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The Vax Vacuum cleaner is terrible. It's clearly a flawed design. The noise from it is horrendous, it overheats so badly the plastics warp and the panels fall off and will not fit again. It needs thorough cleaning regularly, including the filters - every usage - or the suction loss renders it almost useless. It won't run for more than 5 minutes at a time- it just overheats and the thermal trigger switches it off. The customer care line is like playing the lottery, they seem to be so overwhelmed by warranty calls you just can't get through without it costing you a fortune. The Staff are pleasant enough, although they are obviously trained to avoid warranty calls, they just wouldn't listen and refused to admit there was a fault - they just insisted i clean the filters. I eventually had to give up - all they would concede to doing is sending out new filters. New filters installed, still the same - no surprises then when it broke within the year. I urge consumers to boycott Vax, their products are poorly conceived and poorly manufactured and they'll dodge responsibility for their junk. They can make huge profits by selling crap avoiding the consequenses by exploting loopholes in the law. If we don't act, us poor consumers will get ripped off time and time again by these greedy multinational corporations! Together lets put an end to Rip Off Britain.
I am pleased to inform you all that I too have a VAx the upright version the first of which is the dry hoover which I am so pleased with I nearly reached orgasmic happiness. It sucked up all the dirt from both wood and carpetted floors and what a difference it made. It has a removable no bag system so you just unclip the dirt holder and empty clean out the filter and replace it bag onto the main hoover what could be easier brilliant. The second machine in my Vax collection which came with the first brilliant hoover part is the washing system also very very good. Leaving the carpet deep down clean and smelling very fresh thanks to the carpet cleanser that came with the machine. The only draw back I found was the small water compartments which obviously held the liquid cleaner and dirty water deposits after. Both were to my mind too small and you have to repeatedly keep filling or emptying both to get around the larger front room floor space. Ours is around 17' square and I had to refill three times to get round it all. But apart from that I was left with a wonderful clean carpet and sweet smelling room. So on the whole I give VAX a great big thumbs up. You may be wondering what models I have so here they are The dry one is a VAx swift Libra and the wet one is a VAx Spring brilliant. They also had a third member of this package and that was a little plug in the wall hand held jobby called a Vax turbo force good for those last minute bits you may have missed and picks up really well too. It also has a removable section to empty out no bag required. I bought this package through a catalogue with JD WILLIAMS another good medium but thats another story. Priced around £179 I think as it has been a while since I bought mine this may have gone up a bit. I know three machines but one is tiny and the other two are kept in a cupboard when not in use and being uprights as well makes life much easier for an aging old lady. But well worth the effort.
Way back in the 1990s, my parents got the latest rage everyone was talking about - the Vax canister vac. The original Vax has always been what is known as a "3 in 1 model," because it has three main functions; to pick up dry dirt or suck up water and has the ability to wash carpets because of its two way pump system. Vax machines have always been instantly recognisable due to their original orange colouring but ours was different being dark blue with orange inserts to differentiate the new model and at the time remain as the flagship of the Vax range; the Powa 1200 watt model which also comes with a variable suction control dial and a few extras over the then spartan base model. ** This is a long review ** ** The Reason For Getting The Machine ** Although my parents don't use it now as they cannot lift it (it weighs 9kg) and they find that sometimes the machine can be impractical, I still use it to clean up garage and all round house dirt from time to time. I have not looked back though as the Vax hasn't suffered in the 14 years that we have owned it and still has power and reliability on its side despite its heavy and bulky size. However there are a few pros and cons having a Vax canister model. ** Nar's Quick Skip Spec List ** * Two Aluminium Extension tubes, designed to be crush proof. Twist and fit aids a simple locking action which is quick and fuss free. * Turbo brush additional floor head. * 1200 watt motor with variable suction control. * 2 Way Universal Floor Head. * Dusting Brush. * Upholstery Brush. * Crevice Tool. * Multi hospital grade filtration of 99.98% trapping dirt and dust. * Additional water filter foam (washable). * 2 free large paper bags (7 to 9 litres). * Wash pump coil and solution carry