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      04.10.2007 23:51
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      A cheap Oreck copy upright vacuum for masses of people who don't mind undoing screws.

      In an age where we are now considering that perhaps each household seems to be burning up the Earth than we should be, is it a question of too little too late? And what has this got to do with a vacuum cleaner? The rating of air watts has only ever been more apparent with new appliances and from vacuums by Dyson where all of their products have a guaranteed 100% suction regardless of how full the bin gets against other rivals which cannot claim the same even though they try to claim with an empty paper bag or canister. That’s all very well but the air watts decrease the moment a bag or bin gets full. These days the consumer is led to believe that the more motor power a machine has, the better it will be in the long term. Well, that would be all very well if everything was made to one standard, but these days for vacuum cleaners it seems that power is everything when it comes to actual dust pick up. Which perhaps for the Hometek Light N Easy upright vacuum, it is not the best thing to boast. With only 400 watts of outright power watts, the Hometek doesn’t pretend to be anything else other than a cut price modern Hoover vacuum with a soft bag, or for those with other aspirations of joy, the humble outdated Oreck XL. Between Oreck and Hometek at least both vacuums have low motor power. There is perhaps a reason of consideration for the Hometek Light N Easy. Appearing over five years ago as a small home vacuum cleaner, it is perhaps one of the more appealing products on the market for people who feel that all they need is something a little bit lighter than their last Hoover Junior and smaller in size and footprint to their bigger Dyson vacuum. Because on all intents and purposes, the Hometek Light N Easy could be a befitting name for something which looks modern, yet retro at the same time with a big headlight and soft material outer dust bag which flares up the moment the vacuum is activated – wrapped around navy blue paint work and a Oreck inspired Helping Handle loop at the top. As with most products by Home Tek who also produce the rather excellent “Hunter” hand vacuum, the Light N Easy requires very little stress in actual use although setting up from new out of the box can be a bit of a bind. For a start, like Oreck this upright has a few more things than just screwing the handle to the main body. Although the appliance is equipped with a user manual I found it time consuming to put together; starting at the bottom where the floor head slots into the bottom pipe before securely locking it into its clamp before putting the main suction pipe and bag together, yet another pipe at the top and then the handle. By the time you do that, then all you need to do is unzip the bag at the top, fold the top down and slide a 4 litre paper bag into the opening, zip up the bag and away you go. Frankly it would appear that although it looks modern enough with a bright headlight set at the front, the Hometek’s worst appeal is putting the thing together when out of the box. ** Performance ** With no hose or smaller tools supplied, the Light n Easy is a very simple upright vacuum cleaner, designed purely to pick up dirt and hair with its simple rotary brush. I found the gliding action as well as outright weight very surprising and delightfully light – at just 4kg this vacuum cleaner seems to be marketed for everyone – not just elderly people who may find lifting a vacuum cleaner difficult. So it’s no surprise that at just £49-99 it appears to be a budget upright vacuum cleaner which won’t hurt many bank balances either. Edge to edge brushing ensures that the Light N Easy can pick up on all surfaces and the way in which it has been designed means that the cleaner can still pick up when it’s laid flat to the floor. This also means that it has no dials to twist for adjusting to the floor height – the Home Tek has an auto adjustment built in and for simple sweeping the Light n Easy does a remarkable pick up job. It also doesn’t have a large floor head so getting it through furniture is very easy and it has a bumper fitted around it to save it from knocks and scrapes. Like Oreck, the Light n Easy has a further trick up its sleeve. Not content with just copying Oreck with its easy to steer Helping Handle, Home Tek have also incorporated a similar power switch at the top of the handle whilst pick up is excellent due to the fact that the Hometek has a bigger rotary brush than most. With 6 metres of cable which is admittedly an average amount of cord available the Light n Easy travels well on all surfaces, whilst carrying it up and down stairs should be no problem thanks to its main looped handle which also serves as a carry handle. Motor noise however is noisyfor 400 watts clothed in light plastic. Yes, whilst the blue paint work hides a plastic carriage and general parts, the Hometek doesn’t have much sound insulation, and suffers the same way as the Oreck XL allows their owners to suffer