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Shark Rotator Versus Navigator - Which is Better?

Updated on July 29, 2014

Comparing the Shark Navigator and Rotator Lift Away Professional Vacuum Cleaners

Are you debating over whether to invest in a Shark Navigator or Rotator, however are a little unsure over the differences between the two and basically whether the extra $50 or so is justified to upgrade from a Navigator (e.g. NV370) to a Rotator (e.g. NV501)? Well if that's the case, then this comparison guide will definitely be able to help you out.

You will see on the right a comparison table, that contrasts their specifications, features and practicalities against each other, so you can immediately identify where in certain areas that they differ. We will then on the left hand side take aspect by aspect and detail what the features are involved and clarify the comparisons being made. Then finally in a concluding section we will debate which is the better shark vacuum to go for in terms of value for money, the Rotator or Navigator.

Shark Navigator Versus Shark Rotator Lift Away Pro Vacuums

Shark Navigator
Shark Rotator
1200 Watts
1200 Watts
12.4 x 11.4 x 45.2 inches
12.2 x 13.4 x 47.5 inches
14 lbs
15.8 lbs
Cleaning Path
Cord Length
Swivel Steering
Design Finish
Red, Silver
Cyclone Technology
Never Loses Suction (Sealed)
Never Loses Suction (Sealed)
Cleaning Modes
Gentle Deep Clean
Suction Control
Multi Floor
Lift Away Canister
Pet Tools & Accessories
(see below)
(see below)
Edge Cleaning
Three to One Vacuum
Deep Cleaning
Bin Capacity
3.1 quarts
3.1 quarts
Brush Bar On/Off
5 Years
5 Years
4.4 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
A comparison of the similarities and differences between the Shark Navigator and Rotator Lift Away professional upright models.

What's the Difference Between the Shark Navigator and Rotator?

So the immediate difference we can see between the two vacuums (and as briefly mentioned above) is the price of the two. The navigator lift away comes in at around the $200 mark (sometimes less, if you know where to look) and the rotator at around $250, so a difference of 50 bucks. Now the question ultimately becomes not which is the better vacuum (as they are different prices) but whether the Rotator offers enough 'over' that of the navigator to be worth an extra 50 dollars.

Cleaning Power & Practicalities

They are actually both very similar in this regard, they have the same integrated motor which offers 1200 watts of suction power -- however the Rotator is slightly more efficient and effective at using this power for picking up dirt, debris and pet hair (this is due to modifications with the cleaner head). For those who have different floor types in their house, you don't need to fear as the rotator and navigator can easily adapt between the two (lowering and raising the brush bar) and extremely effective at cleaning both floor types.

Also, due to the vacuum seal technology that's integrated into both vacuums, you will never ever lose suction (where with most other uprights vacuums as you collect more and more debris, the suction power slowly diminishes -- the navigator and rotator remains constant).

Dimensions & Mobility

Moreover, they also have a very similar build with regards to dimensions, bin capacity, max reach -- although there is a slight difference in weight of 1.8 lbs in favor of the Navigator being more mobile -- this is also backed up by the fact both vacuums comes with their swivel steering feature.

Furthermore, they also have the same cleaning width path of 9.5 inches as well as an extensive cord length for you to get right round your house with -- that measures 30 ft. Also, those who suffer with asthma, have breathing difficulties or are allergic will definitely appreciate the HEPA filters that are fitted into the Shark vacuums -- where they prevent 99.9% of particles (including harmful ones) from being expelled into your household air supply. Note: I believe the Rotator has an even more sophisticated filter than the navigator as it captures 99.99%.

Additional Practical Features: Lift Away

You will also notice from the comparison table above, they share other features such as the suction control (where you for more delicate and intricate jobs you can turn down the suction power). Another little contraption made with the shark lift away vacuums that I really like is the canister removal option (i.e lift away), so you basically have a super lightweight portable vacuum that makes it an absolute ease for cleaning up stairs and in cars etc.

Now both the vacuums have been very similar up to now, however there are some differences to note. The rotator comes with LED headlights which the navigator does not, this helps you see the dust and dirt that remains on your flooring (it gives you actually a very good idea of where you have been and where you have left to go as well & if you missed any spots). It also comes with the edge cleaning feature so you can right up and close to skirting boards and the outside of rooms without having to vacuum straight into it (via the front of the cleaner head like the navigator has to).

Tools, Accessories & Attachments

This section gets a little more complicated given that you get different tools with different versions of the Shark navigators and rotators (for instance see the difference between the NV500 Vs NV501 Vs NV502 etc.). For the sake of comparison though we will compare specifically the NV370 navigator and NV501 rotator.

So both models come with a crevice tool, however the Rotator just comes with a 12 inch version whereas the Navigator has a set of both an 8 inch as well as a 24 inch crevice tool. They both offer a dusting brush for essentially powered dusting as well as a large turbo brush (however with the navigator it is a pet hair version). There is some slight differences here, the navigator comes with: a dust away hard floor attachment along with two microfiber pads and the Rotator offers a multi angle dusting brush (for cleaning on the tops of shelves etc.) as well as a standard straight suction nozzle.

Obviously, you will need to check what version you are planning to buy, because almost every version of either vacuum offers something different within this regard.

Which Shark Vacuum Will You Buy?

See results

Which is Better the Shark Navigator or Rotator Lift Away Vacuums?

Quite difficult to say really. However, I would edge towards the Rotator even at the extra $50 mark up. It has a better cleaning performance, usually comes with a better set of equipment and is more up to date with the latest cleaning technology. You also get the LED headlights, a more sophisticated filtration system and just generally looks a bit better too (granted it is subjective). Either way as you can see from the extremely positive reviews of both the vacuum cleaners, they are both top class models and offer awesome bang for buck -- you can see throughout reviews that customers are always surprised at just how good shark vacuums are considering their price (relative to other more expensive models e.g. Dyson, Miele).

But, which Shark lift away professional vacuum will you go for and why?


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