Shark Lift-Away Pro Review
Pros: Very good cleaning performance, Hands-free cleaning pad changing, lots of attachments for various cleaning tasks
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Shark Lift-Away Pro and its hands-free cleaning pad changing system make it great for cleaning large areas and big messes. It fell slightly behind the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe in our scoring because it lacks a super effective scrubbing brush, but it is still a very effective floor cleaner, and has attachments for other surfaces as well.
The Shark Lift-Away Pro was bested by only one other model in our scoring, and is still our favorite for cleaning big areas and large messes. To see exactly how it stacks up against the competition in each of our individual testing metrics, read on.
The Shark Lift-Away Pro was one of the best performers in our cleaning test. It fell short of only one model, the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe, because it doesn't have as abrasive of a scrubbing brush.
For your standard, everyday cleaning of tile and stone floors the Lift-Away Pro is exceptional. It provides powerful, even steam that easily deals with the dirt and grime of everyday living. You can also press a button to get an extra burst of steam for more stubborn messes. In these situations it cleans just as well as the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe, and cleans much more efficiently and effectively than budget models like the Shark Steam Pocket and the O-Cedar Microfiber.
The Lift-Away Pro also allows for adjustment of the steam power. This is great for situations that don't call for full steam power, as you might as well save some energy and avoid getting the kitchen hot and steamy. Also, although we would not recommend using a steam mop on anything but tile and stone floors, you'll definitely want to turn the steam down if you insist on straying from either of these ideal surfaces. Most of the models we tested do have this feature, with the exception of the Shark Steam Pocket and the Pure Enrichment PureClean XL Rolling.
The one place where the Lift-Away Pro falls short of the top scoring Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is in cleaning stubborn stains. This is because the Bissell has a built-in scrubbing brush that really lets you dig into stubborn stains. The Lift-Away Pro doesn't have a comparable scrubbing brush, so it can't clean the oldest, most set-in stains. However, the Bissell still requires a lot of elbow grease to get out those stains, so you could supplement the Lift-Away Pro with a cheap scrubbing brush and get similar results as the Bissell.
Shark knows how to engineer a good user experience, and it shows in the Lift-Away Pro. It shared the top score in this metric with another Shark model.
The Lift-Away Pro has all of the hallmarks of an easy-to-use steam mop: it has simple buttons for adjusting the steam level, it heats up in less than a minute, and feels sturdy and well-built. The opening for filling the water tank is rather small, but the steaming unit detaches from the mop, so you can rest it on the counter while you fill it. The capacity is 500ml, which is standard for most home steam mops. It also has a reasonably long, 22-foot power cord, which we found to be plenty for cleaning averaged sized homes.
Where the Lift-Away Pro separates itself from the field is its hands-free cleaning pad changing. This lets you change pads on the fly without having to bend over, wait for the mop to cool down, or get your hands dirty. This is why we recommend the Lift-Away Pro for those that have to clean a large area, or that have to regularly mop substantial messes. Both of those situations would require using multiple cleaning pads in a single cleaning session, and the Lift-Away Pro lets you do so while barely slowing down. In contrast, the Editors' Choice winning Bissell would require you to wait at least a few minutes while the mop cools down enough that you can remove and replace the pad with your hands.
This feature is only really useful if you have to change pads in the middle of cleaning. We found that most models can make it through cleaning an average mess in a single kitchen and 2 bathrooms with one pad. Therefore, the extra cost of the Lift-Away Pro is only worth it if you have more than that amount of tile/stone flooring to clean, or if you like its extra features (more on that in a minute).
The Lift-Away Pro offered top-notch maneuverability in our testing, sharing the top score with 2 other models.
Providing smooth glide and even steam, the Lift-Away Pro easily gets into tight corners and cleans everything the cleaning pad touches. We do wish the main cleaning pad were a bit more of an ergonomic shape. We felt the trapezoidal cleaning head of the Bissell to fit more easily into tight corners. However, the rectangular cleaning head of the Lift-Away Pro can get into pretty much anything but acute corners, which are hard to come by in most homes. Even if you do have very tight corners the Lift-Away Pro also has a triangular cleaning head, though this head does sacrifice the hands-free pad changing feature. Bottom line: the Lift-Away Pro is maneuverable enough to clean 99% of most kitchen and bathroom floors, which is where steam mops excel.
Here again the Lift-Away Pro is at the top of the field. For those that want a versatile steam-cleaning machine, this is the best option we've found.
Apart from having both a rectangular and triangular cleaning head (only the rectangular can do hands-free pad changing), the main steam unit can be removed from the mop to be used in a multitude of different ways. It has an included hose that can be hooked up to multiple hand-held cleaning brushes, allowing you to steam clean things like stovetops, refrigerators, and basically any other surface that won't be damaged by steam. There is also a nozzle attachment that lets you steam garments, curtains, and any other fabric. This is the only model we tested with such features, making it the most versatile of the bunch. If you want to expand your steam cleaning beyond just floors, this is the mop for you.
The Shark Lift-Away Pro is the most expensive mop we tested. However, it is well worth the price if you want all of the accessories and need to clean large areas. If you're only going to be cleaning large areas you can save a little money with Shark Genius Steam Pocket, which is essentially the same mop but without all of the extra accessories. If your steam mop needs are average (a moderately messy kitchen plus 2 bathrooms), Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is a much better choice.
For those that have big messes, a lot of tile/stone floor to clean, and that want to be able to clean other parts of their home with steam, the Shark Lift-Away Pro is well worth its high price tag. If you're just looking for a good steam mop for your kitchen and bathrooms, there are much less expensive and equally capable models available.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata