In this comparison, we’ll compare Shark’s two new upright models – the Shark Vertex AZ2002 and the Rotator Adv 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.
- SHARK’S MOST POWERFUL VACUUM: The Vertex is Shark’s most powerful vacuum ever, with incredible suction and innovative cleaning technologies.
- SELF-CLEANING BRUSHROLL: Engineered for more pet hair pickup with no hair wrap (vs. Shark bristle nozzles).
- DUOCLEAN POWERFINS: A PowerFins brushroll and a soft roller combine on all floors. Continuous cleaning contact to dig deep into carpets, directly engage floors, and pick up more in every pass. (vs. original DuoClean).
- POWERED LIFT-AWAY: Detachable pod for motorized cleaning under furniture or detach the nozzle to clean above the floor, on upholstery, furniture, stairs, and more.
- PERFECT FOR PETS: Includes a self-cleaning Pet Power Brush for deep cleaning with no hair wrap and a Pet Crevice Tool to remove pet hair from hard-to-reach spaces like corners, ceilings, and between couch cushions.
Last update on 2022-05-17 at 05:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
On the other hand, the Rotator LA502 Adv comes at an affordable price. It is an upgrade to the Shark Navigator NV350 series, and 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.
- DuoClean PowerFins: A PowerFin roller and a soft roller combine on all floors. Continuous cleaning contact to dig deep into carpets, directly engage floors, and pick up more in every pass. (vs. original DuoClean)
- Self-cleaning brushroll for powerful pet hair pickup with no hair wrap.
- Engineered to pick up more hair with no hair wrap (vs. shark bristle nozzles)
- Lift-Away the detachable pod with the easy-to-use pod-release pedal to clean stairs, furniture, and everywhere in your home.
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and a HEPA filter trap 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum cleaner. (Based on ASTM F1977 of particles .3 microns or larger.)
Last update on 2022-05-17 at 13:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
So, if you are wondering whether you need the premium model or the affordable option is a good pick for your cleaning needs.
Shark Vertex Vs. Rotator Lift-Away Adv: Differences
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, Rotator’s suction and airflow numbers are upwards of the Navigator NV352.
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, and 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, 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. The main floor head lay flat to get under beds and furniture like a canister vacuum in this mode.
If you move a lot of furniture before vacuuming, the powered lift-away will reduce the hassle and effort involved in moving.
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, the lack of motorized agitation is not ideal for cleaning carpet under furniture. But the suction tools work great on hard floors, though.
The Rotator also turns into a handheld device for easy cleaning the above floor and high surfaces.
The Vertex has a wide floor nozzle with a cleaning path width 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 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 cord length of 25ft and 6ft hose. Although it’s adequate for an apartment or small house, it can be inconvenient for bigger homes.
Shark Vertex Vs. Rotator: Similarities
Innovative Floor Head Design
Both have the DuoClean PowerFins floor head, 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.
The Rotator will need more passes to pull dirt and dust due to its low airflow on hard floors with many gaps or crevices. 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, you must consider this.
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 canister’s weight gets the PowerFins deep down into the fibers to loosen the debris, and 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.
The DuoClean PowerFins is not optimal for perfectly deep cleaning carpets than the traditional bristles roller like 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.
Still, if you are looking for a vacuum to pick up long hair from carpet fibers without getting hair wrapped, the PowerFins roller is unbeatable.
Which One Is Better For You?
The Vertex AZ2002 has more airflow, 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.