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Shark Navigator Lift Away vs. APEX Duoclean Vacuum: Ultimate Comparison

by  Lawrence -  Last updated on February 8, 2021

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Keeping the house clean is a chore as old as time itself. While it is still not that fun, we can be grateful that we are no longer using an old wooden broom, or having to go outside and beat the carpets and rugs by hand.

But although those days are long behind us, we are still having to deal with food being dropped, mud being trailed in, strands of hair gathering, and dust blowing under the furniture. With so much dirt, debris, and dust building on the floors, we tend to expect a lot from our vacuum cleaners.

It can feel like there are so many vacuum models out there that each one was designed for its own specific speck of dust. How do you know which is the best vacuum for you? That’s where we come in.

If you have been researching vacuum cleaners then there is no doubt that you’ll have come across Shark vacuums. Part of the Shark Ninja brand, Shark has quickly made a name for itself as the go-to brand for high-tech household appliances.

They are particularly recognized for their robot vacuum ability that can make vacuuming feel like a computer game. However, the robot vacuum isn’t for everyone. If you have a larger home, if it tends to get dirtier, if there are steps that make the home fairly uneven, or if you have various bits of furniture that can block the path of the robot vacuum, then it might not be the best choice for you.

If that is the case, then you may well be looking into getting an upright vacuum, corded vacuum. The good news is that technology hasn’t just improved for robot appliances. These newer Shark vacuum models are also far superior to the vacuums we had at the turn of the millennium.

In this article, we are going to take you through the main aspects that you should look out for when you are getting a new vacuum, and we are going to do a comparison for each one between the Shark Navigator and the Shark apex DuoClean.

We’ll take a look at their designs and the models available, plus we’ll compare features such as the dust bin, power, cord lengths, filters, and additional lighting. So if you are trying to work out which vacuum is right for you, take a look through this article and your doubts will soon be cleared up.

Shark Navigator vs. Shark Apex Duoclean at a Glance

We know that you are busy with a lot on your plate, so if you don’t have time to read the full article, we’ve put together a quick list of the main advantages and disadvantages, so that you can get a brief overview.

However, if you really want to know the differences between the two shark vacuums, we encourage you to read the rest of the article, and then you’ll be very well placed to make your purchasing decision for these shark vacuums

Shark Navigator Lift-away Advantages:

  • Cheaper
  • Ultra-light Vacuum cleaner
  • Perfect for deep-cleaning carpets
  • Easy to clean hard-to-reach-places.
  • Weight: 17.7 lbs
  • Dust Cup Capacity:2.2 Dry quarts
  • Motorized pet tool/ pet brush
  • Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology
  • Comes with a crevice tool, pet multi-tool, and an Upholstery tool
  • Includes a HEPA filter
  • Easy to remove the Dust cup
  • Perfect for cleaning pet hair
  • Easy to Move around
  • Bigger Dust bin

Shark Navigator Lift-away Disadvantages:

  • Louder
  • Less Efficient Vacuumm Cleaner

Shark Apex Duoclean Advantages:

  • DuoClean Bristle Brush
  • Easily picks up pet hair
  • Dust Cup Capacity:2.2 Dry quarts
  • Perfect for deep-cleaning carpets
  • Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology
  • Ultra-light Vacuum cleaner
  • Motorized pet tool/ pet brush
  • Includes a HEPA filter
  • Comes with a crevice tool and a pet multi-tool
  • Easy to remove the Dust cup
  • Noise Reduction
  • LED headlights
  • More effective on multiple floor types

Shark Apex Duoclean Disadvantages:

  • More Expensive
  • Heavier

Winner: Don’t want to read the full article? The editor’s choice is Shark Apex DuoClean.

What’s the Difference Between Them?

Now we are going to take a look at the Shark Navigator lift-away and the Shark apex DuoClean to explore their similarities and differences of these shark vacuums, while also highlighting the main aspects that you need to think about when you are buying a new vacuum. First, though, let’s go through the different models that come in each range.

Models

So, when it comes to the different shark vacuums, the first thing to clarify is that the Shark Navigator lift-away is an earlier range than the Shark apex DuoClean. In fact, the Shark Apex DuoClean refers to a new method of cleaning that the brush heads have, based on their different design and also comes with a crevice tool and a pet multi-tool. Both of them come with a HEPA filter.

