The Shark Navigator vs Rotator 2019: Comparison and Review

 Shark Navigator vs Rotator
If you’re looking for a new upright vacuum cleaner, you’ve probably already come across some of the Shark vacuum cleaners.

Two of Shark’s most popular upright canister vacuums are the Navigator and the Rotator.
At first glance, these vacuums may seem like two of a kind. Our extensive research revealed some significant differences between the two.
Shark Rotator Lift-Away...
Shark Navigator Lift-Away...
User rating
Vacuum Series
Shark Rotator Lift-Away - NV500 series
Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away - NV370 series
Product Weight
15.5 pounds
13.7 pounds
Pod Weight (Without Cord)
8.4 pounds
8 pounds
Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology + HEPA
Swivel Steering
Included Accessories
Dusting Brush, 12" Crevice Tool, Premium Pet Power Brush.
Dusting Brush, 8" Crevice Tool, Pet Power Brush, Dust-Away Hard Floord Attachment with 2 Microfiber Pads
Bonus Tools
Straight Nozzle, Canister Caddy, Car Detail Kit
Dust Cup Capacity (Max Fill Line)
1.3 dry quarts
2.2 dry quarts
Hose Length (Compressed)
8.4 feet
5 feet
Cord Length
30 feet
30 feet
Cleaning Path Width
9.5 inches
9.5 inches
Wattage
800 watts
1,200 watts
LED
Noise
80 decibels
75 decibels
User reviews
588 Reviews
9,898 Reviews
Shark Rotator Lift-Away...
User rating
Vacuum Series
Shark Rotator Lift-Away - NV500 series
Product Weight
15.5 pounds
Pod Weight (Without Cord)
8.4 pounds
Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology + HEPA
Swivel Steering
Included Accessories
Dusting Brush, 12" Crevice Tool, Premium Pet Power Brush.
Bonus Tools
Straight Nozzle, Canister Caddy, Car Detail Kit
Dust Cup Capacity (Max Fill Line)
1.3 dry quarts
Hose Length (Compressed)
8.4 feet
Cord Length
30 feet
Cleaning Path Width
9.5 inches
Wattage
800 watts
LED
Noise
80 decibels
User reviews
588 Reviews
Chec Price
Shark Navigator Lift-Away...
User rating
Vacuum Series
Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away - NV370 series
Product Weight
13.7 pounds
Pod Weight (Without Cord)
8 pounds
Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology + HEPA
Swivel Steering
Included Accessories
Dusting Brush, 8" Crevice Tool, Pet Power Brush, Dust-Away Hard Floord Attachment with 2 Microfiber Pads
Bonus Tools
Dust Cup Capacity (Max Fill Line)
2.2 dry quarts
Hose Length (Compressed)
5 feet
Cord Length
30 feet
Cleaning Path Width
9.5 inches
Wattage
1,200 watts
LED
Noise
75 decibels
User reviews
9,898 Reviews
Chec Price
Read along to learn more about the Navigator and the Rotator, and see just how well these two like-branded vacuums fared in a side-by-side comparison.

Shark Navigato Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum

The Shark Navigator® Life-Away® Professional Upright Vacuum (NV356E) is an innovative canister cleaner with loads of deep-cleaning features.

It has swivel floor steering, a lift-away canister, a far-reaching wand, and a brush roll shutoff. Not to mention, the vacuum can be emptied from both the top and bottom, making for mess-free cleaning sessions.

What’s more, it boasts an anti-allergen complete seal as well as a HEPA filter to prevent dust and allergens from reentering a room during a cleaning session.

It’s also super easy to maintain and works well on a variety of floor surfaces.

Advantages

The Navigator is a well-rounded machine that can eradicate a wide range of messes.

  • Not only that, but it features Shark’s proprietary Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology® as well as a HEPA filter to ensure it enables dust- and allergen-free environment.
  • It also comes with a series of useful attachments, including a Hard Floor Hero™, a pet power brush, a dusting brush, and an 8-inch crevice tool.
  • Overall, this vacuum is capable of capturing chunky debris and fine particles, such as dust and dandruff.
  • It’s also low-priced, giving budget-minded buyers a break without jeopardizing their cleaning capabilities.

Disadvantages

  • The Navigator is an outstanding performer, but the design is a bit dated. It features a white plastic body, a clear plastic canister, and a 30-foot power cord. At just under 14 pounds, it’s lightweight.
  • However, it has a large exterior that may be difficult to store.
  • We were also disappointed that it did not feature a retractable cord, because no one has the time nor desire to collect 30-feet of loose ends after every cleaning session manually.

