After helping a mate move out of his shared house, his sister offered me reduced rent on her own flat whilst she works down south on condition that I look after her flat and her two visiting cats shared by her and her parents. Along with the luxury of proper "common" gadgets to check out plus having to buy a new TV, I have to be wary of an 11-step staircase that could prove tricky if I get too drunk! The only vacuum cleaner in the 2 up 2 down flat is a top of the range Roomba robotic vacuum. I have quite a job ahead of me though as the carpets and stairs have tumbleweed cat hair oozing from the sides and despite her belief in a £300 odd top-of-the-range Roomba bought several years ago, it clearly hasn't done its job with telling signs that its brushes are clogged up with cat hair. Roomba can't do stairs but then it seems, neither can the owner! So she hummed and hawed about buying a new vacuum and after trying out several of mine including bagless models, she was taken with my Miele S4212 until the tools fell off and it proved unstable when rewinding the cord back in. So many considerations from a lady who hates dirt and by gum, she began to test my patience! Then she took a liking to my little SEBO K1 Airbelt pull along vacuum because it has a "proper" handle and there are no tools that fall off. But there was no way she was having mine!
Then we found the SEBO K1 Airbelt Pet. It's just like the basic K1 vacuum cleaner but has a few fundamental differences. There's even a removable fun sticker on the body with a paw print to show the inclination of where this model is heading.
SEBO K1 Airbelt
1800-watt variable power
1.8 metre hose
Standard Suction only 2 way floor head
6.5 metre power cord length
Triple Micro filters
SEBO K1 Airbelt Pet
2100-watt variable power
2.1 metre hose
Large Turbo Brush floorhead
Mini Pet Hair Turbo Brush
7-metre power cord length
S-Class Hospital Grade Filters
GHI & British Allergy Foundation approved.
Free box of DuoP Carpet Cleaning powder.
General size of both: Height 59cm by Width 31cm by Diameter 40cm.
So the above information just gives you an idea of how SEBO have marketed this vacuum cleaner. Usually the K1 Airbelt Pet is priced between £199 and £219 with the K1 basic vacuum between £119 and £149. So, we were most delighted to find a brand new SEBO K1 Airbelt Pet model at a cost of just £159-90 plus delivery from Go-Electrical. It does pay to read and research!
Like many online purchases these days, delivery took the maximum of 4 days outwith its 5 day delivery time and the vacuum just came out of the box (few polystyrene bits and more plastic bags, well done, SEBO!) without anything added other than its brand new filters and a dust bag to get you started. From the way the 3.5 high filtration synthetic dust bag slips in at the back of the vacuum to the way the S-Class filter system is designed, the consumables on this model simply push in or pull out depending on the need at the time such as replacing and all the bags (2 extra supplied in the box) come with seal caps to seal the dirt indefinitely. It was the design here that impressed my new best friend - the filters and the bag for example are so simply designed that they can only be fitted in one way onto the machine, so there is no confusion about which way to turn filters to fit the trays they are designed to fit. I guess after the years of removing the Roomba's dirt box, although SEBO dust bags have to be bought in the future, it is a heck of a lot cleaner when it comes to dirt disposal and filter cleaning when nowt has to be done in that area!
Putting the K1 Airbelt Pet together is all about soft, easy to push interlocking well-made buttons. The handle is separated by a lock that locks the long, stretchy flexible hose in permanently (handy to remove if it ever clogs with cat hair), then the two part telescopic height adjustable suction pipes lock in via a button release and finally, the main larger sized turbo brush head - which also has a lock button release. Quality is excellent, with very little hard edges to the naked eye - even the bin release on the back of the vacuum cleaner has a soft button release whilst the synthetic high filter dust bag slips and clicks into place easily.