But this is something that we will look at in more detail in the next section. The Shark vacuums tend to have a model number that begins with the letters NV, followed by a two or three-digit number. Both of them come with a Motorized pet tool/ pet brush

When we compare the Duoclean vs Shark Navigator, for the Shark Navigator series, these include the Shark Navigator Lightweight series, which includes the NV22L, NV22S, NV27GR, and the NV105. Then there is the Shark Navigator Deluxe (NV42), plus the Shark Navigator Professional series, which includes the NV70, NV80, NV360, and the NV480.

Finally, there is the Shark Navigator Lift-Away series, which includes the NV351, NV352, NV353, NV356E, NV370, NV391, and the UV540. This latter series has a feature which allows the pod to be detachable, and which we’ll look into in more detail later in the article. Both the models come with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology

For the purpose of this article, we will be comparing the new Shark Navigator series, which is the NV356E. The Shark apex DuoClean vacuums are all Lift-Away robot vacuums, which includes the initial model of the NV771, plus the Powered Lift-Away Speed series, which has the NV800, NV801, NV831, NV835, NV800, NV801, and NV803.

The newer Shark apex DuoClean with zero-M models are the Apex Powered Lift-Away series, which includes the AX912, AX951, AX952, and the Apex duo clean with Zero-M, which is the AZ1002. It is this last shark vacuum, the Shark Apex DuoClean with Zero-M, the AZ1002, which is the most popular shark vacuum, and which we will be comparing Zero-M vs Shark Navigator NV356E.

Verdict:

Both these shark vacuum series have a huge variety of models available. For the most part, the differences lie in the accessories that these shark vacuums come with and the updated anti-allegen complete seal technology, although some are also part of a lightweight branch of the series. We will have to call this round a draw.

Design

Both the Shark Navigator and the Shark apex DuoClean series are upright vacuums. This is the most common type of shark vacuum these days, and it means that you are able to get full vacuuming power.

If you have a larger home or tend to get a lot of dirt on bare floors, this is exactly what you need. It is no use having a cordless vacuum if you need to re-charge it twice just do a once-over on all the floors.

Nor would you want a hand-held vacuum or a cordless vacuum that has a tiny dust bin that frequently needs to be emptied. An upright vacuum or corded vacuum provides you with the most power and the largest dust bin, allowing you to complete your clean in the most efficient way possible.

When we compare the Duoclean Apex vs Shark Navigator, both the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro (also known as the NV356E), and the Shark Apex DuoClean Upright Vacuum with Zero-M (also known as the AZ1002) has four main parts: The soft roller brush head, the extension wand, the canister, and the handle. They also come with strong suction power.

There is also the accessory holder, which simply clips onto the handle and can hold up to two additional accessories, such as the crevice tool. The extension wand forms the spine of the vacuum, as it stands up from the brush head, the canister slides on to sit above the brush head, and then the handle clips on the top, with the hose attaching to the canister.

The suction power button is on the handle, so you have easy control of the vacuum and can pick the setting you want. The canister is an important feature on both the Shark Navigator NV356E and the Shark Apex Duoclean AZ1002, as it is this part that enables the Lift-Away action.

As we mentioned before, in the upright position, the canister slides down the wand and sits on the brush head, and the hose links the wand and the canister. However, it is possible to lift the canister away from the wand and a cleaning head.

The canister is then carried with the hose working as a more flexible wand, onto which an accessory can be attached, for instance, to get into nooks and crannies, or to be better suited for vehicles. On the Shark Apex DuoClean AZ1002 upright vacuum, the cleaning head/ brush head can also be attached to the hose, to make it easier to get to hard-to-reach places.

When it comes to maneuverability, both upright vacuums are able to turn 45º. This makes vacuuming so much easier, as you no longer have to stick to rigid straight lines.

And although these shark vacuums are both upright vacuums, the NV356E can back pivot to 130º, while the AZ1002 can back pivot to a full 180º. This means that the Shark Apex DuoClean upright vacuum can lie flat, which is obviously a huge advantage when trying to vacuum under furniture.

In terms of dimensions, the Shark Navigator NV356E  measures 14.96 x 11.4 x 45.5 inches and weighs 13.7 lbs, while the Shark Apex DuoClean AZ1002 upright vacuum measures 11.2 x 12.2 x 46 inches and weighs 17.1 lbs.

