Shark Navigator Vacuums Review
Zero-M Shark Navigator Lift-Away Speed
The Zero-M Navigator Lift-Away Speed is currently the leading Navigator vacuum and has the largest dustbin capacity compared to all the latest Shark uprights, even the full-size models.
The Shark Zero-M cleaner head is a new feature that removes long hair wrap from the brushroll as you vacuum, which means you don’t need to pull out the scissors and remove it yourself, most of the time.
There are 4 versions of this vacuum, and the only difference between them is which attachments (to clean hard to reach places and for maneuvering around furniture) are included, and their color.
- ZU560 – Blue – Duster Crevice Tool, Hair Removal Multi-Tool
- ZU560C – Blue – Duster Crevice Tool, Wide Upholstery Tool
- ZU561 – Red – Duster Crevice Tool, Hair Removal Multi-Tool, Wide Upholstery Tool
- ZU562 – Red – Duster Crevice Tool, Hair Removal Multi-Tool, Pet Hair Power Brush
You’re at the Right Place
This article is part of our review series on Shark vacuums. You can take a look at our overview page for a top-down view of all Shark vacuums and navigate to other reviews that interest you.
The Navigator Series, the subject of this page, features compact and full-size bagless uprights. On our overview page, you’ll find links to reviews of Shark’s other uprights, cordless vacuums, robot vacuums, and corded stick vacuums.
Shark’s vacuum lineup is a maze of confusing names and terminology. The number of options makes it difficult to see which vacuum offers the best combination of features for the whole house. That’s why we were surprised to see that among their featured vacuums, the Shark Zero-M Lift-Away Speed (Model ZU561) has the highest capacity dustbin and the lightest weight.
It’s strange because the “Speed” name typically refers to the more compact models, and you wouldn’t expect such a large dustbin. The ZU561 does have an 800 Watt motor, whereas the full-size Shark APEX AZ1002 has a 1350 Watt motor. We suspect the extra dustbin capacity comes from design changes and the smaller motor.
What about the rest of the Navigator vacuums?
Well, we don’t recommend them. With the release of the Zero-M and DuoClean features across Shark’s newest vacuums, there’s not much point in buying the older Navigator models. You’re missing out on too much.
If you don’t care about the Zero-M or DuoClean features, then you can get the older models at a relatively low price (these offer gentle bare floor cleaning as well as for carpets).
|Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed||Shark Navigator Lift-Away||Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe||Shark Navigator Professional XL Capacity|
|Accessories||Hair Removal Multi-Tool, Duster Crevice Tool, Pet Power Brush||Wide Pet Upholstery Tool, Dusting Brush, 5.5" Crevice Tool, 24" Crevice Tool||Under-Appliance Wand, Pet Power Brush, Dusting Brush, 5.5" Crevice Tool||Wide Pet Upholstery Tool, Dusting Brush, 5.5" Crevice Tool|
|Dustbin Capacity||2.2 Dry Quarts||1.2 Dry Quarts||1.2 Dry Quarts||2.9 Dry Quarts|
|Cord Length||25 Feet||30 Feet||30 Feet||25 Feet|
|Weight||13.4 lbs||12.5 lbs||12.5 lbs||15.2|
|Warranty||5 Year Limited||5 Year Limited||5 Year Limited||5 Year Limited|
|Check Amazon||Check Amazon||Check Amazon||Check Amazon|
|Check Best Buy|
At this time, the Navigator Series does not have a vacuum that comes with the DuoClean feature. That’s an obvious next step if Shark wants to continue advancing the Navigator vacuums to catch up with the rest of their stick and upright vacuums.
The NV70 model is still featured on Shark’s Upright vacuums page and has the largest dustbin capacity. Being an older model, it lacks the latest features and simply doesn’t perform as well as the Zero-M or DuoClean vacuums when it comes to picking up large debris (e.g. dog food) or very fine dust on hardwood floors.
Also, all the dustbin capacity numbers we show are up to the Fill Line, unless otherwise stated. Sometimes you’ll see the total volume of the dustbin quoted instead, but if the entire volume is considered usable, then why bother putting a Fill Line in the first place?
Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed
The Shark Zero-M cleaner head and improved complete seal technology around the cleaner head leaves the old Shark vacuum models in the dust. This is one of the most affordable vacuums from Shark with the new Zero-M cleaner head, and the largest dustbin capacity. It’s just hard to beat.
