Shark Vertex Review – Does Most Powerful Also Mean Best?

95.8/100

We put Shark's Vertex upright vacuum vacuum to the test to see how it performs.

Published 02/24/2022

Shark Vertex Review

Verdict

Whether used in its standard configuration as an upright or as a portable canister, Shark's Vertex delivers incredible deep cleaning performance. HEPA filtration, a self-cleaning brush roll, Shark's anti-allergen complete seal and a 5-year warranty make the Shark Vertex upright model AZ2002 a winner.

Shark's Vertex AZ2002 is a high end upright vacuum aimed at homeowners looking for strong cleaning power on both carpeting and hard surfaces. It also currently holds the top position of all corded upright vacuum cleaners we've tested.

Hands on Shark Vertex Review (AZ2002)

Shark's Vertex AZ2002 is the brand's most powerful vacuum. Have pets or allergy sufferers in your home? This may be your next upright. At a glance, here's what we love about the Shark Vertex and areas where we'd be happy to see improvements.

Pros and cons

What we like

  • Constant, strong suction power
  • Excellent rating on hard flooring and carpet
  • Allergen seal design and HEPA filter
  • Hair doesn't get tangled on brush rolls
  • Large 1 quart dust bin
  • LED headlights
  • Build quality

What we don't

  • Pricey
  • Heavy

Real world use and testing

What's in a name? A lot in the case of this upright vacuum. Shark named this one the Shark® Vertex™ Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-away®, DuoClean® PowerFins, and Self-Cleaning Brushroll. There's a lot to unpack there (no pun intended).

We'll get into what Powered Lift-away, DuoClean PowerFins and the Self-Cleaning Brushroll do and mean in practice before this review is done. Let's start by covering our testing and use over the past 12 weeks.

Shark Vertex AZ2002 with Duoclean Powerfins
Shark Vertex AZ2002 with Duoclean Powerfins. Image © VacHQ.com

The TL;DR: the vacuum performs great in the standard upright configuration or as a portable canister. The Shark Vertex's cleaning ability is impressive on both carpeting or hard flooring.

The Shark Vertex made our Best Shark Vacuum list for it's combination of high suction power and all-around performance.

Powerful suction

As far as suction goes, this is the best upright Shark makes. Shark paired a 1344 watt, 11.8 amp motor with what it calls HyperVelocity accelerated suction. The result, without the branding terms, is simply incredible suction.

Shark Vertex AZ2002 cleaning test performance

We test upright vacuums on four surfaces with 3 types of debris. The Shark Vertex AZ2002 passed all tests with flying colors, even scoring 100% on the hard flooring tests. Both low and high pile carpeting scores were exceptional.

Flooring SurfaceShark Vertex
Tile & Hardwood100%
Low Pile Carpet99.6%
Mid/High Pile Carpet98.3%
As far as performance and features are concerned, the Shark Vertex is on our short list for best upright vacuum. If you're upright vacuum shopping, we think it should be on your short list, too.

Cleaning carpet

To talk about how the Vertex does so well on carpet, we need to talk about its branded DuoClean PowerFins. DuoClean is Shark's two-brush roll technology which leverages a more traditional soft roller brushroll as well as a second with flexible, silicone fins.

Shark Vertex Duoclean Powerfins
The Shark Vertex Duoclean Powerfins help this vacuum excel on all surfaces. Image © VacHQ.com

On carpeting, the trick for vacuums is to agitate carpeting fibers to loosen dirt, dust and debris it can be sucked into the dirt bin. On the Shark Vertex those PowerFins are what handles the carpet agitation. The whole system works well. As evidenced by our tests above, everything works as advertised with even dirt deep in carpet easy prey.

Hard floor cleaning with the Shark Vertex

The second brush roll, a soft roller, does its best work on hard flooring. It picks up everything from larger debris, like dirt, cereal and pet hair down to small particles like dust and pollen). Key to this is the design of the cleaning head so that it maximizes contact with the floor.

Shark Vertex Foam Filters
The Shark Vertex has two foam filters. Image © VacHQ.com

Cleaning hardwood floors and tile were a breeze with the Shark Vertex. We also loved that the PowerFins can be turned off which is all but necessary for softer hardwood flooring. To do so, you just move the switch on the handle to the Hard Floor setting. In addition to turning off the PowerFins, suction is increased, too.

Excellent at pet hair pickup (human hair, too)

Shark's Vertex excels at dealing with pet hair. Period. Various tests with both long and short hair confirmed Shark's non-hair-wrap claim. The upright devours short dog hair, and long simulated strands of human hair also found their way to the dustbin as opposed to getting wrapped around the brush rolls.

After several weeks of sustained use, we still had no hair wrapped around either brush roll.

HEPA filtration plus anti-allergen seal

Most vacuums ship with HEPA filtration; that isn't a game changer. But, many uprights lack an effective whole-vacuum seal. Shark's Anti-Allergen Complete Seal makes the HEPA filter do what it is designed to do: trap allergens and dust in the dirt bin.

Shark Vertex HEPA Filter
The Shark Vertex AZ2002's HEPA filter is substantial. Image © VacHQ.com

This isn't just a manufacturer claim. The filtration was confirmed to retain 99.99% of dust and allergens in the dust bin or HEPA filter when tested to the ASTM F1977 standardized engineering test specification.

