Shark Vacuum Suction Problems

Shark vacuums are excellent cleaning tools because of the powerful suction that they provide. However, there are several Shark vacuum suction problems that can cause the machine to become less effective.

When a Shark vacuum experiences suction problems, the most likely reason is a full bin or bag. Besides that, dirt and dust stuck in the machine’s hose, wand, or filters could prevent smooth airflow and reduce suction. Check for suction leaks through holes, tears, or incorrectly closed covers. Lastly, the motor itself could be failing to produce any suction, to begin with.

Let’s take a closer look at each possible reason your Shark vacuum has suction problems and what you can do to fix them.

Related: Dyson Vacuum No Suction


When troubleshooting or repairing your Shark vacuum, always remember to disconnect it from its power source first. That will prevent any danger of electrocution. It will also reduce your overall injury risk, especially when working with the vacuum’s moving parts.

Full Bin or Bag

When was the last time you emptied your Shark vacuum’s bin or changed out the bag? One of the most common reasons for a loss of suction in a vacuum is when the bin (on bagless models) or bag (on models that use bags) is full of dirt.

Dyson Shown As An Example

Whenever you turn your Shark vacuum on, the air that’s sucked in will flow through all of the parts and eventually pass through the bag or bin.

However, airflow will be restricted when those parts are full of dirt and anything else, and the vacuum will experience suction loss.

How to fix:

Thankfully, the solution for this problem is very straightforward.

  • All you have to do is empty the bin or change out the bag.
  • But, of course, when you do that, you’ll be restoring smooth airflow throughout the vacuum and therefore maximizing the machine’s suction.

Clogs and Blockages

Another common reason for suction problems on a Shark vacuum is clogs or blockages. Earlier, we looked at emptying the bin or changing the bag to restore airflow. Now, we’re doing the same thing with the vacuum’s other parts.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Miele Vacuum Is Not Turning On

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Here are the parts of your Shark vacuum that are likely clogged or blocked:

  • Any flexible hoses
  • The metal wand, if your model has one
  • The various inlets where parts connect. That includes the inlet at the powerhead, and flexible hoses connect to the rest of the vacuum.

Aside from that, a Shark vacuum can also become instantly clogged if you accidentally suck up fabrics like socks or small pieces of cloth. So, be on the lookout for these kinds of items as well.

Sometimes, it can be hard to inspect a flexible hose for blockages. So, here’s a handy trick: take the hose apart, and drop a coin into it. If the coin fails to come out the other end, that means there’s a blockage inside. 

Alternatively, you could also press or ‘massage’ parts of the hose to feel for clogs. 

How to fix:

To check and clean each part thoroughly, you must first disconnect each attachment. That means removing the powerhead, hoses, and wand. That will allow you to inspect the airways closely with a flashlight to locate any severe blockages.

  • Once you’ve located a blockage, do your best to pull out as much of it as possible. You will want to use a brush or a pair of pliers to reach parts too deep to clear by hand.

Dirty or Damaged Filters

Shark vacuums have several filters built into each machine. Each of those filters is designed to remove particles from the air that’s sucked into the machine. After a while, though, those filters will quickly become dirty or even damaged.

As filters become increasingly saturated with dirt and dust, it becomes even more difficult for air to pass through them. So, the vacuum’s overall suction becomes weaker and weaker.

The same also happens when filters get damaged. Any filter that isn’t in good condition will prevent smooth airflow, which means there won’t be enough suction to suck up more dirt from the floor.

How to fix:

Firstly, you’ll need to know how many filters your Shark vacuum has and where you can find them. For this, you can refer to the user manual that came with the vacuum.

Typically, most models will have these filters:

  • The incoming air filter: to remove dirt from the air that’s sucked into the appliance.
  • The pre-motor filter: to protect the motor by preventing particles from getting sucked directly into the motor.
  • The exhaust filter: to clean the air before it’s pushed out of the vacuum and back into the room.

Take each of those filters out and inspect them closely. Some filters can be washed in your kitchen sink with cold water. Once you’ve done that, be sure to let the filter dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours.

Non-washable filters, however, will need to be replaced entirely. With a new filter in place, the airflow through your vacuum will be restored, and you’ll have maximum suction again.

Brush Bar Not Spinning

Many Shark vacuum models come with a spinning brush bar (sometimes called a ‘brush roll’) located in the powerhead. The purpose of this brush is very straightforward: it spins to pick dirt up from the floor, making it easier for the vacuum to suck in all of the dirt and debris from the floor.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Miele Vacuum Brush Is Not Spinning

Miele Shown

If the brush bar ever fails to spin, however, then the vacuum will become less effective at picking up dirt from the floor. This problem could make it seem like the vacuum is having suction problems, even though the brush bar only helps with that indirectly.

How to fix:

To fix this, first detach the powerhead from the rest of the vacuum. Doing this will allow you to place the powerhead on a good work surface and inspect it closely.

When a brush bar fails to spin, the most likely reason is too much dirt stuck to the bar itself. To be specific, long strands of hair or dust get tangled around the bar to the point that it cannot spin at all.

Clearing this is easy.

  • Take a pair of scissors or a blade and cut through the thick entanglements. Be careful not to damage the bristles or the rest of the brush bar as you do this.
  • Once you’ve cut through the hair and dust, gently pull everything out by hand.

When the brush bar is freed from all of that dirt, it will spin again as usual and restore maximum suction to your Shark vacuum.

Suction Leaks

At this point, it’s clear that smooth airflow from the bottom of the vacuum through to the exhaust is crucial to maximise suction in your Shark vacuum. That’s why a suction leak anywhere on the machine could affect that suction and make it almost impossible to clean your floors effectively.

A suction leak happens when there’s a rip or hole somewhere along the Shark vacuum’s airways. When that happens, the vacuum will suck air through those holes instead of focusing all of it on the floor where it should be.

Suction leaks can also happen when the vacuum’s covers aren’t closed correctly. For example, this could happen when the bin cover isn’t closed tightly or if the vacuum bag isn’t seated correctly. These will prevent a tight seal around those parts, which leads to the vacuum sucking in the air where it shouldn’t.

How to fix:

The fix for a suction leak will depend on which part of your Shark vacuum is affected.

  • Firstly, check that you’ve installed the vacuum bag correctly or that the bin cover is closed with a tight seal.

Once you’ve ruled those out as the source of the problem, you can inspect the hose and wand.

  • To do this, turn on the vacuum and listen for any whistling or sucking noises from the hoses and vacuum’s main unit. That will help you locate the leak very quickly.
  • Unfortunately, these parts cannot be repaired, so you will need to purchase a replacement.

As a short-term fix, you could cover the leak with duct tape or something similar until you get your replacement hose or wand. That will restore some suction, though it won’t be as strong as it should be until you’ve installed a new hose or wand.

Faulty Suction Motor

Once you’ve ruled out all of the other possibilities mentioned above, then it’s time to consider that you might have a faulty vacuum motor. After all, the motor is what generates suction in the first place.

The motor could become faulty from excessive overheating or if dirt and debris somehow got sucked into it. That would happen if the pre-motor filter is damaged or wasn’t installed at all.

How to fix:

Faulty vacuum motors can’t be repaired, so they’ll need to be replaced. To do this, you’ll have to take the vacuum apart and lift out the old motor, taking note of the electrical connectors.

  • Then, you can fit the new motor in and reconnect the wiring the same way as before.
  • Connecting the wiring correctly is crucial, so be sure to take a photo or make notes to ensure that you replace them correctly. Protection Status