Shark APEX Uplight Review


Avg. rating = 86/100 

The APEX Uplight bagless vacuum is another interesting machine from Shark. It is somewhere between an upright and a stick vacuum, but Shark has packed it with technology and features usually only found on their premier uprights. The Uplight has a HEPA filter, a sealed system, LED headlights, DuoClean Technology, Zero-M Technology, and the popular lift away feature. The vacuum even has retractable wheels that pop out when the unit is vertical, allowing it to stand on its own. So, does all this work while packed into such a small vacuum? For the most part yes, but the Uplight is not without issues.


Quick Specs
Type Upright/Stick
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 10.7 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length 30 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 5 Years
Shark Uplight whats in the box
Disclosure: We recently approached Shark and requested the APEX Uplight so that we could do a review. They agreed and sent the APEX Uplight LZ601 over.  Please note that this in no way affects how we review the vacuum.
What Do You Get?
We have the Shark APEX Uplight model LZ601 which is Forest Mist Blue in color.  It's a very greenish blue - you can see it in the image to the right.
The Shark LZ601 includes the following:
- Accessory Holder (attaches to wand and will hold two tools)
- Pet Multi-Tool (a two-in-one tool – a stiff bristle brush and an upholstery tool)
- Duster Crevice Tool (a crevice tool with about 10 inches of reach - a soft brush also slides to the end of the tool allowing it to be used on delicate surfaces)
- Manual & Quick Start Guide
- Filters
Consumer Ratings
There are a limited number of quality owners ratings for the Uplight at this time but we did manage to find some -  see table below.  When these figures were averaged they resulted in a vacuum score of 86/100 (or 4.3 stars out of 5).  This is not as high as some of the other Shark vacuums we’ve reviewed in the past but its still not bad.  See our list of Vacuum Scores.
Source Consumer Rating # Ratings
Amazon 5 stars out of 5 1
QVC 5 stars out of 5 1
Walmart 4.2 stars out of 5 6
Best Buy 4.3 stars out of 5 25
Shark Pet Pro
What Are Owners Saying?
The following pros and cons are the result of owner comments as well as our own experience with the APEX Uplight.
- Very strong suction
- Can get under low furniture
- Designed for bare floors and carpet
- Long power cord
- Headlights
- Self-cleaning brushroll
- Can stand on its own
- Dual brushrolls
- Converts into handheld
- HEPA filter
- Compact and easy to store
- Small dust canister
- Hard to push on deep pile carpet
- Cannot adjust suction power
- Lift away feature is a bit heavy
- Hose may be short for some folks
- Doesn't maneuver as well as expected
- Brushrolls cannot be turned off
- Odd placement of power switch
Some owners report that the Uplight is lightweight while others say it is heavy.  This may seem like an odd situation however the difference of opinions is likely due to different expectations.  The vacuum is somewhere between an upright and a stick vac.  If you are thinking "upright" then you are likely to consider this unit rather lightweight.  However, if you are thinking "stick vac" then you are probably going to find the Uplight on the heavy side.
Probably the most frequent comment about the Uplight is that the unit has very strong suction.  Most owners are surprised and pleased at how much dust/debris the vacuum is able to pull up.  Perhaps the dimunitive size of the vacuum leads people to believe it will not be that powerful.

