* Prices may differ from that shown
I brought mine the other day, and i think it fits the hype, great machine, picks up everything, i ordered mine from thane, which took ages (6 weeks) to arrive, however i see it being sold half price elsewhere on the net, ie www.woodbridgedirect.comlove the machine
Im sure by now most people have seen the amazing cordless Swivel Sweeper and how its design of having no wheels but four rollers on its base with an all round "belt" of brush rollers allow the sweeper to move in any angle and a complete 360º axis on any flooring. Under one kilogram, this is probably the lightest rechargeable sweeper I have used, so does it measure up to the hype? Well for any owner of a mechanical sweeper there are quite a few differences with this kind of sweeper against traditional means of manually pushing on floors to get the brushes moving. For starters theres the price. On the shopping channels via satellite or cable, the normal price is £39-99 or an offer to buy 2 at a reduced cost. Currently mechanical sweepers have hit a decline in the market possibly due to these types of rechargeable sweepers and usually for the price of £20 you can find a reasonably well built mechanical sweeper if you cant be bothered to take out your larger vacuum cleaner for minimal pick ups of surface dirt; about the only advantage they do have is that they have larger bins and dont use rechargeable batteries so can be taken anywhere.
** This is a long review **
I bought my Swivel Sweeper purely for the reason that on EBay it cost £20 (inclusive of postage and packaging) as opposed to £39-99 at my local Woolworths. My dad still uses the Electrolux Ergorapido 2 in 1 dust buster stick but only uses the dust buster part now as opposed to the whole appliance due to a recent breakage on the floor head. For the last three months Electrolux have been contacted, emailed, telephoned and emailed; but they honestly dont give a flap, and I aint getting into a flap over their lack of attention - frankly Im past the stage of caring with any future correspondence from this company with regard to my stick vac. Since the arrival of the Swivel Sweeper the Ergorapido is elusive and redundant. But still one can see that rechargeable batteries are the way forward since they use low power so perhaps its kinder to the environment.
** Setting Up **
In the box the Swivel Sweeper comes with minimal assembly; the battery needs to be placed into the charger plug (all one unit) and a red light powers up on the battery charger to show when the battery cartridge is being charged. Three pipes are included which also adds the middle part where the slide in cartridge mechanism sits and they all have to be screwed in together to form the main handle and spine for the cleaner.
Labelling is clear if not basic, only consisting of stickers with red arrows to show how to line up the main body with the handle and spine. The charger itself has an arrow on it as well as the main battery holder on the middle spine but they are both in black which makes viewing for first time owners difficult, but as first impressions show I dont know why it cant be possible to slide the battery holder up the tube; surely for elderly people and general use it would make sense to locate this part further up the tubes to avoid bending over to push the battery in until it locks and clicks into place. With it being so light, under a single kilogram total weight the sweeper can be lifted up into the air to slide the battery into the hoister located on the sweeper tubes.
** Charging **
Similar to our Ergorapido, the Swivel Sweeper is made with a 7.2 volt battery which means competitive power. The difference of course is that this sweeper doesnt have a vacuum built into it; it simply has rolling brushes set all around its rectangular base and flicks up all the dirt into the bin. But unlike Hometek, Morphy Richards, Ewbank and other companies which offer rechargeable battery based sweepers, the Swivel Sweeper has a higher battery and after the initial 8 hours charge the first time everything is taken out of the box, the battery can be charged up to 4 hours thereafter for general use or so we have found for the amount of cleaning time involved. The maximum time is around 30 minutes on carpets and 45 minutes on hard flooring as the manual suggests but weve so far found it doesnt take 30 minutes to get around the whole house anyway. Naturally with the all round brushes, you get all round edge brushing unlike 2 way edge brushing on other types of sweeper and indeed larger upright vacuums.
** In Use **
So whats the Swivel Sweeper like? Well as the adverts show, and if you havent seen them, unlike other types of cordless sweepers on the market, the Swivel Sweeper is fitted with four permanent concave shell type feet which allow for smooth featherweight gliding as opposed to wheels. This is more evident on hard flooring where the impression of kicking an ice cube around on a floor is similar through the extraordinary light gliding factor which the Swivel Sweeper excels in. And all the while the motor power which moves the brushes, front and rear and to both sides of the sweeper, move the rollers in one direction whilst the two view windows near the bin locks (squeezable plastic channels which unlock the main bin tray in the middle) show up all the dirt collected. The other advantage of this sweeper is just how the adverts show; it can move in any direction, left, right, backwards, forwards or around in a circle thanks to its pivotal ball set into the floor head connecting the spine. This also means that no matter how you try, you will never actually break the neck since the pipes are metal and it has quite a thick plastic arch leading to the floor head but also because this sweeper is so easy to turn with a simple flick of the wrist. It also means that cleaning time is reduced for light pick up dirt tasks.
It can pick up wet food; for example it picked up diced onion on our floors but I won't suggest that it will pick up water since its main design element is a roller brush. Remembering that although the motor is at the top, there are motors in the rolling brushes so I wouldn't advise trying for anything else other than small wet food particles such as pet food or scraps on the floor.
