I bought this vacuum as I have just moved into a small flat which doesnt have a lot of storage space. This vacuum has an extendable tube which is good for fitting it in the small hallway I have by the bathroom. It came with a full instruction manual and also all the parts where in different plastic bags so I had to put it all together which took about 10 mins.
It comes with a selection of different heads to put on the end. One is the standard wide one that has a setting for carpets and you flick the switch and then you can hoover on tiles and wood floors without scratching them. Very useful as my whole living room and kitchen is wood floor and its working very well on them.
Another head is a slim long one that is good for getting in all the nooks and crannies. They are easily detached and put on.
The actual vacuum part is small and compact. Its bagless, which saves on bags and makes it easier to remove the dirt.
It has a sort of cylinder which you can clip and unclip when it gets full up of dirt. There is a filter inside which you can scrap off the dirt easily from. I find it easiest to clean off the filter and the cylinder about every 2 uses to keep the suction at its best. It also recommends this in the user manual.
Its quite noisy, about as noisy as a Henry hoover, but then I dont really mind how noisy it is as it does the job quickly.
There is a metal pole that attaches to the plastic moveable piping at one end and then to the detachable parts like the flat head and the long thin tube.
Its not too heavy either, I am not that strong and can easily carry it along with the pole. Its also great as when you are emptying it, you can just take off the cylinder where everything is collected and this part is very very light.
Its got a big silver button that pulls the cord back in automatically, though you have to press it a few times as its not that strong. Opposite this is another silver button that turns it on and off. It looks quite robust and has big wheels that make it easy to pull around after you whilst you are vacuuming. Its a nice stylish colour of black and silver, and looks quite modern so will look fine in a nice trendy flat.
I bought this vacuum from argos, and it was delivered by courier so I didnt even have to carry it back from town. It was in a sale £30 down from £40 which I thought was quite good, as the other compact vacuum cleaners were a lot more expensive.
For the price you pay its a great vacuum, the suction is powerful and although its not suited to someone who has a big house to clean, its perfect for those with a one or 2 bedroom house or flat. I am really pleased with mine and hopefully it will last me a long time and that will make it really great value for money.
Proaction SL208 Bag-Less Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner
After moving in to my new built flat and having limited space for things such as Vacuum Cleaners and such like the idea to get rid of the oversized old cleaner was of course my own and not the thinking of my rather thrifty boyfriend. We did however come to a compromise and instead of my idea to get a compact Dyson for a large amount of money we settled on a compact cheap vacuum cleaner from Argos instead.
The idea of getting a bag less vacuum cleaner was really mine as I find the whole idea of having to spend money on bags, which seem to fill up in our house pretty quickly, only to throw away seems such a waste. The cheapest bag less vacuum cleaner available in Argos is indeed the very one we bought, this Proaction SL208. It set us back a mere £24.99p a price that I find extremely cheap and I find it hard to contemplate that these can be manufactured and retiled with any profit being made at all. This price is at least half the cost of most of the other vacuum cleaners available in the Argos catalogue and of course compared to the Dyson which I originally wanted is a good £260 cheaper (this made my boyfriend very happy indeed).
A great factor of buying this particular vacuum clean is, for us, the fact that it is compact and fits well into our small storage cupboard with no problems at all. Not only is it small in size but is also light weight weighing in at 4.9kg I am able to lift it in and out of rooms with no back breaking effort at all. The vacuum cleaner itself looks pretty good maybe a little cheap in appearance but still pretty slick with its black gloss body and clear compartment for you to see the dirt mounting up. Where most of our flooring is now laminated and we only have carpet in the two bedrooms I find myself using the flat sweeper to collect the fluff and debris on the floor and hovering up the piles I have made with this vacuum cleaner so the amount I use it fairly limited. However since I have had it and been using it I do find it very easy to use and it really does work well.
The specifications of this vacuum cleaner are of course fairly minimal compared to the likes of the Dyson but I find them adequate for my needs. The 2-litre dust capacity this vacuum offers is indeed a very sufficient size and I find myself not having to empty it that often. However I do find it best not to wait until the dust collector is full to bursting as emptying a half full tub of course makes less mess than emptying one filled to the brim. Also this vacuum appears to work slightly better if this dust collector section has got plenty of space left inside, so I do empty on a regular basis for these reasons.
