Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 Review: Versatile Upright

by Garrick Dee
Updated December 5th, 2018

The biggest downside of buying an upright is mobility. Even with a hose, most uprights lack reach.

It is still difficult to move around when you want to clean upholstery or stairs.

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 Review

For the latter it is very difficult, almost impossible of you are cleaning a tall flight.

Enter the Rotator Lift-Away from Shark, this vacuum allows you to “lift away” the body away from the floor nozzle and carry it around thus reducing the weight you’ll need to lug around.

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.

This isn’t the first Lift-Away model but it is the best so far because Shark added a caddy with wheels so in essence this upright converts to a canister, pretty neat.

Also the caddy also acts as the storage for the different accessories this machine has.

A quick look at the features

  • Body is capable of being lifted away from the floor nozzle and attached on a canister caddy so in essence this is a canister and upright vacuum in one
  • Uses cyclonic technology to maintain performance even as the vacuum gets filled up
  • Main floor tool can be swiveled for optimum maneuverability and it has a brush roll that can be turned on or off – great for carpet or hard wood
  • Comes with a separate hard floor attachment that you can attach on the extension wand
  • Has these other attachments and tools – premium pet power brush, crevice tool, dusting brush, canister caddy and a multi angle dusting brush
  • All the tools can be stored on the caddy
  • Has HEPA filtration that prevents allergens sucked in from coming back out
  • 5 year warranty

Pros

  • Even though it is an upright, the lift away features and caddy turns this to a canister vacuum which makes it easier to move around
  • The long flexible hose and wand plus the ability to separate the body from the floor nozzle makes this easy to use on stairs
  • Very good cleaning performance on both carpet and bare floor
  • Swivel feature makes it easy to maneuver on carpet
  • HEPA filtration prevents allergens from coming back out
  • Reasonably light and easy to carry minus the carpet floor tool
  • Long 5 year warranty
  • Not difficult to move around
  • Consumers say it is quiet

Cons

  • No switch on the handle
  • If you’re cleaning large debris like cheerios, there will be a slight plowing effect
  • If you pull too hard, caddy may topple
  • Some questions with the durability of the plastic parts

What to expect from the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501?

Out of all the cleaners in the market right now, this has to be right up there in terms of value for money. Just look at the features.

Not only will you get an upright that you can use on floors.

With a press of a button it morphs into a canister thanks to the caddy that has caster wheels underneath. So you have a lot of mobility when you want to clean different parts of your home aside from the carpet.

Features

The canister caddy is designed as such that it will not tip over when you pull it with the hose.

Speaking of the hose, it looks like it has great reach, though Shark did not specify how long it is.

Combine that with the extension wand, you can pretty much clean any part of your home with one machine.

Attachments and Accessories

According to Amazon, it comes with 5 – dusting brush, 12” crevice tool, large turbo brush, multi angle brush, straight suction nozzle and the canister caddy.

Here’s how these attachments look like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a6nCSp3tNk

Take note that in this particular model, the detail kit is not included.

Cord Length

The cord is around 30 feet long. This does not have any cord rewind so you’ll have to manually wrap the cord after using it.

Filter Clean up

There are two filters to clean. The main foam filter located in the middle should be cleaned every 3 months (recommended by Shark).

The post motor HEPA filter is located in front of the vacuum and should be cleaned once every 12 months.

Here’s how you remove both filters…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmXHuz2lqQE

Warranty

It comes with a long 5 year warranty.

See it in Action

VacBin demonstrates the different features and how it performed on carpet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro4bandr6vE

Joy Koola shares his take on this…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGFvpJNKMf8

Bare floor performance

Cleaning performance on bare floor is very good and the great thing is you have a myriad of options.

First you can turn off the motorized brush in the main floor nozzle for smaller pieces of debris.

There is an extra hard floor tool that does not have any motorized brush that you can also use.

The extra floor tool can be attached on the extension wand, if you want to use this in canister mode.

It also comes with a crevice tool and a dusting brush should you decide to clean tight spaces or the stairs or you just need to pick up large bits of dirt that it difficult to clean with the floor nozzle.

Carpet performance

It has very good suction and is equipped with a motorized brush so carpet cleaning should not be a problem. The bristles on the brush roll are stiff so it can really agitate thick pile carpet and deep clean.

Here’s a demo on a big pile of dirt (mostly dust bunnies)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjjX28LzU8E

Take note that there is a plowing effect when cleaning stuff like cheerios. So you may want to use the extension wand for larger bits of dirt as such in small areas.

