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All you need from a vacuum
Black & Decker VH780
Member Name: jennikitten
Black & Decker VH780
Date: 14/09/11, updated on 15/09/11 (241 review reads)
Advantages: Looks good, easily to store, lightweight, very powerful
Disadvantages: None really, could be a little quieter I guess!
To provide a bit of background, our house has laminate flooring downstairs and wood floors upstairs with the exception of the bathroom and kitchen which are lino. The only carpet in the house is thin, poor quality stuff on the stairs which is desperate need of replacing. We have three cats, one of which shreds a tremendous amount of white fur, so we needed something strong and hardy enough to cope with pet hair as a priority. For this reason I initially looked at the Dyson Animal hoover, a handheld which my parents own and which is advertised as being particularly good for pet hair. Having used it at their house a few times I was quite impressed, but with a price tag of nearly £200 it was way out of my budget.
Browsing Amazon I came across the Black & Decker VH780 which seemed to fit the bill. Initially I wasn't sure whether it would be able to cope with a whole house, being described as a mini dustbuster and weighing in at only a couple of kilos, but I decided to take the risk. It's got great reviews on Amazon and DooYoo, which is always a good sign, and when it arrived it didn't disappoint.
Looks and packaging
The picture above makes it look a lot more blue than it is; in the flesh I'd describe it as a deep purple with a shiny (not metallic) finish. This model isn't available in other colours at the time of writing this review, which is a shame because I'd much prefer it in black.
It arrived in a small box, and is quite easy to carry around (if you were intending to lug it back from the shops or pick it up from the post office). The vacuum itself is a bit heavier than it looks, but even when I accidentally dropped in on the laminate floor it didn't scare the cats. When it runs they just stare at it from a distance with really wide eyes (compared to our old hoover where they'd run outside immediately if I even went near it).
What you get
The box is the right size for the product, which is fantastic as there's no wasted packaging, and also means that it doubles up as a place to store the vacuum when not in use. There's a cardboard insert and the body of the vacuum came in a plastic bag, both of which I removed for recycling. Inside the box, you get the body of the hoover with attached plug and pre-fitted filters, a fairly cheap but practical black bag with 'Black and Decker' on it, a short instruction booklet and a variety of nozzles and tubes. The black bag handily stores all the attachments if you're worried about the dirt or parts getting lost.
There are so many attachments that I did find it quite overwhelming to start with! The instruction booklet is mainly made up of diagrams with numbers and letters on them, which to be honest I find quite confusing. There are written instructions in the back which refer to the diagrams in the front which made things slightly better, but I did feel it could have been explained and organised a little better even though admittedly they do have several languages to accommodate. What you need and attach depends on what you want to use the hoover for, although as a rule you'll need to pull down a small 'door' of plastic at the front of the hoover to insert your chosen attachment.
The attachments included are:
3 grey nozzles which each taper to a point (they look like the nozzles on glue bottles but bigger). These are used for inflating - yes, this hoover can also be used as a pump to blow up air beds, paddling pools and similar - fantastic!
2 metal poles - Attached together you have a firm tube with which you can use the hoover like a full size pull along hoover.
3 different sized and shaped purple attachments which fit onto the end of the metal pole for covering larger/smaller areas (probably good for cars as well).
2 grey attachments, again with slightly different shaped ends, which can be fitted to the main body of the hoover for direct hand-held hovering which is extremely powerful.
A reasonably wide purple 'foot' (sorry, no idea what the technical term is!) printed with the Black & Decker logo, which is designed to be used with the metal pole attachment and is basically a rectangular piece of plastic with a small black brush fringe underneath for picking up extra dirt, as you'd see on a typical hoover.
To be honest there are more attachments than most people will need, but this hoover really does have something to suit everyone and any type of cleaning.
Once I'd got used to the attachments, it was actually pretty easy to work out when is best to use each. Switching the vaccum on and trying it, I was extremely impressed with how powerful is it. At 2000 volts it's far stronger than my previous vacuum and will lift the lino up slightly in the bathroom (carpet and other floor types seem to have no effect in this regard thank goodness!). It cleans extremely well, and it's bagless so less maintenance there too. It can cope with cleaning several rooms, which I'm very impressed by, and there's an indicator on the side to announce if it gets clogged. With the amount of hair and fur in our house, as well as dust from the wooden floors, I'm impressed that this vacuum far surpasses our previous one despite its small size and copes equally well with all floor types. It doesn't need emptying as often as you'd think and because it's so easy to handle emptying it into tall bins is much easier than with a full size hoover.
Advantages and disadvantages
The fact that this vacuum can be used in so many different ways is a real advantage; you don't need separate products for inflating, hovering and cleaning your car as this does all three!
The other huge benefit is a really long cord (I'd estimate it at about six foot), which means that cleaning the stairs or the bathroom where plug access is difficult, is made a lot easier.
Cleaning the stairs without having to lug and position a heavy hoover is a major plus for anyone. This Black and Decker doesn't have a place to store the cord inside and it's recommended in the instructions that you wrap it round the hoover when not in use. At first I was slightly annoyed that it didn't store neatly away, but to be honest I now think it's an advantage as the cord just sits when you leave it and you aren't forever pulling more cord out or accidentally pulling along extension leads as I always seem to do!
Having used both the Dyson Animal handheld and this, I would opt for this Black and Decker every time unless you're desperate for a cordless hoover. Although the Animal holds more, it's much louder, not as powerful, much heavier, requires a lot of charging and is far more expensive.
I'd recommend this hoover to anyone looking for a reliable vacuum for a smallish house, a second home or caravan, or for car/stair cleaning. As it has so many uses, is lightweight, takes up very little space, can inflate as well as hoover, looks good, the noise is reasonable AND it's priced at a very reasonable £40, I really can't complain. This is one of the best products I've used in a long time and I can't give it anything other than five stars.
Summary: 5 stars
|Ease of use:|
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