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If you're the owner of the Vax Mach Air (model U91-MA-B) vacuum cleaner or Vax Mach Air Pet (model U91-MA-P) upright, then there's every chance that you are either a total convert of these compact upright vacuums, or may have some reservations due to its "small storage" weight and design. I love the design input that was put into Vax Mach Air upright vacuums, but I'm less taken with the short amount of power cord, noise levels and awful short hose on board the original silver & orange "base" model or silver & burgundy "Pet," model which only measures 1.1 metres when fully stretched out. Whilst I can put up with swapping plugs and the noise, it is the hose that comes with the machine as standard that I always seem to get an injury from or having to bend to the bottom of the floor to stretch the total maximum out without raising my temper. To combat the shortness of length and hose, Vax remedied the situation by finally launching a "flagship" model called "Reach," (model U90-MA-R) that has a longer power cord and a longer hose due to this very extension hose accessory - that is now available to buy for any of the Mach Air series upright vacuums. The Mach Air "Reach" model costs on average between £160 to £200 (unless you go for a manufacturer refurbished/reconditioned vacuum on EBAY), that stumped buyers who had already bought the original model but pinned for a longer hose. Vax took their sweet old time about it, promising that the hose would be available three months after launch, but in reality it's taken about six months so far to get my hands on their extension hose accessory.
The onboard 1.1 metre hose by itself is never long enough for me to get into nooks and crannies without the upright falling over at the back, even if the hose is located originally down at the bottom to prevent this aspect from ever happening and as Vax suggest, as shown in the manual you're supposed to carry the upright with you when the hose is out - not my idea of practicality. When it doesn't fall over, the Vax Mach Air has to be controlled safely with one hand on the model and the other on the hose or with the handle extension pipe attached and it can be even trickier when trying to get up to ceilings to remove cobwebs or dust on the top of curtain rails, especially bearing in mind that the brush roll has to be manually switched off incase the upright falls over and the brush roll starts up automatically.
Okay so you may not vacuum your ceilings that much, but when cleaning out the car, the hose is far too short and has a great tendency to spring back. It isn't the fault of the Vax Mach Air - but of the existing hose because it naturally springs back into its original shape because of its short length, strong suction and at times it also gets tangled up with the power cord if the cord hasn't been hooked up top behind the main handle. At the most it will get to two steps before bouncing back. All of this unsafe and time wasting palaver is now saved - thanks to this brilliant extension hose accessory. You'd think with the known 3.2cm/32mm sizing that the existing hose could use any extension hose from any other brand - but like the original hose that locks onto the bottom of the Vax via a clip release, the extension hose has the same clip lock on one end and an open end to be used with the tools, or swapped over so that the lock can be attached to the back of the handle for extended release, with the open ended part locked onto the existing hose on the back of the vacuum. The whole procedure makes it fairly easy to lock onto the handle or the main permanent hose on board the vacuum cleaner - without ever coming off - unless you accidently put your finger on the release mechanism.
Cleaning stairs with the extension hose locked onto the existing hose and with the use of the handle and it's telescopic height adjustable (and permanently attached) handle makes cleaning fast and efficient with little snapping backwards as the suction continues to flow through the hose. All the while, my Vax Mach Air sits safely on the bottom landing whilst the hose, handle and I are on a tenth or eleventh step able to clean easily without the fear of falling or losing the hose. Fully stretched out, the extension hose has a 1.9 metre stretch, giving you 3 metres in total when taking the existing/standard 1.1 metre hose into consideration and very nearly gets up to 13 stairs, staying true to its "13-step" stretch promise. Three metres may not feel like it is very much - but the beauty of the extension hose is that it mirrors the standard hose on the Vax in terms of design and flexibility - even though Vax claim that the added length gives you 4.2 metres total (when the hose is supposedly 2.2 metres) that isn't quite right when you do the maths! However, Vax have, again copied Dyson here with a rubberized soft feel hose that is both tactile and very stretchy - and there are few edges on the hose too. The length is doubled if you buy this hose for your Vax Mach Reach model, although suction can be weaker as the hose stretches out when both extension hoses are fitted.
The best news of all though is that the extension hose doesn't flex back as much in use, if just needing a little more stretch than 1.1 metres. Cleaning out the car with the Vax extension hose means the soft flexibility is enough to get under car seats or, with the use of the telescopic handle and permanently attached pipe, is easier to get into the tailgate or boot area, the only downside using the handle and telescopic pipe being that dust or papers can clog on the bent part of the handle. No more ducking out of the way or trying a balancing act when carrying the main suction pipe and the hose on the back however, when the extra length of the extension hose is long enough to combat having to carry the Vax Mach Air in the first place - and the design of the Vax's "anti-tip over" design makes more sense and is more applicable when this extension hose is fitted, with only a slight rolling back on the rear wheels unless the vacuum is put against a landing step or similar obstacle.
There are a couple of downsides though. Firstly, the coils within the rubber hose can be bent out of shape easily if you accidently stand on the extension hose and although the coils can be bent back into shape, they never seem to go back to their original circular state. This isn't a problem with better made brands out there and their extension hose designs like Miele or SEBO. However, for the relatively cheap price, I'm prepared to forgive the Vax on the basis that the extension hose is also clear and easy to inspect just like the standard short hose you get on the vacuum cleaner itself and even if it has a 3.2cm/32mm sizing, for the fact that it has a clip on the end of the hose, it can't really be used on any other vacuum cleaner unless you believe in the "suction" to hold the pipe to the hose together. The clip on the end hose part is also coloured purple, and not orange or burgundy even though I ordered the part through Vax's website for this actual orange and silver model. 'Would have been nice to have a part specifically for this model, Vax! Lastly, Comfort in use seems to be missing though - both ends are short permanently bonded plastic rings with very little space for your hands - better to clip it to the main handle and telescopic pipe for more comfort and direction.
Another downside is that you don't get anything else in the box aside from the extension hose. This means effectively that there is nowhere to put the hose on the Vax Mach Air because Vax don't give you a clip to locate the hose unlike the more expensive Reach model that has its own holder. Instead, I've found a more convenient way - of connecting the hose up and placing it around the handle so that it sits just above the main carry handle to the Vax Mach Air. You can even place the hose around the rim of the top filter cover so that it looks like a top bumper, but I just have it to hand at the top and grab it off the handle whenever I need to use the hose from the vacuum. It is a pity that Vax haven't engineered or factored this extension hose into the design where it can clip onto the existing hose at the back of the vacuum. Try as you might and you'll find excess "extension" hose dragging on the back of the floor, that you might just stand on accidently when pushing or pulling the vacuum along in normal dust pick up use, therefore pushing or bending the coils and more or less face a redundant extension hose unless you spend time bending the coils back into reasonable shape.
All in all, the Vax extension hose for all of the Vax Mach Air upright vacuums is well worth considering, particularly if you are fed up with the orange or burgundy silver models that only have the shorter hose on board. For the fact that it only costs £18-98 (£14-99 per cost, £3-99 P&P, £3-18 VAT) from Vax means it isn't much of a stretch to pay, either and will double the value of your Vax Mach Air alone if you ever come to sell your model. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2011
Part number: 1-9-130429-00