I've been considering buying a handheld cleaner for some time now and the amount of crumbs, etc that seems to build up in the car in such a short space of time finally pushed me over the edge and my WANT changed to a definite NEED! After all, who can afford to have their car valeted often enough to keep it actually, properly clean?! It was however my husband who trundled off to the shops to buy us a cleaner... and home he came with the 'ProaAction Wet and Dry Handheld Cleaner'.
The cleaner is around 12"/30cm long and is reasonably lightweight. There is a switch on top of the handle to turn it on and a button to press which releases the sucking end so you can empty the contents into the bin. The one I have is white but I presume from the picture on this review that it is also available in black. The cleaner comes with a plastic stand in which you can charge it and has three tool attachments and is available from Argos for a mere £19.99.
So, what's good? I was initially a little skeptical about this item - I thought the low price would mean it would have poor suction and I wasn't convinced at all that it would be all the durable or easy to use. However, I was totally wrong! The suction is more than adequate for your average crumbs, etc and easily lifts cat hair from my sofa - it even managed to lift playdough that had dried onto my carpet today and I was having trouble picking that off with my nails! The casing also seems to be reasonably hard wearing, although I have only had the cleaner for a couple of weeks so time will tell on that one I suppose. The stand is very handy for storing the cleaner and even has slots to store the attachments when not in use and the stand is also wall mountable which makes it easy to tuck out of the way - even when charging. The filter is also washable which means even if you have to suck up something like milk or juice you are able to fully clean the inside of the cleaner.
And the bad points? I haven't really found any major negatives with this cleaner at all but my one gripe, albeit a very small one, would maybe be the running time which is only 10 minutes (from fully charged) however, as I say, this is only a small problem as I would assume most people would turn to a proper sized vacuum if they were intending to need clean for over 10 minutes. I can only really therefore see it as a problem if you were using it to hoover your car and it was particularly dirty as 10 minutes may not be enough and it may not be possible to use a full sized vacuum outside. However, for me 10 minutes seems to be more than enough - even for my particularly dirty car!
Verdict? I think is a great cleaner at a great price - good suction, good selection of accessories, quite well thought out design and really everything I think you could need in a handheld cleaner!
I must have missed something with this handheld vacuum as I'm absolutely amazed to find that someone has given this five stars! Differences in opinion like this sometimes make me wonder if some appliances are made by parts of differing quality in someway and that's why some people find things excellent while others find them appalling.
I had this handheld cleaner for using in the car. My work means the car can get messy sometimes and also the grandson doesn't help matters, especially not when he was little. The idea with this is that you charge it up in the house on the mains and then take it out to clean up the car afterwards. Obviously you can have it as a household one if you prefer and just use it for household spills and such like.
I found this to be pathetic when it came to performance. It sucked things up like magic the first two or three times I used it but thereafter, the filter would simply not clean out well enough to allow any kind of decent suction. So this just picked bits up then spat them out again! I am sure that it was trying to suck up liquid that caused the irreversable blockage through making all the dust inside wet which in turned clogged up the filter. But even after allowing it to dry it just wouldn't work the same again.
On top of this I found that the battery life was dreadful. The first time I used this it lasted a good ten minutes, but then every time after that it lasted less and less. I owned this for all of three months using it just once every other week before I threw it in the bin. I paid £15 for this and the one I replaced it with cost three times that but has so far lasted six times longer. There's a white version of this available from Argos for £20 if you're silly enough to want to waste your money on it.
With the problem of a short hose on an upright cleaner, I find that I often need a spot cleaning machine in the shape and form of a hand held dust buster. There have been endless types and new designs of dust buster type hand held cleaners, from mains corded shoulder strap equipped hand vacuums like the American "Turbo Tiger," to motor driven mains powered hand vacs which have a permanent brush ideal for stairs but at the cost of the owner bending over too much restricted by the length of the mains cord and travel to an electric plug socket.
