“ Cylindric cleaner. „
This is my first review.
I bought this vacuum cleaner whilst living in rented accomodation back in 2006, mainly as the shared Henry was never available when I wanted it and after a disastrous encounter with a cheaper cleaner, decided to go to a name I felt I could trust due to previous postive experience. Now I am back in my own house it came with me and is still in use.
So one sunny afternoon I went to Argos to purchase the Electrolux Z4411 Powerplus but for some reason was supplied with the Z4431 at no extra cost at £39.95. Feeling that I had got myself a bargain, I went back smiling and hoping that I wasn't going to be disappointed.
OUT OF THE BOX
The main vacuum cleaner unit weighs 4.7kg, has a cable length of 4.5m which allows me to clean the whole of the ground floor of my house without changing sockets and is stored using the cord rewind. The seems to run smoothly but needs an additional push of the switch to get the plug flush into the recess where it sits.
The cleaner has a 1700w motor with electronic suction control which is adjusted using a rotary dial. The unit is reasonably quiet even on the full suction setting but not quiet enough to hold a telephone conversation and the suction is also adjustable by a vent on the hose handle.
The unit has 2 large wheels and a small castor on the base. It moves quite well across floor surfaces, however the plastics do show any knocks or scrapes and there is no bumper to protect the cleaner from these.
The hose is a good length and all the extension tubes/attachments are positioned using friction fit and don't easily pry loose when being used. The floor head is good quality, sturdy and cleans well on ceramic floor tiles and the wool short pile carpet. It is less effective on synthetic carpet and generally needs a couple of more passes to collect lint or fluff. The tubes are metal and sturdy. I am 6' 2'' and I don't have to stoop to use this cleaner unlike other machines where I can be guaranteed to get some backache.
However, the other attachments are less good quality. The short crevice nozzle has a brush attached to it which can be swung into place for dusting. When that brush in place the decibels increase and it whistles like hell, to the point now I never use it. The upholstery nozzle is satisfactory but both it and crevice nozzle seem less well thought out. A bonus is that they are stored on the main cleaner under a flap but this flap seems to use a poorer quality plastic than the rest of the machine and I can foresee maybe one day it may give up the ghost.
The vacuum uses either paper dustbags or a reusable cloth bag. The paper versions have a flap to cover the hole when removed for disposal which reduces the return of the dust to the environment a little. I find they last around 3 months, depending of frequency of use and what has been vacuumed and hold around 4l of dust. Clogging seems to occur fairly quickly if there is lots of fine dust.
I get the genuine Electrolux bags from a local shop at a cost of £3-95 for 5, which includes a filter which should be changed every 5 to 10 bags. The filter has to be cut to shape before fitting - I use the one to be removed as a template. I found that for some reason non genuine bags are dearer but now they seem to be making them from a cloth material like some other manufacturers. The reusable bag is adequate, it does get clogged quicker but I actually prefer paperbags as I find their disposal much easier.
When the bag is full there is an indicator which changes from green to orange on the cleaner.
The unit is easily stored. There are 2 hose parking slots one on the base and one on the rear of the cleaner near the exhaust. However, the hose is quite bulky and takes a fair amount of room up, and so is more often than not stored with hose off the machine.
As it is lightweight (4.7kg) it is easily carried up and downstairs and again glides well due to the large wheels and small castor on the base.
Overall I have been pleased with the performance of this machine, it does the job I want it to but there are niggles such as the quality of some of the plastics and the noise when the dusting brush is used.
For the price it meets my needs and copes well.
Thank you for reading.
BACKGROUND: This wasnt the vacuum cleaner that Id had in mind. Looking back, I have only myself to blame, but when our faithful old Hoover shuffled off its electronic coil back in May, I was frankly desperate. I must have been. After all, what else could possibly have induced me, on a Saturday afternoon, to dispatch a 41 year old man with a pathological dislike of appliance shopping and (in my opinion) negligible recent experience of vacuuming (enter husband at stage left), along with a two year old sidekick with a proven record for sabotaging even the most elementary of shopping expeditions (enter son at stage right) to secure the replacement?
The Hoovers death had been as protracted as it was upsetting. Firstly, there were the noises. Merely odd, at first, gradually becoming unsettling, before developing into the sort of full-blown, high-pitched squeals which can only portend imminent catastrophe. These final death wails had been accompanied by the unmistakeable scent of burning rubber. And then there was silence.
