Newest Review: ... so far as pushing in the right ends, but even if I managed to put the wrong ends in, the handle and corresponding spine are easy to fit and... more
An Athletic, Effective Way To Clean Without Breaking A Sweat!
Member Name: Nar2
Advantages: So light and easy to use, you'll wonder why you bother vacuuming at all; great on carpets & floors.
Disadvantages: Can be a bit rattly, newer design means no added duster attachment.
Goodbye 10-year-old cordless Electrolux Ergorapido upright stick vac, Hello Gtech! If like me you're savvy about the latest appliances that have hit the market then you or many buyers have either considered or about to run out and buy the latest new "vacuum cleaner" on the market that is feather light, cordless and goes under the name of the "Air Ram," by Gtech. The "British" cordless dust sweeper company claim that their new cordless upright is a vacuum cleaner and not a dust sweeper since the motor does produce some suction and has a longer lasting battery with a bale like dust capture principle, making it easier to clean out the dust pan when it needs to be emptied. It also looks cool and ultra modern. Although it has just been launched, it comes with quite an expensive cost price of £229-00 and like so many other cordless upright stick vacs on the market that came before it, all of them seem to be priced expensively.
Still, I can see why some buyers may well be attracted to a cordless upright vacuum cleaner - but whilst there's the more expensive option, Gtech still produce their trusty ranges of cordless dust sweepers at a healthier, easier to purchase and far more readily available range starting at £39-99 on average and upwards. Now you may be asking why on earth would I want another vacuum, or another sweeper - but at the time of purchase before my mother took ill, - I bought the Gtech for her to use in her home - but as the months floated on and her illness became more serious she wasn't at home to try my new toy. Thus, it was passed onto me - and this little sweeper has since been my saviour to home visits from friends - far quicker when it comes to cleaning up dust and dirt brought in.
Compared to the cost of a new AEG Ergorapido (same company owned by Electrolux, now) at £129-99, the famous Gtech SW02 that was first seen on Channel 4's Big Brother household came home with me at a cost price of £49-99. This sweeper also comes with a 1-year warranty as standard with a further 2 years available direct from Gtech at an additional cost of £12-95 although they are currently offering this warranty free if you buy direct from them but excludes the battery life.
==Nar2's Quick Skip Product Spec==
* 7.2Volt cordless battery with 16 hour charging time.
* 0.5 litre pull out dust bin - no filters to clean.
* Permanent rolling beater brush bar with side edge brush wheels.
* Removable hood for cleaning and cleaning stairs.
* Adjustable telescopic height handle and removable.
* 60 minute running time comes with charge adaptor and plug.
* Current 2012 price £49-99 with 1 yr standard guarantee/warranty.
* Total weight 1.2kg and handle has hanging hole ability.
Basically, the Gtech SW02 cordless sweeper has been on the market since 2004. It has a run time of 60 minutes per 16 hour charge - If you look at this appliance as a second back up to your normal high power vacuum cleaner, the Gtech principle of saving money can be worked out easily by the amount of times you use it and the amount of time it spends being charged up. For the cost price of £90 I could have settled for the more expensive SW20 "Premium" cordless sweeper - but for that price I could well have just topped up and replaced my old Electrolux with the latest cordless AEG model and have the same performance all over again with its heavier lift-out optional dust buster. The Gtech SW02 is just so much simpler - and far lighter than the 2.4kg AEG Ergorapido can ever hope to be - that also only lasts for 20 minutes before it runs out of puff.
This £49-99 lightweight cordless sweeper has a much simpler design to a lot of cordless stick vacs on the market and the handle can be taken off with just the floor head and its stubby "joystick" handle for cleaning stairs as well as the sweeper being fitted with soft bristles to cope with hard flooring as well as carpet. A bonus to Gtech is that you can lift out the battery yourself if you sweeper dies out through the years - and battery replacements are also available from Gtech.
Out of the box, where assembly and quality is concerned, the silver painted plastic SW02 takes a few minutes to work out how to put the handle and spine together - and it can be tricky as this is no "ordinary" spine, as the spine will adjust to every user's height as far as being 6ft 4" or a total height of the sweeper's handle and spine to 82cm. It may appear to be simple since there are three parts to the spine and although it looks simple thanks to its push-pip-to-lock mechanisms on each end of the quality brushed aluminium spine, I managed to break the spine by putting the wrong end in at the top of the easy to grip looped handle!
