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Setting up a home is a costly affair and was something we came to discover for ourselves back in 2008 when we made the decision to buy a static caravan at the Seaside. The home my wife and I share together has had items bought for it over a period of time and we have been able to replace furniture and appliances as and when needed, setting up the caravan was different - everything had to be bought in one go otherwise we would have had the hassle of transporting the stuff we had at home the 80 miles travelling distance to our caravan and practically speaking this was neither convenient or desirable. All of the kitchen appliances we took for granted needed to be bought again; a Toaster, Kettle, Fridge and Microwave etc and amongst all the other 'must-have' items a vacuum cleaner was also required.
Fortunately this was one item that we didn't have to spend money on, my wife's grandmother had at that time bought a new vacuum cleaner and we were offered her old one; a Vax V-044 Cadence. Taking her up on her very kind offer (she had only had it a few months and claimed to not like it) we gladly took it off her hands and having owned and used it for a couple of years now I can see why she wanted to get rid of it as I shall attempt to explain in this review.
**Vax V0-44 Cadence**
Before I get round to discussing how the Cadence operates I'll cover how it looks and what Vax claims it can do. An upright cleaner, the Vax Cadence is constructed primarily of plastic and weighs in at just under 7kgs. The V-044 is a bagless cleaner and has a 1500 watt motor, its 3 litre drum container attaches to the body of the machine itself and as anyone who has ever owned a bagless vacuum in the past will know these are supposed to be designed to allow quick and easy access to the drum to enable any dirt that has been collected to be easily disposed of. Vax like to self-promote their range of cleaners and this one is no different so printed on the transparent drum are a series of statements ("1500W Cyclonic Power" "HEPA Filtration" "Wide Cleaning Path") are three which are there to presumably catch the eye of a potential buyer who may be wandering round Currys trying to decide what to settle for.
The head of the vacuum sits on wheels which are at the back of the machine and at the front is a brush bar which has an adjustable carpet height control mechanism which is situated on the top of the head itself. A HEPA filtration system is installed which apparently has been designed to trap more of the dust and dirt the vacuum picks up and the machine is switched on and off by means of a small grey foot pedal located on the back of the machine. There is no automatic cord winder on this model so the mains wire wraps around two plastic hooks on the back of the machine itself and the only accessories that come supplied are a stretch hose and extension pole along with a single crevice tool which are stored on the machine when not in use.
As far as the package goes with this model its bright and cheerful appearance masks a rather limited machine in all honesty. It looks and feels plasticy, has a pitiful amount of onboard extras and as I'm about to cover, can be an absolute nightmare to push around and empty.
Bagless vacuum cleaners are supposed to make life easier for the user, the whole idea is that any dust and bits that are collected are handily stored in a drum which is then emptied into a bin and put back onto the machine. You don't have to fiddle around carefully slotting bags into place and then having the mess of removing and disposing them with a vacuum cleaner like this so why Vax made it so difficult to actually get the drum of and then back onto this model completely baffles me. It makes for a very frustrating few minutes to try and ease the drum away from the body of the cleaner with the V-044 and then once it's off it's even harder to try and get back into place. The release mechanism on our cleaner is so temperamental that sometimes it appears to be too slack then other times too tight, often times the drum just drops off at the merest touch and then on occasion it just won't budge. The top part of the drum which comes off at the same time is needlessly difficult to remove when you want to empty the contents of the drum and trying to fix that back into place takes just the right amount of force and a huge amount of luck to get it aligned correctly. The main selling point of this model is, for me, its bagless design yet this is perhaps the most awkward and horribly constructed part of the machine as a whole and it's always a test of will and patience when it comes to emptying it.
