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I am very excited to be reviewing the new Shark Apex DuoClean Lift Away with Zero M as I have been using the
previous Shark Apex in our cleaning business for a while, and I'm very interested to see what has changed in the new version. Find a link for the Apex in the image to the right and at the top of our post.
The Shark Apex with Zero M is the most powerful vacuum cleaner in Sharks lineup and is probably the most powerful bagless vacuum on the market. We measured its suction at an astonishing 101 inches of water lift, which is higher than I, personally, have ever seen. Its airflow is 90 cfm at the hose which is higher than other premium vacuums like the Dyson Ball Animal 2 or the Miele U1. It's even higher than the previous Apex for some reason, despite it having the same 1350 watt motor.
As Shark's top of the line vacuum, it's packed with a ton features including the Duoclean floor nozzle and the new Zero M technology which we will talk about in a minute. It has bright LED lights on the floor nozzle and one on the handle.
It has a noise reduction technology as well as active glide technology which makes it easier to maneuver. It's also a completely sealed system with HEPA filtration which is, unfortunately, more rare than it probably should be, as most vacuums out there leak badly even if they do have HEPA filters.
It's also a powered lift away meaning that it has a variety of easy to access configurations, including the powered lift away mode, which dramatically reduces the weight and makes it super easy to clean in hard to reach places as the brush roll still is powered in this mode.
Before we get to the new Zero M, let's talk about the Duoclean. I think the Duoclean technology is the best invention in the vacuum world in a long time. It's basically a soft roller and a standard brush roll combined in the same cleaner head. It picks up just about everything it touches on carpet or hard floors. When I prepare pickup tests for these videos, it’s the only type of vacuum that has never failed a pickup test, no matter what I throw at it. It really is the top of the vacuum food chain as the name suggest, but it's not just about gobbling up big messes. It's also very precise.
The soft roller is amazing for the finest dust up to the largest debris on hard floors. If you have hard floors, you need a vacuum with a soft roller - period. But the Apex is great for carpets as well. You just flip the switch from the hard floor to its low or high pile carpet settings, and it reduces the suction and speeds up the brush roll for the same great performance on carpet.
Its pet hair pickup is second to none as well which brings us to the brand new Zero M technology. So, the Zero M, which I assume stands for zero maintenance, is a completely redesigned brush roll which uses little protrusions on the top of the nozzle to actively remove pet hair that tries to wrap itself around the brush. We tried our very best to get it wrapped in hair with our tests and at the end of the day of tests there was virtually nothing to clean up.
This seems to solve the age-old problem of vacuums requiring tedious (and kind of nasty) cleanings of the brush bar. So, kudos to Shark for yet another innovative technology.
Besides the mysterious increase in power from the previous version, there are a few other changes, including my favorite which is an upgrade in the wheels. The previous generation used plastic wheels with a felt cover which was prone to wear and was the principal reason I never fully endorsed that version. But, thankfully, the new version has upgraded the wheels to a super sturdy rubber which seems like it will last the lifetime of the vacuum.
There is also a slight change in the hose construction, and it seems that Shark is using this hose type on all of its new vacuums, and it seems sturdy as well.
The attachment set varies but mine came with a crevice tool, a combo upholstery tool/dusting brush, an anti-allergen dusting brush, and the flexible under appliance wand.
So, lets move on to the cons.
It's no surprise that Shark's most powerful vacuum is also its heaviest vacuum at 16 lbs, but heavy for Shark is a relative idea. If you consider the last few upright vacuums we have reviewed, the Apex is basically the same weight as the Sebo Felix and lighter than all the others on this list.
That being said, it's still heavy but since I almost exclusively use mine in lift away mode, I hardly notice it. On that point, I should mention that while I love the lift away mode on hard floors, on carpet, it's almost too light, and the Duoclean roller tends to pull itself forward which takes more effort to pull it back. I don’t notice this on hard floors, but if I am vacuuming a house with mostly carpets, I prefer to use it in its standard mode because the weight of the vacuum cancels out the forward-pulling motion.
It's not really a con, but even if the standard brush roll is zero maintenance, the Duoclean roller does need to be ejected periodically and cleared of debris. I only mention this because its easy to forget, and it can affect the performance if not maintained.
So, I love the Apex, and it should count for something that of all the vacuums I have, it’s the Apex I turn to when I have to clean houses for our company. It's crazy powerful, I love the Duoclean technology, and now with the Zero M technology, which will reduce or possibly eliminate the cleaning of brush rolls, the upgrade to the wheels, and the sealed system, I can say this is an excellent buy that you wont regret.
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