A Vacuum Cleaner Story So Disgusting It Is Embarrassing to Tell

Even though not 100% organized, I pride myself on housekeeping to the point of being accused a time or two of being a wee bit compulsive. This brings me to the matter of vacuum cleaners. I’m particular, if not freakish, about vacuums. There was a time when I wore out vacuums so often that the folks at the Recycling Center knew me by name.

Let me take you back to 2007. I’d just blown out my third Hoover Wind Tunnel, having worn that thing down to its last gasp. I carried it in pieces to the Recycle Center. I was planning to replace it with the latest and greatest from Hoover until I heard about the Shark Navigator.

First impressions

I wasn’t that impressed as I looked over a new Shark Navigator vacuum at the store. It was on the smallish side, lightweight—certainly not the hefty, beefy Hoover I was used to. But based on a recommendation from a trusted friend, I decided to give it a try, knowing I could return it if this Shark couldn’t live up to my standard.

Oh, my. This might be an excellent place to end this post. What happened next is that embarrassing.

Maiden voyage

I plugged that puppy in and started to vacuum my family room, carpeted with 100% wool Karastan carpet. Look, I loved this carpet and had babied it from the day it was installed. It looked like new, which you might want to take with a grain of salt because I never wear my glasses when I vacuum. Still, I thought of it as pristine.

Within minutes, that canister filled to the top—a condition I had never witnessed in any vacuum to that day. And I was vacuuming a fairly small area. I was so shocked; disgust hardly describes the feeling. I took the canister out to the trash to dump it, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t be peering over the fence to see what was coming out of my home.


What on earth?!

This room was not small, but not massive, either. I filled that canister four times before I put Sharky away for the day. The next day, I vacuumed the same room a couple more times, and still, I was sucking out who-knows-what from this carpet. Even my husband was shaking his head. I vacuumed again until the canister remained empty. Finally.

I’ll admit to the carpet being ten years old at the time, but it had nearly been vacuumed to death over the decade. And cleaned routinely. All for naught, apparently.

Shark Vacuum: The final verdict

Buying a Shark Navigator was the best money I’d spent since I got my carpet-cleaning steam vac, which I still use all the time and as recently as yesterday.

I am still stunned at my Shark vacuum’s power and lightweight feature. But more than that, I am so happy to know that the carpet in my home is really clean. I mean, probably as clean as the day it was installed.

And my bonus? No more pricey, disposable bags!


Since getting my first Shark Navigator, I have updated more than a few times—not because a Shark died, but because I need to do a lot of testing. When I buy a new model, I give away the oldest in my current cadre of vacuums. I am still 100% sold on Shark Navigator Lift-Away—often you’ll find “Professional” in the name depending on the model—which remains our pick for EC Best Inexpensive.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away is far and away the best vacuum I have ever owned, tried, or tested. Shark vacuums across the board are low-cost. At this writing, I own three, one for each floor of my home. The “lift-away” aspect is wonderful as I can lift off part of the vac to make a small portable size to vacuum stairways.

As for longevity, Sharks just don’t wear out as other vacuums are inclined to do. And should there be a problem, Shark’s customer service is remarkably helpful and responsive.



Updated for 2024 on 2-27-24


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  1. Susan says:

    Beat ya to it Mary. I got one last winter and I love it!! I love the feature of being able to vacuum my hardwood floor with out the brush going around. And I also found out you can rinse the dirt container out!! Just make sure you let it dry completely before putting it back on.

  2. phj44 says:

    I am hoping to purchase the Shark Navigator PRO, as it is suppose to pick up pet hair with ease.. and i have PET hair. without doubt a totally new fully grown dog could be made from the hair on our floor from our two dogs..one 9 pound pom and a 50 pound Huskey! Yes, it is Huskey hair that makes my oak flooring vintage 55 yrs, look like a light covering of snow! Because of physical limitations, my daughter in Dallas called to recommend a new ‘auto’ vac which uses swifter-like pads to remove pet hair as well as ability to use wet pads for mopping.. this is NOT a vac, only a motorized navigation system room cleaner, but it might make my day simpler.. currently i use 3-4 swifter pads a day to keep dog hair controlled and off the floor, still need vac ( Shark Navigator) for vaccum day, but I hope someone may have recomendation or comments on the auto type. meantime, I am off to buy the Navigator Plus.. BBB carries it, not sure if costco has the Plus or not. thanks for your ‘ confession”. I too am a bit compulsive about the floors i walk on…

  3. Janet K. says:

    Does anyone have any experience with how long the Shark Navigator lasts? I have owned three Hoover Wind Tunnels. I loved them but the last one I owned burned out very quickly. Was told by a vacuum cleaner salesman that bagless cleaners just do not last. Now my husband does not want me to buy any more bagless cleaners. I would love to hear some other people’s “take” on this subject. The Shark Navigator sounds really great.

  4. Reeni Stezaker says:

    You can buy the Shark Navigator at Costco for $119.99 or on Ebay for $109.99. Sounds good to me. 🙂

  5. amy says:

    I bought a Shark Navigator about a year ago after my 11 year old Eureka quit working. I decided on this vacuum after reading lots of customer reviews about lots of different vacuums. I considered getting a Dyson but this Shark Navigator was so much more affordable and had so many positive comments I decided to give it a try. I have loved it! I love that it is light weight, it means my kids can use it with ease! I do not regret the purchase at all, it works great!

  6. Deborah W says:

    Mary, I am going to have to get one of these babies. I have an old Kirby which was pricey (almost $1,000) and the best you could get back in the late 90s but it’s seen better days. Thanks for the tip, Kristen P! I’m headed to Wal-Mart.com.

  7. Lori W says:

    I just recently purchased one also. We got it for our upstairs and love it just as much as my Dyson that we use downstairs at less than 1/2 the price of the Dyson. Whoo Hoo.

  8. Kristen P says:

    so funny that I just saw this on my newsfeed! After years of using a Roomba, I couldn’t believe how much the Navigator picked up! My coworker and I both just purchased Navigators and are so far very pleased! I got a great deal on the internet at Walmart.com, plus free shipping.

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