Shockingly bad build quality and very little suction. It is so poorly made the the bag doesn't fit properly so all this vacuum does is transfer dust, fluff and hair from the floor into the air. I know it's cheap but that doesn't mean it shouldn't work properly. This is my 3rd Argos vacuum cleaner in 18 months - I should have learned by now not to buy another!! Value? I don't think so!!
For my flat I needed a hoover but I didn't really want to spend too much money on it as the flat isn't too big and I don't have pets etc so didn't need a specialist one. I had budgeted myself about £30 but no more than that and was almost ready to buy a small handheld one but realistically, I knew that wouldn't really do a good job. I decided that Argos would be my best bet for quality and value and I certainly was not wrong there with this Argos Value VC-301.
This vacuum cleaner looks like a lot of the value range, it is small and comes up to my knee if standing and has a huge grey hose coming out of it as well as the flat end to suck up the dust. It has a really nice blue colour and the grey compliments it well so it really doesn't look cheap which is an added bonus. It has the speed of it on the front in bold white type as well as having the power button right on the front so that it is easy to click on with your hand or with your foot if you are standing.
To go into more specific detail on what the hoover has in terms of specifications I will tell you what it does. I am going to be perfectly honest here and say that I did not look up all of the technical details before purchasing, it was more of a case of that's the cheapest, I'll go for that one. The hoover has a 1200W motor on it which isn't bad for the size that it is and it has 200 Air Watts. It has an extensions cable of 1.5 metres which is quite long considering some hoovers don't even extend that much making it easier to move about.
The capacity of the hoover itself is 1.5 litres which again is alright, I've not yet had to change the bag on this so it seems to be alright for now. This hoover uses disposable dustbags and there are three included with this which I find really good as they don't have to give you any. The hoover has a dustbag full indicator but because I've not had this too long, I've never experience this yet but I am thankful for it having such a handy feature like this.
It also has fibre filtration and a washable filter and a foot operator cord rewind which saves a lot of time instead of having to feed the cord back in manually. There are plastic telescopic extensions tubes for adding onto the tube and the hoover is said to be suitable for hardwood floors and carpets. The hoover has a 5m power cord which helps when going into a number of rooms as that cord stretches a good distance. The weight of this hoover is 4kg and it has a height of 22cm and a width of 21cm and a depth of 33cm.
Now, for the real facts how does it really perform, well I am going to be positive as I really am pleased with this. I use this vacuum on both hardwood floors and carpet so I think in terms of how it works on both of these I am very pleased, With carpets, it picks up all dust and is more powerful than it seems, when running it over dust it picks it all up and I rarely need to go over it twice. Also, using it in my kitchen on the tiles it got all of the crumbs etc up and made it look dust free again. So, it was easy in that sense as I wasn't hurting my back bending to really pick up dirt.
Also, the vacuum isn't heavy to move about and it is easy to drag along fine but if I plug this into a socket then I can do my whole flat as a 5m cable seems to go for ages so it is really ideal for a flat but for a house maybe not so as it won't be as big a bag for a bigger household. The actual hose is again really light so you just need to push the flat head into the corners and it reaches with ease. Now, if there are stubborn bits not picking up then pull the top off and just use the hose head on its own.
I think one of the best features on this hoover is the cable rewind button, it took me ages to find it at first but it is a small grey button and when you press it the cable goes flying back in at high speed saving you having to wind it up yourself. The other good thing as well is that it isn't too loud a vacuum, obviously they all make a considerable amount of noise but it could be worse and I find that it doesn't take me too long to vacuum with this as it has made life easier.
Overall, I really couldn't complain about this hoover for the price I've paid. It is probably the same price as some of the handheld ones and atleast with this one you know it'll be reliable and hoover up a higher capacity. The design is great and being quite small it is really easy to store away in my cupboard and it is easy to clean if you want to give it a wipe. I can't imagine a better value vacuum with this kind of result out there so I fully recommend it, even if you are a student needing it for your room or house.
This vacuum is available to purchase online or instore and you can reserve it online if stock is low at your local store. It is £19.99 at the minute and was when I bought it a few months back which is a fantastic price to pay for a handy little hoover like this.
The official Argos website is http://www.argos.co.uk
We bought this vacuum as an emergency spare, with the intention of using it in the future just for cleaning the car. Unfortunately there is very little future in this vacuum and even though it is very cheap it sadly does not offer any real value, in my opinion.
