The APEX UpLight is an interesting vacuum. Shark created a lightweight machine that is something between an upright and a stick vacuum, but as an “APEX” model they packed it with features and technology. The Uplight has DuoClean Technology, Zero-M Technology, the Lift-Away feature, a HEPA filter, a sealed system, headlights, and more. Is this the best lightweight vacuum you can buy? In some ways YES but in other ways NO. Let’s look at the APEX Uplight’s pros and cons:
- Low Profile: The UpLight has a low profile which allows it to get under low furniture and into cramped areas easier than machines with larger cleaner heads and bulky bodies.
- Effective on Carpet: We’ve run tests on low pile carpet. We created debris (powdered cheerios, flax seeds, chili flakes, split green peas, full size fruit loops) and placed it in a 5 ft long line. We ran the UpLight over this line and found pickup to be very good and pretty much on par with a number of larger full size uprights that we have tested.
- Effective on Bare Floors: We ran a test on our tile flooring. We used the same debris created in the carpet test, laid it in a line, and ran the UpLight over it. There was a little bit of scatter because the brushrolls are spinning rapidly, but for the most pickup was quite good.
- DuoClean Technology: Part of the reason for the great pickup (on carpet and bare floors) is the DuoClean Technology. This technology adds a soft, felt-like brushroll to the front of the cleaner head. This additional brusholl helps the vacuum pickup larger debris and, on bare floors, it helps to remove stuck-on dust because it contacts the floor.
- Good Pickup of Pet Hair: We ran the UpLight over a combination of both short white pet hair and long black human hair. Pickup was good. We found that the vacuum grabbed all the hair and the vast majority of it ended up in the dust canister for disposal.
- Zero-M Technology: While a vacuum may have good pet hair pickup it is not always clear whether that hair has made it to the dust canister or whether it is simply wrapped around the brushroll. The Zero-M technology is designed to keep hair off the brushroll and send it to the dust canister. In our tests it worked very well compared to units with no Zero-M Technology.
- Long Power Cord: We’ve always been proponents of a long power cord. Typically we like to see a power cord of 30 feet or more and have found that cords less than 30 feet often result in owner frustration. The UpLight, despite being a lightweight, compact vacuum, has a power cord of 30 feet.
- Headlights: There are lights on either side of the cleaner head. Lights are handy when vacuuming under furniture where it can be hard to see, or frankly in any dimly lit area. Most people like headlights on their vacuum.
- Easy-to-Empty: The dust canister is very easy to remove, to empty, and to reattach. It is bottom empty and depressing a button on the canister opens a hinged bottom door and allows the debris to fall out. It is a simple but relatively effective system.
- Stands on its Own: We’ve seen complaints about vacuums like the Shark Rockets when they cannot stand upright. Owners either have to lay them on the carpet or lean them against a wall. The UpLight has been designed with two extendable wheels at the back of the cleaner head. These wheels deploy when the vacuum is placed in the upright position and provide a stable platform for the vacuum, allowing it to stand upright. When the vacuum is tilted back (going into vacuum mode) the wheels retract out of the way. We’ve never seen this feature before and it does work.
- Lift Away Pod: Many Shark vacuums have the Lift Away Pod feature. This allows you to carry the motor/dust canister assembly with one hand while using the hose/wand/tools with the other hand. It is a popular feature as it provides a semblance of handheld flexibility – from your upright. You are still tethered by the power cord however.
- HEPA Filter: Three filters are used in the UpLight. 2 pre-motor filters and 1 post-motor filter. The post-motor filter is a HEPA filter. This kind of filter is good for households where someone may suffer from asthma or allergies. It has the ability to remove very fine particles like pollen, pet dander, mold spores, etc.
- Sealed System: Vacuum filtration is only properly effective if all the air entering the vacuum gets filtered. A sealed system ensures this is the case as it does not allow unfiltered air to escape the machine. Only air that has passed through the filters is exhausted from the vacuum.
- Compact: This is a lightweight and compact vacuum. The light weight makes it easy to carry and the compact nature of the vacuum makes it easy to store.
- Not too Loud: We ran tests using a digital noise level meter and found that the UpLight is quieter than many of our Shark and Dyson full size uprights. While it may not be as quiet as something like a Dyson cordless vacuum, we still feel that it is not too loud.
You may want to check out our video below which highlights, in detail, the things we really like about the Shark APEX UpLight:
- Small Dust Canister: The dust canister volume is rather small and it has a volume of 0.68 quarts. The Shark Navigator Pet Pro (a full size upright), by comparison, has a dust canister with a volume of 2.8 quarts. When using the UpLight for large home cleaning tasks you may find yourself having to empty the dust canister frequently. In addition, the canister is a bit narrow so you may have to reach in to pull out debris that can get stuck.
- Average Movement: We expected that the light weight and compact size of the vacuum would result in very easy movement and maneuverability. Oddly that was not really the case. On carpet we found that the vacuum required a little more wrist effort to turn than expected and sharp turns sometimes resulted in a bit of plowing. The vacuum was easier to move on bare flooring but turning will still more effort than we thought it would be. To be clear, movement isn’t too bad, but it isn’t as easy as expected.
- No Adjustable Suction: This machine has strong suction which is great but there is no ability to lower it. Sometimes vacuums can be difficult to move on deep pile carpet – lowering the suction can help with this. Also, when using a tool on the end of the hose or wand to vacuum a delicate item (like some drapery), you may want to lower the suction to ensure you do not damage the material. You cannot adjust the suction on the UpLight. Even a simple suction release slider would have been nice – but the unit doesn’t have one.
- Brushroll cannot be Slowed/Stopped: With most DuoClean Technology machines you have the ability to slow the brushrolls (typically used when vacuuming hard flooring). For some odd reason they did not provide this capability with the UpLight. There is no ability to slow the brushrolls or to stop them – they constantly spin rapidly when you are vacuuming.
- Awkward Lift Away Implementation: We like the Lift Away feature and are glad that the unit comes with it. However we’ve found using this feature on the UpLight to be more difficult than it is on most other Shark vacuums. The hose handle and the wand are awkward to hold, and getting the machine into Lift Away mode and putting it all back together is a bit bothersome.
- Odd Placement of Power Button: Presumably Shark couldn’t find a great place for the power button so it ended up on the bottom of the handle. The issue here is that it can be unintentionally pressed by the lower palm of your hand (especially if you have large hands) and you end up turning the machine ON or OFF by mistake.
- Ineffective Edge Cleaning: We ran an edge cleaning test (chili flakes on low pile carpet up against our baseboards) against the Shark NV752, a full size upright. The test showed that the UpLight didn’t clean up to the edge that well while the NV752 did.
- Longevity of Retractable Wheels: We like the retractable wheels and they do work. However they are an additional moving part and they retract and extend every time you vacuum (possibly over and over again as you vacuum and take breaks). Are they sturdy enough to stand the test of time? We don’t know but it is a bit of a concern.
You may want to check out our video below which highlights the things we don’t like about the Shark APEX UpLight:
Nigel Russco has been reviewing and testing vacuums for over 14 years. He is a professional engineer and uses his review platforms to help consumers determine which vacuum cleaners are the best for their cleaning needs. Follow Nigel on facebook or view his vacuum review videos on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.
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I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.
I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate. My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.