These days however with the fact that Dyson has just brought out a cyclonic cordless dust buster, I've noticed prices have mysteriously shot up on rival products even though most are not cyclonic in the way they pick up dirt. Of the cyclonic types available I find it difficult to ascertain whether a cyclonic dust buster is worth the extra money since unless it is made by Dyson, the filter will still clog up regardless of how the filter is positioned and standard dust busters have a shorter filter in terms of clogging when in use. Whilst many consumers may like the idea of a Dyson hand held then, I'm instantly turned off because of its size, and after viewing a video on You Tube regarding a "lab test," it seems the £100 Dyson isn't all that its cracked up to be.
And what a bother I've had finding the cheapest cordless dust buster on the market! Because whilst Comet have their own exclusive brand Proline dust buster at £9-99 which picks up dry dirt only, Argos have gone one better with their exclusive Proaction brand label offering slightly lower power but the extra versatility of being able to suck up water too as well as dry dirt.
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Spec **
* 4.8V - not the most powerful and whilst its good for stairs it doesn't have a beater bar for pet hair and ground in dirt. Silly Argos!
* 6 mins running time on a full battery - yes but it needs a 16 hour charge.
* Maintenance free, 4 x 1.2V 1300mAh Ni-Cd batteries - easily removable via slide out door.
* 0.4 litre dust capacity - both with water and dirt.
* Removable washable filter - but user manual suggests there could be an additional filter enclosed but there isn't!
* Includes squeegee, short crevice tool, wall mounting bracket and BS charger.
* Lightweight at 1.022kg according to Argos.
* Wall mountable - via the charger and 2 cross head screws enclosed.
** Design **
Argos catalogues and their website seem to have the worst photos of most household appliances and this little hand vacuum is no stranger. Once again poor product spec reveals that whilst most of the details are correct, it doesn't have a tool or floor head which allows ground in dirt to be picked up; this bit of information to my mind has been included to attract would be buyers looking for a hand held which maybe has a rolling brush tool or a turbo tool - but sadly you don't get that with this hand held product.
Looking all Death like in black plastic and blue switches on the Argos site and catalogue, my model doesn't look so cheap and uniform at all sporting a black body, frosted acrylic dark grey bin where the water can be seen if picked up, helped by a large measure label showing the maximum of water collected in one use. Forget the blue buttons as well - grey buttons are the order of the day and unlike most hand held dust busters, the Proaction 810 is slightly bigger but no less heavier than many of its rivals, coming in at a reasonable 1.02kg. Made of cheap plastic the Proaction doesn't smack on visible poor plastic quality even though its price of £9.99 could make you think otherwise. The catch to the bin release is a simple push down button and a half moon circle on the bin is then released to take the bin off. It is not tough, stiff or difficult but moves very easily and softly which is how dust buster bins in my experience should be when it comes to emptying.
** In Use **
For a start the Proaction is very simple to use and it comes equipped with two alternative cleaning tools; from a sturdy easy to fit slide in crevice tool and a rubber crevice tool with built in squeegee strips for its wet pick up collection. Unlike my old Dirt Devil cordless hand held (much missed) at 3.6 volts, the Proaction has a stronger force of pick up and at 4.8 volts appears to be less noisy too which is frankly a revelation. Suction is therefore very strong despite the lack of noise from the motor.
Handling the Proaction is also easy since the handle doesn't reveal cheap or sharp edges or cracks where the seams of the product come together. My hand rests comfortably in the handle and at every angle possible from clearing up high shelving, to getting in behind the bed where my main vacuum cleaner's hose can't go, the Proaction is quite simply well thought out.
Pointing the cleaner into tiny corners is simple and efficient; allowing the crevice tool to tear against my desk to pick up fly away dirt and around my laptop has never been easier in between cords and books. When collecting water the squeegee crevice tool is just as good as the hard plastic one, able to leave wet surfaces dry because of the nature of the squeegee and available suction.