Shark APEX Uplight Power Button
The location of the power button has some folks grumbling however.  It is indeed in a rather odd spot right at the end of the handle just below where you would place your hand.  We did not have a problem with it, however a number of people have highlighted that they sometimes press the button by mistake. 
In addition, we wonder about the longevity of the extendable legs/wheels.  They do work but the system has moving parts that will get used a lot. Will they stand the test of time?  Difficult to tell at this point.
You can see more Uplight owner reviews on Amazon.
The vacuum weighs 10.7 lbs.  This is lightweight for an upright (example: Shark APEX = 16 lbs) and a bit heavy for a stick vacuum (example: Dyson V11 = 6.7 lbs).  The Uplight is also a bit top heavy as the tank and motor are near the top of the vacuum.
We found movement and maneuverability of the vacuum to be rather average.  Its lithe design makes you think it is going to be easier to push and turn than it is.  Moving it back and forth on carpet is a little more work than we expected and turning is not easy and smooth.  Even on bare floors it requires a little more effort to turn the cleaner header than expected. Some of this may be result of having so much of the weight near the handle, while it also may be related to something in the cleaner head and swivel design.
We should be clear that the vacuum does move and turn ok on both carpet and bare flooring, but we just expected it to be easier.
Self-Standing Wheels
We haven’t seen this feature before.  It is likely the result of many people commenting that they wish their Shark stick vacuum (like any of the Shark Rockets) could stand its own. 
The Uplight has a set of retractable wheels on the back of the cleaner head.  When the vacuum is placed into the upright position they extend out to allow the unit to stand. The wheels retract when you lean the vacuum back (to start vacuuming).  The system works and it is quite handy to be able to leave the vacuum standing upright and not have to set it carefully on the floor or lean it against a wall.  We like the feature.
In the short video clip below you can see the wheels deploy as we move the machine into the upright position.

Cleaning Reach
The power cord on the Uplight is 30 ft in length. This is a respectable length and is especially long for such a compact vacuum.  We often find owners are unhappy with power cords under 30 ft as they don’t like to spend time changing power outlets as they vacuum.
The hose on this vacuum is exceptionally short but is really only designed for use as part of the Lift Away feature.  Shark specifications put the hose at 4.2 ft long.  While we did find it possible to stretch the hose out to that length it was difficult.  A more comfortable reach with this hose is about 3 ft 6 inches.
Lift Away Pod
Some folks have reported that they find the lift away pod rather heavy.  We weighed it on our scale at 4 lbs 8.7 ounces. 
Lift Away Pod - Weight
When using the Lift Away Pod you will be carrying some of the power cord and may be using a tool, so a nice round figure for the Lift Away Pod is in the neighborhood of 5 lbs.  Is this too heavy?  It’s not bad but perhaps with extended use some people may start to feel it.
Uplight Lift Away Pod
Detaching the pod from the vacuum is fairly straightforward, however putting it back sometimes requires a bit of fiddling – its not quite as easy as the lift away pods on the uprights.  Although, once you get used to it it isn’t that big of a deal.
The short hose was ok for me when using the lift away pod.  It reaches about as far as my arm can reach (I’m about 5 ft 8 inches tall).  However someone larger (with longer arms) may find the hose doesn’t reach quite as far as they’d like.  Of course you can always add the wand if you need additional reach.
Cleaner Head
There is a lot going on with this particular cleaner head.  It has the following features:
- LED headlights
- Zero-M Technology
- DuoClean Technology
- Burshroll active indicator light
- Retractable self-standing wheels
- 9 inch wide cleaning path
APEX Uplight Cleaner Head

One should know that the brushrolls in this cleaner head cannot be turned off.  In addition, the vacuum only has one speed so there is no way to slow the brushrolls down.  They will run fast even on bare flooring.  If you have delicate hardwood or something similar this could be an issue for you.
Zero-M Technology
We’ve got several Shark vacuums with Zero-M Tecnology and they all do a reasonable job at removing hair from the brushroll.  The technology essentially utilizes a specialized brushroll that stops hair from wrapping tightly on the brushroll.  It also has a comb-like device that combs the hair out of the brushroll (while the brushroll is spinning) and the suction then sends it to the dust canister for disposal. 
This technology does work.  In our tests it does a fairly good (but not perfect) job on smaller amounts of hair.  Although it should be noted that we have heard from some folks with lots of pet hair to deal with who say that their brushroll still gets tangled.
Below you can see a quick test we preformed.  We placed long black human hair and short white pet hair on our low pile carpet and vacuumed the area with the Uplight.  After the first run there was a small amount of hair wrap, so we ran the machine for another 30 seconds.  The second run reduced the hair wrap but did not eliminate it entirely.  Zero-M Technology works while you are vacuuming, so if there is hair wrapped on the brushroll continuing to vacuum will often remove it (or at least help to remove more of it).

