SHARK APEX VS SHARK VERTEX
In this face-off we pit the Shark Vertex upright vacuum (AZ2002) against the Shark APEX Zero-M (AZ1002). The Shark Vertex upright is currently the pinnacle of uprights at Shark. It has many features and a host of different technologies. However, before this newcomer there was the Shark APEX, and as the name suggests it was the king-of-the-hill when it was released. So what’s the difference between these two big boys and which one should you get?
Both the Vertex and APEX series of vacuums include several models. In the following comparison we are analyzing the following two models:
- APEX Upright (model AZ1002)
- Vertex Upright (model AZ2002)
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
- Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum
- HEPA filter and both pre-motor filters
- Crevice Tool
- Dusting Brush
- Pet Power Brush (not motorized)
- Owner’s Manual
- Shark APEX Upright Vacuum
- HEPA filter and both pre-motor filters
- Crevice Tool
- Upholstery tool
- Pet Power Brush (not motorized) *
- Owner’s Manual
* We got our APEX a few years ago and it came with a motorized pet tool (which actually stores on the vacuum). We have since read on several occasions that this tool is no longer provided. It has been replaced with the pet power brush which has a brushroll that is spun by vacuum suction NOT a motor.
We have seen many different published weights for these vacuums and some of the discrepancies are likely due (at least in part) to some folks weighing them with the power cord and others weighing them without. When comparing vacuum weights you have to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. We weighed each machine with the power cord.
Shark APEX = 18 lbs
Shark Vertex = 16.7 lbs
The weight difference is noticeable when you use the vacuum cleaners. While the Vertex is hardly lightweight, it does feel lighter than the APEX.
This popular feature allows you to carry the motor/dust-canister assembly with one hand while using the hose/wand/tools with the other hand. It provides handheld-like capabilities (see image below).
There are two different kinds of “Lift-Away” – Powered and Non-powered. Powered Lift Away provides power to the end of the hose and the wand. This allows you to run power tools and the cleaner head. Non-powered Lift Away does not provide power to the end of the hose or wand and it will not allow you to use powered tools.
As both the Vertex and the APEX are premium Shark uprights they both have the Powered Lift Away feature. An example of a Shark upright with the Non-powered Lift Away is the Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift Away Speed.
Both vacuums have reasonably powerful motors.
APEX = 1350 watts, 11.3 amps
Vertex = 1344 watts, 11.8 amps
(as a comparison the Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed motor = 800 watts, 6.7 amps)
When determining cleaning reach we consider the length of the power cord as well as the length of the hose and wand.
APEX = 30 ft
Vertex = 30 ft
We measure a vacuum hose by stretching it out until the upright starts to tip. This approach often results in figures that are different from those provided by the manufacturer but we feel it is a practical approach. We have also noticed that hose length sometimes tends to increase over time as stretch hoses become more pliable.
HOSE & WAND
APEX = 6 ft 5 inches
Vertex = 6 ft 5 inches
Cleaning reach for both vacuums is identical.
Both cleaner heads are DuoClean, meaning they have two brushrolls. The APEX has a soft brushroll at the front with a finned and bristled brushroll in the center – see image below. Note that this image is of the top of the cleaner head as the top can easily be removed on the APEX (the Vertex does not have this feature and as such Vertex brushroll access is not as good).
The Vertex has a soft brushroll at the front with a finned and bristled brushroll in the center as well. However the center brushroll has a different configuration than that of the APEX. The image below is of the underside of the cleaner head.
The center brushrolls on both vacuums are designed to limit hair tangle (they are sometimes referred to as “self-cleaning”).
Both vacuums have 2 pre-motor filters and 1 post-motor filter. There is 1 felt pre-motor filter and 1 foam pre-motor filter. Both can be rinsed in water when dirty and re-used (when completely dry).
The post-motor filter on both machines is HEPA grade and both vacuums also have a sealed system. A sealed system means that all the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the filters before being exhausted back into the room. A combination of a HEPA filter and a sealed system ensures quality air filtration. The HEPA filters on both the APEX and the Vertex can be rinsed in water and re-used.
As a result of the quality air filtration, both of these vacuums are good choices for households with people who might suffer from asthma or allergies.
APEX = 0.88 quarts
Vertex = 1.00 quarts
Both dust canisters are large enough that you won’t have to empty them too frequently but they are also both rather narrow and you may have to use your hand to get debris out. Each canister opens from the bottom but can also open from the top so accessing debris is a little easier.
