Alyssa loves trying out new products and services and sharing her honest opinions with the world. She is a budget-conscious wife and mom.
Nothing solidifies your status as a bonafide adult quite like the excitement and immense satisfaction you get from purchasing a functional home appliance. A lot of time and effort goes into researching what is available, comparing the most attractive options, reading reviews, and making that final, painstaking decision. There's a gleam in your eye when the desired object arrives, a certain joy akin to a child on Christmas morning when he or she catches the first glimpse of the presents Santa left under the tree. A childlike wonder reimagined and repackaged, with presents slightly more expensive and functional.
So it was as I went on the hunt for a new vacuum. It seems like a lot of unnecessary fuss for such a practical, everyday item. After all, vacuums, no matter the brand, have the same basic purpose, with varying levels of bells, whistles, and doodads. For me, a vacuum is a serious purchase. It's something I will use every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I need it to clean efficiently and last a long time, especially if I'm going to invest a lot of money into it.
What I Was Looking for in a New Vacuum
My old vacuum had been on its last leg for about six months before I finally decided it was time to buy a new one. It was a pretty good vacuum and held up for five years. The issue? The rubber on the bottom near the brush roll had worn away from my continuous use of the carpet feature, which was the highest suctioning setting.
Every time I used it, the brush roll would grind against plastic, causing a burning smell. Having my vacuum catch fire isn't my idea of a good time. I was forced to use the normal setting, and the vacuum just didn't have the suctioning power I needed.
As I was shopping around, I came up with a small list of features I knew I wanted in a new vacuum:
- Self-cleaning brush roll
- Hose feature to clean under furniture, in tight spaces, and in corners
- Easy to take apart and clean
- HEPA filter
- Less than $250
After much consideration, I decided on the Shark Navigator Pet with Self-Cleaning Brush roll.
Unboxing the Shark Navigator
I ordered my vacuum online through Wal-Mart. It was a reasonable $179 and arrived within the week. Unboxing the vacuum was a real treat. Inside was the vacuum, a handle and hose, a wand, the hose clip, a 5.5-inch crevice tool, and an upholstery tool. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful burnt orange, copper-like color of the hardware. It was easy to assemble and I was ready to test it out in about five minutes.
You can turn it on by choosing either the hard floor or carpet option. On the handle, you can control the suctioning power. The handle detaches with the push of a button for easy above-the-floor cleaning, or you can leave the wand attached to tackle higher areas. The wand itself is very long. I can easily remove cobwebs from the ceiling corners without needing to grab my step-ladder. It also reaches all the way under my TV stand without having to move it. In fact, I haven't had to move a single piece of furniture. I just bend down and move the wand around to get all the dust.
The hose is also quite lengthy, with up to a 12-foot reach, allowing me to move around freely and clean without having to worry about dragging the vacuum along behind me. Likewise, the cord is much longer than the one on my old vacuum. I can plug it into the outlet in my front hallway and easily vacuum half of my house without changing outlets. What a timesaver!
The dust cup is massive with a 3XL capacity. I could easily deep clean my entire house and have room left over to tackle the garage or car. It's incredibly convenient. Emptying the dust and dirt is a breeze. Just slide the latch up to remove the dust cup from the vacuum, hold it over the garbage, and press the release button. Pressing the button near the top of the dust cup reveals the lint screen which can be brushed off to remove extra debris.
This vacuum has two pre-motor filters and a HEPA filter. Both can easily be removed and rinsed with cold water. According to the instructions, the pre-motor filters should be cleaned every three months and the HEPA filter should be cleaned once a year. Shark recommends replacing the pre-motor filters every two and a half years and the HEPA filter every three years. Exact model numbers are provided in the instruction booklet.
Self-Cleaning Brush Roll Feature
The pièce de résistance is the self-cleaning brush roll. While I don't have a pet, I do have extremely long hair that seems to find its way everywhere around the house. The brush roll on my old vacuum would hold on to all that hair for dear life. At least once a month, I would have to tear that vacuum apart and spend a good chunk of time getting the hair out of the brush roll. It was no small feat! I mean it when I say that the self-cleaning brush roll is life changing.
The instruction booklet explains that this feature is automatic. If hair remains wrapped around the brush roll, just continue cleaning to give it time to make its way to the dust cup. However, I use the hardwood setting at max suction for all my cleaning needs and there are always a few strands of hair left around the brush roll. To take advantage of the self-cleaning feature, after I am finished vacuuming, I simply switch from hard floor to carpet mode. This makes the brush roll spin faster. I slide the vacuum back and forth a few times and presto, all the hair disappears!
While cleaning my utility room, I noticed that a few pieces of string had gotten caught around the brush roll. Using my trick didn't work and I needed to access the brush roll to remove it. It was easy to do! There are three locks on the bottom of the vacuum holding the plastic in place. I used a quarter to turn the locks and pulled it off. The brush roll easily lifted out and I was able to clean off the string. It set right back into place with no hassles and I put everything back together. It took less than three minutes.
A High-Quality Vacuum That Should Last a Long Time
I've used this vacuum for almost two months and I've put it through the ringer. It performed well during my extensive spring cleaning, and I even took it outside to tackle my car. The detachable handle worked great for getting into the small, tight areas on the floor and under the seats. The max suctioning eliminated all the grass and dirt that had accumulated on and around the mats. Both attachments connect to the longer wand and to the detached handle. I used both while cleaning the car and they worked well!
Children and husbands are messy, and this vacuum makes cleaning a breeze! It glides across my floor, sucking up the crumbs from meals as well as dirt and pebbles that get tracked inside. As I mentioned above, the self-cleaning brush roll has been incredible. Every day, I vacuum and it does the hard work for me, unwinding the strands of hair and leaving the brush roll clean. The vacuum is visually striking and highly efficient! I have no complaints.
I think it's important to note that the vacuum gives off a slight plastic, rubbery smell for the first week. It isn't overpowering and it goes away with regular use. It wasn't an issue for me, but I think it is something to be aware of. Overall, I love this vacuum. I can't say enough good things about it. $179 well spent in my opinion. If you are in the market for a new vacuum, I highly recommend this one!
© 2020 Alyssa
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on May 15, 2020:
Well, if that works for you, Bill, then no point in changing it. We also have all wooden floors, but I also have a preteen, as he proudly proclaims himself. haha! And I'll admit to you that I don't have a regular broom. I have a push broom for outside, but no regular one for indoor use. :)
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on May 15, 2020:
I know what you mean, Lora! It was such a hassle to tear apart my old vacuum, clean it, and then let it sit for a day or so to dry before I could put it back together and use it again. This vacuum would be perfect for you I think! I'm glad you found the article helpful! Have a lovely week!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on May 15, 2020:
I'm glad this was helpful! It's a great vacuum! Have a wonderful week!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 15, 2020:
I hate to admit this, but we don't have a vacuum cleaner. We have all wood floors, and I just sweep twice a day and mop once a week. Not terrible efficient, but just call me an old fashioned kind of guy. Still, your review does make this model appealing. Thanks for the recommendation.
Lora Hollings on May 14, 2020:
You sold me on this vacuum cleaner, Alyssa! I have a central vacuum but it doesn't reach into all areas of my house very well. With having two dogs and a cat, I certainly need a vaccum that has really good suction and I love the idea of a self-cleaning brush roll. There are many times when I have had to take my vacuum apart to take the hair out and it is quite time consuming! Thanks for your article that does such a great job at explaining all the features of this vacuum cleaner.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 14, 2020:
This sounds like a great vacuum cleaner, Alyssa. I may need to replace my current one soon. Thanks for making my decision an easy one.