tube piping. * 2 free bottles of Vax floor cleaning solution. * Small wash head (ideal for sofas and small upholstery) * Pump action trigger gun (for process of wash function). * Large wash head (ideal for main carpet washing) * Additional clips for clipping solution carry pipe to the main tubes. ** Using The Machine For Dry Dirt Pick Up ** Our machine had a Turbobrush attachment and the 1200 wattage of the Vax (maximum is 1200, lowest wattage is a very gentle 450 watts) motor copes well with the air flow it provides but as soon as the bag starts to fill, the suction becomes noticeably poorer and the turbo brush upon deep pile carpets begins to suffer. The reason purely for this is that the air the motor provides, is sent to the rolling brush - therefore any reduction in suction will noticeable reduce the movement of the "Turbo brush." But this happens on any cylinder/pull along vacuum anyway unless it has a separate electric head. However, this attachment is very easy to clean though, as it has a snap fit flip down trapdoor that reveals the air turbine if anything is caught within it or wrapped around the brush bar itself. What Vax then did was to improve the turbo head on other models - our original Vax head for example has no wheels on the underside and relied only on two metal clamps, so an easy gliding action depends on the smoothness of the floor material concerned. For general cleaning though, the normal, 2 pedal universal floor tool is preferable as it has 2 wheels located at its back hinge to aid access and allow an easier gliding action. Briefly the reason for keeping such an old machine like our Vax Powa model is simply because it is an excellent all rounder. As a dry pick up vac, it has a wonderfully 7 to 9 litre large dust bag which can go on for around five months depending on how you use your machine or if you only have this vacuum as your own, makes a good cheap alternative to a Henry vac bearing in mind it has more than one function over Henry, despite his smiley face. Acres of power from its top motor, the Vax gets around on 5 castor wheels which can be removed if you want a steady vacuum without the wheels or with wheels added whilst a large 10 metre power cord ensures you can travel up to rooms from one plug. As a wet vacuum that we don't really require, it always picks up water without any problems; the most recent exercise was sucking out water at the bottom of our Bosch dishwasher and unblocking our kitchen sink. The carpet cleaning function however needs a little more exercise other than lifting out the paper bag and installing the water recovery bucket. This procedure is one of the most arduous tasks of owning a Vax canister; even their upright washers are easier to set up than this, but then again this is a very old machine and after fixing the main water tube to the pump, then clipping it to the hose and then finally to the floor head you then have to fill the reservoir bucket with warm water and cleaning solution before unhooking the pump tube to lie in the water. There's a reason that sentence was far too long, let me assure you! Generally after all that is done, you then have to clip the trigger to the handle and then switch on the machine after pushing the wet protected on button and then the pump activation button to release the shampoo. Moving the floor head back and forth, the shampoo emerges out of the floor head and onto the carpet/flooring to get rid of stains. The old Vax uses a centrifugal method similar to Dyson's 100% suction all the time, only in this respect whilst the Vax is pumping out shampoo, it is also sucking up the dirty water at the same time which does in reality is a time saver if you are used to using traditional mechanical shampoo machines without power. So it is a pity that despite its bells and whistles, "vaxing" a room can really take the strain out of you, helped along by the fact that the carpet afterwards is damp feeling not wet but still arduous and laborious because of the method of constant pulling out water and dirt from the carpet. Not only do you have to pull the hose and tubes, but there's also a 9kg wheeled machine behind you too. This is why removing the wheels can be better as the Vax can be lifted to bring it nearer to you instead of constant dragging. Fibres left behind are usually stiff and tough due to the agitation received from the Vax's non-brushed floor heads and in the dirty tank afterwards you'll usually find lots of nasties including some escapee carpet fibres. Oh yes, whilst the Vax is great at being kept in the home, it is also very useful for cleaning out the car with its smaller cleaning tools (although on our old canister there is no where to store them) comprising of tough PVC crevice tool, an upholstery tool and a long hair upholstery brush. For use in the garden I installed our fabric dust bag and used an old floor head with the aluminium tubes for sucking up general dirt. For all that my mother laughed watching me vacuum up the garden at the back, it made more sense than brushing up manually which also presents clouds of dust being swept about rather than being kept away for good. The hose length is quite generous too (1.5 metres) although the two piece steel tubes are surprisingly quite light to use and a breeze to fit and unfit if you wish to tackle above the floor cleaning tasks. **When Do I Know The Machine is Nearly Empty of Water?