Newest Review: ... a Booster function for maximum suction, but I don't actually notice any difference between this and the normal setting. It's not strong e... more
A Good Little Sucker!
Member Name: dahlin
Advantages: Powerful, bagless, useful tools, fairly quiet
Disadvantages: Some may find it bulky, some minor flaws
The Electrolux ZB412 'Rapido' Cyclonic Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is available to purchase from selected electrical outlets and department stores, as well as various online retailers. The RRP is around the £60 mark, but it's currently being sold for £32.99 on Amazon, with similar sale prices elsewhere.
Why I Bought It
Last year I had lovely new laminate floors fitted and it's amazing how quickly dust and fluff starts to gather making it look messy. I had been using a dustpan and brush to keep it tidy but found it wasn't a particularly efficient method, so I decided I needed a vacuum cleaner to make the job quicker and easier. I don't have the space to store a normal vacuum, so a handheld was really my only option.
Well I have to say that for a vacuum cleaner this looks pretty good. The main body is made of clean white plastic, with silver-grey inserts and a semi-transparent black panel on the top. There's a blue LED around the on/off buttons which lights up when it's on charge, and it sits upright on a white plastic charging stand. It's sleek and stylish with a futuristic feel to it, and I don't feel the need to hide it away.
I personally find the cleaner to be fairly lightweight and easy to handle, but I do feel that for people with small hands or little strength it would probably feel quite bulky and awkward, particularly because the handle is quite large.
The buttons are well-placed at the top of the handle and easy to reach without having to stop what you're doing, and they are easily depressed with no sticking or stiffness to speak of.
- Cyclonic, bagless cleaning
The fact that the cleaner is cyclonic gives it more suction power and I find it picks up exceptionally well and never loses suction during cleaning (except when the battery needs recharging). It's more powerful than most other handhelds at 12V and I personally think this is essential when using it as a general cleaner as I do. It also has a Booster function for maximum suction, but I don't actually notice any difference between this and the normal setting.
It's not strong enough to properly vacuum carpet, picking up surface dust and debris but not getting into the pile. Despite being powerful the cleaner is fairly quiet, enough so that I'm confident that no-one else can hear it when I use it in the middle of the night.
The bagless system basically makes the whole thing a lot simpler and less messy to empty. There's no messing around with bags, just detach the filters and empty straight into a bin.
The cleaner has 2 small wheels just below the suction hole which allow you to smoothly run it over a surface, making the majority of cleaning quicker and easier. Unfortunately it also means that in certain spaces I'm unable to get the suction hole close enough to the surface to be able to pick anything up, but this is where the crevice tool comes in.
- Crevice nozzle and small brush
These little tools are stored neatly in the bottom of the vacuum, clipping easily and securely into place when not in use. The crevice tool is about 9cm long and it just slots into the suction hole of the vacuum. Similarly the brush can be slotted into the vacuum itself, or alternatively it can be attached to the end of the crevice tool. I find the brush can be difficult to remove when attached to the vacuum, whereas when attached to the crevice tool it can come off during use.
The crevice tool does come in handy when trying to clean those hard to reach areas, but I feel it would benefit greatly from being just a bit longer, making it less awkward trying to reach into small gaps. It's also great for doing the tops of skirting boards where the shape of the cleaner itself prevents me getting it close enough to pick up dust from the small surface area.
The brush comes in useful for surfaces where the dust sticks rather than just settling, for instance in my bathroom where the vacuum won't pick up dust because the steamy atmosphere has caused it to stick to the surface. Using the brush lifts the dust from the surface allowing it to then be picked up by the vacuum, and I do find it very effective. The only slight annoyance is that fluff builds up very quickly in the brush and it can be quite difficult to remove from the bristles.
- Charging stand
The charging stand can be freestanding or wall mounted depending on the space you have available. I wasn't able to wall mount mine as there are no fittings included and no instructions on how to go about it.
The cable is approximately 1.8m long so there's no need to have it right by a socket, and if you have it freestanding any excess cable can be wound around the underneath of the stand where it's out of the way and can't be seen.
The cleaner fits easily and neatly onto the stand and the blue light around the buttons lights up when it's correctly in place (assuming you have it switched on at the socket of course) so you immediately know if you've somehow managed not to do it right.
The only slightly irritating thing with this is I always go to put the cleaner in nozzle down as when I'm holding the handle that's how I would automatically go to put in down, but in fact you have to turn it upside-down so that the handle's at the bottom and the nozzle at the top. This probably wouldn't seem at all wrong if it was wall-mounted or stood on a work surface, but as I have mine on the floor it just feels awkward.
Charging and Battery Life
Before the first use the vacuum needs to be charged for 16-20 hours to reach it's full capacity. After this it's recommended that it should be placed back in the stand when not in use so that it's always ready for use. If it is allowed to completely discharge it will need to be charged for a full 16 hours again.
Personally I don't tend to use it for long periods of time, it's more just a quick go round the edges of my rooms where the dust gathers, so I don't generally have any problems with the battery running down in use. Occasionally I have left the charger switched off and only after several days use do I then feel a slight loss of suction and need to re-charge it, so judging by that I'd say the battery life is pretty good.
Emptying and Cleaning
Emptying the vacuum is extremely simple. Just push the release button at the top of the handle to release the dust container, then pull out the filter and empty it into a dustbin. They then both easily clip back into place once emptied.
The filter has a spring running through the middle which you can pull on a few times to free the filter of dust for a quick and simple clean. It is recommended that the filters and dust container are washed thoroughly with water every once in a while to help keep the vacuum functioning properly, and this also takes minimum effort. For regular maintenance it is suggested that you use another vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the components.
The unit and the stand just need a quick wipe over with a damp cloth to keep them looking as good as new.
The cleaner is well made, very robust and can easily take hard knocks as well as being dropped repeatedly on hard surfaces with no detriment to it's performance. As long as you ensure you maintain it properly it is a hardwearing and long-lasting little machine, and mine still functions exactly as it did when I first bought it. However, there are several areas of the machine that scratch very easily and I found mine was showing a lot of superficial wear and tear within the first few uses.
Overall I've been very pleased with the performance of this cleaner and it currently meets all my needs. It's not a complete home cleaning solution and if you have carpets you will need to invest in a proper vacuum, but although it does have some minor issues, it does it's job very well. I'd happily recommend it to anyone looking for a great value, high performance handheld vacuum.
Summary: A great little handheld vacuum
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