The Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum offers many of the brand’s high-end features in a more compact (and affordable) design. Its dual brushrolls perform exceptionally well on both carpeting and hard floors, and the vacuum comes with three tools that allow you to clean virtually any surface in your home.
Eas to maneuver thanks to swivel steering
Dual brushrolls perform well on all flooring types
Built-in odor-neutralizing cartridge
Comes with three attachments, including dusting brush
Lift-Away design is convenient for cleaning stairs and high areas
Inconvenient control location
Doesn’t offer 'Powered Lift-Away'
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Many of the best vacuums are quite pricey, so if you don’t want to shell out $400+ for a cleaning tool, the newest upright model from Shark might be just what you’re looking for. The new Shark Rotator Pet Lift-Away Upright Vacuum is a mid-tier option from the well-known brand, and while its price is more reasonable, it still offers a variety of useful features that are ideal for households with pets.
This upright vacuum boasts two non-tangle brushrolls that are designed to pick up debris of all sizes, as well as a HEPA filter to capture allergens like pet dander. There’s an odor-neutralizing cartridge built into the base of the vacuum, and it comes with three attachments for increased versatility when cleaning. It also has Shark’s popular 'Lift-Away' design, which allows you to remove the vacuum body from the floor piece, making it easier to carry up stairs or around your home.
While it sounds great, we wanted to see how the Shark Rotator stacked up against the best vacuums for pet hair we’ve reviewed. I put the upright vacuum to the test in my multi-pet home for several weeks, using it for everyday cleaning, as well as a pre-holiday deep clean. Here’s everything I found while testing this vacuum and why you might want to add it to your cleaning arsenal.
Who does it suit?
The Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum is a smaller and lighter – and slightly cheaper – option compared to the brand’s popular Shark Stratos, making it a solid option for anyone who wants a powerful vacuum in a more manageable form. Thanks to its dual brushroll design, the upright vacuum performs exceptionally well on both carpeting and hard floors, easily picking up large debris, dirt, dust, and pet hair. Plus, it comes with three attachments: a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and dusting brush, which allow you to clean virtually any space around your home.
Overall, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a powerful, moderately priced upright vacuum to serve as the primary cleaning tool in your home, and it’s well-suited for households both with and without pets.
|13 x 12 x 45.5 in
|Crevice tool, upholstery tool, anti-allergen dust brush, odor-neutralizing cartridge
Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum: Design
I’ve tested both the Shark Stratos and Shark Navigator—two of the brand’s best-selling models—and when I saw the Shark Rotator Pet, my first impression was that it’s basically a hybrid of these two popular vacuums.
The Rotator is more moderately sized, weighing around 14 pounds, and it has a large floorhead with two brushrolls. The front brushroll is made from a fluffy material that captures fine particles and stops debris from shooting around on hard floors, and the back brushroll has stiff bristles that dig into carpeting to pull up hidden dirt. Similar to the Stratos, the Rotator comes with an odor-neutralizing cartridge that you insert into the floorhead, and it releases a fresh scent as you vacuum.
However, there are a few design features that are more similar to the Shark Navigator. For one, the controls for the Rotator are located on top of the dustbin. It’s a simple toggle switch that you can set to carpet, hard floor, or off. The vacuum also has a 'Lift-Away' design, meaning th'e body can be removed from the floorhead. This is handy if you need to vacuum stairs or another hard-to-reach area, but unlike the Stratos, it’s not 'Powered Lift-Away, meaning you can’t operate the floorhead when the canister is detached.
Unboxing the Shark Rotator Pet Upright
It took me around five minutes to unpack and assemble the Shark Rotator vacuum. Inside the box, all the components were wrapped in a layer of plastic to prevent scratches, and they were held in place with cardboard inserts.
After unwrapping everything, all I had to do was snap together the vacuum’s floorhead, body, and handle – assembly is really simple and intuitive, and I had no problem figuring it out without consulting the manual. The vacuum comes with three attachments, but there are only two slots for storage on the back of the unit. I opted to keep the upholstery and crevice tools on-board, but I wish it were possible to keep all three accessories on the vacuum for easy access.
The final step in assembling the Rotator was to insert the odor-neutralizing cartridge. It comes in a metallic envelope, and the round cartridge inserts into the vacuum’s floorhead. Once installed, you can twist it left or right to release more or less scent, and I liked the light, fresh smell it gave off.
Test 1: Carpets
I have several area rugs in my home, and they’re a magnet for dog hair and dirt. I typically vacuum them every other day, and the Shark Rotator proved to be up to the task. On its carpet mode, the vacuum has powerful suction, and its stiff brushroll pulled lots of dog hair, dirt, and dust out of the rugs in my living and dining rooms. Despite the suction, it was still easy to push around on the medium-pile carpet, and I like that you can adjust the suction further using the slider on the vacuum’s handle.
After two passes with the Rotator, my carpeting looked clean, and there was no visible hair remaining. (The dustbin was also filled to the brim!) The vacuum left behind a light, fresh scent behind, similar to if I had used a carpet refresher, though it faded after a few hours.
