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The K1 red model by Sebo is the basic starter cylinder vacuum cleaner which Sebo offer in a range of other coloured machines so its worthwhile to know what you are getting for the price of generally £100 which new K1 "red" models usually cost:
** Nar's Quick Skip Spec **
* 1800 watt with variable suction control
* LED bag fill indicator
* 2 way universal floor brush
* Crevice tool
* Flat upholstery snap on tool
* 3.5 4 layer high filtration bag.
* S Class / HEPA filter system
* Air belt bumper
* 5.5 kg
* Price: £100 to £109.00 PLUS 5 year parts & labour guarantee.
* 6 metre power cord and three castors for easy movement.
* British Allergy Foundation approval.
Over the more expensive K1 Komfort model which I own, I recently purchased a brand new K1 red model for a family member who has many breathing difficulties including dust allergies and severe asthma. Although a bagless cylinder vacuum cleaner was out of the question, we nearly went for Dyson's new DC22 baby cylinder since it was impressive with its general components and compact design, but I was adamant that Sebo's K1 was cheaper and better for her in terms of its general design, compactness but more importantly her health.
Indeed if you are in the market for a Dyson or Miele, a Sebo K1 should be the first machine you should look at; available to test "drive" at John Lewis stores (and against Dyson and Miele which we both did), the K1 range is a formidable challenger to Miele models (less so to Dyson on grounds of suction since they are bagless against the bagged Miele and Sebo) most of which Miele machines have a starting price of £120 unless you happen to visit Comet and come across their exclusive 7kg £99 blue Miele cylinder model which doesn't come with a HEPA/High Efficiency Particulate Air filter as standard like the K1 Red does. That £20 difference gets larger if you need a HEPA filter as it costs £15 on average for a Miele aftermarket filter to make the same grade as the K1. The DC22 by Dyson however would have cost £239-00!
Generally the K1 is a very compact cylinder vacuum cleaner and uses a four-layer 3.5-litre dust bag that has (and like all of Sebo's range) individual sealing caps that keep the dust sealed once and for all. The range of the K1 travels extremely well, not unlike my older Komfort model which has the same quiet 1800 watt motor, variable via its only rotary dial which, when pushed down also acts as the power up/down button. Sebo have increased their quality by fitting easier castors on the latest K1 basic model that should mean less viewable scrapes and even easier gliding thanks to increased rubber wheels set into the castor rounds. There are three on this model and pulling the 5.5kg machine behind doesn't present a problem to my Aunt at all. The 6 metre power cord still retracts easily and speedily by pulling on the end of the cord once cleaning is finished, which means standing away from the K1 and dropping the plug onto the floor when it is initially pulled, you won't get the chance of being hit in the ankle or being unbalanced by stepping on a pedal - when there is none - remains being safer to the owner.
Suction and performance is highlighted by the simple easy to use locking tubes and hose, both of which have push fit locks and are easy to take on and off; the hose retains the same excellent handle which means it can be steered with just two fingers and belies the weight of its permanent plastic sheathed tube at the top (metal inside) with a telescopic height adjustable ratchet tube at the bottom. Infact without the additional tools clipped to the tube, the tubes and hose on the basic K1 feel even lighter than my K1 Komfort.
This means that whilst it is easy to use the 2 way standard floor head, it is a breeze to use the tubes and hose for above the floor cleaning. Compared to Miele tubes the weight difference is even lighter, a fact noted by my mum who adores her Miele but still wishes the tubes were lighter, particularly when getting into the corners of overhead lighting where cobwebs dare to grow. In Sebo's defence they have also retained the excellent actual handle above the end of the hose which means steering and getting into corners is as excellent as the K1 always has been.
All the while the suction can be maintained and regularly controlled through the rotary dial which now has built in notches felt through the controller dial for ultimate control speed desire - and with air watts of up to 200, the K1 has all the suction you will possibly need! I wish my K1 had the same kind of rotary dial as mine is too easy to move whilst in use. Although my K1 has the same motor, the motor on the K1 sounds like it has been improved too, with the result that it appears quieter than the quiet motor in my Komfort model although my Sebo is at best more than five years old. Sebo state that the K1 has a rating of 67 decibels, which is much quieter than most Dyson, Hoover, Electrolux and Panasonic vacuums. And unlike most of their machines, the K1 Red retains its basic but easy to understand LED bag fill indicator which also acts as a warning if too much suction is applied - clever!
General plastic quality is excellent too - Sebo have improved fittings such as the cable rewind hole where the plug is located; rubber seals and linings ensure that the plug doesn't scratch the body when it is rewound - another touch which could have prevented my own Komfort model from withstanding general wear and tear. The same Lycra cloth bumper has also been retained which splits the motor exhaust to the sides of the cleaner rather than at the top which can be a bother to most cylinder/pull along vacuum cleaner owners.
