Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 Review

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Shark R85 Review 2020

Robot vacuums are no longer an exotic sight to people. Over the years, these autonomous cleaning machines have evolved to become smarter and more powerful. The fact that they’re now much more affordable has helped their popularity, too.

The model featured in our Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 review today is a good starting point if you’re searching for a robot of your own. 

This robot has the cleaning power to show for its price and is capable of connecting to WiFi. Although its navigation system isn’t the most sophisticated, it can avoid obstacles and find its way around the home sufficiently. Overall, the R85 holds plenty of value for the price range.

If you wish to know more about this robot vacuum, this article has the information you need to make the final call.

Shark R85


  • Reasonably priced
  • Powerful performance
  • Effective against pet hair
  • WiFi capable
  • Voice assistant compatibility
  • Long battery life
  • Large dust cup
  • Extensive warranty


  • Not for use on high-pile carpets
  • Inefficient navigation
  • Outdated boundary-setting tech

Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 Review


The R85’s cleaning performance is remarkably good. On bare floors, the R85 is effective against a variety of contaminants. Common dirt and dust aside, it can also deal with fine particles (sugar, spices, etc.) and debris of various sizes like bread crumbs and cereal pieces. The robot’s strong suction also has a great effect on pet hair.

Shark R85 Performance

Meanwhile, performance on carpets and rugs is more complicated. On both low- and high-pile carpets, the robot only sees a small reduction in effectiveness against all of the aforementioned contaminants. However, it struggles with fine particles like sugar, of which it would only pick up about half to three-fourths of the amount present.

The explanation given is that these smaller particles tend to burrow themselves down in the carpet piling. Though the robot has strong brushes, they’re not strong enough to comb through the dense filaments and reach these embedded bits. For that, you will have to use a full-scale vacuum cleaner.

The R85 has three different suction modes. You can set this up through the robot’s smartphone app.

Eco ModeReduced performance for better battery life and lower noise.
Normal ModeDefault suction mode. Ideal for daily cleaning.
Max ModeMaximum performance, but less energy efficient. According to Shark, the R85 can provide three times more suction than its predecessor (Shark R75).


Like most robot vacuums on the market, the Shark R85 has a disc-shaped design. The roundish shape ensures the robot will never drive into a spot where it can’t escape. In case it drives itself into any difficult spots, the robot can spin in place on its caster wheel until it finds an exit.

From bottom to top, the robot measures 3.44 inches tall. It’s short enough to be able to fit underneath most furniture pieces without getting stuck.

Shark R85 Design

On the top of the robot, you will find the primary control panel. At the center is the Power button to turn the robot on and off. To either side is the Dock button (returns the robot to its charging dock) and the Max button (enables Max cleaning mode).

Above the control panel is a single WiFi indicator light that shows the robot’s connectivity status.

Underneath the robot is a pair of treaded wheels and a single caster wheel for maneuvering. They’re non-abrasive and won’t damage delicate floors like hardwood. You will also find the robot’s primary brush roll and a pair of one-spoke side-sweeping brushes. The primary brush loosens and lifts refuse from surfaces, while the side sweepers remove grime collected in edges and corners. Together, they are the backbone of the robot’s cleaning performance.

A group of sensors is also located on the underside, most notably the side-cliff and boundary sensors. They help the robot avoid cliffs and drops. Additionally, they can also detect “boundary strips.” These are magnetized adhesive strips that the robot is programmed to never cross. You can string them across the thresholds of rooms you don’t want your robot to enter. Places like the kitchen where the robot is prone to being jammed or stuck is a good candidate.

Magnetized boundary strips are pretty old tech, so this is a bit of a disappointment.

Navigation System

The Shark ION R85 uses Smart Sensor 2.0 Navigation to get around. It zigzags across the room in seemingly random patterns, lightly bumping into walls and objects as it goes. The moment the impact registers, the robot changes direction and continues on its merry way. It does this until the whole room is cleaned.

The advantage of this navigation system is that it’s cheap to implement due to its simplicity. But the trade-off here lies in its efficiency and accuracy. It takes longer for the robot to clean a room, and it’s generally more prone to getting stuck compared to higher-end versions. Nonetheless, the sensors do a good enough job at guiding the robot that this isn’t a total deal-breaker.

Smart Features

The Shark ION R85 is incorporated with a number of smart features, most of which stem from its WiFi compatibility.

When the robot is connected to your home’s network, you can control all of the robot’s functions through Shark’s mobile app. From switching between cleaning modes, to setting up a cleaning schedule, to reading historical cleaning data, everything’s available at your fingertips.

The app will also send you notifications throughout the day to keep you up to date on what the robot’s doing at home. Notably, the app will tell you if the robot got itself stuck somewhere. R85 will ping your phone in that case to ask for your help.

Shark R85 Smart Features

Popular voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are also compatible with the Shark ION R85.

Battery Life

Battery life is solid with a high-capacity Lithium-ion battery cell. Actual operating time will vary depending on the cleaning mode. But, according to consumers, the Shark ION R85 can last between 1 and 1.5 hours.

The R85 has automatic return capability. When the battery drops too low (about 10%), it will return to its charging base to refuel. The charging process takes about 3 hours, and once it’s finished, the R85 will resume its work where it left off.

It is said the battery is durable and can last for a couple of years before failing. Once it does, and if you still don’t want to upgrade the robot, you can buy a replacement battery from Shark. The entirety of the replacement process is fairly simple, and you can do it at home without having to bring your robot to a professional. There are detailed instructions in the user manual.

Dust Cup & Filtration

With a large 0.6-dry quart dust cup, the R85 has enough capacity to clean out large homes and spaces.

It’s unclear whether the R85 uses common or HEPA filters, but the replacement kit we found indicated that it does accept HEPA-type filter media. The original filter found in the robot is not washable. Once it becomes too dirty or clogged, it must be changed out for a fresh filter.


The Shark ION R85 comes with a one-year limited warranty.

One distinctive part about Shark is that the company keeps and sells a wide selection of replacement parts for their products. This includes unique parts like a new battery cover or a new front wheel. As long as it’s something the user can fix by themselves, chances are high that Shark has the necessary parts in stock.


Concluding this Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 review, the Shark ION R85 is a pretty good robot to include on the shopping list. The price tag is reasonably acceptable, so that makes the decision-making process a little easier. We’re certain it will be satisfactory if you give it a chance.

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