Pros

  • Several specialty accessories
  • Lift-away canister for spot cleaning
  • 360-degree swiveling base
  • Brushroller with shutoff feature
  • Work well on both hardwoods and carpets
  • Extra-large transparent dust cup

Cons

  • Dated design
  • Limited accessories

Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum

The Shark® Rotator® Professional Lift-Away® is a full-sized canister vacuum with a swiveling base. It boasts plenty of multi-floor attachments, including the Floor Hero™, the TruePet Motorized Brush, and a Pet Multitool.

It also has a built-in Anti-Allergen Complete Seal and a HEPA air filter for improved air quality.

The vacuum can be pushed for brushroll-aided suction, or the canister can be disconnected for deep cleaning hard-to-reach places, making for a high-powered 2-in-1 design.

Advantages

  • The Lift-Away®’s detachable canister makes it easy for users to clean hard-to-reach places. Not to mention, it features a swiveling caddy base with LED lights for across-the-floor navigation.
  • It also has an extra-large dust cup for uninterrupted cleaning sessions.
  • Not to say, it has a reusable air filter and anti-allergen seal to ensure the best possible air quality during and after cleaning sessions.
  • Topping off its features, the Rotator comes with a motorized pet hair brush and other superior accessories.

Disadvantages

  • The Rotator is Shark’s original Lift-Away® canister vacuum. As such, it comes at a steep price.
  • While it works well, it features a somewhat dated and bulky design.
  • What’s more, not all of the accessories can fit in the onboard storage unit. It’s also a bit pricier than the Navigator.

Pros

  • Extra-large transparent dust cup
  • Anti-allergen seal and HEPA filter
  • Premium Pet Power Brush
  • Swivel steering
  • LED lights on the handle and nozzle
  • Versatile attachments for all sorts of spot cleaning
  • Lift-away canister completes the 2-in-1 design

Cons

  • Dated design
  • Expensive

The Shark Navigator vs. Rotator: A Comparison Review

When we first looked at the Shark Navigator vs. Rotator for Pet hair, it was difficult to distinguish between the vacuums.
So we broke the vacuums into easy to compare categories, determining a winner of each roundup in hopes of identifying an overall winner.

Design

Both the Navigator and the Rotator have similar bodies and overall designs.

They are both full-sized upright vacuums with lift-away handheld canisters and loads of specialty accessories.

Both vacuums also feature 30-feet wall cords, transparent dust cups, and swivel bases.

Both vacuums feature interchangeable floor-level cleaning heads. Users can opt between a standard brushroll for carpets and rugs or a non-abrasive hardwood cleaning head for a variety of hard surfaces.

Both vacuums can also be detached from their bases to transform into handheld canisters with extended wands.

Both cleaners also feature ergonomic handles, a flexible extension hose, and an extended wand with optional accessories.

Shark Navigato Lift-AwayThe Navigator is more of a budget-rate version of the Rotator. Inconsequently, it comes with fewer accessories.

On the other hand, the Navigator features an extensive pet upholstery tool, a dusting brush, a 24-inch crevice tool, and a 5.5-inch crevice tool.



Shark Rotator Pro Lift-AwayMeanwhile, the Rotator comes with a premium pet power brush, a full pet upholstery tool, a straight suction nozzle, a dusting brush, and a 12-inch crevice tool.

What’s more, the Rotator has a brushroll indicator light and on/off feature. It also has LED headlights and a deep cabernet and grey exterior.

On the other hand, the Navigator has a 2.2-quart dustbin while the Rotator’s is just 1.3 quarts.

So, did the Shark Navigator or Rotator Lift-Away come out on top regarding design? The Rotator offers more bells and whistles, but the Rotator provides all the essentials for a lower price. If you can live without indicator lights and lighted navigation, you can save a few dollars with the Navigator. Still, if you have pets, it’s best to spend the extra bucks on the Rotator.

Size and Dimensions

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is 45.5 inches tall, 11.4 inches wide, and 14.96 inches deep. It weighs 13.7 pounds as an upright vacuum and 8 pounds as a handheld canister.

It has a 15-inch cleaning path and a 30-foot power cord.

Finally, it has a dust cup capacity of 2.2 quarts.

On the other hand, the Shark Rotator Lift-Away is 45 inches tall, 11.9 inches wide, and 13.2 inches deep.

It weighs 15.4 pounds as an upright vacuum and 8.4 pounds as a handheld canister.

It has a 9.5-inch cleaning path and a 30-foot power cord.

Finally, it has a dust cup capacity of 1.3 quarts.

The Navigator Professional can also be used with a 16-inch extension tube, a flexible hose, a 24-inch crevice tool, and other extendable accessories. As such, stairs, corners, crevices, and ceilings are no match for this far-reaching cleaning device. Like the Navigator, the Rotator comes with a 12-inch crevice tool, a 16-inch extension wand, and many attachable accessories.

