Are you looking for a cordless vacuum that won't run out of power after 10 minutes, and has the flexibility to handle carpet and hard floor surfaces?
Today we take an in-depth look at the Shark ionflex 2x, a bending vacuum with Multiplex technology and duoclean rolls but without the cord. This cordless Shark vacuum is suitable for many consumers.
However, it's not for everyone and does have some drawbacks, so let's jump in and find out if the Shark ion flex 2x could be the right choice for your home.
SHARK IONFLEX 2X - What's In The Box?
- Duster crevice tool
- Pet Multi-Tool
- Pre and Post Motor Filters (all washable)
- Anti-Allergen Dust Brush
- 2x Batteries
- Battery Charging Dock
Depending on Model (see below for more details)
Multi-Flex Under Appliance Wand*
You can see more IONFlex owner reviews and comments on Amazon.
What is Multiplex?
Early models of the Shark stick vacuum had a lot of problems with it not being able to stand up on its own; Shark has now used multiplex technology to solve this problem with two main advantages.
First, the multiplex in this Shark ion flex 2x allows it to bend up to 180°. The benefit of the multiplex is two-fold; first, it will enable you to bend the vacuum in half when you stop for a break when vacuuming, and it will stay upright.
Secondly, the flex feature also allows it to adjust up-to 90° for getting under furniture and beds, without having to bend down. This option can be applied or it will lay flat and can be used conventionally.
But at least you have a choice. We found it more challenging to manoeuvre using the bend method for under low furniture and beds, but the option is there if you find it difficult bending down when cleaning.
Single Cyclonic Bagless
The Shark cyclonic system works by dirt entering the dirt bin, and as it moves around in the dust container which has a shroud in the centre compartment, the dust and debris are passed through a slot in the side and enter into a final dust chamber. Dust is then collected and stored here until it needs emptying.
What is Duoclean Technology?
With Duoclean, the Shark ion incorporates a twin roll system. A soft roll and bristle brush sit next to each other on the cleaning head and perform different tasks when cleaning.
The soft orange roll at the front is used for hard floor surfaces, and it will pick up small dust particles along with large items like breakfast cereals like Cheerios. There is no protective guard on the front of the cleaning head which can restrict large pieces from entering, causing a snow plough effect.
Depending on which cleaning mode you select will then control the speed of the soft roll. It will be slower on the hardwood and tile floors than carpets, for example.
There is a second rotating brush roll is a hard bristle, more of the traditional brush type seen on vacuum cleaners. This is more useful for low pile carpet. Moreover, the suction power will vary depending on the mode.
This idea of a twin roll system when being used on multi floors homes has unique advantages, mainly when used together.
The Shark cordless vacuum has come a long way in recent times, with the most significant downfalls being the short battery life and limited runtime in high power mode. To address these concerns they have increased battery runtimes and added two batteries as standard.
This model 2X comes supplied with two lithium-ion battery packs, and each one will last on average 30 minutes, depending on the power mode used.
Here’s a guide to Shark ion flex runtimes:
HIGH POWER Mode (single Battery)
Hard floor - 12 mins
Carpet - 11 mins
Handheld - 11 mins
These times are double with the extra battery.
LOW POWER Mode (Single Battery)
Hard Floor - 20 mins
Carpet - 14 mins
Handheld - 23 mins
These times are double with the extra battery
When the batteries are inserted into the handheld device, the battery has three lights; low, medium and full charge. The charging dock has the same system and has the same lights to let you know when it's charged.
Then you know how much charge is left while cleaning and how much load is in the spare battery when it's time to change over.
Other than the status indicator lights, when the battery does run out it just dies with no signs, warnings or slowing down of the power output. The ion flex vacuum will just stop.
So planning your cleaning on how long you would need to be using the ion flex vacuum is an important consideration. For quick clean ups of a few minutes, you won't have any issues with the battery life, but it's good practice to keep both batteries fully charge ready for action at all times.
Normal battery charge time 3 1/2 hours
Note: If you try to recharge the battery after you've used it, and it is still hot, as a safety measure it will not allow it to charge until the battery has cooled down to an optimum temperature, which could be up to one hour.
So this increases the overall time to charge to 4 1/2 hours. This is only a problem if you use one battery, but with the dual battery system, you can charge one while using the other.
However, if your cleaning time is over one hour, this is a problem you could face.
