Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away NV801UKT Review

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Pros

  • Upright, stick and cylinder in one
  • Excellent twin-brush floor head
  • Outstanding hard-floor cleaning
  • Easy to empty and clean out
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Very small bin
  • Tends to drive forward
  • Hefty as an upright

Key Features

  • Review Price: £349.99
  • 750W motor
  • Bagless 0.5l bin
  • DuoClean floor head
  • Lift-Away cylinder
  • Mini turbo tool
  • Anti-allergy certified
  • 8m cable

What is the Shark NV801UKT?

Shark has revamped its vacuum cleaner range to reflect new power and noise regulations. The Shark NV801UKT is the first of the company’s new lineup to hit the Trusted Reviews test bench. This model features a powered DuoClean head, Lift-Away body for cylinder-cleaner versatility, and is now nicely hushed too.

Less could well be more, as lower power and lower noise have taken nothing away from this model’s cleaning power or versatility. The DuoClean floor head is the star of the show here, although it does still tend to drive the machine forward. The bin may be small, but this new Shark vacuum offers great cleaning across any type of floor.

Related: Best vacuum cleaners

Shark NV801UKT – Accessories

It wasn’t that long ago that the Shark NV800UKT impressed us with its cleaning power and versatility. Thankfully, most of the good stuff remains in the new, quieter NV801UKT. What does get chopped in the name of peace and quiet is a few watts from the motor power: this is a 750W cleaner, down from 850W in the previous generation.

At the business end is Shark’s DuoClean floor head, featuring two rotating brush bars. There’s a soft-flocked roller leading the charge and a traditional bristle brush behind. Both are powered by a separate motor and rotate in the same direction. Using a switch on the handle, the brushes run slowly on the hard floor setting and at full-speed on carpet. They don’t extend to the very edges of the head, however, so actual cleaning width is narrower than the head.

The idea is that the two types of brushes together pick up a variety of debris, from fine dust on hard floors to chunky spillages on the carpet. Both brush bars can be removed with ease for cleaning. You even get a little hair-removal tool stored under the top cover. It’s these sorts of details that turn a good cleaner into a great one.

The floor head is nicely articulated at the neck and is a good size without being too big or too heavy. It can be used as an upright cleaner fully assembled, or with the floor head attached to the Lift-Away hose. This gives it the ability to get low under furniture. For those dark and gloomy recesses, the floor head boasts a set of LED headlights that would put some cars to shame.

The Lift-Away section contains the motor, bin and Shark’s anti-allergen complete-seal technology. This ensures all the flaps, joints and connectors have proper rubber seals to ensure no dust escapes from the prodigious filtration. There’s HEPA certification across four washable filters. It’s no surprise at all, then, that this Shark vacuum cleaner scores the highest A rating for dust emissions.

On the rear of the Lift-Away section are two holders for the upholstery brush and crevice/brush tool. The upholstery brush has a neat curved design with airways at the side to help the head move over fabric. The tool’s head rotates on the neck but is so stiff it’s as good as fixed. The crevice tool is on the bulky side for small nooks and crannies, but its soft dusting brush is fine.

The ‘T’ suffix denates that this model is supplied with a small air-powered turbo tool. This is a fairly standard design tool that splits in two for easy cleaning. The brush bar does tend to slow down on deeper carpets, but it remains very effective.

Fully assembled, the NV801UKT is quite a beast at 7kg. The Lift-Away section alone is lighter at 2.5kg, but with another 1.5kg for the hose and handle. That’s still no featherweight to carry around.

Clipping the Lift-Away in and out is incredibly easy. There’s an innovative ball and socket clip on the main tube to stop the hose flapping about. This is a good idea because the hose is very flexible and offers superb stretch.

Shark NV801UKT – What is it like to use?

As an upright cleaner, there’s no getting away from the NV801UKT’s bulky stance and weighty feel. Thankfully, the head turns and steers with a simple flick of the wrist, and on hard floors the weight is lost in smooth gliding wheels.

Yet on carpet the forwards/backwards motion is rather odd. It’s a lot easier to push forward than it is to pull backwards. This is due to the forward driving effect of the two brush bars spinning in the same direction. You can feel the machine trying to pull itself forward and resist on the backstroke. It isn’t a deal breaker, but it certainly takes a little getting used to.

Pop off the Lift-Away section and you’re much more mobile. Any one of the three smaller tools attaches directly to the handle or the orange metal extension tube for extra reach. The NV801UK is a little compromised as a cylinder cleaner since clearly the Lift-away section isn’t on wheels; you have to carry it. Conversely, that makes it a great shape for carrying upstairs or placing securely on a step.

One of the Shark’s real tricks is that the main floor head will clip straight onto the extension tube as well. Voila, you have a stick cleaner. Without the bulk of the Lift-Away section attached, the floor head is highly manoeuvrable and goes down low under obstacles. If any of the tools or floor head suffer vacuum stick-down, there’s a suction release slider on the handle.

As ever with Shark, all clips, switches and buttons are clearly labelled, robustly made and work faultlessly. The bin releases with ease. There are emptying flaps, with suitable clips, at both the bottom and top of the bin. That transpires to be a genius addition, since it allows you to easily push through any debris stuck in the bin.

The only issue here is the bin size. Due to some internal compartments in what looks like a large bin, the actual dirt capacity is very small. In the picture below, the dust bin is the smaller section at the front. At just 0.5 litres, we’ve tested hand-held cleaners with larger bins. That’s frustrating because the NV801UKT is a great cleaner and picks up well – so you’ll be emptying the bin frequently.

