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Vax U91-MA-B Air Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner in Orange & Grey

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    12 Reviews
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      21.03.2012 22:07
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      Would definitely recommend!

      After deciding that a Dyson was a bit too much outside of our budget, and after reading several reviews I decided that a Vax was a great alternative bag less vacuum cleaner and decided to purchase the Vax Mach Air. After shopping around I found Amazon offered the best price at £130, with free delivery. At the time of writing this review the Vax Mach Air can be purchased on Amazon for £98.99.

      The Vax Mach Air is an upright bagless vacuum cleaner, it boasts multi-cyclonic action, meaning it should never loose suction. The model we purchased is exactly the same as the one pictured above, silver and orange. The vacuum is 112cm tall and weighs just under 5kg. It also has HEPA filtration, which is great as both my husband and I suffer from minor allergies (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEPA for more info on HEPA Filtration). The Vax Mach Air can hold 1.5 litres of dust, has a 6 meter power supply cable and a vacuum hose of 1.5 meters. It has a roll bar than can be turned on/off. The Vax comes complete with a 3 in 1 attachment and is packaged nicely in a cardboard box. If you register your purchase with Vax you gain a free 6 year warranty.

      So, what does all this mean for me...

      The bag less aspect obviously means no buying or changing vacuum bags. The dust container is easy to detach from the vacuum with a click of a button. Another button then opens the bottom of the container to release all of the collected dust. You can twist the top of the container open to gain access to the filters, which are easy to clean. Very straightforward to fit back together and click back in place. All very simple.

      The 1.5 litre capacity of the dust container is adequate, I don't seem to have to empty the container too often and there isn't a great deal of mess to deal with, I just empty the container into an old Sainsbury's carrier bag and tie it up and dispose. If you can, I recommend doing this outside to stop getting any of the dust particles floating back around your house.

      Multi-cyclonic action, as stated previously means the vacuum doesn't loose suction, so no going back over areas of carpet when you've realised the vacuum hasn't really been sucking anything up for the last 5 minutes!

      The size and weight of the vacuum is perfect, very easy to store, which was important to us as most of our storage space is taken up with toys (and a few old paint pots!). The weight of the vacuum is one of my favourite aspects, it feels extremely light to use, it was very easy for me to use while 9 months pregnant and holding a toddler on my hip at the same time!

      As mentioned previously the HEPA filtration is great for people with allergies and just adds peace of mind.

      The 6 meter power supply cable could probably benefit from being a bit longer, I have to use two separate plug sockets to cover the whole of my living room, but that's not a major hassle. Once unplugged the cable wraps neatly around hooks on the back of the vacuum cleaner.

      The handle of the vacuum cleaner is extendable and removable and easily attaches to the 1.5 meter hose. The 3 in 1 attachment tool then fits on with a simple push. The three attachments are for upholstery, dusting and crevices, they all do their allotted jobs well and are very useful. I use all of the attachments pretty much every time I vacuum. When not in use the 3 in 1 attachments slots easily onto the back of the vacuum.

      The on/off button for the roll brush in the main head of the vacuum is a great feature as I have to switch from wood floors to carpeted areas. The roll brush certainly does the job on carpeted areas but I would advise to switch it off when moving onto hard floors as it could possibly cause scratching (although no damage has been done to any of our floors on the numerous times I have forgotten to push that button) but mainly because the brush tends to flick particles back out again on our wooden floors. I did have a slight scare where I vacuumed up some string from one of my son's toys, the string wrapped itself around the roll brush, which then stopped working, however there is a handy little reset button that sorted the problem right out!

      Overall, I would definitely recommend this vacuum. I have been using it for over a year now and haven't experienced any problems. I'll definitely be looking at Vax again next time I need to purchase a vacuum. Great value for money!

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      05.11.2011 23:53
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      Would buy a Vax again

      When we think of housework I am very sure that 'hoovering' (a term coined from the Dyson hoover) comes into the equation somewhere. Sucking up dust, dirt, cat litter and all and sundry around the house you want a vacuum you can rely on.

      Argos value vacuums are all good and well...but they are not reliable, in all reality.

      So facing the facts that our above mentioned vacuum was up for the chop, me and the hubby looked into what we could get; we wanted quality, superior sucking and most of all we weren't afraid to pay above odds. We soon learned that the phrase 'you pay for what you get' rang true in our household so the vacuum budget isn't something to scrimp on for us.

      We loved Dysons. Both our parents (should I say mothers, seeing as they're the only ones who run the vacuum around their homes. So glad we live in these 'modern times' where husbands kind of know how to pick up after themselves) have varying models of the Dyson vacuums and we'd road tested both vacuums (or should it be hoovers?) and leaped on the decision that a Dyson would soon join our family.

      We checked out a couple of Dyson's on-line. They ticked all the boxes. And yes they were expensive but like I've said earlier, price wasn't a concern or fear. We were looking to splash out. However, somewhere along the quest we decided to price check a few other vacuums - no harm in looking, right?

      That was when the Internet heavens opened and brought forward this little baby. And it was £116, plus free delivery on Amazon at the time.

      Now let me fill you in on my home: it's lived in by two adults and one messy toddler. Toddler loves to throw food around and run around, dragging dust and dirt along in his path. I also shed hair like nobodies business. And my husband has eczema. Clearly this is a job for a Ghostbuster type of vacuum, sucking all the dirt demons into it's cylinder. It's an upright bag-less vacuum, perfect for us.

      When it arrived it was packaged brilliantly, it also comes with a lifetime guarantee. I think this is effectively a 6 year manufacturers warranty which isn't too shabby if something does go wrong.

