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Shark AZ950UKT XL Powered Lift-Away Vacuum Cleaner Review

Written by James Hall |

Shark AZ950UKT

8

Value

7.0/10

Ease of Use

7.0/10

Cleaning Power

8.0/10

Features

10.0/10

Accessories

8.0/10

Pros

  • Decent all-round cleaning
  • Strong suction and DuoClean floorhead
  • Wide floorhead and bigger dust capacity than many other Shark vacuums
  • Powered Lift-Away design for greater versatility
  • HEPA filter

Cons

  • Heavy for an upright vacuum due to the XL design
  • Wide floorhead can be difficult to manoeuvre
  • Expensive
  • Relatively short 8-metre power cord

Thinking of buying the Shark AZ950UKT? Read our full review to find out whether it’s the right vacuum cleaner for your home.

The Shark AZ950UKT is the XL version of the popular Shark AZ910UKT, so it has a wider floorhead and bigger 1.65 litre dirt capacity. It’s also packed with Shark’s premium features, such as the Powered Lift-Away canister and DuoClean floorhead.

But does bigger mean better with this upright vacuum cleaner? Or is the standard size the more convenient option? Find out everything you need to know in our Shark AZ950UKT review.

Overview of the Shark AZ950UKT’s Features

  • XL upright vacuum with a wider floorhead and 1.65 litre dirt capacity
  • Powered Lift-Away canister for more versatile cleaning
  • DuoClean floorhead with anti-hair wrap
  • Three-stage surface selector covers hard floors to thick rugs
  • Includes a mini turbo pet tool and other accessories
  • Bright LED headlights on the floorhead and handle

Appearance and Design

Split image of the Shark AZ950UKT

Despite being an XL vacuum cleaner, the Shark AZ950UKT’s upright/stick hybrid design appears streamlined. The upmarket feel is enhanced by the stylish grey and rose gold colour scheme.

While the styling looks identical to the AZ910UKT, this larger model is intended to tackle dirt in bigger homes. It comes with a wider floorhead and a substantial 1.65 litre dust cup, which is the biggest capacity you can get in the powered Lift-Away range.

For comparison, the AZ950UKT has considerably more capacity than the 0.83 litres of the popular Shark NZ801UKT.  With that said, there are other options available with even more dirt capacity. The recently reviewed Hoover Breeze Evo, for example, is an affordable vacuum with a whopping 3 litre dust cup.

A downside to these XL features is that the AZ950UKT weighs in at 7.5kg. It’s not the heaviest on the market, but it’s much heftier than the 6.5kg Shark NZ801UKT. If you’re looking for a lightweight and compact vacuum cleaner, then the Shark AZ950UKT definitely isn’t the right choice!

Manoeuvrability and Ease of Use

Despite its size and weight, the Shark AZ950UKT is enjoyable to use around the home.

The power switch and surface setting buttons are all on the handle, making them easy to reach. Shark has also done a great job at making the various settings and configurations intuitive to use. We do wish it had an adjustable handle though, particularly as it’s an XL upright vacuum.

One of the best features of this Shark is the Powered Lift-Away canister. By detaching the canister, the vacuum becomes much more convenient for cleaning stairs, under furniture, or car interiors.

This function is also great for floor-to-ceiling cleaning when you add the wand or tool. And, as this is a “Powered” Lift-Away model, the motorised floorheads still work in this mode.

Of course, a corded upright is never going to be as convenient as a cordless vacuum cleaner – particularly as the Shark only has an 8 metre cord length. This isn’t the shortest we’ve seen, but we expected a wider cleaning radius from an XL model. Instead, you have to change plug sockets with each room.

It’s also worth noting that the trade-off for having a wider floorhead is that it’s more difficult to manoeuvre around furniture. This is less of an issue in big rooms though.

Filtration

The Shark AZ950UKT combines washable foam and felt filters with a HEPA post-motor filter. The filtration is further enhanced with Shark’s anti-allergen complete seal, to ensure 99.9% of tiny dust and allergen particles are locked away.

