Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro Review

The Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro is Shark’s latest vacuum cleaner, and in our tests the best one from shark to date. The original Shark Navigator was a smashing success, not in cleaning power (It was good but a bit lacking compared to the competition) but in performance to price ratio. The next versions of the navigator always found places to improve or innovate on the original but none like this. This was clearly a redesign from the ground up, and the fact that the name “Navigator” is not on the machine demonstrates that clearly. The engineers at Shark really pushed the limits of what they could do with the old ideas of the navigator, and this is a whole new paradigm. They took the best from the old series and combined it with new innovation to create an amazing machine for most users.

One thing that was a huge innovation on the old machines was the lift-away function, and it comes back better than ever on this machine. The new design is not without flaws though, with the base occasionally sticking to the motor unit when the lift-away mechanism is activated. This is a rare problem, but unfortunately must be mentioned, as in our tests (as well as everyday use) the machine will fail to lift away, and must be shaken to detach properly. When this bug does not appear (about 85% of the time) the lift-away function works wonderfully. The machine is quite easy to carry in lift-away mode, and the many attachments work quite well. In addition the lift-away caddy is another great new feature, allowing the machine to be pulled behind you as you clean. The attachments on this model are also quite robust, comprising of a: wand, crevice tool, dusting brush, turbo brush, and a bare floor tool. These all are easy to use and have a storage place, either on the machine or on the caddy.

The cleaning power on the floor is also improved over previous models, with a new extra-large floor head compared to previous models. This new floor head has the signature strong shark brushroll, and a new feature to the shark brand, Headlights! This floor head is also quite large and features the swivel steering controls like previous lift-away vacuums. The swivel steering makes it easy to move around and keep control of the vacuum, while allowing you to still get into tight places. The strong suction provided by the motor unit also allows the vacuum to keep up with the brushrolls ability to dislodge dirt from the carpet fibers. This new floor head also seals to the floor like the Dyson DC41, which allows for very strong pickup performance on carpet. Like older shark brushrolls this machine still has overload protection, and the brushroll will stop when jammed before damage is caused to the floor, the machine or the item caught in the brush.

Overall this vacuum is a strong upgrade from previous Shark Navigators, and a very strong machine on its own. This machine has been redesigned to be more user friendly while having greater performance in all areas.

See our video review here:

Score: 9/10

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Designed to help you find the best vacuum for your needs, no matter what they are.
Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro
Date Published: 03/28/2013
This vacuum combines next generation design with ease of use to be the best machine Shark has ever made!
9 / 10 stars

48 thoughts on “Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro Review

  1. Your reviews are very helpful, thank you.

    Do you have plans to review the Shark Rotator Vac or Steam?

    I have limited storage space and am not sure I have room for both a vacuum and a steamer so I bought the Navigator Vac or Steam. I returned it after 1 use because the dust bin was too small. Before the dust bin even filled up the machine would shut off to prevent overheating, in just a few minutes vacuuming a basically clean area rug with a low profile. There is no info on the size of the Rotator Vac or Steam dust bin online. I called Shark twice. Both reps didn’t know either. The second put me on hold for 55 minutes before she disconnected me. If the dust bin on the Rotator is the same size as the Navigator, that will probably have the same problem over heating that the Navigator has. Would you happen to know its size?

  2. Can you comment on the noise levels on the main vacs you have reviewed Shark, Dyson and Kirby. Also the weight – any significance differences among these?

    1. Kirby is quite heavy, but a Dyson or Shark are pretty reasonable in weight, with Shark’s being a bit lighter for most models.

      1. Sound Kirby is very noisy, like an airplane in the room. Dyson, O.K. Shark very quiet. Kirby very heavy and not easy to use when changing things on it. I hate it, worse and most expensive purchase I ever made, only good/bad thing is it won’t die.

