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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional - NV356E vs. NV356E S2

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away NV356E is one of the most popular upright vacuums, and with good reasons. It is based on the Shark’s Lift-Away technology – the unit can be used as the classic upright vacuum cleaner, as the upright vacuum cleaner with the cleaner hose, or the Lift-Away pod can be detached from the rest of the unit and used with the cleaner hose, telescopic wand, and cleaning attachments.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away NV356E is being replaced with newer models, but due to its acceptable price and excellent features, it is still the preferred model of many users. After all, if it is not broken, don't fix it :)

Updated: February 2, 2023.

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 Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E&NV356E S2 Features and Specifications

Shark Navigator 356E was first offered as the "Shark Navigator 356E" model, and after years of being one of the best and most popular units, it was offered as the "Shark Navigator 356E S2" model.

The main difference between the Shark Navigator 356E and Shark Navigator 356E S2 models is the list of available cleaning tools - the original Shark Navigator 356E features a somewhat longer list of cleaning tools and attachments, while all other features and specifications are practically the same.

Thus, in this article, we review the Shark Navigator 356E model, with special mentions of the Shark Navigator 356E S2 model, when there is a difference between these two units.

Shark Navigator 356E is designed for cleaning bare floors, low-, medium- and high-pile carpets, and area rugs, and for cleaning elevated surfaces, too.

The main cleaner head includes a brushroll for cleaning deeply embedded dirt and debris, including pet and human hair, lint, fibers, and similar. For cleaning bare floors, especially sensitive wooden floors, the brushroll can be turned off using the Off/On button.

The cleaning path width of the main cleaning head is 9.5 inches (~24.1 cm), and it could be perhaps wider to cover a larger area in less time.

But, the vacuum does its job well, and a 9.5” nozzle helps keep the suction high – a wider nozzle would require a stronger and larger motor, which would lead to the heavier and more expensive unit, etc.

shark nv356e hepa filterShark NV356E features Shark’s Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology with a HEPA filter, enabling the unit to trap 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum – note that true HEPA vacuum cleaner (not just filter), traps 99.97% of 0.3 microns (or larger) particles.

Nonetheless, Shark NV356E has excellent air filtration, which is very important for people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory or similar health issues.

The air filtration system uses three different air filters: foam and felt pre-motor air filters and HEPA post-motor air filter.

Since the condition of air filters is very important for the proper operation of the unit, they can and should be washed to keep the airflow and the suction at the required level:

  • pre-motor foam and felt filters should be washed every 3 months or as needed,
  • post-motor HEPA filter should be washed every 2 years or as needed.

Filters are rinsed using plain water and then air dried for 24 hours or until fully dry. Never assemble the unit if the filters are still moist, and never operate the unit with wet filters or no filters at all.

Note: Shark NV356E is simple to use and maintain unit, but just in case, when the unit arrives, be sure to read the manual/instructions thoroughly.

Lift-Away vs. Powered Lift-Away Technology

Some Shark's vacuums feature "Powered Lift-Away" technology, while others feature "Lift-Away" technology. What is the difference?

shark nv356e features

Shark NV356E weighs 13.7 pounds (~6.2 kg), while its Lift-Away pod weighs without the cord around 8 pounds (~3.6 kg), so it can be easily carried around for cleaning stairs, corners, upper floors, cars, and other hard-to-reach areas and places.

Note that the unit doesn’t come with LED headlights, which can be very helpful in low-light conditions, for example, under the furniture.

The main cleaner head uses a "Powered" brushroll for cleaning carpeted areas, and it can be used only when the unit is used as a classic upright vacuum cleaner.

When the Lift-Away pod is detached from the rest of the unit, the main cleaner head remains with the rest of the unit, and the cleaning is done using the Lift-Away pod, flexible cleaning hose, and one of the available cleaning attachments, with or without cleaning wand - but without the main cleaner head with the "powered" brushroll.

Note: Shark NV356E uses a single "classic" brushroll which is very efficient in picking up various types of debris, but it is not a tangle-free brushroll - from time to time, the user has to remove tangled pet and human hair manually, and other similar debris.

Physical dimensions of the unit are (H x D x W) 45.2 x 14.9 x 11.4 inches (~114.8 x 37.8 x 28.9 cm).

