Shark APEX DuoClean AX951 Powered Lift Away Review: Versatile Upright

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Shark is been busy in terms of manufacturing new products in their vacuum cleaner line and this is one of their latest uprights available right now.

Shark DuoClean APEX Review

They call it the APEX DuoClean Powered Lift Away.

Related: Please check out my in-depth guide on the best Shark vacuums and find out which Shark cleaner would be best suited for your needs.

It comes with all the latest features – DuoClean, Lift-Away, Noise Reduction and Active Glide.

The latter two features are not found in the other uprights, the NV752, and NV803.

Another feature that homeowners will like would be the under appliance wand that makes cleaning under low profile furniture much easier.

But the question is, are you willing to pay the extra $$$ to buy this latest version?

A quick look at the features

  • It features DuoClean cleaning head, Powered Lift-Away, Noise Reduction and Active Glide technology
  • Lift-Away modes allow this full-sized upright to clean hard to reach areas under and around furniture
  • The anti-allergen system keeps fine microscopic allergens inside the bin
  • HEPA filtration
  • Active-Glide technology makes this easier to move on thicker pile carpet
  • Noise reduction system reduces the noise produced by the motor
  • DuoClean head cleans fine and large particles on bare floor and carpet well
  • LED headlights
  • 7-year warranty

Pros

  • This versatile upright is capable of cleaning floors and upholstery
  • DuoClean technology gives to very good agitation on a variety of surfaces
  • Long 7-year warranty – longer than a Dyson!
  • Comes with the under appliance wand off the box
  • Has sealed filtration with a post more HEPA
  • Decent sized bin

Cons

  • Expensive but again still cheaper than a Dyson
  • Relatively short power cord – only 30 feet
  • A heavy machine at 16 pounds

What to expect from the Shark APEX Powered Lift Away?

This upright is an upgraded version of the DuoClean NV803 with the same dual brush system. I’d say to expect a similar cleaning performance.

Larger bin

The biggest difference would be the size of the bin and the new features that Shark added in the APEX.

This includes active glide and noise reduction technology that aims to reduce drag on carpet and lower noise.

These are “convenience” upgrades in my book that may or may not justify the price difference. But that would depend on how much you are willing to spend.

Under appliance cleaning

Another “convenience” upgrade would be the under appliance wand that works great on furniture where the clearance is under 5 inches.

I have a few of those in my home and cleaning it is virtually impossible without moving the furniture itself.

Watch this video to see the different features of this vacuum and how it works…

What I like about Shark is the attention to detail they put into their products.

DuoClean System

For instance, if you look underneath the main brush head, everything is well thought out.

Around the dual brush system are soft cloth-like fibers to shield the hard floor from plastic and prevent scratches. It also doubles as a seal that gives this upright excellent pickup on crevices and carpet.

This feature is a patented technology from Shark, so you won’t see it in other brands. On the front is a soft roller bar that grabs large piles of dirt better than any upright vacuum I’ve seen – better than even the Dyson Ball Animal 2 on hard floor.

Behind it is a standard brush roll that agitates and picks up embedded dirt on the carpet. This combination makes the Shark APEX with Duo Clean one of the most versatile in terms of its capability of cleaning floors, rugs, carpet.

Even the front wheels are covered with felt and are out of the way of the brush. This prevents snow plowing and improves efficiency.

Versatile cleaning head

The Dual brush system (hence the name DuoClean) will pick up fine dust and large bits of dirt like cheerios.

DuoClean technology allows larger particles to fit in because it has higher clearance. In older generation vacuums this is not possible because of the low profile design.

In cleaning tests even in the previous generation NV803, this dual brush system will literally suck dirt in.

Pick up is good on bare floor or carpet.

It may not match a commercial vacuum in terms of deep cleaning but the versatility makes up for it.

Powered Lift-Away

If you’d buy an upright 5 years ago, you’d get a machine with not much versatility. Even with the hose and want, it’ll be difficult to use it to clean upholstery.

The Lift-Away system that Shark first put in the Navigator series is a revolutionary technology that extends the functionality of an upright.

Earlier Lift Away Sharks only allowed the use of the hose and wand but latter variants let you use the main cleaning head even in canister mode.

This feature essentially morphs this upright in a canister vacuum with bigger capacity and better pickup.

Dirt Bin

The 1.5-quart dirt bin makes this upright suitable for large homes. When you compare this to the 0.9 quart capacity of the DuoClean NV803, it’s almost double.

But the added capacity will add to the weight of this product.

LED Headlights

In front of the cleaning are two rows of LED lights that’ll help illuminate the area it is cleaning.

This is very useful in tracking dust which is almost invisible during the day.

Advanced Anti-Allergen Complete Seal

Allergy suffers will benefit from this upright because it has a fully sealed system that according to Shark emits 10x fewer particles.

Thanks to the post-motor HEPA filter that stops pollens and microscopic dust from shooting back out the exhaust.

Active Glide System

Another addition would be the active glide system that basically helps this upright move better over thicker pile carpet.

Power

Shark APEX uprights use a 1,350-watt motor which is actually bigger than the Dyson Cinetic that has a 1,200-watt motor.

