The future of cleaning, some say, is robot vacuum cleaners. But in the present and in our experience those automated robotic vacuums have still got a long way to go for the perfect clean. Until then it's all about perfecting what we do manually, which Vax aims to let us achieve with its Air Cordless vacuum cleaner.
By using battery power and advanced suction techniques the Air Cordless wants to make vacuuming so easy you won't need to splash the cash and turn to a robot. Does it do the job?
How goes it, sucker?
The most important part of a vacuum cleaner, no matter how advanced the extras get, is always going to be suction to get all that dust, hair and general mess from the floor. This is something that the Air Cordless manages to maintain from the first switch on to the end of its battery life.
Vax uses its WindTunnel 3 Technology system with three channels of suction to lift dirt from carpets and hard flooring. This can literally be seen as it sucks the carpet as you roll over it, leaving lines where the cleaning has been done. This not only looks good but also helps you to track where you've been in the room - a bit like how a lawn mower roller leaves lines on a garden.
Despite the power this Vax no louder than any other vac, so nothing to worry about on the noise front either. You're not going to get away with cleaning while people are sleeping by any means, but it's not too loud to hear the television over if someone does invade the lounge with this.
In case you were thinking big name competitors have some magical suction extra that makes them worth an extra cheap of cash, the Air Cordless also has a cyclone suction system. It just works and gets the job done.
Long live the battery
Vax has managed to create a high-powered vacuum that's also capable of delivering constant power for a solid 50-minutes. In our testing time, across both carpet and wood floors, we got at least 45-minutes every time we used the Air Cordless, with a few 55-minute sessions too. Not that we vacuum the floor for that long each time, but you know you're covered even for large houses where trailing cords can be a nuisance - no such issue here. Vax says one battery is enough to clean a 232-square metre home and given that a large two bed flat is about 75 square metres that sounds fair to us.
The great part about battery power, other than the lack of a cord, is the spare battery. Vax chucks in two so you can always have one on charge for near endless use. Although it's a 3-hour charge time so realistically you're limited to the two batteries if using them back-to-back. That said, you're going to stop going long before the power gives out unless you own a considerable mansion.
The batteries are lithium so battery memory and degradation shouldn't be a worry. Although with a six year guarantee on both the vacuum and the batteries you're covered anyway. Should you want a third battery it'll set you back an extra £80.
Clean and free
If you've not used a cordless vacuum cleaner before we really can't stress how good it is. No tangles or limitations to reach and no annoying cord that you would otherwise have to keep working around and moving out of the way.
But this isn't the only thing that we found enhanced the experience. The Air Cordless is extremely manoeuvrable thanks to the head which twists side to side as well as up and down. This swivel movement let us slide the vac into a corner or under a table without having to re-align our position so it would go straight in.
The Air Cordless, at 4.6kg, is well weighted too. It's light enough to lift onto a couch with two hands, for example, but sturdy enough to carry itself as you push it forward. Plus it's all nicely balanced through the bottom so that down-weight helps depress the head for perfect suction.
Another manoeuvrable accolade is the Air Cordless' ability to work on both hard and carpeted floors. This is one area that the competition might have an advantage as the Air requires a button press to switch between floors types. The button activates the spinning brush front that helps pull dirt up from carpets. The button pressing obviously isn't a big deal but worth a mention.
The other area the competition offers greater ease is the extendible wand. Rather than pulling it from the top for instant use it instead requires building in the Vax Air Cordless. Remove the top handle and tube, then remove the bottom of the bendable tubing going into the back of the suction front, pull through for length, then clip the two together. It's not a massive effort but just feels like it could have been easier. That said if the compromise was made to keep overall weight down it was worth it.
The addition of more heads would have also been a nicety. There's either the round tube or a soft dusting brush head, but no slim-angled head to be found. There is an accessory - 2-in-1 Tool (Type 2) - that combines the brush head and an angled head, which costs an extra £8.
Want not waste
Emptying the Air Cordless is easy. A button press at the top of the waste unit and it unclips. Another button press over the bin and the bottom opens to empty the contents. Then it just clips back onto the vacuum. And its 1.05 litre capacity means you won't even need to do that very often - it equates to an emptying once every few complete house cleans in our experience. But it depends how much partying goes on in your house, of course. Or how many pets you have.
The Air Cordless also comes with a filter than can be replaced when needed. But that shouldn't be often as taking it out and giving it a clean once every few months should do the trick.
As is the case with most vacuum cleaners hair and sticky bits do get clogged up in the brush and need pulling out. But that's par for the course and in this case was surprisingly easy to pull clean - which we've only had to do once or twice. The Air Cordless didn't get stuck or clogged to the point of stopping even once.
Vax has created a near perfect cordless vacuum cleaner in its Air Cordless. It's light, easy to manoeuvre, has a long life per charge (plus two batteries) and large storage capacity with easy emptying feature. Our main moan is the lack of cleaning heads and a fussy wand extension.
If all vacuum cleaners were this good then robo-vacs may never have become an idea in the fist place. Ok, we didn't mean that, all robots are welcome in our future. Perhaps a walking robot that uses this vacuum cleaner while serving drinks - now that'd be the perfect blend of the two.