Shark R101AE: A User's Guide to Optimal Operation

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE Wi-Fi Connected

Aug 29, 2023

I cannot imagine life without a vacuum cleaner. These useful machines make our house cleaning jobs so easy! I have always used a vacuum to keep my house spotless. However, now that I am an older person, I find that bending under furniture has become a bit of a nuisance.  Due to this reason, I thought about investing in a robot vacuum cleaner.

But to my dismay, when I started looking up Shark IQ robot reviews on the market, I found myself unable to make a decision quickly. Although I was interested in the Shark robot models, the reviews posted online were quite confusing. To cut a long story short, I ended up with a Shark cleaning robot vacuum of my own. This review should save you on the time and trouble that I faced when I was looking for my robot vacuum cleaner.

Introducing the Shark IQ R101AE


Alexa integration
Suction power
Remote Control
For cleaning up hair
Noise level

Out of all the Shark robot vacuum cleaners, here is the ultimate version that will make your life more comfortable than ever.  The Shark IQ R101AE is one of the best self emptying robot vacuums – an upgrade of its previous versions like the Shark Ion Robot R85 and the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. It can perform vacuum cleaning functions in your home for up to a month without any intervention. This Shark robot vacuum has adequate suction to pick up all types of debris, including pet hair. What's more, the brush roll cleans itself, and it even automatically removes any hair that gets entwined in it. Which robot vacuums empty themselves? You might ask. Well, emptying its own dust bin is one of the useful features of this robot vacuum cleaner by Shark. By holding up to 30 days of the debris, this machine is almost as good as it gets.

➜ RELATED: Shark Ion Robot Vacuum R75 With Wi-Fi (Rv750)

Since its compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.  You can use these platforms to program and control the vacuum cleaner when you are away. You get better efficiency from the Shark IQ R101AE, as you can map rooms individually. This Shark cleaning robot vacuum cleaner has a great memory. When the battery runs low, your robot vacuum will go back for a recharge. It then returns to where it left off to complete the job to your satisfaction.

However, a word of caution here – if you are a stickler for a spotless house, then perhaps this robot vacuum my Shark is not for you because it does not achieve the spotless perfection of a manually operated vacuum cleaner.


  • Self-emptying dust bin

  • Powerful suction

  • Sleek looks

  • Advanced memory

  • Self-cleaning brush roll


  • Mapping not entirely foolproof

  • Cleaning could be more efficient

  • Noisy operation

Shark IQ R101AE: Features and benefits

I am sure that after reading so many Shark IQ robot reviews, you will be interested to learn more about one of the best Shark vacuum models and what it can do, so let's jump right in!

Shark IQ R101AE: Key Features

We have gone over the highlights of the Shark IQ R101AE. Now, let us take a closer look at each feature of this machine and its overall performance.

  • Design

Starting with appearance, the Shark IQ R101AE looks smarter than its predecessors like the Shark Ion R85, or the R75, for that matter. This model comes in black plastic with glossy and matte finishes interspersed with silver. It’s an improvement from the color scheme of the Shark Ion R85.

The fact that Shark is rooting for a premium look is reflected in the appearance that makes this Shark cleaning robot vacuum cleaner look a bit like the Roomba i7+. A downside is that the black plastic bumpers on the sides give a sleek look to the machine, but they also collect a considerable amount of dust.

With regards to dimensions, the Shark IQ has a height of 3.5 inches, just a couple of points less than the iRobot Roomba i7. But it exceeds the Shark Ion R85 by an inch. During tests, it was able to get under kitchen baseboards comfortably. But it encountered difficulties while trying to get under other low-lying furniture.

The underside of this robot vacuum cleaner resembles most of Shark’s robot models. There is a couple of large rubber wheels and a front caster just like other Shark models. The front and sides have several sensors. The brush roll receives debris with the help of the circular brushes on either side of the machine.