This means that the Duoclean shark vacuum is slightly narrower and taller, but also heavier. However, this heavier weight is probably in large part due to being more powerful, as the Navigator NV356E has 1200 W of suction power, compared to the 1350 W of the Shark Apex DuoClean AZ1002 upright vacuum.

The Navigator NV356E also has a narrower cleaning path at 9.5”, compared to the 11” cleaning path of the Shark Apex DuoClean AZ1002 upright vacuum.

Verdict:

The two upright vacuums have very similar designs, but the fact that the DuoClean shark vacuum is more powerful, more flexible, and has a wider cleaning path makes it the clear victor when it comes to the design.

Brush heads

However, it is the brush head itself that really differentiates these two upright vacuums. The Shark Navigator has the regular vacuum head that you have probably come to expect. It is a cuboid with a large surface area on the floor so that it can pick up dust and debris in as few strokes as possible.

When we compare the Duoclean Apex vs Shark Navigator, the Shark DuoClean has a specially designed, duo-clean brush head. Rather than being a cuboid shape, this brush head is lower at the front-end and does not have a wall on the front. Instead, it has two brushes inside.

The back brush is a bristle brush, as upright vacuums tend to have. But the front brush is a smaller, soft brush that is better suited for hard floors. This design allows the brush to be lower and to reach into more restricted areas.

Meanwhile, having two brush rolls means that they can combine so that they can get both large and small debris, and so that it can work effectively to deep clean carpets and hard floors.

Plus, the brush roll has a special Zero-M design with self-cleaning technology, which eliminates hair wrap. This hair wrap is ideal if you have pets or if there are people with long hair in your home.

Verdict:

There is no doubt about it, the Shark DuoClean definitely has the superior brush head compared to the Shark Navigator vacuums.

Dust bin

When you sweep the floor with a dustpan and brush, it is always very apparent how much dirt you are picking up. You can see it in the dustpan, and you can tell when it is full and needs to be thrown in the trash can.

But when you are vacuuming, it is easier to forget about the fact that it is pulling dirt and dust off the floor, and that all that debris must be going somewhere. However, the dust bin is a very important factor when it comes to vacuuming.

You don’t want to be half-way through cleaning stairs, only to realize that it is full and you have to go all the way back down to empty it, and then head back up again. That’s why having a large dust bin is a pretty key feature for a lot of people looking for a new vacuum, especially if you’ll be using the vacuum for a larger home.

When we compare the Duoclean Apex vs Shark Navigator, the Shark Navigator NV356E actually has a dust bin that is quite a lot larger than the Shark DuoClean AZ1002. It can hold up to around 2.5l dry, compared to around 1.7l for the AZ1002. Both vacuums have a really simple emptying mechanism.

It just takes a click of a button to remove the dust cup. Once the dust cup is over the trash can, simply flip the tab on the front of the canister, and the contents will fall from the bottom of the dust cup. This makes it a fairly neat task, and easy to aim the dust cup straight into the trash.

Both vacuums use a completely sealed system together with a washable HEPA filter, which makes them particularly effective at trapping dust and allergens. This is a really important feature for anyone who has allergies, but also for anyone who lives in a city or near a busy road, where dust can be a more common problem.

Verdict:

Both the vacuums have a similar design, however, the Shark Navigator NV356E has a considerably larger dust bin, so we declare it the winner of this round.

Performance

We mentioned in the design section that the Shark DuoClean has both a larger cleaning path as well as more suction power, so it should come as no surprise that it is superior when it comes to performance.

The Shark Navigator struggles slightly when it comes to hard floors, although the dust-away hard floor attachment can help with this somewhat. It is excellent to deep clean low pile carpets, but it struggles with high pile carpets, particularly with larger debris like cereal.

This is a common issue for a lot of vacuums, which in the past has led to a lot of people having multiple vacuums for different floor types. In contrast, the Shark DuoClean really is excellent on all types of floors.

The DuoClean brush head means that the two brush rolls combine to provide a very effective cleaning process. It is able to cope with smaller dust and larger debris on both low pile and high pile carpets, as well as hard floors. So if you have a variety of floor types in your home, the Shark DuoClean AZ1002 really can’t be beaten.

Verdict:

The Shark DuoClean upright vacuum is a fantastic vacuum and it is far superior when it comes to performance in comparison with the Shark Navigator. We should add that this isn’t because the Navigator is a poor vacuum option, but simply that the Shark DuoClean has taken vacuuming to the next level.

