Is the Shark IQ R101 robot vacuum worth buying?

(Image credit: Shark)

Shark's Ion R85 has the top spot on our best robot vacuums page, mainly because it was one of the best at cleaning our floors. But, like most other robot vacuums, you have to clean it after it's done with your floors.

Shark's newest robot vacuum, the Shark IQ R101, has a dustbin built into its base, which sucks out all the debris from the vacuum after each run. That way, you only have to periodically empty the dustbin—once every 30 cleanings, according to Shark. In addition, the Shark IQ has floor mapping, and works with Alexa and Google Assistant

And, at $530, it's about half the price of the iRobot Roomba i7+ ($999), one of the only other robot vacuums with a self-emptying mechanism.

$530 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Shark IQ R101: $530 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The Shark IQ R101 has a dustbin in its base that collects the debris from the vacuum after each cleaning. This means you only have to empty the dustbin once every 30 vacuumings.

We also like the fact that the R101's dustbin is bagless; the bin for the Roomba i7+ requires a proprietary bag, which is both wasteful and will cost you extra money over time.

All that would seem to make the Shark IQ R101 worth the investment. However, we should note a few things. Reviewers from Wired and Digital Trends noted that the R101 had trouble mapping its surroundings, to the point where Shark sent Wired a second unit. 

Still, both reviewers gave the R101 a positive rating. Its price of $530 makes it more than twice as expensive as the Ion R85 ($199), but the convenience of not having to empty the robot vacuum after every run could be worth it. It's also worth checking our Shark promo codes to see if you can save on buying the model directly from the manufacturer.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.