A refinement of its predecessor, the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet NZ850UKT is easier to use while retaining the same quality cleaning power. Lift-Away mode is, as always, great to see, turning this upright into a handy portable cleaner for getting into tighter areas. If you’re looking for a good all-rounder, then, this is a great choice.
- Clever control placement
- Excellent cleaning
- Lift-away mode is powerful
- A little bulky in upright mode
- TypeThis is an upright vacuum cleaner, but Lift-away mode turns it into a kind of cylinder cleaner, making it easier to deal with stairs and those hard-to-reach places
Last year’s Shark NZ801UKT was one of my favourite vacuum cleaners, delivering power and performance with a great selection of tools. This year, we have the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Powered Lift-Away and TruePet NZ850UKT, with an improved and updated design making it easier to use. With excellent suction and near-perfect cleaning on all surfaces, this is one of the best upright vacuum cleaners that you can buy.
Design and features
- New power buttons and controls are easier to use
- Refined on-body storage
- Lift-Away mode makes the vacuum cleaner more nimble
From the outside, the Shark NZ850UKT doesn’t look too different to the previous Lift-Away cleaners that I’ve tested. It’s when you start to look closely that you see where the changes have been made.
First, the power button has been moved from the top of the dust bin to the top of the handle, behind the slider for power control. This is far more convenient, as you can quickly start and stop the vacuum as you’re moving around, rather than having to move around.
The power slider lets you choose between hard floor, carpet and deep-pile power modes, which adjusts the speed of the motorised brush bar, plus the slider opens a vent to adjust airflow: closed for hard floors, more open for deep-pile so that the vacuum doesn’t get stuck.
It’s an improved controller over the previous model, which had a manual air vent and just a slider for hard floor and carpet modes. Here, on the Shark NZ850UKT, the power selector lights up your choice with an LED but only when the wand is plugged in fully; remove the wand or handle and you can’t see which mode you’re on. That’s not such a problem, as with handheld tools, you probably just want the maximum power by sliding the selector fully forward.
In the box, you get a crevice tool, a multi-surface brush (it’s a hard brush that turns into an upholstery tool) plus the motorised mini pet power tool. The latter works wonders on sofas and stairs. If you don’t have pets, you can buy the Shark NZ850UK, which is a little cheaper and drops the pet tool from the box.
With the Shark NZ801UKT, the vacuum had fiddly accessory holders at the back, which required you to line up the notch on the holder with the cutout on the tool; if you didn’t, the tools would drop out. Here, Shark has a simple accessory holder that makes it easier to connect two tools.
As an upright vacuum cleaner, the Shark NZ850UKT is easy to move around. Just power it on, flip the body back and the DuoClean brush powers on. This brush has a soft roller for hard floors and a brush for carpets, so you don’t need to change the floor head when moving between surfaces. It’s an Anti Hair Wrap tool, too, so hair doesn’t get caught around the roller brushes: it works brilliantly.
Shark has a series of LEDs on the front that light up where you’re cleaning, so you can see even where the lighting is poor. It’s a useful addition, even if it doesn’t quite highlight dirt as well as the laser on the Dyson V15 Detect.
It’s easy enough to move the vacuum cleaner around: it moves smoothly over floors so that I didn’t need too much pressure to move it. With an 8m power cable, you can cover a large area and shouldn’t need to switch power sockets too often while cleaning: I can do my entire house with three power sockets. However, with the large 1.3-litre bin on the front, the vacuum cleaner can’t get under chairs or tables easily.
That’s where Lift-Away mode comes in. Press the button on top and the main vacuum and bin lift off the cleaner. This gives you a handy cylinder cleaner that you can move where you want it.
With the cylinder off, you can clean more easily under furniture, quickly nipping around chair legs and the like. It does mean that you have to carry the main bulk of this vacuum’s 6.6kg weight around with you. If you need a lighter overall cleaner, a cordless vacuum cleaner may be better for you.
As well as Lift-Away mode you can detach the handle or wand, using accessories on the end of them. With the wand’s reach, it’s easy to clean around the side of a room without having to bend over or cleaning up high around the ceiling.
When you need to empty the bin, you just push the button on top to remove it, then there’s an eject button that flips the bottom open. It’s pretty easy to empty cleanly, and the top also opens to get all of the dirt out.
With the bin removed, you can reach the main filter; there’s a second post-motor HEPA filter at the bottom. Clean both regularly to keep the vacuum cleaner operating at peak performance.
- A lot of suction
- Cleans brilliantly on all floors
- Makes short work of pet hair
I tested the Shark NZ850UKT with my standard tools to measure performance in airwatts (AW), an industry standard that combines both suction and airflow. On the had floor more I measured the cleaner at 260.02AW, which is about as powerful as you’ll get from a regular cleaner given that vacuum’s have a maximum power limit. Switching to carpet mode, power drops slightly to 233.96AW, and down to 130.19AW on deep pile mode. The latter might sound a bit low, but this power level stops the vacuum cleaner from clogging up.
While raw figures give an idea of performance, it’s the quality of the floor head and suction path that can make a bigger difference. So, onto the real-world tests.
First, I started by spreading a teaspoon of flour onto my test carpet. Giving the Shark NZ850UKT a sweep through (forwards and back), I found that it cleanly picked up everything in its path, leaving a sharp line between the clean and dirty parts of the carpet.
Next, I moved to the harder carpet tile edge test, with the Shark NZ850UKT charged with removing all flour right up to the skirting board. This it did easily, and I didn’t have to reach for the crevice tool to finish off the job.
Moving onto the pet hair test, I combed cat hair into my test carpet and then gave the vacuum cleaner a pass through the mess. It was all pulled out of the carpet with not a strand left behind.
Finally, I moved to the hard floor test, and sprinkled a teaspoon of rice onto the floor, giving the vacuum cleaner a pass through forwards and back to see how well it could pick up the mess. I’m pleased to say that everything in the cleaner’s path was picked up and no grains of rice dropped out at the end.
This vacuum cleaner is also exceptionally quiet. On hard floor mode, I measured it at just 65.1dB, which is super quiet. On deep pile mode, noise increases to 74.3dB, mostly due to the sound of air coming out of the vent on the handle. That’s still not too bad and this is about average.
Should you buy it?
If you want a flexible upright vacuum cleaner that can tackle all jobs with ease, then this is a great choice. It’s quiet, powerful and comes with all of the tools that you need.
If you need a very light cleaner, then you may be better off with an alternative model: Lift-Away mode adds flexibility but in this mode, you have to manually carry the bulk of the cleaner where you want it.
A neat refinement of the previous model, the Shark NZ850UKT is an excellent upright vacuum cleaner. It’s quiet, powerful and comes with all of the tools that you need. If you’ve got a large house, the Shark PZ1000UKT may be a better choice, as it has a larger floor head that makes it faster to vacuum and area. If you’re after something else entirely, then my guide to the best vacuum cleaners can help.
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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You get the main floor head, a crevice tool, multi surface tool and a mini pet tool