Test 2: Hard floors
While the Rotator did great on carpeting, I was even more impressed by its performance on hard floors. My dogs and partner often track small rocks, clumps of dirt, and leaves inside, and the vacuum had no problem sucking up the larger debris. I also used it to clean up cat litter that had been kicked out of the box, and the soft brushroll managed to pick up all the fine pieces without shooting them around the floor – a common problem with upright vacuums.
However, I will say that the vacuum is too powerful to use on small rugs. When I tried to vacuum my bath mat, the vacuum sucked the fabric into the brushroll, forcing me to stop cleaning and pull it back out.
Test 3: Hand Attachments
I tested this vacuum the week before Thanksgiving, and because I was hosting the event for my family, I used the Rotator for some deep cleaning around my home. The crevice tool proved useful for cleaning under our baseboard heaters, and I used the Lift-Away feature to clean the stairs and around the edges of the ceiling. The upholstery tool isn’t motorized, but it still did a decent job removing pet hair off my furniture – though if hair is really worked into the upholstery, this tool might not be powerful enough for the job.
My favorite attachment was the anti-allergen dusting brush. This cool tool has a swivelling head that you can rotate around to get just the right angle, and it’s lined with fuzzy nylon bristles that trap fine dust particles. I used it on everything when I was prepping the house for the big day – it was perfect for cleaning bookcases and shelves, dusting window sills, and tidying up baseboards and trim. Plus, once the dust is sucked into the vacuum, it’s trapped by a HEPA filter, which prevents it from escaping back out into your home.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The Rotator’s dustbin holds around 0.8 quarts, which isn’t very much, especially if you’re vacuuming up lots of pet hair. I found that I usually needed to empty the bin at least once (sometimes twice) while cleaning the downstairs area of my home, which includes four different rooms. However, it’s easy to do—the whole dustbin comes off the vacuum, and there’s a lever on the back that allows you to dump its contents into the trash.
In my experience, the brushrolls don’t get wrapped up in pet hair, but if they do, there’s a button on the side of the floorhead that lets you pull them out for easy cleaning. You can also rinse the soft brushroll with water to get rid of any lingering dust as needed.
In terms of maintenance, the Rotator has three filters that need to be periodically cleaned. The brand recommends rinsing out the foam and felt filters (which are located under the dustbin) once per month, and cleaning the unit’s HEPA filter once a year.
Like any upright vacuum, the Shark Rotator isn’t the most compact to store. It’s close to 4 feet tall, so it will take up a decent amount of room in a closet if you want to tuck it away. The cord can be wrapped around the two hooks on the side of the vacuum to keep it neat and tidy, and like I mentioned above, there are two on-board storage slots where you can keep its accessories. However, there will always be one attachment that doesn’t fit on the vacuum, which can be a little annoying.
How Does The Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum Rate Online?
The Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum is a fairly new model from the brand, so it doesn’t currently have a lot of online reviews. On the Shark website, the vacuum has just over 50 ratings and an average of 4.7 stars, and on Amazon, it has 50 reviews and a 4.4 star rating. The two biggest complaints among reviewers are that the vacuum is somewhat heavy and that it doesn’t have the same 'Powered Lift-Away' as the Stratos.
How Does The Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum Compare?
The Rotator seems to be a mid-tier design in Shark’s lineup of upright vacuums – at $300, it’s more expensive than the Shark Navigator, which retails for around $180, but cheaper than the Shark Stratos, which is generally $400.
If you’re looking for a lighter vacuum, the Navigator weighs just 12 pounds, but it’s not the best for homes with pets, as hair can get wrapped around the brushroll. On the other hand, the Stratos is a more versatile pick thanks to its “Powered Lift-Away” design, which allows you to operate the floorhead with the canister detached. This makes it easy to clean under low-profile furniture, but the downside is that the Stratos is quite substantial, weighing more than 17 pounds.
Should You Buy The Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum?
If you’re in the market for a new primary vacuum, the Shark Rotator Pet Upright Vacuum is a solid all-around pick. It offers powerful suction, and its dual-brushroll floorhead performs well on all types of flooring, making it easy to clean every area of your home. It handles pet hair like a pro, trapping allergens and preventing longer strands from getting wrapped around the brushrolls, and it comes with three attachments that you can use to clean stairs, dust, and tidy up furniture.
While it’s not perfect, my complaints about this vacuum are minor. The controls aren’t the most conveniently located—you have to bend over to reach the toggle switch on the body of the vacuum. At 14 pounds, it is slightly heavy if you need to carry it up and down stairs, but it’s really easy to maneuver thanks to swivel steering.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that this vacuum only has a 'Lift-Away' design – not the brand’s 'Powered Lift-Away.' It can be a bit confusing, but the key difference is that the Rotator doesn’t allow you to use the floorhead when the body is removed. That feature is reserved for the Stratos, Shark’s higher-end upright model.
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Camryn Rabideau is a writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her five years as a product tester, she's tested hundreds of items first-hand, including many, many kitchen appliances for Homes & Gardens. Camryn does her product testing from her small homestead in beautiful Rhode Island.
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