Powered up in carpet mode with the brush bars running, the NV801UKT’s motor is noticeably quieter than its predecessor. While the energy label suggests 80dB, that would be absolute maximum; we measured nearer 76-77dB most of the time. That’s fairly quiet as multi-mode cleaners go, if not as quiet as dedicated ultra-silent machines.

Shark NV801UKT – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?

A simple hand placed over the nozzle suggests the NV801UKT has lost very little suction compared to its slightly more powerful forebear. There’s plenty of suck and a good amount of air-flow.

That suction power and dual-roller floor head translated into outstanding hard-floor cleaning. In a single pass the Shark cleared a perfect swathe through our spilled oats test. Nothing was flicked out or brushed in front. Pick-up of the oats was 100% in just the one pass.

The floor head continued to impress on hard floors in general day-to-day use. Fine dust that sticks to polished wood floor is buffed clean by the soft, flocked roller and it had no trouble sucking in pet hair tumbleweed.

Like its predecessor, carpet cleaning as a fully assembled upright was a little more challenging. Those twin rollers act like a 4×4, getting good driving traction on a range of surfaces. On deeper pile it means there’s a noticeable difference between the force required to push and pull. On shallower pile, the cleaner wants to take itself off for a trip. Okay, we weren’t exactly shouting ‘whoa, Nelly!” every time we went forward, but it’s an odd sensation.

Thankfully, cleaning results are good and that 100W loss has done little to detract from the Shark’s vacuuming prowess. It did a good job of cleaning our mix of carpet cleaning powder, talc and baking powder.

After two sweeps there were some carpet powder grains left deep in the pile, but that’s pretty much the norm with EU-regulation-compliant sub-900W machines. A few more passes cleaned up effectively. Edge-cleaning results were equally impressive, with a good sweep right up to the skirting.

With either of the detail tools, the NV801UKT continues to impress. The upholstery tool is an excellent design that cleans well and resists suck down. We still find the crevice tool a little bulky, but I guess it depends on your crevices.

Clip on the metal tube and you get a fair reach up. The tube isn’t telescopic but it’s fairly long, especially with the crevice tool attached. All that great Shark build quality and metal tube does mean it’s hefty in the hand, though. Overhead cleaning may well be a two-handed job for some.

The mini-turbo tool is unchanged from the previous model and does the job. The pickup and brush bar work well, but there’s no articulation in the neck or floor plate. This means it’s quite tricky to keep in flat contact with the surface you’re cleaning.

We have seen similar units from almost every cleaner manufacturer on the planet, so this is clearly an open design tool. Also, like most air-powered tools, it slows down on denser surfaces – although we didn’t manage to stop it completely. Having said all that, it’s a great tool for tough detail cleaning jobs, such as stairs…

Shark NV801UKT – How easy is it to use on stairs?

Fully assembled as an upright, the reach of the NV801UKT’s hose and handle is good. With the machine at ground level we easily cleaned up to the seventh step, which is exactly half way. The tool of choice for our carpeted stairs is undoubtedly the turbo tool. The rotating brush cleared up a layer of dog hairs where our Collie sits and watches the world go by.

The NV801UKT’s real stair-cleaning magic comes with the Lift-Away body. With the Lift-Away section in one hand and the handle and tool in the other, your reach is limited only by the length of the mains cable. Since that’s a decent 8 metres, we comfortably got to the top of our stairs without having to swap plug sockets. Ideal. The turbo tool’s fixed neck could be improved with some articulation, but it’s small enough to move around fairly easily.

The upholstery tool has merit for stairs, too. It’s smaller and lighter than the turbo tool and easier to use on turning steps. At a push you could use this tool for polished wood steps, although the felt pads are shallow and a trapped piece of debris could scratch the surface. The NV801UKT could really do with a decent-sized brush that clips on the upholstery tool for just such an occasion.

Shark NV801UKT – How does it cope with pet hair?

Most floor heads switch off the brush bars entirely for hard floor surfaces. This Shark’s slowly rotating dual brush bars, on the hard floor setting, are superb for retrieving pet hair on laminates, parquet and tiles. The soft front roller seems to grab hairs, and the integrated comb ensures they end up in the bin.

Over carpets, the rear brush roller handles most pet hair duties. The stiff bristles have good pick-up and leave very few hairs behind in just one or two passes. Having been around most of the house with the Shark, we didn’t notice any balling of pet hairs on carpets whatsoever. Longer hairs caught around the brush as usual, but the onboard hair cleaning tool makes clearing them a breeze.

Heading to the dog’s beds, we fitted the turbo tool to tackle the soft, loose fabric. The spinning brush stops loose material becoming sucked up to a good extent, although tassels and very baggy fabric may still be drawn in. However, no complaints from the canine department as both beds were vacuumed effectively.

Why buy the Shark NV801UKT?

Quieter and slightly less powerful then its predecessor, yet Shark’s NV801UKT is no less versatile or effective. It works well as an upright, Lift-Away cylinder-style cleaner or a lightweight hand stick. Cleaning is very good thanks to solid suction power and the DuoClean twin brush bar floor head. It’s great with pet hairs, outstanding on hard floors, and the turbo tool makes it perfect for carpeted stairs too.

The twin rollers do tend to pull the machine forwards, which takes some getting used to, and the bin remains woefully small. If you can live with the slightly odd feel of the machine trying to drive itself, and are happy to empty the bin frequently, then the NV801UKT is another versatile winner from Shark.

Verdict

With 3-in-1 versatility, solid design and effective suction, Shark’s NV801UKT is a great all-rounder with only very minor caveats.

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