Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away ZU632
Avg. consumer rating = 93/100
We were excited to get our hands on the new Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away ZU632 upright vacuum. It looks and feels a lot like the Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet, the most popular vacuum cleaner on our website for several years running. At a glance the machines are very similar but Shark has added a self-cleaning brushroll to the ZU632 which should really help in households with pets. In this review we break down the ZU632, run it through a series of tests, and also determine if it is an improvement on the already excellent NV752.
|Very versatile (different cleaning modes)||Some owners feel it is a bit heavy|
|Great on hair (good pickup & limited tangling)||Shortish power cord|
|Easy to empty dust canister||A little loud on carpet|
|Lots of suction power|
|Quality air filtration|
|Better pickup than expected on hard floors|
|Best for...||Hard Floors & Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||Yes|
|Approx. Weight||16.2 lbs|
|HEPA Level Filtration||Yes|
|Power Cord Length||25 ft|
|Motor Driven Brushbar||Yes|
Disclosure: We approached Shark and requested the ZU632 so we could do a review. Shark graciously said yes and sent one over. Please note that this in no way affects our review.
We found over 250 owner ratings for this vacuum - see table below. On our site we average owner ratings to get a vacuum cleaner score. This approach ensures that it is not just our opinion on how well a vacuum will be received by a potential buyer, but also the opinion of many, many actual owners.
When we averaged ratings for the ZU632 we got a vacuum score of 92.5 out of 100. This is a very high score and it places the vacuum near the top of all the upright vacuums we have reviewed. You may want to see our list of Upright Vacuum Scores, our list of ALL Vacuum Scores, or our Vacuum Finder Application – which shows scores and basic details for hundreds of vacuums in a filterable and sortable format.
|Source||Consumer Rating||# Ratings|
|Amazon||4.7 stars out of 5||31|
|Kohls||4.7 stars out of 5||72|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||4.5 stars out of 5||101|
|Home Depot||4.7 stars out of 5||63|
COMPARED TO THE NV752
The quickest way to tell the ZU632 and the NV752 apart is by their color. The ZU632 is blue (“blue-jean”) and the NV752 is burgundy (“bordeaux”).
Other significant differences we’ve noticed include:
- ZU632 has no light on handle, NV752 does
- ZU632 has 25 ft power cord, NV752 has 30 ft power cord
- ZU632 has self-cleaning brushroll, NV752 has traditional brushroll
- ZU632 self-cleaning brushroll does not stop spinning in “Hard Floor” mode, NV752 does
- ZU632 comes with less tools than NV752 (although tools provided with different models changes over time)
- ZU632 is ½ pound lighter than NV752
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
- Shark ZU632 Upright Vacuum
- All filters (come installed in vacuum)
- Crevice tool
- Pet multi-tool
- Owner’s manual
- Quick start guide
As you can see (image to right) this is a pretty bare bones package. But it covers the basics.
Crevice tool – at 8 inches long the crevice tool is handy for reaching into cramped areas and in-between cushions.
Pet multi-tool – this is a 2-in-1 tool. As a stiff bristled brush it is handy for removing stuck on dirt/debris. Pressing a button on the tool allows you to remove the plate of bristles and you then have an upholstery tool which is handy for pulling up pet hair.
We got our NV752 several years ago and at the time it came with a plethora of tools (see our Shark NV752 review). It does not come with quite as many today. The last time we looked it did include a motorized pet power brush though (something we did not get with the ZU632). A motorized pet power brush can be handy if you have pet hair on upholstered surfaces.
SELF CLEANING BRUSHROLL
We started to see self-cleaning brushrolls on some Shark uprights a few years back – it was more commonly called Zero-M Technology at the time. It looks like this idea is catching on as more and more Shark vacuums are using it. We’ve tested a number of Shark vacuums with a self cleaning brushroll and this technology does work. Not perfectly, but pretty well – especially when you test it (on hair) side-by-side against a vacuum that has a traditional brushroll.
When compared to the NV752 the cleaner heads are the same width, however we did notice that the NV752 suction channel (underneath the cleaner head) is about a ½ inch wider. This may have something to do with the self-cleaning technology built into the ZU632 cleaner head.
The ZU632 is designed for both carpet and hard floors. A slider on the vacuum handle has three floor settings:
1) Hard Floor
2) Carpet / Low Pile
3) Thick Carpet / Area Rug
The controls are built into the handle and easily accessible with your thumb or fingers so you can change them on the fly. The power button (on/off) is also on the handle – just above the floor settings slider.
