It is hard to start a small business when money is tight but once after a year's opening in a small coffee shop with a gift selection located in another part of the store, it is easy to frit away money on the most basics of things which are designed to keep the floors clean. As a business owner you get what you need to fit the bill and in this case my friend had a Numatic Henry which she kept taking home with her when money was so tight to find a home vacuum cleaner. Thus I got the call from my friend; to see if I had any "spare" cylinder vacuum cleaners I had lying around, on the off chance that the lady concerned could get away with using it before its death sentence. Trouble was, I had no machines available and with the recent installation of real hard wood flooring in her home, I wasn't about to give my chum an old machine with tools that could scratch the floor surface, especially as it cost her the best part of £2500 and other parts of her home have new carpeting.
So with the requirements set in place to find a compact cleaner with a hard floor tool away I went in November to all the shops that I know sell vacuum cleaners. Argos, Currys or Comet didn't sell the machine I wanted. I knew what I wanted the moment I had seen it in a supermarket, so it was back to Tesco to find the Dirt Devil DD2820 but alas Tesco have stopped selling this model and I've been reduced to shopping online.
** This is a long review! **
The Dirt Devil DD2820 had originally been sold at Argos for £89-99 but online I got it at a bargain £49-99 from a private seller on EBay. Unmarked, brand new and still wrapped in the box, the DD2820 X2/3 has been with me for a couple of months just waiting for my friend to lift the phone when she tires of traipsing around with her Henry between her business and her home. At that price I was expecting just two of the aforementioned floor heads such as hard floor parquet brush and a universal floor brush. What I wasn't expecting was a main turbo floor brush which has ironically been a god send because my best friend happens to own two dogs and a cat!
Other cylinder vacuum cleaners on the market usually have one main floor head which is a retractable push up push down floor head. This means, that when you step on a pedal on the floor head, brushes come down for hard flooring and retract for soft flooring. This sounds like the ideal solution but my past history & experience has led me to believe that over time for example, the springs in the floor head start to loosen and the brushes won't always push down, thus marking hard flooring. I wasn't about to ruin my friend's cherished floor and then get the blame if anything happened to it!
Miele, Bosch and Hoover are beginning to supply cylinder vacuums with soft floor heads but at an extra cost whilst additionally you would have to pay out more money for a main floor turbo brush unless it comes with a "pet" emblem on it.
This Dirt Devil comes with 3 main floor head options as opposed to 1 which is standard on most cylinder machines unless you spend over £100. Here, because the machine is called "X3" and awash with clear advertising black transfers on its light gold body to state the fact on the main body so, three main optional use interchangeable floor heads come with the machine as standard.
Whilst you have your usual push up push down 2 way retractable floor head, there is also a completely brushed floor head with soft bristles designed to clean hard floors and a large roller brush floor "Turbo Brush," which offers similar results if you have an upright - but importantly, as it is an air driven brush dependent on the suction alone from the machine, there are no beater bars that can actually damage your floor.
Other than the 3 large floor heads you'll also find two tools which sit flush behind the main hose on the Dirt Devil itself - an upholstery brush and a crevice tool - brilliant little tools that have so far proved their worth, particularly behind the coffee machine and getting loose beans sucked up. The smaller tools don't feel too cheap either, which is a surprise from Dirt Devil as normally their plastic leaves a lot to be desired. Two main metal telescopic tubes are also standard with this type of vacuum which is handy for the family if they want to use the vacuum and are all different heights.
This Dirt Devil has 2000 watts of power, quite an achievement from a company who usually make average powered machines. Tie in the fact that it also has a variable suction control and you can actually slow or speed up the rate of suction by moving the rotary dial located at the bottom of the top of the cleaner. Like my Electrolux and Miele cylinder vacuum cleaners, this Dirt Devil has a soft start function. In effect this means that when you start the machine by pressing the right hand pedal, a lower motor noise starts off slowly so that the machine can ascertain the amount of suction you have selected. Although this may sound like a silly idea, it's one that Miele have used for years - it actually prolongs the state of the motor and its general life. The design thought goes farther too as there is no cheap mechanical dust bag indicator on this machine. A red light shines constantly if the bag is full and flickers if a blockage has occurred; a much more user friendly addition all round then.