Winner: While both vacuums have similar dimensions, the Navigator is lighter and has a greater dust bin capacity than the Rotator. As such, it is the clear winner regarding size.

Cleaning Parameters and Vacuuming Technologies

Cleaning Parameters and Vacuuming TechnologiesAll of Shark’s Lift-Away vacuums features Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technologies and HEPA filters to prevent dust and debris from reentering the environment after being sucked up.

They also boast a dynamic 2-in-1 design, with optional upright or handheld vacuum postures.

Meanwhile, Active-Glide™ technology makes it possible for the vacuums to swivel effortlessly around corners, furniture, and other hazards. Not to mention, they have interchangeable cleaner heads that deep clean both hard and soft surfaces.

We performed a series of tests to assess how well each of these vacuums cleaned on different surfaces.

To perform these tests, we created tracks of three different types of debris, including lentils, cereal, and flour. We applied these tracks to thick-pile, low-pile, and hardwood floors.

We used the Navigator and the Rotator’s large brushroll attachment to see who fared the best in each of the categories.

We concluded that both vacuums were capable of sucking up large, medium, and lightweight debris.

We found that the Rotator performed better when picking up the lentils on hardwood floors. Both vacuums also performed outstandingly well on low-pile carpets. Finally, the Rotator performed better than the Rotator on thick-pile carpets. The Rotator left behind bits and pieces of lentils and flour.

Winner: With that said, it’s clear that the Rotator has greater cleaner parameters and more advanced, or at least more powerful, suction technology. However, the less-expensive Navigator did not follow far behind its predecessor.

Cleaning Quality on Different Surfaces

While we utilized the vacuums’ wide brush rollers to see how each of them fared on different surfaces, it was essential for us to dig deeper into their accessories to better rate their ability to clean different surfaces.

Read along to learn how the Navigator and Rotator fared on hardwoods, carpets, and more.

Hardwoods

Cleaning Quality on Different SurfacesThe Shark Navigator features a Hard Floor Hero™ that attaches to the end of the wand. It also boasts a Dust-Away™ hard floor attachment that comes with a washable microfiber pad attachment intended for intensively cleaning hard surfaces.

It also has a brushroll shutoff feature that lets you switch between carpet and bare floor with the touch of a button.

The Navigator also features a dusting brush and 8-inch crevice tool for eliminating deep-set dust and debris.

On the other hand, the Rotator does not come with any hard floor-specific cleaning heads.

However, it does feature a dusting brush and 12-inch crevice tool that can be used to eradicate dust and debris from tight nooks and corners.

Carpets

Both the Navigator and Rotator feature rotating brush rollers built into swiveling caddies that navigate well on both low and high carpets. The lift-away wand and crevice tool also works well to eradicate debris that has been crushed into corners and crevices.

The Rotator boasts an additional motorized Pet Power brush for removing pet hair from carpeted stairs and upholstery. Not to mention, its LED headlight makes for easier navigation around furniture and rugs.

The Rotator has three suction settings, which include:

  • “Hard Floor,”
  • “Carpet/Low Pile,”
  • “Thick Carpet/Area Rug.”

Users must raise or lower a bar to select one of the settings. Once a setting is selected, the setting title and graphic will illuminate.

Upholstery and More

Both the Navigator and Rotator feature low-profile swiveling bottoms and nozzle heads that are ideal for reaching under and around low-hanging furniture.

Meanwhile, the Rotator’s wide upholstery and multi-tools are great for removing pet hair and other debris from fabric-covered furniture, curtains, lampshades, and rugs.

Usability

Setup

The Navigator requires minimal assembly out of the box. You’ll need to attach the hose, bottom, wand, and canister. These pieces all lock into one another with ease. The entire process takes a few minutes. You’ll also need to hook the cord onto the side and attach the onboard accessories to the accessory caddy.

The unboxing and assembly processes are nearly identical with the Rotator. You need to attach the parts and make sure that all the tabs and grooves line up on corresponding parts. Keep in mind that the Rotator has a few more accessories than the Navigator.

Daily Use

Both the Navigator and Rotator are well-suited for daily use.

Daily UseThey both have easy to steer swiveling bases that offer flawless multi-surface maneuverability.

Both vacuums also feature super convenient onboard accessory storage and snap-on connection points, enabling split-second, hassle-free accessory changes. Not to mention, they can both transform from a powerful upright vacuum to a lightweight handheld canister.

We found the caddy to be the most convenient setup, as the wheels and 30-foot power cord provide plenty of reach and flexibility. You can even disconnect the flexible cord and attach the wand to clean above the floor while still connected to the rolling base.

The handheld canister takes a little getting used to, as it weighs over 8 pounds and requires two hands to maneuver. Still, it’s superb for cleaning stairwells and other hard-to-reach surfaces.

