Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT Review

A giant vacuum cleaner for those big jobs

Verdict

In terms of its size, weight and bin capacity, the Shark Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT delivers equally supersized cleaning results all-round the home.

Pros

  • Upright, stick and cylinder in one
  • Excellent twin-brush floorhead
  • Outstanding hard-floor cleaning
  • LED light on the handle
  • Easy to empty and clean out
  • Versatile Lift-Away mode
  • Adjustable floor setting
  • Bright LED lights
  • Great for stairs
  • Nicely quiet

Cons

  • Hefty as an upright
  • A bit cumbersome

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £279.99
  • 750W motor
  • Supersize XL bin
  • 8m cable
  • DuoClean Floor Nozzle
  • Lift-Away cylinder
  • Upholstery Tool
  • 2-in-1 Duster Crevice Tool
  • Pet Power Brush
  • Anti-allergy certified
  • 5-year guarantee

What is the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT?

The Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT is the biggest, meanest vacuum in the company’s cleaning shoal. It has a wide DuoClean head, large-capacity bin and enough LED lights to enable a clean up in the pitch black. Hoses, cable and the machine itself have all supersized, so don’t expect this to be lightweight.

The weight and size make it far from nimble, and you’ll need a strong arm to pull it back on carpets. Yet the Shark’s outstanding flexibility, handy tools and superb DuoClean floorhead make it a very effective cleaner all around the home.

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT – Features and accessories

The AX950UKT is Shark’s largest upright cleaner, packed with accessories and bristling with features, including a bright LED light on the handle. This unique feature is great for spotting those pesky speckles of dust that can easily go unnoticed. The Shark AX950UKT also flaunts LED lighting on the DuoClean floorhead to allow you to see under your sofa.

The 750W motor delivers great cleaning power yet is surprisingly quiet; it’s about as tranquil as an upright vacuum cleaner can be. The supersized bin prolongs the dreaded job of emptying – which couldn’t be simpler, with a click of the “Dust Cup Release” button clearly marked on the back of the bin.

Filtration is excellent, Shark’s Anti-Allergen Complete Seal promising to capture 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum. This is achieved through a metal gauze and grid in the bin, dual washable post-bin filters, and two post-motor filters. The latter four filters are all easy to remove and clean.

The Shark AX950UKT has a multipurpose, DuoClean floorhead featuring two brush bars that rotate in the same direction. The leading-edge roller has a soft, flocked surface for picking up the finest dust particles, while the rear roller is a traditional bristle carpet-beating brush. A cover on the top of the head pops off to provide ample access for cleaning both rollers.

On the handle is a Floor Type slider control with three different levels: Hard Floor, Carpet/Low Pile and Thick Carpet/Area Rug. On the Hard Floor setting, you get full suction power and slowly rotating brush bars. Move to the Carpet/Low Pile setting, and the brush bars spin up to full speed. At the same time, suction power is reduced slightly as a vent opens a little on the handle. The vent opens wider, and suction is lowered a little more on the Thick Carpet/Area Rug setting to stop the floorhead sticking down to the carpet.

Three tools are included: the upholstery tool, duster crevice tool and pet power brush. Two of these can be slotted onto the cleaner body for storage. All tools can be used on any setting, although the manual recommends the Hard Floor setting for best performance. On the back of the extension tube vacuum, you’ll find a handy clip to stop the hose flapping about.

The floorhead has a tilting and pivot neck, which makes it easy to turn. This is useful for vacuuming beneath furniture and cleaning around corners. The brushes are slightly smaller than the width of the head, stopping around 2cm from the edge. That could hamper edge-cleaning performance, but the good suction counters that nicely.

Although the Shark weighs in at a cumbersome 7.9kg, the Lift-Away section is much lighter at 3.8kg. That makes it easier to carry when reaching for cobwebs on high ceilings or troublesome areas. The Lift-Away feels nicely balanced and is very easy to use.

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT – What is it like to use?

Shark has done some work on the noise level since the AX950UKT’s predecessor, and that translates to a decently quiet machine. On the carpet setting with the brush bars running at full speed, we measured around 80dB – exactly the same as stated on the energy label. That dropped to around 75dB on the Hard Floor setting, or around the same as the busy burble in a restaurant at lunchtime.

The AX950UKT rolls smoothly and drifted across the carpet, sucking up debris and pet hairs in its path. There isn’t the forward drive we’ve experienced with previous Shark DuoClean models, which is great news, but it remains noticeably more difficult to bring the vacuum back towards you than to push forward. This is due to the twin rollers rotating in the same direction. Going forward they assist, pulling back they make it feel a whole lot heavier. That’s going to become strenuous during a long cleaning mission.

It’s much easier to use the Shark on hard-flooring since it glides across the surface nicely, showing good cleaning results throughout. However, it’s still heavy and quite a beast to manoeuvre. The large wheels on the back of the floorhead further aid manoeuvrability, but nearly 8kg of bulky cleaner is never going to be “nippy”.

The powered Lift-Away mode impresses with its versatility, allowing you to become far more mobile. Clip the floorhead onto the extension tube and the extension tube onto the hose handle and, hey presto, you have a stick cleaner.

All three tools supplied push onto the handle or the extension tube. The upholstery tool works well on furniture, benefitting from a swivel head and side vents to prevent it sucking up material in folds and creases. The combined duster and crevice tool had a good-sized brush, but our sample proved incredibility stiff to slide the brush back to access the crevice tool. We’ve seen this tool many times before so this may well be just a rogue sample.

