One minute review
Shark is well known for making some of the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab) around and we know the brand as one of the frontrunners when it comes to cordless vacuums (opens in new tab). But unlike its rival Dyson, Shark still makes a range of plug-in corded vacuums. This includes uprights and canister vacuums, which are also known as cylinders and barrel vacuums depending on what part of the world you’re from.
As is typical for Shark vacuums, this model goes by a different name in each territory, which can be somewhat confusing. If you’re in the US you’ll find it called the Shark Canister Pet Bagless Corded Vacuum CZ351. In the UK it’s known as the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum CZ250UKT, meanwhile those in Australia should look out for the Shark Bagless Barrel Vacuum CZ250.
It’s the slightly cheaper sibling of Shark's top-of-the-range plug-in canister vacuum, but that’s not to say it’s lacking in features. The powered brushroll floorhead employs Shark’s Powerfin technology to get deep into carpets, as well as its self-clean anti hair wrap technology. The cleaning wand bends in half to reach under furniture and can be used for overhead cleaning too. There’s a crevice and an upholstery tool included in the box, plus UK customers benefit from a powered pet tool too.
On test, this Shark canister displayed good performance and maneuverability. We noticed particularly good pick-up on carpets, but it’s equally at home on hard floors as well as cleaning upholstery or overhead. It’s a great choice for those who don’t like upright or stick style vacuums or for anyone who wants a reliable clean without having to worry about how much battery is left.
Shark Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum CZ250UKT price and availability
- List price: $399.99 / £299.99/ AU$699.99
As we’ve already mentioned, this vacuum has slightly different names in different countries. It’s the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum CZ250UKT in the UK. Whereas in the US it goes by the name Shark Canister Pet Bagless Corded Vacuum CZ351 and in Australia you’ll find it called the Shark Bagless Barrel Vacuum CZ250. The only real difference between the three models is that the UK version comes with an additional small, powered pet tool. You can buy it directly form Shark in all countries. (opens in new tab)
It's well priced in comparison to cordless vacuums and is also cheaper than Shark's top-of-the range canister vacuum, which comes in at $479.99 / £329.99/ AU$799.99.
- 1.9 quart/ 1.6 liter dust cup capacity
- 25 ft/ 9 meter power cord
- HEPA filter
Weighing in at 9 lb/ 4.4kg without the hose or any attachments in place and without a full dust cup, the canister itself is a pretty good weight for most people to carry up and down stairs, the large carry handle and rubberized grip certainly help, too.
The canister size is fairly standard, measuring 19.3 x 10.2 x 10.2 inches/49 x 26 x 26cm (h x w x d) and there are plenty of different configuration options for storage, depending on whether you’ve got a tall or short cupboard space.
The floorhead has headlights in the front to illuminate dark spots such as areas below furniture. There’s a powerful self-cleaning brushroll that’s designed to remove debris from deep within carpet fibers, whilst avoiding that annoying clog of hair around the brush. There’s no option to turn off the brushroll though, which can sometimes be desirable for particularly delicate floors.
A control panel on the handle houses a power button, but there’s also one on the canister so you can switch it on using either. A suction level button allows you to easily cycle between the three suction levels using your thumb, and a third button lets you choose between carpet or hard floor modes. For this as well as the suction levels there are easy-to-understand symbols that light up to display the selections you’ve made. It defaults to hard floor and the middle suction power when first switched on.
In the box you’ll also get a crevice tool and an upholstery tool as well as a clip to hold them to the wand, providing convenient and easy access when cleaning. If you buy it in the UK you’ll get an additional pet power brush to tackle pet hair on upholstery and cushions.
The flexible wand can bend in half at the midpoint, allowing it to reach under low furniture without the user having to bend down, a feature seen on many Shark upright vacuums. And for overhead cleaning the small tools can be attached directly to the wand. Likewise, the main floorhead can be attached to the handle for easier cleaning of small spaces like stairs.
- Maneuvers well
- Controls conveniently located on handle
- Good dust collection
The flexible wand does its job and allows for easy cleaning under low furniture without having to bend. Although it’s not quite so easy to maneuver in this mode, we didn’t feel we had as much control over the direction of vacuuming as when it’s in standard mode.
The floorhead is self-supporting so when you click it upright to go and move a stray sock out of the way, it stays put without falling over or having to be placed on the floor, plus the brushroll will automatically pause. And switching between power levels or floor type is super easy with the controls at your fingertips on the handle.
General pick up is good on both carpet and hard floor and the beauty of a plug-in vacuum means you don’t feel the need to use one of the lower power levels to conserve battery, you’ll only need to switch to lower power for vacuuming delicate rugs or upholstery. Speaking of rugs, it coped well with a long pile area rug, removing lots of debris left behind by a robot vacuum that had cleaned it the same day.
We were impressed with the dust and dirt collection even if it was slightly horrifying how much it removed from recently vacuumed carpets. Edge cleaning is good, too, and it was able to collect oats from along our baseboards no matter whether we approached with the front or side of the floorhead. It didn’t struggle to remove hair from carpets and we were pleased to see that none of it became tangled in the brushroll.
The canister is small enough to balance on stairs and by removing the wand and attaching the floorhead or one of the tools directly to the handle, cleaning stairs is a breeze. Similarly, we were left with clean sofas after vacuuming them with the upholstery tool. And the crevice nozzle attached to the wand came in handy for removing cobwebs overhead, though you wouldn’t be able to clean like this for long without getting arm ache.
The dust cup is easy to remove and during our tests all of the dirt and dust fell straight out into the trash at the push of a button. Having said that, though, the large capacity means you don’t have to do this too often, which is particularly helpful if you’ve got allergies and are sensitive to the usual dust cloud that erupts upon emptying a vacuum. The filters are also easily removed and they’re washable, so keeping them in good condition doesn’t require expensive regular replacements.
During use, the floorhead proved to have good general maneuverability and the canister followed behind, with very little effort required to pull it along. Occasionally the hose would become folded and inhibit suction, but that’s quite common for long hoses and doesn’t take much to adjust back.
On the highest suction power vacuuming hard floor, our noise meter maxed out at 76dB, but this went down to around 68dB on the lowest suction level. On carpet the noise levels were pretty similar, but the tone wasn’t quite so high pitched.
Should I buy the Shark Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum?
Buy it if…
You want easy reach under low furniture
Being a canister vacuum, this model already allows better reach under furniture than its upright counterparts. But with the addition of the flexible wand, you can reach below low furniture without having to bend down.
You want a vacuum that doesn’t run out of battery power
It might be obvious, but cordless vacuums can have frustratingly short battery life. So if you want to clean the whole house without stressing about the battery running out, this is a good choice with great pick up.
You have allergies
Shark claims the anti-allergen complete seal traps 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum and the large dust canister means you shouldn’t need to empty it too regularly either, great news for allergy sufferers.
Don't buy it if...
You want the freedom of a cordless vacuum
While there are positives to a plug-in vacuum, the negative is that you can’t stray further than 25 ft / 9 meters from a power socket so there’s less freedom, which won’t suit everyone.
Your storage space is limited
There are plenty of ways to store this vacuum, with the wand bent in half for low cupboards for example. But if space is tight, you might find it’s just too bulky and you’be better off considering a slimmer stick vacuum.
First reviewed: June 2022
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