The buttons on the vacuum are simple yet effective and to look at this machine you see two large round buttons one which can be both pushed and turned and the other that can only be pushed in. The button which can be pushed in and turned round is the power supply and this is clearly shown on the picture which depicts the usual power symbol seen most places. This button once pressed gives the machine its sucking action and if you turn the dial of the button you can control the pressure or for a more correct term the wattage. The maximum wattage of this machine is 1200w, not 1400w that is stated in the Argos catalogue, but for this small compact vacuum I find this more than efficient. The dial can be turned right down to give a smaller sucking action or right up to give the full 1200w suck. I cannot for the life of me think why anyone would want to have the sucking action lessened as by my thinking the more sucking action the better the results (no dirty jokes please!!). The second button on the machine is a cord retraction button and this one allows the power cable to be wrapped up neatly inside the machine by a press of the button. It really whips the cord inside at a fast rate and I always make sure I have hold of the plug before pressing it, as I am sure it could break an ankle if swung up too quickly.
Seeing as the cord is wrapped up inside the machine it does state that if you are using the vacuum cleaner this cord should be withdrawn fully outside the machine before use but seeing as the whole cord is only 4.9 meters I think most people would have to do that anyway. The 4.9 meter cord is not too short that it bothers me I would say it is a fair size that allows me to do half of my flat before having to unplug and reposition elsewhere. Compared to other vacuums of the same type in Argos obviously the more expensive cleaners have a longer cord but no really by that much. As I say however this really is not a bad size and doesnt really bother me.
The vacuum cleaner nozzle from cleaner body to end is a good size and allows manoeuvres under the bed and such like to be very easy indeed. The arm comes apart into three pieces and the main trunk that attaches itself to the body of the vacuum cleaner comes unplugged easily for any blockages to be removed simply and quickly. The vacuum end that sucks up the dust is very good and has two golf ball sized wheels that make the head glide across the floor smoothly. There is a switch on the top of this head that gives you the ability to change the floor head positioning from either flat plastic or a cushioned brush. I like to use the cushioned brush for the laminate floors to prevent scratching and then the flat option to do the carpets in the bedroom as the flat positioning sucks up better as the head is closer to the floor.
The dirt this vacuum cleaner picks up is really very amazing and as you can see what has actually been sucked up in the clear dust compartment you will really be amazed. I never have to double over an area I have already vacuumed as the power and ability of this cleaner really is outstanding. It works well both with the floor head on and doing around the edges of the room is a doddle with the floor head taken off. I did flick through the minimal pages of the instruction booklet but this really has no worthwhile information that even simpletons could not figure out for themselves. It does give all the necessary information written in easy to understand English and I suppose is somewhat useful to have with the machine.
All in all I think this cheap bag less vacuum cleaner is really outstanding for the price and I could want for no more. It looks the part of a good vacuum with good colourings and easy to use features. It is small and lightweight meaning it fits well into my storage area and is easy to move from place to place. It sucks up dirt exceptionally well and the dust collector is easy to empty and refit back to the machine. The vacuum comes apart easily to remove any blockages if this indeed happens as of yet this has not happened to me. I can truly think of no problems or certainly anything bad to say about this vacuum and I would say to anyone wanting to get a new vacuum cleaner then give this a go. It also comes with an Argos year guarantee so for the price you really cant go wrong.
A wonderful bag less compact vacuum cleaner at a fantastic price. Recommended to all and a credit to Proaction.
Whilst Tesco may command the cheapest brand new cylinder vacuum cleaners on the market, Argos have been selling the Proaction SL208 cylinder for some time now, offering a competitive if not similar spec to mass brand name rivals. It is however priced fairly well just before £25 and for that, it may just be the key for consumers who are looking for a cheap vacuum to pick up dirt, or as a second machine in the home. ** This is a long review **
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Review Spec: **
1200 watt maximum - NOT 1400 as Argos states.
Auto cord rewind button.
2 Plastic extension tubes - shiny black plastic.
1 universal floor head - all plastic with 2 way pedal.
1 crevice tool with snap on swing down brush
1 carrying strap - black webbed with three lock points.
Washable filters, exhaust and motor filter (but must be dried before installing)
4.8kg very light and compact design.
2.5 litre capacity bin with bagless collecting.
Argos price; £24-99
It does NOT come with a rotating brush as stated online/catalogue.
** Setting Up/First Impressions **
Out of the box the SL208 is really easy to assemble with the hose mount locking into the bin at the bottom and twisting and fitting the black shiny plastic pipes together before squeezing on the floor head to the vacuum. The first aspect of actually using isn't the most technological discovery around, but the marvel of the SL208 is the fact that it is so lightweight to pull along, lightweight to lift and extremely easy and fast to use it is a vacuum which can be used straightaway without much fuss. One of the reasons to why it works so well is that is very small and easy to see all controls despite the model being a mix of black with grey buttons. A few silver decals here indicating the power and cord rewind are also labelled on the machine well.
