Can transform into a pseudo canister
Poor dirt pickup
Difficult to use
Though the has some thoughtful features, the dirt holder is especially clunky, and the pet brush kept falling apart.
The is a compact upright vacuum with a removable handle that doubles as an extension wand. It's especially unique in that the top half of the vacuum can detach from the floor brush for portable cleaning. It weighs just under 14 pounds, too, easily gliding across bare floors and short carpets. It doesn't offer any manual carpet height adjustment, though, so it can get a little bogged down in high-pile rugs. Even after proper assembly, the handle still had some play where it was supposed to connect to the cleaner, giving the appearance of flimsiness. Adding to that appearance: a single, red, three-position rocker switch that controls whether the vacuum is on and whether the brushroll is powered. Even when it's powered on, the brushroll only activates automatically when the vacuum is lowered from the stored position.
The 24-foot power cord can be wrapped up on board the unit. The cord hook at the top of the handle is a nice touch that keeps things out of the way while cleaning. There's no elegance to the dirt holder, though, which snaps onto the vacuum body with two plastic hooks on either side. They require some effort to get unlatched, and constantly felt like they were in danger of snapping off. Once removed, the dirt holder can be opened at both the bottom and top. The has three filters—two pre-filters and one exhaust filter—offering allergen filtration. Shark claims they're "lifetime filters," requiring cleaning only every three months... we're not sure if that's a mark of optimism, or a prediction of sudden demise for the vacuum itself.
Shark advertises the Navigator as "never losing suction." That may be true, but it never had much suction to begin with.
The 's overall cleaning performance was poor, despite the motorized brushroll and cyclonic suction. Debris pickup was awful, long carpet performance was abysmal, and we'd ignore the five-second rule if we dropped food on any bare floors in this Shark's charge. Short carpet wasn't much better, and hardwood floors ended up only passably clean, at best. As far as debris pickup on hardwood floors, this vacuum is too weak to lift anything very heavy, pushing most items around, rather than sucking them up.
A removable hose that allows for 80 inches of extended cleaning may be the Shark's greatest feature. When you're finished with the hose, it firmly snaps back into the cleaner body, doubling as the handle. The hose can also be used when the main vacuum unit is detached from the floor brush.
Altogether, the comes with four tools. You've got a nearly three-foot long crevice tool for hard-to-reach places, a regular crevice tool for getting between sofa cushions and the like, an upholstery brush for delicate surfaces, and a turbine-powered pet brush. The pet brush (which turned out to be the only one of these four tools that didn't work well) is designed to come apart for easy cleaning; what this translates to for consumers is that it repeatedly disassembles itself, driving you crazy. Even when properly working, it preferred to wrap pet hair around the brush rather than send it into the dirt chamber.
Though the makes a lot of promises, many of them on late-night television, it largely fails to deliver. The lightweight and maneuverable vacuum has a very ergonomically-friendly extension wand, but the whole setup gave the impression that it was poorly constructed from inexpensive materials. This was especially apparent when emptying the contents of the twice-latched dirt holder, or pushing it with a rickety handle. It barely lifted any dirt from long carpet, and performance on short carpets and bare floors lagged behind other models.
Though it's small, at $170 for a new Navigator Lift-Off, it's in the same price class as many better vacuums, and therefore such poor performance is unacceptable.
It's a waste of money—pure and simple. This machine looks fancy, but feels cheap and promises quality results without delivering them. Take a look at the numbers and see just how puny this Shark's performance really is.
A toothless shark is just about as pointless as a vacuum without any real suction.
We were shocked—not sharked—to find that the left nearly 90% of the dirt we put down on our long carpet tests. Think about it: Your dog just came in from outdoors and ran across the living room carpet. You vacuum with the Shark, but when your toddler is playing on the floor there's still nearly as much dirt there as when Fido first ran through. The does a lot better with short carpets, but it's still not good enough. Nearly 30% of the dirt we put down remained on the floor. The Shark just can't compete against other vacuums that pick up more than 90% of dirt in the same test.
Most vacuums that perform poorly on carpet are at least good at picking up dirt from hardwood floors, yet the failed to impress yet again. The results were better, yet 76.7% of dirt removed is still rather poor, compared to other models. While the main brushroller did a good job picking up the pet hair we distributed across a long carpet, the 's external pet hair tool redistributed more fur than it vacuumed up. On wood floors, with the brushroll turned off, the didn't pick up a single piece of heavy debris, while on carpeting the brushroll sent most of the dried macaroni noodles flying... and not into the dirt holder.
This little vacuum makes a lot of noise, though it doesn't require much power to run.
At 75 decibels, the is a little above average when it comes to noise. It's a high-pitched whine that varies in volume while cleaning with the brushroll powered. We didn't expect much energy usage from a 10 amp vacuum, and we weren't wrong. The little Shark only requires 970 watts during cleaning. That's a lot less than similar vacs.
Meet the tester
Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home@itskeithbarry
Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.
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