The Shark Stratos IZ420UKT has a huge suction head with two rotating brushes, but it is also one of the brand’s first models to have an automatic power adjustment mode.
- Comfortable on all surfaces
- Easy to store
- Relevant and efficient autoIQ system
- Heavy in floor vacuum mode
Less known in France than the inevitable Dyson, Rowenta or Electrolux, the American Shark nevertheless shows a ferocious appetite on the hoover market. The Stratos IZ420UKT is its latest model. Priced at £449.99, it stands out from the competition thanks to a massive suction head, not full of teeth, but full of rotating brushes; there are two to choose from. The first resembles the soft or ‘fluffy’ brushes popularised by Dyson. In contrast, the second is more conventional and features hard bristles and rubber blades to beat up textiles and extract dust (PowerFins system).
To drive these brushes and provide power to the motor, the Stratos is equipped with a Li-ion battery that is supposed to give it a 60-minute runtime, which should be more than enough time to fill the 0.77-litre waste bin. This is where the single-cyclone filtration system is located to separate the air from the dust. Like other upright vacuums before it, it has a particle counter to tell the user whether the floor is clean and modulates the suction power according to the amount of waste collected. In short, the Stratos IZ420UKT is well equipped to win the top spots in our comparison.
The Shark Stratos IZ420UKT is a stick hoover. The heavy-duty motor, filtration system and dirt container are located close to the user’s wrist. To reach the most inaccessible corners, the user can turn the machine in any direction – with or without the suction tube connected. In handheld mode, it weighs only 1.66 kg, which means it can be handled without too much effort. However, when you attach the tube and the suction head, the scale goes into overdrive and shows 4.01 kg.
Although most of the weight is borne by the floor, you soon get tired of pushing and pulling the Stratos IZ420UKT, even though the rotating brushes tend to make it easier to move, at least towards the front. Good point: the head is flexible enough to take the tightest of turns without skidding. In addition, the suction tube has an articulation system similar to the Rowenta X-Force Flex 8.60 Animal Kit RH9679WO. At the touch of a button, the hose unbends to make it easier to get under furniture. This makes it easier to get under a table, but this feature has another advantage. By completely folding the suction tube, the Stratos IZ420UKT adopts a compact storage position and does not require a floor or wall base, a real plus for small spaces or those who do not want to take the drill out to install a wall base.
But back to the main reason for the Stratos IZ420UKT’s heavyweight, its massive suction head. It weighs 1.86 kg on its own, as it has two rotating brushes and the motorisation needed to turn them.
But that’s not all, as Shark has also fitted it with a front LED system to illuminate dark floors or the underside of furniture and a cleanliness indicator. The latter forms a light bar on the back of the head. The longer it is, the dirtier the floor. If all goes well, the size decreases when the floor is vacuumed, and you change areas when the bar has almost disappeared.
Two sensors near the air intake of the main body analyse the dust content of the air being sucked in to determine whether the floor is clean. The system works quite well, and you quickly get the hang of it. The Stratos IZ420UKT also uses the results to modulate the suction power of the automatic mode according to immediate needs (auto IQ system). Once again, everything works perfectly, and you can clearly feel the motor speed decreasing when you stay in the same place for a long time, and less and less dust (theoretically) passes in front of the famous sensors.
This automatic mode is not the only one available, and the user can choose between this last one, an eco mode and a boost mode. To switch from one to the other, you must press the button decorated with a fan that falls perfectly under your thumb. Of course, the Stratos IZ420UKT must first be switched on. The rest of the control panel consists of an electronic display that indicates the remaining battery life using a percentage. This method is more informative than a simple trio of LEDs, but it is also less accurate than a one-second estimate like the one offered by the Dyson V11.
Shark is quite generous with its accessories. Apart from the hoover itself, the tube and the suction head, the box contains a classic brush, a contoured brush for tight spaces such as radiators, a mini brush and an extended nozzle. Our version also has a battery charger that can accommodate two batteries simultaneously, which is rare enough to be worth mentioning.
The Shark Stratos IZ420UKT has a dual brush system that is very good on all surfaces.
You can expect to remove 100% of the dirt on shaggy carpets in two minutes, even without switching on the boost mode. However, this mode tends to vacuum a little too hard, and, in certain conditions, it can even swallow the edges of the carpet, so be careful to choose the right suction power to ensure the task is simple.
The suction performance is also excellent on fine carpets in both normal and boost modes. In the first case, the efficiency rate reaches 97% in 30 seconds. In the second mode, the efficiency rises to 98% in the same time frame. In one minute, the floor is immaculate.
Finally, on hard floors, the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT swallows 98% of the waste in 30 seconds in automatic or boost mode. The result is still impeccable after one minute.
Even if you need good biceps to handle it, the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT does not lack bite on any surface. We liked the extra features, such as the well-thought-out auto IQ system and the articulated suction tube, which allows you to dust under furniture without effort and store the hoover without taking up too much space. Unfortunately, its cyclonic filtration system is not efficient enough to allow the Stratos IZ420UKT to make it to the top of our comparison.
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