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Reasonable but not amazing portable vacuum
on 7 October 2013
Executive summary: reasonable suction, great portability, too-thin hose that can stop suction when bent, easy emptying, irritating accessory management, good for pets? - probably not, worth the money (£92 in this case)? - not altogether sure, maybe.
I've just received a new Vax Air Mini Pet (C88-AM-P) and have given it a test drive. It replaces a larger Vax (of a similar type) that we had for 5 years and left in our old flat when we moved.
As many reviews of this model and its sister models relate, the build quality seems to have gone down over the years. While my previous model was a war of attrition with the accessories and the filters over time, the main unit remained solid. This one feels less solid - the hose fitting into the main unit doesn't feel nearly as solid, the hose (mentioned in a lot of different reviews - again mainly on sister models) is considerably more flimsy and does bend - cutting off suction, if you don't keep an eye on it. And the attachment that keeps some of your accessories along for the ride - yes, the attachments fall off (turn it so they sit on it rather than hold tight to it and you may have some more luck) and the attachment itself falls off too. Not a major, but in my previous model, the attachment was built into the handle (so couldn't fall off) and generally the "crevice device" didn't fall out of it. In the end, I just left the attachments nearby.
It IS a smaller unit and lighter than my previous Vax - but not dramatically so - but it makes for easy movement. Vacuuming difficult staircases and cobwebs is perfectly OK (I'm normally fit and healthy so that does have a bearing on that).
Like my previous one, emptying it when I've finished is totally easy. Pop a catch and the "dirt container" comes off, pop another catch and the bottom falls open to let the dust into your rubbish bag. Done.
The power cord and hose seem long enough and dirt container seems to have enough room to suck up plenty of dirt. It's "normal" noisy - not excessive but not quiet either.
Another thing worth noting, what comes with it (I'm not sure of the technical terms so here goes): a crevice tool, a combination floor brush (flick a switch for the carpet or flat floors - not overwhelming), a turbo tool (the small one - my other Vax came with a wide and narrow one - this is just the narrow one and it's OK), a small brush (good for dusting shelves), and a small flat "thing" which I'm not sure what it's for (checks PDF manual online - upholstery tool).
Does it work? The suction is reasonable but not overwhelming - the usual test putting the crevice tool on a curtain by accident didn't incur instant doom but it certainly has good enough suction for most basic vacuuming. It is light enough to get around most places - I like to get into corners and behind things to vacuum and it worked fine for that. If I had a pet, I think I would have wished I'd got a bigger vacuum cleaner with more power (the well-hidden ACTUAL wattage is 1400, I think my previous one was 2000+). I don't think it would be hugely fantastic for getting ingrained cat fur or dog hair from carpets.
Needless to say, I haven't dealt with cleaning the filters yet but that seems simple enough.
Summary: reasonable suction, great portability, too-thin hose that can stop suction when bent, easy emptying, irritating accessory management, good for pets? - probably not, worth the money (£92 in this case)? - not altogether sure, maybe.