Amazon Review by Michael Flux
6001 people found the following review helpful
Very pleasantly surprised
*** 8 Month Update at the bottom of this review ***
First let me start by saying that overall as a brand I strongly dislike Shark. I don’t have anything against them personally but the endless annoying and trashy infomercials and the fact that a lot of their older vacuums sucked beyond belief, I honestly am not too thrilled with them as a company.
A few years ago I got a Bissell Pet Hair Eraser vacuum, model 3920, and very quickly became disappointed with it. It sucked well, but within minutes the plastic piece at the top, the one responsible for making the airflow rotate got clogged up with fur and the suction went down dramatically. Emptying the dust cup was the worst part of it, it made a horrible mess all over the place. I suffered with that vacuum for a couple years and recently decided that my time was worth more than putting up with that crap. I started looking around Amazon for vacuums with the best reviews. Dysons, Hoovers, Eurekas etc, but the vacuum that caught my attention the most was the older white Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away.
What caught my attention was how (extremely surprisingly!) high the reviews were. I was honestly not expecting it, especially after having my thoughts on the brand. I read the reviews, and then read them some more and after about a week I finally decided to give it a shot. Now at this point I have already gone to a store to see the Navigator Pro in person and was honestly not too horribly impressed by how it looked or felt. It looked like it was made out of PVC sewage pipes and it wobbled from side to side as if it was about to fall apart (though I am wondering if that was just because it was a display unit and was dropped one too many times).
Either way, moving on to this Rotator vacuum - about a day before I was planning on going out to buy the Navigator Pro I accidentally stumbled upon this new model thanks to the search suggestions on Amazon. Since Bed Bath and Beyond usually carries all the latest Shark products I drove over to one that was close to me and not surprisingly there it was. Cool thing about the BB&B stores is that the vacuums all have outlets next to them so you can actually plug them in to see how they work. I plugged this one in to play around with it a bit and my surprises started. First, it felt surprisingly very solid - none of that weird wobbling that I experienced with the Navigator Pro. Second, lets be honest here, this thing is damn pretty!
So then, supposed 5 year warranty, plus being able to return it if I didn’t like it, plus having a 20% off BB&B coupon (which you can easily get anywhere) - why the hell not! I bought it. With the coupon + taxes it came out to being around $215, not too bad at all.
Also slightly off topic, but while I was playing with this vacuum, I also had a chance to check out Dyson’s latest pink-ish purple DC41 Animal Complete and while it is gorgeous, and seems to suck well, I just can’t justify the 650 dollar price tag. I’m sure it’s good, but I honestly can’t imagine it sucks up 3x more crap to justify the 3x higher price!
Of course as soon as I got home and squealing like a little girl I unpacked the vacuum, quickly assembled it (assembly didn’t even take a minute) and started vacuuming.
It sucks up dirt and pet hair amazingly well! We currently have 8 cats (don’t worry, 4 of them we’re juts temporarily fostering (does anyone want to adopt an annoying Norwegian Forest Cat? (seriously))) and so as you can imagine there is plenty of fur all over the carpets every day. I vacuumed with the old Bisell vacuum just the day before and as soon as I started the Shark completely filled up with dust and hair. wow…
Even while the dust container is completely packed full, it doesn’t seem to loose any suction and keeps on collecting crap and packing it in somehow.
It is pretty light. I I think if you’re upgrading from just about any older vacuum you’ll be pretty surprised by how light this one is.
The Premium Power Brush (more about it in a minute) works amazingly well. Most of our cats sleep in bed with us and so every morning there is a ton of cat hair all over the sheets. I can collect 100% of it within a minute using this brush. Very very happy. The old Bissell came with a similar brush but it didn’t work for s*** on the exact same bed/fur.
When the spinning brush in the base is turned off (love that you can turn it off manually + it turns off automatically when the vacuum is upright) it collects things off of hard floors without much of a problem (ie spilled cat food, litter etc). And the Straight Suction Nozzle that comes along with this vacuum picks everything up even better. We have the litter box in the bathroom and every morning there is a bunch of litter spilled all over the place - I can now collect it all within seconds.
The vacuum is very quiet compared to my old one. In fact it’s so good when it comes to the noise that half of our cats which used to run the moment the old vacuum was turned on in the same room, now half the time don’t even bother getting up. One foster cat even chases after it while it’s on.
The car detailing kit that came with the vacuum works very well too.
The “caddy” works as advertised too. Rolls around right after you essentially turning the vacuum from an upright, into a canister vacuum. It looked quite gimmicky at first but to my surprise I’m using it every single day.
Like all the Dyson vacuums, emptying this one is wonderful - since you can dump everything right from the bottom of the cup straight to the trash everything around you stays clean.
The air blowing out of the vacuum seriously smells fresh! This vacuum has 3 filters in it, and it looks like all the visible dust stops at the very first washable foam filter, before the second fabric filter and long before the final HEPA filter. I’m yet to see a spec of dust even on the second filter.
The vacuum is quite light so when you’re using any of the tools when you pull too much on the hose the vacuum can easily topple over. With that said when it’s on the caddy it becomes a lot more stable so what I now do is first I vacuum everything for which I would need to tools - ie the bed, bathroom, kitchen floor etc, and then for the rest of the apartment I stick the vacuum back on the base and vacuum all the carpets - and with how well the vacuum sucks the whole apartment takes me barely 15 minutes to vacuum with the floors looking spotless afterwards.
Maybe it’s because both me and my fiancee have relatively long hair, but the spinning brushes in both the base and the power brush get a ton of hair stuck on them. Its not at all hard to remove (takes a few seconds with small pointy scissors) but it is a bit annoying. All I do see is the is our long hair, no cat hair, so I’m assuming if you don’t have too long of hair yourself this won’t be much a problem.