Coming to the brush roll, Shark has provided a mix of bristles and fins. Although the Shark IQ R101AE is designed to pick up debris better, we noticed a tendency of pet hair getting stuck in the brush roll.

Another useful design feature worth mentioning of the Shark cleaning robot vacuum cleaner is the convenient self-emptying bin and dock system. It is one of the best self emptying robot vacuum cleaners on the market. The Shark IQ’s dock is much more compact than that of the iRobot Roomba i7+. Although the process is simple, a small puff of dust can emit while emptying the bin.

➜ RELATED: Irobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum: Wi-Fi Connected Mapping

With this robot vacuum cleaner, you get three power options – eco, normal, and max. But, you have only two different cleaning options, manual and mapping. This is a bit short compared with many other robot vacuums that give you spot cleaning and edge cleaning options.

  • Setting it Up

Setting up the Shark IQ R101AE is Quick and Easy

Setting up the Shark IQ R101AE is Quick and Easy Via: Amazon

Once you download the Shark app, you can switch on the machine. When you first switch on the vacuum, a female voice greets you by saying, Hello. Let’s get cleaning! Setup is quick and easy, and your vacuum cleaner can be up and running in about five minutes.

The Shark IQ R101AE is designed to perform mapping, which means that it will reconnoiter your home and create a map. It then follows the map to move around the house, cleaning it as it goes along. Once a map is created, you can issue commands through your smartphone, Alexa, or Google Assistant to clean a specific area.

This is a good concept, and it is a feature that other high-end robot vacuums like the iRobot Roomba i7+, the Roborock S5, or the Neato Botvac D7 offer. Shark offers this facility at a much lower price than the other brands.

Shark states that the entire mapping process should take up to a maximum of ten runs for the map generation. However, the time frame varies, and there were cases of the mapping process reporting 30% completion even after the prescribed ten runs.

Once the mapping is complete, you can do the resizing of the mapped areas on the app. Although the app tends to be a bit cumbersome, you can use it with reasonable satisfaction. There could be issues with irregularly-shaped rooms and open-plan homes. It may not be the best Shark vacuum model, but it gets the job done.

  • Performance

Now that you are all set up, you can send the Shark IQ R101AE on its first cleaning task. You will notice the robot set out on the mission, moving in a to-and-fro snake pattern covering all the floors of your home. Let’s take a look at how this Shark cleaning robot fares in actual performance:

  • Navigation

The Shark IQ R101AE Maneuvers Quite Adeptly

The Shark IQ R101AE Maneuvers Quite Adeptly Via: Amazon

While we noticed that the Shark IQ maneuvered in and out of chair legs quite adeptly, it was a bit rough on colliding with obstacles like dog bowls, a small stool, and a light coffee table. Even if you set the boundary tape, this little guy tends to push through the boundary tape and go where it's not supposed to like, for instance, a thick shag rug where it got stuck.

  • Mapping

The Shark IQ May Take Time to Map Your Home

The Shark IQ May Take Time to Map Your Home Via: Amazon

You will find a lot of discussion on Shark IQ robot reviews on the topic of mapping With the Shark IQ; you should be able to make it map your home. Once done, you can issue commands manually or by voice through Alexa-enabled devices for specific tasks. Shark claims that it should take about ten cleaning cycles to complete the mapping process.

There were cases where the vacuum did complete the mapping process within ten cleaning cycles, but it confused a few tasks. Hence, if you are having guests over, you would probably be better off going in for a complete clean just before your visitors arrive rather than assigning specific tasks.

With robot vacuum cleaners, they always need a particular number of cleaning cycles to complete the mapping process. However, the time required for completing the process can vary, and with the Shark IQ R101AE, we noticed that it could be up to 14 days. During this period, you will not be able to assign specific tasks.

Another issue with the Shark IQ seems to be that if faces difficulty finding the charging dock and sometimes needs help. But, after a few days of assisting the machine, it familiarizes itself with the location. A bit of an inconvenience, but you can attribute that to initial hiccups.

