ is a high spec robot vacuum that offers the most of the best features that the Roomba S9+ has at a much more reasonable price. Accordingly, it is our recommended pick of Roomba model. It has the premium Automatic Dirt Disposal features, iAdapt 3.0 Navigation technology along with some other high-level features. The principal difference comes with the cleaning technology; it has a less powerful motor and relatively inefficient circular design. 

Quick Summary

  • Automatic Dirt Disposal
  • 3rd Gen Motor which is powerful
  • iAdapt 3.0
  • iRobot Home app
  • Voice Control
  • Recharge & Resume cleaning

iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal-Empties Itself, Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors, Black
  • CLEANS UP AFTER YOU, AND ITSELF - Forget about...
  • GUIDED BY SERIOUS SMARTS - With vSLAM navigation, the...

Shark IQ R101AE vs Roomba S9+ vs Roomba i7+

If you are looking for a self-emptying technology then comparing the IQ R101 against the Roomba S9+ and i7+ offers a variety of options for you. The Shark IQ R101 is the choice to go for if you are on a budget as it offers this technology for a relatively cheap price. The Roomba S9+ and i7+ are better robot vacuums, with a superior support app and more powerful motor, you will get better results with one of those models.

Shark ION Robot R85 & R75

Shark ION Robot R85

SharkNinja is an established manufacturer of classic and iconic vacuum cleaners, yet has made some moves into the robot vacuum space. The Shark ION Robot has two main releases which include the R75 and R85 models, the latter being the upgraded model. This comparison of Shark ION with Roomba will compare the more advanced R85 model.


Shark ION robot vacuums circular in shape with a light grey or matte grey colored body and a black finish. The physical design of the robot vacuum is simplistic by featuring just three buttons on the device which access the Clean, Spot and Max features.

Pressing the centrally placed Clean button on the top of the vacuum starts basic cleaning in your home. The Spot feature targets a small area that needs extra attention. Finally, the Max features will amp up the suction power to its capacity to assist with the hardest to clean areas.

The R85 has the following measurements and weight:

  • Height: 3.4 inches
  • Diameter: 12.8 inches
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs

shark ion robot vs roomba dimensions

Cleaning Technology

There is a main brushroll and two side brushes to clean the debris which thereafter is sucked in by a strong airflow into the bin, which is situated at the back of the machine. The bristles are arranged in a helix pattern and also high-tensile. The bristles of the side brushes are of variable length to improve its cleaning in corners. The ION Robot is more capable of vacuuming floors which are hard such as tiles, marbles, linoleum, wood and so on. It has a low profile of hardly 2.6 inches which allows it to clean under furniture. Cleaning specs of the R85 include:

  • Suction power: 1400 Pa (estimated)
  • Clean area: 1000 sqft (estimated)
  • Dustbin capacity: 600 ml
  • Full bin sensors: No
  • Carpet sensors: No

Battery Power

The battery used by Shark ION is relatively sub par compared to the very best models of robot vacuum.

  • Voltage: 14.4 V
  • Battery type: Li-Ion
  • Battery capacity: 2550 mAh
  • Expected charging time: 3 hours
  • Expected run time: 60 minutes

Navigation Technology

The navigation technology used by Shark ION robots is relatively simple and more comparable to the older versions of Roombas. Newer Roombas use cameras to map floor space in your home, whilst Shark ION uses a relatively randomised sensor approach.

Shark ION robots are equipped with a large number of proximity sensors which protects it from hitting any furniture which comes its way. Apart from that, the sensors help the vacuum robot to identify stairs and cliffs. Once, identified they turn away instantly.

  • Cliff sensors: Yes
  • Laser sensors: No
  • IR sensors: No
  • Remote control: Yes

Smartphone App

As is the industry standard, Shark ION Robots are intended to be controlled and monitored using the free dedicated app. The Shark ION Robot app is highly reviewed due to reliability and comprehensive features.

This more complex approach to control makes the robots more feature rich. Voice control is also supported with the Shark ION Robot R85. Here is what you can do with the app:

  • Set an optional daily cleaning schedule
  • View cleaning history
  • Live notifications
  • Access tips, tricks, and troubleshooting directly in the app
  • Maintenance reminders
  • Remote access
  • Control your robot’s cleaning power with Quiet, Normal or Max modes
  • Set Quiet Time during specific times of day or night


Shark ION Robot vacuums come with a large HEPA filter that has to be replaced frequently. The only drawback to this is that it’s quite costly. It is recommended to change the filters in every two months if you want it to work at its best possible condition else latest in every 6 months.

