Shark Navigator Deluxe Review
Pros: Excellent at cleaning up pet hair, solid cleaning performance across the board
Cons: Shorter reach
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Navigator Deluxe is a great, second-tier vacuum at a reasonable price. It didn't have any major deficiencies in our tests, nor any major concessions due to its reduced price. While this simple model doesn't have a ton of extra features or functions, it gets the job done without sucking away too much of your hard-earned cash.
This is the highest weighted metric in our test and takes credit for 35% of the overall score for each product. We tested each product by spreading out Cheerios, rice, cereal, and flour on both flat and fluffy carpet, assessing scores based on the amount of material collected and the number of passes required to do it. The Navigator delivered a decent showing.
The Navigator did an excellent job at collecting rice from flat carpet. It got all of the whole grains out and only left a tiny amount of rice dust behind in just two passes. Performance dropped a little in the fluffy carpet test, with the Navigator taking about four passes and only doing an average to above-average job.
Starting a trend, the Navigator also did a fantastic job at collecting flour from low-pile carpet. However, it did drop back slightly when it came to extracting flour from fluffy carpets. It still did well, just not amazing.
Moving on to our cereal test, the Navigator delivered an unimpressive but not disappointing performance. It did well on flat carpet but took an additional third pass to collect all of the fragmented Cheerios it had crushed up and failed to collect. It did have one of the best first passes of the entire group, collecting over 90% of the mess, just requiring a few cleanup passes to complete the task. It then did about average in the medium-pile version of this test, tending to plow the cereal around rather than collecting it.
For the final test of this metric — oatmeal collection — the Navigator did decently well. It took two passes on shallow carpet but left behind a fair amount. However, its performance improved considerably on fluffier carpet, though it did take 6-8 passes.
Ease of Use
The Navigator performed about average in this metric as well. This metric makes up 25% of the total score, consisting of tests comparing the ease at switching between different types of floors, maximum reach, noise levels, cleaning under furniture, and in close to edges.
This model doesn't do anything to adjust the height for different floor types, but it does have an option to turn the rotating brush off, usually for hard floors. The Navigator did an excellent job in our edging test, with only a small amount of rice pushed into the corner. It had a little trouble collecting this but eventually whittled it down after subsequent passes.
This vacuum did about average at cleaning under furniture, hampered by its lack of a lift-away feature. The Navigator reached about 5.5"-6" under our simulated sofa — about half the distance of the top models in this test. In terms of maximum reach, the Navigator was relatively subpar, having one of the shortest reaches of our whole pack of vacuums. This model only could reach about 27' from the outlet, comparing somewhat poorly with the rest of the group.
Comprising 20% of the total score for each vacuum cleaner, this metric consisted of three tests: maneuverability, pushing/pulling effort, and competency at cleaning stairs. The Navigator did reasonably well in this metric, though again landing about in the middle of the pack.
This model does well at cleaning stairs, having a decently long reach. The cleaning hose attachment can reach 12 stairs before the vacuum needs to be moved, though it does tend to fall over when using the hose at its maximum reach. At 15.9 lbs, the Navigator is also of average weight compared to our other tested models. At this weight, it is still decently maneuverable and the swivel head makes it exceptionally easy to turn.
Hard Surface Cleaning
For this metric, we once again reverted to spreading oatmeal, cereal, flour, and rice on the floor and comparing how well each vacuum picked the debris up. The Shark landed in the middle of the pack yet again.
This model did an excellent job at collecting the rice in our test, getting all of it in a single pass. We used the hard floor option, meaning the rotating brush head was disabled. Moving on to the flour, the Navigator was a bit of a disappointment. This model collected plenty of flour — on its wheels, rather than in its collection bin.
Continuing with our Cheerios test, the Navigator did fairly well. It caught some of the cereal in its brush but did an acceptable job at collecting it for the most part. In the oatmeal test it collected a decent amount, but still pushed some of the oats into a pile.
For all those pet owners out there, we compared the prowess of each vacuum at collecting pet hair for our final metric, which accounted for the remaining 10% of the total score for each model. Here, finally, the Navigator did an exceptional job, picking up 96% of the hair that we laid out. This hair was spread evenly and pressed in a section of low-pile carpet, with each vacuum getting about four passes over each section to clean it.
The Navigator is of decent value, offering a good performance for a lower price point than most top contenders. If you need something to focus on pet hair, this may be a good choice.
For those shopping on a budget, the Shark Navigator Deluxe is a fine choice, particularly if pets are involved. This vacuum is capable of handling most common messes and is more than capable of keeping your floors nice and clean, though you may still want to keep a broom handy.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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