Shark makes all kinds of awesome household appliances, and the brand is well-established in the vacuum industry. Two of the latest Shark ION robot vacuums – the R87 and R76 – are equipped with Wi-Fi and work with Alexa and Assistant. Both have a multi-surface brushroll and use Auto Sense navigation to dodge obstacles in their path.
Now, Shark has added the IQ to its robotic vacuum offerings. As with the IONs, the Shark IQ R101 can be controlled through a smartphone or via a virtual assistant. However, Shark upgraded the navigation technology to include a mapping optical sensor. The IQ R101 also boasts a nonstop cleaning-recharging system and three levels of suction.
Trying to delve through three robotic vacuums’ specific features is quite a task. To help you easily and quickly compare the Shark IQ R101, ION R87 and R76, we broke down their features category by category.
Brushes and Suction
Robotic vacuums with two side brushes can clean more flooring than those with one. The Shark ION R76, ION R87 and IQ R101 all have two spinning brushes, pulling in dirt from both sides as they roll across the floor. Since they are positioned at an upward angle, these side brushes are exceptional at cleaning baseboards, corners and edges.
The ION R76 and R87 have Shark’s multi-surface brushroll. Thick lines of hard bristles and alternating rows of rubber blades allow the ION robo vacs to vacuum carpets equally as well as they clean hard floors. While the IQ R101 has the same brushroll, Shark added hair-catching teeth, which pull hair from the brushroll as it rotates.
Shark also integrated a variable-speed motor into each robot. With both ION models, you can choose between Normal suction for everyday vacuuming and Max suction for big-mess cleaning. While the Shark IQ R101 has Normal and Max suction, it also has a Quiet mode, which is ideal for delicate hard floors and nighttime cleaning.
Conclusion: All robotic vacuums have two angled brushrolls, making each one great edge cleaners. For the ION R76 and R87, Shark used the same brushroll and dual-speed suction system. However, Shark enhanced the IQ R101 with a self-cleaning brushroll an ultra-quiet suction speed.
Navigation and Sensors
Every robot vacuum is safe to use on the second story of your home. They all have four infrared cliff sensors – two on the front and one on each side. When the robots detect a drop-off, they back up and travel away from danger. In case the robots bump into an object, their bumper protects them from damage.
The four sensors that scout out steps and ledges also look for Shark’s BotBoundary strips. You can cut these magnetic strips to your desired length and place them anywhere you want, such as across doorways or around pet dishes. When the IQ or ION robots find a BotBoundary strip, it will avoid the contained area.
Auto Sense navigation comes standard on the ION R87 and ION R76, helping them avoid objects and adapt to their surroundings. With the IQ R101, Shark replaced the infrared Auto Sense with the optical IQ system. The IQ system drives the R101 in a back-and-forth pattern and creates a map, making it 50-percent more efficient than the IONs.
Conclusion: You get fall prevention in the form of cliff sensors and collision protection via a robust bumper with all three robot vacuums. The cliff sensors are also compatible with BotBoundary strips; however, Shark only includes them with the IQ R101. The IQ also has a more advanced navigation system that includes a home-mapping optical sensor.
App Control and Map Memorization
If you have an iPhone or an Android, you can control the R101, R87 or R76 with it by installing the SharkClean smartphone app and linking it up to your home’s Wi-Fi network. With the app, you can start, stop and pause a vacuuming session or manually control where the robots go.
The SharkClean app also lets you adjust the suction speed, send a robot to its dock and view an on-demand cleaning history. If you want to automize their cleaning routine, you can even set a weekly schedule, choosing the days and the times the robots run.
Since the R101 is equipped with IQ navigation, you can see a map of your home’s layout. Touch the map to select the area you want the robot vacuum to clean or the space you want it to avoid. The app also has a function that locates the IQ R101’s position no matter where it is in your house.
Conclusion: Whether you’re at home, at work or on vacation, you can control and track your robot. If you have the Shark IQ R101, you can clean by room or make a no-go zone. If you live in a multi-story home, the app will simply draw a new map each time it cleans a different level.