It is constructed out of plastic, and the main body is a nice bright blue with the pipes and tubes being grey. It has wheels, as is typical, for easy pull along movement. The cable is relatively long at 5 metres and is stored neatly inside; there is a grey carry handle on the main body that also acts as the cable rewind button - when you depress it the cable is pulled in. You get a small crevice tool with it, this clips neatly into the underside so you don't lose it. The main pipe is adjustable, but I found once I got it together tight enough I couldn't get it separated again! There is a knob that lets you change the suction from minimum to maximum (also a push button for the power), and I found it performed not badly on a lower setting but I used it primarily on the maximum.
It needs bags (£5.99 for 5 when I bought them), and the maximum volume of the collection chamber is 1.5 litres; this is really small for me, as I have dog hair to clean up and as a result, I needed to buy 2 packs of bags during its short life so it was false economy going for this model. It is 1200 watts so it quite powerful for something so small. It is also very very very loud, for something so small!
As I mentioned, the head and tubes/pipes are all made from plastic, and unfortunately not at all strong plastic. The button on the head that lets you withdraw/extend the rubber 'brush' for switching between smooth and carpeted floors broke the first time I used it, when the vacuum was practically straight out the box! Sure, I could have taken it back but to be honest I couldn't really be bothered, it was evening and I needed to use it there and then. It wasn't really a problem though, as it didn't seem to make much difference! Shortly afterward, the plastic connection between the head and the long main pipe broke as well. I managed to fix this after a fashion using parcel tape (my old friend) but obviously the head didn't move at all, and was liable to fall off after a while. This meant I had to be very careful while using it and it was off putting. I really don't think I was overly harsh, I was aware it was all flimsier plastic than I was used to, and was a value model so I did try to take commensurate care with it, but to no avail.
After about 5 weeks of use, it was sitting in the living room, plugged in with the cable extended waiting for me to go and do the edges. I heard a fizzing sound and when I looked the cable was smoking! On closer inspection I could see the plastic outer of the cable had melted onto the wires, rendering it unsafe and completely unusable.
While it was working, I found the suction was really quite good; unfortunately the head isn't and I would resort to getting on my hands and knees with the bare nozzle if I needed a thorough vacuum. If I was clearing up crumbs or something the head was fine, it just didn't pick everything up from carpet - was better on smooth floors though. I think this was due to the opening being really quite small, and because it's generally quite flimsy you can't get any real pressure on it to increase contact with the floor. The suction failed completely when the bag needed changed but this isn't unusual. You were alerted to how full the dustbag is, as this model has in indicator that starts to turn red the fuller it gets, going completely red when it's chocka.
Changing the bag was a bit fiddly as well; the main body separates by the push of a button, revealing the HEPA filter (which is washable, so that's a big plus) as it falls out! When you get the bag into position (not bad in itself, the bags slot onto an attachment which in turn slots into the casing) you have to position the filter and reattach the two parts of the body - I felt I needed 3 hands for this, but I did get the hang of it and so long as I exercised patience I got it done pretty quickly and painlessly.
Overall, it is very light at only 4Kg and quite small (22cm x 21cm x 33cm) so storing it in a cupboard is easy. It is very portable for these same reasons along with the carry handle and the wheels. This was why we though it would be handy for taking outside to do the car. We did only pay £16.99 for it (I see it's now £19.99), which for a vacuum is just nothing, but I still expected it not to break so easily. I would rather pay a bit more for a value model and have tougher plastic, at least the longevity would be greatly improved. It was a shame various parts broke so soon, as when it had a fresh bag it sucked really well and would have been a perfect spare to have. Perhaps if we had not needed to use it in the house at all it would have kept better and still be going strong for the car only. So all things considered it's a poor rating from me unfortunately, and I definitely would not recommend for anything other than maybe car cleaning!
A couple of years ago my then partner and I were looking for a cheap and cheerful vacuum cleaner for vacuumng out the soot from our boiler. We purchased this one for the task but never needed to use it as we got someone in to sort out the boiler. This vacuum remained in its box for the next year and I'd almost forgotten about it when I had a problem with the cylinder one I usually use upstairs. Because of joint problems I have to have a vacuum upstairs and downstairs as I can't lug one about up the staircase so I have an upright downstairs and a cylinder one for upstairs. When I needed a different cylinder one for a temporary period of time I suddenly remembered this cheap Argos one and decided it was time to unpack it.