This is because the user manual needs better clarity in so far as pushing in the right ends, but even if I managed to put the wrong ends in, the handle and corresponding spine are easy to fit and lock up. Throughout the process though, the quality of the Gtech SW02 seems okay for what you're paying for - the spine of the sweeper is a lightweight aluminium pole that also adjusts for height for the owner due to a ratchet lock, a similar mechanism you'll find on any cylinder vacuum cleaner that sports an adjustable height suction tube. Similarly though I've yet to find a mechanical sweeper on the market that has an adjustable handle for height, so top marks to Gtech for adding this versatile design aspect. After the handle and spine are locked together, all you do is put the complete handle assembly and lock it into the handy grab handle on the bottom of the sweeper, acting as the main grab handle once the spine/tube is taken off for cleaning stairs, car seats or boot liners. Every lock has a push in push-release pip lock, so once that handle and spine are locked in, it won't come out unless you press the release pips that have been cut into the metal and plastic parts for access.
Some owners online however never think to check the dust tray on this sweeper upon taking it out of the box the first time - resulting in moans about a lack of battery - but this is where you will find the battery and plug adaptor, hidden in there before it can all be unravelled and used. It also allows you to easily store the sweeper up if you take it away to student halls or to a holiday home.
On your marks set! !...2...3! Frankly I don't know why I waited until now to get myself a GTECH cordless sweeper! Whilst there are so many different models from Gtech in so far as cordless sweepers from the "antibacterial" Germguard SW18 model to the premium shorter-charge SW20 and my original model, the SW02, where performance is concerned, this sweeper deserves a gold medal! The SW02 may well require 16 hours charging for a 60 minute operation - but it hasn't taken me a full 60 minutes to run around my big home to clean and after one charge per week, the SW02 has been used practically every day for a couple of minutes at a time. This little baby does more than just offer a long lasting power runtime. It swivels, sweeps and steers on a dime because it is so lightweight, nimble, fast and eager for dirt! There's even a small LED light that shines in green to indicate the sweeper has been activated. The motor noise isn't too loud either and the sweeper has two large wheels that are well made and well protected with rubberised outer shells to protect hard flooring when in use. It is just a shame that though it offers excellent gliding characteristics, the underside of the Gtech can be a bit rattily in use, but this is down to the general design and doesn't impede on performance. The sweeper can take its fair share of knocks too, being coated in PVC plastic on the underside and the silver painted parts on top.
The operation is a dream come true too, with a big oval silver/black plastic foot power button on top of the hood at the back and an easy to grip handle at the top. All you do is put one foot on the front of the floor head to release the handle a la Dyson and away you go! The secret behind the Gtech's whole design is that the neck and floor head of the Gtech both swivel from left to right, also compensated by a reasonably flat floor head (28.5cm floor head by 4.5cm height) that can slip under coffee tables and kitchen tables with ease! The floor head also has a flat-to-the-floor design where it can be laid flat to clean as well as being pivoted from the handle for more contact on carpets by adding a little more weight from your hands. Threads, hairs, coins, general household dust and even DIY grommets like bolts or nuts are eaten brushed up by the Gtech SW02; a mean feat for most conventional upright vacuums these days!
I thought my swivelling main vacuum Sebo Felix upright was fast, but the Gtech cordless sweeper is a good, lightweight and alternative companion to the Sebo and it is a marvel to get around the home, reminding me of my old Swivel Sweeper and allowing me to clean up in less than 10 minutes, after darting from one room to the other! Like my Sebo Felix, the Gtech SW02 is eager and hungry for pet hair off carpets, rugs and hard floors. If you abhor the thought of a manual work out with a mechanical manual sweeper, the Gtech SW02 is a bit of an athlete ready to sprint with you, not against you! The revelation here is that due to its design, the brush roll and the back wheels work in tandem giving me a feather light gliding action at all times.
The other secret behind the Gtech's design here is that the entire roller/floor head can be detached from the telescopic, height adjustable tube and handle. This then gives you the option to use the handle at the bottom of the sweeper to clean stairs.
When it comes to cleaning stairs, the Gtech and its other brothers has been met with opposition from several reviewers and owners but let me make this a bit clearer. The Gtech has a removable clear visor at the front. Handy to see when the purple bristles need cleaning at the same time, the visor just comes off by pulling upwards to release from the plastic oval locks at either side. Then take off the main handle and spine from the release pip at the bottom of the sweeper. Once this is done, the brush roll is completely bare and the base handle on the sweeper's floor head becomes like a joystick, able to move the Gtech inwards at an angle to enable cleaning stairs.
Now, whilst this can be a tricky process to work out how such a sweeper could possibly clean stairs, there is more to the SW02 than meets the eye. Whilst I had no trouble at all cleaning carpeted stairs moving the sweeper horizontally up and down to remove fluff that an otherwise hose and vacuum cleaner tool (with machine on the stair or at the bottom if you have a longer hose) would take up, the whole process takes seconds to do. Granted the only downside here is that the small slide out dust pan can get clogged up pretty quickly with lots of dirt collected, the Gtech not only provides cleaning for stair lintels but also for the stairs you walk on, simply by snapping the visor back on at the front and then by hand, pushing the sweeper back and forth on the steps. Nothing could be simpler! Even if your steps are narrow, half of the floor head's spinning brush can still clean all matter of dirt embedded on the steps by moving it forwards and backwards.