To help the unit move around and clean with as less effort as possible, the unit comes with swivel steering.

The dirt bin is transparent, and the user can easily see the amount of vacuumed dirt. Dirt bin capacity is 2.2 dry quarts (~2.4 liters) and is more than enough for most applications.

To avoid the buildup of unpleasant gases and smells, it is highly recommended to empty the dirt bin after each use. When the dirt reaches the "Max Fill Line," the dirt bin must be emptied, or the unit can have issues during operation (reduced airflow, lower suction, etc.).

Shark Navigator NV356E is designed for dry dirt only, and wet and moist dirt and especially liquids, should not be vacuumed using this vacuum cleaner.

The power cord is 30 feet (~9.1 m) long, and one power outlet can be used to cover a rather large area.

The cleaning hose is 5 feet (~1.52 m) long and, in combination with a Lift-Away pod, which can be carried around without much effort, help the user to vacuum elevated surfaces even up to the ceiling, including stairs, furniture, bookshelves, ceiling fans, etc.

Shark NV356E doesn't feature an automatic power cord rewind system - the power cord is manually wrapped around the power cord wrap hooks, which help the user store the power cord, but also help the user quickly release the power cord, allowing the user to use the unit even in emergencies (for example, pet and kids messes and similar).

The unit features a 1200 W (~10 Amps) motor providing excellent suction, regardless of the used cleaning mode.

Shark NV356E also features variable suction control in the form of a suction release mechanism (collar), which is not the most efficient suction control system, but it keeps airflow through the unit high - important for proper air filtration and motor cooling.

Shark Navigator 356E and Shark Navigator 356E S2 Cleaning Attachments

shark nv356e attachments

The main difference between Shark Navigator 356E and Shark Navigator 356E S2 models is in the list of cleaning tools and attachments:

  • Shark Navigator 356E: Hard Floor Hero Attachment, Pet Power Brush, Dusting Brush, 8" Crevice Tool.
  • Shark Navigator 356E S2: Pet Power Brush, Crevice Tool.

The cleaning tools that come with the "original" Shark Navigator NV356E are:

  • Hard Floor Hero Attachment is designed for cleaning hard floors while being attached to the cleaning wand. It features a full swivel neck, allowing it to reach under furniture, under beds and sofas, and other hard-to-reach areas and to clean them.
  • Pet Power Brush features a small powered brushroll and is designed for deep cleaning of smaller carpeted and upholstered areas like smaller carpets, stairs, furniture, and similar. As the brushroll rotates, its bristles penetrate the surface and pull out the pet and human hair and agitate other dirt, which is all sucked into the vacuum thanks to the strong suction. From time to time, a user has to remove the tangled hair, lint, fibers, and other similar debris manually from the brushroll.
  • Dusting Brush is designed for dusting elevated surfaces. It features gentle bristles, and in combination with strong suction, it picks up dust and other small particles.
  • 8" Crevice Tool is a long and narrow cleaning tool designed for cleaning tight and other similar hard-to-reach areas, including edges, corners, between mattresses and cushions, etc.

The main reason why Shark Navigator 356E S2 is two cleaning tools short is Shark's intention to lower the unit's price. Also, some users "complained" about not having room to store the extra cleaning tools.

However, before ordering any vacuum cleaner, it is a good practice to verify which cleaning tools are included.

If required, other cleaning attachments can be ordered separately, including hard floor brush, home and car detail kit, premium pet power brush, etc.

Note: actual list of included attachments may vary depending on the store, so before purchasing the vacuum, check the list of available attachments. Also, not all Shark vacuum attachments fit all models - when purchasing new attachments, be sure to always order tools and attachments for the exact vacuum model that You already own.

Shark Navigator 356E Safety Features

To protect the unit and, in the end, the user, Shark Navigator 356E comes with several safety features.

The main motor features a thermal protection system - if the airflow through the unit is decreased due to the dirty filters, clog, or something else, the motor can overheat and get damaged. The thermal protection system monitors the motor's temperature, and if it starts to rise over a certain threshold, the motor is powered off.

If that happens, turn off the unit, unplug it from the wall, empty the dirt bin, check the air filters, and check the unit for blockages. After some 45 minutes, the thermal protection system will reset itself automatically.

