I have spent literally decades cleaning up after dogs and various other animals and one of the enduring problems I have faced is how to effectively pick up the hair they shed. I’m talking bad shedding too – if you’ve lived with multiple German Shepherds then you feel my pain. The problem is that there are so many surfaces for the hair to land on and cling to that it is hard to find anything that can adequately tackle all situations. Enter the Shark Navigator Lift Away Professional.

If you’re looking for an affordable but high performing vacuum cleaner for dog hair (or any pet hair for that matter) then read on to see why I have literally recommended this one to everyone I know.

Basic Features

All the following features are specific to the model that I actually own and use which is the Shark Navigator Professional Lift Away NV356E.

  • 13.7 pounds
  • Anti-allergen Complete Seal Technology + HEPA
  • Swivel steering
  • Bagless (dust cup capacity of 2.2 dry quarts)
  • 5ft hose length
  • 9.5 inch cleaning path

Why I Chose a Shark Vacuum

I knew this was going to be an investment – I had a number of vacuum cleaners already that just didn’t cut it and I wanted to finally find THE ONE. The vacuum to rule all vacuums. So what did I do? I looked at the Dyson models. These guys have their advertising down and, like the rest of the technology consumers out there, I am conditioned to look for the latest and greatest.

I almost, almost caved and bought one of their vacuums but then I started to see commercials for Shark and started to hear from other people how much they loved their Shark vacuums so I started to research these as well. So many of the reviewers compared this vacuum to their Dyson and said the suction and overall performance was better that I had to take note. Nine thousand reviews on Amazon can’t lie – that’s a lot of opinions to consider.

This definitely came with more accessories than I really needed so I will just highlight the ones I use frequently.

  • Bare floor attachment with microfiber cloth – this I cannot live without. The cloth (as mentioned below) is an absolute necessity for darker bare
  • Crevice tool and dusting brush – these get used frequently to get the often overlooked seams in the couch or the corners of the window casings.
  • Pet power brush – this was absolutely another reason I bought this vacuum specifically for dog hair. This tool is great for the couch and also gets
    used on our carpeted stairs.

I absolutely had to find something that could handle both carpet and bare floors and this vacuum actually goes one step further. The attachment for bare floors not only utilizes the vacuum’s excellent suction, it also has a neat little Velcro attachment for a microfiber pad that picks up all the tiny dust particles left behind by even strong suction. This was a fantastic perk for me in particular because my bare floors are a dark wood that always, always look dusty.

Another neat little feature is the ability to use the bare floor functionality with or without the cleaning hose and accessories. If I don’t feel like unhooking the hose and adding an attachment I don’t have to – I simply pick the power feature that switches off the brush roll but keeps the suction. When I’m back on carpet, one more button click turns the brush back on.

I also have the option of detaching the dust cup and handle/hose from the wheeled base and carrying it around rather than trying to pull the wheels around with the hose. This makes reaching awkward areas really simple and keeps the unit from getting top-heavy which is a problem when you try to roll it around behind you by tugging on the hose.

As I mentioned before, I almost bought a Dyson based on their excellent advertising. What really made me hesitate was the price – at about $350 it was almost twice what I actually ended up spending and I just couldn’t bring myself to take the plunge. The Shark Navigator was a much easier price to swallow – especially since it was constantly being compared to Dyson and coming out on top.


So I’ve spent a lot of text talking about how wonderful this vacuum is – what would I say are its drawbacks?

  • Weight – generally I am not picking the vacuum up but when I have to (to get it up the stairs for instance), it is a bit on the heavy side.
    Interestingly, this does not seem to be a problem when using it – it has a good ability to self-propel that makes it seem lighter than it is.
  • Honestly I’m still on the fence about bags versus bagless vacuum cleaners – I like both. The dust cup on this vacuum is easy to get to and easy to
    release but I still feel like I have to empty it outside or risk a small dust cloud.

Customer Reviews

shark vacuum customer reviews

Best Place to Buy

After looking at purchasing options from Target, WalMart, and the Shark website I settled on purchasing from Amazon for two reasons – price and shipping. Amazon always has competitive prices but if you are a Prime member the free two-day shipping can’t be beat. I’m an impatient person with lots of dog hair to pick up so a two-day delivery sealed the deal for me.


So, after all of that information what my personal decision really boiled down to was performance, price, and competitiveness. I was thrilled to find an option that was reasonably priced and had hundreds of reviews claiming that it was better than it’s most expensive competitor. I have had this vacuum for two years now and I am just as happy with it today as I was the first time I used it. I can tell you that on that first use I had one of those gross out moments where the vacuum sucked up so much dirt and hair that I almost passed clean out.

Since that day there is no telling how much dog hair and dirt it has picked up but I have never been happier with how clean my floors are. As far as maintenance, all I do is wash the microfiber cloth after use, empty the dust cup before it gets to the fill line, and rinse out the filter every couple of months. That’s it. Bottom line, this is an excellent vacuum with great pet handling capabilities and a reasonable price.