      Because of the technology in this vacuum (multi-cyclonic, don't you know) you have a powerful suction. Seriously. Don't try and give yourself a love bite with it. Another cool thing about the technology is that it separates the dirt from the air path so it doesn't go into the filter (the filter is also washable which is a standard with a lot of bag-less vacuums) and collects in the container - so three cheers for no loss of suction!

      It has a manual cord rewind so no pressing any buttons to get the cord back up - but this isn't a big deal as the cord wraps round the back of the vacuum. Comes with a 3 in 1 attachment - a crevice tool for getting in between the sofa cushions, one for dusting and upholstery tool.

      The best thing about this vacuum is the weight - at 4.9kg you can lift it and use with it ease. Then there is the adjustable floor head which is a god send when you're clearing up tougher spots - it just suctions them up! It will clean up hard and soft surfaces on the different settings. As well as having a floor head, this vacuum comes with a 2.5m hose which you can attach the attachment pieces too and it's handy for getting into tougher spots (behind the sofa, into corners etc.) It is also quite a small upright, not as cumbersome as a standard upright.

      To empty you hit the release button, out pops the cylinder with ease and then you remove the bottom of the cylinder and tip it into the bin. Simples. I haven't had the 'pleasure' of cleaning the filter or cylinder but I can imagine that is a straight forward task.

      Overall I will give this product 5 stars because it performs so well. You'll actually WANT to vacuum up when you have this. It's available in a range of colours so you don't have to have the standard yellow colour that I do.

      Edit:

      This vacuum cleaner turned out to be faulty! After a few mere months of use it died on us :(. Vax have made promises to replace it, the replacement form has been sent to them and I'm just waiting on my new vacuum cleaner. They tried to squeeze £2.99 from me to cover the postage, which I disputed with them over the phone. The customer service rep didn't let the dispute escalate and spoke to his 'boss' (I personally think he took a stroll to the vending machine down the hall :P) after a while he was back on the phone saying they'd waive the postage as a 'courtesy' - how kind of them, I'd paid for a faulty piece of equipment, but they expected me to pay postage? Lol. I know I'm a cheap skate but it wasn't the money that worried me. £2.99 is nothing, it's peanuts, but I felt like it was a slap in the face after I'd paid over £100 for a vacuum that was faulty. The least Vax could do was pay the bloomin' courier! Of course they have agreed to do this and the customer service rep was so very pleasant and professional that I can't fault them on this front. I really like this vacuum so I didn't want a refund of my money or for them to take it away for 'repairs' for weeks on end, only being left with my £30 piece of junk vacuum from Argos, so I was thrilled to be told they'd be replacing it.

      With a 6 year guarantee on this product it is essential that you register your own products on the company website - that way you won't be screwed over with the 12 month warranty nonsense. I've also found that Tweeting directly to Vax on Twitter (@VaxUK) will move thing speedily along :). I sent them a message with my home number and within minutes I was being told I'd be sent a replacement after trying a couple of things with the vacuum cleaner and being told it was faulty.

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        11.10.2010 08:22

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        All in all, a good vacuum for the price

        I don't have the best luck with vacuum's. In fact, I've gone through 3 this year alone. So, when I got this Vax I didn't have high hopes, but this little guy has exceeded all my expectations and at a price far below some of the other high end vacuums. I have what you might call a cluttered home, with lots of furniture and other things in the way and I was very impressed with the maneuverability this vacuum offered. Also, with the long cord, I was able to clean the entire house very quickly. I have two large dogs, so my vacuums have their work cut out for them, but the Mach Air truly never did seem to lose suction and was able to get everything with one pass. When I would vacuum again, the canister would typically have very little in it. The size of the canister would be one complaint. It's small and fills very quickly, but thankfully emptying it is no problem. I found it to be pretty quiet as well, which was a pleasant surprise.

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        10.09.2010 19:03
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        A great vacuum cleaner!

        Hoping that I one day will afford the luxury of a cleaning lady, I must admit that I kind of hate all that has to do with cleaning and vacuuming, I mean, it just doesn`t feel right in my bones... But after investing in the Vax Mach Air U91-MA-B, I must say that cleaning has become a bit more tolerable, I can actually clean my house without going into depression or some similar state!

        First thing first, look at this vacuum cleaner! I mean, does it not look like something futuristic that arrived on our planet from the year 2055? The design of this vacuum cleaner was one of the first things I noticed, and the mixture of silver, grey and orange really hit home run for me, I was sold! But honestly, what should be focused upon is how thorough and well this machine manages to clean your home, and also, how easy it is to use. All though it looks a bit advanced and science fiction like, using this vacuum cleaner is a piece of cake! There`s a standard on and off button, and another button right next to it adjusting how much suction power you need, on my floors that would be a lot... I found the suction to be very strong and efficient, it cleans carpets, floors, furniture and so on very well, and I`ve also noticed that due to its light weight, this vacuum cleaner is easy to use and manuever, which is a huge plus for me because I have owned heavy and difficult to manuever vacuum cleaners in the past... Pretty much everything with this product is standard, from emptying the dust bin to cleaning the filters, which all can be read about in the instruction, which by the way also is very easy to understand and learn from. Seeing as it does weigh so little and is easy to manuever, my grandmother also owns this model, and I can rapport that she is very pleased with it as well! We both bought the vacuum cleaner for 179.99, and it has dropped in price since then, so I wouldn`t hesitate in buying it, because you really get a very good and trust worthy product for the cash you put into it! It makes vacuum cleaning more or less funny and actually comfortable and easy, so two thumbs up from me!

