Shark Vacuum Won’t Turn On

Wondering why your Shark vacuum simply won’t turn on? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This article will take a deep dive into the most common reasons why a Shark vacuum won’t turn on. Better yet, we’ll look at the reasons unique to both corded models and cordless models as well.

When troubleshooting a Shark vacuum that won’t turn on, check that the vacuum is receiving power in the first place. For corded models, check the wall socket and circuit breaker are in good working order. Battery-powered models must have a working charging adapter and a fully charged battery. Lastly, if your vacuum won’t turn on after overheating, you must let it cool completely for an hour or more.

Related: Shark Vacuum Troubleshooting


When troubleshooting or repairing your Shark vacuum, always make sure to disconnect it from its power source. Whether it’s a corded model with a plug or a cordless model using a battery, the same is true. Doing this will prevent the danger of electrocution and reduce your overall injury risk.

Upright Corded Stick Shark Vacuum Models

Shark offers a wide range of vacuums, and they are powered either by an electric cord or a battery. In this first section, let’s look at two common reasons why an upright and corded Shark vacuum won’t turn on.

Incoming Power Supply

Your Shark vacuum receives power by connecting directly to your household’s electrical circuit. So if the vacuum won’t turn on, the first thing you must troubleshoot is the incoming power supply.

When speaking about the ‘incoming power supply’, we’re looking at the wall socket, the circuit breaker, and the power supply from the grid.

Each of these is a point of failure that could prevent your Shark vacuum from getting the power it needs to work.

Why it fails:

There are several reasons why the incoming power supply to your vacuum could fail, and the reason will depend on where the failure has happened.

For instance, your household may be experiencing a power disruption, and there’s no supply coming on. 

However, a more common reason is that a circuit breaker has tripped in your household’s main electrical box. When that happens, no power will flow to the wall socket where you plug in your vacuum.

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Lastly, the problem could be with the wall socket itself. Standard wall sockets also experience wear and tear just like anything else. The older the socket, the higher the likelihood that it will fail.

How to fix:

When troubleshooting your vacuum’s incoming power supply, it’s crucial to do it in an organized manner. Here are the steps you can take:

  • Check that your household is receiving power. You can do this by testing the lights or switches in the next room.
  • Check the main control box to ensure that there are no tripped circuit breakers. If there are, switch them back on.
  • Test the socket using other appliances, or plug the vacuum into another socket to see if it works there. If the socket is at fault, then you will need an electrician to help you fix it.

Vacuum Cord and Plug

Once you’ve ruled out any problems with the incoming power supply, the following parts to check are the vacuum’s cord and plug. Typically, Shark vacuums have about 26 feet worth of cord with a plug at the end.

Why it fails:

Here, two problems can cause your Shark vacuum not to turn on. Firstly, there might be damage somewhere along the cord. For example, the insulation or the wires inside may have broken. That’s a common problem, especially when cables get twisted too much or if they’ve been stepped on or rolled over too many times in the past.

The plug could also be the problem here. For example, one of the prongs may have broken off, preventing it from conducting power towards the vacuum.

Whether it’s a broken wire or a damaged plug, both will cause the vacuum not to receive uninterrupted power. Therefore, the vacuum won’t turn on.

How to fix:

Firstly, if there is any damage to the cord or plug, disconnect it from the wall socket immediately and do not attempt to use the vacuum again. A damaged vacuum cord could result in exposed wires that could cause electrocution if you touched it.

A damaged power cord or plug will need to be replaced, which will involve a little bit of rewiring. If you’re not confident in performing this type of DIY task yourself, refer to a qualified technician instead.

Broken Power Switch

Shark vacuums also have a power switch that allows you to turn it on and off. This switch has a simple responsibility: to control the power flow to all of the parts that make the vacuum work.

Related: Why Shark Vacuum Brush Roll Indicator Light Is Not On

Why it fails:

If your Shark vacuum isn’t turning on, then another possible reason is that the power switch is broken. Even if there is incoming power and the rest of the vacuum works excellently, a broken power switch will prevent the entire machine from turning on.

A broken switch could result from general wear and tear, or perhaps the switch’s electrical connectors have somehow come undone internally. It’s also possible that there might have been a short circuit, which you can tell from burn marks inside the switch.

How to fix:

Replacing the power switch on your Shark vacuum can be pretty tiresome because the switches aren’t so easy to access. To do that, you will have to take the vacuum apart by unthreading all of the screws that hold the covers in place.

  • Once the covers are opened, locate the switch and undo the electrical connectors.
  • Then, remove the switch and slide its replacement into place, reconnecting the electrical connectors the same way as before.
  • Lastly, work your way backwards and replace the covers that you opened up earlier.

Cordless And Handheld Shark Vacuum Models

When it comes to battery-powered Shark vacuums, like their cordless and handheld models, the reasons for them not turning on are somewhat different.

Battery Has No Charge

If the vacuum isn’t turning on, think back to the last time that you charged the battery. Shark vacuum batteries can take anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours or more to charge fully before you can use them.

How to fix:

To fix this problem, simply charge the battery for the required amount of time. That time can vary between models, so refer to the user manual for the vacuum you have. After that, test the vacuum with the battery.

  • If the vacuum turns on, then you’ll know the problem is solved.
  • However, if it still doesn’t work, then it’s possible that the battery cannot hold a charge and needs to be replaced.

Charging Adapter Problems

The charging adapter is a straightforward yet crucial component, as it supplies your Shark vacuum battery with power. It consists of an adapter and plug that goes into your wall socket, with a cable that plugs directly into the vacuum, a charging dock, or a charging stand.

Why it fails:

A charging adapter can stop working if it has been damaged. For example, the adapter itself could have cracked. Besides that, its power cable could have ripped or torn apart.

When any of these things happen, the charging adapter will lose its ability to charge the battery.

So, even if you think you’ve kept the charger plugged in for hours, the battery might not have charged at all.

How to fix:

Charging adapters cannot be repaired, so you must purchase a replacement.

  • The good news here is that these adapters are very easy to find, whether directly from Shark or from third-party sellers.

General Reason For All Shark Vacuum Models

Suppose you were using your Shark vacuum when it shut off by itself, and after that, you find that it won’t turn on anymore. If that’s the case, then you are likely dealing with an overheated thermal switch.

Overheated Thermal Switch

Shark vacuums have a safety feature in the form of a thermal switch. Simply put, the switch will trip when the vacuum gets too hot.

Related: Shark Vacuum Suction Problems

When that happens, the vacuum will not be able to turn on at all, which serves to protect the motor and other parts from damage due to overheating.

Why it fails:

After the thermal switch trips from overheating, the vacuum cannot be turned on until the switch has reset. That will only happen when the vacuum has cooled down completely, which could take at least an hour or more.

So, if you’re unable to turn the vacuum back on after it shuts itself off, then this is the most likely reason.

How to fix:

The only way to fix this issue is to let the vacuum cool down.

  • Then, disconnect it from its power source and leave it alone for an hour or more until you’re confident that it has cooled down completely and the thermal switch has reset itself.
  • In the meantime, it would be a good idea to check the vacuum for blockages that might have caused the overheating to begin with. Doing that will prevent the same problem from happening again.

Reader Comments (1)

  1. None of these solutions apply.
    New Vacuum cleaner purchased
    from Walmart.
    Fully charged.
    No home electrical problems
    I can’t open the battery panel either.
    I am probally going to mess up my warrenty because I have to try to make this work by trying to open the battery panel..therefore danaging my unit.. Oh well. Have a good weekend.
    No worries.
    Stuff happens.

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