Monday, December 6, 2010

Da dum da dum... SHARKS!

Not as in Jaws, but Sharks as in the Shark line of cleaners. I'm going to veer from my normal course of posting & give my version of a review. I own three Shark devices: a Sweeper Vaccuum, a Vac then Steam, and a Handheld Steam Scrubber. I'll start with the sweeper since I've had it the longest.

Shark Sweeper Vaccuum: *** First of all, I bought it to replace my Swivel-Sweeper after the battery on it went kaput. I was thinking the Shark looked a bit more powerful and therefore would do more for me. I was kind of wrong. I still miss my Swivel-Sweeper. The Shark Sweeper is ok, but it has a tendency to throw stuff behind it and/or just push stuff around on the floor. It does the best job on the carpet (the opposite of the Swivel-Sweeper). As long as you're not fastidious about getting *every* single crumb & piece of dust, this does an ok job. It is light-weight, has a long cord, collapses to get under things, and easy to dump. I use it probably at least 3-4 times a week for quick pick-ups and to clean off my door mats. I give it 3 stars out of a possible 5.

Shark Vac then Steam: **** I bought this because I asked around on FB and it seemed to be something most people liked. It also had good reviews other places online. I had just spent an entire day just cleaning the floors in my kitchen & dining room on my hands & knees. Andrew didn't like that I had to work that hard. I was skeptical since its a 2-in-1 kind of thing. Usually, in my experience, things that claim to do multiple tasks don't do a very good job. Case in point, my mom has a Bissel bare-floor vac-then-mop (not sure of the actual name). It does a MUCH less than stellar job of vaccuuming and a decent job of mopping. So when I pulled the Shark out of the box I was prepared to be underwelmed by the vaccuuming action. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. It really does pull stuff away from the walls with its suction. It picked up fine particles as well as the inevitable puffs on the floor from my crumb crunchers. Then I turned on the steamer. Its VERY easy to switch from vac to steam! It takes it a while to produce a full head of steam, but once it does, it seems to do a decent job cleaning. It runs out of steam periodically (about the time my arm gets tired of pushing it), so I have to stop for a few seconds (less than a minute) to let it build back up to full-steam. I've used both pads - one has long 'fingers' of microfibers & the other is more like terry-cloth microfibers - and I think the longer 'fingers' are better for my application (laminate wood flooring). The first couple of rooms looks really nice. However, after extensive use (75% of my house is laminate wood floors), the later rooms begin to streak like they do with a dirty mop. Theoretically, since its sanitizing they're still clean, they just have residue from the pad. I could avoid that by changing pads mid-stream and/or just doing one section of my house at a time. All in all, I think this is a pretty good cleaner. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Shark Handheld Steam Scrubber: ** This came free when we ordered the Vac then Steam. It was looking forward to it. I hoped it would be something I could use on the kitchen counters, bath-tub, & the like. I also thought I could use it for spot cleaning when I didn't want to get the big one out. I really don't like it much at all. You have to pump the handle to get steam, but I can't find any rhyme or reason to how often or when you pump the handle. Sometimes I pump & get lots of steam, but other times I pump & get nothing. I've tried holding it down while I scrub. I've tried pumping it continuously while I scrub. All to no avail. It does a decent job on simple sanitizing, but its not getting any stains up except for maybe *really* fresh ones. It did get some kool-aid stains off my island/bar, but other kool-aid stains that were slightly older didn't come clean even after repeated steaming. Tea stains are absolutely hopeless with this thing. The pump on the handle is also pretty hard to pump. I don't think I'm that weak, but this thing wears me out after cleaning just my kitchen counters. I'm unsure of whether it can be used on vertical surfaces (walls), but from my attempts, I'm going to say it cannot. Its not absolutely worthless if it really sanitizes like it promises, however, its not all that handy. It has a nice long cord - I appreciate that. It also has similar pads as the Vac then Steam. I had better luck with the shorter 'fingers' than the longer ones with this device. Its shaped like an iron & I think I'm going to try it for some 'off-label' steaming of clothes. If I steam the surface first, then lay the clothes down & steam them, I think it'll work. At this point, I give this 2 stars out of 5.

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