Avg. consumer rating = 95/100
Shark recently launched their “Vertex” series of vacuum cleaners. They are powerful machines with a host of features including two brushrolls, one soft and one with fins (Shark calls them fins but we think of them more as flexible, rubbery blades). We’ve always liked Shark’s willingness to try new and different ideas and they sometimes hit upon something that really works. We analyzed the Vertex AZ2002 upright vacuum, compared it to other popular Shark uprights, and ran it through a series of tests. This vacuum performed extremely well and in our opinion Shark may have found another keeper.
|Powerful suction||A little on the heavy side|
|Very good on carpet||Only 2 of 3 tools store on-board|
|Very good on hard floors||Doesn't include a motorized tool|
|Has effective edge cleaning||Tools don't click securely into place|
|Self cleaning brushroll works|
|Handy powered lift-away feature|
|Long power cord|
|Intuitive, easy-to-use controls|
|Good air filtration|
|Best for...||Hard Floors & Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||Yes|
|Approx. Weight||16.7 lbs|
|HEPA Level Filtration||Yes|
|Power Cord Length||30 ft|
|Motor Driven Brushbar||Yes|
Disclosure: We approached Shark and requested the Vertex so we could do a review. Shark sent one over. Please note that this in no way affects our review.
Shark Uprights – Basic or Premium?
Shark has many different upright vacuums with a host of different features and technologies. The key is to get the one that meets your cleaning needs. Generally the less expensive units have fewer features but they can still be the right choice if you have fairly basic cleaning needs. Some basic machines might include the NV360, the NV70, or the NV501. However, if you have more stringent cleaning needs you may want one of Shark’s more premier uprights – such as the APEX or the Vertex.
What’s in the Box?
What do you get when you buy your Shark Vertex AZ2002?
- Shark Vertex upright vacuum
- HEPA filter and both pre-motor filters
- Crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Pet power brush
- Owner’s manual
- Warranty card
Note that we have the AZ2002 and ours is in rose gold with the blue brushrolls (see image to right). Many people really like this color scheme while others do not. We have also seen a Vertex in blue (as opposed to the rose gold) and we believe this is model AZ2000 but we don't see it as widely available as the AZ2002.
We scoured online retailers for Vertex AZ2002 owner ratings and we found several (over 150) – see table below. To date, owner ratings are extremely high and when averaged they generate an overall score for the Vertex of 95 out of 100. This is currently the highest scoring upright on our website (which has been running for over 12 years).
Having said that, please bear in mind that this is a relatively new machine and we sometimes see ratings for a vacuum drop as time starts to reveal issues. This may or may not happen here but it is worth consideration. If you want to compare the Vertex score to other vacuum scores check out our vacuum cleaner finder application.
Also, you can read actual Vertex owner comments on Amazon if you wish.
|Source||Consumer Rating||# Ratings|
|Amazon||4.89 stars out of 5||9|
|Kohl's||4.8 stars out of 5||105|
|Best Buy||4.63 stars out of 5||35|
|Walmart||4.7 stars out of 5||3|
Three tools are provided with the Vertex:
1) Crevice tool
2) Dusting brush
3) Pet power brush
The crevice tool and dusting brush are rather generic but they don't feel flimsy and they work. The crevice tool is about 8 inches long and the dusting brush head rotates and has a good set of bristles that are not too stiff. The pet power brush however is a little different.
This pet power brush has a finned brushroll and it is actually a “turbo tool”. Despite being called a “power” brush, a turbo tool does not have a motor. You can see in the image below that the tool has a turbo wheel set directly across the airflow path.
This turbo wheel is spun by the vacuum suction and a belt drive spins the finned brushroll. This approach does work – but a motorized tool is usually more effective.
The finned brushroll in the pet power brush is also not typical (you can see the yellow fins (sometimes referred to as blades) in the image above). Most of these tools have a bristled brushroll. However this tool is designed to keep hair/string/thread from getting tangled in the brushroll. We tested it in the video below to see how well it works.
The video shows that the typical bristled brushroll turbo tool gathers so much hair in the brushroll and surrounding mechanism that it stops working. The finned brushroll does slow a bit but it manages to get the job done. It shows almost no hair tangle which also means that the hair has been moved to the dust canister for disposal. This is what you want.
The tools provided with the Vertex are all compression fit which is a little disappointing. A number of our other Shark uprights have tools that securely lock into place. With the Vertex the tools are pushed on and pulled off – they use compression fit. This approach works but it is not elegant and you can sometimes find yourself with tools that fall off while you are using them (if you haven’t pushed them on hard enough) or tools that are difficult to remove (if you’ve pushed them on too hard).