However, through this process I have also encountered some other wonderful tricks that this sweeper employs. When the handle is taken off and it looks like I'm about to clean stairs, I find this sweeper is great for cleaning crumbs off the kitchen table as well as the work surfaces! If the late Jade Goody got away with Dyson'ing her kitchen table, I don't see why I can't with my Gtech! This is because the bristles are soft on the Gtech, so it is impossible to damage delicate surfaces and because of the motor's soft power and relatively lower spinning brushes, this whole design makes cleaning thick pile shag rugs like bathroom rugs and similar additional rugs a breeze where conventional upright vacs would turn their nose up at - with an impending drive belt breakage if the long, thick straggly pile gets caught up in the roller. Not so with the Gtech - this little baby brings up thick pile carpets with a lovely groomed appearance - but also removes dirt and especially on bathroom rugs - annoying bits of paper or loose threads - without balding the rugs in the process!
In terms of downsides there are only but a few with this cordless sprinting sweeper! The Gtech SW02 has an excellent sweeping action but at the sides you'll find round spinning edge-cleaning brushes that constantly rotate at the same time as the brush roll. The brushes do the job as intended and they are super for getting dust out of skirting boards. However, the brushes themselves are set on a rubberised wheel, probably to reaffirm that the Gtech can be used on hard surfaces and to protect the machine and the home. But, in use, depending on the resistance of the carpet that the sweeper is required to clean, the Gtech's side brushes can often stop the natural gliding flow that the sweeper generally demonstrates. Although this can be felt from the handle, it reaffirms that the Gtech is a low power cordless dust sweeper and not a vacuum cleaner, thus taking a little more time to clean rather than sprinting around the home with it. Raised carpet on skirting boards can often stick the rotary side brushes even though they do the job as intended.
Another downside is that the edge brushes are very eager and often if you clean in the vicinity of thin cables such as audio cables to and from your computer and if they trail on the floor, the Gtech can snag easily on cables. This has occurred to me on occasion but each time, the cables and the sweeper have not been damaged - you'll just know about it when there's a slight judder and a louder noise from the motor when something gets caught. Again having that removable visor to remove or clean the brush roll is very handy and the brush roll itself is fairly easy to get at for removing hairs or wound up threads.
Lastly where downsides are concerned, my SW02 is a 2012 model and has dark silver and light silver body colour as opposed to the original dark grey, silver and purple "bottom handle" model. That model also came with a handy duster attachment that this model now lacks. I don't like dusters in general but it could have been a handy bonus to keep this on, Gtech!
When it comes to charging and emptying, the process is just as easy and quick to do as using the Gtech! There is a single LED light just below the main power on/off pedal that goes red when the plug is charging the sweeper. When it has finished, a green light comes on to indicate that charging is done and the sweeper only re-charge itself if the sweeper has been switched off via the pedal, i.e when the brush roll is not moving.
For emptying, a flush, slide out dust tray reveals dirt collected and can simply be emptied in a bin. There's a helpful concave in the plastic that is shaped especially for hands to grab the dust pan from the top and bottom before pulling the slide tray out. Although Gtech stipulate that the sweeper has to be emptied each time you use it, I don't tend to do this and thus clean out the dust tray once a week. now this process is a double edged sword, because over time dust will leak out of the Gtech if you don't empty it and assume the dust tray can be emptied as soon as the flush acrylic clear panel shows that the dirt is bursting out of it. So far, I've only had one occasion where dust leaked out of the Gtech and that was simply because I didn't empty it as much as I should have! If however your home is susceptible to daily or weekly visits from people, and the Gtech sweeper has to be used every day, then yes, the dustpan may require to be emptied more often. The dust tray can be washed out with a damp cloth to remove any excess dust, too.
Since purchasing the Gtech SW02 sweeper in April, my vacuum cleaner usage hasn't been as high as it normally is - and that is saying something from a collector and from someone who prides in hygiene, loves to clean, and lives with a pet. If you have pets that run around the home freely, the Gtech SW02 is worth its weight in gold alone and if you have carpets that require daily cleaning, the cordless Gtech reaches gold status in record time. You don't have to pay out expensively to keep your home clean and the Gtech SW02 proves this as well as offering low maintenance in a small package and offers great efficiency, reliability and most of all, ease of cleaning. There really isn't a better way to clean floors in record time before the troops arrive! Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2012
Summary: A good alternative to mains power vacuuming and cordless freedom means more sprinting around!
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