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          24.08.2010 18:47
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          A great vacuum cleaner

          A good thing about this vacuum is that emptying it is simple and easy - all you have to do is slide out and empty a plastic container. This means you're instantly saving on the hassle and expense of vac bags, which I have only scornful memories of having had to use a vacuum bag-operated vac at University. They are a pain, and I am very thankful this hoover doesn't use them.

          Another good thing is the way it operates. After assembling the vacuum (which s simple to do), the first positive that becomes apparent is the suction: being a pet owner (I have a budgie that likes to shed feathers more than it likes doing anything else) means I have to vac up often, but the suction power on this machine is so good that vaccing up takes no time at all and the way it removes dirt and dust with such ease is a satisfying experience. What's more, this vacuum is lightweight, so you can take it up and down stairs quickly, and easily manoeuvrable, which is always a huge bonus considering other vacs I've used which are a nightmare to move around just make the job longer and more frustrating. With this one, you should be done in no time. The 3 extra attachments for the device also cuts down time cleaning hard to reach or awkward areas.

          The design is also overall cool-looking, although I would have been happier with a more plain colour than the garish orange/grey combo it comes in. The design is hardly any matter though as the way the vacuum operates is everything - luckily, this one performs very well indeed. This vacuum cleaner is also now being sold cheaper as part of a summer sale on Amazon, so hurry up for that.

          Recommended.

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          02.08.2010 21:53

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          Very satisfied customer who recommends this product

          The Mach Air Reach was very easy to assemble from straightforward minimal instructions. First use of the Air Reach was also easy and familiarisation only takes a few minutes. The machine is very powerful which appears constant. There is no messy bag to empty and the filter can be removed and simply washed so there is no additional expense in purchasing bags and filters. The machine is light to use and manoeuvre and stairs, at last, become a doddle with the long attachment hose. There are 3 extra attachments to cover every area in the house and car. The rotating brush bar at the front makes the Mach Air Reach suitable for all floor types and surfaces and it easily coped with dog hairs to give a really thorough clean. I found that it could have been designed to turn a little easier and the red light, advising the rotating brush was blocked, could be brighter or better positioned but these are minor faults when considering it's many plus points. All in all is it a great machine which is easy to use and, as it is so powerful, cuts down cleaning time a great deal making vacuuming a much more pleasant and less tiring task. After 2 weeks of use I would thoroughly recommend it to others as I am very pleased with it and the 6 year guarantee provides peace of mind.

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          16.06.2010 15:50
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          Good hoover. Vax to the MAX!!!

          After a recent snow sledding accident in which our hoover was broken (it turns out ordinary hoovers are not strong enough to carry three grown boys off of a hand made 'snow ramp'. Who knew?), we required a new one. So a-shopping we went.

          After extensive searching, we chose the Vax Mach Air. Intrigued by the cyclone action, and a little aroused by the ergonomic handle- the Vax certainly caught our eye. Now we bought our particular hoover from our local Currys store, but it can in fact be found much cheaper (£39.05 cheaper, infact) at Amazon for the low, low price of £119.95.

          The first uses of the Vax were just as dream-fulfilling as we had hoped it would be. It picked up 'dirt' from our carpet and even our hard kitchen floor with little to no problem. However, in an attempt to really test the 'Vax to the Max', I carried out a small number of experiments to ascertain just exzctly what it could do. Well, you wouldn't by a brand new Ferrari and not take it for a test drive would you? Or buy a brand new iron and wear a creaesd shirt instead? No, no you wouldn't.

          Experiment #1: Dust.
          This experiment was simple, and yet highly important. I simply poured the dust collected by our ex-hoover on to the carpet and hard floor. The Vax had no problem here easily hoovering the dust and leaving not a trace behind.

          Experiment #2: Spiders.
          Living with girls presents boys with an age old problem- the problem of spider control. Now, being an avid recycler, my house is almost completely free of paper or glasses. So, that so simple of tricks- placing the spider undere the glass, sliding paper under, and removing the offending arachnid- is all but impossible. As such, hoovering them up is the all that is left. After much use of the Vax on many a spider, it is clear that the cyclone action can easily deal with those 'eight legged freaks'.

          So, to summise, the Vax Mach Air is an oustanding peice of engineering one that should be present in all household requiring suction. It is top notch at both dirt removal and pest control- I highly reccomend.

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            23.02.2010 07:58

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            Brilliant especially if you have pets

            I was given the Vax Mach Air U91 by my mother who had bought it in a sale but was satisfied with her current vacuum cleaner and it's the best present I've ever received, I was really impressed with the product to say that I had never heard of the brand name before but don't let that deceive you.

            It has to be the best vacuum cleaner I have ever owned primarily due to the suction power of it - having numerous cats and a dog in the house means lots of hairs and dust get everywhere virtually every single day so I need to keep on top of things to keep the house in order. The suction does make it a lot easier and a lot faster I have found to clean the whole house, and I was also really impressed at how lightweight it is so I can easily carry it up and down stairs.

            It is also easy to empty and takes no vacuum bags (saving money there) you just slide the plastic bit to the side and it comes out in like a jug so you can just tip it in the big.

            The only downside I can even think of is maybe the colour - I would have preferred it to be in just silver/grey but overall I am really impressed with it and wouldn't go back to my old ordinary one any time soon!

