Following quite a major overhaul of things our garage was packed with such as old machinery including two of my parents' old televisions (if they think I'm saddling myself with a 20 year old Bush TV with the gold fish bowl style screen over my cheap and cheerful Beko 14" compact TV they've got another thing coming!) I've been doing a lot of recycling and chucking of late.
My endless collection of vacuums have therefore been narrowed down to just five out of 100 which were kept in the garage or in the loft, looking like ghosts trapped in black bin liners. It has been a long and enterprising decision to get rid of old models that will always sell to other collectors or for people who just want old fashioned and traditional machines guaranteed not to let them down. Being the owner of bagged vacuums however has always taken precedence; they're cleaner than most vacuums and the only bagless uprights I have are a small mini Vax Quicklite and a very old limited edition Dyson DC01. The decision to part with either was difficult as you can imagine if you were me, parting with an old vacuum cleaner I've put time and money into restoring can be difficult to part with; the Vax however has been a godsend where new carpets are concerned as its bagless so it can just be emptied and therefore bags are a bit of a waste of money when all you're doing is vacuuming up top surface carpet shreds. Following the use of the recently acquired Mach 7 by Vax I've been using in my summer job as a cleaner, I was attracted to the new Vax line up because of several new features.
The problem is that unless you are going to spend £200 to £300 on a vacuum cleaner it's impossible to find one which has all the features that the flagship model has. I find it really disappointing that companies still have to make money this way following the experience of both my high quality German models such as Sebo and Miele where you can custom build your own machine instead of feeling pressure to pay through the nose. At the forefront of buying a brand new vacuum cleaner and with oodles to choose from if not from Woolworths, Comet, John Lewis, Curry's but also Tesco and my old adversary, Argos the Mach series luckily in a 6 tier range starts at £80 for the Mach 2 and given that Argos already have old stock of older Vax models with older designs such as their Powermax, Swift, Essentials, Quicklite and Turboforce ranges that still use the old fashioned paper pleated filters that need to be brushed clean or hand picked clean of dust, the Mach 2 doesn't require this sort of maintenance.
New from the ground up and features the no loss of suction principle similar to Dyson's DC01, the main filter is completely plastic just like Dyson and therefore won't need much human contact. However Argos didn't get my money; Comet came in at one of the cheapest offering the Mach 2 at £79-99.
The Mach 2 came home easily and revealed a few differences to the flagship model such as a lack of auto cord rewind and extra tools. Strip away the luxuries and you still have a well thought out machine here even though it is clear from the marketing that Vax are out to damage Dyson sales. Of course Dyson could just launch a budget priced upright vacuum if they really thought about it...
For a start the Mach 2 doesn't feel as bulky in use as the Mach 7. I noticed this straight away from assembling the model with the only need to insert the height adjustable handle into the back of the vacuum and sorting out the tools putting them into their onboard storage slots; it even comes with a small mini turbo brush - very handy to have here and given the price of the whole vacuum, price competitive. Here, even if the Mach 2 is the basic vacuum of the range, Vax haven't been stingy in supplying good quality fittings and the Mach 2 is addressed in silver paint with orange inserts which harks back to Vax's original orange coloured products when they appeared in the late 1970's. More importantly I don't find the Mach 2 to be heavier, but rather the opposite, coming in around 8kg and certainly doesn't feel too heavy to lift up stairs; reach and travelling around with the Mach 2 is average even though it has a 8 metre power cord and a large carry handle slapped at the front rather than being elevated on the Mach 7. I'm more used to 10 metres of power cord for extra travel without having to change plugs but for the purpose of vacuuming new carpets which a year on, are still producing top surface rolls of wool, the Mach 2 is welcomed. Vax have been stingy however in supplying the Mach 2 with a short hose regardless of its stair cleaning affiliations that Vax go to the trouble of calling; it will stretch out fully to about three steps and the upright won't topple over unless the hose is pulled roughly; just like many upright vacuums, but in the Mach 2's defence, the Vax hose is easy to locate and remove if any clogging occurs.
I find using the Mach 2 a lot easier than the Mach 7 at work even though I still have to bend down from time to time to change the height setting on the control dial; that same design point still annoys regardless of what Mach model you go for. The more simpler the machine the easier it gets with the Mach series and the 2 reinforces that for all that its smaller; it moves and glides easily on most carpet surfaces picking up dust without hesitation whilst suction through the hose is effortless and the handle is easy to release whilst its looped design means controlling in the push/pull formula is easy to steer.
The noise of the motor is not as loud either which makes it perfect for anyone used to Vax uprights in general; I can't tell you the number of times I wish I had ear pads for the noise of old Vax vacuums and this is one reason sadly to why I had to get rid of the Quicklite V0 45. On the Mach 2 the 1200 watt motor here is also low on emissions power and whilst it may struggle on hard floors due to its height selector, you can whip out the hose easily and fit the crevice or brushed upholstery tool to help you out instead; the tools are 32mm in sizing so you could well just buy yourself a cheap floor tool from EBay if you wanted to custom build your Vax!
Emptying the Vax isn't a problem either since its main dust bin has a bottom trapdoor release and emptying the dust goes straight into the bin; I've recently given up with my Quicklite upright for all that's its compact; the days of picking off dust from the filter are long gone and whilst the top comes off the bin on the Mach 2 very little dust needs to be brushed off as most of it drops to the bottom of the bin just like a properly designed cyclone system should. The filters are even washable including the motor filter underneath the bin assembly - they just have to be dried after 24 hours, or simply half an hour if you toss them into a pillow case and put it into your electric tumble dryer!
If there is one downside to the Vax Mach 2 then it's the final factor of Vax being stingy; unlike the rest of the Mach range, the 2 only has a couple of things which are disappointing; a small 1.5 litre dust bin capacity and that means more emptying than it should for example. It also possesses the adjustable handle which also acts as the main extension tube for the vacuum; therefore in use although Vax do supply an extra extension plastic tube to heighten reach, using just the handle with the tools can be tricky in tight situations. I find that with the easy emptying procedure the 2 doesn't pose much of a stress in daily use, plus with its no loss of suction principle built in, there is the added advantage here of going slightly over the dust bin full marking on the dust bin container. When storing away the Mach 2 compacts its handle down to the main body of the machine making storing away easy and its slimmer profile is also easier to accommodate than the bigger and bulkier Mach 7.
In terms of spec and performance the Mach 2 is a great all rounder. A powerful headlight completes the specifications where such things are unheard of these days from other companies and gives a decent amount of light in its spread. I never realised that I had dust behind my computer until the headlight showed it up in plain view for example. Over the fact that it is priced in a market full of budget ranged bagless cyclonic uprights where the filter has to be cleaned every time you use it, or at best use paper pleated filters which need constant maintenance, the Mach 2 is an even bigger bargain than the flagship Mach 7! Whilst Vax have been stingy with the little executions of smaller details the Mach range including the 2 also comes with a free 6 years guarantee. Now if that's not knocking on Dyson's door, I don't know what is! Well done Vax! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
Short name: Vax VZL-6012