Of the numerous vacuum cleaner manufacturers in the world, there are only a few of them that go unquestioned most of the time; one of them being Shark. What’s surprising is that the Shark Navigator ZU561 Upright Vacuum, dare I say it, does not live up to the Shark name. Actually, upright isn’t the right word – convertible is more appropriate as you’ll see in my review.

Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum Review (ZU561 Model)

Shark ZU561

Maximum 100-airwatt Cleaning Ability

Even those who left negative reviews for the Shark Navigator couldn’t deny that this is a powerful vacuum cleaner.

With a maximum suction delivery of 100 airwatts, it’s hard not to see how nearly perfect this tool is. For high-pile carpeting, this is probably one of the best uprights you could ever use. Everything else – low carpets, floorboards, and tiles – is not even a challenge for the Navigator.


Powered Lift-Away Handheld Unit

I mentioned earlier that “convertible” is a more proper term for this upright, and this is what I mean. If you need to do a bit of spot-cleaning here and there, the canister can be detached from the handle shaft, and the included cleaning tools go on the suction hose.

Shark ZU561 Navigator Upright Vacuum Review

Shark ZU561

Thanks to its intricate upright-handheld design, any dust surface you can imagine – even your pets! – can be vacuumed clean by this convertible.

Complete Seal Technology

The Shark Navigator is protected by Complete Seal Technology which ensures the contents of the 2-liter dustbin will never escape from their final resting place.

The connection points all around the unit, especially on any moving parts, are protected by this seal so you won’t have to worry about making multiple passes to pick up whatever may have leaked.

Shark Navigator ZU561 Upright Vacuum

Shark ZU561

True HEPA Filter

And that’s not all! To guarantee that virtually nothing escapes from the Navigator and makes its way onto your floors or into the air, this unit comes equipped with a True HEPA Filter – a fine mesh designed to retain up to 99.97% of particles of 0.3 microns in size.

Things like dust mites, pet fur, dander, pollen, and any other pollutant you can imagine will never litter your floor or tickle your nose. Not if the Navigator can do something about it!

Almost-Perfect Swivel Steering

Swivel steering is supposed to ensure that cleaning around tight corners or in cramped spaces doesn’t harm your wrist or the vacuum head.

For the most part, in the case of the Shark Navigator, this is true. However, there may be times where the neck gets stuck at an awkward angle and will require manually correcting the problem.

Zero M Self-Cleaning Brush

If there’s one thing I would deem a flaw in the Shark Navigator, it’s the supposed Self-Cleaning Brush with Zero M Technology. Theoretically, it sounds like it should prevent long strands of hair from wrapping around the brushroll, but sadly, this is simply untrue.

Shark Navigator Upright

Shark ZU561

Long hair will choke the brushroll and impair its deep-cleaning ability, and manually snipping away clumps of hair is a pain to do, especially if you don’t clean the brushroll regularly.

No Onboard Storage for Cleaning Tools

Another thing that many customers are disappointed by is the lack of onboard storage space for the cleaning attachments. This can be particularly annoying when using the Navigator on Powered Lift-Away (handheld) mode since you’ll have to pocket the tools to keep them on you while working.

This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but since it does affect the convenience of operating the Shark Navigator, it’s definitely worth noting.

Adjustable Beater Bar

To help extract crumbs and dust from carpet fiber, the Shark Navigator comes equipped with a handy beater bar, making it the perfect cleaning tool for high-pile carpets and shaggy rugs.

Shark Navigator Upright ZU561

Shark ZU561

The bad news is that the beater bar cannot be turned off; switching between beater bar modes simply changes the speed of the bar. This, unfortunately, means you run the risk of damaging bare floors when using this tool.

Short Power Cord

And finally, the 25-foot power cord is far too short to make use out of the handheld mode. Granted, you can extend your reach by plugging the Shark into an extension cord – something I recommend everyone do – since without it, cleaning a single spacious room will require multiple plugging and unplugging.

Verdict

There are plenty of things to love about the Shark ZU561 Upright Vacuum; it’s powerful, it converts from an upright to a handheld unit, and it’ll eliminate allergens from your floors effortlessly. The sad thing is that there are far too many downsides to this unit, especially for pet owners in large homes. Furthermore, without the option to turn the beater bar off completely, there’s a real risk of scuffing bare floors.

Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum Review