Installing a bag is as simple as before, unlocking the bag from the top of the handle, allowing the door to swing down at the rear and simply sliding a bag into the top of the top drawer, locking into place and then closing the door over to lock it back in.
Sebo have also improved the design of their two way universal floor head; the sole plate is now completely made of plastic shrouded in thick strong PVC plastic which means it is of use both to hard flooring and delicate carpeting.
Now for the downsides:
In spite of Sebo's update I personally don't like the ease of the long power cord; it is still very sensitive and pulls the machine when it is activated to rewind back in. Sebo should put a lock onto this cord so that it can't happen! My Aunt has no problem with this as she has a small flat and one pet to cope with and with little corners for the cord to get trapped around, the K1 should do well with little trouble.
Another downside is that thanks to the price and the low positioning of the K1 Red being Sebo's basic K1 starter model, I'm still puzzled to why Sebo persist in not supplying the additional 360 degree long hair upholstery brush as a standard accessory. At the cost of £6-95 from John Lewis, my Aunt has needed to buy this to clip it to her K1 and give the K1 more cleaning versatility. The crevice tool is however very long and able, and with the t shaped upholstery flat tool located at the top, it has to be snapped onto the bottom of the crevice tool for it to be of any use, although again this doesn't seem to be of any worry to my Aunt.
** Filtration & Bag Costs **
By far this is one of the most important aspects to why Sebo was the choice to go for. The K1 has two internal filters that can be easily fitted, one on top of the machine when the name faceplate is removed and another inside the machine under the paper bag. By German standards the K1 has a HEPA filter but is known as S Class since this is the more known international term. The filter can generally be termed as a 6 month to a year replacement depending on the amount of bags you will go through - between 16 to 32 bags - which is quite a lot on the account that 10 bags cost £6-95 or £15-95 for Sebo's excellent value "Service Box" version which includes two of the high grade filter replacements plus bags. After only two months ownership, my Aunt has replaced her first Sebo dust bag which with a newly installed kitchen has surprised me as I go through bags once a month and no longer own a pet!
Another issue with the K1 Red is just how light it is. Compared to the Dyson DC 22 "Baby Allergy" which really impressed me on its size, its 7.9kg weight was too heavy to lift and unlike the K1, took twice as much space in terms of its width and height. Yes whilst the Dyson doesn't use bags, it still commands too much of a size both for storing and lifting which are important factors for anyone with allergies - regardless of their age.
** Additional Optional Costs **
One of the other reasons to why I decided to purchase the K1 Red isn't just for the fact that it may well be the cheapest Sebo cylinder on the market, but also for the fact that many accessories are available for it. Although it would normally cost up to £24-95 for a mini air driven turbo brush to pick up pet hair, I have lent her mine since I have no use for it, and gives her much use for whenever her chocolate Labrador has been sitting in her lounge or bedroom! As for a main turbo head, she picked one up from EBay at the cost of £13, much cheaper than the £31-95 Sebo wish to charge.
Sebo also make a higher-grade Hospital level S Class filter which my Aunt has no need for but for peace of mind, we are grateful that Sebo produce it. At the cost of £15 this filter gives greater allergy control even though the standard filters still meet the HEPA/S Class requirement.
At the end of the day then, the K1 Basic model (I call it "Red" because that's the colour of it with silver detailing) does very little wrong in spite of some accessories that Sebo should make standard. But like most things these days, you can buy accessories to fit your lifestyle and this premium branded vacuum cleaner is very impressive on noise, general performance, lightweightness and filtration. For most that should be all that you require from a vacuum cleaner and at the price the K1 Red is a basic but good value cylinder cleaner, cheaper to accessorize than Sebo's own marketed K1 Pet model which may come with 2100 watts of power but at £179 to £200 starts to look like an awful waste of money. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
K1 Demo video:
Compact powerful and lightweight innovation shows in every aspect of the design from the clever tool storage to the easy bag change. The powerful 2100 Watt motor and professional quality cleaning heads can clean any floor type and any size of home. The Sebo air belt eliminates air blast by exhausting the air from around the vacuum cleaner. The air belt also acts as a soft bumper system - protecting furniture and walls as you vacuum. Denim blue/dark grey 2100 watts 3 Litre dust capacity Anti-allergy design with British Allergy Foundation Approval Ideal for allergy sufferers Excellent for carpet and hard flooring Triple microfilter system Power control on machine Lightweight telescopic tube Crevice and upholstery nozzles Combination nozzle Dusting brush with clamp Horse-hair parquet brush Floor turbo brush Deluxe Parquet brush Weight: 5.5 (Kg)