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            16.12.2009 13:51
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            Makes vacuuming cleaning less of a chore because I can now do it in half the time

            I was given the Vax Mach Air to try and after using it several times, I can confidently declare that this is the best vacuum cleaner that I have ever used. The reason why I like it so much is because I found that the Mach Air is very lightweight, easy to use and extremely powerful. This product has really put my old upright vacuum to shame in many respects. Firstly, the Mach Air's cyclone technology significantly vacuumed a great deal more dust very quickly and very effectively. In fact, I was actually took a moment to marvel at its suctioning power, because the Mach Air vacuumed up such a large amount of dust and hair over a small area of carpet. I do take pride in my home and so I do vacuum my floors regularly, but I have to say that my carpets actually looked much cleaner and in better condition as a result of using the Mach Air!

            One of the features that I like about the Mach Air is the brush-bar, which is specifically used for carpet vacuuming. These bristles are very strong and they rotate extremely fast when in use. I found that the brush-bar picks up hair really quickly and easily, which is a really important requirement for me. I recently have been looking after a beautiful mongrel dog for a friend of mine and I found that the brush-bar is excellent in removing all of those annoying dog hairs on my sofa and carpets. I think there will be many pet owners who would really benefit from using this product too. I found that the brush-bar was really easy to access, when I needed to remove the excess hair that had wound up on the sides of the brushes. I found that the LED indicator is quite a helpful feature too. There is an LED light that turns green when the brush-bar is in use. The light will only turn red, if the vacuum detects any blockages. By the press of a button, you can prevent the brush-bar from being used when you want to vaccum hard and laminate floors. This serves to prevent any possible damage to hard floors. As I have carpet throughout the whole of my house, I was not able to test the vacuum out on hard and laminate flooring. As a result I cannot personally comment on the Mach Air's performance in this area.

            For me, the Mach Air is actually the lightest vacuum cleaner that I have ever used. As a result, I feel that the lightweight nature of Mach Air is the reason why it took me less time and energy to vacuum clean the whole of my house compared with my old upright vacuum. Also I feel that the Mach Air is less noisy than my previous machine. (I wouldn't go as far to say that it is a quiet machine though). I therefore found that it was easy for me to carry the Mach Air from room to room, because of its lightweight nature, but I did find it awkward to use on the stairs. I was not able to benefit from using the brush-bar when vacuuming the stairs. I needed to detach the hose from the main vacuum and attach the hose to the vacuum handle in order for me to do the stairs. I have to say that I did miss not being able to use the brush-bar on this occasion, because I believe it really does make a difference in terms of the Mach Air's performance. On reflection, I think I would benefit from buying the TurboTool accessory, which Vax describe on their website as an "air driven tool for dry vacuuming stairs, upholstery, car interiors and picking up pet hair". I think it would certainly be worth my while to purchase this accessory, because it would make doing the stairs an easier and more efficient task. It's worth pointing out that the Mach Air does include a 3-in-1 crevice tool. I found that the crevice tool attaches very easily and securely to the vacuum handle and I have used it to vacuum the dust from my curtains. I am quite happy with this free accessory, but I do plan purchase the TurboTool also for the reasons that I have already described.

            Apart from the stair situation, I found that the Mach Air is really comfortable to use. I can adjust the height of the vacuum handle really easily to get the height that I require. I am 5'3 and I felt very comfortable manouevring the Mach Air about. My partner also tried it out and he is 5'10. He felt very comfortable in using it as well. Furthermore, I found that it is really easy to remove the central vacuum container whenever I need to empty the dust into the bin. This container itself is sturdy but light and slots securely in and out of position as when required.

            I think that the Mach Air is aesthetically pleasing to the eye - it's got quite a funky design in my opinion. It is easier to store the Mach Air away, because of its smaller proportions. I also like the fact that the 3-in-1 crevice tool can be discreetly and conveniently slotted at the rear of the vacuum.

            Overall, the Mach Air really does successfully go above and beyond all of the major requirements that I have for vacuum cleaning. As I was using it, I was thinking, "Where have you been all my life?". The Mach Air really is the answer to my vacuum cleaning prayers!

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              08.12.2009 07:31
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              A smart cleaner!

              The Mach AIR U91-MA-B from VAX is a smart and sleek vacuum cleaner, looking quite stylish in the familiar VAX orange and contrasting grey. It is also very lightweight and easy to lift and manoeuvre which would make it ideal for people who have trouble with some of the heavier cleaners.

              The Mach Air arrived in a big box and the cleaner came with the main drum and cleaner part separate from the handle attachment. It was incredibly easy to fit the two bits together and I did so without having to consult the instructions. However if you do need them, the instructions are very easy to follow as they are in pictorial form.

              Once you have assembled your Mach Air it is very easy to start using. There is a conveniently placed on/off switch and there is a foot operated control in order to tilt the cleaner thus making it easier to manoeuvre as you are using it. There is also another switch directly next to the on/off switch is for operating the brushbar which gives you the choice whether to use this or not depending on how much suction you need.

              Apparently the Mach Air weighs a third lighter than equivalent full size machines which really does give it an advantage in terms of usage. Pretty much anyone can use this cleaner particularly as the retractable handle can be adjusted to eight different heights. Even my six year old daughter who is very keen to help around the house and I've no intention of discouraging, can manoeuvre the Mach Air very easily! Also. As it is so light, it is very easy to carry up and down stairs.

              The suction and cleaning power is great and I have used it on a multitude of surfaces in my home. Each time I have been really pleased with the results. Also, because the base of the cleaner is quite thin and streamlined I do find that I am able to push it further under narrow gaps, such as the sofas or TV units, than I was able to do with my old cleaner. Also, because of its light weight, it's very easy to change direction, especially when going round corners.

