I've had various brands of vacuum cleaners and am always looking for the ideal one. Before I bought this one I read online reviews and even joined Which to find their 'Best Buy'. After a lot of searching we came up with the Vax Mach 7, pets and stairs. Although we have no pets I decided that if it could pick up pet hairs as promised the suction must be pretty good.
I was not disappointed with the performance and love the long stair extension which means I can clean the stairs from top to bottom without humping the vacuum behind me as I did with my last one.
It is a very sturdy cleaner as I discovered one day when I dropped it downstairs from top to bottom. It still works fine and the only damage was to my wall as the Vax bumped its way down
The sturdiness has its downsides though as it is very heavy to use and also to carry up and down. I have now bought a cheaper cleaner which I keep upstairs and only use for the bedrooms.
I would recommend the Vax for the performance but I am not sure I would buy another one as it makes vacuuming hard work.
A while ago I mentioned in another review that we had been forced to make do with a basic Tesco Vacuum Cleaner whilst our expensive Vax Mach 7 was in for repair after suffering complete motor failure. I bought my original Vax late last year and for seven months was thrilled with the performance it gave, it was a powerful machine that picked up everything in its path, looked well made and felt like it should have been a reliable household appliance. Fortunately for us, Vax offer a 6 year guarantee on all upright machines and as ours was well within the warranty period they arranged for its collection and for an engineer to take a look at it.
A week later we received the news that the original Vax was unrepairable and so were entitled to a new machine and as the original VZL-6017 had been superseded by a newer, more expensive model we would receive the VZL-6017C Pets and Stairs as our replacement.
Out of the Box
Vax uprights are big and bulky it has to be said so when our latest cleaner arrived it was no surprise to see it contained in a very large cardboard box. Removing it from its confines was tricky and needed both my wife and I to carefully shuffle the cleaner out of its box, the polystyrene packaging made the cleaner fit *very* snugly and after a few minutes of jostling we managed to free it from its packaging much like removing a cork from a wine bottle.
Using the Machine
Free from its packaging the Vax 6017C is a magnificent beast of a machine, silver in colour with the Vax brand name in contrasting orange you can't help but be impressed by its appearance. It looks expensive it has to be said, its clean cut lines and angled head make the machine look sleek yet robust and overall appears to be extremely well made, first impressions are everything and visually the 6017C is stunning to look at.
Unlike some machines were you have to assemble the various parts and attachments, the 6017C comes ready assembled and only requires the handle fixing into position with the two screws which are supplied. A Phillips screwdriver is needed to secure them in place but once this two minute job is completed the machine is ready to use. Standing 115cm from the floor to the top of the handle the first thing you will notice is the weight of the machine. It is heavy when compared to other uprights and at just under 11 kilograms you certainly know when you are pushing it around. Saying that though, the two wheels on the back of the cleaner are large and smooth to the touch and once you get going the machine is a dream to handle and manoeuvre around.
The machine is bagless so any dirt and dust is collected into the large "Windtunnel" drum and when vacuuming you will notice that anything that is picked up swirls around in a cyclonic movement. I like this feature of the cleaner as the translucent drum allows you to notice just how efficient this machine is and dust you never knew you had is collected and stored in the easy-to-empty toughened plastic container. Removing the container is as simple as pushing a button and it easily comes away from the body of the cleaner, once removed you simply move a catch and the contents are offloaded into your bin or rubbish bag and the drum container is simply attached back into place.
At the front of the head of the cleaner is a brush-bar which has been designed to agitate carpeted surfaces to allow imbedded dust and bits to rise to the surface for vacuuming up and this works especially well on rugs as well as fitted carpets. There is a 'Brush control' mechanism on the machine itself which is controlled by a handy footplate and a visual indicator allows you to see when this has been activated by a handy 'on/off' display which switches from red to black. We use this function quite a lot as we have laminate flooring which have rugs on them and being pet owners have a dog who brings dirt into our home on his paws.