The lights on the front of the vacuum could be brighter. Not to say they’re overly dim, but I’ve seen LEDs a hundred times brighter than the ones used. These just look gimmicky and as if they were stuck on last minute ust for the sake of going “LOOK LOOK LOOK it HAS LED LIGHTS!!!” - i.e. think most new cars these days…
The flexible hose is honestly pretty stiff and not very stretchy - and this leads to the vacuum tending to topple over at the slightest pull. I really hope it’s like this only because it’s still new…
The “rubberised” crevice tool while, like advertised, is pretty flexible (aka the end wobbles from side to side) but I feel like it’s more annoying when you’re trying to suck up something from a corner and the the tip keeps on getting bent in random directions.
Of course if I notice any more flaws I will keep updating this review. But finally I want to move on to the last very important bit with this vacuum. There is actually 5 different variations of it. The NV500, NV501, NV502, NV503 and NV500W. In all 5 variants the actual vacuum is the same but they come with different accessories.
NV500W - Infomercial/Shark’s website - $199
Dusting Brush, 11" Crevice tool, Premium Power Brush, S3251 Steam Mop
NV500 - Walmart - supposed to be $229, but right now it’s being sold at $249
Multi Tool, 18" Flexi Crevice tool, Canister Caddy, Straight Suction Nozzle, Standard Power Brush
NV501 - General Distribution - Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, Lowe’s etc - $229- $249
Multi Tool, 18" Flexi Crevice, Canister Caddy, Straight Suction Nozzle, Premium Power Brush, Multi-Angle Dusting Brush
NV502 - Bed, Bath and Beyond - $249
Multi Tool, 18" Flexi Crevice, Canister Caddy, Straight Suction Nozzle, Premium Power Brush, Car Detail Kit
NV503 - Target - $219 - This one is supposed to be blue (only the vacuum, accessories are still red) but weirdly I’ve not once seen one in person and Target itself advertises only the red model. Also from what I’ve seen in reality Target is selling the NV501 for $249.
Multi Tool, 18" Flexi Crevice, Dust-Away w/pad, Standard Power Brush
My feelings on the different packages are these;
With the NV500W, the only extra you get is the Steam Mop which in all honesty is not even all that good based on a lot of the reviews I have seen. If it’s the steam mop you’re after with this offer, you can find a much much better one. On top of that the tools included with this model are compete crap.
With the NV500 you get a crappy standard power brush instead of the premium power brush included into the other packages and since in reality it’s being sold for 249 instead of the 229 it’s supposed to be sold for, this is probably the worst package of all.
The NV503 - Between this package not actually begin found anywhere and Target instead selling the selling the NV501 for $249… yeah…
So your best two options are either the NV501 or the NV502. If you have get the NV502 at Bed Bath and Beyond, you can save $50 dollars using the 20% off (in store) coupons which you can easily find everywhere. With the BBB one you get a car detailing kit which works great, and with the other one you get a dusting brush which people seem to love too.
At the time of writing this review I’ve been using this vacuum for about a week and I’m quite trilled with it. If you have any questions, please ask and I’ll try to answer them.
*** 8 Month Update ***
I’ve been using this vacuum daily for 8 months now and I think it’s a pretty safe to say that I probably put as much usage on it as most people will in 3-4 years.
First, the good stuff; when it comes to the suction, noise, etc, it’s still as great as it was on day one. No signs that anything will happen to it any time soon.
Now, a few problems which are forcing me to knock it down to 4 stars from 5.
In my original review I mentioned that the hose was pretty stiff but that I was hoping it was that way just because it was new… As I said, I’ve been using the vacuum daily, hose included, and it’s still just as stiff as it was. I can’t even begin to count how many times I slightly pulled on it only to have the vacuum topple over and hit me on the leg, or on the back if I’m sitting on the floor while vacuuming something with a brush.
Premium Power Brush. While it collects hair very very well, it gets clogged up way too easily. Unfortunately cleaning it out isn’t he easiest nor the quickest task in the world. I spent so much time on cleaning the brush instead of cleaning with the brush that I have all but given up using it resorting to just collecting hair with the multi-tool which works almost as well.
The flexible piece of plastic on the back of the handle that sat under the hose ended up breaking off. It was flimsy to begin with and all the toppling over dozens of times didn’t help it.
All the plastic parts in the vacuum are starting to squeak quite a bit, just as they were squeaking in the Navigator Pro that had me worried before I bought this one. The vacuum still feels solid, but the plastic squeaking does definitely get very annoying.
So to summarize, it is a good vacuum, it honestly is, but I really don’t feel like as much thought and effort went into it as should have. It works well, but it just doesn’t have the same level of fit and finish as say a Dyson. Think of it this way, comparing this vacuum to something like a Dyson DC41 AC or DC50, is like comparing a fully loaded Toyota Camry to a similarly equipped BMW 5 Series. Both cars will get you to your destination, both will do a perfectly acceptable job, but at the end of the day, if you can afford it you’re just going to feel better in the BMW - it will be more comfortable, it will look nicer, it will drive better etc - but at the same time yes it will cost you 2x more.
If I can’t afford it, no, not a chance in hell would I get a Dyson. However you spin it it’s stupid to spend 600 dollars on a vacuum if you have to be making payments on it. The Shark may not be as good, but lets be completely honest here, it will do 99% of the job perfectly well and especially if you’re upgrading from a crappier older vacuum, one way or another you’ll still be thrilled. But if money is not an issue, if I can just pay for it without thinking twice, honestly, chances are I would get a Dyson…