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!!
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