DuoClean Technology
This has become a very popular feature and you will find it on quite a few Shark vacuums today.  This technology ads a soft rollerbrush to the front of the cleaner head.  So the cleaner head has two brushrolls.  The additional soft rollerbrush has the ability to pick up larger debris easier and it also does a great job on bare floors (continues to spin on hard flooring and helps remove stuck-on dust/debris). 
One might think two brushrolls may make it difficult to push on carpet but that is not the case – it may add a little more drag but not much.  Any difficulty moving this particular unit on carpet is likely due to other issues.  We have quite a few DuoClean machines and most move fairly well on carpet.
Carpet Cleaning
We ran the vacuum over small, medium and large debris on our low pile carpet and pickup was very good.  We were impressed.  The debris consisted of powdered cheerios, flax seeds, chili flakes, split green peas, and fruit loops.  See video below:

Bare Floor Cleaning
We did a similar test on our tile floor and again were fairly impressed with the cleaning results.  We found that the cleaner head pushed some of the larger fruit loops off camera but we were easily able to pick them up with the vacuum later.  The DuoClean Technology did help with this test in our opinion.

The Uplight has three filters – two pre-motor filters and one post motor filter.  The pre-motor filters are easily accessed by removing the dust canister.  There is a sponge filter and a felt filter.  Both can be rinsed in water when dirty.  When they are completely dry (takes 24 hours or so) they can be placed back in the vacuum.  We did notice when doing our tests that the sponge pre-motor filter got dirty fairly quickly.  So it seems you may have to clean it frequently.
The post motor filter is a HEPA filter and it sits just below the dust canister.  It too it easy to access.  The HEPA filter can be rinsed in water when dirty but it typically does not have to be cleaned too often.
Shark Uplight Filters
The APEX Uplight also has something that Shark calls “Anti-Allergen Complete Seal”.  This means the vacuum body is sealed and no unfiltered air escapes.  Essentially all the air entering the vacuum gets filtered before being exhausted from the machine.  This is a very important feature if you want quality air filtration.  Units without this may not produce clean air despite having high quality filters (unfiltered air can sometimes escape from cracks and/or poor seals in the vacuum).
Dust Canister
The dust canister is easy to remove and easy to empty.  It is a bit on the small side however and it only has a capacity of 0.68 quarts. We recently reviewed the Shark Pet Pro upright which has a dust canister capacity of 2.8 quarts.  The Pet Pro is a full size upright however, so one would expect it to have a larger canister, but it does serve to show the substantial differences in volume and highlights that the Uplight will have to be emptied much more frequently than a machine like the Pet Pro. 
We should also compare the Uplight dust canister to that of a Shark stick vacuum.  The Shark IONFlex stick vacuum has a dust canister capacity of about 0.3 quarts – so it is very small.
Shark APEX Uplight
The Uplight carries a 5-year limited manufacturer's warranty, and it is also a UL listed product. 
If we had to sum up the APEX Uplight quickly it would be something along the lines of the following:
CLEANING ABILITY =  8/10 - Very good on both carpet and smooth flooring.
PET HAIR PICKUP = 7/10 - better than units without Zero-M but not perfect.
VERSATILITY = 9/10 - the vacuum has many, many features, especially for such a small machine.
EASE OF USE = 6/10 - everything works but usability is average and can sometimes be frustrating.
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
The manual is quite short, but it does cover safety instructions, assembly, different cleaning modes, using the lift away pod, accessories, emptying the dust canister, cleaning the filters, maintaining the cleaner head, other maintenance issues, troubleshooting, and info on the 5-year warranty. The manual is only in English and you can see a copy of it here: Shark APEX Uplight manual

Highest Scoring Vacuums
#1 CORDLESS VACUUM:   Dyson V8 Absolute (94/100)
Top Cordless Vacuum
#1 UPRIGHT VACUUM:      Shark NV752 TruePet (94/100)
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  Also see Shark NV801 (94/100) 
#1 CANISTER VACUUM:    Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor (93/100)
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About Me


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.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.

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