“ Brand: Dirt Devil / Type: Upright „
Bought this vac because I have laminate floors and it was less than £50. The write up in Argos seem to indicate it was specially suited to this. I was sucked in by the fact it was cheap. My wife also wanted something light so thought it would be good. However it is a toy vacumn. I mean that literally. The lead is so short you can not vacumn a sizable room or do the stairs. The hose is so short as you vac the floor the vac is pulled over usually on your head. So as you go under the sofa you have to lie the vac on the floor. Inside the top of the dust collection area there is a filter this clogs very quickly and suction is lost. The instructions seem to indicate that this should be washed after every use! The collection pot for dust is so small it's full in minutes. the vac also has no brushes so misses lots of dirt. It is actually less effective than a dust pan and brush on wooden floors. Do not buy.
When I moved into a rented property recently I didn't think I would find myself needing a vacuum cleaner. Out of the 100s I've owned, sold on, and a few I still keep to myself this property, out of a handful properties I've rented in my lifetime must be the first where the property is solely laid with natural wooden floor boards and some of the rooms don't have wax treatment which means most of the wood flakes off the sides of each board causing a grainy touch to un-slippered feet - especially felt first thing in the morning when getting out of bed! Talk about walking on tiny nails let alone scards of wood. At £49-99 Dirt Devil appear to have the answer for budget shoppers with their "Ultra" lightweight stick vacuum cleaner, designed as Argos state in their specs to be a suction only vacuum cleaner suitable for hard floor cleaning. Trouble is, this isn't a new model; I have had a similar model to this before from Dirt Devil and it had a distinctive lack of suction coupled with cheap plastic build that fell short of its then £70 asking price. Built around thin silver plastic with a red insert, the Dirt Devil "Ultra Lightweight," (mine said "Room Mate" on the box) looks quite hip against the latest vacuum cleaners on the market. But the colours soon begin to annoy! Take the dust bin for example - it is a deep red see through acrylic that would be welcome if it was pastel red - but no, Dirt Devil make it difficult for the owner to see through dark red where the dust starts and when it needs emptying. Despite the ease of building and putting everything together (just involves putting the smaller cleaning tools into their hidey holes as well as screw the handle to the middle of the Dirt Devil) Dirt Devil have made no attempt to secure the bottom partition of the handle - it feels as if the handle will not last due to its long length and feels like it could break in the middle when used as an upright vacuum. As well as being slightly shocked by this (but knowing DD's reputation for general tat) it is good that Dirt Devil have retained small wheels on the suction only floor head only aided by two lint pickers that help to gain dirt on bare floors. And if you don't know what "suction only," means it simply refers to the fact that this Dirt Devil has no beater/rolling brush - don't just take Argos' word for it - the suction on this beast at the floor head is pretty poor on carpeting. At 1200 watts the Ultra lightweight isn't as noisy as I thought it would be and that's a welcome aspect in this day and age when something like this vacuum cleaner has a cheap cost price. Helped along by the added advantage of an automatic cord rewind on the back of the stick vac, even though 5 metres of power cord limits actual travelling distance unless you have copious amounts of wall plugs dotted about the added feature of automatically rewinding the cable is a great feature to have. For most owners many will probably dismiss the quality just because it has an auto cord rewind located at the back of the machine which is a feature that is absent seen on upright vacuums and more on cylinder pull along vacuums. I rather like that idea but wish that other companies would take note here on their uprights - what a pity that the auto cord rewind mechanism can whip you on the knees when the cord whips back in at the back of the machine and even if there is a cord hook that is slideable on the handle, it can only be slid to a limited degree at the top of the handle making it a bit of a nonsense having to clip the final part of the cord to the top of the handle when it should safely be wound away at the back. Thankfully it is an option - and one I don't use. Performance is average to poor -if you use it like I do purely on hard flooring that needs cleaning every day practically thanks to "tumbleweed," dust and odd bits of thread that have appeared from bed linen and such like. Thanks to its relatively small floor head the Dirt Devil can fly around hard floors easily aided by its small wheels on the base but slide it along skirting boards where it is supposed to have edge cleaning sides and it misses dirt because of the small design of the floor head suction channels. Not only that but try and put it through a rug and the suction decreases massively because it doesn't have a brush to beat the carpet and therefore ploughing is needed to steer and push this upright