In this upright vacuum review, we’ll be looking at the Shark Vertex AZ2002. It has been an incredibly popular Shark upright, and while it is no longer Shark’s flagship model, it earned a spot on our list of the Best Shark Upright vacuums.
A Powerful, Well-Performing Shark Upright
The Shark Vertex upright vacuum performs exceptionally well and delivers comparable performance to its successor, the Stratos. Moreover, when compared to other upright vacuums that we have tested, it outperforms most of them. If you’re in the market for an upright vacuum, you should definitely consider the Shark Vertex AZ2002 model.
Performance - 9.6/109.6/10
Features - 9.8/109.8/10
Ergonomics - 9.5/109.5/10
Value - 9.9/109.9/10
- Great suction
- Cleans well on carpet & hard floors
- Resists hair tangles on brushroll
- Heavy in Lift-away mode
Shark seems to like long, very descriptive product names (on their website and boxes at least). The name on the box of this vacuum we bought to review is the Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-away, DuoClean PowerFins, and Self-Cleaning Brushroll. For everyone’s sake, we will just call it the Shark Vertex, Shark Vertex AZ2002, or Shark Vertex Upright in this review!
About the Shark Vertex AZ2002 Upright
The Shark Vertex Upright came to market following after the Shark Apex Upright. The Vertex is about the same weight as the Apex but it has a bigger dustbin, a wider cleaning path, and as we’ll see below, it has more power, too.
When Shark released the Vertex it was their most powerful upright vacuum cleaner. It also has really good reviews online, which is really saying something since this vacuum has been out for years now.
Upright shopping? Don’t leave without stopping by our upright vacuum reviews page!
Like its predecessor the Apex and successor the Stratos, the Vertex has Powered Lift-away. This means that you can lift away the pod for powered, or motorized, cleaning under furniture. You can also just use it in its handheld configuration for above-floor cleaning.
Other notable features include the Vertex’s bright bank of LED lights on its floorhead, a long 30-foot cord, and a 5.5-foot hose.
What we like
There’s a lot to like about this Shark vacuum, and we remember having quite a bit of fun when we initially tested it. The reason we had so much fun came down to three key features: its power, its pickup ability, and its hair tangle resistance.
A powerful upright
In comparing it with the Apex, we were impressed because the Apex was already a quite powerful upright. Years later, we compared it with its successor, the Shark Stratos, and we were once again impressed with the Vertex, which only narrowly trailed behind the vacuum that took away its flagship status.
Related: See our Shark Stratos AZ3002 Review.
Testing suction and airflow
We tested the Shark Vertex’s suction and airflow at various places on the vacuum and were incredibly impressed then, and still are today. Not only did it have higher suction numbers than all the Sharks uprights we’ve tested before it, but its airflow (which we consider to be as much or even more important than suction) was off the charts as well.
The Vertex was one of the most powerful upright vacuums we tested when it was new, and it still hovers near the top of our list of powerful vacuums today.
Cleaning hard floors, carpets, and rugs
The next tests we conducted were to see if the Vertex could translate its power into cleaning performance. We perform a crevice pickup test, a carpet deep clean test, and various surface debris pickup tests too. Across those tests, we put a vacuum to task against different sizes and weights of debris, including coffee grounds, cereal, and pet litter.
Crevice pickup test
In our crevice pickup test the Vertex picked up all the debris effortlessly in its first forward pass. This is pretty rare. Many vacuums can’t pick up all the debris after multiple passes, if at all. In fact, it made us think that we might need to redesign the test with deeper crevices, heavier debris, or both to make it more difficult.
Handheld use and attachments
Another time that the Shark Vertex’s suction power is clearly evident is when using it with the included handheld attachments. The Anti-tangle Self-cleaning Pet Power Brush was not only great at pickup but in our tests, it also did really well at resisting hair tangles.
In addition to the Self-cleaning Pet Power Brush, the Vertex also comes with a standard crevice tool and dusting brush.
The Shark Vertex’s DuoClean brushroll
The main thing you want a vacuum to do though is to pick stuff up off of carpet and hard floors and the Shark Vertex is really, really good at doing that. A lot of credit goes to its DuoClean floorhead.
Regular viewers of our YouTube channel will know we absolutely love Shark’s DuoClean brushroll. Basically, DuoClean systems have a soft roller up front and a more or less regular brushroll in the back. When equipped with DuoClean, vacuums are incredibly good for both hard floors and carpets, so it’s basically like having two vacuums in one.
