Best Overall Vacuum

The Shark Navigator NV356E is a 2-in-1 vacuum, meaning you can use it in upright mode or with the canister detached to get into hard-to-reach places.

With complete seal technology and a HEPA filter that traps 99.9 percent of allergens, it’s a great choice for allergy sufferers. We put the Navigator NV352 to the test to see how well it it could tackle the mix of hardwood floors and area rugs in our household. Read on to see if this vacuum was a solid performer on both surfaces.  

Setup Process: Easy to assemble, but instructions are misleading 

The first great perk of the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is that it’s easy to assemble. Once out of the box, we had the vacuum put together in less than ten minutes. The instructions are clear, easy to follow, and include diagrams to help you identify each part and see how they attach to one another. 

We did encounter some confusion about which accessories were included, though. The Owner’s Guide supplied with the vacuum is actually intended for another model (the NV355 series), which comes with a few more accessories. As we were initially reading through the instructions, we got nervous because we thought we were missing two pieces. However, after consulting the Quick Start Guide for this particular model, we realized the NV356 does not include the Hard Floor Hero or the wide upholstery tool. 

Performance: Powerful and versatile 

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional has powerful suction and proved very effective on both hardwood floors and area rugs. We used the vacuum on various surfaces throughout our home and were very happy with the results. To see how well the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional performed, we began by using it in the highest traffic area of our house—the area rugs in the front hallway, where a lot of dirt and debris gathers. The vacuum did an excellent job of removing the dirt and we were very impressed by its performance. 

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