- Hair Wrap Removal Multi-Tool
- Duster Crevice Tool (for hard to reach areas)
- Pet Hair Power Brush (ZU562 Version Available at Best Buy)
- Wide Upholstery Tool
- Yearly Expenses: $20
- This estimate assumes you buy genuine Shark vacuum filters and replace the HEPA once per year.
- Everyone’s vacuuming needs are different. If you find washing the filter over the course of a year doesn’t affect the vacuum’s performance then you can reduce the ongoing cost of filters.
Currently, the Shark ZU560-562 models are the leading Navigator vacuums. They are the only Navigator vacuums that come with the Zero-M vacuum head.
Shark’s new APEX series is taking the spotlight these days, so we’re not sure if Shark will continue to refresh the Navigator series. The current trend seems to be towards compact and stick vacuums, and the ZU562 fits that bill.
It would be much simpler if they would just consolidate down to a single upright vacuum series that has Speed, XL Capacity, or Deluxe (more attachments) versions.
The new Shark ZU561 and ZU562 are some of the most affordable Shark vacuums with the latest Zero-M cleaner head. The Navigator Series is still relevant, and this release is a significant upgrade to the old upright vacuum head design.
A Shark upright vacuum usually falls into one of 3 categories:
- XL Capacity
At a glance, we expect full-size upright vacuums to the baseline and not sacrifice size for performance or features. Compact uprights should be more lightweight, smaller body, and possibly even less powerful floor cleaner than a full-size upright vacuum. Keeping the same cleaning power would be nice, but sacrificing size usually means giving up something, right? Lastly, an XL Capacity upright vacuum should have a larger dustbin capacity than full-size uprights, by definition, and may be heavier.
Let’s see how the current Shark Navigator uprights stack up when we look at these different metrics.
|Shark Zero-M Lift-Away Speed (ZU561)||Shark Lift-Away (NV352)||Shark Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)||Shark Professional (NV70)|
|Weight||13.4 lbs||12.5 lbs||14 lbs||15.2 lbs|
|Dustbin Capacity||2.2 Dry Quarts||1.2 Dry Quarts||2.2 Dry Quarts||2.9 Dry Quarts|
|Dimensions||12″ L x 9.5″ W x 45.6″ H||12.4″ L x 11.4″ W x 45.2″ H||11.4″ L x 14.9″ W x 45.2″ H||11.4″ L x 12.2″ W x 45.5″ H|
There’s only about a 1.5-pound difference between the weight of the ZU561 Navigator Speed and the NV70 XL-Capacity. They’re supposed to be the smallest and largest uprights in the Navigator Series, but as you can see it just depends on what you’re looking at.
The ZU561 has a wider floor cleaning path and a larger dustbin than the older full-size Navigator models and stays light at 13.4 lbs.
Shark Navigator Lift-Away mode is one of the best design decisions they’ve made. It’s ubiquitous across all their upright vacuums at this point. A Lift-Away upright vacuum is portable and versatile, and gives you the same freedom of movement as a handheld vacuum, but you keep the power and capacity of an upright vacuum.
There are two different versions of the Lift-Away feature.
|Detachable Canister||Detachable Canister|
|Use non-powered attachments, such as crevice tools or brushes.||Use motorized brush attachments for cleaning areas like stairs or upholstery.|
|Detach the cleaner head and use it like a traditional canister vacuum.|
As you can see, the main difference between the 2 different Lift-Away types is the ability to use motorized brush attachments or even the vacuum head itself with the Powered Lift-Away vacuums.
Now, the Shark Navigator ZU561 is not a Powered Lift-Away vacuum. You can only use basic attachments with it.
For cleaning upholstery that’s covered with pet hair, a motorized brush is usually preferred. However, the Pet Hair Powerbrush included with the ZU561 is specifically designed for removing pet hair. It uses rubber bristles to loosen up hair from fabric, or you can turn it into a typical upholstery tool with felt pads.
There is another attachment option, and it’s almost as good as a motorized brush attachment, but instead of being powered by a motor it uses suction power from the vacuum to spin a brush. Shark calls it a “Pet Power Brush,” but I think they should have just called it an air-driven brush to avoid confusion.
The Pet Hair Power Brush comes with the Shark ZU562 model.
Air-driven brushes work well when you’re not dealing with tick fibers carpet cleaning or very plush upholstery. The more resistance the brush gets, the more it slows down, however, any movement at all is better than none. You also have to keep them clean because long hair getting tangled up around the brush will create more resistance.