** The Vax canister starts to rumble almost as if the pump sounds like it is beginning to dry out. Don't worry as the machine wont blow up! It's only an audible indication to let the user know that the machine is running low on fresh clean water and solution mix. This is a great warning as it means that thereafter you have only the availability of sucking out all the dirt from the carpet. Once you have emptied the water out if you have just washed something, you need to drain the pump see through solution hose before putting anything back, to ensure all the solution and the water is out of the machine. Then as the handbook suggests pump fresh water through the pump hose to get rid of the old solution. Once that's done, take out the recovery bucket and then dry the whole area down before putting the dust bag in; unlike Henry the bags on a Vax slide into the dirt channel by way of a card mount. ** Optional Attachments & Accessories ** To date, Vax make a washable, reusable and permanent cloth dust bag and is available from Comet as an optional extra - this cloth bag is also machine washable and has its own clip to aid emptying when it's time to empty. Cost is usually between £8-99 to £11-99 per bag and depending on where you find it. Comet and Curry's both offer this bag amongst Vax's paper bags and filters; more about this kind of bag later. ** The Auto Mop ** Vax also make a squeegee mop head called simply, the "Automop," and this is a particularly great little wash head, as it can be used for cleaning floors - it has a removable sponge (it comes with an additional clean sponge) which you use to wash the floor with, and then turn the head around to use the squeegee function to suck up all the water on the floor. This is also an optional extra and should be priced between £15 to £25 brand new. It is however a large floor head and should only be considered for large rooms with hard flooring as the head is a bit bulky. ** Filtration ** The Vax model uses a thick ply paper like material cone filter that fits into its own cradle before the paper bag is put in. Now, this paper filter is not washable but it can be dusted when dirt collects on it. An additional filter that fits on the outer part of the machine and can be removed by squeezing the grate at the sides reveals a thick foam filter. This can thankfully be washed clean but you have to make sure it is dry before installing back into its aperture located on the side of the machine at the top. Lastly, the motor filter is a tiny blue circular filter made of similar material you would find on a sponge scourer pad. When the circle becomes dirty you know just to pick it out and wash it - again make sure that its dry before putting it back in as it sits right at the mouth of the main fan unit leading to the motor. I find that although these filters together do a good job of holding back dust in the air it is not a HEPA filter although the filter cassette can be washed while the main paper cone filter must be replaced after 5 bags or so. Vax also suggest that the paper cone can be brushed free of dust but I have found that after this has been done, there is still an apparent smell of older dust still trapped in it. It's annoying that it cannot be washed though. And if you don't have a spare filter cone, all is not lost; the traditional J Cloth makes an ideal back up filter if you have a clean one to hand. Access on the Vax canisters are simple by way of two flip up clasps either side of the top motor. By simply flicking a catch lock at either side of the machine, the motor comes up, then the filter ring and then the paper/dirty bin area; fitting everything back in is a bit like A, B and C, only in reverse! ** Using the Vax Manual ** Thank heavens though that the manual that comes with the machine is so helpful! There are little tips of what to do to make using the machine that bit easier like spraying some kitchen polish onto the neck of the PVC floor heads to make unlocking the dirt around the necks from the main tubes, easier and quicker. If you lose your manual, you can download manuals from Vax's UK website. ** Any Downsides? ** Canister cleaner machines are notorious for knocking over, and the Vax is no exception. It can be unstable if it is pulled very quickly - the five castors on the machine don't seem to keep the machine steady on the ground and that can prove a worry in dry dirt mode but if it is full of water the Vax has double seals to prevent water from leaking which has always added peace of mind. Mind you, the Vax has never toppled over when it has been full of water so perhaps it is of extra benefit. Pull the Vax gently however and it won't topple over. Full suction on Vax canisters has always been known to create holes in the paper dust bags which is why I recommend that if you must buy any