“ 1200 watts. 1 litre dust capacity. Automatic cord rewind. 5m power cord. „
If you have the joys of satellite shopping television channels then there is the smallest possibility you have seen Shark's Compact Vac and how supremely small it is against the large and bulky upright vacuums they show in the adverts. If you're looking for a compact vacuum cleaner which is smaller than your average cylinder vacuum cleaner, Dirt Devil may well have the answer in the form of the DD720 "Room Mate."
Compact vacs such as Morphy Richards Pod over the years has managed to secure the top spot for bagless stick vacs and although small and compact it may be, hoses have to be removed as well as floor heads to turn the hand vac into possibilities for cleaning above the floor line. The DD720 by Dirt Devil promises many things although the two models are quite similar, and ironically the Dirt Devil here is also known as a "Euro Shark" in the U.S.A which has faired badly in reviews.
** Quick Skip Product Review **
Model name & number: Dirt Devil DD720
Wattage: 1200 watts with 120 air suction watts
Crevice tool and upholstery brush included
Flexible hose, allows some stretch but not to stair proportions.
3.9 kg - lightweight and lighter than Vax's own Quicklite Compact upright.
Removable floor head and handle - aids complete storage for transporting.
1 litre dust capacity with cyclonic shroud - a proper cyclonic design.
HEPA washable filter, with one spare filter enclosed brand new.
Extremely well designed for storing.
5 metre colour band coded power cord with auto cord rewind facility. A bit too short in use though.
Looped handle eases use.
Argos price £49-99 Cat number: 0881968
** Out of the box & setting up **
Well firstly, in a matter of seconds it is easy to start using the DD720 because for the most part, the important pieces have already been installed. It only takes seconds to fit the floor head to the bottom of the machine by way of a silver lock nib for example, much like my old Morphy Richards Pod vac, although it is also easy to see that the way the floor head stops at the bottom, this type of compact upright will not lie flat for under furniture cleaning - but it is only a small hand vac type design with a handle - rather than a full long proper upright vacuum cleaner.
Looking at the overall design however it has been painted silver with black decals contrast and has a blue capacity bin with silver decals which also show the name "Room Mate," a detail which seems to have been missed from Argos. All you need to do is push the handle into the top of the DD720 by way of a press and lock nib which is located at the bottom of the handle. A further clip is also located at the top of the handle which slides up and down, but this is purely for the hook at the back of the cleaner whereupon when the handle is removed, it can be clipped to the back of the DD720 on an additional clip for maximum compactness. At the top of the handle there is also an additional clip for the cord to tie closely to the handle to stop the cord from travelling elsewhere. I can see where Dirt Devil are coming from with this design but it would have been better to feature a swing down handle rather than a handle which has to be unlocked and then balanced on a hook at the bottom of the cleaner.
** So What's It Like To Use? **
Well the good news is that the power on this little Devil is okay for the price; I wasn't expecting much to be honest but the 1 litre cup fills up fairly quickly and thanks to its perforated cyclone shroud and cylindrical bin design you can view dirt circling around when in use; but it is coloured in deep blue so the endless view of all whirly dirt is kept to a minimum here. The hose has been well designed which sits on the main carry handle of the DD720 and wraps itself down to the left hand side of the machine at the back, whereupon taking it out and putting back in is quite easy. At the end of the hose it is easy to feel how much suction is produced although by the time the 1 litre cup fills rapidly you can tell that suction is beginning to fall - this of course depends on just how dirty your home is - but after a end of placement party where crisps and crumbs had been left on my carpet here at the halls - the cup was only half full after a day.
For gliding the wheeled floor head copes well with almost all carpet and hard floor surfaces; two additional rubber wheels at the front of the floor head and two plastic wheels at the back ensure damage to hard floors are kept to a minimum. Like Morphy Richards Pod model then, it's a universal floor brush which has a permanent set squeegee to aid dirt pick up towards the dirt channel but here it is larger than the original Pod's floor head and although it deposits dirt at a corner through the hose design into the dust cup, the DD720's floor head will adjust automatically to any floor surface it meets.
More importantly I find that I don't stoop with the DD720 which is better than could be said for the Morphy Richards Pod which felt at times to be too top heavy due to the position of the motor and its overall body design. The handle on he Dirt Devil is also looped in design which means less hand fatigue than on a standard angled handle. It is just a pity that the handle feels weak at the bottom once it is locked into place; no doubt Dirt Devil may improve the design of the handle later in this model's life but for the moment it doesnt feel as if it will last if pressure is exerted on it too much.
One aspect of course which comes across is the fact that the DD720 is so light to use and glides beautifully but I found some trouble in its lack of ability to pick up threads. With a brush roll of course, this wouldn't be a problem and it seems a pity for the price of £49-99 that Vax's other Dirt Devil based Quicklite Compact sitting next to it at the same price has excellent pick up due to a moving brush whereas the Dirt Devil is actually very poor and often needs to be used on the same carpet four or five times before ground in grit is picked up. Whilst the Quicklite Compact lacks a hose or any attachments the DD720 could make more sense to someone. How so?
