In this article we pit the Shark APEX Zero-M against the Shark Rotator NV752, two popular upright vacuum cleaners. They are both very good machines but they have many differences. In this article we test each vacuum on carpet, on bare floors, and on hair. We also walk through the specifications, measure the noise levels, weigh the lift-away features, and highlight much more. Understanding the pros and cons of each vacuum and how they compare to one another will help you decide which machine is the best for you.
While there are several other models of these two vacuums, models differ, for the most part, only by the tools provided.
What’s in The Box?
Shark APEX Zero-M AZ1002 - Upright Vacuum - All Filters - 12" Crevice Tool - Pet Multi-Tool - Motorized Pet Tool* - Manual - Quick Start Guide
* We got our APEX about a year ago and it came with the motorized pet tool. We have since read on several occasions that this tool is no longer provided.
Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet NV752 - Upright Vacuum - All Filters - Dusting Brush - Dusting Genie (basically a combo crevice tool and dusting brush) - True Pet Mini Motorized Brush - Pet Upholstery Tool - Canister Caddy (transforms upright vacuum to canister vacuum) - Hard Floor Genie (hard floor tool with washable microfiber pad ) - Manual - Quick Start Guide
We got our NV752 over four years ago and it came with a large number of tools (as you can see above). However Shark often changes the tools provided with its vacuums so you may not get the same tool set.
The APEX is the lighter of the two vacuums but not by much – see below.
These vacuums are neither lightweight nor particularly heavy. They are about average weight for an upright. An example of a lightweight upright might be the Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS which is under 10 lbs. A heavy upright is something like the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy which is close to 20 lbs. Shark also makes some lighter units like the NV350 at around 13 lbs.
Lift Away Feature
This is a great feature and both vacuums have it. The Lift-Away feature allows you to carry the motor/canister assembly (known as the Lift Away Pod) with one hand while using the hose/wand/tools with the other hand. This adds some handheld vacuum capabilities to your upright and is not something you see on a lot of uprights (although several Shark units have it).
You can also the Lift Away Pod with the hose/wand/cleaner head which is good for vacuuming under low furniture for example (below).
Because you are carrying the Lift Away Pod, its weight is important - the lighter the better. We’ve weighed them both and the NV752 Lift Away Pod was the lightest:
Lift Away Pod Weight
A quick note on the Lift Away feature – there is a powered Lift Away feature and a non-powered Lift Away feature. The difference is that the powered version provides power to the end of the handle and wand so you can run a power tool. The non-powered version does not have power at the end of the handle or wand so you can only run non-powered tools.
The vacuum motors have different power outputs, and the APEX is the more powerful.
The power cords on both machines are equal in length and, in our opinion, sufficiently long. We always advocate for power cords of at least 30 ft because shorter cords can result in spending too much time searching for the next power outlet (especially in larger homes).
Power Cord Length
We also measured the vacuum hoses by stretching them out until the upright started to pull back or fall over. This approach often gives us figures that are different from those reported by the manufacturer (perhaps they use a different way to measure hose length). We have also noticed that hose length tends to increase over time as stretch hoses become more pliable.
Hose Length (to end of handle)
4 ft 8 inches
The hoses on these vacuums are a little on the short side (especially the APEX) but both units also have the Lift Away feature. The Lift Away feature does not require a long hose and indeed is easier to manage with a shorter hose.
But if you want to just use the hose with a tool on the end and you don’t want to bother using the Lift Away feature, the longer NV752 hose is easier to work with.
The cleaner heads on these vacuums are very different. The NV752 cleaner head is fairly traditional with a single bristled brushroll, while the APEX cleaner head has two brushrolls, one soft and one with fins and bristles.
NV752 Controls on the NV752 allow you to engage the brushroll for cleaning carpet. The controls also allow you to turn the brushroll off when cleaning bare floors. Headlights on the cleaner head turn on when the vacuum is operating. The image below shows the bottom of the cleaner head - so you can see the brushroll.
APEX The two brushrolls in the APEX cleaner head (the soft brushroll at the front and the main brushroll with fins and brisltes in the center) spin in both carpet and bare floor modes. The brushrolls simply spin slower in bare floor mode than in carpet mode. There is no option to turn the brushrolls off. In addition, the main brushroll is specially designed to reduce hair/string/thread wrap. There is also a comb-like device built into the cleaner head that helps this main brushroll remain reasonably hair free. The two brushrolls are referred to as DuoClean Technology and the system that reduces hair/string/thread wrap is referred to as Zero-M Technology. Headlights on the front of the APEX cleaner head are on when the vacuum is operating. The image below shows the top of the cleaner head with the top panel removed - you can see/access the brushrolls without having to upend the vacuum.
We prefer the movement of the NV752 because it is easier to turn and to push and pull on carpet. The NV752 fights you a little on the pullback but it is not too noticeable.
Overall the APEX actually feels heavier and it requires more effort (than the NV752) to both push and pull. It also requires more strength to turn. We don’t consider APEX movement bad but it is not as easy as the NV752 – there is a very noticeable difference.
In the following video we tested the movement of four Shark uprights. You will see the Shark Rotator NV752, the Shark APEX with Zero-M, the Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift Away Speed, and the Shark Navigator Zero-M Pet Pro.
