Shark Rocket Zero-M Review: What Is This Ultra-Light Vacuum Best For?
Even though the most popular vacuum models have an upright design, many customers never stop looking for a good lightweight stick vacuum. This is especially important when you don't need a powerful machine intended for larger homes. What is the best vacuum to buy if this is the case?
Shark Rocket Zero-M corded ultra-light vacuum is designed exactly for this purpose. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles like some of the other high-end units, this ultra-light vacuum is still impressive in its own right. This Shark Rocket Zero-M review will help you find out why.
The Shark Rocket Zero-M is a series of ultra-light, bagless, corded stick vacuums. It's also a convertible model that can transform into a compact handheld model in no time. This machine is suitable for general light cleaning tasks in small homes and apartments or a back-up emergency vacuum cleaner.
Although it doesn't feature all the advanced features in high-end Shark vacuums, it's a low-maintenance model with a reasonable price.
• Lightweight and compact
• LED headlights
• Large dust cup
• Impressive results with pet hair
• 2-in-1 machine (stick and handheld modes)
• Require minimal maintenance
• Heavy top
• Only suitable for light cleaning tasks
• Not great for cleaning large pieces of debris on bare floors
• No HEPA filter
Shark Rocket Zero-M Review
From the name, you can already deduce that this series uses the Zero-M technology from Shark. But what is it exactly? And what is the difference between it and other technologies available in other Shark vacuums?
Zero-M is the name of a type of cleaner head that is intended to actively clean human and pet hair, lint, fibers, and other types of debris using its motorized brushroll. This approach will help users save a lot of time and effort, especially when it comes to maintenance.
DuoClean is another common technology used in the cleaner heads of other Shark vacuums. It consists of two brushrolls that operate together. By combining the performance of these brushrolls, those models have excellent cleaning results, setting a new standard in vacuuming.
➜ RELATED: An Owner’S Shark Duoclean Uv810 Review
But the downside of the more advanced DuoClean technology is that these brushrolls require more care from users.
You will need to clean them regularly to get rid of the entangled fibers and hair. Otherwise, the debris will start to build up and make your vacuum performan less effective than it's supposed to do. These constant maintenance tasks might be a nightmare for pet owners or people with long hair.
On the other hand, while the Zero-M can't match the performance of the DuoClean technology, you will need to spend less time on both cleaning floors and maintaining your vacuum.
Size and Weight
This model stays true to its ultra-light name as it weighs just 9 lbs, meaning you can use and maneuver it with less effort than heavier units. It also measures 12.4x10.2x47.2 inches - not too small but also not too big either. It's a great alternative choice if you are tired of other vacuums, especially when you need to clean different floors frequently.
The Rocket Zero-M draws 4.2A when operating at 120V & 60Hz, which means that the motor in this machine has the same energy consumption as that of the Navigator series. But this doesn't mean the cleaning performance will be exactly the same. It depends on the cleaning modes you run, the floor, and the tools or accessories attached to them.
The Shark Rocket Zero-M vacuum has a 0.74 dry quart dirt bin, which is fairly large compared to other models from Shark itself. This is totally unexpected since this series is designed mainly for light-duty cleaning tasks. That's also why we recommend it when you need to cover a lot of areas as this vacuum is able to pick up a lot of dirt and debris before you need to empty the dirt bin.
You will be disappointed if you buy a Rocket Zero-M vacuum and expect a top-class filtration system. Unlike other high-end models, it doesn't come with a HEPA filter. Instead, you can only have the foam & felt type of filter.
However, this air filtration system can still deliver decent results for most cases. It works based on the cyclonic action mechanism with multiple pre-motor filters and a post-motor filter.
The great thing about the filters in Shark vacuums is that you can wash it to get rid of all the dirt that has built up. Just don't use soap and other detergents as they can damage the filters. And after rinsing and washing them with water, remember to let them dry thoroughly as they're designed to work only with dry dirt.
Similar to other modern vacuums, there are some fingertips controls on the Rocket Zero-M series:
• Setting 1: The brushroll spins slowly - ideal for bare floors and other sensitive areas like rugs/carpets.
• Setting 2: The brushroll runs at the maximum speed - intended for cleaning embedded hair and dirt in carpets.
• Off: Turn off the vacuum.
Since the cover of the brushroll is transparent, you can see what is going inside the cleaner head. When you notice there is hair wrapped around it, switch to the Setting 2 then move the cleaner head around so the motor can suck the hair into the dirt container.
On the Shark Rocket Zero-M, you will also find a light indicator, which shows the condition of the vacuum.
The green light means that the brushroll is running normally. But when this light switches to red, there may be some blockages inside the machine, especially the cleaner head. You should turn it off immediately, unplug it and remove all blockages.
On the default stick vacuum mode, you can use two included tools that come with the Shark Rocket Zero-M: the Pet Multi-Tool and the Duster Crevice tool.
This accessory is a combination of two tools: an upholstery tool and a stiff bristle brush.
The job of this brush is getting rid of pet hair and other stubborn debris on pet beds, sofas, and stairs. Meanwhile, the upholstery tool can help you clean more delicate and sensitive surfaces where the stiff brush will cause damages.
