by Garrick Dee
Updated December 5th, 2018
The Lift-Away is a clever concept by Shark wherein you could “lift away” the body of the vacuum from its heavy floor base and use it as a canister vacuum to clean areas above the floor like stairs and upholstery.
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.
The biggest difference between this and the newer NV501 is this does not come with a canister caddy that holds the canister and attachments in place.
It also does not have LED headlights and has a shorter power cord.
Let see how this vacuum performs and what feature to expect.
A quick look at the features
- Has lift-away functionality that separates the canister body from the floor base
- Uses cyclonic technology or the so-called “never loses suction” technology
- Utilizes a HEPA filter and a washable foam filter
- Swivel steering
- Brush roll on/off switch makes it usable on bare floor
- Dust cup will hold up to 1.2 dry quarts (up to the fill line) but Shark claims it has a real world capacity of 3.0 dry quarts
- 1,200 watt motor
- 25 foot power cord
- Weighs 13 pounds
- Utilizes HEPA filtration and a sealed system to block allergens and keep it inside the vacuum
- Decent sized dust cup
- Lift-away functionality adds more versatility to it – allows it to clean above the floor areas
- Relatively lightweight for an upright
- Comes with a tool that cleans pet hair off upholstery and stairs
- You can turn off the motorized brush – this prevents it from scratching hard floor surfaces
- Long 5 year warranty
- Isn’t as noisy as other upright vacuums
- Even though it swivels, it does not swivel as smoothly as other brands like a Dyson
- Does have a slight snow plowing effect when cleaning larger bits of debris like cheerios
- No LED headlight
- No controls on the handle
This upright vacuum can double as a canister because of the lift-away function that allows users to separate the canister from the floor base.
This simple hack allows it to be used in more areas aside from the floors. And make this a great option for people looking to get more out of their dollar spent on a vacuum.
It doesn’t have the caddy that the newer Shark NV501 has. But it still is a great feature to have when you want to clean stairs or upholstery.
If you tried cleaning stairs with a full sized upright or even a stick vacuum, it can be tricky to balance.
Attachments and Accessories
This Shark upright comes with 4 attachments that will help you clean different areas…
- 5-inch crevice tool
- 24-inch crevice tool
- Brush tool
- Pet hair power brush
The long 24 inch crevice tool is a nice addition because it extends the reach of the extension wand by two feet and will reach most homes’ ceilings – a tough area to clean.
Power cord is 25 feet but it does not have any cord rewind so you’ll have to wrap the cord around cord hooks after every cleaning session.
Filter Clean up
It comes with two filters, a foam filter and a HEPA filter. The foam filter is washable (wash it every 2 to 3 months).
Check it at least once a month to see how dirty it is. The HEPA filter according to comments is also washable but only use running water, don’t throw it into a washing machine.
Here are some more maintenance and troubleshooting tips…
See it in Action
QVC demonstrates the above the floor cleaning features, bare floor and carpet cleaning. It also gets what you get in the package.
Shark backs this up with a generous 5 year warranty which is the same as a Dyson upright.
This will do well on bare floor because the motorize brush can be turned off which prevents scratches and allows it to pick up larger bits of dirt (again) like cheerios or crackers. When the motorized brush is turned on it tends to fling these all over the place.
Based on reviews, both written and video this will perform well on carpet, on one pass it will pick up most of the dirt though it does have a slight plowing effect (which you’ll see later in the video) when you clean larger debris like crushed chips or cereal.
It does a good job on dirt trapped underneath thicker pile carpet so it has deep cleaning capabilities which is an important factor when choosing an upright vacuum.
Vacbin compares the Navigator Lift Away and the Bissell Wind Tunnel…
This time vs the DC41 Animal
While this has a swivel feature, it is not as smooth as other brands like a Dyson but you’ll have to pay a few hundred dollars more for the later. The lift-away though is lighter so this also helps in maneuverability.
When you take off the canister from the floor base, this converts into a canister vacuum and will clean areas like upholstery well. It has a crevice and brush tool that allows you to clean loose dirt and dust on upholstery.
On carpet it will work great in picking up pet hair, as you’ve seen in the two videos above it does pick a whole lot of stuff up. On upholstery it also comes with a mini pet hair tool for picking up pet hair on upholstery or stairs. This is a complete cleaning system in a lightweight package.
|Attachments||5" crevice tool|
24" crevice tool
Pet hair power brush
|Height adjustment settings||N/A|
|Cord Length||25 feet|
|Auto Cord Rewind|
|Brush on/off switch|
|Filter clogged indicator|
|Full bin indicator|
|Net weight||13 pounds|
|Shipping weight||19.4 pounds|
|Overall reach||Approx. 37 feet|
|Dirt capacity||1.2 dry quarts (up to fill line)|
3.0 dry quarts (max)
|Filter type||Foam filter|
Sealed with HEPA Filtration
Nearly all the consumers who purchased this say that it is a great performer on bare floor and carpet.
Suction was great and the beater bar does its job in deep cleaning carpet and picking up dust, sand, pet hair and all the nasty stuff that gets trapped under all that strand of carpet fiber.
Better than a Dyson?
One consumer in particular compared with the Dyson DC33. And said that it had similar if not greater suction power.
What swayed him to give this a better rating than the Dyson is the attachments that comes along with it. It had more and was more usable. The best part is not paying $400++ for a premium brand.
Great for cleaning pet litter
Pet owners also loved this because of the amount of pet hair it is capable of picking up.
To maintain performance, you’ll have to remove pet hair that gets wrapped around the motorized brush at least once a month.
The lift-away feature is also popular among consumers because it allows them to clean “above the floor” areas that most uprights can’t. The pet hair brush tool allows people to clean carpeted stairs as well.
Here are some images from consumers…
There were some negative reviews and most of them were fit and finish issues that could be from lemon units.
Some potential issues
These complaints include plastic parts breaking prematurely, the motorized brush that has stopped working, lack of suction and vacuum that tips over easily.
You have to remember that most of the vacuums will have their share of similar complaints. And it shouldn’t be a cause for concern because it does come with a 5 year warranty.
This is great for a sub 200 dollar vacuum. One consumer was able to return his Shark lift-away to Amazon even after 7 months.
You can buy this versatile upright vacuum from Amazon for less than $140 and it’ll be eligible for their 2-day free shipping if you join Prime.
Amazon also sells extended warranties of up to 3 years if you want that extra peace of mind.
This upright vacuum is a great option for those looking for something versatile. The “Lift Away” feature turns this upright into a canister vacuum capable of cleaning many areas above floor.
It also comes with interchangeable tools and an extension wand that can reach up to the ceiling.
The main cleaning head will work well on carpet thanks to the motorized brush. And you can use it on bare floor because of the brush roll on/off feature.
Agitation won’t be as good as a Dyson upright but the versatility it brings to the table makes up for it.
If you’d buy a Dyson, it’ll cost you 2 or 3 times more than this so it is a good compromise.