This makes it a good choice for allergy sufferers who want a bagless vacuum. However, we should note that a bagged model is nearly always the best choice if you’re sensitive to dust, as bags keep allergens trapped during the emptying process.

Emptying and Cleaning

Although somewhat messy, the AZ950UKT’s bagless emptying system is quick and easy. First, you need to remove the dust cup by pressing the release button. You can then hold it over the bin and press the latch on the bottom to open the trap door and release the dirt.

The smooth interior of the canister means dirt doesn’t tend to get stuck, but you have to get your hands dirty if it does. There isn’t a collar to push clumps out, as you find on some other premium vacuums.

As for cleaning the filters, you need to remove the canister to access them. It’s a bit awkward, but not the most inconvenient system we’ve seen and only needs doing every three months or so. The exhaust filters are under a separate grille at the bottom of the vac and they’re simple enough to access.

Tools and Accessories

Floorhead

The DuoClean floorhead is an excellent tool that’s great at cleaning pretty much any type of floor.

There are two brushes that make up the DuoClean technology: a soft roller to draw in fine dust on hard floors and a stiff bristle brush that agitates fibres and loosens the pile on carpets. The combination allows you to move seamlessly between hard floors and carpets, although you’ll need to adjust the mode using the handle buttons.

Shark’s anti-hair wrap technology is a welcome extra for hairy homes, whether it’s pets or long human hair. The silicone comb removes hair, so they can be sucked up and locked away in the dust cup. It’s not 100% effective, but greatly reduces the amount of hairs caught around the brushrolls.

There are also LED headlights on the front of the floorhead to highlight dust and debris in dark corners.

The only complaint we have about the DuoClean is that it could be easier to access the bristle brush roll. Other than that, it’s an excellent floorhead.

Other Tools and Accessories

There’s a good selection of tools included with the Shark AZ950UKT, with the air-powered pet tool taking centre stage.

This rubber-finned tool is great for cleaning carpeted stairs or upholstery. Whether you have pets or not, a rotating brush bar makes for more effective cleaning. We wish it was motorised though, as the air-powered design is noisier and less effective than some of the best pet tools on the market.

You also get a 2-in-1 crevice tool and dusting brush, upholstery tool, and onboard storage for the standard tools. You’ll need to find somewhere else to store the pet tool, though.

Finally, the Shark AZ950UKT comes with a 1.6 metre stretch hose for above-floor cleaning. The hose isn’t the longest we’ve seen, but you get more range by detaching the Lift-Away canister.

Suction Power and Cleaning Performance

The powerful suction of the Shark AZ950UKT leads to decent (but not outstanding) cleaning performance. But before we get to the performance on various surfaces, let’s discuss the surface modes.

The surface selector switch on the handle changes the suction power and the speed of the brush roll to suit different floor types. You can choose between thick carpets, low pile carpets, and hard floors.

The brush spins faster in the thick carpet mode, allowing for deeper cleaning – in theory at least. The suction power also reduces, so the vac doesn’t stick itself to the floor. Changing the settings with the slider is straightforward and it’s easy to move from one surface to another.

The suction power is impressive in all settings and it doesn’t dip as the dust cup fills. The removable wand and range of tools make above-floor cleaning a much easier task, although you do feel the weight after a while.

Carpets

Carpet cleaning is a mixed bag for the Shark AZ950UKT.

It’s highly effective at surface cleaning, but deeper cleaning is more of an issue. The strong suction picks up top-level dirt with ease, but the bristles don’t agitate fibres enough to fully dig beneath the top layer. Stubborn embedded dirt manages to survive another day.

The Shark does leave thick carpets and rugs fluffed up and refreshed, just not as thoroughly as we’d hoped for. Still, there’s a good balance of cleaning and movement, as the Shark is easy to push around when used on the right setting.

Hard Floors

Again, it’s a tale of two sides for hard floors.

