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Electrolux Z61A Robust Stair and Car
Member Name: SpiderDreams
Electrolux Z61A Robust Stair and Car
Advantages: powerful, long flex, easy to empty, not too weighty, compact
Disadvantages: short hose
Following the purchase of the Roomba iRobot vacuum cleaner that I have already reviewed, another purchase was necessary to compliment it. Since the automatic vacuum was a bit too Dalek-eque (eg: can't get up stairs!) I needed something handy for doing the stairs and hall (and for the very thick rug that is just a little too deep for the iRobot to tackle.)
So, I opted for something portable that would give me ease of use rather than back problems when I lugged it up and down the stairs.
After trawling through many options I finally settled on the Electrolux hand vac. I had contemplated a charging one however I have known these to end up like mobile phones....barely holding a charge!
This portable vac is a decent size with enough weight to make you confident it can do the job but light enough that you don't jar your shoulder! Its compact size belies the amount of dust, hair, pet fur etc it can store!
Beneath the head is a rotating brush with a visor that can either stay up (so the brushes sweep the floor) or flip down (so the brushes face outwards, to allow you to vac the stair rise).
The filter and bin is located above the vac head so you can see clearly just how much you've cleaned and when it needs to be emptied.
On the handle at thumb level is the button. This switches on the machine by sliding it up one, up two gets the brushes rotating and pulling it backwards fully releases the catch that opens the bin.
To empty you release the catch, pull off (with ease) the bin and pop out the filter. Do this over a bag or rubbish bin as it can cascade dust about when you drag the filter off. If you have pets or are cleaning dusty areas such as behind the fridge or under the sofa, you will probably need to "brush" the hair/fur off the filter as it can cling a bit.
The cable comes with the usual three pin plug and a massive load of flex! I can plug it into a socket in the living room and go all the way upstairs to do the hall and still have lots of slack.
Wrapped around the back of the handle is a concertina hose ending in a short plastic nozzle. The nozzle fit neatly into a hole to "complete" the vac. If you wanted to use this part of the vacuum, simply pull it out and flick it on (standard setting, not brushes).
An additional accessory is the nozzle extender, a tapered plastic end that fits onto the nozzle to intensify the suction and get into smaller hard to reach places. This accessory fits into a nice little cubbie hole in the back end of the vac so you don't lose it when not in use.
As I mentioned the long flex really makes doing the stairs easy. The brushes rotate super fast and so far I have never had to go over the same area! It picks up cat hair brilliantly (I have three indoor cats who enjoying rolling around on the carpet to expel as much cat fur as possible...so this was a big plus!)
It is easy to move from using the hand vac with its brushes to popping out the hose and nozzling into the corners and crevices of the stairs!
I did not think the ability to vac up the stair rises was important until I realises just how much cat hair was covering these areas. A great little feature that I think works wonders.
While I bought this mainly for the stairs I have used it on the sofas to quickly remove excess cat hair, (does a great job!) and have even tried it in my car... and I'm one for leaving car cleaning to professionals if I can help it.
The handiness of its size made it easy to use in the car and again the feature that allows the brushes to face outwards rather than downwards meant I could go over my seats quickly. I was able to do my stairs and the whole of my car before I felt I needed to empty (and this mainly came because my car hadn't been cleaned in months!) Usually the emptying of the vac can be after several uses. Again, the long flex made it great for the car as it reaches easily to the drive.
The filter is removable (obviously) however it can be brushed to remove excess mess but it cannot be washed or submerged. A stiff brush is good enough at this time, though eventually I may need to replace the filter (like with all vacuums!)
The outside can be wiped with a damp cloth and the brushes, while not as easy to clean as the iRobot are still easy enough. A little time pulling out hair that winds around it is best done after every 1-2 cleans, to avoid a build up that can affect the vacuum from working effectively.
~Points to Note~
* It is probably heavier than people expect but not so heavy you can't vac loads. I am not exactly a strong person but I didn't find it cumbersome doing the stairs and then my car.
* It can be a little tricky getting the filter back into the bin but that is usually just the first few times (or it could just be me!) once you get the hang of it there really is no problem.
* The only downside I have to this vac is that there is an area at the back for the cable to be wrapped around but nothing to lock it in place so the instant you let go the cable uncoils again and since it's very long can tangle all over the place. Not a problem if you are going to store it in a cupboard. But it might be worth investing in some re-usable cable ties (Q-ties I think they are called).
* Final point, the hose is not that long as it's designed more for tackling crevices and corners on the stairs me thinks, so be aware that you won't be able to use it to suck cobwebs off the ceiling....unless you stood on a chair almost touching the ceiling!
Overall I think this is an excellent purchase and it does exactly what I want it to do without jamming or giving me a hump in my shoulder from excessive weight. If you have an iRobot and need a stair vac, I 100% recommend this one.
Summary: Overall a great purchase with a lot of power :)
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