This shouldn't be overlooked when comparing the Shark Vertex and competing brands' models.

Shark Vertex AZ2002 at a glance

Specs and features

  • Type: Corded Upright Vacuum
  • Bagged/bagless: Bagless
  • Converts to canister: Yes
  • Power cord length: 30 ft.
  • Dust cup: 1 qt.
  • Washable dust cup: Yes
  • Suction settings: 3
  • HEPA filter: Yes
  • Ant-allergen seal: Yes
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Weight: 16.4 pounds

In the box

  • Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum (AZ2002)
  • Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush
  • Dusting Brush
  • Pet Crevice Tool
  • Owner's Guide/Manual

Usability

We found usability to be great as an upright, but we do see room for improvement as a portable canisterin some situations.

Shark Vertex Accessories
The Shark Vertex comes with three accessories. Image © VacHQ.com

Maneuverability

Regardless of the surface, the Vertex is easy to push, pull and steer. Shark says that is due to their Active Glide™ technology which provides "smooth maneuverability on hard floors and carpets while maintaining powerful suction."

If there's any shortcoming as an upright, it's a common one: it can be difficult to reach under low furniture. This shouldn't be a surprise and is something we expect to find in an upright.

Shark AZ2002 in portable, powered Lift-Away mode.
Shark AZ2002 in portable, powered Lift-Away mode. Image © VacHQ.com

Cleaning with accessories and Lift-Away

For cleaning stairs and hard to reach areas, the Shark Vertex offers the powered lift away configuration. Transformation to a powered canister isn't all that unique, and we found it to be pretty much what we expected. It works as well as any other competing system. Accessories that ship with the Shark Vertex AZ2002 include:

  • Pet Crevice Tool
  • Dusting Brush
  • Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush
Shark Vertex Dust Cup
The Shark Vertex has a large 1 quart dust cup. Image © VacHQ.com

For cleaning stairs specifically, a wider attachment would be a welcome one as the accessories that ship with the vacuum aren't very wide. The lift-away configuration feels like it was designed with upholstery cleaning and for vacuuming cobwebs and dust from hard to reach areas.

Noise

Since we're dealing with a powerful corded upright, we anticipated it would be loud. Here's how loud:

Suction ModeShark Vertex
Hard Floor82dB
Low Pile Carpet78dB
Thick Carpet75dB
Lift-Away78dB

Video tour of the Shark Vertex

The video below provides an in-depth feature review of the Shark Vertex AZ2002from SharkNinja, the vacuum's manufacturer.

Value

A lot of factors contribute to determining value. Yes, the Shark Vertex is the most powerful Shark vacuum, but it is also the most expensive. We love the Shark Vertex AZ2002, and applaud it's power, build quality and 5-year warranty.

But, value means price for performance, and it's impossible to talk value without also talking about Shark's Rotator Lift-Away ADV (model LA502). Continue on to learn more about why both of these Shark Uprights are attractive buys.

Alternatives to the Shark Vertex

When not on sale the Shark Vertex AZ2002 retails for $500. Shark's closest performing upright is the Rotator Lift-Away ADV (LA502) is $350. and The price difference is significant. But, the performance is still very high with the Rotator.

Both vacuums are designed for pets, and both ship with the Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush, have DuoClean PowerFins and other technologies Shark cleaning technologies.

Shark Vertex Alternative: Shark Rotator

Shark Rotator (LA502)

Shark's Rotator LA502 upright shares a lot with the Shark Vertex. It has lower suction power which in turn allows Shark to sell it at a lower price.

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Shark Vertex Alternative: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy

If the powered canister mode isn't a selling point, Dyson's high performing Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy upright vacuum is a worthy alternative.

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The biggest, and obvious different is the suction power the Shark Vertex delivers. However, in daily use, the LA502 more than holds its own. We recommend both vacuums, and suggest you give the edge to the AZ2002 when you want the absolute best suction available.

Other differences that might sway a purchase toward the Vertex? The Shark Vertex has a wider cleaning path, approximately 1/3rd larger, and a slightly dirt cup. But, the Vertex is heavier. Another important difference is that the Shark Vertex allows you to turn off the powered brush roll for sensitive flooring surfaces whereas the Rotator Lift-Away ADV does not.

It may be best to leave this decision solely down to this: if you want the highest suction available, go with the Shark Vertex. If you would prefer something a bit lighter that performs very closely but at a reduced price, choose the Rotator Lift-Away ADV.

Another strong contender is the Dyson Ball Animal 2.

Final thoughts

We absolutely recommend the Shark Vertex AZ2002. It's extremely powerful, well designed, and highly capable. We also applaud Shark standing behind the vacuum with a 5 year warranty, too.

As far as performance and features are concerned, the Shark Vertex is on our short list for best upright vacuum. If you're upright vacuum shopping, we think it should be on your short list, too.

If the Vertex's price gives you sticker shock, consider the Rotator Lift-Away ADV. While it has lower power and its brush roll cannot be turned off, it shares most of the other technologies the Vertex has, but at a significantly lower price.

Shark Vertex AZ2002 unboxing.
Unboxing the Shark Vertex AZ2002. Image © VacHQ.com
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