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Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M Review

Easily finishing near the top, this is one of our favorite vacuums we have tested over the years
Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M
Credit: Amazon
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Price:   $399 List | $329.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Fantastic cleaning performance, excellent at picking up pet hair
Cons:  Not the best with stairs, reach is a little short
Manufacturer:   Shark
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 24, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Carpet Cleaning - 35% 8
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Handling - 20% 7
  • Hard Surface Cleaning - 10% 9
  • Pet Hair - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M cleans carpet and handles pet hair with ease and without getting tangled up. This vacuum did exceptionally well in all of our tests, grabbing cereal off hard surfaces and flour from in 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. All in all, if you want the best when it comes to floor cleaning solutions, then the APEX is should certainly be on your shortlist.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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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 very well, picks up pet hair with easeInexpensive, great for pet hair, solid carpet cleaningInexpensive, maneuverable, solid at picking up pet hair
Cons Not the best with stairs, reach is a little shortPriceyNot particularly impressive at cleaning hard floorsLackluster at cleaning hard floors, so-so ease of useDoesn't clean hard floors or carpet very well
Bottom Line Easily finishing near the top, this is one of our favorite vacuums we have tested over the yearsIf you are looking for something that sweeps the rest of the competition under the rug, this is our current favorite vacuumIf you are searching for a new vacuum on a budget, then this is a great betIf you are shopping on a particularly tight budget for a new vacuum, this is a good optionThis cheap vacuum isn't terrible, but there are far better options for the same price
Rating Categories Shark APEX DuoClean... Shark Vertex Shark Navigator Lif... Eureka PowerSpeed Black+Decker AirSwi...
Carpet Cleaning (35%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
3.0
Ease Of Use (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
Handling (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Hard Surface Cleaning (10%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
3.0
Pet Hair (10%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Shark APEX DuoClean... Shark Vertex Shark Navigator Lif... Eureka PowerSpeed Black+Decker AirSwi...
Vacuum type Upright Upright Upright Upright Upright
Model Number AZ10002 40 AZ2000W NV356E NEU182A BDASL202
Bag Type Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless
Cleaning Path Width 11.75" 12" 11.25" 13.25" 12"
Measured Brush Width 9" 10" 9" 10.5" 11"
Measured Weight 16.9 lbs 16.3 lbs 14.4 lbs 10.1 lbs 9.4 lbs
Variable Suction Control Yes Yes Yes No No
Brush On/Off Switch Slow Slow Yes No No
Measured Maximum Reach 32' 32' - 40'+ 31' 25' 20.8'
Measured Power Cord Length 30' 30' 30' 24' 20'
Automatic Cord Rewind No No No No No
Measured Noise 72 dBa 75 dBa 73 dBa 76 dBa 75.4 dBa
Swivel Head Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Carry Handle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soft Bumper Yes Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The APEX DuoClean finished near the top of our group, excelling at picking up pet hair and cleaning carpets.

Performance Comparison


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 both flat, low-pile carpet and on the fluffier, medium-pile carpet. The Shark APEX delivered a stellar performance.

The APEX with Zero-M does great at cleaning carpet.
The APEX with Zero-M does great at cleaning carpet.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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 with 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.

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. 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 of 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, and the maximum reach of each appliance. Additionally, we also 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.

The Lift-Away feature makes it really easy to get under furniture.
The Lift-Away feature makes it really easy to get under furniture.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

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 bit in corners. It would usually leave behind a handful of rice right in front of the vacuum when it approached head-on.

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 and went well past it when we did use it.

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, earning it a few extra points, but it only has an average maximum reach from an outlet, measuring in at 32'.

Handling


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

The swivel steering on the APEX makes it a breeze to maneuver around...
The swivel steering on the APEX makes it a breeze to maneuver around furniture.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The APEX weights in at just under 17 pounds — 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. Additionally, you can always use the vacuum in Lift-Away mode, which makes it even easier. The APEX also has a swivel head that makes it highly maneuverable, gliding over carpet and hard floors with little to no effort at all.

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. These four tests accounted for 10% of the overall score, with the APEX delivering a fantastic set of results.

The DuoClean brush makes quick work of vacuuming hard surfaces.
The DuoClean brush makes quick work of vacuuming hard surfaces.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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 into our cereal and oatmeal tests, collecting all of the Cheerios and oats without any issues at all.

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 97% of the hair we laid out.

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

Value


While this vacuum might not be the best option if you are shopping on a tight budget, it is an excellent appliance and, in our opinion, still retails at a fairly reasonable price for what you get.

Conclusion


Delivering top-notch cleaning performance with all kinds of messes in an extremely convenient and easy-to-use package, it is easy to see why the Shark APEX DuoClean finished so well in our review. This is among our all-time favorite vacuum cleaners that we have tested and we highly recommend it.

David Wise and Austin Palmer