Canister vacuums have their pluses, but for vacuuming carpets, nothing beats an upright model. Uprights stow away vertically, which is a big benefit for many households where closet space is at a premium, and uprights don’t have a loose assortment of add-on attachments that tend to get lost just when you need them.
Uprights lose the cleaning battle on anything but carpeting. Canisters are easier to move around, and allow you to vacuum upholstery and curtains in addition to floors and floor coverings. A canister vacuum is much easier to wrangle up and down staircases as well. Many households solve these problems by keeping at least one vacuum of both kinds in the house, and dragging one or the other out depending on what kind of cleaning is on tap for the day.
That’s where hybrid vacuums like the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright can save consumers time and money while freeing up precious storage space. The Shark navigator is a new breed of vacuum that is configured like a traditional upright, but readily comes apart into a handheld canister for easy above-the-floor cleaning.
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum (NV356E)
- Corded upright convertible canister vacuum
- 10-amp motor develops 1200 watts of power
- 30-foot power cord
- 8.5-foot hose length
- Bare floor attachment
- Swivel steering to turn tighter corners
- 24-inch crevice tool
- 45.5 x 11.5 x 15 inches
- Weighs 14 pounds
- Limited 5-year warranty on parts and labor
Features and Benefits
Manufacturers of traditional upright vacuums have tried many approaches to making their models morph into something approximating a canister vacuum. The most common was a simple shunt that allowed the same kind vacuum hose common on canister vacuums to be inserted into the upright’s base, and that would allow you to clean things like sofas cushions and drapes. These were mostly ungainly affairs, and added the problem of carrying and storing lots of attachments to the upright’s other shortcomings. They weren’t very helpful on staircases, either.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright solves the hybrid upright problem neatly and efficiently by engineering the suction unit itself to lift off the upright portion of the unit. This achieves a versatility and portability unmatched by almost any other vacuum. The lift-away canister has an easy-to-grab handle, so you can carry around with you while you’re cleaning, or you can set it down wherever you’re working and concentrate on using the cleaning wand and attachments. When you’re done with cleaning furniture, upholstery, and curtains, you just set the canister back on the upright portion of the machine, and it forms a tight seal between the two pieces.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away doesn’t sacrifice performance for increased versatility. It provides powerful suction and an almost perfect seal to capture up to 99.9 percent of the allergens and dust that enter the machine, outperforming even the HEPA standard for cleaning.
- Powerful suction with all setups and attachments
- Excellent at cleaning up pet dander from surfaces
- Easy to maneuver around stationary furniture
- Bagless dust collection saves you money over the life of the vacuum
- Unit comes apart easily to let users take suction canister anywhere they need to clean
- Portable suction canister and adjustable hose and wand makes cleaning carpeted or bare stairs easier and safer
- Gives off quite a bit of heat during operation
- Clear dust bin displays collected dirt until you clean it out
- Somewhat complex to reconfigure from upright to attachment
- A bit top-heavy
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright (NV356E) is an unusual vacuum, so it’s important to get feedback from users to get an idea of how it will work in the real world. That’s easy to do, because it’s a runaway best seller, partly because it’s priced inexpensively for such a powerful and versatile unit. A remarkable 86 percent of reviewers give the Shark Navigator four stars or better, with over 70 percent giving it a full five stars.
Users remark favorably on several design attributes that are commonly overlooked on vacuum designs, especially on reasonably priced models. The NV356E has a 30-foot long power cord, and users love being able to plug the unit in once while still covering a lot of area. Some users were initially skeptical about the unit’s predominance of parts made of plastic, but were relieved to discover that the unit was still very durable and strong, but much lighter than competing models that used heavier construction. The detachable canister was judged by many to be especially light and easy to use, and made cleaning chores less taxing while making users feel safer when they used it on staircases. Users also noted that it was easy to switch the beater bar roller on and off when transitioning between carpeted and bare floors, which made the Shark Navigator more convenient than some other brands. With its low price and great user reviews, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright (NV356E) should be considered a best buy.