Manoeuvrability is an issue too with the Cadence, because its design has deliberately incorporated an extra wide vacuuming head I find it makes the whole pushing and pulling movement of vacuuming difficult. It's fine on open spaces and does indeed cover a large area but when it comes to getting around furniture or the legs of chairs I always manage to crash into the things around me, in the somewhat confined space of a caravan this is a problem and whilst not necessarily a fault of the cleaner itself I do think that the inflexibility of the fixed rear wheels and the oversized cleaning head makes the task of vacuuming more difficult than it really ought to be. Similarly the foot operated on/off switch is located in an awkward position and is tricky to get to, I find that I can only depress it with my big toe and have to remove my slipper to get access to it, anyone with mobility issues will most certainly struggle with this and it would have been a whole lot easier to have placed the on/off switch on the handle, a feature found on some other Vax models.
Whilst I have up to now painted a pretty bleak picture in my thoughts about this vacuum cleaner it is not without its good points. Fair enough, there are only a few from my point of view but they are significant enough to mention here. First of all I have to admit that its appearance and build construction is deceptive, whilst it is undeniably plasticy in appearance it is remarkably durable and despite being bashed into doorways and furniture on numerous occasions the plastic has never cracked or become damaged in any way. All of the attachments, the rollerbrush and cable hooks have remained in perfect condition and credit should go to Vax for being able to construct such a hardwearing machine for the money it retails for.
It does provide an impressive amount of suction which copes with everyday dust and dirt and seems to pick up anything in its path and equally impressive is Vax's after sales service on their machines, a yellow sticker can usually be found somewhere on their appliances with instructions on advising what to do should a problem arise. Our Cadence has the sticker on it along with the telephone number to contact the company (although this is now out of date as the number has been changed) and although we have not had cause to contact them about this particular machine itself we do have a Vax at home which was an expensive model and did develop a fault which Vax, again to their credit, ended up sorting out the problems with no fuss whatsoever.
Most important of all when it comes to any household appliance is their longevity and whether or not they will last more than six months without breaking down. We obtained our Cadence in 2008 and it is still in use today, fair enough it does only get used for 8 months of the year when our caravan is open but we do spend a lot of time away from home during the caravan season and the vacuum cleaner is used on a regular basis when we are there. 3 years on and still going strong has to be considered excellent for anything these days and given the fact that this model is still available to buy to this day must mean that Vax must have done something right for some people when they designed and built this particular cleaner.
Overall though for me personally the annoying negative aspects outweigh the positive of the V-044 and despite the fact that it is hardwearing, reliable and cheap to buy it wouldn't be a vacuum cleaner I would give a glowing recommendation to. In use it is difficult to push around and unless you have a wide open expanse of carpet in front of you then you will struggle to get it around corners and into those hard to reach areas, the attachments provide a little help although a stretchy tube and single telescopic extension pole complete with a crevice tool are hardly cutting edge in design so their usefulness is most definitely limited.
Worse still is the drum which is nothing but problematic to empty and fit back into position, its these important aspects which causes unnecessary frustrations when the cleaner is in use for me and its why I would struggle to really sing the machines praises. It is an efficient machine though to be fair and does pick up anything that lies in its path; the 1500 watt motor provides plenty of suction even if it is incredibly noisy when switched on. Look at alternatives would be my advice, Vax is a reputable brand and do have a wide range of machines to suit every budget - our other Vax which we use at home is an excellent machine and as a brand I do rate them very highly.
I can only award a 2 star rating for the Vax V-044 for all the reasons mentioned in this review. The model is still available to buy from amazon and a number of online electrical retailers and you can expect to pay around £60-£80.00 should you want to purchase this for yourself. I wouldn't recommend this model personally but given the fact it can still be bought must mean that it has been a long running and popular line in Vax's extensive catalogue so others may rate it higher than me and may find more positive things to say about it. The very fact that we still own and use this despite all of the negative aspects does prove that we can live with the annoyances but every time it comes to the cleaner being emptied we are reminded just how frustrating it actually is.
Overall: Not recommended.
Thanks for reading my review, please note that this may appear on ciao under my username.