The Shark Navigator ZU560-562 models use a total of 3 filters: pre-motor foam and felt filters, and a post-motor HEPA filter. All Shark filters are washable and don’t need frequent replacement.
Every vacuum manufacturer provides a suggested cleaning frequency for their filters, but every person’s vacuuming habits and environment are different. For that reason, we suggest using Shark’s recommended cleaning schedule as the bare minimum.
The foam and felt filters handle the brunt of the dust and allergens that flow through your vacuum, so they need the most frequent cleaning. Here’s a quick summary table of the Navigator filters and Shark’s recommendations.
|Dyson V8 Absolute||Dyson V6 Absolute|
|Filter||HEPA Filter, Washable||HEPA Filter, Washable|
|Check Current Price||Check Current Price|
The ZU560-562 Navigator vacuums are a relatively new release and we’re not confident recommending a generic filter replacement at this point. Once third-party manufacturers start listing these Shark Navigator model numbers on a filter set as being compatible we’ll include it here.
If you notice your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt, has poor suction power, or seems to have restricted airflow, then that’s a sign you need to clean the filters and check for blockages. If your household has multiple pets, then be extra thorough about making sure your vacuum stays unclogged.
It’s essential that you let the filters air dry for 24 hours after washing them. Using a wet, or even damp, filter in your vacuum can lead to mold growth and possibly even motor damage. The smell is absolutely horrible if you let water into any vacuum, even once.
Watch the video below from Vacuum Wars for an excellent analysis of the new Shark Navigator uprights with Zero-M.
- The old-style Navigator vacuum got tangled with pet hair, while the Zero-M vacuum head did not. The Zero-M self-cleaning brushroll delivers nonstop hair removal and is working as expected in this limited test.
- The swivel steering for excellent control is comfortable and similar to the older models.
- The ZU560-562 vacuums have a better anti-allergen complete seal technology around the brushroll. A brush strip behind the vacuum head opening concentrates airflow so that suction power is strong enough to suck up fine powder without multiple passes. The old models failed terribly at this test.
- Both the new and old Navigator don’t perform well with large debris, and require you to use the hose. Things like large cereal would be hard to pick up.
- The slightly lower airflow numbers on the new ZU560-562 models are more than compensated by the improved seal around the vacuum head. The newer Navigators perform better with less power.
As you can see, the performance difference between the older Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 and the new Shark Navigator ZU562 is striking.
One key difference is the seal around the cleaner head. We’ve actually seen similar designs implemented in other vacuum heads, such as the latest Dyson stick vacuum models, where there is a row of bristles at the rear of the cleaner head opening.
This limits the airflow from the rear of the opening and helps prevent debris from getting thrown behind the cleaner, which sometimes happens when you vacuum hardwood floors.
Shark gives you a 5-year limited warranty and return policy with the Shark Navigator ZU560-562 vacuums. The 5-year limited warranty applies to the original owner and is not transferable.
- Non-wearable component that are defective.
- The entire vacuum may be replaced if it’s found to be defective.
What’s Not Covered?
- Wearable parts such as filters.
- If you attempt repairs yourself.
- If the vacuum is used for commercial purposes.
- The cost of shipping the repaired or replacement unit to you.
- Damage caused by misuse, abuse, negligent handling, or mishandling in transit.
- Consequential or incidental damages
- Defects caused by or resulting from damages from shipping or from repairs, serivce or alteration to the product or any of its part which have been performed by an unauthorized repair person.
- Products purchased, used, or operated outside of North America.
You can read the warranty document provided by Shark here.
Our goal with this article is to provide some clarity on the relevance of the Shark Navigator vacuums in the overall picture of Shark’s huge vacuum lineup. The Shark Navigator ZU560 and its variants are the best of the Navigator Series. It comes at a great price compared to the APEX and DuoClean models.
If you watched the video above from Vacuum Wars then you can see the big performance improvements that have been made over the older Navigator models. It’s not just about more power. The new cleaner head design does more with less and picks up small debris, such as sand or coffee, that the old Navigators simply couldn’t do.
The Zero-M feature is possibly the best attempt to deal with pet hair removal that we’ve seen, in terms of bare floor cleaning or on carpet.
You can check out our Shark Vacuum Overview for more information on all Shark vacuums.