For its retail price of £249.99 you would expect the machine to be feature-laden and Vax have certainly packed plenty into the 6017C. They claim that the machine has 'no loss of suction' whether you use this as a traditional push-along vacuum cleaner or if you use the very generous hose which is the machines main selling point. At its extended length the hose can reach up to 6.5 meters which is why Vax market this as a "Pets and Stairs" machine, you can easily stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs and reach the top with the hose and the claims that there is no loss of suction is absolutely correct, by adding one of the many supplied brushes to the end of the hose you can easily get into all the 'nooks and crannies' of stairs and this is where the machine excels. The suction power of this machine is impressive to say it's only has a 1400 watts motor and easily beats our other cleaners we have had in the past hands down with its ability to do what you would expect a vacuum cleaner to do and that is to pick up any dirt or dust which is around your home.
When the machine is switched on the motor is quite loud it has to be said, not excessively so that it drowns out everything around you but it isn't a silent by any stretch of the imagination. This is neither a negative point nor a reason for complaint, every vacuum cleaner makes a noise so you pretty much get what you expect from the 6017C and it is no better or worse than other brands you could select. There is a headlight though at the front of the machine which I always think is a nice addition (simple things amusing simple minds and all that) and I like how it illuminates your path, its little attention to detail like the headlight and the fact that there is an automatic cord rewind (which works *really* well, be careful not to hit your ankle with the plug when retracting!) which makes me such a fan of Vax vacuum cleaners even though our relationship has been somewhat 'rocky' given what happened to our original machine.
For those with allergies its worth mentioning that there are two filters on the machine, the biggest one being a HEPA filter, these are easy to clean and maintain and only require a dust down every now and again to remove any caught up debris. They can be reused and washed with soapy water if required and Vax recommend that they are maintained every six months or so, replacement filters can be bought directly from Vax themselves but if you look after them they shouldn't require that much thought to be honest with you.
All in all then the Vax Mach 7 Pets and Stairs is a great machine to own and use. It picks up anything in its path with ease and leaves your home clean and dust-free. Its design is very user friendly with all attachments and brushes fitting snugly onto the body of the machine itself, the on/off button is located rather conveniently on the handle itself. It is heavy so do be aware that it does take some muscle power to move it around but you do get used to it once you have pushed it around a few times. Its weight is reassuring for me though and an indicator of its quality build and the features it offers, I would imagine that it could be awkward for people with more than one flight of stairs in their home though and wouldn't like to have to carry it up and down on a regular basis. For those in a bungalow or flat this would be perfect so long as you have a suitable place in which to store it when not in use as this does take up quite a bit of space so this should also be a consideration if you were thinking of buying this particular vacuum cleaner.
Conclusion and Rating
As I have already mentioned there is a 6 year guarantee on all Vax Upright cleaners and the 6017C falls into this category, you are sent a form to complete which needs to be sent back to Vax to register your machine or you can do this online. I would *strongly* recommend that you do this as it does give peace of mind and as we had to use this service for our original Vax it ended up being wise move on our part. I do put the problems with our original Vax down to bad luck, I can't imagine that a company as respected and well known as Vax having that many faulty appliances however had we not have had the guarantee activated on our original machine I would of course have a very different opinion on the company and its products.
As much as I would like to I can't award a perfect five star rating for the Vax VZL-6017C, its weight and size would be the negative points that I could see being of concern to someone looking to buy this machine. Functionality wise it is perfect and very, very good at doing what it was designed to do, the added features make this an invaluable addition to our home and the guarantee does give reassurance that if something was to go wrong (again) then we would be covered. We have used both this and our original Vax for 8 months now and have constantly been impressed with our purchase and it is on this basis that I would award an excellent 4 star rating. Despite our problems Vax is still a brand name that I trust and this is a vacuum cleaner that I would still highly recommend.
Thanks for reading my review.
Short name: Vax VZL-6017C