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Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M Review

Wonderful handling matched with superior performance makes this a great vacuum for everyone
Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M
Credit: Amazon
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $399 List | $374.59 at Amazon
Pros:  Fantastic cleaning performance, excellent at picking up pet hair
Cons:  Not the best for stairs, slightly short reach
Manufacturer:   Shark
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jul 26, 2022
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Carpet Cleaning - 35% 8.1
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8.6
  • Handling - 20% 8.4
  • Hard Surface - 10% 9.8
  • Pet Hair - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M superbly cleans carpet and pet hair with ease. This vacuum did exceptionally well in all of our performance and feature tests and evaluations, lifting cereal off hard surfaces and flour from between carpet fibers. The Lift-Away feature, which allows you to remove the canister to more easily reach tricky places, further enhances the overall usability of this well-performing vacuum. It makes cleaning otherwise challenging stairs, reaching under furniture, and hard-to-access places a breeze. If you want the best when it comes to floor cleaning solutions, then the APEX should be on your shortlist of models to consider.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $399 List
$374.59 at Amazon
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$200 List$88 List
$88.05 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Fantastic cleaning performance, excellent at picking up pet hairGreat at pet hair, excellent cleaning abilities, easy to useGood price, cleans carpet well, picks up pet hair with easeEasy to push and pull, lift away featureInexpensive, great for pet hair, solid carpet cleaning
Cons Not the best for stairs, slightly short reachPriceyNot impressive at cleaning hard floorsStruggles with cracksInsufficient on hard floors, so-so ease of us
Bottom Line Wonderful handling matched with superior performance makes this a great vacuum for everyoneThis model removes most stubborn debris in just one pass and beats out most competitionIf you are searching for a new vacuum on a budget, then this is a great betThe ease of this machine makes you feel like you can vacuum for hoursIf you are shopping on a particularly tight budget for a new vacuum, this is a good option
Rating Categories Shark APEX DuoClean... Shark Vertex Shark Navigator Lif... Shark Navigator Lif... Eureka PowerSpeed
Carpet Cleaning (35%)
8.1
8.7
8.0
6.9
4.5
Ease of Use (25%)
8.6
8.9
7.4
6.7
5.9
Handling (20%)
8.4
7.6
5.7
8.4
5.0
Hard Surface (10%)
9.8
8.5
7.0
6.8
3.8
Pet Hair (10%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Specs Shark APEX DuoClean... Shark Vertex Shark Navigator Lif... Shark Navigator Lif... Eureka PowerSpeed
Water Suction Guage (inches of water) 86" 86" 72" 72" 48"
Model Number AZ10002 40 AZ2000W NV356E S2 NV352 NEU182A
Dirt Collection Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless
Vacuum Head Width 11.75" 12" 11.25" 11.25" 13.25"
Measured Brush Width 9" 10" 9" 9" 10.5"
Measured Weight 16.9 lbs 16.8 lbs 14.8 lbs 13.6 lbs 10.5 lbs
Variable Suction Control Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Brush On/Off Switch Slow Slow Yes Yes No
Measured Power Cord Length 30.00' 29.50' 26.00' 24.75' 23.75'
Measured Noise 72 dBa 75 dBa 73 dBa 73 dBa 76 dBa
Swivel Head Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Carry Handle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soft Bumper Yes Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The APEX DuoClean finished at the top of our test group, excelling and outperforming almost every other model across most of our tests. In some of our most difficult tests, it earned exceptionally high marks, including ones that proved too difficult or even impossible for many other models.

Performance Comparison


Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the shark apex duoclean with zero-m.
The Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Carpet Cleaning


Comprised of our most important set of assessments, our carpet cleaning metric accounts for 35% of the final score for each vacuum. We used four different types of messes — rice, oats, Cheerios, and flour — to score the cleaning performance of each vacuum, testing them out on flat, low-pile carpet and fluffier, medium-pile carpet. The Shark APEX delivered a stellar performance.


The APEX did an absolutely phenomenal job with the rice on low-pile carpet, getting the majority of the rice with a single pass and getting the remainder on the second, leaving absolutely nothing behind. However, it did a little worse on fluffier carpet, taking three passes to suitably clean it, and we still found a few grains lodged deep within the carpet fibers. It performed very similarly in our flour test, getting practically all of it with two passes over the low-pile carpet and only leaving trace amounts behind on the fluffy carpet.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the apex made quick work of our simulated dust test.
The APEX made quick work of our simulated dust test.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The APEX finished out this metric with two more stellar results. It did a great job sucking up Cheerios from both types of carpet, leaving none behind largely due to its front roller, part of Shark's very effective dual brush technology. It did almost as well cleaning oats from a low-pile carpet, although it did leave a few fragments behind. The APEX cleaned about the same on a medium-pile carpet, though it took a few more passes to get to the same point.