For starters there is an auto cord rewind facility. Quite why other makers haven't thought of this I will never know, but it is so handy to have an auto cord rewind on an upright, it makes sense and adds the overall quick clean factor that the DD720 provides even though at times the model can be knocked over thanks to its light weight. 5 metres of power cord are supplied on this machine and they are marked with coloured bands to indicate the maximum and minimum levels of the cord available. I've never really worked out why this has been important for manufacturers to add this as it is easy to see how much cord you get when you pull all of it out of the back of the cord reel. A red button at the back above the auto cord mechanism releases and returns the cable back into its tidy quickly and safely; well done Dirt Devil for this inclusive design; it's about time!
** Using the Additional Tools **
A short crevice tool and a small slip on upholstery brush are included on the back and sides of the DD720 but the upholstery brush is disappointing and mimics the MR Pod as both usevery poor plastic tools. However in use, it copes well even though it is a very small tool against better thought designs from my old Hoover Telios. For the price though I was expecting a bit more especially an additional long tube to aid more stretch on the hose which stretches to about a metre before the upright falls over. For simple tasks however in small spaces, the DD720 does most things quite well, so it is a pity that whenever the hose is used at the back of the cleaner it will crash to the floor if the hose is pulled roughly and when it is put back in place, the DD720 wobbles a fair bit due no less to it's extremely light weightness.
** Emptying the Dust Cup **
Ah the joys of a bagless design are about to be revealed! Located at the front of the Dirt Devil there is a locking arm which swings up when it is unlocked. This ensures that in use the dust cup doesn't fall out but when it comes the time to empty there are a few things which have to be taken into consideration;
Firstly there entire blue cup comes out which also includes the top filter. The filter itself is a paper pleated washable HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) filter cartridge which doesn't look dissimilar to the circular HEPA/Lifetime filters you would find on many Dyson uprights. It is hidden underneath a clear blue top which can be twisted off before the filter can be removed; strong odours are kept to a minimum with this type of filter generally. Here the paper pleats are washable although Dirt Devil suggests leaving the filter for 24 hours after tap washing to ensure the filter is completely dry or just brushing the filter clean of any dirt which has lodged itself in the fins. Dirt Devil also supplies an extra cartridge - which is more than could be said for Vax who didn't bother when I bought my old Quicklite Compact.
The second twist off section allows the filter shroud to sit upwards and the bottom bin to be emptied before twisting back into place and locking the cup via the lock "arrows" set into the design (white wording and symbols). After three days use, I found that the capacity cup on the Dirt Devil needed emptying but there was very little dust coming up in the air - a design disadvantage with many bigger bagless arrangements - but thanks to the 1 litre dust capacity here, escaping dust is minimal.
** Any Final Recommendations? **
Yes! The noise on the DD720 is actually very quiet! I thought with a 1200 watt motor compared to Vax's noisy as hell 850 watt motor that the Dirt Devil would be a real screamer but this has really surprised me. There is noticeable whine but it doesn't ever become obtrusive.
Removing blockages is also easy as the hose parts come out whilst the longish hose at the back means above the floor cleaning can be accessed by holding the machine upwards via the main carry handle.
** The User Manual **
The user manual is also very helpful which shocked me as Dirt Devil user manuals for most upright cleaners - in my experience - have been optimistic and not showing clearly the details. Here there are actual pictures of the machine in black and white and there are also arrow diagrams with good English to support the use and troubleshooting problems should they occur.
A spare parts list is also included as well as separate information sheet showing Dirt Devil's company address should you need to contact the firm.
** Conclusion **
This isn't an upright which will pick up pet hair; there is no moving brush at the front which will pick up threads or fly away hair, but it does its job as a budget small compact upright very well, even going as far to include labour saving devices such as an auto cord rewind facility. At the end of the day though is £49-99 a bit too much to pay for something which doesn't include a spinning brush? I think it is particularly poor value given that consumers could be fooled into thinking it has a rotating brush for all that it looks classy in blue and silver and has helpful key points to access tools, bin, overall operation and that handy auto rewinding cord.
Yes whilst there is excellent suction through the hose, the lack of a rolling brush means you need to go over carpets several times until dirt is picked up, and if you have a lot of hair due to pets etc ground in, this DD720 will not pick it up including troublesome threads and fluff.
Despite its good points the handle is a bit of cheap after thought despite its excellent storing options. It doesn't feel strong enough when used in the upright position and this feeling is also mirrored in the Euro Shark reviews which appear on other websites, as both are similar models only made different by company branding. As an all round upright vacuum built to satisfy most cleaning needs in the home, the Dirt Devil fails on pick up and the burning question on most consumers' lips will be why bother spending £50 on something which doesn't feature a moving brush yet appears to be an upright in design? That's the stumbling block Dirt Devil UK must overcome because once fitted, grit and general dust will be able to be picked up with one or two sweeps against the actual five to six sweeps without a rolling brush. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Short name: Dirt Devil DD720