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Shark Navigator Zero-M Pros & Cons

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Shark Navigator Zero-M Pros & Cons
The Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift Away Speed is an interesting machine.  It is your basic Shark Navigator vacuum that comes with a feature called Zero-M Technology.  Zero-M Technology is designed to remove hair that gets wrapped around the brushroll.  This is a particularly helpful feature for households with pets.  In our tests the technology worked quite well – you can see the tests in the videos below.  Without such a technology one has to manually remove hair from the brushroll, and this can be a trying task depending on how easy/difficult it is to access the brushroll.
 
There are four popular Shark Navigator Zero-M vacuums: models ZU560, ZU560C, ZU561, ZU562.  Two are red and two are blue.  Besides the color the main differences are in the tool sets.  We have model ZU561 which comes with the following:
• Duster Crevice Tool
• Hair Removal Multi-Tool
• Wide Upholstery Tool
 
PROS
 
Zero-M Technology
We like the Zero-M Technology because it actually works.  We’ve tested it on pet hair and human hair and it removed about 90+ percent of the hair that initially gathered on the brushroll.  The hair slowly works its way off the brushroll as you vacuum.  We’ve also tested this against vacuums without the technology and it definitely results in much less tangling on the brushroll. 
Lift Away Feature
You can find this feature on a host of upright vacuums from Shark – most likely because it is popular and it works.  It allows you to carry the dust-canister/motor assembly with one hand while using the hand/wand/tools with the other hand.  It’s kind of like having a handheld vacuum and it’s good for getting at areas you cannot access with the upright, such as a set of stairs or above-the-floor cleaning. The Lift-Away feature makes the Navigator a much more versatile machine.  You can see how this works in the video at the end of this PROS section.
Light Weight & Maneuverability
The Navigator Zero-M is a fairly lightweight upright vacuum and it weighs in at 13.4 lbs.  By comparison, the Shark NV752 weighs 15.6 lbs and the Shark APEX AX952 weighs 16 lbs (both full size uprights).  The light weight helps the Navigator Zero-M with maneuverability as does the swivel steering.  You will find that the cleaner head will easily turn with a twist of the wrist at the vacuum handle.  This makes it easy to steer.
Good pickup on carpet
When compared to one of our favorite uprights, the Shark NV752, the Navigator Zero-M did a respectable job of cleaning low pile carpet (not as good as the NV752 but still quite good).  In addition, we’ve been using it around the house for a while and it has been doing a decent job on our low pile carpet.  Also, consider that the Zero-M is less expensive than the NV752
Reasonable pickup on bare floors for an upright
We compared the pickup on bare floors with that of the NV752. The Navigator Zero-M pickup was not bad – again not quite as good as the NV752 – but acceptable.  Many uprights don’t do a great job on bare floors unless they have something like DuoClean Technology (see the Shark APEX or the Shark ION P50 – links).  We did find that the Navigator Zero-M had a tendency to drag a small amount of material behind it during the back stroke, but we’ve seen this on other machines as well and it isn’t a huge deal.
Suction release slider
The suction release slider is a handy feature should it become get difficult to move the vacuum on carpet or if it starts to stick to an area rug.  Also, if you are using a tool and the suction is too strong this slider will allow you to decrease the suction.  This seems like something of a no-brainer feature for an upright vacuum as it is an inexpensive way to allow you to vary the suction.  But it is surprising how many vacuums do not have one. 
Dust canister is easy to use and fairly large
The dust canister is easy to detach, easy to empty, and easy to reattach.  It is also fairly large at 2.2 quarts to the fill line.  You will not have to empty it frequently while you are vacuuming.
Quality filtration
The Navigator Zero-M has 3 filters – two pre-motor and one post motor.  All filters are rinsable in water which saves money as you don’t have to buy a new filter when it becomes dirty.  Also, the post motor filter is HEPA grade which helps reduce allergens in the air (a good feature if you or someone in your house has allergies or asthma).  The vacuum also has a sealed system so all the air entering the vacuum is properly filtered – unfiltered air does not leak out through poor seals or cracks.
Not too pricey for what you get
You get quite a lot of vacuum for the price with the Navigator Zero-M.  You should be able to find this machine for under $200.  That’s less expensive than the Shark NV752 ($250+) or the Shark APEX ($350).
 
The video below walks through many of the PROS highlighted above:


CONS
 
Short power cord
The power cord on the vacuum is only 25 feet in length.  We prefer to see power cords of 30 feet or more.  In our experience anything less than 30 feet has a tendency to cause grumbling among owners. Other Shark upright machines like the NV752, the AX952, the NV682 and the NV801 all have 30 foot power cords.
Short hose
The hose on the Navigator Zero-M is rather short.  We have noticed that most vacuums with the Lift-Away feature also have short hoses.  This is likely because you don’t really need a long hose as long as you are using the Lift Away feature.  But should you want to simply grab a tool and use it on the end of the handle or wand to do some quick cleaning, you will find that you have a very limited cleaning reach.
A bit louder than some other Shark machines
We found the vacuum to be a bit on the loud side.  We also did some noise level tests to see where it stood with respect to some other popular uprights.  We placed a digital noise meter 3 feet in front of the cleaner head and recorded peak decibels.  See table below:
 
Vacuum Noise Level (peak decibels)
Shark APEX AX952 72.5
Shark TruePet NV752 75.2
Shark Navigator Zero-M 77.6
Dyson Ball Animal 2 78.7
You can see that the Shark Navigator Zero-M was louder than the other Shark uprights but not quite as loud as the Dyson Ball Animal 2.
 
No LED headlights
Many Shark uprights have headlights.  The Navigator Zero-M does not.  It is slightly more of a budget vacuum than many other Shark uprights and perhaps that is why.  Headlights are handy when you vacuum in dimly lit areas.
Can only hold 1 tool on-board
The vacuum comes with three tools, however only one can be stored on-board.  If you need either of the other two tools you will have to fetch it. 
Controls are not on the handle
Some machines have controls such as power and floor-type on the handle – easily accessible with your fingers.  Unfortunately the Navigator Zero M power and floor-type switch is located just above the dust canister so you have to bend over to use it.  It is not near as nice or as easy to use as handle located controls.
 
The video below walks through many of the CONS highlighted above:

 

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About Me

Hello!

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.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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