Controls on the handle consist of a Power On/Off button and a slider with three floor settings: “Hard Floor”, “Carpet/Low Pile”, and “Thick Carpet/Area Rug”. The APEX and the Vertex controls are pretty much identical although the writing of the floor settings is a little harder to see on the APEX with the vacuum power off (see image to right).
The controls are intuitive and easy to use. They are also literally at your fingertips which is nice.
Movement of both vacuums is good and the swivel steering works well. Both machines move easier on hard flooring than on carpet. However, the weight of the APEX does make movement a little more of a chore than the Vertex during long cleaning sessions. Although - and this may sound odd - the APEX has a more "solid" feeling when you are moving it around.
Also, the two spinning brushrolls have a tendency to pull the vacuums forward, which some people like as it almost feels self-propelled. However this also results in a little more difficulty on the pullback – it kind of fights against you a little. This is more pronounced with the Vertex than it is with the APEX.
We performed noise level tests on both machines. A digital noise level meter was placed 3 ft in front of the cleaner head (on low pile carpet) and the vacuum was turned on in carpet mode. The peak decibel level over a 10 second period was determined.
NOISE LEVEL TEST
Shark APEX = 76.1 dB
Shark Vertex = 77.5 dB
The Vertex was the louder of the two vacuums and it was noticeable. The Vertex is not the loudest vacuum we have tested but it is fairly loud in our opinion. The APEX was perhaps a little closer to the average noise level of what we have experienced with upright vacuums.
We created debris from ground cheerios, chili flakes, flax seeds, and split green peas. This was designed to cover the range from small sized debris to medium sized debris. We then placed this debris in a line about 4-6 inches wide and about 5 ft long. Each vacuum was passed over the debris in a 10 second run.
In terms of pickup the results were as follows:
PERCENTAGE PICKUP (by weight)
Shark APEX = 99.0%
Shark Vertex = 99.5%
Both vacuums produced excellent results in our opinion, however the Vertex did have slightly better pickup than the APEX.
Hard Floor Test
We repeated the same test on our tile floor with the following results.
PERCENTAGE PICKUP (by weight)
Shark APEX = 98.8%
Shark Vertex = 99.4%
Again, in our experience these are pretty good pickup figures for uprights on a hard surface (likely due to the DuoClean Technology). But again the Vertex was just a little better than the APEX.
Both vacuums have a specialized center brushroll that is designed to limit hair wrap. We ran them both over a debris field of long black human hair and short white pet hair.
THe "self-cleaning" brushrolls definitely help with reducing hair tangle, especially if you compare them to a vacuum with a more generic brushroll. After the hair test we were pleased to see almost nothing left on the Vertex. There was some hair left on the APEX brushroll - but it wasn't too bad. We also ran our Shark NV752 to show what happens when you don't have a special brushroll for limiting hair-wrap.
Edge Cleaning Test
In the edge cleaning test we placed chili flakes against our baseboards and ran the vacuum up as tight as we could against the edge. Good edge cleaning will leave almost nothing behind – right up to the wall.
The video of the tests below shows that the Vertex has superior edge cleaning to the APEX.
Large Debris Test
Some vacuums struggle with picking up large debris. Many just push it around. The front face of the DuoClean cleaner head is a spinning soft brushroll so this is usually very helpful for large debris pickup. In this test we placed some fruit loops on our low pile carpet and ran each vacuum over them.
Both vacuums did a reasonable job in this test - although not perfect. We didn’t really notice a performance difference between the two.
While the dust canisters look a little different and are different sizes they are equally easy to empty. These are bagless machines so there are no bags to buy.
Both vacuums have 2 pre-motor filters and 1 post-motor HEPA filter. All of the filters are easy to access and can be rinsed in water and reused.
Brushroll access is easier on the APEX. If you have to deal with tangled hair/string/thread it will be easier to do so with the APEX.
The front soft brushroll can be easily removed on both machines and cleaned.
Currently both the APEX and the Vertex carry a 5-year warranty.
We’ve used both vacuums extensively and actually like them both. However, the Vertex is probably our favorite. While a little louder, it is a lighter machine and you can’t argue with the solid cleaning performance. The Vertex was either the same or better than the APEX in our cleaning tests.
Both vacuums are great in terms of air filtration and they each have the powered lift-away feature. Cleaning reach is the same but brushroll access for maintenance is easier with the APEX.
We’ve priced both units at several retail outlets and prices tend to fluctuate a little. The links below show the current prices at Amazon.