A handle strap is an optional extra which comes with this Proaction and it is easy to fix the points before the main hose and dust channel. Two other points are located just after the main handle and this enables the user to carry the Proaction rather than pull it along by the hose. The points for the strap are very small however and it can be pernickety if the clasps don't fit into the holes the first time around. This however means that it serves the purpose of the hand vac I originally wanted, but albeit in a bigger body with a long hose to get into difficult areas.
But there is a downside to this; the fact that the Proaction mirrors Morphy Richards' POD cylinder means that if the cleaner is worn on the left hand side of the user, the weak power control dial can increase and decrease by turning itself if you brush closely to the machine. Swap the sides over and on the right hand side of your body, you'll quickly feel a very hot sensation caused by the upright exhaust filter which sits close to that side of the machine. In terms of using the strap then, it has its obvious weaknesses but I rather like the idea of this which mimics other small hand held vacuum dust buster type machines on the market. It is certainly easier to use if this type of vacuum cleaner was used in a garage or in areas of a home where above cleaning is required, particularly in kitchen cupboards and food storage areas. The only downside is that whilst the strap can be minimised it provides a messy additional accessory if it is left connected to the vacuum, getting in the way of the machine in general use. For some consumers this may not matter at all and Proaction could include a fitting to store the webbed strap incase it gets lost.
One handle is located permanently on the machine and sits towards the rear top of the vacuum. However whilst the bin has its own handle for transferring to the bin, I'd have liked another handle inset at the top so that it is easier to pull out of storage to use. Most consumers I know will just lift the cleaner from the hose, but over time this will weaken any vacuum cleaner, let alone the Proaction.
** In use as carpet/floor vac **
The SL208 works okay as a normal vacuum cleaner although I prefer to use it for above the floor cleaning. It seems to have a lack of suction when the floor head is fixed on whereas the handle hose on its own gives stronger performance. The extension tubes are shiny black plastic and due to the price they are the thinnest qualitable items around. The floor head isn't any better with the lint pickers being replaced by two plastic ribbed strips which are designed to agitate carpet textures and surfaces and unfortunately in my experience, you cant agitate a carpeted floor with plastic rather than cloth lint pickers found on other rivals.
In use however the realism of the SL208 is that it will pick up where you steer it but it may not pick up straight away thanks to the cheap plastic floor head. Whilst it has the same pedal for pushing brushes down onto hard flooring (and does it well compared to standard flooring with no brushes put down) the plastic quality of the floor head sometimes pushes the pedal back up. However despite the price (and there have been endless machines I've used which has metal soleplates) the sole plate on the bottom of the floor head is thankfully all plastic which won't damage floors if the pedal is accidentally sprung back in use. But in general use it just passes the test for the fact that the brush has a combination option rather than nothing at all. At least Proaction sensibly fit two parking positions on the machine so that it easy to store away - the SL208 in general size is about the same size as one of the compact steam cleaner models you can usually find in shops and apes the size of more conventional large bagged capacity cylinder vacs.
The extension tubes themselves however are nothing new, easy to twist off and on as required. Due to their plastic shiny appearance though, they attract a lot of dust which is a downside to plastic pipes in general. More importantly with all three points in use, the pipes don't exert much which is good news because plastic extension pipes are notorious for bending and cracking in use. The good news is that the pipes and floor head use a 32mm diameter so if you have an old machine with similar pipes kicking around, it can use metal pipes if you have any or buy them from EBay for stronger and longer ownership, or a better quality floor head.
One final advantage however is due to the machine's narrow shape and design; the SL208 will seldom topple over and works very well when sat in the upright position. This means cleaning stairs is extremely easy and there is no need for the machine to have interlocking wheels when there is only one rotating wheel and two large side wheels which trundle the machine along. Storing the SL208 is therefore really easy, which is great news as space is at a premium where I live!
The user manual for the SL208 has actual pictures of the vacuum cleaner and important points have been given with bullet points and good size of text. Why don't all manufacturers put actual photos?
