Welcome to Vacuum Wars and our review of the Shark HydroVac Cordless Pro XL. It’s Shark’s first entry into the very popular hard floor cleaner market. We bought one and put it through all kinds of tests this week to see how well it performed in general, as well as how well it stacks up against its competition. In this review, we’ll go over all the pros and cons, so let’s get started.
Impressive Wet/Dry Cleaning
We’re impressed with the Shark HydroVac Cordless XL 3-in-1.
It’s lightweight and easy-to-use, and in our tests it performed better than average with both wet messes and tough dried-on-stains.
About the HydroVac Cordless Pro XL
First, the basics. The Shark HydroVac Cordless Pro XL should not be confused with the Shark HydroVac XL, which is the corded version, released at the same time.
Shark markets the HydroVac Pro XL as a 3-in1 floor washer that “vacs, mops, and cleans itself at the same time.” There are several direct competitors from the likes of Bissell, Tineco (see our Tineco Floor One S3 review,) and Roborock and some indirect ones, like the Dyson V15s Submarine (review).
…where the Shark HydroVac Cordless really stood apart was with its main job – its mopping ability on both wet and dried-on liquids. With the dried-on stains, we were impressed. It had an exceptionally clean pickup with just one back-and-forth pass.
How it works
The HydroVac Cordless operates like other floor washers, in that you first fill the clean water tank with water and the included solution. Next, you turn it on with the button on the handle, automatically dispensing the solution to the spinning brush on the floor.
You then vacuum back and forth over either wet or dry stains, dry debris, or even large wet messes. Finally, when you’re done, you empty out the dirty water tank and run the cleaning cycle. It’s designed to be a solution that lets you vacuum and clean hard floors simultaneously.
In the box
Lightweight and Easy to Use
Starting with the pros, everything about it was really easy to use. It’s the lightest modern floor washer we’ve tested yet. Like most Shark vacuums, its swivel is smooth and responsive, making it very easy to maneuver in and out of tight spaces.
In this case, we liked that the HydroVac dispensed the water automatically, instead of using a trigger like some competitors do. This is only because its water flow was well regulated. It didn’t use a lot of water, which is a feature that Shark advertises. In our infrared test, we could see that the water was being dispensed evenly, but it wasn’t overbearing, which is a good thing.
It has some helpful information on its LED display, such as an accurate but simplistic battery life indicator and alerts like empty and full tank lights.
Considering a carpet cleaner? Check out our Bissell Revolution HydroSteam Pet review!
Its power specs are pretty good, although we couldn’t get an accurate sealed suction reading, which has been the case with these in the past. We are fairly confident with the unsealed suction metrics, where it was right about average and more than the Roborock Dyad for comparison. Its brush also spun at the same basic speed as its main competitors.
Mopping Wet and Dried-on Spills
But where the Shark HydroVac Cordless really stood apart was with its primary job – its mopping ability on both wet and dried-on liquids. With the dried-on stains, we were impressed. It had an exceptionally clean pickup with just one back-and-forth pass. It should be noted that the back pass is where a lot of the heavy lifting is done, which is also typical of these floor washers.
With the glow-in-the-dark dried-on stain test, which we consider a torture test because the substance we use is so hard to remove, it did as good, if not better, than its competitors. But the real test of its ability came with a glow-in-the-dark wet test. We found that this test was the best way to see how efficiently these machines were handling a lot of liquid on floors, and how much they were leaving behind per pass.
We were surprised to see how inefficient many of these hard floor cleaners were at picking up this material in the least amount of passes. The Shark HydroVac seemed to visually beat all the other cordless floor washers at this test, dealing with the liquid in the least amount of time. With large messes and dry debris, it was good as well. It has a large opening on the front that can accommodate larger debris sizes.
Anti-microbial Brush and Self-Cleaning
Another pro is that it has an anti-microbial soft brush, which they claim keeps it from getting too dirty. The HydroVac has a good self-cleaning cycle. After we vacuumed our entire house top to bottom, it was fairly dirty in some of the internal crevices. But after running the cleaning cycle once, it almost got all of it without us wiping it down. We still wiped it down, and we think that’s good practice either way.
The final pro we’ll mention is that it’s cordless. We really appreciate the freedom of just being able to grab this and go, and not having to worry about cords is just better.
Before we move on to the cons, we should mention its battery life. We don’t actually know what the official battery life numbers are because Shark hasn’t published them yet.
Typically though, battery life has not been a problem for these hard floor cleaners in our tests, with some of them being able to go up to four thousand square feet on one charge for instance. So no matter what the official battery life is, we can’t imagine it being a problem unless you have a very large area to clean.
Moving on to the negative stuff, The HydroVac Cordless Pro XL was louder than average in our tests at about 77 decibels, compared to around 74 decibels which was the average of the other cordless options we tested.
Based on the specs listed on Shark’s website, we think that the water tank is smaller than average as well. We give the same negative thing to all these floor washers, but in our opinion, if you want to use these for big spills or dry debris, then the cleaning process is much more involved.
We maintain that if you use it for light jobs like normal vacuuming and mopping of your house, then the cleaning cycle might be all you need to keep it clean.
Our Independent Test Results
|Shark HydroVac Pro XL
|Average (5 Tested)
|Unsealed Suction at Head
|Cleaning Area per Charge
|4,368 sq. ft.
|Clean Water Tank
|Where to Buy
In conclusion, the Shark HydroVac Cordless Pro XL was one of the lightest and easiest-to-use cordless floor washers we’ve tested. Though its raw power was just about average, its cleaning ability with dried-on stains and wet messes was well above average, maybe the best yet.
Shark HydroVac Cordless Pro XL (WD201)
|HydroVac Pro XL Cordless
|WetDry Vacuum and Mop
|21.6V Lithium Ion
|Cleaning Path Width
|Dust Bin Capacity
|.38 qt. / .36L
|5.5 watt / 120 amp
|11.1” x 9.8” x 43.7”