              The hose attachment works very well for cleaning stairs, upholstery or tricky corners, although I don't really like the design for how this works. You need to detach the hose from the bottom of the cleaner and then pull it out as far as possible in order to use. There is a clip quite low down that keeps it in place but because of this you are pulling it up from quite a low angle. For me, because of this, it was virtually impossible to use just the hose attachment on its own which is one suggestion. However, if I detach the handle and use that as an extension tube I found that so much better and workable. It is only a small gripe, but I do wish that it was possible to remove the hose from that low clip in order to provide a better angle for using the attachment.

              When using the hose attachment there is a great little three in one tool that you can place on the end of the hose either providing a brush or different size nozzles. These all fit together so that there's no worry about losing any one bit when you are not using it. I think this is very handy and quite ingenious!

              The Air Mach has a reasonably long power lead although I would prefer it to be just that little bit longer. It also has an easy way to wind the lead up and keep it tidy when it is not in use. When you want to use it again, rather than having to rewind the flex, the top holder easily swivels downwards in order to release it.

              The cleaner is one that does not use bags and as the dirt container is clear plastic it is easy to tell when it needs emptying. I think that it is best to empty it before it gets to full in order to get the best cleaning results. Emptying the dirt container is incredibly easy and all you have to do is to press one small catch in order to detach it from the rest of the cleaner and then another catch in order to open the hinged section at the bottom in order to empty straight into your bin.

              In the instruction booklet there are good directions for cleaning the filters and removing blockages. It is probably a good thing to pay attention to these because, as experience has previously shown me, if you don't regularly maintain your cleaner it will not work so well.

              I really like the Mach Air for its effective cleaner and its manoeuvrability. I think that it's a great cleaner that is likely to suit virtually everyone.

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                07.12.2009 23:15
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                How can GHI have approved this? Vax need to look at it again and admit fault.

                ** This is a long review due to Vax's inability to properly test their vacuums and a right royal run around by their courier company, DHL **

                When I saw the price of the new Vax Mach Air upright bagless cyclonic vacuum cleaner reduced from £179 to cheaper price of £129 at John Lewis, I thought I was seeing things; it has only been on the market since late October and Vax have been promoting this model heavily on television as being the lightest bagless cyclonic upright vacuum on the market. Whilst some lucky buyers have been trying this vacuum cleaner out for free (namely those from the Amazon "Vine," programme) my only advantage here was finding the cheaper price at John Lewis. Argos, Comet, Currys and Tesco however will happily charge you full whack at £179.99


                What's the latest technology aim here? Only that Vax have gone and brought out a similar copy to Dyson's Baby DC24 and against Dyson this vacuum weighs even less at 4.5 kg. Built around "masculine" approaches from its mixed matches of greys and silver with matt orange and vents and purposeful ridges planted here and there, the new Vax Mach Air U91 MA-B is a very portable and slim upright vacuum cleaner and uses the Hoover U.S patented "Windtunnel," technology of maintaining suction by fitting two suction channels instead of one and plastic filter shrouds similar to Dyson. Other differences are that you can prolong cleaning out filters when this vacuum is used. Out of the easy grab handled fitted carry box for installation all you do is fit the 6 metre cord onto the back, fit the "3 in 1" tools on, slide and lock in the handle and away you go. However there is a little more to this new vacuum than meets the eye...


                For a start there is no foot pedal for example to put the floor head down, you just stand on the floor head a la Dyson/Oreck upright to pivot it down on the carpet. Then there are several hard ridges on the handle despite a grippy orange rubber line underneath, which can become painful in use over time whilst the handle doesn't quite lock in properly and moves a little from side to side in use. Quality is something that seems to have been missing from this new model from the off. Other design "highlights" include a height adjustable handle but for my 6ft frame, the 8 notches on offer even on the highest setting make me stoop a little just to push this thing across the floor. When the handle falls back into the vacuum this makes the Vax Mach Air extremely space saving on its design alone however.


                Vax claim that the upright can clean flat to the floor but I'd say this is not quite true. At the lowest level the Vax Mach Air won't even achieve a perfect 180° angle thanks to its large wheels that get in the way. Then there's a green LED light that stays permanently on when the brush roll is activated and turns off when it is not in use. However the slightest touch to the brush roll (evident on hard flooring that has seams or slightly raised frames) when it is switched off makes the green LED light flicker nervously if the bristles are touched. If there is a jam, a red LED light replaces the green and there is a brush roll reset function available.


                Pushing and pulling isn't the Vax Mach Air's forte despite the new name promising "Air," whether it points to its lighter total weight or the Active HEPA H12 filters on board. Where brush roll is concerned, it's all very new thanks to a gentle bristle action on an electric supported motor driven brush roller. Gone are the days where replacing a drive belt can be ordered, bought and replaced by the owner. The Vax Mach Air brush roll, if it ever happens to break has to be fixed by Vax although there is a handy reset button at the side of the brush bar if a jam occurs supported by a red LED light. A plus point is that the entire brush roll is viewable from a clear acrylic hatch that can be unlocked by two catches if you need to clear the brush roll of hairs or threads that wrap themselves around the bristles too tightly. However like most of the plastic on this vacuum, the actual acrylic is thin and feels like it could break if exertion is applied to it. The slim floor head is however fantastic with clear and easy to use edge and frontal edge cleaning built in and is quite a match for cylinder vacuums on their slim floor heads. Able to slide under radiators and tables with ease, the Vax Mach Air is extremely portable and compact where getting under low furniture is concerned.