Duster Crevice tool
This tool also combines two tools in one, which you can figure out based when looking at the name itself: a crevice tool and a dusting brush.
The crevice tool will come in handy when you need to clean narrow crevices and gaps, such as edges, corners, or between mattresses and cushions. On the other hand, the crevice tool is also designed for vacuuming pollen, dust, and fine dirt on sensitive surfaces.
The tools above are the ones that always come with the Shark Rocket vacuum purple version. But depending on the specific version or seller, you can order the following tools separately.
• Under Appliance Wand: this will help you clean areas under your appliances and furniture. With a pivot design, it makes cleaning those hard-to-reach places less daunting.
• Pet Power Tool: on top of the default Pet Multi-Tool, you can also get the motorized Pet Power tool. It's specifically designed to conveniently clean up pet hair on both upholstery and carpeted stairs.
• Wide Upholstery tool: this tool has a wider nozzle than the default tools, which makes it great for vacuuming large areas such as couches, curtains, and mattresses.
The power cord is 30 feet long, which is above average compared to most vacuums, providing longer cleaning reach when you can't access many wall power sockets.
There are also LED lights on the cleaner head to help you spot dirty places even under low-light conditions.
This model is also equipped with thermal protection. This feature will shut off the machine when the airflow drops or even stops suddenly. When this happens, unplug the machine, remove any blockages or clogs, then let the thermal switch reset itself before turning the vacuum on again.
The Rocket Zero-M series can match the Navigator models in terms of suction level. Thanks to the 500-W motor, it provides enough power for a compact and lightweight stick vacuum.
This model is designed to work on both hard floors, like laminate or hardwood floors, and soft surfaces such as carpets. The brushroll and fingertip controls allow you to switch between those floors in no time. This is not a feature you will find in many stick vacuums on the market, especially compact models.
The actual results in our test show that this Zero-M cleaner head works well if you only need to deal with light cleaning tasks.
The only problem is that you need to keep the brushroll running after finishing vacuuming carpets because the machine takes up some time to cut out all the hair wrapped around its brushroll. But if you usually clean bare flooring after carpeted areas, this will be less of an issue.
• The Zero-M technology does its job well by removing most hair tangled around the brushroll.
• It has poor results with large pieces of debris like cereal on bare floors. This is disappointing given that DuoClean models deal with this situation pretty well.
• Your bare floors won't get scattered thanks to the new design of the cleaner head.
As we have mentioned, you don't need much time and effort to take care of this machine.
According to recommendations from Shark, you should wash the pre-motor filters monthly and the post-motor at least once a year. Always remember to let them dry completely since the machine will have a horrible smell once the water runs through it.
However, the actual period depends on how often you vacuum. If you notice a drop in suction, the first step you should always take is checking the cleaner head and the filters.
The Shark Rocket Zero-M has a simple design, so removing parts such as the dirt bin, hose, and the cleaner head for maintenance should be easy to do.
Can this vacuum stand by itself?
Since the Rocket Zero-m is a stick vacuum, it can't stand upright by itself while running. But you can detach the upper unit and hook it into the main body when storing it.
If you prefer a vacuum that you don't need to hold all the time, you can have a look at other upright models, like the Apex series in our Shark Apex AZ1002 review.
Does this model feature a HEPA filter?
Unfortunately, no. The Shark Rocket Zero-M uses foam and felt filters instead of HEPA ones.
Can it lay flat to clean under furniture?
The nozzle itself is around 4 inches high. When laying flat, it needs at least 4.5 inches of clearance.
Does this model come with any smart features?
The Rocket series is aimed primarily at customers in need of a lightweight and basic vacuum. You can look at other premium models or even robot vacuums in our Shark Ion 750 review.
All the versions in the Shark Rocket Zero-M series are well received by most customers and it is one of the best-rated Shark vacuums. While it's not the most popular vacuums from Shark, it still gets a high 4.4/5 score on Amazon.
Shark Rocket HV382 - Similar Model with DuoClean Technology
Shark Rocket HV382 Via: Amazon
If you are a fan of the ultra-light corded design of the Rocket Zero-M but want to have the DuoClean, consider the HV382. This vacuum is a godsend when you need to deep clean carpeted surfaces while keeping maintenance as easy as possible.
Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 - For Pets and Allergens
Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 Via: Amazon
The HV391 has a similar design as the Rocket Zero-M. They are both ultra-light, corded vacuum with convertible design. Even the dimensions of the Flex DuoClean HV391 (10.25x16.5x49 inches) are also not that different from those of the Rocket Zero-M (10.2x13.4x47.2 inches).
The main differences are the cheaper HV391 has the DuoClean technology instead of Zero-M and is specifically designed for combating allergens. It even features a completely sealed filtration system, which Shark claims that can trap up to 99.99% of particles down to 1 micron.
As we have repeated many times in this Shark Rocket Zero-M review, it is a convertible, versatile ultra-light vacuum. You can use it to clean different types of surfaces, from ceiling and upholstery to carpeted areas and sofas.
If you are in the search for an inexpensive vacuum for a small home or apartment that requires only some cleaning here and there, Shark Rocket Zero-M is a great choice. It's also a decent choice as a back-up vacuum for larger homes.