Product Type: Argos vacuums
Newest Review: ... a toy hoover! The price was around £35-£40, which is the reason we bought this item. I am really happy with this product. It far exce... more
Better Value Than The Vax This Vac Is Based On!
Member Name: Nar2
Date: 24/06/10, updated on 24/06/10 (697 review reads)
Advantages: Cheaper than the Vax it's based on, compact, good power, quiet, free filter
Disadvantages: Assembly, only one tool, short hose, messy filters, light plastic.
The Argos brand is sometimes strange for no reason at all but to make money off other's backs. My Cookworks smoothie maker has been fantastic since the summer has well and truly started; yet it is based on a Russell Hobbs maker twice the price! The last budget bagless upright vacuum for example can now be purchased from Comet under the "Proline," brand or at Tesco under "Tesco Value," whilst Curry's sell their "Carlton," exclusively branded model. Whilst that model has its downsides, the Proaction/Argos VC9730 brand models were good value with many tools and a button on the bin that allowed dust to fall out from the bottom. Argos' latest effort for example comes courtesy from Vax who have their own bargain basement bagless upright vacuum sold alongside this model. Price for the Vax VEU-101 is £59-99 whilst Argos' rebadged model costs just £36-97 and does without 0.5 less of a metre on its 7-metre power length compared to the Vax. £23-02 is a heck of a saving on the basis that a replacement filter for this model could cost up to £10 a time, if the vacuum lasts that long! How thoughtful of Argos to include a replacement paper pleated cone filter though. With such a cheap price I decided to buy this for our department because the carpet is forever being trashed by pupils and the school "Henry" vacs are hopeless for carpet pick up apart from light dirt.
Due to such a cheap price, there's a fair bit of building involved with this vacuum cleaner and that's a shocker - most uprights come in huge, tall boxes but not this little baby! The handle has to be screwed into the back of the vacuum at the top, then the hose has to be screwed in (luckily just way of push in and lock) and the filters that have been pre-packed in plastic bags before taking one of them out and screwing it into the bin assembly. Then there's the extension tube holder - a thick plastic holder that holds the main pipes in has to be screwed to the main front of the vacuum before the hose and the extension tubes can be stored around the back. Clearly there's a reason to why Argos' Vax version is so cheap in price! The older bagless vacuum had a better thought idea of just having a fold down handle at the touch of a button and can be used straight off once the plastic bags or packaging have been disregarded when taken out of the box.
With all this brand sharing comes a slight downside; whereas the older bagless cyclonic upright came with a myriad of cleaning tools, one long extension tube, long crevice pipe and a long extension hose to match, Argos Value VU101 comes with nothing but a long extension pipe and a long crevice pipe. It is all made out of thin plastic, which doesn't inspire longevity, but in some cases you get what you pay for too but at least the crevice slides into the extension tube for compactness. No small cleaning brushes and no longer hose other than 1.2 metres is all you'll get and for the price here you also get a lack of decals and fancy colours that make the Vax equivalent stand out. Well, I quite like the light blue and grey accents even though the dust bin isn't very clear with its frosted PVC design, I was interested to see how the Argos Value's latest budget upright tackles dust and carpet trampled dirt.
Once powered up (there's a pedal on the back compared to a more modern rocker switch), the VU-101 is quite a quiet little vacuum on its own accord but it is good to see that Vax/Argos have retained a manual height adjustment with five notches on offer. Dust gets sucked up through the sides with ease despite the beater bar constantly rolling regardless of the handle's position and the height adjuster slider can be changed even when the handle of the vacuum is down which gives greater speed for closer cleaning needs. For all the power in the world there is 1600 watts and a claimed 180 watts of air suction. At best the Argos VU-101 is offering an environmentally friendly rating against other brands and on carpets suction seems to bring up dirt quite well. Suction through the hose fairs better even though I struggled to clean a lot of areas such as under tables and chairs because the hose will only stretch so far. Thankfully there is a long power cord on board which is 7 metres long and very handy to get around. Dust pick up though is very good for this model until you realise how the vacuum works thanks to its massive dust filter shroud (paper pleats) and small 1.2 litre dust bin capacity. Then there's the fun bit of emptying and the chore of cleaning filters; grab a dust mask, bin liner and a pair of gloves!
Emptying is at best fairly easy but cleaning the filters is a messy affair. Emptying the dustbin is the easy part; just like the old bagless upright, there's a button release that allows the flap at the bottom of the bin to drop down for dust to literally do the same. Cleaning the filters is a rather different procedure. The top lid has to be unlocked via the large grey release button at the top and if you think that's the handle for the main vacuum and go to lift it, the bin will unlock and fall off its plastic lock hinges. Oh the fun I had the first couple of times but thereafter it becomes a pain! There is an actual grab handle located at the front but it has a rather small opening and caught my hand a couple of times. Then the large HEPA/High efficiency particulate air paper pleated filter cone has to be twisted off before dust can either be brushed clean or picked out. Then the filter reversed on the main dust channel holder that allows dust to circulate can be used to tap the filter off your normal dustbin. At least the spare filter can be used in the meantime and the HEPA filter alone can deal with sealing in pet hair smells. I was slightly shocked to find that after first use, the VU 101 seemed to have more dust clogged on its tiny black foam motor filter rather than in the dustbin itself and after it is put away I found dust clinging statically to the bin's plastic outside. Generally after five times per use, the filter is clogged to the point that it has to be cleaned completely and that can be a downside for anyone who has had a Dyson vacuum cleaner, where filters don't have to be looked at generally until a couple of months down the line! For the price though this is a fair to average vacuum cleaner if your main one goes wrong or need a stop gap model just to get by on.
One aspect that is perhaps of good benefit is that the hose on board is at best lightweight and fairly easy to handle. It curves right around the upright at the back and there's a thick grip holder at the bottom to hold it all into place. However when made to clean flat, the vacuum can't go all the way to the bottom as the hose holder snags on carpet preventing true flat to the floor cleaning whilst the rounded bin gets in the way at the front of the vacuum. Unlike other models on the market, air whoosh at the front is kept to a minimum and doesn't blow out as much compared to other vacuums I've had.
When things start to go wrong such as a broken drive belt, the belts will have to be ordered and they cost £5-99 plus a postage and packing charge; a great pity here that Argos don't include a spare belt. Then the machine has to be tipped over with no less than 7 screws undone when the front hood pops off. Now 7 screws is a bit of a bother to be honest and unlike the older bagless model, there is no view window that lets the owner check the status of the belt. Thankfully there is only one drive belt on this model that has to be changed and it is relatively easy since the top hood allows for ample space to get into the internals.
For all that the Argos Value bagless upright vacuum is a direct copy of Vax's white VEU-101 model, the price of this vacuum is at best very good value for what it offers. Even if you buy the Vax model you'll still have to put some assembly time in, as the models are virtually the same. Not too noisy and infinitely compact thanks to its weight and short hose; it offers a good model for small flats or homes that have tons of carpets. As a back up model to a Dyson that is getting repaired, or simply for anyone on a budget, Argos' VU-101 is excellent value. You have to put up with the dusty filters every so often and a short hose with no brush tools to offer extra cleaning versatility. Sometimes this is what buyers need rather than want and for that reason alone, the Argos Value VU-101 is probably worth considering despite longer assembly than most and having 32mm diameter hose and pipes means the Argos Value upright can accept existing tools from Hoover, Numatic, Electrolux and other brands if you happen to just keep tools left behind. Thanks for reading! İNar2 2010
(Product code 406/3885)
Summary: Not as good as the older bagless Argos sold, filter type improved though.
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