Also, the unit will automatically shut off the power nozzle motor to avoid belt wear if the brushroll is blocked with a large debris or object (a sock, toy or toy part, carpet edge, and similar). If that happens, turn off the unit, unplug it from the wall, remove the obstruction, and continue with the vacuuming.

Note: all these and other procedures can be found in the manual - reason more to read it thoroughly before the very first use.

Shark Lift-Away Upright Vacuums - Comparisons and Recommendations

Shark manufactures several Lift-Away and Powered Lift-Away vacuums differing in size, strength, and other features. Some of the models are listed in the following comparison table:

Model Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M Powered Lift-Away (AZ1002) Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away (NV356E S2) Shark Navigator Lift-Away Zero-M Speed (ZU561) Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet (NV752)
Photo shark az1002 table  shark nv356e table  shark zero m zu561 table  shark nv752 table 
 DuoClean Technology Yes No No No
 Zero-M Technology Yes No  Yes No
 Powered Lift-Away Yes Lift-Away Lift-Away Yes
Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology + HEPA Filter  Yes Yes  Yes Yes
 Noise Reduction Technology Yes  No  No No
Dimensions (L x W x H) 12 x 11.2 x 46 inches 14.9 x 11.4 x 45.2 inches  12 x 9.5 x 45.6 inches 12 x 13 x 46 inches
 Weight 16 lbs 13.7 lbs  13.4 lbs 15.6 lbs
Dirt Bin 1.5 dry quarts (~1.65 liters) 2.2 dry quarts (~2.4 liters) 2.2 dry quarts (~2.4 liters)   3.3 dry quarts (~3.6 liters)
Power Cord 30 feet (~9.2 m) 30 feet (~9.2 m)  25 feet (~7.6 m) 30 feet (~9.2 m)
Motor 1350 W 1200 W  800 W 1200 W
Cleaning Attachments 12" Crevice Tool, Pet Multi-Tool, Motorized Pet Tool Pet Power Brush, 8" Crevice Tool   Duster Crevice Tool,  Hair Removal Multi-Tool, Wide Upholstery Tool Pet Multi-Tool,  Mini Motorized Brush, Duster Crevice Tool, Hard Floor Genie, Canister Caddy, Accessories Bag
Warranty 5 Year Limited 5 Year Limited  5 Year Limited 5 Year Limited
Amazon Link Shark APEX AZ1002 Shark Navigator NV356E S2 Shark Navigator ZU561 Shark Rotator NV752

Note: Amazon affiliate links in the table open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.

Few explanations:

  • DuoClean Technology: main cleaner head features two different brushrolls working in unison to provide the best cleaning possible. As they rotate, they help pick up various types of dirt from various surfaces, providing much better cleaning when compared with systems with 'only' one brushroll.
  • Zero-M Technology: in order to decrease the maintenance task of cleaning brushrolls from entangled hair, Zero-M technology automatically removes pet and human hair and similar debris, making maintenance much easier and simpler.

As said before, Shark Navigator NV356E is an 'older' model, and it doesn't feature some of the Shark's improvements in the form of DuoClean, Zero-M, and similar technologies.  But, Shark 356E is a very well-designed and very affordable unit, and, what is most important, it does its job well.

Note: Regarding the development of Shark upright vacuums, the Shark AZ1002 APEX is an excellent unit, but the Shark AZ2002 Vertex DuoClean PowerFins is even better, while Shark AZ3002 Stratos Upright Vacuum offers even more (Note: these are Amazon links, links open in the new windows).

Also, if You are looking for a convertible corded stick vacuum cleaner, consider Shark HZ3002 Stratos Ultralight Corded Stick Vacuum (Amazon link, opens in the new window).

Shark NV356E S2 was a good vacuum and is still popular due to its excellent features, but newer units come with many features that render older units obsolete.

For short, Shark NV356E S2 has long reach, cleans surfaces from the floor to the ceiling, features practically no maintenance costs, has an excellent warranty considering its price, is a light unit (13.7 lbs) with excellent maneuverability, and if that is not enough, its 8 pounds Lift-Away pod can be taken almost anywhere.

If You are looking for a very reliable and rather affordable main vacuum cleaner, consider this model.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).

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