Also, all three tools cannot be stored on-board the vacuum. There is only room on the vacuum for two tools - see image below. The Pet Power Tool will not fit on the storage spaces so you can only carry the crevice tool and the dusting brush.
We really like the easy access to floor settings available on the vacuum handle. A slider allows you to choose between “Hard Floor”, “Carpet / Low Pile”, and “Thick Carpet / Area Rug”. The slider can be accessed with your thumb while you vacuum, making changes quick and easy. The main vacuum power button is also just above the slider. See image to right.
Other main controls include a handle release button, a wand release button, a dust canister release button, and a powered lift-away button. All work well and are easy to access. These controls are also common on many Shark uprights and when you get used to one Shark vacuum you will often find yourself quite familiar with the controls on a different Shark vacuum.
Shark first revealed the lift-away feature on some of their vacuums years ago and it is a feature that stuck – simply due to its popularity. This feature allows you to carry the dust canister / motor assembly in one hand (it “lifts away” from the vacuum) while you use the hose/handle with the other hand. On the end of the handle you can use the wand with tools, you can use the wand with the cleaner head, or you can simply attach tools directly to the end of the handle.
The lift away feature provides a level of versatility you simply don’t get with other uprights. See images below:
There are also two different kinds of lift-away – powered and non-powered. Powered lift-away delivers power to the end of the handle and wand so you can run motorized tools. Non-powered lift away only allows you to run non-motorized tools.
So why does the Vertex come with powered lift-away when they do not provide a motorized tool? That’s actually a good question. The powered lift-away STILL allows you to use the cleaner head on the end of the wand (which you cannot do with non-powered lift away). See last image above. This is great for getting under low furniture.
If you want a motorized hand tool however, you will have to go out and buy yourself one (or use one that you may have on-hand from a different Shark vacuum – if it fits). It is one of our gripes about this vacuum. It really would have been nice if they provided a motorized tool.
DuoClean with Powerfins
DuoClean technology is something we’ve seen on Shark vacuums for several years. It involves using two brushrolls in the cleaner head. All DuoClean machines have a soft roller brush at the front of the cleaner head and another main brushroll. But DuoClean cleaner heads do vary with respect to the main brushroll. We’ve seen bristled brushrolls, finned brushrolls, and combination finned/bristled brushrolls. The main brushroll on our Vertex is a combination of fins and bristles – see image below.
Oddly, in the online materials regarding the Vertex upright we’ve seen pictures of the main brushroll and it seems to be ONLY fins. But our Vertex definitely has both bristles and fins as the image above attests.
Does DuoClean Technology do anything useful? We’ve been testing Shark vacuums with this technology for years and we have found DuoClean Technology to be an asset. It absolutely helps in picking up larger debris (doesn’t snowplow it around) and it increases debris pickup on hard floors. Also, when we first tried a machine with this technology we thought that the front brushroll could be a problem on carpet – but we were wrong. It works just fine on carpet.
With respect to the fins in this new brushroll, we know they are helpful in reducing hair wrap, and in another vacuum we tested (Shark Rocket Pro cordless) we were pleasantly surprised at how much a finned brushroll helped pick up debris on hard floors. We’ll see how well they work on the Vertex upright in the cleaning tests further down in this review.
Maneuverability & Weight
Some owners have highlighted that the Vertex weight as an issue. They feel it is too heavy. As a result we were prepared to deal with a sluggish, and potentially cumbersome upright. This was not really the case. While the Vertex is not lightweight, it is actually similar in weight to some of our other premium Shark uprights. We weighed each of these vacuums with our own scale and the power cord was included.
|Shark APEX AZ1002||18 lbs|
|Shark Vertex AZ2002||16.7 lbs|
|Shark NV752||16.4 lbs|
|Shark ZU632||16.2 lbs|
Of course there are both lighter and heavier vacuums out there. For example, the Shark Navigator ZU561 weighs just over 13 lbs, and if you are a Dyson fan you may be surprised to know that the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy weighs in at a hefty 19.8 lbs.
For the most part we felt movement and maneuverabilty with the Vertex was reasonably good.
The Vertex has excellent air filtration capabilities. It combines a HEPA filter with sealed body construction. This means that all of the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the machine’s filters before being exhausted back into the room. This is an effective approach to quality air filtration and it ensures no unfiltered air is leaking out of the vacuum.
