Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner 2018

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away NV801UK

If you're after an all-rounder, the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away NV801UK is a great option. The upright vacuum is effective on any surface and is a pro at dealing with pet hair – which is great, because we all know the dog sneaks back on the sofa the minute he thinks no one is looking. The Lift-Away section also makes cleaning hard-to-reach areas and stairs a piece of cake, and it’ll be an absolute saviour if you struggle with back pain.

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Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Great on all surfaces and for getting into those hard-to-reach places
  • Can be used as a handheld vacuum cleaner when needed
  • Pricey, but worth the investment


  • Clear instructions for assembly
  • Tools stored on Lift-Away so you can take them with you as you vacuum
  • Press a switch as you move to different floor surfaces – quick and easy
  • Great manoeuvrability


  • There are two filters to be washed: Pre-motor every three months, post-motor every year
  • A little heavy when used as an upright
  • Small bin

What are the features of the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away?

  • DuoClean technology – two brush rolls in one head work together to remove large and small particles. The second soft brush means you can move easily from one surface to another.
  • Powered Lift-Away – the main unit can be detached with the click of a button, so it’s like having an upright and a handheld in one (bonus)
  • Anti-Allergen technology captures and holds dust and allergens inside the vacuum
  • Dual control on the handle means it’s easy to move from one surface to another – no faffing with different brush heads

What’s in the box?

  • Vacuum cleaner, upholstery tool, 2-in-1 duster/crevice tool

What are the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away specs?

  • 1.1 litre capacity
  • Up to 1.5m hose length
  • 8m cord length
  • Weight: 6.1kg
  • 118cm (H) x 26cm (W) x 34cm (D)
  • 750W
  • Guarantee up to five years
  • Model: NV801UK
Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaners

Upright vacuum cleaners can offer brilliant versatility and manoeuvrability, but they’re also great if you’re blighted by back pain and find yourself glaring balefully at the vacuum whenever it’s time to run it round the house.

This vac gives you all the versatility of a handheld, meaning it’s no problem to vacuum stairs, skirting boards, up high, in hard-to-reach corners and under furniture. Did someone say ‘best of both worlds’?

How good is the Shark Powered Lift-Away on carpets?

The Shark keeps carpets looking clean and fresh, especially because it’s very efficient for day-to-day cleaning. Our only niggle is the vacuum does have a tendency to feel as though it’s pulling forward and takes more effort to pull backwards, but you get used to it.

The upright vacuum picks up large debris like spilled cereal and crisps in one sweep. When it comes to smaller particles like toast crumbs and coffee granules, it takes a few more sweeps to get the job done. Then it’ll be gone without a trace.

If you’re vacuuming deeper pile carpets or rugs and you’re feeling resistance, you can simply slide the suction control switch on the handle to the minimum setting and the job feels a whole lot easier. And even on this setting, the vacuum picks up fluff, dust and pet hair really well with less effort involved.

How good is the on Shark Powered Lift-Away on hard floors?

The head goes right up to the edges on hard floors, sucking everything in. In targeted testing, the Shark Lift-Away coped with large debris, powering through spilled cereal and sweeping away dust under the sofa in one go.

How effective is the Shark Powered Lift-Away on pet hair?

The upright vacuum is a great for pet owners. You can use it like a handheld cleaner when you need to, giving upholstery and pet bedding a super quick once over when you’re short on time.

On hard floors, the Shark Lift-Away picks up clumps of pet hair by pulling them in from corners and edges. The LED light is great at showing where the hair is hiding on wooden floors and under furniture.

The Shark Lift-Away is also excellent at getting hair out of rugs, and hair deep in carpet fibres. The crevice tool helps to pull embedded hair out of the edges of the carpet. It takes a bit of effort but it’s worth it.

Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner being used on the stairs

How easy is it to vacuum the stairs with the Shark Powered Lift-Away?

Uprights can be difficult on stairs – stretching the hose to breaking point to reach the top, or lugging a heavy vacuum up with you. The Lift-Away gives you the option of vacuuming the stairs in the same way as you would with a cylinder by simply removing the pod and taking it with you. This means you can rest the Lift-Away section on the stair below without any danger of it toppling over. Because the power goes directly to the Lift-Away, there’s no loss of suction.

How loud is the Shark Powered Lift-Away?

The noise level of the Shark Duo-Clean Powered Lift-Away isn’t intrusive at all. Our tester found it to be relatively quiet despite it being 80db.

Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner being used on the curtains

How easy is it to keep the Shark Powered Lift-Away clean?

The bin is easy to empty: hold over the bin and press the bottom latch. You can also use the latch on top of the vacuum to remove any built-up dirt and debris.

Really, you should empty the vacuum after every use. If this fills you with dread, a bagged vacuum might be a better bet. Thankfully, the pre-motor filter only needs cleaning once a month and the HEPA filter once a year. Both need to be air dried.

When it comes to cleaning the brush roll, you just press down the two buttons on the lid of its housing and lift it out by the tab. There’s also a handy little tool in a compartment on the nozzle that can be used to clean the brush roll.

If you’re so inclined, this can also be used to clean the soft roller, which slides out. The soft roller is washable too, but you’ll need to air-dry it.

Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner being used under the sofa

Are there any other features?

When using as an upright, the head twists and turns easily, making it really easy to steer around furniture.

Is the Lift-Away good value for money?

Uprights can be quite pricey and the Shark Lift-Away is no exception, costing £329.99. Yikes. You will often find it on offer, so it is definitely worth shopping around. If you’re in the market for a upright vacuum, then the Lift-Away is a solid all-rounder that’s great on all surfaces and a pro at dealing with pet hair.

About Mumsnet Reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage. Read our How We Test page to find out more.

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