How often have you been vacuuming and then turned off the vacuum only to see stray hairs — your own or your pet's — still on your carpet? No matter how hard and often you vacuum, they're still there. Now imagine all of the hairs you cannot see because they've worked their way below the surface.
Experts tell us that one human sheds an average of 50 to 150 hairs a day. Dogs, depending on the breed, shed many times that amount, as do cats. The mess of pet hair can be enough to drive pet owners nuts.
I met my first Shark vacuum in July 2012. That experience rocked my world. I was both amazed by the piles of debris, dirt, dust and who knows what else that thing sucked out of the carpet, and plenty embarrassed. It's not like I never cleaned house.
In the seven years since then, I've written about my Shark vacuums a lot. I've upgraded several times as new models have been introduced. Currently, I own this Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away and love it. Given your feedback, I know that thousands of my readers now own Sharks, too. We're quite the fans!
Several weeks ago, the folks at Shark contacted me, asking if I would like to test their newest upright vacuum, the Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M Vacuum. I said that I would but made no promises to review or recommend. I was skeptical, because how could they possibly improve on what I consider perfection in a vacuum?
Before this machine arrived, I did a little poking around the SharkClean website to figure out what the name means. I learned:
"DuoClean" means it has two rollers — a bristle brush to deep-clean carpet and a soft "velvety" brushroll at the front to pick up particles and polish hard surfaces.
"Zero-M" is a feature that extracts and sends human hair and pet hair directly to the dirt canister before it can get wrapped around the brushroll.
The Shark Apex arrived with a box of unique attachments — including a motorized handheld gizmo to remove pet hair from stairs and upholstery, and a flexible dust brush to reach under a refrigerator and low furniture.
I took a quick tour of the owner manual and got it assembled (easy!) and ready to roll.
I put this machine through its paces in my two-person no-pet home and asked two of my staff members to take it to their homes and do the same.
This is when the shock and awe set in. Keep in mind that both of the staff have family members with long hair, and both have pets. Both also vacuum their homes regularly with Shark Professional Lift-away vacuums. Both saw very similar results testing the Shark Apex.
It was absolutely amazing to see the massive amounts of hair — human and pet — this machine took up and out of their respective carpets, carpets they believed to be well maintained. The sheer volume was enough to get my attention in a big way.
But the way it does that is also remarkable. The long hair got rolled up and deposited separately from other dust and debris into the dirt cup — bypassing the brushroll. It's seriously and totally amazing.
There is no doubt that all three of us would take this Shark Apex over our Shark Navigator Professionals any day. Think of it as upgrading from a Honda to a Range Rover. Nice, of course, but that could also be overkill for some.
The Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M Vacuum is a beautiful, high-end, quality machine that certainly lives up to its promises.
To read my detailed review together with resources and the best deal, go to EverydayCheapskate.com/SharkApex.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.