In this comparison, we’ll compare Shark’s two new upright models – the Shark Vertex AZ2002 and the Rotator LA502.
Before diving into the difference and similarities, here’s a brief overview of each model.
The Shark Vertex is the new top of the line vacuum in their upright series and an upgrade to the Shark Apex AZ1002 – their previous flagship model. It has the highest suction in Shark’s Upright line up and a new brushroll design – the DuoClean Powerfins. However, it sells for a premium price.
The Shark Rotator, on the other hand, comes at an affordable price. It is an upgrade to the Navigator NV350 series. Shark markets it as a Lift-Away ADV, which I suppose stands for Advance. Besides, the Rotator has the same DuoClean Powerfins floor nozzle and a few other similarities.
So, if you are wondering whether you need the premium model or the affordable option is a good pick for your cleaning needs.
Differences Between Shark Vertex and Rotator
The Vertex Has More Suction Than The Rotator, But Does It Matters?
The Shark Vertex has a 1344 watts motor that generates a suction of 104” of water lift and 105 cfm of airflow at the hose.
The Rotator has a 910 watts motor, yet, it has more suction power than the old Navigator NV350 series with a 1200 watts motor. To give you an idea, the NV352 – Shark’s best selling upright – has a suction of 81” of water lift and 76 CFM airflow at the hose. So, the suction and airflow numbers for Rotator are upwards of the NV352.
Now, if you want to own the Vertex solely because of its high suction number, you should not. Suction alone doesn’t equate to higher cleaning performance as suction without airflow is useless. Airflow is what moves debris from floors to the canister.
Here’s a great explanation of the difference between suction and airflow by Bill from VacLab.
So, a good airflow should always be the priority over suction.
If you’re wondering, the Vertex also has more airflow than the Rotator, it’s true. But, do you need a high airflow? Well, that will depend on your cleaning requirements and surface types. We’ll discuss how the airflow affects pick up ability in the later section.
Versatility: Powered Lift-Away Vs. Lift-Away ADV
The second big difference between both is their adaptability.
The Vertex has a Powered Lift-Away, which means you can detach the pod from the unit and still use the motorized floor head. In this mode, the main floor head lay flat to get under beds and furniture like a canister vacuum.
If you move a lot of furniture before vacuuming, the powered lift-away will cut down the hassle and effort involved in doing the preparation.
Moreover, you can also use it as a handheld vacuum to clean the couch, stairs, drapes, blinds, cobwebs, etc. It also makes dusting overhead surfaces a breeze.
The Rotator has Lift-Away ADV, which I suppose stands for Lift-Away Advance, as this is an upgrade of the Navigator Lift-Away.
The Lift-Away feature only works with suction-based or turbo tools. You cannot attach the motorized floor nozzle in the lift away configuration, as there are no electrical connections in the hose and wand.
Like the Vertex, the Rotator also has the flexibility to get under hard to reach areas. However, due to the lack of motorized agitation, it’s not ideal for cleaning carpet under furniture. The suction tools work great on hard floors, though.
The Rotator also turns into a handheld device for cleaning the above floor and high surfaces with ease.
The Vertex has a wide floor nozzle with a cleaning path of 12”, whereas the Rotator has a narrower one with a 9.5”.
Although a broader nozzle reduces the time needed for cleaning large areas, it also decreases the velocity of intake air at the base as compared to a narrow floor nozzle. So, the Rotator’s nozzle is efficient at utilizing the generated suction.
The Vertex has a 30ft power cord and 5.5ft hose, which makes uninterrupted cleaning possible as you don’t have to switch power outlets for every room, an added convenience for large homes.
The Rotator, on the contrary, has a below-average 25ft cord and 6ft hose. Although it’s adequate for an apartment or small house, it can be inconvenient for bigger homes.
Similarities Between Shark Vertex and Rotator
Innovative Floor Head Design
Both have the DuoClean PowerFins floor head, which is a combination of two rollers working in unison.
The small front roller grabs fine to large debris off bare floors or carpets. Plus, it buffs the hard floor leaving a polished look.
The large back roller has flexible silicone flaps – the PowerFins, arranged in an alternate pattern. Between the flexible fins, there’s a lining of short blue bristles.
This design has its advantages and disadvantages that we’ll discuss further.
One advantage of the silicon PowerFins is their anti-hair wrap quality. This new design is more aggressive in removing hair tangles than the Zero-M brushroll in Apex.
They both are sealed systems and have a post-motor HEPA filter. So, the exhausted air is free from microscopic allergens.
Now, let’s discuss how they perform on floors and carpets.
How Do They Perform On Bare Floors?
Due to the DuoClean roller picking up fine dust, rice, grounded coffee, cereals, fruit loops, etc. from the surface won’t be a challenge with each vacuum.
On hard floors with lots of gaps or crevices, the Rotator will need more passes to pull dirt and dust due to its low airflow. On the contrary, the Vertex picks up the dirt and grit in a single pass, which is remarkable.
So, if you have old hardwood floors, this is something you must consider.
How Is Their Performance On Carpets & Rugs?
The Shark Vertex is very good at picking embedded debris from carpet fibers. So, if you have a medium pile or deep pile carpets and area rugs, it will be a better option due to its higher airflow. Besides, the weight of the canister gets the PowerFins deep down into the fibers to loosens the debris. The airflow then does its job.
The Shark Rotator can pick the surface debris on high pile carpets but will struggle to get deep down dirt and grit due to lower airflow. The Rotator is best for homes with short pile carpets.
That being said, the DuoClean PowerFins is not optimal for perfectly deep cleaning carpets than the traditional bristles roller as in Rotator NV752.
Although, the silicon fins perform marginally better than the classic DuoClean rollers at deep cleaning carpets. But the old single bristles roller nozzle still beats the dual roller design.
Which One Is Better For You?
The Vertex AZ2002 has more airflow, which makes it ideal for cleaning high pile carpets, rugs, and hard floors. The powered lift away gives you the convenience of a canister and handheld in an upright vacuum. Also, it has a larger bin and longer power cord, which is a plus for larger homes.
The Rotator LA502 is perfect for cleaning bare floors and low pile carpets or rugs. Like the Vertex, it also has lift-away versatility for above surface cleaning. Moreover, the lightweight body makes it easier to carry upstairs and around the house.