A large “Lift Away” button sits on the top left side of the dust canister and is easy to push when you want to start using the Lift Away pod and hose/handle/wand. Also, the dust canister can be removed by pulling up on a dust cup release under the dust canister handle near the wand. The dust canister release is easy to access and easy to pull.
There is also a wand release button about half-way down the vacuum on the back side. A simple push and the wand pulls up and away from the machine. There are a few more buttons and levers and they are all easy to access and to use.
In our opinion the ergonomics and controls on this machine are very good. The controls are intuitive and easy to use. They are all pretty much the same on the NV752.
NOTE: When vacuuming on our tile floor we set the ZU632 to “Hard Floor”. We noticed that this slowed the brushroll significantly but it did not stop the brushroll. So with this vacuum ALL floor settings result in the brushroll spinning, albeit at different speeds. Some owners with very delicate flooring may not want a spinning brushroll. When you set the NV752 to “Hard Floor” the brushroll stops spinning completely.
The ZU632 (like the NV752) has three cleaning modes:
1) Upright Mode. In this mode the machine is an upright vacuum cleaner and is good for doing large areas of both carpet and hard floors.
2) Lift Away Mode. In this mode you simply detach the Lift Away pod and carry it in one hand while you use the handle/wand/cleaner-head with the other hand. This still allows you to use the powerful cleaner head but it helps when getting under low furniture – the profile of the handle/wand/cleaner-head is quite low.
3) Lift Away Above Floor Mode. In this mode you are carrying the Lift Away pod with one hand and using the handle/tools or handle/wand/tools with the other hand. The tools are lightweight so you can easily do above the floor cleaning (good for vehicle interiors too). Also, when you add the wand you can reach into deep areas and also do cleaning up high – even along the ceiling.
The different cleaning modes are what make this vacuum so versatile.
MANEUVERABILITY & WEIGHT
The vacuum moves well on carpet and on smooth surfaces. The ZU632 weighs 16.2 lbs which is maybe a little hefty for an upright but not too bad. See some sample vacuum weights in the table below:
|Approx. Weight (lbs)|
|Shark Navigator ZU561||13.4|
|Shark APEX Zero-M||16|
|Dyson Ball Animal 2||17.4|
When vacuuming our low pile carpet we had no trouble moving the machine back and forth and the swivel steering allowed us to maneuver the unit fairly well around table legs and furniture. It was even easier to move on our tile surface.
The vacuum has a total of three filters. Two pre-motor filter (1 foam, 1 felt) and one post-motor filter. ALL filters can be rinsed in water - and when they are completely dry, placed back in the vacuum. This is handy as there is no need to go out and buy a new filter when one is dirty.
The post motor filter on this machine is also a HEPA level filter which means it is capable of removing the likes of mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, etc. from the air. In short, this is a good filter for households with allergy or asthma sufferers.
Shark has coupled this high level of filtration with a fully sealed system. A sealed system ensures that all of the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the filters and no unfiltered air leaks out of the vacuum. Only fully filtered air is exhausted from the machine. Proper air filtration requires both high level filtration (such as a HEPA filter) AND a sealed system. The NV752 has the same filtration setup.
The dust canister has a capacity of 0.88 quarts. It is the same size as the canister on the NV752. It is large enough to allow you to do a lot of vacuuming before it needs to be emptied. Having to empty the dust canister frequently can be annoying and can lengthen your cleaning sessions. The canister is very easy to remove, very easy to empty, and very easy to reattach (it just clicks back on). The system is dead simple and it works.
Like most bagless machines however, you will often get a puff of dust when you open the canister and, depending on the debris you’ve been vacuuming, you may have to put your hand inside the canister to pull out stuck-in material.
The ZU632 is a little louder than the NV752. This likely has something to do with the self-cleaning brushroll.
We used a digital noise level meter and placed it 3 feet in front of the cleaner head on both machines. The machines were on low pile carpet and we turned the brusholls on. We recorded peak decibels over a 10 second period for each machine. See table below:
The ZU632 is noticeably louder than the NV752. We also noticed that the ZU632 makes a higher pitched noise with the brushroll spinning than the NV752.
OTHER FEATURES & CHARACTERISTICS
The power cord on the ZU632 is 25 feet long. This is a little short in our opinion and it is a little disappointing given that the older NV752 has a 30 foot power cord. A shorter cord on a full size machine like this will result in more time unplugging the vacuum and searching for the next power outlet.
