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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Rotator, NV501

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Avg. consumer rating = 95/100 


The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Rotator is yet another vacuum cleaner from Euro-Pro that is getting great consumer reviews - other popular Euro-Pro vacuums include the Shark Navigator and the Shark Lift-Away.   The Shark Rotator is an upright, a canister and it also has a portable component. In addition, it has powerful suction, a brushbar with on/off controls, several useful tools, and a 5 year warranty. Criticisms of the machine are limited to secondary concerns such as the average fit and finish and headlights that only provide moderate illumination.

Consumer Input
Online consumer ratings for this vacuum cleaner are stellar and it gets an overall average score of 95 out of 100. This places the Rotator near the very top of uprights we have investigated. Star ratings found at quality outlets can be seen in the table below.

Source Consumer Ratings #Ratings
Amazon 4.7 stars out of 5 22
Bed Bath & Beyond 4.6 stars out of 5 33
Macy's 5 stars out of 5 13
Lowe's 5 stars out of 5 7
Abt 4 stars out of 5 1
Target 5 stars out of 5 1


A review of consumer comments provides the following Rotator likes and dislikes:

PROS
- Works well on pet hair
- Owners like the lift-away feature
- 5 year warranty
- Very strong suction
- Fairly quiet
- Not too heavy
- Works well on both carpet and bare floors
- Dust canister is easy to empty
- Power tool works well and is good for stairs & upholstery
- Respectably long power cord
- Swivel head really does make the vacuum easy to maneuver
- Assembly is quick and easy
- Low profile allows it to get under furniture

CONS
- In upright mode it can tip when using the tools
- Lift-away feature must be carried - no shoulder strap
- Average fit and finish
- Some owners feel it is a big large
- Headlights are not very bright (but some owners still report they are useful)

Models & Features
There are several different models of rotator vacuum and it can be rather confusing - please feel free to add comments or information if you have any. According to the Euro-Pro website the following styles are available:

Shark Rotator Professional Lift Away (this review) -– NV500 series
Shark Rotator Professional –- NV400 series
Shark Rotator Vac or Steam -– model MV3010

In this review we are looking at the NV501. There are a number of models within the NV500 series (NV500, NV501, NV502, NV503, NV500W) and the different models allude to different tool and attachment offerings. For example the NV501 contains all the usual tools plus a multi-angle dusting brush while the NV502 has all the usual tools plus a car detail kit. It is very difficult to determine what tools and accessories come with what model. Even Euro-Pro does not provide this information – to quote their site “Depending on the version you purchased, the accessories will vary slightly. To find out specifically what is in your version, consult the contents list on the top panel of your box.” A very good comment from a consumer on Amazon that highlights these differences in more detail can be found here. Also, a video at the bottom of this article provides a quick overview of the many tools that come with, or can be purchased for, your Shark Rotator.

While reading owner comments it is surprising the number of consumers who began their vacuum search looking for a Dyson and ended up buying the Shark Rotator Lift-Away. Owners compare the machine's performance and features to those of a Dyson and also report being very happy having made the decision in the Shark’s favor. This vacuum generally sells for about $200 - $250 depending on the model so it is substantially less than a Dyson upright. Note: There is no attempt to be anti-Dyson here - we are simply reporting on owner statements as well as average online costs.

It is likely that the comparisons to Dyson stem from the similarities between the machines.  The Rotator has “no loss of suction” technology, it is bagless, and it also has washable filters and HEPA level filtration.  No loss of suction technology is sometimes referred to as cyclonic technology but it also goes by a host of other “marketing speak” names.  It essentially involves spinning air very rapidly and using the centrifugal force to remove the dirt and dust particles from the air.  The debris is deposited directly into the dust canister. Cyclonic technology also keeps dust away from the filters and helps them stay cleaner longer.  This approach requires no bags.  As bags fill they can restrict airflow reducing suction as you vacuum. 

