Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 Review

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Shark Rotator NV501 Review
Bottom Line

The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away is a versatile cleaning machine, functioning as an upright vacuum and canister vacuum in one. It's loaded with accessories for just about any cleaning need, and is adjustable and maneuverable enough to get into tight spots. The only consistent complaint we saw was that the Shark Rotator has a tendency to tip over when its hose is fully extended.

ProsQuiet, Lightweight, solid construction, Powerful suction, Highly maneuverable, Versatile; can function as a canister or upright vacuumConsCan topple when accessory hose is extended

Breaking it down

Performance

Ultra-quiet, excellent value. The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away earns solid scores for carpet and bare-floor performance from one professional testing organization, but a lower rating for pet-hair pickup. It's awarded a Good for airflow and an Excellent for emissions. Editors at CNET say the Shark Rotator, which has an 11.5-inch cleaning path, is a good value, performing better on carpets than some even pricier competitors, though not quite as well on hard floors in their testing. Owners often praise the Shark's powerful suction and ultra-quiet operation.

Features

Packed with versatile tools. Thanks to its ability to be used as either an upright vacuum or a canister vacuum, owners say the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away is incredibly versatile. It automatically adjusts for pile height and a switch operates the brushroll, while suction strength is controlled by a rotating collar on the handle. The HEPA filtration system is sealed to prevent leaks. Users love the many accessories, including a power pet brush, straight suction nozzle, crevice tool and two dusting brushes. The power head is equipped with LED headlights, but some reviewers say they're not very bright. The non-retractable cord is wrapped manually.

Ease of use

Plenty of cleaning options. The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away's 30-foot cord is perfectly adequate for most spaces, owners say, long enough that you don't have to unplug too often, but not so long that it's unwieldy to fold. At 15.5 pounds, the vacuum is lightweight and easy to maneuver, but a few users say it will topple over when the accessory hose is fully extended. It doesn't rotate to a full 180 degrees for cleaning under beds and furniture, but lays flat enough that most spaces are easy to access -- and the accessories provide plenty of reach if that's not enough. The swiveling head navigates easily around chair legs and other obstacles, and emptying the dirt canister is reported as easy and mess-free. Tools are stored on-board in an included canister caddy for easy access.

Durability/maintenance

No filters to replace. Despite the lightweight design of the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away, owners say this machine feels very solidly built. There are a few isolated complaints that the plastic parts develop a squeak over time, and a few users say it loses suction, clogs and fails after a few months of regular use, but those complaints are few and far between. The Shark Rotator is backed by a five-year warranty and the manufacturer gets good reviews for its customer service -- we saw several postings on consumer review sites from Shark representatives offering help to owners who were having issues. Three lifetime, washable filters make up the sealed allergen filtration system, including a washable HEPA filter. For best suction performance, empty the bag regularly and rinse the filters occasionally, users say.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 vacuum cleaner, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away is included in this roundup of dozens of bagged and bagless upright vacuum cleaners. Testing is done on carpets and bare floors for performance in pet-hair pickup, emissions, noise, maneuverability and total airflow. There are a good number of user reviews here for this vacuum as well.

2. CNET

Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away review, Editors of CNET.com, Oct. 17, 2013

Editors at CNET.com pit the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Bagless Upright Vacuum against competing models from Dyson, Oreck and Electrolux in thorough testing. Editors say the Shark is a master of versatility," and while it didn't win every performance showdown, it stood up well to the competition -- which is considered to be impressive given its price tag. Elsewhere on this site, the Shark is named one of the best vacuums of 2016.

3. Good Housekeeping

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 Vacuum Cleaner, Editors of Good Housekeeping, May 2013

Testers for the Good Housekeeping Research Institute try out the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Vacuum Cleaner, noting its easy-to-empty dirt canister, washable filter and quiet operation. Editors say it performs well on both carpets and bare floors, and has good airflow at the hose.

4. Amazon.com

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away (NV501), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2016

The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away garners more than 1,790 reviews here, earning an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Owners are impressed by its ease of use, and say its suction power and pet-hair capabilities are superb. They like that it's lightweight and easy to maneuver yet feels solidly built. Many compare it favorably to a previously owned Dyson.

5. BestBuy.com

Shark - Rotator Lift-Away Professional HEPA Self-Propelled Bagless 3-in-1 Upright Vacuum - Red, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of May 2016

More than 1,340 owners contribute to a 4.7 out of 5-star rating for the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away. A few owners say they chose this model over a Dyson for the price and are happy with their purchase, noting the Shark's easy maneuverability, strong suction and easy-to-empty canister.

6. Kohls.com

Shark NV501 Rotator Professional Lift-Away 3-in-1 Bagless Vacuum, Contributors to Kohls.com, As of May 2016

Nearly 435 owners contribute to a high, 4.8-star overall rating for the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away. Owners love the two-in-one design; which they say provides maximum versatility and works well in all of its various iterations.

7. Walmart.com

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away, NV501, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of May 2016

More than 350 owners weigh in with comments on the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away, which earns an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Users say this upright vac is lightweight and easy to operate, and extremely quiet. Many note how shocked they are at the amount of dirt it picks up from a carpet they thought was clean.