* Prices may differ from that shown
When was the last time you saw a Kenwood vacuum cleaner? Well, for me it has to be the early 1980s when Kenwood had a small range of vacuums, from cylinders to upright vacuums but they never did well in Which consumer tests as well as proving to be quite heavy despite their poor plastic build.
Which is probably why Kenwood have now strayed away from making a vacuum cleaner after the 1980s and have only launched in the last three years two bagged cylinder vacuum cleaners and a bagless model very recently.
Against the compeitition Kenwoods VC5000 does very little other than use a paper bag as well as being extremely compact and that including its price may well be its key to its arrival;
** Quick Skip Product Spec **
Silver body with black inserts, PVC design. Made in China.
Fixed motor wattage 1400w.
Bag full indicator too small to look at from a distance.
2 friction fit steel extension tubes.
2 way universal floor head not the best for light gliding on carpet.
2.5 litre capacity with reusable washable clipped fabric bag. 5 metre power cord with auto rewind.
Crevice tool, upholstery brush and clip on tube for park position.
Washable filters; 4/5 in total.
Price £26 to £35
Against other company offerings such as Hoover, Electrolux and Morphy Richards, the Kenwood VC5000 is very little different other than the actual design of the vacuum in question, but if you can find it for £25 or just above this figure, is it still worth buying?
** In Use **
One of the redeeming features, if not basic of the VC5000 is the fact that it comes with a proper locking hose lock from the end hose to the body of the Kenwood; no dodgy poor plastic hoses which slip from the mouth here as I have found on past Hoover products for example. It has two buttons in which you push to unlock or lock before fitting to the main dirt channel. Whilst it is easy to unlock and lock the main hose to the body of the machine what I have discovered is that the hose itself is quite short and not as long as bigger cylinder vacuums on the market.
1400 watts isnt the most powerful motor either but then Kenwood should be commended for making a cheap and cheerful little vacuum with such a lot of power, even if it has a reusable fabric bag to keep cost down. At least a 5 metre power cord is also installed on the Kenwood and with a touch on the pedal it rewinds quickly at the bottom of the machine very easily.
Pulling the little machine across a floor isnt a problem; the weight of 4.5 kg is actually quite light, although it is a shame that even at 6ft I find I have to stoop when using this machine because of the short hose whilst the three wheels on the cleaner means that it is liable to topple over if pulled roughly. I also found that the first castor wheel jumps up into the air which means the only 2 wheels on the back elevates the VC5000 upwards which probably contributes to the fact that it can topple over when pulling from room to room. Thanks to the light weight plastic wheels, the Kenwood struggle on hard wood floors too as it doesnt sound like they have much protection. This is no better on many of its cheaply priced rivals and as a result thanks to no plastic bumpers the Kenwood fairs badly if it falls or bounces around hard flooring and marks the silver paint on the body easily.
In this respect you get what you pay for and I was surprised initially that the VC5000 has been so poorly designed.
A park position on both the underside and at the rear of the machine has been installed so that park clip on the hose can be stored either during cleaning or in storage but the clip itself is light quality and doesn't feel as if it will last.
** Tools **
The floorhead is also disappointing in use. Whilst with the brushes down it glides nicely across flooring, on carpet surfaces I have to let some air out at the top of the handle as the floorhead juts along thanks to its metal soleplate. The smaller tools, a short plastic crevice tool and upholstery brush (a proper one at that) are better and do their job well but what a pity they cant be stored on the machine itself and over time they will probably get lost.
** Noise and General Suction **
General suction is fair for the price you are paying for here but it is a pity that against Electrolux and Hoover you dont get a variable power selector and in this instance the motor noise can prove to become too whiney and noisy. Certainly you may have to shout over conversation when in use, but the Kenwood isnt as noisy as some other cylinders I have used.
** Filtration **
There is a huge door at the back of the 5000 which covers the exhaust of the motor, but if you try to use the cleaner on stairs, the rear position of the exhaust will heat up carpet or flooring and it is not advisable to leave this cleaner in the upright position all the time because of that exhaust filter. Whilst the filtration is not HEPA but of micro pleated standards, both filters are washable and must be dried fully before they can be installed again. The other filter is located by the main dirt bag inside the machine. Even with a new bag the VC5000 filters obvious dust odour but it will struggle with pet hair because it has no HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) fitted.
** The Bag **
The dust bag is a washable SMS type fabric bag with a plastic clip to hold the two swings together. Whilst is has a capacity of 2.5 litres, this is comparatively the same size as many cylinders on the market but what annoys me initially is the fact that getting to the bag is really small, even though the Kenwood has a large enough door to open when getting to the bag. As with most, the bag slides into its own hinge and before the bag by the motor, there is an additional slide out filter which can be washed or brushed clean. Ample fingers may well find removing the bag difficult because of the small access.
** Downsides **
The metal extension pipes are difficult to remove once they have been squeezed and screwed in. Unfortunately this is a universal problem with friction fit only tubes but it is good to see Kenwood have improved this model by fitting metal extension tubes rather than plastic.
The bag fill indicator on the top of the VC5000 is hopelessly small and I found I had to get right down to the top lid to see how full the bag is. This would be pointless for people with sight problems.
A carry handle has been fitted at the back of the cleaner which is recessed by the main front castor wheel but like Morphy Richards Jazz cleaner, this means that the cleaner can be lifted but it lifts with difficulty because of the poor actual handle, which allows hands to grab on rather than actually insert hands and fingers all around the handle.
5 metres of power cord is a fair amount of cord which allows the Kenwood to travel from room to room but I'd prefer another meter at least.
** Conclusion **
If you are looking for a budget cylinder vacuum cleaner which is designed to suck up dirt then the Kenwood may well appeal but it has too many downsides for user friendliness. The pipes are not designed well to be removed, the hose is too short, the motor is too noisy and general build quality is questionable since the paint marks easily and the plastic quality is too thin. There are better products out there which may not carry well known brand names.
Im quite surprised at the VC5000 as I thought it would have had better thought out features despite the washable fabric bag. It is almost as if Kenwood have tried at making a budget cleaner for the use of cleaning in a car and with the excellent small tools the VC5000 excels but is no better than any other compact cylinder. The bigger floorhead and stiff tubes however simply appear as add-ons.
In this respect you definitely get what you pay for and thats a pity despite the general reputation Kenwood has in this country. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
The VC5000 is a Canister vacuum / Short name: Kenwood VC5000