My little Vax Quicklite V-046 is one of those vacuums I genuinely ignore when it comes to sealing the dust in since it is a bagless cyclonic upright vacuum and emptying is always messy without a bag. Small, lightweight and extremely capable it has been a dependable mini-upright vacuum for usage in our large office/study and has continued to be reliable without much need to replace anything other than the belt or filter. It always lacked a hose however, something that Vax acknowledged even though they didn't import the U.S Dirt Devil version with a hose on the back. My Quicklite was fantastic at revealing dirt in hidden places such as bed mattresses or picking up shredded papers and staples without fuss. Sadly after five years it has decided to call it a day and since Vax stopped selling it in the UK as far back as 2006 it is even more difficult to obtain online. * This is a long review *
Certainly from the point of sale for my Bissell Easy Vac which didn't turn out to be that easy, I found it a struggle to remove and replace the filter cartridge never mind putting the bin back in after emptying without a couple of tries! Changing the drive belt was a nightmare too. Whilst the Easy Vac is currently priced between £45 and £50 I decided to look elsewhere at bagless cyclonic alternatives. Unsurprisingly due to cost I plucked the purse strings and picked out another Vax. Ironically for a musician it seems it could well be love at first sight with the "Cadence," even though it's not the most perfect of harmonies and chords!
Purchased at a cost of £37-99 (EBay seller, postage free) I've been so far delighted with the Vax Cadence V-044. Current prices tell a different story however, possibly due to recession or sellers on a greed drive to make more money. Commanding prices on EBay from £45 to £60 it does pay to shop around and the Cadence is no stranger to being tarted up, having been made in 2003 and then sold at Argos, Tesco, Comet and Asda (to name but a few) under different colours, guises and with additional tools such as pet hair roller brushes, hence Tesco's Vax "Performance" upright vacuum currently priced at a rather steep £60 even though it's the same model as the Cadence. Argos has also slashed prices and are selling the Cadence upright with a pet hair turbo brush. Priced at £44-99 it should give private sellers hell bent on overpricing on EBay, food for thought! Littlewoods also sell the model under a different name, JMB 1500 and it costs £49-00.
Out of the box the Cadence only needs the handle screwed in and although I immediately miss the compactness of my Quicklite, let alone its unique push down handle that used to compact down into the body, the handle on the Cadence immediately feels better, is made of thicker plastic and like most Vax uprights has a handy cord hook where excess cord can be hooked up to avoid it being run over. Screwing a handle to the back of the Cadence is all you'll need to do when it comes out of the box. The Cadence has a total height of 110cm, which doesn't present that many storing problems and remains space efficient thanks to its rather thin width. Everything else is already installed on the vacuum such as the crevice tool, upholstery brush and a snap on grid that gives the flat upholstery tool two uses; one without the brushes and one with the brushes on. There's even a long extension pipe for extra reach.
Despite its old design decked out in red and black, the Cadence is sensibly built and still reasonably modern looking with three cleaning tools and uses a similar paper pleated washable filter cone to my Quicklite. It is however fairly plasticky and some of the plastic does feel cheap; you have been warned. The filter cone covets the HEPA/High Efficiency Particulate Air category even though ironically enough whilst it protects dust from coming back into the room, you'll become airborne to it the moment it comes the time to empty the bin. It weighs 6 kg which I don't find this to be too heavy to lift and I find it just as capable as my Quicklite in terms of accessing design points; one aspect which is the fact that the hose on the back is very easy to take on or off if dust gets clogged and the hose has some stretch feel to it without being too compacted within its ridges. However the hose only stretches out to less than half a metre (approximately 45cm), so those looking for a long hose will be disappointed here. In its defence though, the hose doesn't kink and cut suction at awkward angles like the Electrolux Powerlite upright although if you pull the hose roughly the Cadence can fall back. It has a similar on pedal to the Bissell Easy Vac and it is located in the same position too at the back, which is easy to step on.
The good news is that in use the Cadence has a very strong suction factor and I've been delighted so far from its 1500-watt motor. This is one of the reasons to why I chose the red/black model because later models have 1600 or more watts of power and I like to keep my machines low in power for energy reasons or if they do have high power, the option to select lower power. Suction is therefore fixed on this upright but it doesn't do the Cadence injustice. What it does do badly however is put out a lot of hot air at the front and can ruffle loose papers on nearby tables all too easily.