So when the long 7-metre cord is pulled out the back and all the tubes have been connected via the safety push button lock catches, the K1 Pet fires into action without screaming via its soft again, start control. When hard stones get picked up, they don't rattle off the pipes as they travel to the bag. Even the tubing is light at around 400 grams, which is a boon to lift into the ceilings without getting sore arms and for the most part, it will be muggings who has to clean up the cobwebs and not her! The low motor noise is also welcomed due to a 65 decibel rated sealed motor that has similar dynamics to SEBO's bigger D series cylinders, a model I'd feel would be too big by size in this property. Just like the D and rest of K range cylinders, the K1 Airbelt Pet pushes clean exhaust air to the sides of the vacuum which surprised the cats at most even though they were most curious about this new sledge on wheels and didn't make them run away for fear.
The K1 Airbelt Pet is so effortless to use though! From it's simple singular power control dial that activates by simply pushing in to start the vacuum and then twisting the same control around to adjust the suction, the K1 Airbelt Pet starts off with 1600 watts of power and can be increased to the maximum setting of 2100 watts if you really need it. Not that it really needs to be used most of the time though - the power on board the K1 Airbelt Pet is very quiet with similar characteristics to the larger SEBO D vacuum where air whoosh is more present than lots of whine like a Dyson. Cleaning can be done quickly and efficiently without noise interrupting the doorbell or the telephone!
The key elements to this model's success are down to the design of the vacuum cleaner. It doesn't suffer from ill-thought poor thinly made plastic tools that feel like they will break under pressure. Whilst it doesn't look very stylish, the K1 Airbelt Pet protects furniture well thanks to its thick built in bumper and thick PVC glossy black & grey body that is easy to keep clean. The variable suction dial has also received a better design, with a flatter top to it rather than the original dimpled surface that could too-easily move if the hose brushed past it. Here the dial moves easily and finely through ground in notches that can be felt when twisting the dial around a little on top of the body, and it's the electronic control here that allows fine adjustment between your preferred choices of suction.
When the main turbo brush is added, dust and pet hair is picked up in an instant and although the turbo brush can't be taken apart to clean the brush roller, the diameter of the brush roller is wide enough for fingers to get into clean the brush roller when not in use. The mini turbo brush on the other hand brought the stairs looking like new and it can be taken apart fairly easy without screw drivers to clean the roller. Both turbo brushes have not required cleaning at all, which is a true testament to the design and power the K1 Airbelt Pet features. The main and mini turbo brush floor head makes more of a noise than the actual K1 Pet when used generally! To increase a lightweight feel from the handle to the main floor head, the main turbo brush head has a setting to adjust the suction for hard floors or low pile carpeting. This makes the whole idea of a brush driven roller with a cylinder vacuum behind it a lot lighter than traditional heavier vacuums. It is similar in feel to Miele's Cat and Dog S5 but the tubing is a lot lighter without feeling heavy from the pipes alone. All the while the floor head pivots left and right just like a normal suction floor head with edge cleaning and frontal suction whilst the SEBO K1 Airbelt Pet follows me like an expectant puppy. This is because the K1 Airbelt Pet has two oversized castors on the rear and one central castor to enable the vacuum to twirl around in a tight 360° turning circle and to maintain non-scuffing on floors. On carpets the rubber wheels leave less carpet marks than my Miele S4212, itself a good compact vacuum. There's even an orange LED light on the Sebo K1 Pet that flashes to let you know when its time to change the bag or if there's a clog.
When it comes to carrying there are very few downsides to this vacuum cleaner. The handle could be a bit larger to accommodate all sizes of hands but when carried, the K1 Airbelt Pet is very portable, light and has a central park position for the hose, pipes and floor head on the rear of the vacuum that allows owners to carry the vacuum up and down stairs without anything falling off. The K1 Airbelt Pet can sit on stairs safely at all times not just due to its general shape but also courtesy of two additional soft feet at the front of the machine that prevent the model falling over. Just like the D series cylinder vacs, this SEBO won't give off a hot facial when reaching for tools and the crevice tool at the back has a long length to it making it easy to clean stairs without bending down too much. Then there's a T shaped lint added upholstery tool that simply slips onto the end of the crevice tool for cleaning sofas or stairs. I winced at cleaning screeds of dust on the living room curtains but the T shaped upholstery tool took it all off in one swipe! I also love having the longer hose on board this vacuum as it stretches to quite a distance, able to clean up to 10 steps without really having to do anything else other than stretch the hose in use when it comes to cleaning stairs or if just needing that extra "inch" more of cleaning power when there is no more cord left. I am however spoilt with 9 or 12 metres generally for extra travel and would have liked to see the K1 Airbelt Pet have a longer power cord.