The filter cup isn't like most on the market either; consisting of an "all in one" filter door and cup attached with more plastic holding 5 little rectangles of filter bonded on rather than a lot of filter and a poor grid hanging off it. In this respect then the Proaction is really easy to empty, especially if dirt clings to the filter and the filter itself can be picked out easily simply because a finger "pick out" hole has been made into the design.
The on switch also has a feature which is one up on most rivals. You don't have to keep your finger on the button! Just slide on to turn on, and slide back to turn off. No finger stretching and no finger fatigue from having to constantly keep your finger on the button! Why aren't all dust busters like this?? Like its rivals the Proaction has a red LED light which shines whenever the charger is plugged in. What a pity then that despite the long cord on the charger, the 810 can't be switched on to be used whilst the batteries are charging at the same time.
Although there are two optional crevice tools which come supplied with the Proaction I find the dry dirt one handy to just push into the dirt channel permanently. This ensures that all dirt is picked up neatly and in the direction you point the hand held in.
** User Manual and Batteries/Charging **
The user manual has a lot of detail with regard to using this hand held remembering that it will pick up wet and dry dirt. Having only a 0.4 bin capacity the Proline 810 is average against rivals and in this respect one can't fault the Proaction for having a small bin capacity since it is only a spot dirt remover, or as Proaction would have you believe, a "Super Spot cleaning Master," as it says in the manual. A lot of wording goes onto explain the fact that the batteries need a 20 hour charge before the first time it used, but thereafter there are no links or worryingly any information as to how many hours the Proaction needs after its first initial charge. So, I've worked it out for you instead! Having only 4.8 volts, the Proaction has a running time of 6 minutes and in this respect I feel that is more than sufficient for on the spot quick pick ups of general dirt. After the initial charge, I've kept the charger slotted in underneath the Proaction as the manual instructs and leave it on for around 5 to 8 hours for its maximum battery power duration for the next cleaning task.
Like most battery chargers, the Proaction's slip in charger base has two holes for wall mounting and 4 cross head screws are supplied for this optional installation. There is also a piece of plastic bonded to the side which acts as the holder for the spare dust tool whether you are picking up dry or wet dirt/debris.
** Any Downsides? **
The tank capacity doesn't change for either wet or dry pick up, but where tested to pick up cold tea, the Proaction managed to suck up an average large mug of tea and suddenly the capacity begins to make sense. Of course it isn't designed to pick up so much water anyway, but ignore the "MAX" label which sits a couple of inches away from the mouth at the mouth of the hand held, and it suddenly becomes apparent that the user manual and warnings are very much true if the Proaction is handled with the suction mouth facing downwards. This results in water flooding back out of the crevice tool but as the manual suggests after wet pick up, the Proaction has to be elevated in the air with the rear air vents pointing to the ground before the bin can be removed to empty the water safely without it escaping. For this purpose I always empty the Proaction in an empty sink.
For normal dry dirt emptying however it is a lot easier and doesn't need to be held at any angle to save itself from dirt leakage.
The user manual points out that the filter must be dry before installing back into this hand held and suggests that a spare one must be fitted instead of a wet filter. It is a pity then that Proaction never thought about enclosing a spare filter fit for this cause.
** Conclusion **
Proaction has a winner on their hands where I am concerned. The Proaction 810 costs buttons to keep, harnessing a rivalling battery power pack and double the pick up facility with both water and dry dirt options. It is quiet, lightweight, powerful and doesn't cause much strain when in use. That's the key to a cordless dust buster regardless of how much cache (or lack of it) a brand has to attract consumers and in this respect shows that even the most budget of labels can sometimes surprise even the most premium label preferred consumer. Get it before Argos take it off their books! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007
* Proaction 810 hand held. Cat. Number: 405/3156.
See the lab test on You Tube for Dyson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGnM5gFzdfc
December 2007 Update
Argos have dropped the price to £6-66
Easy to operate / Includes squeegee, short crevice tool, wall mounting bracket and BS charger / 6 mins running time on a full battery.