Voice Commands and Onboard Controls
Another Wi-Fi-based perk you get with each robotic vacuum is the ability to issue voice commands. Using an Amazon or a Google smart speaker, you can tell the IQ R101, ION R87 and ION R76 to start cleaning, stop cleaning or dock to the charger. Specific to the R101 is the clean-by-room voice command.
Shark also put localized controls on every robot vacuum. The IONs have a clean, dock and Max suction button while the IQ only has a clean and a dock onboard function. However, all three robots do have helpful light indicators, including those that display the battery charge and the Wi-Fi connection status.
Conclusion: You can monitor their battery and Wi-Fi statuses with just a glance, but there are slight variations between the IONs and the IQ. The ION R87 and ION R76 have three onboard controls and basic robo vac voice commands. While the IQ R101 only has two localized buttons, it understands advanced functions such as the by-room command.
Battery and Charging
Shark knows that quality counts. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that each of the three robot vacuum cleaners contains a lithium-ion battery. The battery has a 2,600 milliampere-hour capacity, which means the robots can clean for an hour before they need to recharge.
The high capacity of the lithium-ion battery also means that it takes anywhere from 4 to 6 hours for the dock to recharge it. When the battery needs to recharge, all three robots will automatically dock themselves. However, only the IQ R101 undocks and continues to clean where it left off after the battery is replenished.
Conclusion: Each robot has a solid battery/recharge system, consisting of a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and an auto-dock function. Although the recharge period is a little long, the 1-hour runtime is decent. If your schedule keeps you too busy to stay on top of cleaning cycles, the R101’s auto-resume function makes life easier.
Bin and Filter
These robots have one of two different bin sizes. The ION R76 can hold up to 16 ounces of debris before it needs to be emptied. For the ION R87 and IQ R101, Shark increased the bin sizes to 19 ounces. Regardless, both sized slide-out bins keep the dirt contained until you open them, preventing spills.
Like the bins, the filters differ in terms of efficiency and longevity. The ION R87 and ION R76 have a standard filter. This filter must be cleaned once a week and replaced every other month. The IQ R101 has a high-efficiency filter. You only need to replace the R101’s filter twice a year and clean it once a month.
Conclusion: Every robot vacuum has a unique bin/filter combo. The ION R76 has the 16-ounce bin and the standard filter while the ION R87 has the 19-ounce bin and the same filter as the ION R76. With the IQ R101, you get the bigger 19-ounce bin as well as the more efficient filter.Related Shark Robot Vacuum Articles
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All-Around Vacuuming Efficiency
The Shark IQ R101’s auto-resume feature relieves you from the hassle of restarting a cleaning cycle, and its brushroll removes hair by itself. As the most advanced robotic vacuum compared to the IONs, the R101 offers three suction speeds and a high-efficiency filter. It also comes with BotBoundary strips and uses an optical sensor to map your home.
If you have a larger than average house, you’ll appreciate the Shark ION R87’s 19-ounce bin size, which is just as big as the R101’s. The R87 is also set up to let you change the suction speed from the robot itself – This is an invaluable feature when you misplace your smartphone.
As with the Shark ION R76, the Shark R87 is compatible with BotBoundary strips, but it’s equipped with the R101’s high-efficiency filter. If you have a small-to-average size home, the ION R76’s 16-ounce bin will suit your needs just fine.
Regardless of the robot you buy, comprehensive cleaning is guaranteed thanks to the angled side brushes and bristled/rubber-blade brushroll. They also have four cliff sensors and a lithium-ion battery. While the Shark IQ R101 provides access to the by-room voice command and app function, you can still use all the other smart features with the ION R87 and R76.
|Best of the Best!||Best For Tight Spaces||Budget Pick (< $200)|
|Continuous||100 min||110 min|
|12.2 x 12.2 x 3.5 in||17.8 x 13.7 x 4.8 in||33 x 33 x 7.8 in|
|20 pounds||5.73 pounds||7.05 pounds|
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