So, husband & son had been duly dispatched to the local Comet with instructions to purchase a red 1000W Henry. They returned with a silver Electrolux Powerplus 1800W. Confused? I certainly was. Apparently, Henrys menacing little face had terrified my little boy on sight, and the blameless Electrolux, displayed nearby, had seemed a reasonable compromise. The Powerplus Z4431S isnt the cheapest model in the Electrolux stable, but it comes fairly close. I rather suspect my husband had been applying that same strange logic that once prompted an old boyfriend of mine to always order the second least expensive item on a Wine list. Still, the vacuum cleaner looked conventional enough, the brand is well known, and anyway, as said, I was desperate.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Once out of the box, the Powerplus looked much as it had appeared on the packaging. It has a glossy silver finish, a nicely rounded shape, and measures approximately 18 x 11 inches. The handle at the top is comfortable to hold, and the feature buttons are satisfactorily self-explanatory. These consist, quite simply, of two large black buttons (an on/off switch to the left, and a cord retraction switch to the right). In the centre of the machine, there is a Min/Max power dial, which allows you to adjust the strength of suction. There is a clasp at the rear of the machine for clipping the main head into place when not in use. Finally, two small attachments are neatly concealed beneath the hood (more on these later). It is when I first go to lift the appliance, however, that I get a bit of a shock. Not of the electrical kind, I should hasten to add! It is simply that the machine is much, much lighter than I had imagined. It seems to weigh next to nothing. Furthermore, on closer inspection, the plastic outer shell feels rather insubstantial and the shell makes a slightly cheap, hollow sound when gently tapped.
FEATURES: Key features of this model include a so-called micro-filtration system, which helps to confine dust to the cleaner and protect air quality. Im unsure as to how this actually works, but I must say that the machine does not seem to blast out a faint scent of stale, recycled dust the way my old Hoover used to, even when the dust-bag is filled to near capacity. The appliance comes equipped with both a standard disposable paper bag, as well as a reusable cloth bag, which is an excellent idea, being both environmentally friendly as well as ensuring that you never need worry about running out of bags. There is a small Dust-bag Full Indicator on the lid of the machine, which changes from green to red when the dust-bag requires emptying, and the On/Off and Cord Retraction buttons are both designed to be used as foot-pedals as well as by hand. The Variable Power Control gauge, alluded to earlier, is another very useful feature. This enables you to soften the strength of suction depending upon the surface being cleaned, making it easier to vacuum things such as curtains and upholstery, which may ordinarily be sucked right up the nozzle of a conventional cleaner. The cleaners hose swivels 360 degrees, for manoeuvrability, and clips in and out very easily. In addition to the floor nozzle, which can be adjusted to one of two settings depending on the floor surface being cleaned, two further nozzles are concealed in a hatch on the top of the machine, namely, the Upholstery Nozzle and the Dusting Brush & Crevice Nozzle.
USABILITY: In terms of ease of use, I really have no complaints whatsoever with this Electrolux. As mentioned, this model is extremely light and manoeuvrable, and in a house with a lot of stairs (two & a half flights, in our case) a lightweight vacuum cleaner can only be a good thing. However, I remain concerned that the machines lightweight exterior means that it will prove a lightweight in terms of staying power, too. The plastic casing feels cheap and insubstantial, and it looks as though it would crack quite easily, if dropped down a couple of stairs, for example, or otherwise mishandled. The nozzle hatch seems similarly fragile, and has come off in my hands on a couple of occasions when opened. It did, however, click back into position quite easily. As such, the machines supposed fragility remains largely hypothetical. Furthermore, in all fairness, I have used it now for almost 6 months without incident, and despite fairly heavy use, it does not even appear particularly scratched.
On the other hand, the two nozzle attachments, whilst serviceable enough, have not proved as useful as those supplied with our previous cleaner. In particular, the combined Dusting Brush & Crevice nozzle with its fold out brush is fiddly to use, and the brush itself is extremely small.
VERDICT? In terms of sheer disposability, the modern vacuum cleaner must surely rank alongside other household appliances such as the toaster, and possibly the kettle, in the environmental Hall of Shame. Having said that, my mother has had the same Swedish made Volta since 1981, albeit periodically fortified by the odd replacement part from a trusted supplier, so top of the range machines can certainly have the potential to last. The Electrolux Z4431S, however, must be considered as falling into the former, more disposable category. I dont expect it to last forever, and if I get a good five years out of this machine, I will be more than satisfied. Of course, in less busy households, the appliance may well last even longer. In conclusion, especially in view of its very reasonable price tag (around £50), I believe that this machine represents good value. It is attractive, well designed, easy to use and thus far at least, proving very reliable.
FACTS & FIGURES: The exact dimensions of the Powerplus Z4431S, as supplied on the Electrolux website, are as follows: height 24.6 cm, width 45.8cm and depth 29.4cm. The appliance weighs just 4.7 kg. The exact cord length is 4.5m, allowing a cleaning radius of 7.3m. The dust bag capacity is 4 L, and the product comes with a 12-month guarantee as standard.
Further information is available here
Although generally priced at £59.99, this model is available at Comet and amazon.co.uk for £49.99.
Short name: Electrolux Z4431S