  • Picking Up Debris

The Shark IQ May Not Pick Up Debris as Efficiently as Other Models

The Shark IQ May Not Pick Up Debris as Efficiently as Other Models Via: Amazon

Now we come to the real acid test of any vacuum cleaner – picking up debris, which the machine is supposed to do. Although we don't share lab reports here, we have data generated from actual usage in two 5’ X 5’ cordoned-off sections, one with a carpeted surface and the other of hardwood flooring.

Three debris types were scattered on the two different surfaces, 20 grams each of cheerios and kitty litter 2 grams of dog fur. Here are the results:

1. Kitty Litter on Hardwood

The vacuum picked up 77.5 % of the debris. In comparison, the Roomba S9 did a perfect job, and an older Shark model managed to pick up 94%.

2. Cheerios on Hardwood

The Shark IQ also performed poorly here and picked up a maximum of 67.5% of the debris. When a Shark Ion was used, it achieved a 100% score, and the Roomba S9 managed 92.5%.

3. Dog Fur on Hardwood

With regards to dog fur, most of the hair got entangled in the brush roll and the casters, and the Shark IQ could pick up just 66.5%. This was below par as compared to the Shark Ion R85, which managed 88% and the Roomba S9 at 98%.

4. Kitty Litter on Carpeting

The Shark IQ was quick to pick up 80% of the kitty litter in just 5 minutes, but still behind the Roomba S9, which achieved the same task in just over 3 minutes.

5. Cheerios on Carpeting

The Shark IQ performed better with Cheerios, and at just over 11 minutes, it took less time for the Roomba S9 to achieve the same task.

  • Dust Bin

Emptying the Shark IQ Dust Storage Bin is Easy

Emptying the Shark IQ Dust Storage Bin is Easy Via: Amazon

Which robot vacuums empty themselves? One of the most significant selling points of this model by Shark is the self-emptying dust bin, which features a lot on many Shark IQ robot reviews. The company claims that you don't have to empty the bin for a month.

However, we all know that this depends on the frequency of cleaning. It also depends on the presence or absence of small kids and pets and the number of family members. Shark claims that this model is one of the best self emptying robot vacuum cleaners produced by them.

The Shark IQ R101AE doesn’t have inbuilt dust sensors – it responds to an algorithm that tells it when it’s time to go back to base. This system seems to work fine, because, as it goes about on its daily cleaning task, you will see the machine going to the dust storage bin to discharge its dusty load from time to time.

The holding bin is compact – much more so than the iRobot Roomba i7+. The component is also a bit shorter, making itself less of a trip hazard. It also has a transparent window where you can see the dust level.

Emptying the holding bin into a trash can of this Shark robot vacuum self empty model is quite simple. However, because the force of opening is quite vigorous, it tends to raise a small dust cloud. It is a minor inconvenience avoided in the Roomba models by using small bags.

But, since you have to buy those bags separately at the cost of $17.00 for three bags, you will probably learn to live with this small ripple with this Shark cleaning robot. In any case, not having to come into physical contact with the dust containers' contents is a big plus.

  • Noise Levels

The Shark IQ R101AE is a Noisy Machine

The Shark IQ R101AE is a Noisy Machine

Here’s a moot point of most vacuum cleaners, robot or otherwise. Many people get irritated with the high-pitched whine of a vacuum cleaner. We expect a vacuum cleaner to make noise, but with today's technology, the decibels are being reduced considerably.

The Shark IQ R101AE is a loud machine. This has been universally agreed upon by many verified users. When the decibels were measured during operations, up to 68.4 dB was measured, which is slightly lower than that of the Roomba S9, but it is still loud.

If you are uncomfortable with the constant high-pitched whine, you could run your Shark cleaning robot when you are away. However, if you have people at home who can be adversely affected like babies or invalids, it would be a significant concern.

Another noticeable feature of this machine is the accompanying whoosh sound when it empties dust into the holding bin. You may get used to it, but you may be a bit alarmed initially.

