“ Brand: Electrolux „
Apart from the endless threat of repeated TV programmes over the Christmas period, did anyone else notice the influx of emission and environmental awareness adverts on TV? Huge water turbines and three blade wind mills may blot the landscape but in Scotland it makes sense to consider both measures given the wet, windy weather.
With the fact that car companies are trying to launch models in a quick haste to reduce emissions for the motorist (and the fact that countries such as the U.S have been pressured to produce car ranges with other fuels other than petrol or diesel) it seems that the consumer is now made to think of other ways in which they can save on money and be ecological in thought.
So what have Electrolux done? Against every other brand who sell budget priced vacuum cleaners in their ranges, Electrolux have launched what the consumer may not be aware of, but may need if they are environmentally aware: a low powered vacuum cleaner known as the "Eco Vac."
Now you may have seen the "Eco Vac" before in another colour and you wouldn't be wrong either, blink twice and you may recognise it in white, known as the Z2250A "Powerlite," bagged upright vacuum. The only difference is that the Eco Vac comes with a rather confusing hefty price tag and a stomach churning lime green colour to highlight its environmentally safe pretensions. Across the Internet it is known either as the "Eco Vac," or "Enviro-Vac," which Tesco online were selling. Compared to the total £40 asking price for the high-powered 1700-watt "Powerlite" upright vacuum, Electrolux have priced this Eco Vac at £70. It still uses the safe, hygienic 100% recyclable dust bags which the other model uses, but, and this is the crunch factor; the Eco Vac only has a rating of 800 watts, and with a bag in place you're looking at just 90 air watts of suction, but air watts can only be trusted with manufactures who produce machines which have a constant suction and not a paper bag in place; and that award goes to Dyson. So for the moment, with the fact that it uses a bag, air watts just doesn't apply here since they are always measured when an empty bag is in place.
Naturally the claims differ from my reality. Electrolux state that this model has twice the power of a 1600 watt model, and quite how Electrolux manage to get away with this claim is enough to make me realise it's not quite the ecological consumer friendly company it is trying out to be.
For general power Eco Vac is like owning a bagged Hoover or Electrolux upright again from the 1970's - not that there was anything wrong with either until the 1990's when Hoover et al went all plastic and power crazy - but in terms of watts, it seems like Electrolux have gone back in time to when their uprights sported only 800 to 1000 watts and at the hose with a bag on board means one thing; not very strong suction if there's only 800 watts full power. No matter how many times I've looked at this vacuum trying to be economically sound, the Eco Vac does have some good features, retaining the same lightweight factor of around 5kg, the same HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air; great if you own pets) filtration cartridge (washable but has to be dried before installing again) and the same short hose at the back with the cheap plastic tools - as its cheaper £40 less, total priced Z2250A Powerlite cousin which has acres more power and suction.
It begs the question that if a machine like this is to be marketed as Eco friendly, why don't Electrolux throw in a couple of drive belts and spare HEPA filters as an economical saving?
The smaller cleaning tools consist of only two; an upholstery brush that is handily placed at the top of the upright behind the handle and a crevice tool pipe which limits reach as Electrolux have made the crevice and extension long pipe into one design; perhaps they were trying to reduce cost here...
Unlike other uprights, the Eco Vac mirrors the Powerlite in the sense that it doesn't include another extension pipe for extra reach as a result. All tools snap back easily enough and the hose is easy to remove from half way down the rear of the vacuum with an anti-tip design built into the body so that the upright doesn't topple over when the hose is in use. So it is a shame that when I pulled out the hose and tried to vacuum curtain rails, I found that the hose and pipe just wouldn't reach up to the rail and in the end had to don traditional means of using a duster or a broom; you don't need stairs to take advantage of a stair cleaning hose, which is fitted to their more expensive black Powerlite "Stairmaster," model.
As with the Powerlite, installing and taking out a bag is easy enough to do, but the cheap plastic mounts on the bin door means that putting the bin door back on is often a hit and miss affair; if the bag hasn't been installed properly the bin door will not snap lock back on and thanks only to its cheap, bendy like door lid if you try to slam the door shut, you may end up breaking the two plastic hinges located at the bottom and I bet a replacement door lid won't be cheap either.
For carpet care, Eco Vac is similar to the Powerlite - easy to steer from its looped handle and lightweight enough to get into the corners thanks to its edge brushing sides. The same three position rotary dial at the front allows the owner to put the height they want making sure that the brushes hit the floor at the required thickness or thinness of the carpet texture and it is good to see that the bristles leave a good grooming effect when the vacuum is generally used on carpets. Pick up is excellent generally on carpets and hard floors if the settings are correct - which is why as an upright it should deserve to do no better than its power hungry cousin Powerlite.
The suction through the hose unfortunately is paltry to say the least and it begs the question to why Electrolux have bothered retaining the short stair hose when suction is restrained. After all, you've bought this vacuum to lower your emissions and to perhaps keep you peace of mind. But I was disappointed to find that the suction only picks up so much before the bag starts to fill and that's when the 800 watts of motor power starts to look disappointing; each bag I've used hasn't filled up entirely to the top because before too long, the suction through the hose becomes non-existent and like all upright vacuums, if the suction is weak through the hose, you can kiss goodbye to enable the machine to fill the bag up, thus not saving on cost. Like the white Powerlite (and black Stairmaster flagship model) there is no bag indicator on the front to show when the bag is full - you have to guess either by the lack of suction or by feeling the weight of the bag - and in this case, it has so far been the latter to check.
Noise wise however the Eco Vac may well impress consumers on the fact that it is quieter than its counterpart which is good for buyers looking for a quiet machine, but it could be quieter than its motor rating suggests; my Miele and Sebo at 1000 watts are generally a lot quieter than this Eco Vac so it is easy to say that in this respect and tied in with the general green plastic that this upright has been made to a budget and it shows even if the motor noise is slightly quieter than the Powerlite. It should be a lot quieter if Electrolux actually made the motor casing that little bit better. As general plastic quality goes, this Eco Vac is very thinly constructed and should be better made for the price it is selling at. Thank the Earth that for the moment it is only appearing in catalogues such as Kays, Great Universal and others.
Outwardly then if you want to be environmentally safe it seems nuts you have to pay a bit more for owning a lower powered machine in your home to save money in the long run when it should be cheap at cost price. And then you also need to keep buying bags for it when it would have been a better idea to have a fabric washable and reusable permanent cloth bag thrown in as a no cost option. Electrolux do make washable fabric bags but they cost around £15 and upwards; I guess once you buy one, you have it for life and that makes much more ecological sense all round.
For the cheapest saving it is better to consider brown recyclable paper dust bags at £3-99 for five or £1-99 for copy versions. And given that the material bags generally cost from £8-99 and upwards for a pack of 5 which Electrolux suggest last longer than the paper bags, who is kidding who, Electrolux in terms of cost saving on ecological grounds? If you want to be environmentally friendly for a choice of vacuum cleaner you'd be better off with a vacuum which has variable suction control - much more logical on the account that you can still clean with reduced power against turning it up full. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
800 Watt bagged upright cleaner with HEPA filtration / 4 litre dustbag capacity / 6m cord length / Combination dusting and upholstery brush / Long tube including crevice nozzle / Weight 5.9kgs / Short name: Electrolux Z2252A