Product Type: other vacuums
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Letting off Steam in Different Ways
Member Name: Alasn
Date: 17/07/01, updated on 17/07/01 (2300 review reads)
Advantages: Reasonable price, Simplicity, Little to go wrong
Disadvantages: Crude and poorly thought through/poor instructions and support literature, No storage feature/s/no castors or glides/fragile and stiff hose, Lack of switches, lights, mechanical or audible warnings
This Guildford-built cleaning/stripping package represents the slow evolution of Earlex's product range. Crude and simple. Basically, the boiler is a lightweight circular kettle (with the same type of element as an old-fashioned model, in its base). It has no additional lights or switches - which would represent additional expense, flair and effort for a medium-sized UK company with apparently little interest in investing in R&D.
The unit has no castors or wheels and this puts a strain on the rather crude and stiff hose which is fragile and looks as though it could easily be damaged by accidentally standing on it - or perhaps, by jerking the full steamer across a floor (no base mouldings for easy movement across carpets or rough ground). The makers warn users about the machine's hot base and possible damage to surfaces. They even suggest resting the appliance on a board to reduce possible surface damage - crude or what? They could have reduced this problem by designing a greater space below and/or using glides. But then, this is a totally utilitarian beast - without any low water warning or switches etc. I owned an original Earlex over a decade ago and there are no visible improvements. This is sad. You don't even get a hook point for the machine or a basic tool caddy to store the bits and pieces which accompany it and could get lost around the house.
The attachments supplied represent a similar - lack of thought philosophy - being simple and crude in design (with expensive spares). The instructions supplied are also basic and quite insufficient. There are no hints and tips and many users might damage woollen carpets and upholstery because there are no fabric guides. I remember cracking a window pane with my old model. So you have to guess and proceed through trial and error. The heat-up time for the 4.5 litre tank is average and also inconvenient - once again, better design could have reduced this, as heating a wide area from the centre is not ef
ficient and new heating plates could have been integrated into a totally new design.
Changing tools is equally problematic for a 21st century device. There is no pressure indicator (as on a pressure cooker) - this is obviously too complex for the team at Earlex to contemplate. The only improvement I've noticed is a new comfortably sculpted pressure knob design.
Overall, it works but you have to keep thinking and watching out for safety issues. The main unit even has the same paper labels which deteriorate after use and spoil the appliance's appearance rapidly.
So, this is no Polti and it is basically a kettle with lightweight hose and steam outlets. The price is loosely appropriate. If you can find a place to store it and it's pieces for occassional use - the machine represents reasonable value. It is sad that this machine represents British technology in the 21st century - peaking at second world levels.
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