Other Features

A strong benefit of Shark ION Robot models is the low noise volume of cleaning. They also have virtual walls that are possible to purchase alongside the device. Shark IONs virtual walls come as a strip that you place and is interpreted by the robot vacuum as a wall. The principal application of this is to prevent the robot vacuum cleaning spaces and rooms you do not wan it to.

  • LCD display: No
  • Virtual walls: Magnetic strip
  • Noise level: 62 db
  • Auto-docking: Yes


  • Great app
  • Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Its schedule can be made via smartphone
  • Works really well both on hard floors as well as thin carpets
  • Has large bin
  • Quiet
  • Relatively cheap


  • Average battery
  • Basic navigation
  • No carpet mode

iRobot Roomba 960 & 690

iRobot was and still is a pioneering force of robot vacuum technology with over 20 years of experience. iRobots Roomba range is therefore much larger and more extensive than Shark ION robot vacuum range. The Shark ION Robot R85 is a relatively basic offering of robot vacuum when compared to the Roomba range.

We will overview the Roomba 690 and 960, before a comparison of the two with the R85.

Roomba 960
Roomba 960


Roombas all share a very similar design, look and feel across the whole range. The models are circular and feature a minimalist design and dark color scheme, which varies depending on the model.

You should also read our comparison article of Neato and Roomba, as the design is a big factor.

iRobot were one of the first brands to transfer from physical buttons to software control via the iRobot app. Newer models like the Roomba 960 and 690 have just three buttons which include “On”, “Home” and “Spot”. These initiate cleaning, send the robot vacuum automatically back to its Homebase and start a spot clean of a certain area.

The Roomba 690 has the following measurements and weight:

  • Height: 3.6 inches
  • Diameter: 13 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 lbs

The Roomba 960 is similar with:

  • Height: 3.6 inches
  • Diameter: 13.8 inches
  • Weight: 8.6 lbs
    Roomba 690
    Roomba 690

Cleaning Technology

Roombas use a 3 stage cleaning system that utilises a main brush under the body and side brushes angled to pick up dirt and debris in corners. These side brushes will flick dirt on the path of the main brush where the motor will power suction. iRobot have always been very secretive about its Pa suction figures which makes comparison of motor strength against different robot vacuums harder to do.

iRobot has three motors of varying power that go into different models:

  • 3-Stage Cleaning
  • Aeroforce (5x suction)
  • 3rd Gen Motor (10x suction)

The Roomba 690 has the most basic motor, whilst the Roomba 960 has the Aeroforce.

Stronger suction power is used when carpet boost mode is activated on harder to clean spots.

Battery Power

Roombas vary in their battery power depending on the model. The Roomba 960 typically lasts for 1 hour 15 minutes whilst the 690 has about 1 hour in the tank. All Roombas will navigate themselves back to their charging dock when low battery is detected.

Newer models including the Roomba 960, 980 and i7 can restart cleaning on their own without any reset. This is especially useful in larger cleaning areas as it effectively makes battery life less important as the Roomba will not stop until the job is done, even if it takes a charge during the process. This is largely thanks to the superior navigation technology used in these models as you will see below.

Navigation Technology

smart mapping & VSLAM iadapt 2.0 technology

iRobots Navigation technology, iAdapt, is the leading and most advanced in the market. Currently there have been three versions released; version 1.0, version 2.0 and version 3.0.

Only the most recent Roomba i7 has iAdapt 3.0, whilst the 900 series uses iAdapt 2.0. Every other model has iAdapt 1.0, which is most similar to that used by Shark ION Robot.

The Roomba 690 uses the original iAdapt which uses a variety of sensors to inform the robot where pieces of furniture and other objects are. It moves in a relatively random manner around the cleaning area. Dirt Detect technology can identify areas that need more attention and focus to be fully cleaned. Cliff Detect technology can identify stairs and therefore avoid a fall and breakage by the Roomba.

As a 900 series, the Roomba 960 is equipped with sophisticated iAdapt 2.0, also known as Smart Mapping & VSLAM. The robot uses a camera to intelligently map out your home, a blueprint you can see via the iRobot app. This map is used to systematically clean your home with the most efficient route possible in order to save time. If the job isn’t done with one charge it can return exactly to where it left off after self autonomously recharging.

iAdapt 3.0 is the same as 2.0 except individual rooms can be mapped and remembered by the robot vacuum. When instructed the Roomba can be instructed to just clean one room that needs it. This technology is also known as IMPRINT Mapping.

