Shark Navigator Freestyle Review
Pros: Great value, good at cleaning hard floors
Cons: Not terribly convenient, more difficult to use
Compare to Similar Products
Shark Navigator Freestyle
$149.99 at Amazon
|$115 List||$170 List|
$154.99 at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$32 List|
|Pros||Great value, good at cleaning hard floors||Great value, convenient, does well with hard floors||Inexpensive, convenient||Decent at cleaning hard surfaces, inexpensive||Inexpensive|
|Cons||Not terribly convenient, more difficult to use||Could be better at carpet||Lackluster carpet cleaning, struggles with edges||Harder to use, loud||Poor carpet cleaning ability, harder to use, less convenient|
|Bottom Line||This vacuum provides excellent value, offering a solid performance at a fraction of the price of the top models||If you are shopping for a stick vacuum and don't want to break the bank, then we think this is a great option||This vacuum delivered a middle-of-the-road performance that failed to make much of an impression||This inexpensive model cleans decently, especially when it comes to hard surfaces||This lightweight vacuum may be super cheap, but don't expect much in terms of performance|
|Rating Categories||Shark Navigator Fre...||Moosoo XL-618A||Eureka RapidClean Pro||VonHaus 600W 2-in-1||Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik|
|Hard Surface Cleaning (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Carpet Cleaning (15%)|
|Specs||Shark Navigator Fre...||Moosoo XL-618A||Eureka RapidClean Pro||VonHaus 600W 2-in-1||Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik|
|Weight||7.1 lbs||5.1 lbs||5.1 lbs||4.5 lbs||3.4 lbs|
|Cordless Battery Life||13:53 min:sec||22:40 min:sec||23:12
|Maximum Corded Reach||n/a||n/a||n/a||21 ft||17.5 ft|
|Measured Charge Time||355 min||340 min||270 min||n/a||n/a|
|Noise Level||75 dBa||67 dBa||64.5 dBa||77 dBa||73.5 dBa|
|Measured Cleaning Path Width||9.75"||7.75"||9.75"||8.75"||9"|
|Variable Suction Control||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Brush On/Off Switch?||Slows the brush for hard floor||No||No||n/a||n/a|
|Storage||Stands up||Wall mount only||Wall mount only||Stands up; falls over easily||Stands up; falls over easily|
|Swivel Head?||Yes; very limited||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
While this vacuum isn't quite as versatile and convenient as some of its siblings, the Navigator Freestyle didn't disappoint throughout the course of our testing. It's a solid performer and an excellent overall value, with no major drawbacks. If you want a stick vacuum for cleaning up small messes in between deep cleans of your home and don't want to spend a ton of cash, this is a clear contender.
Earning the highest weight out of all our various testing metrics, convenience is of paramount importance for stick vacuums. We compared the weight, storage method, whether or not the vacuum was corded or cordless, its maximum reach or battery life, and how adept each product was at cleaning non-floor surfaces. The Navigator gave us an average performance for its efforts.
The Navigator fell a little short when it came to cleaning anywhere off the floor, lacking the attachments or the versatility of other models. This vacuum can only be used as an upright model and doesn't transform into a handheld vacuum cleaner like others in our review. It is about an average weight when compared to other models, cordless, and with decent battery life. It lasted just shy of 14 minutes on its carpet cleaning mode and took about 6 hours to fully recharge. On the plus side, it's stable enough to stand on its own rather than relying solely on a wall mount for storage, an often overlooked feature of these products that is exceptionally convenient.
Hard Surface Cleaning
Moving on to our second group of tests, the ability of each product to clean hard surfaces. This made up 30% of the total score for each stick vacuum. We assessed the performance of each model by spreading out oatmeal, flour, rice, pet hair, and Cheerios on a section of hardwood floor. We then rated each vacuum on how much residual debris was leftover and the number of passes it took to get the floor visually clean. The Navigator scored very well in this metric.
This vacuum did an excellent job at cleaning up rice, only taking a single pass to clean everything up completely. This model didn't fling any rice to the side using the bare floor mode, even when the brush was spinning. Performance dropped a little when it came to cleaning up flour, though. It took 2-4 passes to get the area visually clean, with additional passes needed to get residual flour out of the cracks between boards. The Navigator would also collect a bunch of flour on its roller wheels, which would usually fall off later in an inconvenient location.
The Navigator improved a bit in our cereal test, doing a slightly above average job at collecting Cheerios. Its performance continued to improve in our final two tests of this metric: oats and pet hair. It took about 1.5 passes to collect the oats, though there were a few stragglers left behind. However, it did collect all of the pet hair we laid out, tying with about half of the group for a perfect score.
Ease of Use
To compare these products for this metric, we evaluated how easy it was for each vacuum to clean under furniture and close to edges, the different cleaning power levels provided, and the level of noise produced by each vacuum while in operation. The Navigator Freestyle did a decent job cleaning up debris along the edge of a wall, collecting all of the material that we laid out, though it took a few more passes to achieve this than the top-performing models in our test.
Performance dropped when it came to cleaning under furniture, with this model finishing in the lower half of the pack. The Navigator only reached just shy of 11" under our test sofa. To compare, some models had more than three times the reach.
This model has a high and low power cleaning mode, with a footswitch to swap between hard floor and carpet mode. This doesn't totally stop the brush from rotating; it just slows it down. The Navigator Freestyle is about average in terms of noise level and has a swivel steering head, but it is somewhat limited — substantially less nimble than others we reviewed.
For the final metric of our testing process, we evaluated how well each stick vacuum did at cleaning carpeted floors. Once again, we broke out the flour, oats, rice, cereal, and donated pet hair, spreading them out on both low-pile, flat carpet, and medium-pile, fluffy carpet and based our scores on how well each type of debris was cleaned and how many cleaning passes it took.
The Navigator started off with a strong showing in this test, doing a good job at collecting rice on both types of carpet. It took about two passes on both types to get them visually clean. Unfortunately, the Navigator couldn't maintain its performance when we moved on to the flour test. This model took a few passes and failed to impress, performing among the worst of our tested vacuums.
Some redemption was found when we got to Cheerio collection. This stick vacuum got all of the cereal on flat carpet without any effort. However, it was on the fluffy carpet version of this test where the Navigator truly shined. This model scooped up the cereal without any difficulties, only pushing a few of them around before promptly picking them up. Continuing its upward trend, the Navigator tied for the top score when it came to collecting pet hair and delivered a decent showing at collecting oats.
The Navigator Freestyle gives you a great value, offering a solid performance for a great price.
While the Shark Navigator Freestyle lacks some of the additional features and versatility that other models have, it is a solid, dependable cleaning machine at a reasonable price. It's a great option for cleaning small messes between deep cleans, all without cleaning out your bank account.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer