Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Review
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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
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|Pros||Good price, cleans carpet well, picks up pet hair with ease||Nearly perfect hard surface cleaning, excellent carpet cleaning performance, good handling, lift-away feature||Easy to push and pull, lift away feature||Lightweight, great at handling obstacles||Inexpensive, great for pet hair, solid carpet cleaning|
|Cons||Not impressive at cleaning hard floors||Extra pass needed for low pile test||Struggles with cracks||Poor hard surface and carpet performance, short hose length||Insufficient on hard floors, so-so ease of us|
|Bottom Line||If you are searching for a new vacuum on a budget, then this is a great bet||Wonderful handling and superior performance make this a great vacuum for anyone||This affordable and easy to use vacuum makes you feel like you can clean for hours||If you value a light vacuum that is easy to handle, then it's worth considering this model, but there are better mid-tier vacuums||If you are shopping on a particularly tight budget for a new vacuum, this is a good option|
|Rating Categories||Shark Navigator Lif...||Shark Stratos||Shark Navigator Lif...||Kenmore FeatherLite||Eureka PowerSpeed|
|Carpet Cleaning (35%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Hard Surface (10%)|
|Pet Hair (10%)|
|Specs||Shark Navigator Lif...||Shark Stratos||Shark Navigator Lif...||Kenmore FeatherLite||Eureka PowerSpeed|
|Water Suction Gauge||72 inches||94 inches||72 inches||71 inches||48 inches|
|Model Number||NV356E S2||AZ3000W||NV352||DU4080||NEU182A|
|Vacuum Head Width||11.25"||12"||11.25"||10"||13.25"|
|Measured Brush Width||9"||9.5"||9"||8.75"||10.5"|
|Measured Weight||14.8 lbs||16.8 lbs||13.6 lbs||12.5 lbs||10.5 lbs|
|Variable Suction Control||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Brush On/Off Switch||Yes||Slow||Yes||Yes||No|
|Measured Power Cord Length||26'||29.5'||24.75'||25.5'||23.75'|
|Measured Noise at Arms Length||73 dBa||75 dBa||73 dBa||73 dBa||76 dBa|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Navigator Lift-Away Professional does a fantastic job at cleaning messes on various surfaces, including great performance lifting pet hair. It is also above average when it comes to user-friendliness and handles fairly easily. If you are shopping on a budget, but expect good all-around performance, then this is a great option.
This is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of a vacuum cleaner and is our most heavily weighted metric at 35%. We used a handful of different types of debris — flour, Cheerios, rice, and oats — on both low-pile and medium-pile carpets to test the carpet cleaning competency of each vacuum.
For the first test of the carpet cleaning metric, rice, the Navigator Lift-Away Professional delivered an excellent performance. After four passes, it collected almost all of the rice from the low-pile carpet, including the fragments and dust. However, we noticed that the brush head isn't quite as wide as some of the other models, so it takes slightly longer to clean an entire room. This vacuum also did very well with fluffier carpet and only took three passes to adequately clean all of the rice.
The Lift-Away Pro continued its good performance in our flour test. It got the vast majority of the flour from low pile carpet in only four passes, which is better than every other model tested, including much more expensive models. However, it did not do quite as well on high-pile carpets, leaving residual flour in visible streaks, and required a handful more passes to adequately clean the mess.
The Navigator Lift-Away Professional exhibited excellent performance in our oatmeal test. It got most of the oatmeal with two passes over the carpet but did require a third pass to get a handful of leftover fragments. It repeated the exceptional performance on fluffier carpet but required additional passes to extract dust.
Unfortunately, it performed a bit worse in our cereal test, although it was well above average compared to the entire test group. It took multiple passes to successfully clean up all of the Cheerios in our cereal test, mainly because it kept pushing them around rather than sucking them up. Ultimately, on both low and high-pile carpet, it proved to do a good job, just not as good as it had done with other types of debris.
Ease of Use
Next, we ranked and scored each vacuum on how easy it was to clean under furniture and along the edges of a room. We also assessed maximum reach and noise levels. Additionally, we awarded points if the vacuum had different modes for different types of flooring. The Navigator Lift-Away Professional again delivered a very good performance.
This appliance cleaned very close to the edges and corners of a room, only leaving a tiny bit of debris behind in areas that it couldn't reach. It cleaned decently well under furniture, reaching about 10" under our simulated sofa. The maximum reach is average, limited by a 29-foot cable. The Navigator Lift-Away Professional is also on the quiet side for these products, only registering about 73 dBa on our SPL meter. It didn't emit any particularly high-pitched or other irritating tones.
Unfortunately, this vacuum lacks different modes for different types of floors. This is something that most other models have and allows you to select between flat or fluffy carpet and hard floors. However, it does allow you to turn the rotating brush on and off when switching between hard floors and carpet.
For our handling metric, we evaluated how maneuverable each product was and how easy it felt to push and pull. We also looked at how easy it stood to clean a flight of stairs. Together, this trio of tests accounts for 20% of the overall score for each product.
This vacuum has an accessory hose that you can detach and use to clean a flight of stairs long enough to give the operator great reach in difficult places. The Navigator Lift-Away Professional also isn't particularly heavy, weighing in at just 14.4 pounds, which makes it easy enough to lug up and down stairs.
This vacuum is exceptionally maneuverable, utilizing a swivel head design that makes it easy to navigate quickly and easily around obstacles while cleaning. However, it does take more than a mild effort to push and pull, requiring you to work just a little harder to clean your floors, adding a little bit of an unwanted workout.
Hard Surface Cleaning
Similar to our carpet cleaning metric, we used a variety of different debris types to quantify the cleaning performance of each product. However, this metric is only worth 10% of the final score, as the vast majority of users will primarily clean carpets with a vacuum. The Navigator Lift-Away Professional again did well, though not quite as well as it did at cleaning carpet.
This vacuum started off with a strong performance in our rice collection test, collecting almost all of the rice in a single pass. We used the bare floor option for all these tests so that the main brush does not spin. It did almost as well at collecting oatmeal, though it required a quick cleanup pass to get a few stragglers. We weren't terribly impressed with the ability of the Navigator Pro to clean up flour from hard floors.
It got most of the flour in two passes, but the wheels collected a decent amount of it and tracked it across the floors as we continued to vacuum. It also failed to extract any of the flour that fell in the cracks between boards, even after many passes. This model also struggled to collect the Cheerios, tending to push them around when moving forward and crushing them up when going backward.
For the remaining 10% of the total score, we evaluated and ranked how each vacuum did when tasked with collecting pet hair. We used hair donated by a local groomer and spread out 5 grams of the hair on a section of medium-pile carpet, pressing it in. We then measured how much hair each vacuum collected.
The Navigator Lift-Away Professional did very well, collecting more than 95% of the entire amount — leaving behind nothing more than a few strands of hair.
Should You Buy the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional?
If you are shopping for a great deal, then the Navigator Lift-Away Professional is an excellent all-around vacuum and one of the better values you will find. It doesn't match the premium performance of the best models available, but it does a great job at less than half the price of those more premium models.
What Other Upright Vacuums Should You Consider?
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is a good all-around vacuum and a great value at the price point. In the world of upright vacuums, Shark reigns supreme, and while the Lift-Away Pro is a good value, Shark's Vertex, and Shark Stratos are the best vacuum cleaners that money can buy. So, if you are willing and able to spend more, consider getting the most premium performance available with either of these two models.
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