How often have you been vacuuming and you turn off the vacuum only to see stray hairs—from your own head or your pet’s body—still on your carpet? No matter how hard and often you vacuum, they’re still there. Now imagine all of the hairs you cannot see because they’ve worked their way below the surface.
Experts tell us that one human sheds from 50 to 150 hairs a day. Dogs, depending on the breed, shed many times that amount, as do cats. The mess of pet hair can be enough to drive pet owners nuts.
What isn’t removed regularly gets stuck and eventually embedded in carpet and upholstery, becoming a kind of greasy magnet for dirt, dust, and debris. If not removed regularly it holds all of that tightly within the carpet and upholstery fibers.
I met my first Shark vacuum in July 2012. That experience rocked my world. I was both amazed by the piles of debris, dirt, dust, and who-knows-what-else that thing sucked out of the carpet and plenty embarrassed. It’s not like I never cleaned house.
In the nearly seven years since then, I’ve written about my Shark vacuums a lot. I’ve upgraded several times as new models have been introduced. Currently, I own this Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away and love it. Given your feedback, I know that thousands of my readers now own Sharks, too. We’re quite the fans!
A New Shark in Town
Several weeks ago, the folks at Shark contacted me, asking if I would like to test their newest upright vacuum, the Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M Vacuum. I said that I would, but made no promises to review or recommend. I was skeptical because how could they possibly improve on what I consider perfection in a vacuum?
Before this machine arrived, I did a little poking around to figure out what all this means. I learned:
- DuoClean means it has two rollers—a bristle brush to deep clean carpet and a soft “velvety” brushroll at the front to pick up particles and polish hard surfaces.
- Zero-M is a feature that extracts and sends human hair and pet hair directly to the dirt canister before it can get wrapped around the brush roll.
Shark-Apex arrived together with a box of unique attachments—including a motorized handheld gizmo to remove pet hair from stairs and upholstery; a flexible dust brush to reach under a refrigerator and low furniture.
I took a quick tour of the owner manual, got it assembled (easy!) and ready to roll.
I put this machine through its paces. The first thing I noticed was how powerful it is. I could feel a remarkable difference in suction.
I pushed all the buttons, tried out all the attachments. I dusted under the refrigerator and above the doors. I vacuumed low-pile carpet, deeper carpet, stairs, and wood floors. I vacuumed upholstery and heater vents. I used all of the tools including the motorized pet tool on the stairs and a couple of upholstered chairs. I took it apart, put it all back together.
My results, although pleasant (as measured by the contents of the dirt cup), did not appear to be that much different than when I vacuum thoroughly with my Shark Pro. But here’s the deal: We’re a family of two. We have no pets. I have short hair and my husband has, well … much less.
I wasn’t sure that I’d experienced all that Shark-Apex has to offer. So I asked two friends—both of whom have family members with long hair, indoor dogs, and own Shark Pros—to give Shark-Apex a test drive in their homes.
This is when the shock and awe set in. Keep in mind that both of these families regularly vacuum their homes with Shark Pros. Both had very similar results testing the Shark-Apex.
It was absolutely amazing to see the massive amounts of hair—human and pet—this machine took up and out of their carpet. The sheer volume was enough to get my attention in a big way! But the way it does that is also remarkable. The longhair got rolled up and deposited separately from other dust and debris into the dirt cup—bypassing the brushroll. Seriously and totally amazing.
Both friends saved the evidence and it was considerable—multiple bags full of hair and fur clinging tightly to dust, dirt, and debris (sorry but I just couldn’t bring myself to photograph hairy dirt, dust, and debris). The evidence, while shocking, was nothing short of amazing.
Over a matter of just a few days, Shark-Apex got quite a workout. The three of us pooled our experiences and came up with this review of the Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M Vacuum:
What we loved and worth the extra $
- Carpet height adjustment and ease of switching from low to high to bare floors.
- Vacuum rolls more easily over thick carpet with less physical effort.
- Amazingly quiet given its heft, power and added features.
- Vacuum is super powerful and removed piles of embedded hair and fur that Shark Pros could not.
- Loved the fact that the longhairs don’t wrap around the brushroll but instead get collected in a filter cup inside the dust cover. This is a big time-saver as those with long hair must take a pair of scissors to cut the hair from the brushroll.
- The multi-angle dust brush to get under the kitchen appliances, low furniture and high areas like door frames and drapes.
- Easier to clean—don’t have to turn over the vacuum to access the brushroll.
- Motorized pet tool for stairs and upholstery.
What we like but probably not worth the extra $
- New, more convenient location of the on-off switch.
- One-handed release of the dust cup from the vacuum pod.
- Onboard tool storage is more secure—tools feel much less likely to fall off.
What we didn’t like (compared to our Shark Pros)
- Heavier—16.5 lbs compared to 15 lbs.
- Not quite as nimble due to the bigger-sized footprint of floor nozzle.
- Additional cost
There is no doubt that all three of us would take this Shark-Apex over our Shark Navigator Professionals any day. Think of it as upgrading from a Honda to a Range Rover. Nice, of course, but that could also be overkill for some.
Shark-Apex is not the only Shark upright vacuum that comes with the DuoClean feature. In fact, there are several. This is one: Shark DuoClean Upright Vacuum with Lift-Away. It does not have the Zero-M feature but is priced more closely to the Shark Navigator Professional. I have no personal knowledge of this model.
In conclusion …
The Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M Vacuum is a beautiful, high-end, quality machine and certainly lives up to its promises. It is a joy to operate. In my opinion, it is definitely worth spending the extra money under these circumstances:
- Homes with pets and/or family members with long hair. Left in the carpet, human and animal hair will hold onto dirt, debris, and dust and become a magnet for more human and animal hair. It needs to be removed regularly and this machine can certainly do that.
- Homes with deep-pile carpet and area rugs. This machine is designed with height adjustments and will easily handle deeper pile carpet.
I do not plan on replacing my Shark Pro anytime soon for the simple reason that we have no pets or long-haired people living in our home. And we have low-pile carpet. The quality, power, and performance of our Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away continue to match our needs in a vacuum.
However, if we were to get a dog, a cat or other furry animal and or if humans with long hair were to move in, I would upgrade to the new Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M Vacuum in a heartbeat—happily and without reservation!
First published: 11-28-18; Updated 7-13-19
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