Here’s what I mean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o-HWC6HuZw

The other vacuum is the Bissell CleanView OnePass.

Upholstery performance

It comes with a bevy of tools that can clean different types of upholstery.

The main tool you will use if you have fabric upholstery would be the turbo brush which is simply like the floor tool (only smaller) with a motorized brush.

For leather furniture, you can use the dusting brush or the crevice tool.

Here’s how you use the dusting brush for dusting and upholstery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeqb3BLqtnI

Pet hair removal

Cleaning pet hair should not be a problem on upholstery and on carpet. On upholstery you can use the turbo brush to tackle pet hair, it won’t be as good as Dyson’s but it is close.

On carpet, use it in upright mode to utilize the still motorized brush and pick up pet hair even on thick carpet.

Product specifications

Features
AttachmentsDusting Brush

12" Crevice Tool

Large Turbo Brush

Multi Angle Dusting Brush

Straight Suction Nozzle

Canister Caddy
Cord Length30 feet
Auto Cord Rewind
No
Motorized brush
Yes
Brush on/off switch
Yes
Swivel
Yes
Headlight
Yes
Filter clogged indicator
No
Full bin indicator
No

Dirt container is transparent so you can see if it's full
Bagless
Yes
Multi-surface
Yes
Self propelled
No
Net weight15.6 pounds
Shipping weight24.8 pounds
Hose lengthNot Specified
Cleaning Path11.5 "
Overall length45.7"
Dirt capacityN/A
Filter typeHEPA + Washable foam filter
Power1200 watts
Voltage120 volts
Manufactured inUSA
Warranty5 years

What consumers say?

A lot of people have bought this vacuum and has well over a thousand reviews in Amazon, Walmart, and other shopping sites.

Consumers agree that performance-wise, this cleaner will hold its own even against the Dyson DC41 – its main competitor.

A few consumers even said that it was even better than the DC41 in terms of suction performance but build quality wasn’t as good as the latter.

Suction was good even if the dust bin is full.

Speaking of comparisons, here’s a comparison between this and the newer Dyson DC65…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-ZSrm0HHas

In one review, a consumer mentioned that after 8 months the plastic parts started to squeak.

The caddy which transforms this into a canister vacuum may topple over if you pull too hard on the hose.

That maybe because the hose isn’t “stretchable” enough.

There are also complaints about poor build quality, particularly the plastics that will tend to break after a few months.

Also I noticed complaints about poor suction after several months because of clogging inside the hose.

Here’s a short video on how to self-check…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_9kpMv2ins&index=16&list=PLO-s5C_my0mWC67Bj-fIsmCGuhrLiIHHd

Basically what the video is saying is that you have to regularly check the hoses and filters for clogging, especially if you are in a dusty area and clean a lot of dust bunnies or hair that can easily clog.

Overall this is a very good multipurpose vacuum that can clean carpet, bare floor, upholstery, basically every part of your home.

Because of the caddy, you can use it to clean your car’s interior.

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this versatile upright in Amazon for less than $200. And it’ll be eligible to their free 2-day shipping if you join Prime. They also sells extended warranties of up to 3 years if you want that extra peace of mind.

To wrap up

This vacuum would be great for people who live in medium to large homes that have a mix of carpet and hard floors.

The versatility of the professional lift-away will shine in homes such as these. It will do well not only on carpet but also on hard floors.

Stair cleaning won’t be a problem since you can just lift up the canister and carry it as you go through each step.

The 30 foot power cord gives you good reach though it does not have any cord rewind so you’ll have to tidy it up manually.

It has several tools that will allow you to clean other parts of your home like upholstery, blinds, side tables, keyboards, etc.

It’s an all in one vacuum that will save you money because you don’t need to buy a handheld.

And the best part, it’s around half the price of a Dyson DC41 with almost the same performance and features.

If you can’t afford a Dyson, this would be a great alternative.

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2 thoughts on “Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 Review: Versatile Upright”

  1. WE HAVE HAD A SHARK NV501 SINCE JANUARY OF 2014 LOVED IT BUT ALL OF THE
    SUDDEN THE PLASTIC PARTS ARE DISENTIGRATING.CREVICE TOOL FIRST.THEN THE BASE WHERE WAND GOES INTO A BOTTOM.NOW HANDLE JUST FELL APART.WE TAKE
    VERY GOOD CARE OF IT.IT WANT TO KNOW IF THERE IS ANYTHING THE COMPANY
    WILL DO FOR US.

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