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Vax Upright Vacuum Cleaner
on 17 October 2009
The Vax is definitely lightweight and is easily removed from the packaging on arrival. The handle needs to be inserted and two tools attached, but that's it in terms of assembly. It really could not get much easier than that.
I think that a few compromises have been made in order to achieve such a lightweight vacuum.
The first thing that struck me was the wheels. These appear to be too small; I am not sure if it is the diameter of the wheel, the thickness or a combination of the two, but the vacuum does not run smoothly or easily across the carpet, either when manoeuvring into position ready to start or when actually vacuum cleaning.
The on/off switch is on top of the cylinder, right next to one that enables the brush bar to be switched on and off; both positioned in a very helpful location.
The handle is adjustable in height so that the majority of users should be able to find one that is comfortable in use. I do not have a problem with the fixed height of the handle on any upright cleaner that I have used in the past, so did not find this particularly useful and I could detect movement in the handle during use (it lifted and fell back slightly during the vacuuming motion, even though it was 'locked' in place and I did not like the sensation). I would therefore have preferred a handle that only had one fixed position, but if the height of a vacuum cleaner handle causes issues for you, the movement of the handle in use could be something you might be able to live with as a compromise.
Now down to the actual cleaning. The first thing I noticed was that it is quieter than my previous vacuum cleaner (a Dyson). The base is small, to the extent that it managed to fit under the edge of my divan bed; only an inch or two, but it managed to remove the visible dust that I have previously needed to use an attachment on a hose to get to. Maybe not a huge plus point, but one less hassle nevertheless.
The vacuum does appear to have very good suction; I could see the pile had been lifted in the area where the vacuum had gone and it cleans close to the skirting board. However, I think that the desire to produce a small cleaner has resulted in another compromise too many. The brush heads are perhaps not quite large enough. I have cats in my house and ivory carpets. My vacuum therefore needs to deal with cat fur and lots of other visible dirt/fluff (even though we do not wear shoes in the house, the cats do not always wipe their paws when they come in). Cat fur presented absolutely no problems at all, but I have found that the Vax struggles to pick up small bits of fluff, even with the brushes switched on. The fluff stuck to the carpet and no matter how many times I ran the vacuum over them, they were not removed unless I manually picked them up by hand. (I ran my six-year-old Dyson over these bits immediately after the Vax and it picked them up easily.)
Whilst the suction therefore seems good, this does not seem to be matched by good performance from the brush bar. I also found the vacuum had a tendency to lift away from the carpet in use and I had to keep pushing it back down again to continue cleaning.
I also found it very tricky to use the hose attachments on the vacuum to clean the stairs or to reach up to clean curtains/cobwebs because the hose is too short to reach very far. You basically have to carry the vacuum and lift it; not impossible but a bit of a pain.
Finally, the length of the power lead is much shorter than I am used to with my Dyson. The Dyson allows me to clean the length of my landing and into the bathroom; the Vax only allows me to get to the bathroom doorway and is shorter by a good couple of metres. That means I will have to use an extension cable in some areas where previously this has never been necessary. I would have preferred a longer lead, even if that resulted in a few ounces of extra weight.
* It is lightweight
* The handle height is adjustable
* The on/off and brush bar control switches are at the top of the vacuum
* The base is small enough to fit (just) under the edge of a divan bed
* Good suction
* Fairly quiet
* The wheels could do with being a bit bigger
* Poor performance from the brushes, requiring manual removal of fluff from carpets
* The handle moves in use
* The power lead is too short
* The vacuum head has a tendency to lift away from the carpet in use
* Short hose requires the vacuum to be lifted to reach the ceiling/clean stairs.
I would not recommend this vacuum cleaner, even if you have a particular need for a lightweight machine. The quality of the cleaning is just not good enough and what you gain in (less) weight you lose in the need to go around picking bits up by hand.
I prefer the cleaning ability of my six-year-old Dyson; it may be heavier (although not by much) and the base larger (it does not fit under the divan) but it cleans the carpets better than this Vax.