** Emptying It **
For all intentions and purposes, the SL208 is really a bigger version of a hand vac despite the two large wheels at the back and a central castor. The excellent lightweight nature is great for anyone who struggles with a large cylinder cleaner and the dirt capacity of the bin can take up to 2.5 litres of dirt. It is a pity however that the SL208 has a fabric filter just like a hand vac/dust buster idea rather than true cyclonic where a cone or similar design has been built in. What does this mean? The bagless tag means that eventually suction will start to waver as the bin becomes progressively full but already this model has the added benefit of variable suction control which gives more power and suction when it is needed most or so you would think in theory.
Emptying is relatively easy; unlock the main hose and press the lock to release the bin. Take to your normal kitchen bin (or bag), pull out the white cartridge which holds the flat material filter and tap the filter into the bin. If dust clings to the filter then it has to be picked out - I however use an old wide toothed comb or the back of a blunt knife to scrape the dirt out thus minimising dust from going up my nose. Then refit the filter, push into the main dirt bin and lock up to the machine.
This grey filter can be washed even though it is permanently bonded to a plastic grid. Although the manual doesnt suggest this, the SL208s filter can be dried in a low temperature tumble dry, provided that you put it into a pillowcase with a tea-towel. I do this with many of my filters and they dont tear or warp and it cuts less time than allowing the filter to dry to room temperature.
** Filtration **
As I've already stated the Proaction comes with washable filters but they are not HEPA identified which means at best the filters will retain most odours whereas strong odours do eventually come through such as pet hair odour. The fact that both filters are washable though means less cost and worrying about where to find replacements. Both filters are white in colour and the main exhaust filter (at the top by the motor) has a handy flip out grille door where the main filter can be picked out. In all instances however, both the filters are easy to spot, take out and install again. In terms of stages this vacuum has 4 stages of filtration including the main filter which fits into the bin; in this respect it is no better than other rivals on the market.
** Downsides **
What a shame that the bin is dark black/grey acrylic as opposed to light bin pictured in the Argos catalogue (and indeed website); it makes looking at the level of the dirt all that harder to see. There is also NO rotating brush bar as stated in the features either and no space for the crevice tool to be fitted on the machine which means it will be likely to get lost in the hands of other consumers, unless they buy the vacuum like I did, for the purpose of above floor cleaning and swap the pipes around and fix the crevice tool on the end permanently.
Another downside is the noise of the motor. At 1200 watts maximum the suction is okay but it's not very impressive and can't lift stubborn dirt. The low 800 watt power however is ideal for shifting dust on PC screens and for vacuuming the keyboard. Increase by twisting the weak sliding rotary dial and the noise of the motor really lets you know by its high whine. Suction therefore may be better but at the cost of your hearing! This is more apparent if the Proaction is used with the hand strap rather than on the floor.
** Cord Length & Radius **
In fairness, most compact cylinder cleaners suffer from one or the same traits and in this respect just like Goblin's Topo model; there is a very short power cord here, just below 5 metres which is something I'm not really used to. I found I had to constantly swap the cord over to other plugs in the home; for small flats however 4.5 to 5 metres of cord could well be sufficient.
The hose itself gives a good length but it doesn't actually stretch itself; what you have here is more or less a ribbed hose which has a set length rather than the stretch a stretch hose implies or as Argos would have you believe.
** General Quality **
The plastic which is fitted to the machine is much thicker than the pipes would suggest although it is easy to see that already the shine on my SL208 machine has lost its appeal. Scratches are evident, particularly around the bin area although removing the bin lid is easy to do with the lock set just after the main handle.
The bin itself doesn't have many sharp edges but there is worry that if the bin is not pushed back in properly (down to up) to meet the bottom lock first, you could well snap off the lock rendering the bin useless. It is good to see though that Proaction have fitted a rather small air outlet slider on the main hose, which has a ribbed section before the handle which gives additional stretch on the handle of the hose if you are less or more than average height.
** Conclusion **
This is not the cheapest cylinder vacuum cleaner I have used, but it sits in a market where very few rivals brand new dare to tread. Over Tesco's budget value model (which is the cheapest bagless vacuum cleaner on the market), the SL208 has 1 litre more capacity for the dust (less emptying) and a lot more power cord.
At the cost of metal pipes which are a feature of Tesco's vacuum cleaner the Proaction SL208 impresses me despite the plastic pipes. Yet there are endless rivals where reconditioned brands are concerned and that is a strong downside to a compact cleaner which is great for above the floor cleaning but as a normal vacuum cleaner for floor pick up it provides very little useable suction and unless youre happy to constantly push the floor head back and forth in a demented nature for pick up, the SL208 needs more power and a better quality floorhead. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Proaction helpline: 08705 143009
Short name: Proaction SL208