Vax canister, buy one which has the variable power selection dial. Although not generally noisy or whiney, the motor on the Vax is very forceful and can create tears in paper bags that render them useless. The fabric washable dust bag however is a better bet even though it can get messy to empty once it is full. I did however make the mistake of using our Vax canister last summer in the back garden to suck up loose soil and weeds and leaving the Vax in the garage until Autumn, only to find mould growing in the fabric bag and eventually tearing through the cloth which in effect meant time to get a new fabric bag!! The 10-metre power cord has to be wrapped around the top of the canister which can become tiresome after each use. ** Prices ** Old Vax canisters can be bought second hand for around £50 to £100 depending on the model concerned. If you are in the market for one, consider one which has been serviced and comes with the original set of tools. User manuals and spare parts can be bought from Vax online and their prices aren't the most expensive around. Newer Vax models tend to be made cheaply against our heavier model and as such are known to have average reliability with shoddy plastic parts. Newer models are lighter but have fixed suction unless you consider the more expensive models which have the variable suction control (fixed suction with an empty paper bag can get ripped) whilst the floor heads aren't as well made - I know from experience having broken a floor head on a newer "bagless" Vax canister compared to our old one. ** After Market Parts ** Our original orange recovery bucket split one day which meant all the solution, leaked into the dirt water bin. A replacement at the time was not available from Vax although an EBay seller came up trumps with an original replacement bucket costing £9-99 plus postage and packing charges. That same seller also came to the rescue with a replacement handle and hose at the same price when our handle eventually came apart three years ago. Vax however wanted to charge £25 for a replacement hose which suggests over pricing. Comet sell consumables such as a filter pack at £7-99 and this includes two of filters each for the main core and the wash filters. However, Currys also sell this from time to time too but a recent trip to B&Q meant that the same filter pack was effectively selling for £3-98. So, if you are looking for replacement filters for your machine, best go to B&Q as this company seems to be the cheapest available for consumers looking for high street companies. B&Q also sell paper dust bags although you can use copy bags too at a fraction of the price. Crucially however, EBay is also a good source for parts including bags and filters. Vax have launched HEPA filter rings for most of the old canisters which brings your old Vax right up to date with emissions. Since we hardly have use for the Vax as a dry dirt cleaner in the home, we've made no intention of buying a HEPA filter but the new rings cost around £15. ** Conclusion ** So to the original advertising that used to say "Nothing Sucks Like A Vax"? Against other canister vacuums, the Vax canister is worthy of owning, not because you may use it for washing carpets, sucking up water or use as a normal vacuum for every day dirt but because you have those options instantly available thanks to the multiple uses this vacuum offers. It is a heavy machine however and not for the faint hearted, ideal for large homes rather than small homes or flats. But treat it with a little care and regular maintenance and your Vax should last you a long period of time; the older models may have lower power but they are better built than the current versions, so the old models are well worth looking out for; a fact which seems to reflect on old Henry vacuums as well, ironically enough. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008 www.vax.co.uk
I was pleased when my vacuum cleaner gave up the ghost, despite the fact that I'd now got to find the money for a new one. The old one was an upright, you see, and getting it up and down stairs used to DRIVE ME MAD. It was too heavy and there was nothing to hold on to, and I used to have to hold it high in the air to stop it catching on each stair as I climbed. By the time I'd got it upstairs, I'd be sweating, breathing heavily and not in the mood for hoovering at all. So when it did break, I headed straight down to the shops with one word on my mind and that was CYLINDER. No more uprights for me - ever again. I also had two more criteria, and that was that 1. I could not afford to spend anything over £100, and 2. It absolutely had to have a retractable cord. (You know how it's always the small things that get you most annoyed in life? Having to rewind my own vacuum cleaner cord is one of those things for me). After a good look around, I settled on the VAX VS-03 from powerhouse, for which I paid £79.95. With cleaners ranging from £30 to £250 in the store, I felt that I was paying enough for reasonable quality but was not paying through the nose for features that would be no use to me, too gimmicky or