Generally the X2/3 is a very light weight proposition, helped along by quality features found on more premium priced brands. Like most then, the Dirt Devil has an auto cord rewind but it also has 9 metres of cord, which is very lengthy and almost unheard of from this brand! Another welcome surprise is the inclusion of a washable HEPA filter. I found with my own cats that the Dirt Devil does seal in the smell of pet hair generally but this may well be down to the extra fact that there are 7 stages of filtration in the cleaner itself; the 4 stage HEPA filter for example can be picked out and washed but must be fully dried before use, whilst the exhaust filter acts as the 2 stage filter and another filter by the main bag inside the Dirt Devil. All filters can be washed but must be dry before using again. High Efficiency Particulate Air filters are perfect for people who have pets.
Compared to the shop's Henry, the Dirt Devil is quite compact in size. Thanks in part to its curvy egg shape, the wheels at the back of the cleaner are soft and do not mark the floor. The machine has toppled over if pulled roughly - what cylinder cleaner doesn't - but in its defence, this machine does have a good bumper design on the top, which also acts as the handle when the machine is lifted. This is just as well because the light goldish brown colouring of the machine may look classy but has already started to lose its shine. Compared to the Henry which is almost twice the weight, this machine is also quite light at just over 6kg. It is more noticeable carrying the machine plus the hose and tools when cleaning has to start.
The noise of the motor is high if the machine has been selected to produce the highest of suction and at 2000 watts the noise is loud enough to be switched off when someone tries to speak. But, lowering the suction means conversation can be heard - but only just. This is just one black mark against a very well thought out and well priced machine.
If there is one aspect however that works very well, its simply the fact that the X2/3 has interchangeable heads. The 2 way universal floor brush is great for day to day cleaning and has edges built in so that cleaning can be done right up at the skirting boards. Then there's the Parquet hard floor brush that manages to pick up dirt on the hard floors without driving the dirt around, whilst the turbo brush is excellent at all round pet hair pick up. Also the nature of the design means that the cleaner can be used on stairs - unlike Henry which has often proved to be tricky and a bit of a balancing act.
What I feel is a bigger selling point is the fact that the Dirt Devil is a lot more compact when it comes to storing away. Much of the problem with Henry, if you have or own a small shop or even a small home is the fact that there are copious amounts of black hose. Here on the Dirt Devil you'll find that same black hose, but it can be stored away a lot easier than on Henry and because of the height adjustable tubes, minimising the space between tubes, hose and machine is quite compact and out of the way. Although the small tools have their own place located on the machine itself, the additional floor heads cannot be stored for reason simply of their size. The tubes can actually be parked on the cleaner itself, either at the base of the machine or at the back if it is stored in an upright position.
Some downsides however do prevail; it is a pity that the only access to the turbo brush can be accessed by undoing 4 screws to open up the unit, if say something gets stuck between the rolling brush and the main dirt channel. Cleaning the brushes are easy as you can pick off threads and any dust which gets clogged between the bristles - you would have to do that with a standard floor broom, so even with the fact that it's on a suction vacuum cleaner, sometimes even dust gets trapped before it has a chance to be sucked up.
The bags can take up to 4.5 litres of dust which is more than the capacity of Miele or Sebo and whilst paper bags are available, the Dirt Devil comes with two fabric washable dust bags to save on the cost of paper disposables (£7-99 for a pack of 5 to 7) The bags on this machine are permanently washable which means, made of fine cloth material they are held together via a plastic clip and held via a bag hinge inside the main dirt bin area. Access to the bag is easy via a clip on the top of the cleaner and once inside you just slide the bag into the hinge and replace the lid. As with most Dirt Devil machines - and this is no exception here - if the bag doesn't click into the place, the lid will not close until the bag has been installed properly. A more common downside however is that the paper bags are very difficult to get.
Dirt Devil wisely encloses 2 permanent SMS washable bags so that one bag can be washed whilst the other is being used. What a shame then that they didn't enclose another set of filters too! Once the bags are emptied they can be put back into the machine but on low temperature wash and radiator dried, they can also be washed.
The manual for the machine is a black and white glossy booklet which shows the owner how to use the machine. As with most manuals from Dirt Devil I have experienced before, the wording is in English and has clear descriptive passages and pictures. However Dirt Devil could well improve on the sizing of the words in general.
The X2/3 is a most surprising effort from Dirt Devil, particularly in the UK because most of their range is re-badged with "Vax" labels. In Australia however this very model goes under the name of a "Hoover." However although this Dirt Devil is no longer on sale in the high street, it deserves a second chance, particularly if it appears online. It uses 32mm tool fittings which also means that later on in its life, an optional mini-turbo air brush should be easy to buy from sellers on EBay plus it allows my friend to use the same tools on her Henry for increased pick up in her shop. Well done Dirt Devil! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
Customer Helpline: 0870 873 0081
Spare Parts Helpline: 0870 873 0094
Short name: Dirt Devil DD2820