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Vax H90-GA-B Gator Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Member Name: Tarapea
Vax H90-GA-B Gator Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Advantages: 2 year warranty, immense power, cordless, lightweight
Disadvantages: Quite noisy. Mine encountered an issue quickly, but Vax sorted it promptly.
~~A bit of boring background~~~
Vax is a well known brand of vacuums and carpet cleaners. Based in Hong Kong, they've been around since the 1970s. I own both the Gator hand-held, and a carpet washer/cleaner from the brand and my overall opinion of them is that they make reasonable quality, well powered products with a cheap plastic-y outer design.
My reason for buying the Gator? I wanted something that was light to hold, but powerful, to clean my bedroom and keep things tidy without having to have the standard vacuum cleaner in here.
~~~Where can I get one?~~~
I purchased my Gator from Amazon, where it's currently retailing at £33.91. At Vax direct, B&Q and other places this is priced at £49.99 so I believe the Amazon price to be very reasonable. This is a very similar price to what I paid around a year ago, so clearly the Gator has held its value well.
~~~Keeping up appearances~~~
The Vax Gator is a funny orange looking creature with a transparent grey bottom to it.
The words 'Gator 10.8 V' are emblazoned on the side of the unit. Meanwhile, the on/off switch is located on the handle, the removable filter tab is on the top, and the buttons to disassemble the unit and empty it are either side of the product, with a squeeze to open mechanism.
All the buttons are grey, which, when coupled with the rather unusual orange body seem to create quite a smart looking piece of equipment. Somehow the name Gator seems to suit it - it's quite a mean, no-nonsense looking thing. I wasn't really fussed by the appearance of the vacuum, but I like it all the same.
The hand-held arrives in a very long cardboard box which could be useful for storage, but personally I find the vacuum to be very small and unobtrusive, so I'm happy to leave it about the house.
As already mentioned, the Gator is powered by a 10.8V motor. This isn't something that means a lot to me, but in practical terms I've found it incredibly powerful and more than enough to cope with day to day uses.
According to the manual, the vacuum itself weighs a minute 1.24 kg. As this was an important feature to me, I researched it at length, and some of the high end hand-held cleaners weigh a staggering amount more than this. I find the Gator to be extremely lightweight, and easy to push along the carpet and other areas without really having to lift much of its weight in your hand anyway. Due to the chunkiness of the unit, it can be operated two handed if needs be.
Another useful feature is that this is a cordless device, no more trailing cables everywhere! I had noticed that the corded hand-helds tended to be more powerful, whereas wireless ones lacked in power judging by the reviews, but again, I'm more than happy with the Gator's power. It's easy to charge too - charged by AC mains adapter, you simply plug it into the end of the handle and wait for the light to go from red to green. I find it does need to be charged overnight usually, but if I use it every other day or so I find it only needs charging every 3 weeks roughly. So constant draining of the battery isn't an issue here either.
The internal capacity of the unit is 0.2 litres, which sounds a tiny amount, but it's also very easy to empty so this shouldn't be too much of an issue for most people. All you need to do is squeeze the two buttons, at which point the 'mouth' of the vacuum slides open and can be emptied into a bin with ease. If there's still a lot of dust or debris in there, a quick shake tends to sort it, but the filter can also be removed and cleaned separately to keep things spick and span.
Hiding in the 'nose' of Gator is a pull-out narrower crevice tool, perfect for use in corners and smaller areas that the chunky unit cannot otherwise reach properly. The vacuum also comes with a separate accessory -a small square brush, not dissimilar to the brush attachments on standard vacuums. This slots into the crevice tool and is brilliant for use on carpets.
~~~It talks the talk, but can it walk the walk?~~~
Well yes, I think it can.
This has encountered everything from dust to biscuit crumbs, pet hair to spilled craft materials. It meets them all with a dry sarcastic snigger, a loud purr of its Gator-y engine, and then swallows them all whole. There's been several occasions where its accidentally sucked up a small plastic bag and a memory card while vacuuming the carpet too, so the Gator is certainly not just for dust. It can pick up a number of different spills with ease, and I've yet to be disappointed by it.
In our house,the Gator is used on carpets, windowsills, on beds, on top of units and it always achieves a pleasing result. I find you don't need to run the vacuum back and forth over the same spot as it generally picks up any mess on the first go - the suction is very powerful.
The noise it makes is very loud, in my opinion. I would put it at relatively similar to a normal sized vacuum cleaner, which probably isn't a big deal to most people, particularly as its use tends to be in short bursts. However it's certainly not a quiet machine, as the advertising would have had me believe.
It also has other uses, namely scaring our dog who will bark loudly and square up to Gator, who simply growls mockingly and continues his cleaning duties.
As previously mentioned, the battery holds its charge for a good amount of time too. When it runs low the vacuum does begin to lose its suction (and noise!) noticeably, but an overnight charge always restores it to its former power.
I do think the Vax Gator offers a lot of power for a medium range hand-held vacuum, and it performs fantastically.
The Gator comes with a fantastic 2 year warranty if you register it on day of purchase, and unfortunately I have had cause to use this.
After around five months of use, the unit would not charge. When I plugged it in, no light would appear and I could see no reason for this, having not dropped it or noticed anything wrong previously. So I rang Vax, which was pleasantly straight-forward.
Speaking to one of their team, he apologised for the problem and advised me that there was no repairs possible on the Gators, they were simply replaced if broken. He thought it could possibly be the charger that had an issue rather than the vacuum itself as it was a known problem, but told me that he did not want me to have to wait longer to fix the problem if a new charger did not resolve the issue. He issued me a replacement vacuum and charger to be sent out that very day, and all I had to do was peel the label off the bottom of my own Gator, attach it to the paper that came with the new model and send it back to them. So I didn't even have to return the old model, I was asked to dispose of it or enjoy it if it worked with the new charger. My new vacuum arrived promptly, and as it turns out it was the charger that was the problem (something I don't understand as it's not had rough use), so the household has two Gators now!
I found this all to be very encouraging and generally great customer service. I've had a lot of experience with customer service where they make the customer feel as if they're lying, and you often have to send the company the broken object before they agree to replace it, leaving you without your item for some time and a feeling of being disbelieved. Not so with Vax. I admit that I'm not very impressed that a problem occurred so quickly, but with a sturdy 2 year warranty backed by fantastic customer service if anything does go wrong, I don't think I'd be too worried about purchasing from Vax in the future. Having now owned the two Gators for a year now, I have noticed no furthers problems with them.
The Vax Gator is a brilliant mid-range hand-held vacuum cleaner. It has immense power and will perform well in normal day-to-day use, and holds its charge very well. It's easy to empty and clean, and the included crevice tools means even the tightest corners can be cleaned using this vacuum. I personally had some problems shortly after purchasing, but Vax customer service rectified it quickly with a pleasant attitude and I would feel happy to buy a Vax branded product again.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: A brilliant handheld vacuum cleaner. I recommend it :)
|Ease of use:|
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