The Shark is great for removing larger debris on hard surfaces. The strong suction sucks in dirt and clumps of hair with ease. It’s also brilliant for pulling up dirt from between floorboards.

Unfortunately, the vacuum struggles more with fine dust – particularly on smooth surfaces. It’s not terrible for this, but it’s also not the best we’ve reviewed. Additionally, the Shark would benefit from better edge cleaning.

So, if you have floorboards with crevices or tiles, then the Shark AZ950UKT could be a great choice. It’s not so effective on laminate or vinyl floors though.

Stairs

The Lift-Away feature really shines for cleaning stairs. At 3.3kg in this mode, it’s lightweight, compact, and convenient. Plus, you don’t need to worry about balancing the entire vac on each step and risk it toppling over, as you can just take the canister section with you.

As this is an XL model, the main floorhead is too large for most stairs. Fortunately, the mini pet attachment is ideal for carpeted stairs due to its rotating fins, while the crevice tool nips into tight edges.

There’s a second bright LED light on the handle, which is another bonus on the stairs for highlighting dirt in dark corners.

Pet Hair

Cleaning pet hair on any surface is a strong point for the Shark AZ950UKT.

The main floorhead is effective at removing all types of hair, and so is the turbo pet tool. The upholstery tool also works well for removing pet hair from the sofa if you don’t want to use the other attachment.

There’s not a lot more to say other than it’s brilliant for cleaning up after your furry friends. If you need a big, powerful pet vacuum, then the AZ950UKT is a great choice.

Price and Value for Money

The AZ950UKT is a premium vacuum cleaner that comes with pretty much all of Shark’s advanced technology. Of course, it also has a high price tag to match – so is it worth the money? Or are you better off getting the cheaper AZ910UKT which has the same features?

The AZ950UKT’s wider floorhead is useful for cleaning large areas, but it’s cumbersome in furnished homes. Many people will enjoy the extra dust capacity, however, as this reduces how often you need to empty the canister.

Despite these advantages, the smaller Shark AZ910UKT is more than sufficient for most homes. We only recommend paying more for the AZ950UKT if you have a large home that would benefit from the wider floorhead and bigger capacity.

Comparison With Other Vacuums

Shark AZ950UKT vs Shark AZ910UKT

These are very similar True Pet models that, at first glance, look identical and have the same features.

However, the AZ950UKT is the XL model with a wider floorhead and bigger dirt capacity. We think the AZ910UKT is probably the better option for most people, unless you’re looking to clean larger areas.

Shark AZ950UKT vs Shark NZ801UKT

Again, these vacuum cleaners have very similar features, with the main differences coming down to the AZ950UKT being an XL model.

They’re both True Pet versions with the same Shark tech. The NZ801UKT is navy and orange, as opposed to dark grey and rose gold, with a few minor tweaks to the details on the casing. The AZ950UKT has a wider floorhead and 1.65 litre dust cup, with a higher price to match.

Specification

Ninja Column 1Ninja Column 2
Type Upright
BagBagless
FilterWashable (Standard)
Price Range ££££
Power (W)750
Cord Length (m)8
Weight (kg)7.5
Capacity (Litres)1.65
Motorised ToolYes
HoseYes
Hose Length (m)1.6

Verdict

With its XL features, the Shark AZ950UKT is more of a niche vacuum cleaner than many of Shark’s other vacs.

It’s worth buying if you want the luxury of Shark’s top features, but on a bigger scale than the company’s other models. It’s particularly useful in hairy homes with big rooms, as it’s great for pet hair and has a wide floorhead for quicker cleaning. The anti-hair wrap is also worthwhile extra.

For most people, however, the extra size just isn’t necessary. You get all the same features with the AZ910UKT, but in more manageable dimensions and without the extra cost.

So, if you’re looking for something to run around your home once a week, sticking with the standard size is the safest bet. But if you’re in the market for a bigger vacuum cleaner, the Shark AZ950UKT won’t disappoint. 

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