Ease of Use


Next, we moved on to comparing and scoring how easy it was to use each vacuum. Responsible for a quarter of the overall score, we focused in particular on how easy it was to clean under furniture, along the walls, and in the corners of a room, including the maximum reach of each appliance. Additionally, we measured the noise level and compared how easy it was to switch the vacuum between different floor types, such as low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet, and hard floors.


There is a slider switch right on the handle that lets you switch between flat, fluffy, and hard floors. The rotating brush doesn't stop completely on the hard floor setting, but it does rotate much slower.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the light up surface selector is easy to read.
The light up surface selector is easy to read.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The APEX does an excellent job at cleaning right up to an edge, but it does struggle a tiny bit in corners. It would usually leave behind a handful of rice right in front of the vacuum when it approached head-on.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the apex does great at clearing debris from the edges, but only...
The Apex does great at clearing debris from the edges, but only so-so at picking up debris head-on along a wall.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, its Lift-Away feature makes it exceptionally easy to clean under furniture, earning it top marks in that test. This vacuum reached slightly farther than average under our simulated sofa without using the Lift-Away feature. It can reach under even the largest pieces of furniture, like a large bed or corner sofa, with ease when using the Lift-Away feature.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the lift-away feature greatly increases the apex's reach underneath...
The Lift-Away feature greatly increases the APEX's reach underneath furniture.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The APEX is also relatively quiet for an upright vacuum, registering one of the lower dBa readings on our SPL meter across all the models we tested. That means this vacuum is less likely to petrify your cats, but no guarantees. It also has a maximum reach from an outlet of more than 30 feet, which is on par with the best models we handled.

Handling


In this round of tests, we ranked and scored each vacuum on how easy it was to push or pull the device, maneuverability, and the amount of effort required to clean a flight of stairs. This trio of evaluations accounted for 20% of the final score.


The APEX weighs in at 17 pounds, which is about average for an upright vacuum cleaner. This makes it fairly easy to clean a flight of stairs, helped by the fact that you can usually reach 6-7 steps with the hose.


You can always use the vacuum in Lift-Away mode, which makes handling even easier — especially when it comes to weight. The APEX also has a swivel head that makes it highly maneuverable, gliding over carpet and hard floors, as well as around tight corners and obstacles smoothly, and with little to no effort at all.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - being able to use lift-away on the apex makes vacuuming stairs less...
Being able to use Lift-Away on the APEX makes vacuuming stairs less cumbersome.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Hard Surface Cleaning


Similar to our carpet cleaning metric, we used the same four types of messes in our hard floor cleaning metric; rice, oats, flour, and cereal. Together, these four tests on different debris were weighted at 10% of the overall score, as hard surface cleaning is typically a job for other tools, like a mop or broom. The APEX delivered a fantastic set of results for its exceptional performance.


This vacuum did an essentially perfect job when it came to cleaning flour and rice off of our sample of laminate flooring. It didn't fling the rice around at all and even cleaned flour out of the tiny cracks between boards. It continued its perfect performance in our cereal and oatmeal tests, collecting all of the Cheerios and oats without any issues at all. The APEX DuoClean proved to be a phenomenal hard floor cleaning machine.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the duoclean brush makes quick work of vacuuming hard surfaces.
The DuoClean brush makes quick work of vacuuming hard surfaces.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Pet Hair


For the remaining 10% of the final score, we evaluated how well each vacuum did at cleaning up pet hair. We distributed five grams of pet hair on a section of medium-pile carpet, then scored each vacuum on the percentage of hair successfully picked up.


The APEX finished with another phenomenal performance, collecting 96% of the hair we laid out. Although, there were some clumps left behind on the carpet left on one side. Still, the clumps were easily swept up with just one more pass.

Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M upright vacuum - the zero-m brush helps make cleaning hair out of the brush a thing...
The Zero-M brush helps make cleaning hair out of the brush a thing of the past.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Should You Buy the Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M?


If you want the most premium upright vacuum on the market, and your budget allows it, then you need to look no further than the Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M. You cannot get a better balance of performance, features, handling, or a more user-friendly experience from any other model available to date.

What Other Upright Vacuums Should You Consider?


The Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M narrowly beat out the Shark Vertex for its better maneuverability and slightly better hard surface cleaning. However, if you want a slightly larger canister capacity and marginally better carpet cleaning performance, then take a serious look at the Shark Vertex. If either model is a little too pricey, then consider yet another Shark product, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional. It offers great performance but at a significantly more affordable price point.

David Wise and Austin Palmer
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