The Shark Rotator has HEPA level filtration which means that it will remove 99.9% of particles (with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers or more) from the air.  HEPA filtration is effective for those suffering from allergies or asthma, however to ensure quality filtration ALL the air that enters the vacuum should be passed through the HEPA filter before being exhausted.  Euro Pro indicate that their “Anti-allergen complete seal technology” accomplishes just this.  It ensures that air does not bypass the filters or leak out through the vacuum casing.

The vacuum has three filters:  a pre-motor foam filter, a pre-motor felt filter and a post-motor HEPA filter.  While the filters do not need to be replaced, they do need to be washed occasionally.  It is suggested that the pre-motor filters be washed every 3 months and the HEPA filter once a year or so.

Lift Away Feature
Lift Away Feature

The Shark Rotator Lift Away is marketed as a three-in-one vacuum cleaner.  It is an upright, a canister and to some extent a handheld – although the handheld is really the “Lift-away” mode in which one carries the dirt canister along with motor, hose and handle.  The default mode for the machine is “Upright” but the main body of the vacuum can also be set atop a wheeled base (included with the vacuum and referred to as the “canister caddy”) to convert the machine into a canister vacuum.  The caddy also has space for accessory storage.

Canister Caddy
Canister Caddy

The Rotator is capable of cleaning both carpet and bare floors and the motor-driven brushroll in the nozzle can be turned on and off.  Most owners like to turn the brushbar ON when cleaning carpet and OFF when cleaning bare floors.  It should be noted, however, that this machine does not have carpet height adjustment settings.

The Shark Rotator is powered by a 10 amp motor and this delivers more than adequate suction to the 11.5 inch wide nozzle.  This is a fairly narrow nozzle when compared to most uprights but the smaller opening helps to increase suction across the width of the nozzle and it also aids in the unit’s maneuverability.  In addition, the nozzle has swivel steering which allows it to move around furniture easily, and while some owners report that the steering takes a little getting used-to, almost all feel that it is an asset. 

The nozzle also sports headlights which are located on each side of the nozzle.  These are LED headlights and are designed to last the life of the vacuum so no bulb changes are needed.  They turn on when the vacuum is on and cannot be turned off unless the vacuum itself is turned off.

NV501 Headlights
Nozzle Headlights

The Rotator is advertised as having variable suction and while it has a sliding suction collar, it may be a stretch to consider this true “variable suction” which generally refers to the ability to adjust motor speed.  However, the approach used by the Rotator is effective nonetheless.  The collar is essentially an opening just below the vacuum handle that can be varied in size (by rotating the collar) thereby releasing a portion of the suction.  The ability to reduce suction can be useful when the nozzle is difficult to move on carpet or when using tools to clean delicate items like lamp shades or curtains.

Several tools and attachments are included with the NV501 and these are:

- Multi-tool (combination dusting & upholstery tool)
- 18" Flexible crevice tool
- Premium power brush (effective at pulling up pet hair from carpet stairs and upholstery)
- Straight suction nozzle (good for hard surfaces, low-pile carpet and area rugs)
- Multi-angle dusting brush (pivots at 3 different angles)

Tools can be added directly to the end of the handle or to the end of the wand for extra reach. Also, the crevice tool and dusting brush store on-board.

Most consumers agree that the dust canister on the vacuum is easy to empty.  It is bottom-empty and it also has top access to allow one to get at debris that can get lodged near the top of the canister – a nice feature.   The dust canister holds 1.3 dry quarts (0.325 US gallons) to the “empty” line, however the actual usable volume of the canister is closer to 3.1 dry quarts (0.775 US gallons).

Other Rotator features include a 30 foot power cord, an 8.6 foot long stretch hose and a lifetime belt.  Also the nozzle motor will automatically turn off should the brushbar be obstructed. This will stop the motor from overheating and potentially being damaged. 