through the desired rug. If only it had something like 1600 watts and bigger wheels, Dirt Devil could possibly attain better suction but for its low power and its no wonder Argos state this machine is only really suitable for hard floors. The air watts is described at 120 air watts - which is frankly pretty poor - and it doesn't maintain the 120 air watts when the bin gets fuller. That's a patent that Dyson have now sold onto Vax who are producing non-stop suction on their Mach range for example but for the moment at its selling price its back to the old basics of cyclonic mesh filters and paper pleated cones that go by the cheap assumption that because its branded HEPA it filters out the nasties. Think again! My filter in particular couldn't retain the smell of just varnished floor boards (I got mine done in the bathroom recently) so I pity the owner who has pets. There is a hose at the back and whilst it is short and will never clean stairs, Dirt Devil does include a short crevice tool that adds more noise to the final proposition. There is no straight extension pipe to enable extra reach which limits versatility though and it begs the question why produce a mini-upright with a hose but no extension pipe? Having the hose at the top means that in terms of its location, when pulled roughly from the back or sides, the Dirt Devil crashes to the floor resulting in scratched paint work and cracked plastic depending on how much damage it has sustained on the hard floor surface. These are the little design details that one would imagine Dirt Devil could have incorporated for the use of realistic ownership on hard flooring. Another weakness I find is that the handle is fixed and gets in the way especially if lifting the machine upwards to clean above the floor line. There is a carry handle on the back of this Dirt Devil but it's still a procedure that involves trial and patience because of the fixed handle. Get it wrong and you could be hit in the face by the handle. Even at 4kg whilst the Dirt Devil is very lightweight, the handle does thankfully have a lopped design which means it can be held onto rather than always gripping the poor plastic when generally using. There is also a combo dusting brush included but coupled with the crevice tool, both are rather cheap in their design, bend easy and don't feel particularly well made. Dirt Devil in the UK however isn't Dirt Devil from America. Dirt Devil came from America originally and upon this year signed a contract with Vax UK to build and share components and products. This means that the washable HEPA filter cartridge made of pleated paper and a grid which can't be taken off will prove to be troublesome in the future since replacements are hard to find. Compare this to Vax whose filters and components are usually available at many different outlets compared to this Dirt Devil who offer mail order only facilities and you can see that long-term the acquisition of this Dirt Devil/ALBA can prove to be expensive; Dirt Devil UK for example wanted to charge me something unethical such as £22 for a replacement HEPA filter cartridge and unlike its two part design, a mesh filter takes care of the dust in the main bin that can be washed and dried almost straight away. Other grumbles consist of the Ultra lightweight not being able to stand up properly - unless you put it at an angle or flat against a wall if space is available. It stands up temporarily but thanks to its auto cord rewind mechanism built in the back, it can tip the machine over if you store it independently without anything at the back for it to stand up against. And the bin is a bit of a nonsense too! A front clasp at the top of the bin is always stiff to unlock before the bin can be released - and do you think Dirt Devil have put a grab handle on the bin to make it easier when disposing of the dust? Of course not. This meant a balancing act for me. When the bin comes out the need to twist open the top to split the top filter open needs to be done first before the bin can be disposed of. It holds 2 litres of dust as its maximum capacity - and for anyone else who has hard wood flooring and a bagless vacuum will know the amount of dust that cyclonics pick up generally is vast; emptying is therefore needed on a daily basis depending on how much you use the vacuum cleaner as the filter clogs up pretty fast. The top filter (the expensive to replace yearly HEPA filter is washable but it has to be dried for 24 hours before it can be put back in again) is easy to take out but it can be troublesome to install again thanks to its specific points that the plastic needs to be locked into. Sadly Dirt Devil UK/ALBA have made a large mistake in making this upright cleaner as poorly designed as possible; certainly a cheap bagged or bagless cylinder vacuum cleaner with around 1400 to 1600 watts would do a better job here even though for all the cylinder models I own there are times when I could do with a mini-upright. The downsides of cheap plastic, lack of versatility and that suction only floor head make for a mini upright vacuum suitable for the smallest of properties and unless like me you solely live in a property that has bare floor boards and very few rugs dotted around, the Dirt Devil is an Ultra-wasted opportunity. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2009