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 Shark 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.
State of the Shark Navigator Series
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 that fits your needs. That’s why we were surprised to see that among their featured vacuums, the Shark Navigator 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 Shark 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.
Use our price comparison table below to see what fits your budget.
Shark Navigator Comparison Table
Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed
Shark Navigator Lift-Away
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe
Shark Navigator Professional XL Capacity
Hair Removal Multi-Tool, Duster Crevice Tool, Pet Power Brush
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 upright and stick 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 hard 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?
Letting the dustbin contents fill up past the line is a bad idea since it puts additional strain on the motor and reduces performance.
Best Shark Navigator Vacuum
Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed
The Zero-M cleaner head and improved seal around the cleaner head leaves the old Shark Navigator 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.
Pet Power Brush (ZU562 Version Available at Best Buy)
Wide Upholstery Tool
Yearly Expenses: $20
This estimate assumes you buy genuine Shark filters and replace the HEPA Filter 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 Navigator ZU560-562 models are the leading Navigator vacuums. They are the only Shark Navigator vacuums that come with the Zero-M cleaner 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 Navigator 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 cleaner head design.
Let’s take a deeper look into the latest Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed.
Shark’s upright vacuums usually fall into one of 3 categories:
At a glance, we expect full-size uprights to the baseline and not sacrifice size for performance or features. Compact uprights should be more lightweight, smaller body, and possibly even less powerful than a full-size upright. Keeping the same vacuuming power would be nice, but sacrificing size usually means giving up something, right? Lastly, XL Capacity uprights 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 Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed (ZU561)
Shark Navigator Lift-Away (NV352)
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)
Shark Navigator Professional (NV70)
2.2 Dry Quarts
1.2 Dry Quarts
2.2 Dry Quarts
2.9 Dry Quarts
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 cleaning path and a larger dustbin than the older full-size Navigator models and stays light at 13.4 lbs.
Shark’s Lift-Away feature is one of the best design decisions they’ve made. It’s ubiquitous across all their upright vacuums at this point. The Lift-Away feature gives you the same freedom of movement as a handheld vacuum, but you keep the power and capacity of an upright.
There are two different versions of the Lift-Away feature.
Use non-powered attachments, such as crevice tools or dusting brushes.
Use motorized brush attachments for cleaning stairs or upholstery.
Detach the vacuum 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 cleaner 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 Removal Multi-Tool 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 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.
Air-driven brushes work well when you’re not dealing with thick carpet fibers 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 as 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 particles that flow through your vacuum, so they need the most frequent cleaning. Here’s a quick summary table of the Shark Navigator filters and Shark’s recommendations.
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.
Please leave a comment if you’ve found a third-party filter that fits and we would be glad to include it here.
If you notice your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt, has poor suction, 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 cleaner head did not. The Zero-M feature is working as expected in this limited test.
The swivel steering is comfortable and similar to the older models.
The ZU560-562 vacuums have a better seal around the brushroll. A brush strip behind the cleaner head opening concentrates airflow so that suction 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 cleaner head. The newer Navigators perform better with less power.
As you can see, the performance difference between the older Shark Navigator 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 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 vacuum, which sometimes happens when you vacuum hard floors.
At the end of the day, you’re getting better cleaning performance with a smaller motor due to other smart design changes.
Shark gives you a 5-year warranty with the Shark Navigator ZU560-562 vacuums. The 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 that we’ve seen.