                There are only two oversized and slim rubber coated wheels on the back of this vacuum however and there are no other wheels present to aid a light-gliding factor. Oh what a mistake! The back wheels leave unsightly track marks unless you keep to the grain direction of your carpet - which to be honest who in their right mind has time to fathom out the direction of their carpet fibres? Sorry Vax but I just don't have the time! Carpet fluff pick up and hard floor cleaning is unbelievably poor on the Vax Mach Air - and all because the vacuum has a two part dust channel that influences the floorhead to stick to floors without respite. Well, unless by the grace of luck you have unlevel flooring and only then does the Vax Mach Air's name suddenly becomes befitting. Lacking an actual auto adjusting function, the Vax Mach Air correspondingly changes weight slightly thanks to its slim floor head which is so light that sometimes it feels as if it isn't making a deep enough contact with carpets. It certainly feels strangely heavier than both my "twice as heavy," Sebo full size uprights to push and pull on thick carpeting and Berber style coverings. Therefore the floor head doesn't actually deep clean that well which for Vax shows up poor testing here and an inability to offer a more aggressive brush roll.


                There is also a facility to stop the brush from moving via the second switch by the power switch handily located at the top of the vacuum, if, say you want to clean hard floors - or so Vax would have you believe. Onto their next mistake..!


                Because of its total weight, the twin rear huge spindly wheels compromise the Vax Mach Air. Granted they're rubber coated, so for hard flooring they'll always protect hard flooring. However in use on carpet the large wheels sometimes prevent the slim floor head from sticking to the carpet and will often flip the floor head up in protest that makes for a rather agonising and frustrating cleaning task that shouldn't really develop or occur. Upon posting a similar review to Comet, it took a spokesperson from Comet to email me suggesting that I should call Vax about my problem. What I got next was something I wasn't prepared for; according to Vax, the Vax Mach Air U91 MA-B seems to have an inherent problem that affects some models where the floor head always flips up, doesn't therefore stick to the carpet and the wheels prevent the handle from going any further. They suggested I use WD40 to spray the parts that don't allow the upright to stay on carpet. I suggested this was something that could injure the warranty and thanks to its not so literal user manual that is helpful in all but brush roll problems, I wasn't about to jigger about with something as unknown as this new Vax! Not only that, but unless Vax actually release an official statement, it doesn't bode well for such a new product that has this apparent problem. The call to Vax ensured that they were more than happy to take it back, fix it and return it. They sent out a plastic bag pack and a delivery address in order for me to send it back.


                Onto Vax Mach Air number two - Vax sent one without my knowledge whilst I was having to wash and dry the filters on the faulty Vax Mach Air before you send back the vacuum to be repaired - otherwise Vax may have the cheek to charge you £35!! Luckily the floor head on this model doesn't flip up and it makes for almost easy gliding on carpets, but again my Sebo uprights are much lighter and feel planted to the floor. Often you can tell this by a brush bar's noise if the bristles sound lighter and this is constantly happening even on the second model that Vax have sent me. Power wise we're talking quite a lot where suction is concerned and the motor isn't as noisy as I thought it would be. Granted there's an environmentally friendly slightly high whine 1200-watt motor and 200 air watts to hand and it clear when it is switched on. Unlike the bagged but similarly compact Sebo Felix which its brush roll stops the moment you put the handle back into the upright position, when I put the Mach Air back into the upright position I assumed the brush roller would stop spinning. Not so. You have to deactivate the brush roll manually by pressing the button at the top. What a strange thing to have to do and the main lifting handle on top of the bin is vented with a natural hand grip on it. So it is a pity that after a few seconds of lifting up this featherweight vacuum, my hand was very sore and painful because of the vented handle. If you don't press the brush stop button and lift the vacuum up with you to get to higher ground with the hose and tools attached, god help you if you are wearing dangling clothing that can be attracted by the brush roll which will keep spinning. As pedantic as it sounds, the Vax Mach Air clearly is a vacuum cleaner where the user manual has to be scrutinised to get the basics from use. So much for new technology then and safety seems to have turned a blind eye too.


                The reason the Vax Mach Air has to be lifted upwards is because the onboard hose is too small to have any decent reach on offer and this brings yet another series of problems despite its overall squat and slim shape. The hose measures 1.1 metres for example, which is smaller than most budget cylinder vacuums on the market and begs the question to why Vax bothered. Siting it at the bottom rear of the Vax means the upright isn't suppose to fall over in use. Fine if you can touch your toes because you'll jolly well have to in order to unlock it and use it! My elderly mother had problems with this to why she has now returned to using my Sebo Felix where the hose is located not so far down and I prefer vacuums that have an easy to reach hose at least. Once the hose is free, you're then restricted to a one metre of hose on offer because 25% of the hose at the top is held in by an un-removable hose ring and when the hose is pulled at the back, the little Vax comes with you! A way around this is to attach the hose to the height adjustable handle and tubes for more stretch. Ready for your next aerobics exercise? You have to unlock the hose from the bottom of the cleaner then stand up to unlock the handle before lifting it out of the Mach Air because if you don't the hose when attached to the handle without it becoming free can bring the Mach Air falling back. Once you unlock the handle, then you have to lock the hose onto the back of the handle, adjust the height of the handle (which now has the extension pipes added to them permanently) and then push on the "3 in 1" tool onto the end. What a palaver! So in my low ceiling flat I was surprised to find that I'd have to switch off the brush roll, lift the vacuum to waist level in one hand and then try to get into the ceilings with the handle/extension pipe added in the other hand.