Winner: The Rotator took the cake regarding usability. After all, it features fingertip controls and LED lights for illuminated navigation. It also features the helpful Hard Floor Hero Attachment and the TruePet motorized brush accessory for cleaning up oddball messes.

Regular Maintenance

Both the Navigator and Rotator feature dust cups with a hinged bottom panel. Users can unlatch the pane, and it will swing open to release the contents. This enables ideal hygienic disposal.

Stubborn debris may also be emptied from the top.

It is worth noting that the Navigator has a max capacity of 2.2 dry quarts, while the Rotator as a max capacity of 1.3 dry quarts.

Troubleshooting

Sometimes, even the best vacuums don’t work as expected. Both the Navigator and Rotator may require intermittent troubleshooting.

  • When users observe insufficient airflow, they may need to remove individual parts and accessories to check for blockages.
  • The vacuums may also overheat and need to be turned off to cool down.
  • Finally, the foam filters and dust cup may need to be cleaned regularly.
Both the Navigator and Rotator feature red/green indicator lights that let users know when the brush is engaged and if there is a blockage.

Power

Both the Navigator and Rotator feature 30-foot wall cords.

The Rotator utilizes 800 watts per hour, while the Navigator utilizes 1,200 watts. With that said, it’s also important to consider the vacuums’ airflow, or the amount of air sucked into the unit.

However, this number varies depending on the type of accessories attached.

Winner: Our tests showed that both the Navigator and Rotator have similar airflow without attachments. However, the Rotator performed slightly better on hardwoods and low carpets and significantly better on high carpets.

Noise

Neither the Navigator nor Rotator are unusually loud. You can safely clean your home or office without needing a pair of OSHA-approved earplugs.

The Navigator produces over 75 decibels without any accessories. Meanwhile, the Rotator produces around 80 decibels at full force.

Maintenance and Dustbin Indicator

  • Both the Navigator and the Rotator have zero maintenance costs. That’s because they both come with high-quality washable “lifetime filters” that can be re-used throughout the vacuums’ entire lives.
  • They also boast “lifetime belts” that never need to be replaced.
The vacuums also utilize electronic sensors that detect any brushroll blockages and automatically shut off the power. When this happens, users are expected to unplug the vacuum and clear the blockage by hand.
  • Other maintenance requirements include the periodic cleaning of the pre-motor foam filter, pre-motor felt filter and post-motor HEPA filter.

Both the pre-motor foam and felt filters need to be rinsed and air-dried every 3 months. Meanwhile, the HEPA filter needs to be rinsed and air-dried every 12 months.

  • Users also need to empty the dust cup regularly. While neither vacuum features a dustbin indicator, both of them boast transparent dust cups with “max fill” lines. Users should take note of the dust cup contents before and after each use and empty it as needed.
  • The brushroll also needs to be removed and cleaned periodically. What’s more, the Navigator’s Dust-Away™ microfiber pad should be cleaned periodically. Finally, both models are also protected by a 5-year limited warranty.
With all that said, the maintenance tasks for the Navigator and Rotator are nearly identical and relatively low-key compared to similar canister vacuums.

Pricing

The Shark Navigator’s list price is $249.99, though it often sells for a reduced price.

Meanwhile, the Shark Rotator’s list price is $259.99. Of course, it too sells for a reduced cost.

With that said, the Rotator’s colorful caddy and sleek design give it a more high-end appearance. Nevertheless, the Navigator’s extra-large dust cup makes it a force to be reckoned with.
Winner: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly canister vacuum you can count on for daily use; the Navigator is a great bargain. After all, similar models sell for hundreds more. Still, if you have pets or lots of upholstery, the Rotator is probably worth the extra investment.

Final Thoughts

shark logoAre you still wondering if you should buy the Shark Navigator or the Shark Rotator?

The Navigator is an excellent 2-in-1 upright canister vacuum with loads of accessories and plenty of sucking power. It’s also the most budget-friendly option of the two vacuums. Not to mention, it has a dust cup that is nearly double the size of the Rotators. While it was a close call, it also happens to be our number one pick.

Still, we’re big fans of the Rotator and believe it’s worth a few extra bucks if you’re a pet owner or someone who commonly uses accessories to clean things like furniture and drapes. It’s also has a sleeker, more modern design with colorful highlights.

  • With that said, both vacuums performed better than pricier alternatives.
  • They were also both easy to navigate, even without significant upper body strength.
  • Not to mention, they both did well on a variety of surfaces.
  • They also both had plenty of accessories to clean up anything left behind by the main rotator head.
With that said, you really can’t go wrong when choosing between the Navigator and Rotator. They’re both five-star vacuums well-suited for daily use.

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