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Shark ION WV203 – vacuuming up close and personal
4.6Overall Score
Name: Shark ION WV203ANZ Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Price (RRP): $249 (but bag a bargain online)
Manufacturer: Shark

The Shark ION WV203 is a handheld, 115W suction, vacuum cleaner in a slim, lightweight 650g, wand-shaped device.

The Shark ION WV203 is a ‘dustbuster’ style of handheld vacuum cleaner. And that is with sincere apologies to B&D ‘Dustbuster’ that helped create this market. We use the term generically to describe the handheld format.

Is the Shark ION WV203 sufficiently different to the typical $29 B&D to justify the $249.99 price? Let’s find out.

Note that we use the terms Fail, Pass or Exceed against important judging paradigms.

Shark ION WV203

Website here

Price: $249.99 – shop around, and you may shave 20% off that.

First, to acknowledge B&D. I have owned many of its acclaimed Dustbusters from day one – January 1979. A Dustbuster is perfect for little crumbs on the floor or bench. The current $35 model has 8 Air Watts and a runtime of about 10 minutes from a 5.4Wh battery that then requires a 10-hour charge. Of course, you can spend more and get more powerful models, but these get bigger and bulkier.

The Shark ION WV203 has a 115-watt motor, 10-minute runtime and a 2.5-hour charge. It is up to you what you buy but I know where my money is going.

In the box

  • Shark ION WV203 ANZ
  • Charge dock and dual brush caddy
  • Multi-surface ‘Velcro’ brush (called a pet multi-tool)
  • Duster/crevice tool (called a moustache brush crevice tool)

Note this is not the WV250 (twin battery) series. If you read a review, make sure its WV20X single battery series. It is may also be W1 in some markets.

Shark ION WV203

First impression – this ain’t no dustbuster – EXCEED

Compared to a typical dustbuster shape, this is a sleek, attractive cylinder weighing in a 650g (plus tools). It looks precision made in grey and black with a streamlined feel. The caddy is similarly well made.

It is light and well balanced. It is for spot cleans, upholstery, in cracks and crevices and places like the car or windowsills.

If you have arthritis, etc., the lightweight and larger circumference handle may be perfect for you.

Suction/clean – EXCEED

I don’t want to speculate that a dustbuster’s 8-10 air watt is inferior – it does the job it promises. But Shark’s 115 watts seems quite a lot for a handheld. It turns out that it is a 115W motor is equivalent to about 33 Air Watts – that makes more sense. Shark suggests it has about twice the suction power of its nearest competitors.

Still, it picked up considerably more and did not object to heavier detritus like another unnamed handheld. Be aware that the maximum sized object is about 10mm diameter and no more than a few grams.

It works equally well on upholstery, carpet, tile or hardwood.