Shark Apex Zero-M Vacuum Review


Avg. rating = 88/100 

We looked at the Shark APEX (model AX952) back in December of 2017.  It is a popular machine and it comes with the lift-away feature, two brushrolls, and a powered tool.  The Shark APEX in this review is a newer machine and is model AZ1002.  It has all the same features as the older APEX but also includes Zero-M Technology.  Zero-M Technology utilizes a specially designed brushroll and comb in the cleaner head which remove tangled hair as you vacuum.



Quick Specs
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 18 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length 30 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 5 Years
Disclosure: We recently approached Shark and requested the APEX AZ1002 so that we could do a review. They agreed and sent the AZ1002 over.  Thanks Shark!  Also, please note that this in no way affects how we review the vacuum.
A Word on Models
If you are interested in an APEX vacuum without the Zero-M Technology then you should read our Shark APEX AX952 review.  If you are keen on an APEX machine with Zero-M Technology there are a few models on the market (from what we can tell the model differences are pretty much down to the tool set):
- 12" Crevice Tool
- Pet Multi-Tool
- 12" Crevice Tool
- Pet Multi-Tool
- Motorized Pet Tool
- 12" Crevice Tool
- Pet Multi-Tool
- Motorized Pet Tool
The AZ1002 and the AZ1002BRN appear to be the same. 
Consumer Ratings
We’ve collected consumer ratings from a host of popular online retail outlets and they can be found in the table below.  When these ratings are averaged (weighted average) they generate a vacuum score of 88 out of 100 (or about 4.4 stars out of 5).  You can compare this score to that of other uprights on our site in our upright vacuum ratings table.  Or you can view ALL the vacuum ratings in our vacuum cleaner finder application. For the most part 88 is a pretty good score.
Source Consumer Rating # Ratings
Amazon.com 4.4 stars out of 5 119
Amazon.ca 5 stars out of 5 1
Bed Bath & Beyond 4.3 stars out of 5 32
Walmart 5 stars out of 5 3
We’ve analyzed owner comments and considered our own experience with the AZ1002 to create the following list of pros and cons.
- Powerful suction
- Lift-away feature works well
- Good on both hard floors and carpet
- Has HEPA filter & sealed system
- Respectably long power cord
- Power tool is handy
- Easy to empty dust canister
- LED lights on nozzle and handle
- Only 2 of the 3 tools fit on-board
- Feels a bit heavy/bulky
- Short hose
- Louder than the Shark APEX AX952
You may have noticed that the Zero-M Technology does not appear in the list of pros and cons above.  This is because it seems to work well for some folks but not so great for others.  There are many reports that the technology is capable of removing animal hair from the brushroll and that the hair ends up in the dust canister (which is great).  However there are instances where owners are saying the brushroll simply gets tangled with their pet hair (which is not so great).
We’ve run the vacuum over both long hair and short hair and found that the Zero-M technology did a pretty good job in both instances.  We compared the older APEX to this newer one (with the Zero-M) and there was a very noticeable difference when dealing with pet hair.  You can see our tests further down in the review. 
Shark APEX ControlsMost folks are very pleased with the machine’s ability to tackle all manner of flooring.  The slider on the handle (image to left) allows one to set the machine to low pile carpet, high pile carpet, or bare flooring.  The dual brushrolls work equally well on carpet and bare floors.  Most uprights, in our experience, do not have the bare floor cleaning capability of this unit – the soft roller brush on the front of the cleaner head makes all the difference (especially with larger debris).
Movement is something of a mixed bag.  The swivel steering works but quite a few folks find that it meanders some on bare flooring.  It’s not something we noticed but there are enough comments about it that it needs to be brought up. This is a heavy feeling vacuum so turning the cleaner head with your wrist (which is what the swivel steering allows) can strain your wrist a bit over time.  Some folks call vacuuming with the APEX a “workout”.
Folks like the tools that are provided with their AZ1002 but a number of people are disappointed that they cannot get all three tools to store on-board the vacuum. 