The vacuum is fairly lightweight for an upright at 15.5 lbs although lighter uprights are certainly available (consider the Hoover Commercial Elite for example -– although it has few of the bells & whistles found on the Rotator).  The Lift-away feature itself weighs 8.4 lbs.  The vacuum is also ETL listed. – ETL is a group that performs electrical and reliability tests on products to ensure they meet US product safety standards.  The Shark Rotator carries a 5 year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

 

Video showing Accessories and Tools

 

 

Image Nigel Russco has been writing for Vacuum Cleaner Advisor for years and has a background in business and engineering, as well as a keen interest in anything related to vacuum cleaners. Connect with Nigel on Google+
 






 

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Comments  

0 # Thomas Haskins 2013-09-09 09:59
I have the NV500W - \"Shark Rotator Pro Lift Away Vacuum\" - THE TUBE AND HOSE SIZE ARE NON-STANDARD!!! There is no way to use accessories purchased previously - for instance, my 15\' extension hose or any extension wands, which fit a Shop Vac, Eureka and very old shark vacuum that had standard attachments. The hose on the Rotator is very short, and very tiring when using for a long time. Not to mention trying to keep the unit upright. I love the vacuum for carpets - I hate it for hose and tools - and I purchased all the optional tools, too. For this reason, I cannot recommend it. The accessories from previous Shark models (like the Navigator, which I also own) will not fit the Rotator - they have tried to reinvent the wheel that has been good for ALL other vacuums for decades. Bad idea.
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0 # Jeff N 2013-09-17 13:49
I had been looking for a new vac for a while and when I saw the infomercial for the Shark, with all the features and functions, and attachments galore, I decided to take a chance. Plus it had I think a 60-day return policy which I honestly was hoping not to use.
From the start there were a bunch of pieces to put together, not a big deal though. I\'ve always used and owned canister vacs in the past so having an upright was a new experience.
Right off the bat the 1st problem was I kept running over the power cord. I finally realized you have to hold that in one hand so you can keep moving it out of the way. But if you need to move furniture you have to drop it, then pick it up again, that was a pain. You don\'t have that issue with canisters, not to that degree.
The next issue is you have to push the entire weight around. While it\'s not that heavy it still adds up when you constantly push around 15+ pounds back and forth.
I must say it did pick up a lot of dirt though, but that brings up the next issue. The \"cup\" to hold the dirt is fairly small (compared to what a canister holds) and it really was not easy to empty. I had to stick my hand in it to unclog as there was a giant rabid dust bunny caught in it. Yuck! Plus I didn\'t really like looking at the dirt in the clear plastic container as it swirls around either.
One more issue to add to the list is the hose is like a spring or rubber band in that when you detach it to use one of the attachments, like the brush, as you pull - it pulls back. So it\'s like you are constantly fighting it to stretch it out to vacuum whatever you are trying to reach.
Perhaps the fact I\'ve always had canisters in the past, for many years, this may have made it difficult for me to get used to some of the operational aspects of an upright, but all things considered I really didn\'t like the experience. It seemed like I was fighting this thing for much of the time in one way or another, and once I had to stick my hand in the dust cup to clean it that\'s when I decided it was going back. Give me a canister with a bag and I\'m happy, and I\'m one of the odd people who actually likes vacuuming.
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0 # Carrie Ferguson 2013-10-26 22:28
I need a canister. the latch that closes the lid broke. Can you help me find one.
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0 # NolaNana 2013-11-21 15:13
This is the attachment tool I wanted most and its useless. There isn\'t enough grip at the pivot point to keep it at the angle you wish to use it. For example, when dusting ceiling fans, with the smallest amount of pressure, it straightens back out. It is very \"limp\" for lack of a better word.
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0 # victor cabrera 2014-03-12 23:42
I have one of these vacuums, NV500 series the annoying part of it is to find the HEPA filter I have tried several links that offer me a million things but I still can't find the darn thing. Is there any site out there that actually sells this item without being a rip off? can anyone assist?...thanks
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-1 # DeborahT 2014-03-31 14:01
The vacuum does suck up the dirt, however I end up in pain after every use. The handle is so stiff and does not move comfortably when using the attachments. Trying to dust or reach to an upper level.. ie. fireplace, dresser, etc. the hose being too short and the handle not flexible, it is extremely uncomfortable to use. Would not recommend.
