We’ve published a more up-to-date review of the Shark Rotator Series and all of the other Shark vacuums. This review is outdated and we recommend checking out our new Shark Rotator Review, or you can take a look at our overview of all Shark vacuums and navigate to the one that interests you.
Solid performance bagless vacuums at competitive(low) prices. They are not a luxury brand, like Miele or Riccar, and don’t have high-end build quality. However, they’re also more affordable.
That’s my experience with Shark. You won’t get 20 years out of these vacuums, but they pack a lot of features and versatility.
With that said, Shark has two flagship upright vacuum series: the Shark Navigator and the Shark Rotator. Confusingly, Shark doesn’t explicitly lay out the differences between these two vacuum lines, but it’s actually very simple.
- The Rotator Series generally has a wider cleaning path.
- The Rotator Series comes with LED headlights, whereas the Navigator does not.
- The Rotator Series has longer hoses.
- The Navigator Series generally has larger dust cup capacity.
These are subtle differences and it’s not really clear why there are a few additional features on the Rotator series, like the LED headlight, but it has the smaller dust cup capacity. The dust cup capacity is really the biggest difference.
For example, the Shark Rotator Lift-Away NV501 holds 1.3 dry quarts while the Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away NV356E holds 2.2 dry quarts. Yet the Rotator is more expensive than the Navigator. Albeit not very much, but other than the LED headlight there is no feature or attachment that the Navigator is lacking.
So what is a “Lift-Away” vacuum?
The lift-away feature lets you remove the body of the upright and carry it along with the hose and power nozzle to clean any place you can reach.
This makes stairs, vehicles, curtains, and any place you normally have trouble reaching with a standard upright, much more accessible to cleaning.
My aim is to help you make the right choice for your flooring and above-floor cleaning needs. When comparing these very similar vacuum series there will be subtle differences that I will try to point out that may sway your decision when buying. Maybe you would rather have a 8.5 foot hose instead of a 5 foot hose(“Why yes, you read my mind!” Check out the Shark Rotator Lift-Away NV501).
Shark Rotator Slim-Lite Lift-Away (NV341) Vs. Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away (NV501)
A major difference between Shark’s new Rocket 2-in-1 series of vacuums and the Shark Rotator Uprights is their quality of filters. All of the Shark Rotator vacuums use the same 3 filter combination; a pre-motor foam filter, pre-motor felt filter, and post-motor HEPA filter.
The addition of the HEPA filter really helps the overall quality and the Anti-Allergen Seal makes sure air is sent through the filters instead of a leaky pipe system. This is something a lot of vacuums lack, and you end up just taking the dust you vacuumed and making it airborne.
At 25 feet, the cord length of the Slim-Lite is the shortest of the Rotator Series. The hose length, at 7 feet, is longer than all the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away vacuums, and only 1.5 feet shorter than the Shark Rotator Professional (NV501).
Many people complain about short hoses on the Rotator Powered Series, and find that they end up pulling the upright so much that it just falls over when using the hose. Using the hose while the vacuum is still in upright form isn’t advisable for this reason. It’s a “Lift-Away” after all. So pull off the canister body and you’ll be able to get anywhere you need to.