As usual, the Lift-away mode is popular.  The ability to “lift-away” the motor/dust-canister assembly (sometimes referred to as the pod) and carry it with one hand while using the hose and tools with the other, makes this vacuum extremely versatile.  You can use this for doing a set of stairs or for overhead cleaning.  That said, there is some grumbling about the short hose, and that the lift-away pod is not particularly lightweight.
Owners also like the headlights on the cleaner head, as well as the excellent air filtering capabilities of the vacuum (HEPA filter combined with a sealed system).  In addition, the long power cord provides a decent cleaning reach - no need to search for power outlets all the time.
You can see more Shark APEX owner comments on Amazon.
The APEX model AZ1002 includes three tools
- 12 inch crevice tool:  This is a fairly long crevice tool (longer than many we’ve seen). It is good for getting into cramped areas or vacuuming along edges.
- Pet multi-tool:  This is a 2-in-1 combination tool. The bristled brush face can pop on or off.  It is useful for dusting different surfaces and for removing pet hair from curtains and other fabrics.
- On-board motorized pet tool: This tool is good for removing deeply embedded dirt and ground in pet hair from carpet and upholstery.
Shark AZ1002 Tools
Unfortunately, only two of these will fit on the vacuum.  Shark has built a special place on the vacuum where the Motorized Pet Tool will lock into place – this is handy.  This motorized tool actually folds so that it fits better on the vacuum (see image below). 
Shark APEX motorized tool
There is also a spot on the vacuum for one of the two non-powered tools.  However, one of these will have to be left in the closet or cabinet. 
DuoClean Technology
We first saw this technology when we got our hands on the Shark Rocket Complete (HV382) in late 2016.  Two brushrolls on a vacuum cleaner head certainly looked odd and I must admit I had my doubts as to its effectiveness.  Those doubts were laid to rest after doing some tests, and we’ve now seen this technology appear on many Shark vacuum cleaners.
DuoClean Technology uses a soft brushroll at the front of the cleaner head and a more traditional bristled brushroll in the center of the cleaner head.  This configuration has the ability to pick up larger debris (the face of the soft roller is tall and there is very little snowplowing effect) and it also engages the floor, picking up stuck-on dust/debris when used on a hard surface.  Both brushrolls spin in all cleaning settings – different settings simply adjust the spinning speed (and open/close a section release slider). The image below shows the two brushrolls (the top of the cleaner head has been removed to better see the bristled brushroll).
Shark DuoClean Technology
While the technology works, we initially thought that perhaps it would have a detrimental effect on movement and/or cleaning of carpet.  This is not the case, and the DuoClean Technology works very well on carpet.
Zero-M Technology
Zero-M Technology is a more recent idea that Shark has applied to some of its vacuum cleaners.  This technology is designed to alleviate the problem of hair tangling in the brushroll, and it is supposed to move the hair from the brushroll into the dust canister. The technology involves a special brushroll and comb arrangement that removes hair from the brushroll as you vacuum. 
You can see the yellow Zero-M brushroll in the AZ1002 below.  The vacuum beside it is the APEX AX952 with the more traditional brushroll. 
Shark APEX AX952 vs AZ1002
In the following image you can see the yellow comb that is attached to the removable brushroll garage.
We should note that this brushroll garage feature (the ability to remove the top of the cleaner head to provide easy access to the brushroll) is very handy.  With most machines you have to up-end the vacuum to access the brushroll.  Cleaning the brushroll of the AZ1002 is made much easier with this top access.
Cleaning – Carpet & Hair
To test the vacuum on carpet and hair, we put down a debris field consisting of the following:
- ground powdered fruit loops
- flax seeds
- chili flakes
- full size fruit loops
- short white hair
- long black hair
We ran the test on both the Shark APEX AZ1002 (with Zero-M Technology) and the Shark APEX AX952 (without Zero-M Technology).  Note that we are testing these on low pile carpet.  You can see the tests in the video below.