simply rip-offs. LOOKS: The VS-03 is a fairly recent model and the design reflects this. In a shiny silver finish, with a curvaceous, ovoid body, it's quite space-age in appearance. It has a flexible accessory tube which fixes on one side for easy carrying when not in use, and this makes it look somewhat like a petrol pump when standing on its end. SIZE AND WEIGHT: The VS-03 is on the large side as far as cylinder cleaners go, meaning that it can take a lot of dust before the bag needs emptying, but at 8 kg it isn't too heavy to handle. MANOEUVERABILITY: Despite its large size, the VS-03 is easily maneuverable. Strong, effective castors ensure that it slides around like a dream, requiring next to no effort on your part. It is also easy to carry, having the right handles in the right places, and having a handy hook for the flexible attachment tube and thus freeing up your other hand. I'm 5 foot 7 and have no bother at all carrying my VS-03 up the stairs or from room to room. CLEANING: The most important category of all, of course, and this is where the VS-03 really comes into its own. With 1800 watts at its disposal, this cleaner is powerful. Its suction is quite phenomenal. For this reason, it has a variable sliding power control which you need to adjust according to the job in hand. I find that on maximum the cleaner sucks up every last bit of cat hair in my thick pile carpets, while my rugs need only the minimum or else they begin to disappear up the tube. There is also a foot button which raises and lowers the brushes, making it suitable for either carpets (with brushes lowered) or hard floors (with brushes raised). As well as dealing with my carpets, the cleaner works on my laminate and tiled floors a treat. I really can't fault this vacuum at all on its cleaning performance. ATTACHMENTS: The cleaner comes with one large bristled attachment, and three small attachments. The large attachment - which is in sturdy plastic and chrome, so looks good and feels durable - is used for most jobs, but the small ones come in particularly useful for upholstery, corners, small areas and the car. Removing and swapping attachments is a doddle. The three small attachments are stored in the body of the cleaner. This keeps them out of sight but at the same time they are very easy to get to when needed. BAGS: The VS-03 is a bagged cleaner, and each bag holds a whopping 2.5 litres of dust. Each time a bag is full, it needs to be thrown away and replaced with a new one. You could try emptying the bag if y ou wish, but it would be a fiddly and probably dirty job. Besides, you can get a good 2 months out of each bag in my experience, and replacements are only £4.99 for 5 from Powerhouse, so it's not an expensive business. ANYTHING ELSE: Yes, the machine has a 'hepa filtration system' whereby the replaceable filter not only traps dust but kills bacteria too. It also has that all-important retractable cord, which works like a dream at the touch of a chunky button with your toe. And one (slightly) negative point. Despite being called a 'low noise' vacuum cleaner, the VS-03 makes a right old racket, so it's not suitable for use with a hangover. OVERALL: I'm really pleased with my VAX VS-03, which I've now had for almost six months. I recently did a bit of hoovering at my brother's with his top of the range Dyson, and can honestly say I didn't find the cleaning power any better. For great performance, power, good looks and superb value for money, you'd be hard pressed to beat this vacuum from VAX.
We have recently purchased the brand-new-on-the-market Vax 1800 watt cylinder vacuum cleaner. It's design is bang up to date and has a modern silver finish, completely unlike all of it's dated predecessors. We brought it because it was the lowest priced, highest power cleaner we could find at the time, and with a large house with a child and two long-haired cats, the good cleaner is an absolute must, our previous cleaner only lasted us 18 months and it cost around the same as this one! First Impressions - A bit big once out of the box, but it feels sturdy and is well built. It has a metal telescopic tube (as opposed the plastic ones that tend to break after heavy domestic use), on board storage for it's numerous attachments and big giant chunky buttons to turn it on and off and to rewind the cord (which also has a handy little compartment that it sits in). The suction power is impressive and it benefits from a switch that allows you to turn up and down it's power as required. I have to set it to about 80% power as hoovering is too much like hard work when it's on full power! It certainly does the job for us, and is efficient at picking up pesky animal hairs and seeing off general mess too. So far, after 2 weeks, I am very happy with it, (apart from having to make sure all the windows are open when I use it because the motor gets so hot and kicks out a LOT of heat). A word of caution, it is quite HEAVY for a cylinder cleaner, so if you have a weak back or are not particularly active or strong, then I'd advise giving it a try in the shop (pick It up, walk around with it).