  3. When will you review the shark Rocket Pro? Tested it myself at local store against the Rotator Pro and Dyson 40. In all my tests picking up ground in dirt and hair, the Rocket Pro left the least amount and was on par with the Rotator. The Dyson did leave some dirt behind but I have to say the Dyson felt more sure of its suction, so I was surprised. I tested these 6 different times by taking one and doing the first run through, then went over it with each of the others independently. In all cases the Rocket Pro was the winner, and about even with the Rotator Pro lift away. I liked the light feel but with out less suction. I was sold and bought one. The only thing I hesitated on was the lack of accessories for the Rocket Pro.


  4. Hi
    I found your review very helpful. I am deciding between the older shark navigator model and the shark rotator model. Which one do you suggest would be the best /


  5. Not quite a year and motor on Rotator clanking. Best way to describe. I vacuum daily and am careful with vacuum. So I am disappointed with this awful noise. Sounds like it may quit soon. Then what? Loved the Rotator until the motor clanking noise started.

  6. Your review of the rocket was very enlightening and I appreciate your saving me a lot of money. Keep the reviews comming as I have still not made up my mind

  7. I am torn between this rotator lift away & the Navigator lift away. I have predominantly hard wood floors, which model would you recommend?

  8. So, ignoring price (I have found a great sale on a Dyson), which would be your choice for a vacuum, Dyson DC41 Animal or Shark Rotator Lift Away?

    I have two toddlers (Cheerio spills anyone?) and a cat that sheds.

    I also have apartment carpet that always seems to be flat because of high traffic and my current cheap
    vacuum doesn’t do much for deep cleaning and giving that “fresh fluffy” look.

    Thank you for any suggestions you can offer!

  9. I have enjoyed using this vacuum. My only beef is that I wish the flexible hose were longer and more flexible. I use it way more in the canister mode and I’m used to a longer flexible hose that allows you to have a little more distance from the main vacuum cleaner. This one is so short that as soon as you pull on it, it rolls right up against the back of your heel. This can be painful if you happen to be in your sock feet! Also, I wish the floor attachment had a more substantial brush on it to pick up more dust. But, for the most part I have been very impressed with the performance. I’m hoping, at some point to purchase the Shark Sonic Duo. It looks like an equally great product.

  10. I find your videos on the shark rotator awesome and I think it’s a great vacuum. A good review would be on the hoover air pro personally I’d like to see how it works thanks.

  11. The title of your video includes the word “rotator”, but you start your video saying it is a review of the “navigator”. Sorry, but just a little confused. Could you please clarify? TIA! 🙂

    1. It’s the Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro. When it first came out I saw an ad with a misprint calling it the “navigator rotator lift away pro” and I used that in the video. I fixed the article, but I can’t change the video at this point.

  12. Hi!
    I would like to know your opinion about shark professional light away.
    I want to buy this vacuum.. I have in my house only carpet and a dog… Sometime he changes his hair
    And this is a big problem with the carpet.
    So i have 2 children and they always play on the carpet.
    So now i have dirty devil… But i think it’s horrible vacuum…
    I would like to change with the shark.
    Do you think that the shark is good?

    Thank so much for your time and your video are amazing!!!
    And sorry for my english!!

  13. Can you use this model as an upright on hard floors or do you need to use the attachment that I saw in your video?

  14. I have heard from several people that carpet companies are not honoring warranties if you use a Dyson on their carpet. I’m assuming the same would go for the Rotator. I called the store where I purchased carpet and was told that as long as my vacuum had an adjustable beater bar I would be fine. From what I can tell, the Rotator doesn’t have this. I saw something about adjustable suction on the Shark website. Is this feature available when the machine is used as an upright or just when using the attachments? Thank you.

    1. Hello Christy,

      The machine does have adjustable suction, but that is not the same thing as an adjustable beater bar. Although the suction can be adjusted when using it as an upright, the carpet warranty can be still be voided by using this machine.

