Pros: compact size, good suction, easy-to-clean filter
Cons: power button in awkward place
In the last year, my wife and I have spent quite a bit of money at our local Best Buy with our home improvement projects. I'm not big on spending all of that money on things that don't have the words Dolby, Flat-Panel or High Definition in them, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. A perk of spending this money was the rewards certificates we received, and a chance to get something a little nicer for myself. I never thought that I would end up using them on a Euro-Pro EP035 Shark 800-Watt Turbo Hand Vacuum.
Now, don't get me wrong, with a new puppy, having a hand vac makes sense. But so does having the latest incarnation of Civilization III - at least in my mind. However, the keeper of the funds - also lovingly known as my wife - had other ideas about how to make the house a happier place.
[ who is SHARK? ]
Euro-Pro, the company that makes the Shark brand appliances, does a lot more than just Shark. While the Shark brand focuses on utilitarian devices (vacuums, irons, etc.), Euro-Pro does kitchen devices (food processors, blenders and the like), while their Fantom brand is for higher-scale cleaning devices (Shark Plus, if you will). Unfortunately, I haven't found a lot of info on the company itself, as their website only talks about their products and not about the company.
[ what do I GET? ]
The Shark EP035 is a small hand-held vacuum that does small jobs quite well. It comes with two brushes and a hose attachment to do most jobs. The main brush is rounded with normal bristles for cleaning, while the second brush is their 'exclusive' pet-hair removal brush. It also comes with a 3' flexible hose to get to those nooks and crannies. They easily switch from the front of the vacuum - pull one attachment out and put the next one on. The vacuum is bagless - instead it uses a HEPA filter system to catch the dust and dirt in the canister for easy disposal. So far, this system has been extremely simple to use. The vacuum is also a corded model but comes with a fairly long (about 12') cord to give you a lot of flexibility
[ da-dum. daaa-DUM. da-DUM,da-DUM,DA-DUM... ]
First things, first - using the Shark. This is a SIMPLE machine to use. Plug it in, put the correct attachment on, and press the power button toward the front of the handle. I will say that the power button is one of the few things I don't like on this model - its placement isn't well thought-out because it ends up being right where you want to grab the vacuum - and you end up switching the vacuum off accidentally quite often. But that's minor.
The brushes provided both work very well - but there isn't a whole lot to them that's different from other brushes. The 'exclusive' pet brush is nice, and seems to work well on the furniture, but I don't know that I would have spent money on it. The hose is long enough to reach into places you can't but the fact that there isn't a hard extension means that you won't be able to direct it accurately underneath furniture where you can't reach. There is also a power-brush available, but that is sold seperately, so I haven't seen it.
The Shark is a pretty loud vacuum for its size, but that's the tradeoff for the power. I wouldn't use it when you are on the phone, but it's not annoying enough to make sure everyone is outside before turning it on.
[ well, of course IT SUCKS ]
We got this one to clean up the little messes, as well as help with the stairs leading to the family room in the basement. With the dog coming in and out a lot, there tends to be quite a bit of dirt that gets tracked in, and lugging around the full size Hoover Windtunnel got to be a pain. Would the Shark EP035 do the job?
According to Shark, this model offered the same suction power as a typical full-size vacuum. But did it. In the simple 'Usage' test, I have to say that it did very well. It cleaned all of the dirt on the stairs very well, and also picked up pet hair with no problems. It also comes with a hose that did a fairly good job of sucking up things from the corner. But as powerful as a regular vacuum. Well, that's a challenge to me.
I set it up to see how much it could 'lift' based on the suction. I cleaned the filter to make it a good representation, and then picked out several books of varying sizes to test it. The first was a small paperback, "Ghost Stories of the Delaware Coast", which was a full 70 pages long. The medium test was "The Ruby Knight" by David Eddings, a typical paperback novel of 372 pages. Last, I grabbed Melanie Rawn's "Exiles", a whopper of a paperback weighing in at 840 pages. Then I saw how far it could lift those books off of the ground.
Well, this vacuum did a fairly good job at this ridiculously un-scientific test. The first two books were lifted to shoulder height with no problem. The last one was more difficult from the cover, but worked just fine when put on the paper itself where it could get a grip. The verdict? Well, I don't know if it is as powerful as a regular vacuum, but it's close.
[ cleaning the GUTS ]
The Intelli-Sense filter monitor on the side of the vacuum turns on when the filter needs to be changed, so you get a notice that it's time to take a look. However, I have seen our filter get pretty filled up without the light coming on - although other times it has lit when appropriate. The filter screen traps 99.97% of air impurities as small as .3 microns, according to the manufacturer. I would assume that it's true, since I see a lot of dust in the filter after a few uses. Cleaning the filter is a breeze - the Shark comes with a rinseable TAPCLEAN HEPA Dust Cup Filter that you can simply run under your faucet to clean. Let it dry, and you're ready to go. Shark suggests cleaning your filter after every 3 months, and getting a new one every year or so, depending on how grungy it's gotten - I would suggest a slightly more frequent cleaning, but that's me. A new filter runs about $12.95 from Shark, but you can probably find them cheaper elsewhere.
[ jumping the SHARK ]
So, would I recommend that you run out and get one of these? It depends. Obviously, if you don't specifically need a hand-vac, then this is silly to buy this. But most people do, and this one fits the bill nicely. It's not heavy and has a good amount of suction for any vacuum, let alone one this size. The attachments work well and it's SIMPLE to use. And for the cost - $30 at Best Buy - you really can't argue with the fact that this is a bargain. So, if you've been holding off on getting one, here is your answer: suck it up, and buy a Shark.
[ technical STUFF ]
» Style: hand held
» Voltage: 120V, 60Hz
» Motor: 800 watts, 6.67 Amps
» Filter: True HEPA filter with Intelli-sense monitor
» Size: 12 inches long, 7 inches high
» Weight: 3 pounds
» Tools: Exclusive pet hair remover tool, Extension hose, brush and shoulder strap
More info available at http://www.sharkcompany.com/shark/productdetail.aspx?pid=d2e607ec-16c4-4949-b92c-751a4446(Euro-Pro Base Catalog)