under. ** The Bag ** Yes, the Light n Easy uses a bag but luckily Home Tek have included one spare bag and a spare drive belt to get you started. Lakeland Plastics, which is where I bought my model from also, sell a pack of five bags and a 2 pack of drive belts – each costing £4-99 and £3-99 respectively. The bag capacity however is also average for most bagged uprights these days – 4 litres – which isn’t too big and is double the capacity of most bagless uprights. Changing the bag is simple as well as putting one in although it is a shame it doesn’t have a plastic box instead of the old fashioned soft bag. Whilst the paper bags have some 3 stage layered filtration the soft outer bag doesn’t so those who have allergies would do better to consider other higher priced vacuums on the market which have a HEPA filter (Electrolux’s Z2250A or B model springs to mind here at £10 more and has acres more power, more weight but more versatile thanks to a hose at the back and the filter.) as the Hometek doesn’t use any other filtration except the paper bag. ** Downsides ** Outwardly there is of course a downfall to the Hometek; it doesn’t have a hose but then again this is the kind of cheaply designed upright vacuum which for the price and weight, you are simply paying for lighter than light weightness and usefulness, even though there are a few handy pointers about this vacuum in a positive manner. For a start, drive belts and bags are not always available and that poses a problem for anyone in the market who is looking for a cheap to fix upright vacuum cleaner let alone an appliance where spares are easy to find. Only Lakeland appears to have the drive belts and paper bags in stores and if you don’t have one of them in your high street or don’t like to use their mail order system, you are stuck! Thirdly if you get a clog thanks to pet hair getting wedged between the paper bag and the main spine which acts as the dirt carrier from the floor to the bag suspended by the motor vacuum air, then you have to take all three parts of the main handle and spine apart – again this mimics Oreck and unfortunately although the Hometek is well designed from some angles, the clogging methods are too old fashioned and time consuming, especially for anyone who is in a hurry or may have handling difficulties. Which brings me onto the worse attribute: ** Changing the Drive Belt ** It is a great pity that Hometek have designed the Light N Easy with such light ease of use, a great grab handle which allows no stooping and general steerage with little need to feel you have to plough through carpets. The sole plate however is a different story. There are no less than 7 cross heads which must be undone before the sole plate can be taken off with a view to either check the main dirt channel for clogging or changing the drive belt. 7 screws?? F-f-f-f-Forget that! You’d think like most uprights that the roller bar can be easily turned around to check the main dirt channel for clogging. Unfortunately due to the excellent pick up, the Hometek’s larger rotary brush gets in the way of getting actual realistic access to the main dirt channel. The User manual isn’t any better, consisting of drawn on arrowed diagrams and wording which has simply been crossed out and hand written to the parts that actually do exist. There are no guide lines for what to do if the cleaner gets clogged whilst general points of what to do could be a bit better. Frankly I can't stand the colour. It looks like a service upright vacuum rather than something designed for the 2000 year home. Okay it may have a bit of red in it around the bag, but dark blue seems to show up dirt which appears on the hood when the Light N Easy is used; not impressive. ** Conclusion ** It is really hard to decide who Hometek designed this upright cleaner for. For a start you’d think with all of its credentials and being heavily advertised by Lakeland that it is indeed an excellent “all rounder.” However, whilst it is reasonably speedy at cleaning up, excellent pick up and generally great light weightness due to its small components, an excellent headlight which is very bright and a floor head which is thin, the Home Tek Light n Easy is a bit of a misnomer due to its maintenance and noise. Unless you have a cousin or someone younger in your home who likes to take things apart, this is not the upright for the masses of older clientele Hometek would like to believe their Light N Easy is purposefully for. Hometek need to look at less than three screws or a lock system on the floor plate and an easier to dislodge clogged air way inspection system. Certainly removing any clogs or a change on the drive belt on an old Hoover Junior was never as hard as this but the only upside of the Hometek is its slightly lighter weight and a high filtration bag. Which means for owners of the old Hoover Junior, its best to hang onto your old Junior a little more for economical living and easier maintenance. Nice try, though Hometek! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007 www.hometek.co.uk

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    • Product Details

      Short name: Home-Tek HT835LE