                Planting the Vax Mach Air on the floor with the hose and the handle extension pipe and tools just wasn't going to go any further than above my head and cleaning the ceilings was out of the question. For all that there is perhaps more excess hose and longer pipes on offer here, this is where Sebo's K cylinder vacuum makes life far more easier and that cylinder's handle can be independently removed from the hose if anything gets caught. Think Vax have offered the same here? Not a chance. The copied Dyson hose also has problems of its own. If you don't ensure that you lock it to the main handle properly, the roughest tug can unlock the hose as it sucks back into the back of the Vax and can cause personal injury if you don't duck out of the way. Another ill thought out design is the location of the 3 in 1 cleaning tools. Sandwiched between the top and bottom cord hooks with the outer 6 metre cord acting as a perimeter, when removing the power cord for use in a hurry, the slightest knock to the crevice "3 in 1" tool below the top cord wrap can loosen from its grippers and fall off.


                The poor little "3 in 1" cleaning tools don't fare too well either. A short crevice tool with a pull down cheap brush acts as a "2 in one" tool with the further option to take off the brush section and reverse it for the narrow width flat upholstery tool. They look good on design paper but in actual use, the "lint added flat" upholstery tool is about as useful as sliding a cup along a floor with its high sides. In use the whole idea is noisy and if you don't push the tools on far enough, they'll simply fall off. MY tip is the discovery of the hose and pipe measurement; if you own any old Hoover, Electrolux or 32mm sized cleaning tools lying around they can be used on the Vax Mach Air. I'm currently using my Electrolux pet hair turbo brush I bought from Ebay recently and it works very well on both the clip added hose or the metal pipes. Vax do sell a turbo brush attachment and it costs around £20.


                Emptying and filter care is nothing new. The Mach Air has a top washable filter that has to twisted off for access and has a handy material flap where the filter can simply be picked out. The top seal in the bin however always shows a line of dirt that for my reckoning shouldn't be there and points towards possibly future dust leakage. The back seal from the main dust channel to the actual bin is thin and a finger can easily loosen it in use. You can either have the option of pulling out the entire cyclone cone to gain access to the dirt OR for later Dyson fans push a button on the bottom bin for main dust release. Thankfully the bin is a clear acrylic so it is dead easy to see when the bin needs emptying, not just helped by a "Max" label. Crucially though it is the volume of dirt, which is slightly impressive as well as slightly, negative towards another Vax Mach Air claim. Vax suggest that the bin capacity of 1.5 litres is double that of other cyclonic uprights but given that most have 2 litres volume, I don't think Vax can live up to this claim other than the fact that the Mach Air uses similar Dyson technology to maintain suction even as the bin is bursting with dirt. Certainly when it took to cleaning up eight rooms, I found dust no longer spun in circles but rather clogged up the cyclone shrouds making the need to empty the bin sooner than later. Yet, whilst there is always an acre of suction available due to the Mach Air's copied "non-stop suction," Dyson cyclone design, it isn't quite like a Dyson in terms of filter care; there are two filters on board and one can be washed whilst the other has to be tapped free of dirt. Evidently Vax are on a cost cutting budget here but it wouldn't have been a disservice to include another washable filter instead of having to wait the usual 24 hours for vac filters to dry.


                A good part of the design is that the inner filter shroud cone can be taken off through a series of click locks and a plastic ring that locks the main plastic honeycomb shroud to the single cyclone cone. Those that own this vacuum already may not even know about this facility since none of it is referred to or can be found to in the user manual. Thus I was intrigued to what would happen if I unlocked the ring and removed the main shroud and to a large extent I wish I hadn't! Behind the filter shroud sat clumps of dust and debris hidden behind the filter shroud and my question to why the top filter always got dirtier was suddenly answered. Cleaning out filters on bagless vacuums is always a messy affair and if you turn a blind eye to the Vax, you may find you need to constantly wash the top filter more times than is actually needed.


                So is the Vax Mach Air worth it? In terms of compactability and storage the design really impresses me and I like the slim head that can get into low furniture or the bottom of radiators. However that doesn't make the overall grade of excellence here and I think there are better and healthier options around with just as efficient compactibility. Certainly for the price of £179-99 the Vax Mach Air is a very expensive vacuum cleaner and with its inherent flipping floor head design, a tendency to lightly brush carpets, miss fluff and an ill-fitting brush stop function whilst lacking in a nice touchy feeling plastic that shouldn't hurt my hands, overall the Vax Mach Air U91 MA-B disappoints me. You better watch out as you may well buy a duff model and you'll only have 28 days to register for your free 6 year guarantee and parts labour too; with such a lengthy guarantee on offer and a design fault that Vax haven't said anything about on their website, you may well find out that you'll need it sooner than you think. Thanks for reading.©Nar2 2009

                www.vaxmachair.co.uk

                ** Vax's Courier Service **

                Vax deal with DHL although their customer service phone number has changed, a fact that isn't mentioned in the user manual. The return card with the faulty model also lists an older telephone number for DHL and turns out to be a far more expensive premium rate number. Initial call to DHL caused constant holding on and going through a series of call department options only to be told that on weekends DHL is closed. On a week day when DHL were finally in, they promised they would pick up the vacuum cleaner by the following Wednesday between the hours of 9am to 5pm. They took a phone number incase they wouldn't be able to deliver. Did they show? Of course not! Was there a phone call? No. No reason given only that where my mum lives they thought it was an Island and upon finding out from me that where she lives is a Peninsula that could take them to Glasgow by road (or further up the North part of Scotland) they still didn't give me a response and the company had to be called again to get another booking. They now promise that the vacuum will be picked up by Monday between the same hours. A call to my family relative confirms no call has come from DHL and the Vax still sits in its box awaiting to be picked up. Evidently Vax have money to burn at this rate. Watch this space! Vax - instead of offering me mild apologies - sort out your courier service!