However whilst the mechanism of turning is controllable, I find that the ribbed handle at the top of the sweeper mimics a lot of cheap mops and brooms, and as such can be uncomfortable in use if going from one room to another. It is incredibly lightweight to lift up and store since the handle does have a hook hole at the top and the floor head compacts upwards flat against the bottom pipe or side ways to enable sliding it in behind a door or behind a cupboard when not in use.
Since the day we had the Swivel Sweeper delivered, a few threads have caught up around the rollers and whilst the helpful black and white manual suggests to cut the threads off the rollers without damaging the brushes, the roller brush bars are quite small and in this respect you also receive a thread picker, similar to the kinds of ones you can buy for people who like sewing. The picker comes with its own holder but it is a pity it cant be stored anywhere on the machine, let alone the base of the sweeper which would make sense come the time to de-clogging. Therefore this is one part which may become lost over time.
Power however differentiates purely through the noise of the motor; with hard flooring the Sweeper retains its fixed motor but on some carpeting, the motor lowers itself thanks to the different pile carpets have; it still picks up regardless of the change of pitch however.
** Colouring & Noise **
With the design being primarily black and grey, highlighted by the silver writing set in the middle of the fascia of the floor head, its a pity that the company couldnt have made the bin in a white colour to show up the dirt more clearly as the dark grey bin has to be viewed closely to see dirt gathered. You are of course supposed to empty the bin after the sweeper has been used each time, but since we only use it in lieu of what the Electrolux was used for; hard flooring, light surface dirt on carpets and whatever the paper bins let out on the floor after emptying in our study, the Swivel Sweeper does a very easy job of it and in this respect Ive yet to experience anything which can do a better job.
This brings me onto the next claim that the adverts would have you believe with this sweeper: the motor noise. Whilst they show a baby sleeping and a caring mother pushing the Sweeper around the cot on the floor, I find the sweeper isnt as quiet as this slightly ambiguous advert shot shows; it is quiet, but it could be quieter since the roller motors rattle a fair amount and again shows up the poor quality plastic mechanisms generally. But then again the swiftness of this sweeper picks up the first time thanks to its very thin and soft bristles which makes it ideal to be used on any delicate surfaces. Already compared to my cylinder vacuums, when used in our marble bathroom, the rollers pick up the dust which gets on the floor rather than clogging up the thin brushes set on cylinder floor heads. The sound is similar to the sweeper they use on Big Brother.
** Any Downsides? **
As much as the colouring goes, some of the parts on the Sweeper feel cheap; particularly the clear acrylic cover which can be unsnapped to clean the insides (2 grey slide out locks beside the bin releasers) but with it being clear you can see anything may get caught up in the rollers. Id have also liked to have seen a better clearly labelled arrow incase owners get mixed up putting the battery in the wrong way when transferring from the battery charger to the sweeper. The bin is quite a shallow tray itself which isnt as deep as standard metal bins on our old Ewbank sweeper but the upside is that with it being powered the Swivel Sweeper picks up more quite literally in one sweeper than our mechanical sweeper.
One aspect which I was looking forward to was using the Swivel Sweeper on bathroom mats since adverts had shown that this was possible without the rollers bunching up the material as most roller driven vacuums tend to do. Well, whilst the sweeper doesnt bunch up rugs, it is poor on bathroom mats; it tends to scoop up fabrics which are lighter than permanent set carpet or heavy rugs and whilst this doesnt damage the sweeper, its a small downside to the claim that it can be used on any surface easily.
Another aspect I dont like about the Sweeper is that it cant be compacted down to just having the bottom spindle to act like a hand held pipe. The GTech cordless sweepers can do this and allows owners to use the sweepers on stairs, but in hindsight the Swivel Sweeper can be used on stairs easily but the long handle and spine can get in the way if you have a low ceiling above the stairs in a home. One way of getting around this thanks to its 360º pivotal head I can stand at the bottom of the stairs and just lift the sweeper up and down each step as required. But if it had a hand held partition on it, it could be used in a car especially in large boot areas which have carpeting and if you have a hatch back with a low height the long handle/spine can get stuck by the roof lining
** Conclusion **
I find that the Swivel Sweeper is an excellent rechargeable sweeper with very few downsides. Whilst there is some bending involved in terms of re-installing the battery to get the sweeper working, it can be easily stored and using it as a second back up sweeper makes sense if you have constant traffic of people passing through your home; or if you are perhaps a clean freak. As a sweeper on tiles, vinyl, marble, wood and carpeted floors, it does everything with smooth gliding and effortless input with perhaps the more important factor that it remarkably picks up dirt the first time around with little flicking viewable dust on the floor. It also cleans flat to the floor at any angle which is ideal for cleaning under low furniture.
A newer model which features small LED lights on the base of the battery holder has also been launched, to provide a light to the ground wherever the sweeper is positioned. Whilst I like the idea of this design addition, it is suggestive of perhaps weakening the battery more if the sweeper was used anyway and if bought at the £40 asking price, you may find you can get another one for free. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.