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0 # Joyce M Kirby 2014-12-29 17:21
This vacuum sucks, but it is not the dust from your floors or carpet. It literally rolls over dirt and disperse the particles into the air, causing a clearly dusting problem. My vacuum is about a year old and I wish I had allowed my daughter to spend her hard earned money on a Dyson for the value.
When I called the Shark company, they became very angry when I did not want to perform trouble shooting with them, which consisted in removing various hoses, turning the vacuum upside down and removing the rotary brushes. Placing a dime into each hose to see if it had a return, remove the filters and attempt to operate the machine without the filters and attempt to pick up dust with each hose. No where in their advertisement do they say in order to return or exchange are you required to demonstrate or act as a vacuum repairman. This was not easy, and after several attempts, I could no longer assist in this demonstration so the customer service rep. hung up on me stating that he could not help me and marked the inquiry as closed and resolved. After making several other calls, a young lady was nice, but the only resolution was for her to send me a replacement rotary part for the floor. My problem was not resolved and my issue is Shark\'s advertisement is false and very misleading to the consumer. I am unhappy with this product and will never purchase another Shark product, because they only make excuses not to honor their warranty.
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0 # Joyce M Kirby 2014-12-29 17:29
I have just been informed that my comment will only be published after it is reviewed by administrators. What do you think will happen to my comments.
This was my true experience, and exactly the way I feel about a price product that I cannot use, so please tell Mr. Mark Rosen how I feel about his television advertisement. They are false.
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0 # Stacie D. 2015-03-08 11:07
Bought the NV501and within 3 months the brush stopped working. Called Shark, said they would send out a replacement brush. Unfortunately it has been two weeks and still no replacement brush. I had to call again only to be told that the part is on back order. Back order? This tells me that this is a common problem for a part to be on back order.
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0 # Gina 2015-04-07 13:50
I hate this thing I do not recommend at all. we only had for 1 year paid that much money for it to always clog up on you finding that we have to unclog it and we don\'t even pick things up that we aren\'t suppose to. Not only that but now it won\'t even turn on!!!
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0 # Kathy M 2015-05-03 07:48
I love my Shark Rotator, it was perfect, until yesterday. I was using the wand, put it back to use as an upright, and now it will not release. Can you help?
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0 # Joann Lampman 2015-05-07 12:11
I have had the rotator lift away for 5 months started vacuuming turned it off ( after about 5 min) so it wasn\'t overheated, then went to turn it back on and nothing.. Really 5 months ?? I have had other cheap vacuums that lasted yrs. I called company & they told me I could buy another 1 from them at a discounted rate of 125.00 ..I just paid 259.00 5 months ago !!!!! Very disappointed in compmany
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0 # Ed 2015-06-18 16:24
I\'ve had good results from this vacuum.
However today I had to remove the brush
to clean it. It was a 4 1/2 hour job.
They need to engineer it to make the brush easier to remove.
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0 # Paula 2015-07-19 22:41
I\'ve had my Shark for a while and the only issue I\'ve found is the little screen thing in the very top of the canister. I have so far not found a way to get it completely clean. While it hasn\'t hampered the normal performance, it bugs me. Any suggestions as to how to clean that part.
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0 # Tim 2015-11-25 18:18
Listen Folks...No matter what you think of all the great reviews, They have mostly been made after using the nv500 only a couple of times.I am very mechanical and must express our vacuum has numerous problems and as others have stated (The warranty has lots of loop holes) The sccrews fell out, motor wiring snapped,lights broke,brush window clouded and is non serviceable for most people,runners fell off,multiple clogs.......Do I need to say more? There is but enough is said...do not buy.
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0 # Debbie Phillips 2016-10-12 15:58
We have gone through 2 shark vacuums and the steam mops they came with. The steam mops broke after months, and the vacuums both broke after around 1 year. They developed bad connections and wont stay running.
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Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

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