When all is finished and carpets or floors are new looking and free of dust, the K1 Airbelt Pet is as efficient at putting away and storing like the rest of the K range. There are no pedals to make the body tip over; the cord can be pulled at any part to react the pull mechanism that simply pulls the power cord back into the machine automatically whilst two park positions allow the vacuum to store away cleanly and compacted until the next use.
Where extra costs are concerned, the Sebo K1 Airbelt Pet is good value. Each filter can cost up to £12 depending on the type but they tend to last a year and a half. One set alone can actually last between 16 and 32 bags or 4 boxes of the 8 bags. A box of bags then costs between £6-95 or £8-95 for which you'll find 8 bags with seal caps, which is double the amount you get for Miele's FJM or GN bags at £9-99 or more. Bags can be found at Comet, Currys, John Lewis and online with a single bag lasting on average between 2 months at most. One box therefore lasts well beyond a year! However the Sebo K1 Airbelt Pet doesn't exactly struggle on dust either due to its general design, high filtration bags and its HEPA like hospital grade filtration system which is coloured in red to differentiate it from the normal green filter cartridges. We went through one bag after the K1 Pet took place of the ruddy Roomba but it wasn't surprising given the months of old cat hair lounging about on sofas, beds, carpets and stairs. Whereas the Roomba pushed the hair around, the K1 Pet picks it up. Compare this to a bagless vacuum whose filters are on average similarly priced and the SEBO K1 Pet outlasts even a "yearly replacement," Dyson filter based on the fact that one dust bag alone can last up to two months and with 8 in a box, you're set for effectively 16 months statistically before a new box has to be purchased. That to me is extremely good value and the S-Class hospital grade system is excellent at retaining pet hair odour, crucial for a vacuum cleaner marketed towards the pet owner! I also like the fact that SEBO have also included their excellent Duo P cleaning powder, the granules actually keep the dust bag fresher in the long term too even if you don't have the use of cleaning up stains.
At the end of the day it is easy to choose a vacuum cleaner by going with the most popular brand swayed by cheaper costs or a stylish look and whilst the K1 Pet Airbelt is never going to win a good looking award, it appeals to me more for its general peformance and quality, pushing my belief that I'm fairly confident the Sebo K1 Airbelt Pet will last the duration. Of course if it doesn't I have SEBO's excellent 5 year guarantee to fall back on. By its very design and lightweight components it will serve as a more practical vacuum than the Cat Chariot Roomba ever did! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
BUILD QUALITY: 10/10
EASE OF USE: 9/10
COST OF CONSUMABLES: 10/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 10/10
To see a Cat Chariot in action:
Bring German engineering into your home with the black Sebo airbelt K1 Pet Vacuum Cleaner ! The 2100-watt Sebo airbelt K1 Pet Vacuum Cleaner is a bagged cylinder vacuum cleaner with amazing suction power, low noise, and a weight of just 5.5 kg / Its black body has a form-follows-function design, with an 'airbelt' bumper system to prevent furniture damage in impacts / Soft-coated wheels and soft feet at the rear keep your floors looking like new / The key to the astonishing cleaning power of the Sebo airbelt K1 Pet Vacuum Cleaner is its refined airflow engineering, which improves efficiency / The S-class filtration system uses electrostatic charge to trap dust particles while allowing greater airflow than a mechanical filter, resulting in improved suction power / In recognition of its superior filter performance, the Sebo airbelt K1 Pet Vacuum Cleaner boasts the British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval / Characteristics Type Cylinder vacuum cleaner Power (Watts) 2100 Sound level (dBA) 65 Bag volume or reservoir (litre) 3 Filter type S-class system, 6 stages Indicator for bag content Yes Ergonomy Telescopic tube Yes Cable length 6 metres Others Colours Black Included accessories Onboard tools Bag reference Sebo 6629ER Weight (Kg) 5.5 kg