Smartphone App

iRobots app is the control panel for monitoring and using Roombas. It supports a range of features depending on what Roomba you have, which includes:

  • Start or pause cleaning
  • Schedules
  • Customisation of cleaning
  • Status monitoring
  • View Clean Map reports
  • Reports of cleaning metrics
  • Live notifications

A well reviewed app, iRobots premium feel crosses over from their hardware expertise to their software. You may also control the Roomba with your voice via assistants such as Alexa and Google Home. The i7 can be instructed to clean individual rooms such as your kitchen or sitting room.


The Roomba 690 uses an Aerovac filter that aren’t ass efficient as HEPA filters in capturing the finer molecules such as pollens.

Newer Roombas such as their 800 and 900 series use an upgraded HEPA filter. This is called High-Efficiency Filter that can capture 99% of allergens pollens and particles down to 10 microns.


iRobot has Virtual Wall accessories which work the same as the magnetic strip seen with Shark ION Robots. These are placed to block off rooms or other areas that you do not want cleaned.


  • The premium robot vacuum brand
  • Suits a variety of budgets
  • Complex navigation technology
  • Newer models automatically resume cleaning
  • Carpet boost modes in newer models
  • Stronger motors in newer models
  • Wifi enabled smartphone connectivity


  • Some models are expensive
  • Battery is sub par in older models
  • Superior technology only found in newer models

Shark ION vs Roomba Similarities

  • WiFi enabled
  • Smartphone app
  • Self charging
  • Voice control (with Alexa)
  • No mopping
  • Virtual Wall accessorise

Shark ION vs Roomba Differences

  • Shark ION is quieter
  • Shark ION is cheaper
  • Shark ION has HEPA Filter (Some Roombas don’t)
  • Roomba has better Navigation technology
  • Roomba has stronger motors
  • Roomba is better on carpets

Final Word

iRobot and Shark IONs robot vacuums provide a couple of alternate options in regards to price and feature quality. The premium Roombas have some of the best navigation and cleaning technology found in robot vacuums and are somewhat more capable than Shark IONs limited range of devices. We hope this helped inform your decision and recommend giving a few of our other articles a read.

iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal- Empties itself, Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Powerful Suction, Anti-Allergen System, Corners & Edges, Ideal for Pet Hair, black
  • CLEANS UP AFTER YOU, AND ITSELF - Forget about...
  • OUR MOST ADVANCED CLEAN - You—& your home—deserve...
  • DEEPEST CLEAN - With 40X the suction power, the...


In this section, we will cover and answer some of the main questions that users have about Shark ION Robot vacuums and how they weigh up in comparison to Roombas.

Are Shark Robot vacuums good?

Shark ION robot vacuums are of a decent standard but they don’t quite meet the all-rounded premium quality found with brands such as iRobot’s Roomba. They are a solid choice for those who want some top-level features at a more reasonable price.

Which Shark robot is best?

The Shark ION RQ101AE is the top model from Shark Robot as it has the top tier of features available from the company. It has its own automatic dirt disposal which is the most premium feature you can get from a robot vacuum.

Does the Shark robot vacuum work on carpet?

Yes, to an extent Shark ION robot vacuum cleaners are capable on carpets. It all depends on how thick and dense the carpet is and how much dirt they get. Their models aren’t as powerful as many Roombas, especially the S9, i7 and 980. Those models will do a better job on carpets.

How long do Shark ION Robots run for?

The Shark ION Robot RQ101AE has a battery life of 90 minutes, whilst the other models are typically 1 hour. The automatic recharge and resume cleaning technology do make this specification less important as these models can clean beyond their battery life.

Do Shark ION Robots map your home?

The top of the range Shark ION Robot RQ101AE uses IQNAV technology which is a smart mapping based navigation technology. Similar to iRobots iAdapt 2.0 and 3.0, it uses a camera to map your whole home. This map is accessible in the Shark Clean App.

Does the Shark Robot have a camera?

The Shark ION Robot RQ101 is the only model which uses a camera as it is part of the navigation technology. The older models do not have this camera-based technology in its body.

How much are Shark ION Robots?

Shark ION robots are a typical $200-$300, whilst their top model the RQ101 is about $450. For the equivalent technology you get from each model, they are significantly cheaper than Roombas.

Photo of Rupert Pople

Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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