The Shark Vertex AZ2002 made it on our list of best vacuums for tile floors, too!
Large, medium, and small debris pickup
Most upright vacuums are unable to pick up very large debris. It’s just expected that you’ll use the hose for debris over a certain size. Quite seriously though, there is nothing like a DuoClean-equipped vacuum when it comes to vacuuming medium to large debris.
It’s not just about large debris either. The Shark Vertex is also uniquely good for the other end of the spectrum, that is with fine debris. In our test, it not only picked up the fine material really well but the Vertex also left the floors with a polished look, which is great for homes in areas that are dusty.
As we mentioned above, another feature that really impressed us was the Shark Vertex’s anti-hair wrap brush system. We’ve been testing these anti-wrap heads from Sharks since they came out and we are pretty familiar with how they work and their limitations.
The Vertex appears to have a newly designed anti-hair wrap system which is even better than the Apex and its other predecessors. We can’t tell you exactly how it works because there isn’t a way to open the head, but we can say that, at least in part, Vertex’s PowerFins brushroll helps it resist hair tangles.
We tested the Vertex with the usual 1 gram of 7-inch and 1 gram of 14-inch hair and found no tangles at all. The Apex Zero M (previously the best at this test), could also handle one gram of 14-inch hair, but in the end there would still be a small amount of hair wrapped around its brushroll.
Since the newer Vertex was able to do that test perfectly, we upped it to an unprecedented two grams of 14-inch hair. No previous vacuum we have tested could even come close to handling that much long hair. To our surprise, there were no tangles other than a little bit caught in one of its wheels.
The Vertex was one of the most powerful vacuums we tested when it was new, and it still hovers near the top of our list of powerful vacuums today.
Anti-allergen HEPA filtration
The Vertex upright also has Shark’s Anti-allergen Complete Seal system with HEPA filtration. This system keeps all the dust and microscopic stuff you don’t want in the air in the vacuum instead of blowing it back out into the room.
HEPA-sealed systems like the one on the Vertex are typically only found with premium vacuum cleaners. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again–it is a must-have feature in our opinion.
What could be improved
Lift-away mode on carpeting
As far as things we didn’t like, they are the same things we haven’t liked about Powered Lift-away DuoClean uprights in the past. More specifically, especially on carpet, you don’t want to use the Powered Lift-away mode for very long. Without the weight of the pod on the vacuum it kind of runs away from you and can be oddly tiring on your arm.
Soft roller maintenance
While the DuoClean system is great, it does have the propensity to get dirt and debris trapped behind the front soft roller. After a few weeks of use, the Vertex will start to shut off unless you clear out the debris that inevitably gets stuck behind there. We really think Shark should do a better job educating owners about this.
Also, while we love the power fins for their anti-hair wrap qualities, we didn’t notice them being particularly good for carpet deep cleaning. Don’t get us wrong, they are pretty good for getting that deep-down embedded dirt, but we were expecting more agitation with all the hype surrounding the idea of PowerFins.
The Shark Vertex is one of the best vacuums on the planet for picking up debris on the surfaces of hard floors and carpet, but it’s particularly suitable if you have a lot of hard floors.
If you own a Shark Apex and are considering the Vertex, you’ll definitely find it to be an upgrade. If you’re considering the Stratos, don’t cross the Vertex off your list. Not only does it perform close to that newer model, but it’s also often priced far less than the Stratos too.
Frequently asked questions
The Shark Vertex upright is sold as model number AZ2002.
Shark’s DuoClean brushroll system excels at debris pickup on hard flooring surfaces. In our independent testing, the Vertex also left hard floors with a clean, polished look.
No. The Vertex is the successor to the Apex. While they do share many features and accessories, the Vertex would be considered an upgrade from the Shark Apex. Standout differences of the Vertex are increased suction power and an upgraded DuoClean system, which is better at preventing hair from wrapping around the upright’s brushroll.
To tilt the Shark Vertex, place one foot on the shoe illustration on the floorhead. With your foot still on the floorhead, simply tilt the handle backward.
Currently, the Shark Stratos (model AZ3002 – view on Amazon) has the strongest suction of any Shark vacuum cleaner with the Shark Vertex (model AZ2002) trailing closely behind.
Yes. The Shark Vertex has Powered Lift-Away.
Shark first released the Apex, then the Vertex, and finally the Stratos.
Shark Vertex AZ2002 Specs
|1344 W / 11.4 amps
|Dust bin capacity
|.95L / 1 qt
|Dimensions (L x W x H)
|12” x 15.1” x 46.3”