Product Review: Shark Rotator Lift Away

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that we go through a lot of vacuum cleaners here. A LOT. My husband takes over the chore on the weekend and he’s just plain rough on vacuum cleaners I guess.  Long story short, he killed my Shark Navigator and the replacement motor (he REALLY killed it!) would take 3 weeks to arrive, so he went out and bought me a Shark Rotator Lift Away. Why not try a new model he said? The Rotator Lift Away was the other one I had been looking at when we chose the Navigator.

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Anyway, after having the Rotator Lift Away for 4 days, I can say that I’m glad we originally went with the Navigator. The Rotator has better suction (though the Navigator had a faulty motor from the get-go), but the design is just… well, there’s room for improvement.

The vacuum has what I lovingly refer to as the crap-trap. It’s my most-hated part of the vacuum. What is the crap-trap you ask? It’s this awful hairpin turn where the flex hose meets the handle.

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Let me tell you, the first time you suck up a kid sock, a Matchbox car or a small plastic screwdriver, you’ll be cursing the crap trap. Any small, non dust-bunny-esq item you vacuum up from the depths of your couch or under the kitchen table will get lodged there, at that lovely corner. But you’re wondering what the problem is, you can just pop the hose off and fish it out, right? WRONG. Because to the best of my knowledge, that hose is NOT removable. Ugh. Why, Why, WHY would they make a vacuum like that?

The other thing I’d like to touch on is the weight of this vacuum cleaner. Yes, it’s the professional model, so yes you would expect it to be a bit bulkier and a bit heavier than the regular model, but this sucker weighs a TON. The lift away feature was one of my favorite things about this vacuum, BUT after about 5 minutes your arm is dead. The weight isn’t such an issue for my husband, but for me it sure is.

Oh, and one other little design snaffu — the “floor nozzle” is higher than the gap at the bottom of the couch. That means you HAVE to remove the cleaning arm to vacuum around the couches. We have a higher than average gap to work with, so I’m sure this is a pretty universal issue for Rotator Lift Away Pro owners.

Seriously, Shark could gain so much valuable insight by shipping vacuums to random households and having people use them IN REAL LIFE and submit feedback on the design. I’m sure in a lab setting or even in an office park, none of these things are issues, but in a house with 3 young kids, a dog and a cat, the design feels lacking.

Overall, I’m going to give this vacuum 3 out of 5 stars. The cleaning power is there. It cleans SO WELL, but it’s severely lacking in the design department.

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