Although Shark has had a series of robot vacuum cleaners available in the US, such as the Shark IQ Robot XL, the vacuum cleaner company has been conspicuously absent from the UK. Until now, as it is set to launch the Shark Matrix Robot in Q2 2024.
Talking to Tom Brown, President EMEA of SharkNinja, he explained that the reason for not launching products before now came down to the opportunities available.
“When we look at our drive to delight customers, the biggest opportunity [in the UK] was on carpet and hard floor cleaning,” said Brown.
In that regard, Shark launched a carpet cleaner and the Shark HydroVac hard floor cleaner last year.
It’s also a matter of understanding the market, and there are a few UK factors that mean that robots aren’t as popular here as they are in Germany. This includes higher-than-average sales of corded vacuum cleaners and the layout of our homes.
To launch a robot in the UK, as with any new product, Brown explained that SharkNinja needs a “true differentiator”, and it believes it has that with the Shark Matrix.
A 2-in-1 robot, the Shark Matrix offers both regular cleaning and mopping, plus a self-empty station. Unlike the competition, which uses bags, the Matrix has a bagless dock, which can take up to 60 days’ worth of dust. Not only does this mean that there are no ongoing costs for consumables, but it’s also better for the environment as there’s nothing to throw away bar the dust collected.
Mopping is provided by a sonic scrubbing pad and an integrated water tank (there’s no self-clean or refill option via the charging dock). The mopping bracket can lift automatically, allowing the robot to move over the carpet without getting it wet.
As with Shark’s regular vacuum cleaners, there’s a self-cleaning brush roll, which will stop hair getting wrapped around the roller.
Shark has picked the name because the robot maps out a room using its LiDAR sensor and then splits the area into a matrix, covering areas vertically and horizontally across the grid. In that way, Shark says the Matrix Robot will thoroughly cover any area. It has front-facing sensors to detect and avoid objects placed on the floor, too.
This particular robot doesn’t have side-sweeper brushes for teasing dirt out of the room’s edges. Instead, the smart edge system detects when the Matrix is at the edge of a room, blowing air out of the side to push dirt into the main suction path. This technique, Shark says, improves edge and corner cleaning when compared to regular robot vacuum cleaners.
Control of the robot is via the app, allowing the Matrix to be used both inside and outside of the home. Launch date and price have yet to be announced, but we’ll bring you this information when we can, and we’ll have a full review as soon as samples are available.