It has a circular filter made of foam and is quick to access on top of the handheld device. The sponge filter is washable and can get dirty quite quickly.
However, this is not in any way detrimental to the suction or cleaning ability of this Shark cordless vacuum. This is then down to how often you want to clean it.
Shark recommend cleaning them every month. Once removed from the unit, there is a further small filter inside. Wash the filters until they are clean and leave them to dry completely before returning them into the unit.
It is worth having a spare set of filter sponges to use while the others are 100% dry.
There is a small filter on the vacuum that can be cleaned at the same time, this cloth filter is also washable, and replacements can be purchased so you have spares. Read more about cleaning the Shark filters in this guide.
The ion flex is only free-standing when in storage mode. This means that when you have it fully extended it does not stand on it own. And the solution to this is to fold it down when not using it, so it won't fall over. This can be done quickly and simply by pressing a button and snapping it over.
All the controls on the Shark ion flex 2 are within thumb reach as you use the vacuum, meaning you can switch power settings between carpet and hardwood floors, without having to stop or change hand position. These symbols light up to tell you which mode you are using, which is a handy feature.
The cleaning modes are on the top part of the handheld unit, where the controls are situated, and there are four options to choose.
- Hard floor
- Power low
- Power high
In operation, these settings work by increasing or decreasing suction power along with the speed of the soft or brush roll. This will then give you difference cleaning experiences.
When using the vacuum on hardwood or tile floors, choose low power on the hard floor mode. If you have lots of mess, you may choose to add extra power by switching the power setting to high for a short period.
On low pile carpet, you would require the bristle brush, so carpet mode would be selected with the low power to start. Again if you need an extra boost in high traffic areas, this could be used.
The size of the dirt cup bin is 0.33 liters, which are relatively small compared to other brands like the Dyson stick vacuum. So emptying the bin regular will be necessary.
However, this is something you don't have to do every-time you use it. For an average home without pets, you could get many weeks of cleaning before having to empty the dust cup.
To empty the cup, it's a quick and simple process of pressing a button to release the debris in the waste bin and is quite straightforward to carry out.
Once all the central dust and dirt has been removed from the dust cup, it can be a bit awkward to clean. It would have been better designed to detach the cup entirely so it could be washed.
But this is not possible on this model. So washing the inside is down to cloths or wipes, which is not the greatest feature on this cleaner.
If you manage to suck up any tissues or plastic wrappers, it can block the shroud in the waste bin, which will cause loss of suction power, and it will be noticeable by both power lights flashing at the same time.
Plus the motor sound will be reduced when vacuuming. If you do have a problem with blockages with the Shark ion , there is a quick fix, which is emptying the bin and clearing the shroud, which will release the items and allow you to continue cleaning.
It has been said the headlights on modern vacuum cleaners like the Shark ion flex are a bit gimmicky and are more for looks than being a useful assisting aid when cleaning. Well, this may surprise you, but consumers who used these type of cleaners report that having the light makes a difference when cleaning.
Where using for dark areas that are hard to see maybe advantageous, our finding was that for general cleaning the LED lights were helping users more than what they thought they would.
Highlighting dirt in areas as you clean is a benefit some users would not be without.
Note: If you have an issue with the LED light not working, this is usually due to the guard on the brush roll flipping open. Clicking it back into place will fix this problem.
When it comes to stick vacs, this ion flex vacuum is reasonably lightweight, but it depends on how you are using it. Completely assembly it weights 8.7lbs, although if you are using the handheld section only, the weight comes down to 3.5lbs.
Plus, any variation of the tool attachments with the handheld will change the overall weight of vacuum when using. The battery position is such that is supposed to balance out the handheld with wand attachment, which it does pretty well.
However, if you are using above head height, holding the unit at arm's length for any period can become tiresome to hold.
When is comes to storing the ion flex there is a carrying handle on the vacuum, and once you have finished cleaning with the multiflex function, you can fold the vacuum in half and using the handle, quickly move it to your place of storage where the unit will stand upright without toppling over.
So, if you are tight for space in your home this can fit into the smallest areas.
Using this shark ion flex 2 as a handheld gives you different cleaning choices, and there are few ways this can be achieved.
Once detached from the central section of the vacuum, you can attach to the cleaning head to give you a small vacuum, ideal for stairs.