The bad news is that the motor is noisy but not as loud as some Vax uprights I've had in the past but you'll struggle to hear the phone ring with this model. It has a four-height selector dial on the front of the hood, which is reasonably easy to move if you put the handle into the upright position but like the Quicklite, it suffers from a very heavy ploughing feel through the handle on carpet surfaces. But there are ways around this without compromising carpet pick up:
Like the Quicklite (and the Bissell Easy Vac) the Cadence has a rubber squeegee fitted just below the main roller brush. If you prise this out with a blunt knife the gliding aspect on the Cadence suddenly becomes a lot lighter. When it is removed the Cadence feels beautifully lightweight to glide and thanks to its slight T shaped frontage, it doesn't suffer from having a larger floor head that gets stuck between chairs or tables. Whilst it can go under tables effectively, due to its age and design the circular nature of its main bin gets in the way making cleaning flat to the floor difficult, particularly under beds where dust is one of the worst places to prevail. The removal of the squeegee rubber strip also improves pick up which I was also delighted to find on both sides of the floor head with edge cleaning. Although the wheels are large at the back they are not coated in rubber but cheap plastic and both have a tendency to slide on hard flooring. If the belt breaks however the good news is that it only takes four screws on the base to remove and the top of the hood comes off immediately; past Vax models suffered from more screws to undo and the height adjuster dial pulled off which could often break. So it is somewhat worthwhile on maintenance alone to consider this vacuum, as it is easier to work around when things start to go wrong. Drive belt replacements usually cost in the region of £4-99 and upwards and I find it better to look for a pack of 2 as you never know!
Emptying the Cadence is also similar to my Quicklite; it is easy if you take your time! As such the top twists off revealing the cone filter, which then has to be held (using rubber gloves is ideal for this) and turned anti-clockwise before the cone can be removed. Then tip the bin upwards and dispose of the dirt. Of course you can empty the bin with the cone still attached but you may find that the cone needs to be tapped so that dirt comes off. I also use a paintbrush or the dusting brush installed to gently clean the dirt off the cone. Or you can wash the cone filter under lukewarm hot water and a bit of washing up liquid. Sadly with these types of pleated paper cones, they can tear if you attack them with hard stiff cleaning brushes and they don't ever retain their white colour after usage. The cone filter however can be dried in a low temperature program in a tumble dryer (put it in a pillow case with a clean tea towel to minimize it rattling off the drum) and takes around 45 minutes to become bone dry. Do it the old fashioned way according to Vax and you'll need to dry it to room temperature for at least 24 hours! Although Vax don't state this in their well-written user manual, I've done this many times since purchase as well as on my own Quicklite and the filter lasts longer than the yearly / 6 month replacement, of which you can buy for a cost of £12 to £21 depending on where you go. EBay is best for cheap filter replacement kits as are B&Q and unusually, Littlewoods catalogue who are one of the major sellers for Vax.
If however there is one selling point that I adore about the Cadence, it is its dirt capacity. The clear and easy to see bin has a 3 litre capacity which means I can go a few months before the bin is packed with dust - in theory. This is ideal for someone who is fed up with smaller dust canisters and continuous emptying of bins. Realistically if the filter cone clogs up before the bin is full you'll find you may need to empty sooner than the total capacity would suggest. Other downsides consist of a short power cord but at 6 metres I haven't had much to complain about; it travels around our two rooms as and when required and could be an ideal model to consider for a small carpeted flat or house.
Despite its age, the Vax V-044 Cadence may be noisy but at its current price it has a lot going for it. It will need a keen eye to keep it well maintained but treat it with respect and it shouldn't let you down. Over the Bissell Easy Vac, the old Vax Cadence still knows how to reach the right chords even if it is old, particularly in light of the fact that spares are easy to obtain due to its age. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2009
Short name: Vax V-044