When it comes to budget vacuum cleaners, the Shark Navigator Series is comfortably leading the race. Without a doubt one of the best known and most respected names in the industry, this series revolutionized the humble vacuum and boasts quality products that stand the test of time- and then some! The original model in the Shark Navigator Lift-Away series, the NV352, has been one of the best-selling vacuum cleaners for the past decade; but how does it compare to some of the newer models on offer?
The NV360 Deluxe and NV356e Pro are the newer, more modern models in the same budget category, but how different are they? We put all three vacuums to the test to determine what the differences are, and what model comes out on top.
– The build
The general construction of each model is basically the same, and overall they look very similar. They all operate using a 1200 watt motor and have the same style of floor head (the part of the machine that covers the floor and picks up the dirt). The front gates are also all the same size and include the feature of a detachable motor and canister that defines the ‘life away’ series. The simplicity of pushing a button to release the hose and other lift-away components is a big part of what makes these vacuums so convenient, so, understandably, this design would be incorporated into every model.
– Same brush roll
Each machine comes with the same smart brush roll design, proving that if something ain’t broken, don’t fix it! The size and shape are consistent across the board and they all feature an on/off switch to control the brush roll’s motion. This comes in handy when you have a mix of hard floor and carpeted surfaces. With the flick of a switch, you can swap from a rotating brush for better cleaning the grooves of a carpet, to a static brush that avoids debris being scattered across a hard floor.
– How much they weigh
These vacuums are all lightweight and easy to handle and while there is a small difference in weight between the three, it is insignificant. Consumers love how easy these machines are to maneuver, especially compared to many other models in this price range.
– Complete seal anti-allergen system
This is what Shark calls their HEPA filtered sealed system, something all their Lift-Away models have. This is an extremely valuable addition to a vacuum system and a rare find in this price bracket, so is ultimately a massive gold star beside the brand’s name. HEPA filters and sealed systems are not only for those who suffer from allergies, in fact, nowadays it is recommended not to buy a model without this included. This system stops any dirty air from being released into your home, irritating your throat or lungs, and of course aggravating allergies.
– The warranty
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352, NV360 Deluxe, and NV356e Pro all come with a five-year warranty.
– Capacity of the bin
Both the NV352 and the NV360 Deluxe have quite a low bin capacity in comparison to the average vacuum at only 1.32 liters. This is no issue if you only have a reasonably small area to vacuum or don’t mind emptying the chamber more often, but if you have a large home this might be inconvenient. The NV356e Pro has a much larger bin with a 2.42-liter capacity; ideal for covering big areas or for someone with pets who shed a lot of hair.
– Cord length
The theme continues with the length of cord each model offers. Once again, the NV356e is in first place with a 30ft cord (the average length for standard vacuums). Both other models come in below average with only 25ft of cord, making them even less suitable for large homes unless you have an extension cable and a little patience.
– What attachments are included
Attachments are what help make a vacuum multifunctional and can be a game-changer when deciding what one to buy. There are a few basic attachments that come with all machines, like a crevice tool for awkward spaces, and a pet power tool to limit tangled hairs. The NV360 Deluxe and the NV352 both come with upholstery tools included, whereas with the NV356e Pro these tools are sold separately. The NV352 also has an extra-long crevice tool as well as the standard size, so is a good choice for someone with higher up tricky spots they need to reach.
– Performance level
Overall, there is very little difference in the performance of these machines. All three models we tested produced excellent results beyond the capabilities of most other vacuums in this price range. To really break down the levels of performance, consistency, and durability, we had to run some more in-depth tests: the results of which overwhelmingly favored the NV352. We used an anemometer to check the suction power and airflow, and while all machines had great results, the NV352 was repeatedly the top dog. The same was true with the carpet deep clean capabilities and when we tested the performance of the vacuums with the crevice tool attached. In every scenario, the NV352 had the edge over its newer counterparts.
– The price
All these vacuums are great value for money when you consider the performance level and convenience you get and what you pay for them. The prices are not drastically different, but the NV356e Pro is the most expensive of the three, the NV352 sits in the middle, and the NV360 Deluxe is the cheapest of the three. These are budget vacuums and are a fantastic balance between practical and affordable.
To conclude, any one of these Shark Navigator Lift-Away models would be a good purchase for someone looking for a high-quality vacuum from a trusted brand at a reasonable price. They are overwhelmingly similar, but the NV356e Pro is most suitable for a big house. All things considered, the NV352 just squeezes ahead, proving that sometimes the original really is best.