We like the very long crevice tool that comes with the APEX. We find short crevice tools to be a little annoying as they are hard to get into narrow nooks and crannies. The NV752 crevice tool, while not as long as that provided with the APEX, is also a respectable length. Both of our vacuums came with a motorized pet hair tool (tool with its own brushroll and motor). These are the best tools for vacuuming up pet hair. The tools that came with our APEX are shown below however we were dismayed to learn that they no longer provide the motorized pet hair tool (tool in the middle).
The large number of tools that were provided with our NV752 was a little bit surprising - see image below. It’s nice to have lots of tools but the truth is that we only use a few (other folks may use more). We have tried the canister caddy and the hard floor genie and they work ok, but we almost never use them.
We placed a digital noise level meter 3 feet in front of the vacuums on low pile carpet. Each vacuum was turned on and the brushroll engaged for 10 seconds. The noise level meter determined the peak decibel reading.
The APEX was a little louder than the NV752 but it wasn’t that noticeable. Overall the noise level of the APEX AZ1002 and the Rotator NV752 is about average. Neither is particularly loud nor particularly quiet.
However it is interesting to note that the older APEX, the APEX AX952 (with DuoClean technology but no Zero-M technology), recorded a much lower 72.5 dB and it may be one of the quietest uprights we’ve tested.
We performed a host of cleaning tests using both vacuums. We scored performance on a scale of 1 to 10.
CARPET – small-to-medium sized debris A line of ground cheerios, chili flakes, flax seeds, and split green peas was laid down on low pile carpet. We ran each vacuum over the debris in about a 10 second pass – both forward and backward (see video below). A visual inspection found that pretty much everything was picked up and there was almost no difference between the two vacuums in this test. As such, we scored each machine 9 out of 10 (they weren’t perfect but they were pretty close).
Carpet (small/medium debris) out of 10
CARPET – large debris Full size fruit loops were placed on low pile carpet and each vacuum passed over them – see video. The DuoClean Technology on the APEX had some advantage here.
Carpet (large debris) out of 10
We used the same small-to-medium sized debris in this test as in the carpet test, and we added some larger debris (fruit loops). The APEX really shone here and it substantially outperformed the NV752. The soft brushroll on the front of the APEX helps quite a bit on a smooth surface. Oddly, we have seen the NV752 perform better on our tile floor in the past (although still not as good as the APEX). Perhaps after 4 years it is slowing down?
Hard Floor out of 10
HAIR On carpet we put down both short white pet hair and long black human hair. Both machines were run over the hair.
Both vacuums did a good job picking up the pet hair but you can see the difference in the amount that got stuck on the brushroll. The APEX had much less hair remaining on the brushroll than the NV752. Also, the Zero-M Technology on the APEX tends to continue removing hair as you vacuum, so it is possible had we kept vacuuming that all of the hair on the APEX brushroll would have been gone. This does not really happen with the NV752.
With respect to scoring hair pickup we considered both how much was picked up and how much was tangled in the brushrolls.
Hair out of 10
EDGE CLEANING We placed chili flakes against the baseboards along our wall (on carpet). We ran each vacuum over them to see if they could remove the flakes up tight against the baseboards. The NV752 was the clear winner here.
Edge Cleaning out of 10
FILTRATION Both vacuums offer the same level of filtration.
Each has 2 pre-motor filters (one foam and one felt) and 1 post motor filter. The post motor filter on each vacuum is a HEPA filter. All filters are rinsable in water and are designed to last the lifetime of the vacuum.
On both units Shark has coupled this high level of filtration with a sealed system. A sealed system ensures that all the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the filters before being exhausted from the machine. No unfiltered air leaks out of the vacuum cleaner. This is an important feature if you want quality filtered air and both the APEX and the NV752 have this.
EMPTYING DUST CANISTER The dust canisters on both machines are about the same size and are fairly large so you won’t find yourself having to empty them too frequently.
They are also both easy to remove and easy to empty. Depressing a button on the bottom of the dust canisters releases a door and the debris simply falls out. You may occasionally have to reach in and pull some material out if it gets stuck. The canisters are easy to reattach to the vacuums. Frankly the whole process is a snap with both machines.
CLEANING BRUSHROLL You sometimes have to remove hair, string, etc from a brushroll and the extent of the effort required for this maintenance depends on two things.
1) How often does the brushroll need cleaning 2) How accessible is the brushroll
The APEX is easier to deal with in both issues above. The Zero-M Technology pretty much ensures that you will not have to clean your brushroll that often (at least compared to a vacuum like the NV752 without Zero-M Technology). You also have the ability to remove the top of the APEX cleaner head exposing the brushrolls and providing easy cleaning access without having to upend the vacuum (like you have to do with the NV752).
If you have lots of hair to deal with this could be an important difference between the two vacuums. If you don’t, it may not be much of an issue.
What Are Consumers Saying?
If you were to look on Amazon, you would see that both the Shark APEX and the Shark NV752 have in excess of 1000 owner ratings (the NV752 actually has over 3000). The Shark APEX has received an avg owner rating of 4.3 stars out of 5, while the Shark NV752 has received a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.
The costs below are ballpark but you will probably find each vacuum in this range (at least at the time of this writing). The figures suggest that the NV752 is, on average, about $100 less than the APEX.
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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.