      Hope this helps,

  15. Hello, I really appreciated your youtube video on how to clean the filter in the vacuum. my question is can I rinse the dustbin after it gets emptied? or will it cause a damage?

  16. Thank you for your reviews! I used your site extensively when researching vacuums. I went with the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away, and I have been thrilled with the results!

    I couldn’t believe the dirt it pulled out of my new carpets, and how much it consistently pulls out every time I vacuum. I love the ease of use and versatility. I vacuum backwards (pull the vacuum toward me instead of push) whenever I have a “snowplow” problem, works like a charm! I have bragged to many people about how much I love my vacuum, and my mother-in-law purchased one based on my recommendation.

    I think the only better vacuum is a Kirby. Thank you so much, you helped someone with bad allergies breathe easier and save money in the process!!!

  17. I’d be interested in seeing your review of the Dirt Devil Lift + Go as a much less expensive comparable competitor to the Shark Rotator Lift-Away. Please consider reviewing one.

  18. I love my Rotator! I tossed the caddy because it took up too much storage space. i just pull it around on the original base when I am using the wand. This would work great except, as others have said, the hose is too stiff and doesn’t stretch very well. It causes it to fall over if I am not careful. Otherwise, I would give this vacuum a perfect score.

    A nice bonus is that the detailing package come with an adaptor which allows me to use other brand attachments with the Rotator.

    Thanks for such a great website!

  19. Hi! Thanks for great reviews! I’ve got a question regarding Shark Rotator Pro with XL (NV400) versus Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away (NV500): it seems to me that the Pro with XL (NV400) when comparing with Pro Lift-Away (NV500) in the Shark website, the NV400 has better features with more options (to except the lift-away feature in the NV500) than the NV500 series. Being that the NV500 is Shark’s latest version, which do you think is best and why? I’m trying to make a decision and am torn between NV400 and NV500. To except for some fish, I have no pets. Just a husband and a son who both play soccer and track a lot of grass around hard floor and carpet area. Then there are their friends…LOL…and most of our friends have cats and dogs so, even though we have fish, I often find animal fur around our house. Oh, almost forgot: my husband’s honey-nut scooters crumbs can be quite annoying as well! Do you know when Shark is going to come up with the model “Navigator Rotator Pro Star Wars Lego Pieces Picker Upper”? I’m in to buy that one!!! Lol! Let me know please!!! TIA!!!

  20. Two new shark vacuums have been released. The Shark Rocket Deluxe Pro vacuum and the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away. The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away can be picked up at bed bath and beyond with the 20% coupon. Can you do a review for it? Maybe you can beat the company at reviewing it before the infomercial is released? I would greatly appreciate if you reviewed it since you put the vacuum to real world tests. Thank You!

  21. Could you do a review on the new shark rotator powered lift-away? I recently saw the infomercial and it looks like its here to replace the rotator lift-way pro. I also went to bed bath and beyond after watching the infomercial on TV and I managed to find lots of them on the shelves. I was skeptical to buy one since there are no reviews out there and very little information besides the shark website and videos. You always do thorough reviews and I would be more comfortable after seeing your take on the product if I should buy one or not. Thanks!

  22. We just bought a new carpet. We currently have a Dyson, which we love, however it will not move on the higher looser nap we now have. Sticks completely and will not move. In checking Dyson, that was a problem as it eats the friz and will ruin the new carpet. How does the Shark compare and are there any complaints on this. Vacuums are getting expensive and so is carpeting. We need to get more feedback. Thank you

  23. Hi, Im having a tough decision between the shark rocket and the shark rotator. im getting a vacuum cleaner for xmas. is the rocket brand new or something because i cant find any reviews on it. so if you could please reply thanks

  24. The Brushroll Indicator light on my Shark won’t come on. I love the machine but need to know how to fix the problem I’m having with in indicator light.

  25. Some reviews have suggested the floor brush attachment may damage hardwood floors. What are your thoughts about this?

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