Shark states the hose is 6 ft long (when extended) and that is probably about right, but you will not get 6 feet of extension without the vacuum being pulled over. You are looking at more like 4.5 ft if you want the vacuum to stay in the upright position, which is rather short. But hoses on “Lift Away” vacuums are often short and this is because they are designed to be used with the “Lift Away” feature. You don’t need a long hose when using this feature and indeed a shorter hose may be more manageable.
Also, both the ZU632 and NV752 are rated at 1150 watts and 9.5 amps.
We placed a carefully measured amount of four types of debris (weighed and mixed together) on low pile carpet. The debris consisted of powdered cheerios, chili flakes, flax seeds, and split green peas (from very fine and lightweight to larger and heavier). This debris was laid in a 5ft long line and the vacuum was passed over it (one forward pass only) in a 10 second run (approximately).
The percentage pickup (based on weight) was calculated. Results are shown in the table below. Also, please note that tests were performed twice and the results were averaged.
The figures above show that the NV752 pickup is slightly better on carpet than the ZU632. Given that the machines are so similar, this is, in our opinion, likely the result of the different cleaner heads. Perhaps the self-cleaning brushroll in the ZU632 is not quite as effective on carpet as the more traditional brushroll in the NV752.
We performed the same test on our tile floor. Again tests were performed twice and averaged.
The ZU632 was the victor in these tests. Remember that the ZU632 brushroll is still spinning in “Hard Floor” mode while the NV752 brushroll is not. Often a spinning brushroll on a hard surface results in scatter but there was very little scatter with the ZU632. ZU632 pickup on our tile floor was even better than its pickup on our low pile carpet.
This was a visual test. We placed long dark hair and short white pet hair on our low pile carpet and ran each vacuum over it. Pickup from both machines was very good but the difference can be seen with the hair left wrapped on the brushroll. See video below.
The ZU632 with its self-cleaning brushroll had very little hair wrap while the NV752 had quite a lot. There is no doubt that the self-cleaning brushroll on the ZU632 was doing its job. One would surely have less brushroll maintenance (removing hair/thread/string wrapping) to perform with the ZU632.
This was another visual test. Chili flakes were placed up tight against the baseboard along one of our walls. Both machines were run against the wall and pickup can be seen in the video below.
We’ve done this test with many, many vacuums and we can tell you that the edge cleaning performance from both these machines was very good.
The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away ZU632 carries a manufacturer's 5-year limited warranty.
The manual is available in English, Spanish and French. It isn’t too long but it is detailed enough that you should be able to determine how all the features work. It covers assembly, floor settings, different vacuum configurations, tools, emptying the canister, filter maintenance, self-cleaning brushroll, troubleshooting, and the warranty. It also has pretty good illustrations. You can see a copy of it here: Shark Rotator Powered Lift Away ZU632 manual
Overall we really like this vacuum cleaner. It is good on carpet and better on our tile floor than we expected. The self-cleaning brushroll works and reduces the time needed to keep the brushroll clean. It has a host of configurations that allow you to tackle all sorts of cleaning challenges from automobile interiors to large rooms to above floor cleaning. It is easy to use and everything is intuitive. We do wish it had a longer power cord though, and the continuously spinning brushroll could be an issue for folks who have very delicate hard flooring.
The ZU632 is clearly an evolution of the older NV752. However, the ZU632, while performing well in many areas, isn’t perfect and the NV752 still has some advantages. If you are in the market for either of these popular uprights we think the following guidelines will help you determine which vacuum is best for your cleaning needs.
You have mostly hard floors: GET THE ZU632
The ZU632 performance is simply better on hard floors than the NV752.
One caveat – if you have very delicate flooring you may not want a machine like the ZU632 that keeps the brushroll spinning in “Hard Floor” mode. In this case you will be better off with the NV752 which stops the brushroll from spinning in “Hard Floor” mode and relies solely on suction for pickup.
You have mostly hard floors and lots of hair to deal with: GET THE ZU632
The self-cleaning brushroll on the ZU632 will reduce brushroll cleaning sessions significantly. Please consider the same caveat as mentioned above.
You have mostly carpet and lots of hair to deal with: GET THE ZU632
The self-cleaning brushroll feature in our opinion is worth the slightly less effective carpet cleaning capabilities. This machine will still do a good job on carpet.
You have mostly carpet and little hair to deal with: GET THE NV752
The NV752 is great on carpet (slightly better in our tests than the ZU632) and you don’t need the self-cleaning brushroll if you don’t have much hair to deal with.
Nigel Russco has been reviewing and testing vacuums for over 14 years. He is a professional engineer and uses his review platforms to help consumers determine which vacuum cleaners are the best for their cleaning needs. Follow Nigel on facebook or view his vacuum review videos on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.