Having seen the new op on this subject I thought I would dissappoint everyone who loves their Vax vacuum cleaner. The Vax is a wet/dry cylinder vacuum cleaner which has been on the market for at least 10 years. My first Vax was bought 8 years ago and was great, until it started suffering from old age and being abused on a daily basis. It suffered a number of split hoses and finally the motor died. However I was pleased as it had served me well. So I decided that I would buy another one (in March 2001). I went to Comet expecting the Vax to be the same or maybe even with a few improvements (not that I could think of any that they could make). I picked up the box, paid for it and took it home. On assembly I realised that it had been re-designed. The nozzle attachment was completely different it was larger and had two wheels as well as a large plastic cover (so that you can see what you are hoovering up I s'pose). There were no brushes on the attachment merely a plastic part to snap on if you were dry hoovering carpets. The same nozzle is used both for wet and dry. I began hoovering .... hum. The Vax did not seem to pick up as much dirt and bits as my previous one probably due to lack of brushes. Then within 5 minutes of starting it went over a small piece of plastic wrapper (1" x1" in size), this stuck under the plastic cover and made further hoovering impossible. I fiddled and funmbled and tried to pull it out but alas to no avail. Eventually I managed to unscrew the cover and pull it out. Since then I have had to do this on a number of occasions for things such as a paperclip, a small piece of wood (1cm x 1cm x 2mm in size), plastic and paper tissue. This becomes increasingly frustrating as the screws holding the plastic on are tiny and it makes hoovering a far longer job than it should be. I tried the wet option and am happy to report that this is identical to the previous model. However when usin g the vax with water one needs to remove the plastic "snap-on" carpet attachment. I tried to replace this afterwards which was very difficult and then sometimes falls off when dry hoovering. About 3 weeks after my purchase one of the plastic wheels fell off. I took it back to Comet and they swapped it right away. However the design of this is very flimsy and I have no doubt that it will happen again. Over the 9 months I've had the Vax I have been dissappointed with the suction when hoovering carpets (dry), and have found that the wet attachment was failing to suck the water out of the tank and onto the carpet. So I boldly took it back to Comet who sent it away for inspection. After 18 days I phoned to enquire whether anything was wrong, I was told that it needed a new pump and motor! ... it is now over 3 weeks that I have been without and the carpets are seriously manky .... and its not even a year old!!! I think the redesign of the Vax is impractical and of poor quality and anyone who is happy with their old vax not to replace it with a new one.
I have been very disappointed in the after-sales service from Vax Appliances. The product works well enough (ours was a Vax 2000 wet and dry vacuum cleaner), but after a wheet came off, literally, I tried to obtain a spare part. Service from the Mail Order department was rather unhelpful in identifying the part requested, and required the customer to pay for return and restocking if the wrong part was supplied, even though there was no way of knowing whether they were going to supply the correct part or not. Anyway I ordered what they apparently recommended in the hope that it would be right, and heard nothing more. Some weeks later I wrote again in case the order had gone astray, and had no response. Some weeks later I wrote to the main Customer Services department, who also failed to respond. So be warned, gentle reader - your Vax will be good while it works, but if anything breaks, don't expect any sort of service from this company, because they don't seem able to provide it.
This is one of the traditional cylinder VAX machines, we got it in 1995 when we moved house and our old vacuum packed up. As the carpets needed cleaning, we figured it would make sense just to buy a VAX ourselves rather than a new vacuum plus hire of a carpet cleaner. It has proved a very sensible decision. Most of the time it is simply used as a vacuum cleaner. It is very effective, has 4 different heads, on board storage for the 3 not in use. The main head has 2 settings so that you can use with or without bristles, which is useful if you have carpets of different pile, or wooden floors. The unit itself is quite heavy, but is on castors and can be pulled around easily. Going up the stairs isn’t quite so easy. In our current house, which has a dogleg staircase, I can only do half my stairs before having to take the VAX up to the top. However, in our last house, which had a straight staircase, I could vacuum all but the last step from the bottom, so that gives an idea of how long the hose is. As a vacuum, I would say it is nothing special, it does the job well enough, sometimes struggles with pet fur a bit which is a shame as we have 2 cats, but on the whole it’s fine. Where it really comes into it’s own is as a carpet cleaner. To use it as a VAX, you have to remove the part with the filter in and replace with the cleaner reservoir, then attach a clear hose to the normal hose (by means of simple clips) to carry the water, turn a knob on the machine to put it in VAX mode, and hey presto you’re away. I find that a single reservoir of water, about 4 litres, is sufficient to clean my lounge/diner. It is very good at removing the water from the carpets again and although they feel slightly damp underfoot, you can walk on them straight away (though it’s best to wait til they dry). We now have 2 young children and a third on the way, and having a VAX has become a necessity. Having said all that, I st ill hanker after a Dyson…..