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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Rotator, NV501

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Avg. consumer rating = 92/100 


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 92 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.

Ratings Updated October 2017
Source Consumer Ratings #Ratings
Amazon 4.6 stars out of 5 3153
Bed Bath & Beyond 4.6 stars out of 5 33
Costco 4.2 stars out of 5 183
Lowe's 4.5 stars out of 5 179
Walmart 4.6 stars out of 5 564
Home Depot 4.6 stars out of 5 256
Kohl's 4.7 stars out of 5 671
Staples 4.3 stars out of 5 3
Overstock 4.8 stars out of 5 199
Wayfair 4.8 stars out of 5 583


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. 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.  This vacuum has also made our list of the best Shark vacuums for pet hair.

 

Video showing Accessories and Tools

 

 

 

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About Me

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.