What is the best Shark upright vacuum?

When the first Shark vacuum cleaner appeared on the market over 20 years ago, it had ample competition. Shark vacuums quickly ascended in consumer popularity with their innovative, easy-to-use design and became the top brand of upright vacuum cleaners in the country.

Shark vacuums have a wide range of capabilities. There is one for every size of household. For its power and versatility, the best option is the Shark Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum.

What to know before you buy a Shark upright vacuum

What’s the difference between an upright and a stick vacuum?

Upright vacuums are typically used in mid-size and larger homes because of their power and larger dust canister attached to the vacuum shaft. Most upright vacuums are corded, but Shark manufactures several cordless uprights, too. Stick vacuums are thinner and lighter — usually 10-12 pounds — and easily move around smaller houses and apartments.

What’s the difference between a full-size and compact vacuum?

Full-size vacuums have a larger dust canister, but are bulky and require considerable storage space. If your space is limited, a compact vacuum is easily stowed, but its canister is smaller and requires frequent emptying.

What are the differences between the Shark product lines of upright vacuums?

There are three main lines of Shark upright vacuums, each with its own features.

  • The Navigator line is home to the biggest and most powerful Shark uprights. They have the biggest dust canisters but fewer accessories. Some Navigators include multiple brush speeds and the lift-away mode.
  • The Rocket line features upright stick vacuums. They have less power but can still tackle a small house or apartment. Some people use them for touch-up cleaning in between sessions with a Navigator.
  • Rotator upright vacuums have swivel steering for cleaning stairways, drapes and angled parts of your home. They have wider heads and LED lights. If you have a lot of spaces that are not at right angles, the Rotator style is the best.

What to look for in a quality Shark upright vacuum

Dual brush roll

Some Shark vacuums feature two brush rolls. One has dense soft bristles for picking up larger debris on hardwood floors, and the second brush has tighter bristles for carpet. They can work in tandem for greater efficiency.

Self-cleaning brush roll

Shark offers Zero-M self-cleaning technology designed to limit the amount of hair wrapped around the brushes. Too much hair can stress the motor and belts. The technology can’t eliminate all hair wrap so a manual hair removal tool is included.

HEPA filter

Some Shark upright vacuums include a high-efficiency particulate air filter. Used in a closed system, it keeps allergens from recirculating and improves air quality. HEPA filters need to be replaced on a regular basis. Check the owner’s manual for frequency of replacement.

Hand-vac mode

Both upright and stick vacuums feature a hand-vac mode. The dust canister can be removed and used as a hand-held vacuum for stairs and other tight spaces. On upright vacuums, this is called lift-away mode.

Brush roll light

When cleaning hardwood floors, some Shark uprights permit you to stop the brushes from spinning. An indicator light comes on to show that the brushes are disengaged. This light also comes on if the rollers are jammed or not working.

How much you can expect to spend on a Shark upright vacuum

The basic Shark uprights cost between $130-$250 and feature significant power and large canisters, but they lack accessories and lift-away mode. Uprights with lift-away mode and accessories like pet tools and extension wands are priced between $250-$325. The full-size Shark uprights cost $325-$425 and can also clean floors and upholstery. 

Shark upright vacuum FAQ

What accessories come with upright vacuums?

A. The type of accessories vary by model, but some of the more popular accessories that accompany Shark upright vacuums are: an extension wand, upholstery tool, pet power brush, crevice tool, under-appliance tool and a carrying bag for multiple accessories.

Do Shark upright vacuums come with a warranty?

A. Most Shark vacuums have an extensive warranty of five to seven years. Make sure to register your vacuum in order to activate the warranty.

Will the powerful vacuum damage my delicate rugs and carpet?

A. Some Shark vacuums come with suction adjustment that dials down the power when vacuuming rugs and carpets that are thinner. If you have places in your home that need this feature, look for vacuums that incorporate suction adjustment.  

What is the best Shark upright vacuum to buy?

Top Shark upright vacuum

Shark Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

Shark Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

What you need to know: This is the vacuum used by professional cleaners and features easy maneuvering with an impressive accessory list.

What you’ll love: It features lift-away technology for cleaning hard-to-reach places. There is swivel steering, LED headlights and a HEPA filter for allergy protection. It comes with an upholstery tool, dusting brush and crevice tool.

What you should consider: This model is heavier than most others made by Shark and may not be best for smaller spaces.

Where to buy: Sold by AmazonHome Depot and Kohl’s 

Top Shark upright vacuum for the money

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum

What you need to know: This vacuum is lightweight and affordable but still packs plenty of power.

What you’ll love: Featuring a 2.2-quart dust cup and lift-away technology for cleaning tight spaces, it weighs under 14 pounds and is versatile on different surfaces. It comes with a HEPA filter and brush roll shutoff.

What you should consider: There were some reports of difficulty cleaning hardwood floors with the swivel head.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Upright Vacuum

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Upright Vacuum

What you need to know: This lightweight vacuum weighs only eight pounds and converts to a hand vacuum with a touch of a button.

What you’ll love: Its lightweight design can be used from floor to ceiling while maintaining considerable power. It has swivel steering and hand-vac mode and cleans both floors and carpets with fingertip controls.  

What you should consider: It has a small dust cup and needs to be emptied often for large spaces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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