My Shark Vacuum Won’t Turn On

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We’ll go through some of the potential causes and reasons why your Shark Vacuum won’t turn on, as well as potential solutions. You’ll want to go through this checklist of things before you take it in for repairs to Shark.

Like any other piece of technology, sometimes your Shark product just decides not to work. Having to troubleshoot a vacuum cleaner when you’ve got a million other things to do on top of cleaning your home is far from an ideal situation.

Let’s look at common Shark Vacuum Cleaner malfunctions and find out what you can do when these unfortunate situations happen. There are some simple solutions, as well as more technical solutions.

Potential Causes and Solutions

“On” Power Button and Reset

A simple check to see if your Shark Vacuum is working is to check whether the power button (circle with the I in the middle) is switched to I-ON or I-OFF.

On most Shark products like the upright vacuum and cordless vacuums, the power button is located on the top of the handle closest to your thumb when you hold it. The traditional “on” icon indicates the switch and you’ll be able to turn your vacuum switch on or off from there.

If the power switch is already on the “I-On” position, let’s move on to the next thing to check.

Vacuum Cords

All electronic devices must be connected to a power source, be it batteries or a wall socket. First, ensure that the Shark Vacuum power plug is plugged into a power supply. It’s common to miss that the power cord isn’t plugged in correctly into the socket.

Double check the power cord for any exposures or cuts, because a bad power cord could also be tan the issue for lack of power. You’d see electrical wires and possibly broken wires.

Also, try and make sure that your power socket is working as well. You can test whether the wall outline is working correctly by plugging something in that socket. Try charging your phone in that wall socket.

If your phone or other device isn’t getting electricity either, try switching on the reset button on the power outlet to reset the break.

If that doesn’t work, check the fuse and circuit breaker panel (down below).

Vacuum Batteries

A battery has to contain enough charge to power your electronic devices. If you own one of the cordless ranges of Shark Vacuum cleaners, make sure that your batteries are fully charged or at least contain half a full charge before you use it.

A good way to ensure the battery doesn’t run out mid-clean is to always charge it after every use.

If your battery is fully charged and the Shark still doesn’t last long, you can try replacing your battery because it’s started losing its effectiveness.

Fuses and Circuit Breakers

A vacuum cleaner draws a large amount of power when you first turn it on, and your Shark Vacuum is no different. Tripping the circuit breaker on your wall socket will result in no power from the electrical outlet for you to turn the unit on.

If it’s a circuit break issue, check the status of the particular wall socket on your circuit breaker panel. If you happen not to know what the circuit breaker box is, it’s that big hidden panel with lots of switches.

Circuit Breaker Panel
Circuit Breaker Panel

In homes with basements, that’s usually where the circuit breaker panel is. With apartments, panels might be in a closet or somewhere off on a sidewall.

The switch that’s not in the same direction as the others means that it’s “off” and there’s no electricity going there. Switch it on and see if you now get electricity to that wall outlet.

If you still don’t have power, it could be the wall outlet. Contact an electrician if you don’t know how to replace the wall outlet fuse in your home.

Vacuum Filter

In most cases, a really dirty filter will just result in a noticeable reduction in suction power and you’ll know that it needs to be replaced soon. Sometimes however a dirt-filled and dusty foam filter can cause your Shark Vacuum to shut down completely.

Clean your filters by running them under lukewarm water every 2-3 months until the rinsed water becomes clear of debris. Let them dry fully before putting them back into the dust cup of your Shark Vacuum.

Regular maintenance of the Shark Vacuum filter is always a good idea, much like emptying the Shark Vacuum dust canister. If your home has a lot of carpet, there might even be carpet fuzz and pet hairs in your filter.

Blockages in vacuums can be a regular occurrence depending on the home and what’s being sucked up. Unfortunately, that can lead to the vacuum cleaner overheating.


Vacuum cleaners tend to run hot, due to the fact that they use a fair bit of power during operation. When the internal thermostat recognizes that the suction motors are producing more heat than is safe to operate under, they automatically switch off.

If your vacuum constantly runs at a high temperature, try checking to see if you have any big pieces of debris clogging up the Shark Vacuum hose or filter.

There are two main hoses: the one between the handle and the wand; and the short one between the base and the main vacuum head.

Any filter issues will cause the motors to work harder than they should and that leads to excessive heat. If you see nothing getting sucked up off the floor, check the filters.

Check your vacuum’s internal thermostat. If it’s not operating properly, it could say that the temperature is safe, but the Shark still shuts off. When that happens, try to reset the motor thermostat.

Reset Motor Thermostat

To reset the motor thermostat:

  1. Switch the power button to the “O-Off” position
  2. Unplug the Shark vacuum
  3. Empty the dustbin / canister of dirt and debris
  4. Check for a clogged hose or filter.
    1. If there’s a clog, unclog the hose and replace the filter
  5. Allow 45 minutes for the vacuum to cool down
  6. Plug the vacuum back in to the power outlet
  7. Switch the power button to the “I-On” position and see if it starts the vacuum

If it’s still not starting, it’s time to contact Shark customer service or a vacuum cleaner professional for repairs.

Thermostat issues are almost always a long term problem so be sure to get it checked out as soon as you can.

Vacuum Motor

The Shark vacuum motor is the heartbeat of any machine. A complicated series of gears, transmissions and all manner of moving parts work together to make your Shark Vacuum do its job cleaning your home.

If none of the other solutions above worked for you, then unfortunately it might be because your motor has gone bad.

Replacing motors might cost just as much as a new vacuum itself, so you might want to do a little window shopping online and see what the latest prices are.

Troubleshooting Specific Shark Vacuum Models

If you have a Shark Rotator Vacuum, this video covers a number of different things to check.

Shark Rotator Troubleshooting

If you have a Shark Navigator Freestyle, here’s a video of how one person took the cover off the vacuum (literally) and got it working again.

Shark Navigator Freestyle will not turn on ** Fixed**


As we can see, there are many different factors that affect the working condition of your Shark Vacuum. Regular maintenance is always a good idea, as with any other electronic device that you own.

A good way to keep your favorite vacuum working at its best and most optimal condition is to create a checklist with all potential issues that can go wrong with it (indicated in the points above), and review those issues every 2-3 months or so.

Cleaning and maintaining your Shark will take you more effort now, but less money in the long run. You’ll be using this vacuum cleaner for a long time and making it worth every single dollar you paid for it.

Finally, it’s also important to note that all electronic devices come to a point where they eventually break down. Technology moves fast, so don’t be too hard on yourself if your old devices stop working. What’s important is that you put in the effort to take as much value as you can out of them before it happens!

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Written by:

Michael Hoyt
Michael Hoyt, a seasoned expert in smart home technology and robot vacuum specialist, is renowned for his contributions to home automation. With a deep-seated knowledge of smart devices, he has dedicated his career to enhancing living spaces with advanced technology. Michael's expertise extends from in-depth reviews and recommendations to practical advice on fully automating homes with smart home solutions.