This translates to pretty decent suction and cleaning performance on carpet.

Add the DuaClean system and this machine will have very good cleaning performance on bare floor and carpet.

Dynamic Swivel Steering

Shark also adds dynamic swivel steering which means turning on a dime to clean around the furniture will not be an issue.

The swivel steering will work in normal and lift away mode making this machine one versatile cleaner.

This is the same swivel feature found in other Shark uprights that make it easy to move around in a room.

Bare Floor Performance

The DuoClean system makes this a superior bare floor cleaner. Adding the soft roller bar was a brilliant move by Shark because virtually eliminated the snow plowing issue that lots of uprights have.

It will literally pull particles (of all sizes) and clean a very clean floor. And take note this roller isn’t made from flimsy material. It has substantial weight to it and should hold up over the long haul.

Carpet Performance

The DuoClean system does an excellent job of picking up surface dirt on carpet.

However, the dual brush system that Shark uses is so strong that it pulls the cleaning head forward in lift-away mode. Without the weight of the canister and motor, it can be awkward to use on open spaces on carpet.

The stiff bristles on the second brush and the seal give it above-average performance on carpet. It won’t be as good as a Dyson Ball Animal 2 when it comes to deep cleaning, but its performance on hard surfaces makes up for this limitation.

If you look at the reviews, folks have been raving at how this vacuum picks up all sorts of gunk on carpet.

Another feature worth mentioning would be the self-propelled motor under it that helps pulls the vacuum forward. Just switch it to carpet mode to access this feature.

With the weight of this vacuum (16 pounds) that feature is really a must-have so a big thumbs up to Shark for adding this.

Other Tools Included

Along with the main DuoClean head, Shark also throws in a few more tools that’ll help you clean areas above the floor such as upholstery and areas under it.

The AX951 if you buy it from Amazon will come with the following:

  • Anti-allergen dust brush
  • Pet multi-tool
  • Duster Crevice
  • MultiFlex under appliance wand
  • Accessory bag

Product Specifications

AttachmentsAnti-Allergen Dust Brush

Pet Multi-Tool

Duster Crevice

MultiFlex Under Appliance Wand

Accessory Bag

Brush roll on/offNo
Cord Length30 feet
Above floor reachN/A
Net weight16 pounds
Shipping weight26.7 pounds
Cleaning pathapprox. 12"
Overall length46"
Filter typePrimary + Post Motor HEPA
Dust capacity1.5 quarts
Power1,350 watts
Warranty7 years

Where can I buy this?

The best place to buy this vacuum would be on Amazon and it’ll cost just a little under $350. And the reason why I recommend Amazon is they offer extended warranties that will not cost an arm and leg.

If you add an extra 3 years to the warranty, you’ll only have to pay around $37.

But take note that the prices above may change so just take it as a guide.

This is also eligible for the free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.

Consumer Reviews

If there’s one thing that consumers like about this product, it’s how it cleans. The DuoClean system does a fantastic job cleaning all sorts of surfaces like hardwood, tile and even thicker pile carpet.

Great on bare floor

On bare floor stuff that’s being kicked around by a bristled brush will be eliminated thanks to the soft roller bar that does a great job pulling dirt in.

It’s so good that you will not need a broom after using this.

Moving this on carpet is not an issue despite its weight because it has the Active Glide system that kicks in when you use carpet mode.

Under appliance cleaner

The under appliance wand is another popular feature because it really picks gunk under the refrigerator or stove without having to move them!

If there is an issue with this upright, it would be the weight. At 16 pounds, this product is by no means light but most uprights will hover around this weight.

Not as powerful as an Oreck RS Magnesium

So if you need something lighter with the power you may want to consider the Oreck RS Magnesium.

Even in canister mode, some consumers said that it was on the heavy side so it’s another thing to look at if you don’t want to carry heavy stuff.

Some consumers said that this was quiet but if you saw the video above, it does not seem to be. Just don’t use this when a baby or toddler is nearby.

To Wrap Up

If buying a Dyson Cinetic seems like a pipe dream then the Shark APEX offers a more realistic alternative. This upright is cheaper and much more versatile thanks to the Lift Away feature.

The DuoClean system works great on all surfaces and dare I say that it can outperform a Dyson.

It also has HEPA filtration so this is also great for folks who may suffer from allergies.

If this variant is too expensive then have a look at the earlier generation DuoClean NV803. It’ll have the same performance but cheaper.

Excellent Choice For Cleaning Hard Floor and Carpet
  • Ergonomics - 91%
    91%
  • Surface Cleaning - 96%
    96%
  • Quality - 92%
    92%
  • Design - 93%
    93%
  • Value - 93%
    93%
93%

Summary

This upright is one of the more underrated options available right now. The power, versatility, and reach makes the Shark APEX AX951 one of the more compelling options for folks looking for a full-sized upright that’s more cost-effective than the Dyson Ball Animal 2. It has the DuoClean system that is perhaps the best at cleaning bare floors as it can take large and fine dirt with ease. If you have pets, this may not be a good option as it does not have the Zero-M feature. Pet owners should opt for the Shark APEX with Zero-M technology that does superb at continually untangling hair.

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