Alternative Options

In case you have reasons for not choosing the Shark IQ, no issues! To make this review complete and to widen your options we have included a few alternatives. The apparent choices would be other popular models by Shark like the Shark Ion Robot R85 and the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. Since they are not currently available on Amazon, we see no point in discussing those models. Here are a few other alternative robot vacuums that you can go in for:

1. Neato Robotics D7 (Best Practical upgrade)

The Neato Robotics D7 is a Viable Alternative

The Neato Robotics D7 is a Viable Alternative Via: Amazon

There are many drawbacks that the Shark IQ R101AE has, but if you are restricted by budget, it is probably the best available. However, if you are willing to spend a bit more, you can get the Neato Robotics D7 that gives you high-end features at a price lower than high-end robot vacuum cleaners on the market.

The Neato D7 is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you get the luxury of voice control. The convenient D design takes care of edges and corners that round robot vacuums cannot.

Navigation is also quite efficient, and the machine moves in straight lines for more thorough coverage. It has a larger brush than most round robot vacuums, enabling it to deal with pet hair more efficiently. It also has a li-ion battery that provides 120 minutes of run time. You will have a good deal with the Neato D7.

2. Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum (Mopping option)

The Roborock S6 is a Good Dual-Function Option

The Roborock S6 is a Good Dual-Function OptionVia: Amazon

If you want to take your house cleaning one step further with a robot vacuum, then the Roborock S6 robotic vacuum cleaner and mop may be the answer. Undoubtedly, this robot vacuum cleaner is the costliest of all the vacuum cleaners in this review. However, remember that this machine will do both vacuuming and mopping, so it’s a double whammy!

The Roborock S6 is quick and efficient. You can save multiple maps and include no-go zones and choose the rooms and the sequence you want it to be done. The mopping function is also quite useful, and you can deep clean carpets and even the joints between floor tiles. The Roborock S6 is a silent operator with a noise level of 56 dB, and you will find it easy to maintain.

3. iRobot Roomba i7+ (Hi-end Option)

The iRobot Roomba i7+ Offers Top-End Functions at a Top-End Price

The iRobot Roomba i7+ Offers Top-End Functions at a Top-End Price Via: Amazon

Here’s another self-emptying robot vacuum cleaner, so you don’t need to be bothered about dust disposal for a long time. The AlergenLock bag stores the dust for 60 days. You get ten times the suction with Power Lifting Suction technology, further enhanced with the Three-Stage Cleaning technology.

Another useful feature of the iRobot Roomba i7+ is that you can assign ad hoc tasks. Say, for example, you are just heading out, and you scatter crumbs on the floor, use Alexa or Google Assistant to tell your Roomba to get the job done.

The iRobot Roomba i7+ uses cutting edge technology like iAdapt 3.0 and vSLAM navigation to enable you to control the device efficiently as it cleans up your house. The vacuum has an extremely efficient filtration system, and it is pet-friendly. It cleans up pet hair without letting it get entangled in the brush roll.

Last but not least, you can use the iRobot Roomba i7+ in tandem with the Braava Jet M6 mop and program them to work in sequence for seamless vacuuming and mopping operations.


The Shark IQ R101AE is one of the most affordable robots if not the best Shark vacuum model you can get on the market with self-emptying features. It is also quite efficient in the way of suction power, as most verified customers were happy to certify. If you are like me and are not in a position to be bending easily under beds and tables with a vacuum cleaner but have a limited budget, this robot vacuum may serve your purpose.

However, keeping in mind the cost of the appliance, you can't expect miracles. There are glitches in the software, which hopefully, Shark will sort out in time. Also, it is a noisy appliance, but then, it is a vacuum cleaner, and vacuum cleaners are loud machines. If you can live with the snags in technology, you may find that it has some very functional aspects. If you are still not convinced, we have suggested some good alternatives as well.

We hope you can find a suitable robot vacuum to keep your home neat and clean. To get complete information of the Shark IQ R101AE:

Happy vacuuming!

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