Removing the cleaning head, you then have the alternative to attach the wand tool for above head height cleaning, for drapes and ceilings, plus it's useful to get on top of kitchen units.
With the handheld being a portable unit, you are mobile enough to transport it around the home, or even to vacuum the car, or help clean in the garage without a problem.
Why Is There So Many Different Models?
One of the confusing things we found with the Shark ionflex was why there were different types with little information to separate the differences. So to make it easy we have compiled a simple list.
Any model number with 2X at the front means it comes with two batteries.
Other than this, the main differences will be how many attachments they have, and the colors may be different this is down to choice.
So, the overall specification will be the same. See below for a quick guide.
Blue - 2XIF252
Blue - 2XIF251
This model is the same other than tool attachments:
One battery pack - IF200
One battery pack - IF200W
One battery pack - IF2001
One battery pack - IF2002
One battery pack - IF2005 (does not have the under appliance wand)
2X on the model number means it comes with two battery packs
They are a corded model (HV) these versions are not IONFlex.
Allergen Dusting Brush
The flexible brush which can be rotated into position and can be used for cleaning drapes, and in-between blinds that can be tricky at the best of time. It's also good to use on furniture tables and even computer keyboards.
It has a crevice tool which is best used with the wand attachment tool or handheld unit for corners and edges. Plus it's a good tool if you are cleaning the car
The two-part tool with a stiff bristle brush, with the face becoming detachable, then making it ideal for upholstery and pet hair.
Under Appliance Wand
This is a new attachment tool exclusive to Shark. It's used for getting under low appliances like fridges. It's reach can be extended up to 40 inches so plenty of scope for areas where you would usually have to move the object to clean under or behind it.
How well does it perform?
Overall the IONFlex was easy to put together, with the batteries having some charge right out of the box, so it can be tested without having to wait for the battery to charge up so this was a good start.
The cleaning head is robust and heavier than we thought. Once fully assembled the controls have easy access on the top and can be controlled quickly with your thumb.
And movement of the cleaning head around the floors is flexible enough to get around the table legs and chairs without any real problems. Starting in low power mode and on the carpet setting, the vacuum had lots of pull and suction.
This was fine going in a forward direction, but when pulling it back, it tended to lift slightly and was harder to do.
The movement seems a lot better on tiled kitchen floors, and the pullback didn't lift and felt a lot easier to manage plus the pickup was improved. So, the difference between the power settings is very noticeable, and the extra suction is suitable for large messes and stubborn areas.
In the upright stick mode you can then bend the MultiFLEX to get under low furniture without having to bend, this felt difficult to use for us, and we preferred bending down with the stick vacuum being laid down flat as we found this to be more straightforward.
But for some users who have back pain, this feature could be a blessing and very helpful.
It's detachable handheld unit was impressive, and since it could still be used with the cleaning head, therefore making it a smaller vacuum for stairs, this worked well.
Plus once adding the tool attachments it then gives the handheld more functions for upholstery, blinds, and pet beds. As for the shark ion flex run time if need over 60 mins, you will need to charge again, but for any quick clean ups or vacuuming without having to charge it works well.
The Shark IONFlex comes with a healthy five-year warranty on all parts. Plus the batteries have two years cover. This is backed up by the reliable Shark customer after sales service for any questions or concerns you may have after your purchase.
Q - How does the bristle brush perform on the hardwood floor?
A -If you mean does it scratch the hardwood, the answer is no, and you can also turn off the brush roll if you choose.
Q - Is it as powerful as a corded vacuum?
A - This is very powerful for a cordless vacuum but will not have the staying power of a regular corded vacuum.
Q - How noisy is this Shark vacuum?
A - Against a normal vacuum, it is a lot quieter.
Q - Is the filter on this a HEPA type filter?
A - No, the filter is washable sponge filters, which are not as effective as the HEPA filters.
For a stick vacuum, the Shark IONFlex 2X is a little bit pricey. However, you do have to take into consideration the many features it has and how these will help you clean your home.
It has twin batteries and is cordless with the option to use as a handheld vacuum for a multitude of cleaning tasks. The ability to move around the home to clean anything from hardwood floors, carpets, blinds and furniture to upholstery and take it to the garage for car cleaning is great.
It's quick to empty the bin and will fold away neatly for storage, combined with a solid five-year warranty, the IONFlex could be the perfect vacuum for you.