As you can see the AX952 has gathered quite a lot of the hair in the brushroll and would require cleaning.  It’s apparent that the AZ1002 has fared much better and the vast majority of the hair has made its way into the dust canister.
Cleaning with respect to the other debris appears to be about the same between the two vacuums.
Cleaning – Bare Floor
We did a cleaning test on tile.  We pitted the AZ1002 with its DuoClean Technology against one of our favorite vacuums, the Shark NV752 (no DuoClean Technology).  We did not include hair in this test – just the following:
- ground powdered fruit loops
- flax seeds
- chili flakes
- full size fruit loops
We expected the NV752 to struggle with the full size cheerios and the AZ1002 (with its spinning brushroll on the front of the cleaner head) to make short work of them.  It turns out that both machines performed very well. See video below:

Despite these results, we’ve worked extensively with vacuums that have DuoClean Technology and those without DuoClean Technology, and in our experience the DuoClean Technology does do a better job on bare surfaces – it does the job in less passes and typically picks up larger debris better.
Edge Cleaning
We ran a quick edge cleaning test by placing chili flakes up against our wall.  We ran the Shark APEX AZ1002 and the Shark NV752.  You can see the video tests below.

The AZ1002 gets the job done but it takes a fair bit of back and forth which would be tiring if you had a lot of edges to clean.  We felt that the NV752 did the job more quickly.
The APEX uses a series of filters and a sealed system to ensure only clean air is exhausted from the machine.  There are two pre-motor filters – a foam filter and a felt filter located just below the dust canister.  When these get dirty you can simply tap off the loose dirt/debris over a dustbin.  When they are very dirty they can be rinsed in water.  The post motor filter is a HEPA filter and it can be easily accessed behind a panel on the front of the vacuum.  Similarly, you can tap the loose dust/debris off when it is dirty, and you can also rinse it in water.
Shark suggests rinsing the pre-motor filters about once every 3 months and the HEPA filter about once per year.  Rinsable filters are nice as they reduce costs (no need to repeatedly buy new ones).
Shark APEX vacuum filters
The APEX vacuums have noise reducing technology.  We’ve done a few tests to determine just how much noise the APEX AZ1002 generates and we’ve thrown a few other popular upright vacuums in the mix to provide some comparisons.
To test noise levels we placed a digital noise level meter 3 feet in front of the cleaner head of each machine and turned the vacuum on in carpet mode (with the brushroll spinning).  We measured peak decibels over a period of 10 seconds.
Vacuum Model Peak Decibels
Shark APEX AX952 72.5
Shark NV752 TruePet 75.2
Shark APEX AZ1002 76.1
Shark Navigator Zero-M 77.6
Dyson Ball Animal 2 78.7
We were a little surprised that the AZ1002 was louder than the AX952 -  perhaps it has something to do with the Zero-M Technology (we're not sure). You can actually hear the difference between the two. 
Lift-Away Feature
This feature appears on many Shark vacuums, and that’s because it is very useful and folks like it.  The lift-away feature allows you to carry the motor and dust canister in one hand while using the hose/wand/tools with the other hand.  This creates handheld-like portability from an upright vacuum (although you are still tethered by a power cord). 
Shark APEX Lift Away
The lift-away feature is great for doing stairs or for just carrying around and tackling cleaning jobs here and there.  You may also find yourself doing lots of overhead cleaning while in lift-away mode.
Shark APEX AZ1002 
Weight and Movement
This is not a particularly light upright vacuum and it weighs 16 lbs.  There are heavier machines out there however.  To compare, we look again at our list of a few popular uprights:
Vacuum Model Weight (lbs)
Shark APEX AX952 18
Shark NV752 TruePet 16.7
Shark APEX AZ1002 18
Shark Navigator Zero-M 13.4
Dyson Ball Animal 2 17.4
Note that these vacuums were weighed with the power cord.  If you don't include the power cord the APEX is closer to 16 lbs.
The APEX does move well as a result of the swivel steering but it also feels a bit heavy and cumbersome.  It turns well but it does require a bit of wrist strength and you may find it wearing on you after a long cleaning session.  Part of the issue here is that the bulk of the lift-away feature lies above the “spine” of the upright and you are moving it when you twist your wrist – see short video below.

You can also feel the vacuum being pulled forward a bit which is actually kind of nice when moving ahead, but it does fight you a small amount on the pull-back.  However, we don’t find this much of an issue – but a few owners have commented that they don’t like it.
We’d say that the movement of this APEX is average.  Other Shark vacuums like the NV752 and the Navigator are lighter and easier to move, but there are heavier vacuums out there (like some of the Dyson uprights) and these require a similar effort to move and maneuver.
Shark APEX Dust CanisterDust Canister
The dust canister is easy to detach and empty.  It is also very easy to reattach.  All-in-all this system works well.  The canister is bottom empty, so you simply depress a button and the bottom of the canister opens allowing the dust/debris to fall out.  The canister is a reasonable size and has a capacity of 0.88 quarts so you won’t find yourself having to empty it too frequently. 
Cleaning Reach
The overall reach of the vacuum is quite good given that it comes with a 30 foot power cord.  This provides the ability to vacuum a reasonably large area without having to constantly hunt for a power outlet. 
On the flip side, the unit has a short hose which limits your reach when using the hose/wand/tools.  This is somewhat alleviated given the vacuum’s lift-away feature, however you may not always want to detach and carry the lift-away pod.
Warranty & More
We like that the unit has LED headlights on the vacuum nozzle (cleaner head). There is a light on either side, and these lights are designed to last the lifetime of the vacuum.  This feature is handy when you are vacuuming in dimly lit areas.  There is also a light built into the vacuum handle.  This light automatically comes on when you detach the handle – something you do when you are going to use the handle/hose/tools.  This illuminates the area in front of the handle and provides a nice kind of “spotlight” on the area you are cleaning.
In addition, the AZ1002 has a soft rubber strip running down the middle of the vacuum wheels.  This strip provides a good grip on hard flooring and it also ensures no marring of more delicate surfaces.
The Shark APEX AZ1002 carries a 5 year limited warranty.
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
The manual for this vacuum is fairly good.  It is provided in English, French and Spanish, and it has good graphics.  You will find information on assembly, basics of operation (upright mode, above floor mode, lift-away mode), motorized pet tool, troubleshooting, maintenance, warranty, etc.  You can see the manual here: Shark APEX Zero-M Manual


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


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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.