Vax U90 Mach Air Reach
Ergonomic, Powerful, Lightweight - a few flaws though
The timing of this device's arrival could not have been more perfect. Our venerable "Henry" was well into it's twilight years with masking tape holding the cracks in the hose together and more disturbingly, sparks would occasionally fly from the side vent.
Despite Henry being quite small in footprint, it's actually a bit awkward to store, so we'd decided that an upright was probably the way forward. My mum has 2x Dyson vacuum cleaners (one for upstairs, one for downstairs....) and they are both the more traditional larger upright. She swears by them for their great suction power, but our house is smaller than hers, so finding a home for a larger upright would be a problem.
This Vax MA-R by comparison to the overall space taken by Henry and by my mum's Dysons is comparatively small. It's an improvement over the Dysons by being shorter and having a height adjustable handle, so it goes into our under-stairs cupboard with ease (which has a half-height door) so it's bob-on convenient for us.
The cable length on this model is brilliant, able to get all around our 3-bedroom detached house with ease, and it has a length of hose extension clipped onto the side that can be used for the attachments to help you go up the stairs, and again there is plenty of it so this is no trouble at all.
The profile of the main cleaning head is nice and low (unlike mum's Dysons) so it can slide under our bed easier without butting it's head. The motorised brush bar can be activated and de-activated by pressing a button on the unit, which makes a dramatic improvement to the cleaning of carpets. We tested it out in the shop my partner works in (which is normally serviced by a Henry), and in a 1 square metre space of floor it picked up about half an inch of dust and fluff that the shop Henry had clearly not managed. Shocking really, but there you go.
There is a light on the front of the unit that comes on when you are using the motorised brush bar, and a red light will come on if the bar is jammed (which we are yet to see - and unlikely to ever see, as our house is cleaned regularly), but we've pulled all the bits apart to see how to clean everything, and it's all pretty idiot-proof.
The bagless removal system is simple as to be expected in these days of convenience. A simple button click to detach the container from the unit, then once over the bin, another button releases the bottom catch of the container to let your dirt drop out. You can then detach the top half of the container if you wish to be more thorough with your cleaning of it. It all fits together nicely.
There are a couple of caveats we have with this device though, which I'd hope to see improved on in future models.
As mentioned in other reviews, the bottom hose attachment to the unit takes a rather abrupt angle, which may cause deterioration of the hose over time. You have to be careful to sort of tease the angle of the hose out a bit for peace-of-mind.
When you have the Vax at the bottom of the stairs with the hose detached for cleaning the stair treads, because the unit is so lightweight, you have to be careful that it doesn't topple over. Not sure how to design this issue out, perhaps have a pop-out stabilising foot for when it's parked like that?
Also, there isn't any control over the level of suction, and for a device that is quite powerful such as this, it grabs hold of rugs and not-very-well-secured vinyl flooring and won't let go. On Henry it was a simple case of opening the vent on the wand, or on the newer ones I think there is a Green button to reduce power. It would have been handy to have a suction power control (and have it on the handle for added convenience?). It's something to go on the wish list, but not a show-stopper.
We had originally toyed with going for the Dyson Ball, but to be honest, after trying one in a shop and trying this Vax, the manouvreability of them both was pretty similar. The fact that they are both lightweight means you're not struggling either way, and the Vax was a slightly better price.
Overall then, very pleased with this product. A couple of minor foibles which some people might consider of more importance, but it's lightweight, relatively compact and does what it's supposed to do and does it well.