For pet homes, the pet power brush is a typical small-sized turbo brush tool with a fixed neck. It splits in two for easy cleaning and has a single, traditional brush bar that spins with the airflow. The brush doesn’t protrude much past the base plate of the tool, so don’t expect it to beat the dust out of deep-pile carpets. It should be good for pet hairs, however.

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?

With its excellent suction and motorised brush bars in the main DuoClean floorhead, the AX950UKT produced sparkling hard floors and lovely-looking carpets.

On hard floors, manoeuvrability is much easier and airflow efficiently sucks in typical kitchen floor dust and debris. Our spilt oats test proved a simple task for the Shark, producing 100% pickup of the oats in a single pass, with no particles flicked out or missed.

The AX950UKT continued to impress, sucking up all debris in its path and leaving both tiles and laminate spotless.

Given a strong arm to push it around, the AX950UKT did an excellent job of cleaning a variety of carpets from our living room rug to deep-pile bedroom carpet. The heavy-traffic rug in the living room took a couple of passes in each area to clean, while a single pass worked for the light lint debris in the bedroom. We’ve had slightly better cleaning results on carpets, in terms of picking up in a single pass, but the Shark is no slouch in this department.

With our usual mix of talc and carpet-freshening powder sprinkled on red carpet close to the skirting, the Shark turned in very respectable results. In a single forward/backwards stroke it did a good job of picking up most of the test powders, and effectively cleared the gap between the carpet and skirting board.

Clearly, good suction power and decent floorhead design have overcome the brush rollers not extending to the full width of the head, resulting in outstanding edge-cleaning results.

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT – How easy is it to use on stairs?

Taking this XL Shark up and down stairs isn’t a job for the faint-hearted. That 8kg makes itself known quickly, although the grab handle on the top of the bin section does afford a good height and well-balanced gripping point.

You could leave the cleaner at the bottom of the stairs and use the floorhead attached to the extension tube and hose, but even that is going to be pretty cumbersome. Holding the whole cleaner and vacuuming each step as an upright would be a serious challenge given the weight. Thankfully, the powered Lift-Away feature comes to the rescue.

You can remove the lighter central body and bin, get mobile, and carry the cleaner up the stairs vacuuming as you go. That made stair cleaning a whole heap easier. The more than adequate 8-metre long cable provided plenty of reach, so we were able to travel up the whole staircase smoothly.

We used the pet power brush directly connected to the handle, which proved useful on our carpeted stairs. The fixed neck of the pet tool made life a little more awkward than ideal, since you have to direct the tool around the carpet rather than steer it, but it did allow easy cleaning of the stair uprights. The rotating brush bar doesn’t protrude too much past the floor plate of the tool, so there isn’t too much slowing down of the brush on deeper carpets.

All three tools can be used on your staircase, and with the extra length of the extension tube you can quickly get to out-of-reach nooks and crannies. Overall, this Shark was very impressive on stairs.

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT – How does it cope with pet hair?

Pet’s hair can be a pain to remove from most carpets and upholstery, but the AX950UKT could be just the remedy. Over our well dog-trampled living room rug, the main DuoClean floorhead easily picked up all hairs in sight, leaving great results. One or two passes was sufficient to effectively pick up hairs and pull entwined ones out of the pile.

The twin brush bars seem to work very well in this instance, pulling in fur-balls and curly clingers alike. The plastic teeth that clear the soft, flocked roller easily release the hairs into the airflow, so there isn’t too much cleaning-out of the head to do afterwards.

An added gem is the pet power brush tool, since it’s great for sofas, stairs and even the dogs’ beds. The turbo-powered brush bar keeps the head from sticking down or sucking in loose material – typical of pet beds – and proved very effective at cleaning, too.

We’d have liked a slightly deeper and more aggressive brush action for even more effective cleaning, but the light action did mean the bar kept spinning even on deep-pile carpet. Even if you use the upholstery brush, pet cleaning results were good.

Why buy the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT?

If you’re looking for a big cleaner that’s equally big on performance, you’ll love the AX950UKT. This beast of a vacuum is versatile and practical on a wide range of floorings around the home. While the energy label gives it a “must try harder” C rating for both hard floors and carpets, it was much more like an A for hard floors and a B+ for carpets in our tests.

There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a big and bulky cleaner, although that does give you an enormous bin capacity and quiet operation. If you want something smaller, our list of the Best cordless vacuum cleaners and Best vacuum cleaners will have a suitable alternative.

The main floorhead, stick-vac mode and three tools offer plenty of cleaning options. In addition, the AX950UKT provides you with the freedom of its powered Lift-Away mode, which we found ideal for stairs and cobweb busting.

If you can see past the weight and slightly cumbersome handling in full upright mode, this Shark is a great buy.

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Shark Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner Deal

Shark Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner [IF200UK] Single Battery, Blue

Change the way you feel about vacuuming with this 2-in-1 Shark Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner. It has the ability to bend under and around furniture as well as convert into a hand-held vacuum. Also comes with a 5-year guarantee.

Verdict

In terms of its size, weight and bin capacity, the Shark Powered Lift-Away XL AX950UKT delivers equally supersized cleaning results all-round the home.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Usability 7
  • Cleaning performance 9
  • Features 10
  • Design 9
  • Value 9

Other

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