This vacuum cleaner is very no frills, it doesn't have attachments except the standard one and it does have a bag inside. The statistics are: 1200 watts, 200 air watts, 1.5 metre hose, capacity 1.5 litres. I won't pretend to know what air watts are but the rest of it is all very basic. It comes with a bag inside and a 5 pack of bags are currently £6.99. We bought more bags but so far I haven't used any and have emptied and replaced the current bag a few times.
The first thing that went through my head was "flimsy". This vacuum does seem rather flimsy when first put together. The hose slots into the cylinder and then you simply push the extension tube on and add the actual head but it's all made from very cheap grey plastic. I wasn't convinced this would do a very good job and had a look at where the bag was before I used it. To get to the bag you pull a clip on top of the vacuum and the entire cylinder falls into 2 halves, the bag is in the front section behind a plastic grill that just pulls out and there's a lever to be pulled to get the actual bag out. It's very simple and took me seconds to figure out but be warned it's not as easy to put the cylinder back together securely and I thought I had only to find it fell to pieces during use! It just clicks back together but needs quite alot of pushing to get it secure.
On the top there is also a round on/off button that you just press. The handle is also a bit of a mystery to me because it sits right back near the back of the vacuum so if you try to use it to pick the cylinder up when it's in an upright position it swings it horizontal and isn't balanced especially well. It's not a huge problem but something I personally had to get used to. Under the handle is the button to return the cable and when pressed this is lethal! Don't let kids near this or they'll definitely get hit by the plug, it snaps back in with real vicious force!
So onto using my flimsy vacuum cleaner. One of the problems I have on the bathroom carpet and parts of the landing is my hair. People with long hair may understand this but I leave hairs on the bathroom floor where I've towelled my hair dry and also on the landing where I've walked from the bathroom to the bedroom and this results in my hair collecting on the carpet along with the cat hair from my lad. To be honest my hair is more difficult to get rid of from carpets because it's quite long and tends to bundle up and stick to carpet fibres. With a cylinder vacuum this means I usually end up using it normally then having to go back over the sections where my hair has bundled up and using the end of the hose without any attachments on it. It varies between vacuums how much of this I have to do but it is a bit of a pain. I wasn't convinced this vacuum would be up to the job on that.
Under the head right near the hose there are 2 small wheels, my other cylinder doesn't have these and I actually found them very useful. As this is rolled along rather than just sliding it over the carpet it doesn't get stuck like alot of cylinders do and it's actually alot easier to use for this reason. It does have a surprising amount of power too and I've found it up to the job of removing lots of bits from the carpet, it doesn't struggle with stones or cat biscuits which is a surprise and I have to be careful I don't place it near anything I don't want to vacuum up as it takes no prisoners. As for my hair, well, I still have to use the same time consuming method but that's true of all cylinder vacuums so I can't really complain too much about that!
The lead is about normal length and it would manage an average size staircase without a problem. The flimsy feeling remains while using it though and initially I worried the hose extension would keep falling off but it doesn't, it feels flimsy but isn't. This is only used upstairs but there's both carpet and laminate flooring up there and it does fine on both, I also use it to suck up any cobwebs that form along the ceiling and it does that ok too although when the pipe is pointed upwards it doesn't have quite as much power as when used on flooring. I have to admit this is my "spider vacuum" too and if there's a big one I can't deal with any other way I use this to remove it.
Overall this is a surprising vacuum that only costs £19.99, has no extras but does keep the floor clean and tidy with ease. I'm moving house soon and I'm making a point of being the person who takes this with me as it's pretty impressive. Although flimsy is how it feels it's quite robust and has been yanked along by me without much care and dropped by my ex too and it hasn't damaged it at all. The things to watch out for are making sure it's snapped securely together after opening and that lethal cord return button! Otherwise it does the job just fine and I wouldn't be especially phased if my upright broke and I had to use this in the entire house. It's light so easy for me to carry, probably only weighs a couple of pounds. It's a cheap and cheerful vacuum that does a very good job and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a bargain.
A full 5 star rating and I admit this surprised me.
Short name: Argos VC-301