Accessories and Features

We mentioned at the start of this article that one of the key aspects that distinguish the different models within each series is the array of accessories that comes with it. This is also a feature that tends to differ from one series to the next, as they upgrade and re-prioritize.

Here we will take you through the accessories that come with the two vacuums we’ve been analyzing in this article; the Shark Navigator NV356E and the Shark DuoClean AZ1002. The Shark Navigator comes with four attachments. The first is an 8” crevice tool.

This has a smaller, round head, which allows you to reach into corners and crannies. It can be good for working into the creases of the stairs and other similar areas, particularly when used with the lift-away feature. The NV356E also has a dusting brush.

This is again a smaller head, with lots of bristles. It can be particularly useful for furniture, again it tends to be used with the lift-away feature. Then there is the pet power brush, which looks more like a regular vacuum head in a cuboid shape.

This attaches to the wand and can help clean pet hair out of cracks and crevice tool. Finally, there is the dust-away hard floor attachment. This is a useful attachment, again for the wand, if you have a lot of hard floors that you want to keep unscratched.

In contrast, the Shark DuoClean AZ1002 upright vacuum only comes with three attachments. Again it comes with the crevice tool, which we all know is great for working on tougher stains, as well as hard-to-reach-places and perfectly cleans pet hair.

Then it also has the pet power dusting brush, which as anyone with shaggy dogs will know, can be an essential feature. Plus it has the upholstery tool, which is similar to the dust brush and can help to really tackle the furniture, to keep your home spick and span.

We would also like to mention here an additional feature that the Shark DuoClean AZ1002 has, which the Shark Navigator NV356E is lacking. The AZ1002 upright vacuum has LED headlights, which are on both the handle and the floor nozzle. These LED headlights are designed to help you to have better visibility when you are reaching into tricky spots, for instance under the sofa or bed.

Verdict:

The Shark Navigator NV356E has the extra dust-away hard floor attachment, which is a great addition. However, the upgraded dusting brush head of the Shark DuoClean means that it is made redundant for the AZ1002 upright vacuum.

Meanwhile, the new feature of the LED lights, although a little bit unnecessary, are nice to have for sure. So we give this round to the Shark DuoClean upright vacuum and is also perfect for pet hair.

Price

For a lot of people, it doesn’t matter how many gadgets, gizmos, and upgrades a vacuum might have, because at the end of the day it comes down to price. The question is, what are you getting for the price, and is one worth spending more on than the other.

As you might expect, the Shark DuoClean AZ1002 does cost a lot more than the Shark Navigator NV356E. Of course, prices do vary, but as we write this, the NV356E costs around $200, while the AZ1002 costs around $330. That’s a big price difference, no two ways about it. But is it worth it?

When we compare Duoclean apex vs shark navigator, the Shark DuoClean AZ1002 is one of the latest models of Shark vacuums. It has noise reduction technology so that vacuuming can be a less intrusive task. It also has a wider brush head and more power.

This makes vacuuming far more efficient, ultimately meaning that you can spend less time doing it. In return, the Shark Navigator NV356E is lighter and has a larger dust bin, which could make it more user-friendly in some ways.

It also has an extra accessory included, but the AZ1002 doesn’t need it because it has the DuoClean brush head which works well on all floor types and prevents long hairs from tangling around the brush. The Shark DuoClean can also back-pivot to a full 180º so that you can reach under furniture easily, while both have the lift-away feature. We feel this is the best overall when it comes to robot vacuums.

Verdict:

The NV356E is substantially cheaper than the AZ1002, so if we are purely measuring it on price, we will have to call the Shark Navigator the winner for this round.

Conclusion

Well, we’ve now taken a look at the main features in a vacuum that you need to look out for, such as the performance, the features, and accessories, the dust bin, the filters, the size, and the brush heads.

Having done a comparison of these features amongst others between the Shark Navigator NV356E and the Shark DuoClean AZ1002, we think that the Shark DuoClean is a far superior option.

It is better at cleaning on all floor types, it is more powerful, easier to maneuver, has great accessories, and has additional LED lighting to help you.

However, the Shark Navigator is still an excellent vacuum, with a lot of the same features, and it is much cheaper, so it would make a great choice for many. We would go with the Shark DuoClean, to make sure that we could have the best vacuuming experience, but which one will you go for?

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