Using a slightly older design, the Shark NZ690UKTDB isn’t quite as easy to manoeuvre and use as the company’s newer models. However, as a Black Friday special, this vacuum cleaner is excellent value, especially considering the wide range of tools it ships with. Given that, I can forgive the minor foibles and anyone that wants a well-priced vacuum cleaner with top cleaning ability should buy this model.
- Excellent range of accessories
- Cleans well on all surfaces
- Can’t use floor head in Lift-Away mode
- Can be hard to push on carpet
- Type This is a plug-in upright vacuum cleaner, but Lift-Away mode lets it convert into something a bit more nimble.
- PowerI measured this vacuum cleaner at a powerful 238AW.
Shark’s Black Friday offerings are typically based on the latest models, but the Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Lift-Away, Pet Model NZ690UKTDB is different, using a slightly older design.
The result is a far cheaper model than is usually available, with most of the features that I’ve come to love about Shark upright cleaners, including Lift-Away mode. There are a few compromises and the build and ergonomics aren’t quite as good here as on the latest models, but this is a great value option.
Design and features
- Lift-Away mode adds flexibility
- Useful selection of tools
- Slightly more basic design
Externally, the Shark NZ690UKTDB is similar to other upright vacuum cleaners that I’ve reviewed from the company. This is a Black Friday special, which comes decked out in a black finish, but it’s otherwise a slightly older style vacuum cleaner.
It’s mostly minor differences between this model and the newer ones, such as the Shark Stratos NZ860UKT. For example, on the NZ860UKT, the hose clips into the wand to stop it from moving about; here, the NZ690UKTDB’s hose is loose.
Newer Shark vacuum cleaners put the controls on the handle, within easy reach of a thumb, but the NZ690UKTDB is old school, with a solid red rocker switch that moves between three positions: off, hard floor and carpet.
The difference between the two powered modes is in how fast the brush bar on the floor head is spun, but suction remains the same for all modes. If you need to reduce suction to push the vacuum cleaner, then there’s a vent on the handle.
I found that I needed this mode, as I didn’t find the NZ690UKTDB as easy to push as the new models, as this vacuum cleaner suctioned itself closer to my test carpet.
There’s a single floor head here, with rubber strips and bristles on the single brush bar; newer vacuum cleaners from the company have a DuoClean head, which uses a brush bar for the carpet and a soft roller for hard floors.
It’s good to see that this is one of Shark’s Anti Hair Wrap heads, which will stop hair from getting caught around the brush bar. It’s fitted with a couple of LEDs at the front, highlighting where I was cleaning.
Perhaps the biggest departure here from the newer models is in how Lift-Away mode works. With the NZ690UKTDB, the main cylinder can be removed from the floor head, turning this into a more nimble cleaner for getting into those difficult-to-reach areas.
With the NZ690UKTDB, Lift-Away mode takes the wand with it, but leaves the floor head behind; on newer models with Powered Lift-Away, the cylinder can be removed, leaving the wand attached to the floor head.
It sounds like a minor difference, but there’s one bigger implication. With Powered Lift-Away, the bulky cylinder can be removed, so that the floor head can be pushed under sofas and other low furniture. With the NZ690UKTDB, the floor head can’t be used in Lift-Away mode, so it can be tricky to get this vacuum cleaner under low furniture.
Otherwise, Lift-Away mode does what you’d expect. And, the wand can be removed separately, giving plenty of reach to get up high around ceilings.
In the box, Shark provides a crevice tool, brush and a motorised pet tool for removing hair from sofas. There’s also a car detailing kit, full of tiny attachments and brushes for getting into all of the nooks and crannies in your car (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Two tools can be stored on the vacuum cleaner’s body, which is good as I always had my favourites with me in easy reach.
There’s a standard 1.1-litre bin, which lifts out the top of the vacuum cleaner. This flips open at the bottom for emptying, although as there’s less room at the top than the bottom, I found it needed a bit of a shake at times to get all of the dust out. The top of the bin also opens out, so the entire thing can be washed out to keep it clean.
Underneath the bin is a foam filter, which can be washed. Plus, there’s a HEPA filter at the front that can also be removed and washed.
An 8m cable powers the vacuum cleaner. I think that this length of cable should be enough that most people will be able to clean a two-storey house using only two or three power sockets.
- Decent suction power
- Cleans right up to the edge
- Deals well with pet hair
I started by testing the NZ690UKTDB’s raw power in AirWatts. As there’s only one power mode, I found that the NZ690UKTDB was capable of 238AW, which puts it only a little behind the Shark NZ860UKT but ahead of the Vacmaster Respira.
This level of power is an indicator that this vacuum cleaner is good enough for most standard jobs; if you’ve got bigger bulk to remove, such as dirt from DIY, then a more powerful bagged cleaner, such as a Henry would make more sense.
Power alone is an indicator of performance, but the real test comes down to the quality of the components and how well the brush bar can agitate and remove dirt. For that reason, I used my real-world tests.
First, I started with a teaspoon of flour on the carpet, and then I gave the NZ690UKTDB a push through the middle on carpet mode. As you can see from the images below, the vacuum cleaner removed a clean sweep through the middle.
Next, I moved to the hard edge test, sprinkling flour up to the skirting board. Here, the NZ690UKTDB did brilliantly, sucking up all of the dust, right to the edge, so I didn’t have to use tools.
It was a similar story for pet hair removal: cat hair combed into the test carpet was removed with no problems.
Next, I moved to the hard floor, sprinkling a teaspoon of rice. Here, as the NZ690UKTDB has only one brush and no soft roller, it took a couple of goes over the mess to pick it all up, and I could hear the grains pinging around in the floor head.
I measured this vacuum cleaner at just 69.3dB, which is very quiet for an upright. I didn’t find it distracting or annoying to use at all.
Should you buy it?
If you want the latest features, and a vacuum cleaner that’s a little easier to push, look elsewhere.
If you want a high-quality vacuum cleaner at a great price, this upright is exceptional value considering the tools it ships with.
It’s fair to say that the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Lift-Away, Pet Model NZ690UKTDB has been outclassed by newer models, such as the NZ860UKT. This newer model has a better floor head, is easier to push around, is better designed and its Lift-Away mode is more flexible. Normally that would be enough for me to say buy that model over this one.
I do have to take the price into consideration. As the Shark NZ690UKTDB costs less than £200, it’s phenomenal value for a vacuum that cleans so well. At this price, I can forgive many of its minor issues and recommend it to anyone looking for a low-cost, high-quality vacuum cleaner. Grab it now before stocks run out. Otherwise, check out my guide to the best vacuum cleaners.
How we test
We test every vacuum cleaner we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main vacuum cleaner for the review period
Tested for at least a week
Tested using tools to measure actual suction performance
Tested with real-world dirt in real-world situations for fair comparisons with other vacuum cleaners
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The NZ690UKTDB that I’ve reviewed here is a special for Black Friday and comes in Black with extra tools.
Lift-Away lets the main cylinder lift out, so you’ve got a smaller, lighter vacuum for detail work. Note that on this model, Lift-Away mode can’t be used with the regular floor head.
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