The unit has 2 pre-motor filters and 1 post-motor filter. The 2 pre-motor filters consist of a felt filter and a foam filter. Both are very easy to access and can be rinsed in water and re-used. The post-motor filter is the HEPA filter and it too can be rinsed in water and re-used.
A bagless vacuum and rinsable filters helps keep vacuuming operating costs down as well.
The dust canister has a capacity of 1 quart which is a decent size. You will not find yourself having to empty it too often. It is also very easy to detach from the vacuum, empty, and reattach.
The dust canister has a latch on the bottom that you press to open the bottom door. The door swings open and the debris falls out. If there is anything we don’t like about this canister it may be that it is a little on the narrow side (see image to right and notice size of door on bottom - it is rather narrow) and as a result sometimes debris (especially hair and dust bunnies) can get stuck up in the canister and be a bit of a pain to get out. But this kind of thing is fairly common bagless vacuums.
Noise Level Test
We used a digital noise level meter to measure the peak decibel output from a host of upright vacuums. The test involved placing the meter 3 ft in front of the cleaner head of each vacuum with the brushroll on. The tests were done on low pile carpet and run for about 10 seconds. The peak decibel reading during that time was captured. See table below
|Vacuum Model||Noise Level|
|Shark NV752||75.2 dB|
|Shark APEX||76.1 dB|
|Shark ZU632||77.4 dB|
|Shark Vertex||77.5 dB|
As you can see the Vertex was the loudest of the bunch although it was almost the same as the Shark Rotator ZU632. The Vertex is perhaps a little on the loud side but it really isn’t too bad. When running the vacuum we did not feel that the noise was at an uncomfortable level.
In this test we compared the Vertex against another popular premium Shark upright with DuoClean Technology and a self cleaning brushroll, the APEX AZ1002.
We created debris from carefully measure amounts of ground cheerios, flax seeds, chili flakes, and split green peas (represents small-to-medium sized debris). This was laid in a 5 ft long line on low pile carpet. Each vacuum was run over the debris in about a 10 second pass and the percentage of debris picked up (by weight) was determined.
|Vacuum Model||% Pickup (by weight)|
Results here were very close. Both machines performed very well and picked up almost everything. Perhaps the Vertex had the edge.
Aside: The best result in this kind of test is to pick up pretty much everything on the first pass. In a real world situation even if a very small amount of visible debris is left behind it would usually result in having to do another pass – which effectively doubles the vacuuming effort. The reality is that a vacuum that picks up everything or almost everything in a single pass may reduce vacuuming time considerably compared to a vacuum that may pick up only a fraction less.
We performed the same test on our tile flooring.
|Vacuum Model||% Pickup (by weight)|
Both machines performed well on hard surfaces but again the Vertex had the better pickup.
Each vacuum did a solid job at hair pickup but good hair pickup is fairly common in this kind of test. What we are looking for here is how much hair is left tangled on the brushroll. Too much tangling reduces pickup over time and it also must be removed which can be a pain. This is especially problematic if you have lots of hair to deal with (like in households with pets). We also brought the Shark Rotator NV752 into this test because it does not have a self-cleaning brushroll.
This is a visual test and you can see the results in the video below.
We found that the Vertex had almost no hair left on the brushroll and all the hair had ended up in the dust canister for disposal. These were excellent results. The APEX also performed reasonably well in this test, but the NV752 did not.
It’s very handy if your vacuum cleans right up to the edge of walls or furniture. This visual test shows the ability of the Vertex and the APEX at edge cleaning.
As you can see the Vertex did a great job in this test but the APEX struggled a bit.
In our cleaning tests the Vertex AZ2002 aced everything. This upright vacuum is good on carpet and good on hard floors. It is very effective at keeping hair off the brushroll and it cleans right up tight along edges. This level of performance in our cleaning tests is not something we see too often.
All-in-all this is probably one of the most capable machines we’ve tested in a long while. The consumer ratings are also the highest we have reported to date, and we like the versatility, power, usability and cleaning capabilities of the vacuum. In our opinion, this is a vacuum that is worth your consideration.
Note: The brushrolls in this machine spin in all floor settings. Some people with very delicate flooring may be concerned about scratching, and may prefer a vacuum in which the brushrolls cease to spin in hard floor mode. We have never seen any signs of scratching but we do not have particularly delicate flooring.
The Shark Vertex upright vacuum carries a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
You can see a copy of the operating manual here: Shark Vertex manual