                Update: 23rd of December Vax/DHL picked up the broken model. What a wait and no surprise for Vax to send me a letter stating that they have changed their courier services. I do hope that the new couriers don't keep Vax customers hanging on in the future.

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                • More +
                  07.12.2009 20:03
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                  A good upright cleaner.

                  I recently received a Vax Mach Air vacuum cleaner and have now had chance to use it several times and establish an opinion. Its retail price is about £180 from Amazon.


                  --Presentation--

                  The vacuum arrived in a large box and it was a very simple procedure to attach the handle and the accessory brush to the body and then it was ready to use. It is a very attractive machine and looks extremely modern. The colours are orange and silver-grey with a transparent dust collection tank. This is an upright vacuum and it is very slim and elegant. The tools fit on the back and there is a wind-around cable tidy on the rear as well. It is easy to remove the cable by twisting one of the supports, it slips straight off-a really good idea. This vacuum is also noticeably lighter than other uprights I have used. The manufacturers claim it is 4.9kg when being used but to carry it around it is about 5-5.5kg which is still easy to manage. The extra weight I presume is due to the cable which is obvioulsy on the vacuum when you are carrying it around but not on it when you are actually cleaning with it.

                  --Warranty--

                  Vax pride themselves on their 6 year warranty for their products and the helpline number is actually printed on the machine and it tells you that it is available seven days a week. I have never had to call Vax so I don't know how good they are in responding to customer problems.

                  --Technical Stuff--

                  1200W motor
                  1.5L Dust Capacity
                  6m long cable
                  H12 HEPA filtration.
                  LED blockage warning light.
                  3-in-1 tool included.


                  --In Action--

                  The real test for a vacuum comes in its usage. I am only 5'2" tall and have problems with my pelvis which can make using many upright cleaners difficult as I cannot manage to manoeuvre the weight comfortably. I have mainly used a cylinder cleaner for the last few years which cleans quite well but is very difficult to store as the hose falls everywhere.

                  I immediately like the weight of this and also the height of the handle. It adjusts plenty low enough for me which is unusual and it was still able to be raised to a height that was comfortable for my 5'10" husband too.
                  The cleaner is activated by a large orange button on the top of the cylinder. The brush bar is then activated by tilting the cleaner backwards whilst lightly holding the base to the floor with your foot. This is very easy and does not require much effort. The cleaner seemed very noisy but that may be because I am used to a cylinder cleaner which is usually further away when I am cleaning. It was very easy to push on carpet but it also felt that is had very good suction. After cleaning my lounge carpet I was delighted and horrified by the amount it had picked up. I do clean regularly and my previous cleaner was obviously not as powerful as this one. My carpets looked noticeably cleaner. I have just acquired two kittens that excel at leaving fur around and this was all picked up well off my cream-coloured carpets.

                  I then decided to try it on hard floors. To de-activate the brush bar you can either put the cleaner into an upright position or you press the button on the top of the cylinder. This makes swapping from carpets to laminates very easy without any risk of scratching the floor. I was impressed with the cleaning of the laminate floor too. My previous model seemed to blow stuff around if it didn't catch it immediately but this just seemed to whisk everything away.

                  There is an LED light on the front of the base of the machine that indicates if the brush bar has jammed. If it has there is very easy access to it by flicking the catches at the side of the cover and then removing the jam. I thought this worked very well as on my previous machine I had to unscrew the cover every time long hair built up around the brush.

                  The next thing to tackle was the stairs. This is where I did feel that the cleaner let me down. Although the cleaner is quite compact overall the brush bar is still quite wide at about 30cm. I had to hold the cleaner upright to fit it onto the stairs but then the brush bar will not work. If I tilted the machine it became very hard to handle. Either way it did not provide very good cleaning. I had to use the crevice tool all over the stairs which took quite a long time and I found this quite awkward. I believe that it is possible to buy a turbo-brush attachment for the hose which would be an absolute necessity for decent stair-cleaning.

                  The cleaner comes with a 3-in-1 tool that consists of a crevice tool, a dusting brush and an upholstery tool. These are easily slotted together and store on the rear of the machine. To use them you have to disconnect the hose at the base of the machine. This is easy to do and just requires the depression of a small orange catch. The hose is then attached to the handle that pulls out of the top of the machine and then the tools are added. This is a very straightforward procedure and it means that you don't have to store extra hoses or attachments elsewhere. It is also possible to attach the tools straight onto the hose if you don't need the extra length. The instructions tell you that you must hold the unit whilst using the hose. I found that the attachments worked satisfactorily. I would actually prefer the crevice tool to be narrower as then it is easier to clean down the side of sofa cushions and things but that may just be personal preference. The only problem I encountered using the tools was the attachment of the hose to the machine. You detach the hose from the base but it is also bolted to the machine through a loop about 20cm off the floor. This means that you have to pull the hose through this loop to gain enough length to allow easy use of the tools. It also meant that you sometimes had to hold the cleaner quite high to reach where you wanted. I have not owned a VAX before and I do not know how sturdy the hose is but I felt that this would cause a lot of wear and tear and would be the weakest part of the machine. However the hose may be particularly designed for this purpose and I may be worrying unnecessarily.

                  Emptying the machine was exceptionally easy. Due to the brilliant cleaning ability of this machine I have become very adept at emptying the dust chamber! There is an easy to manage catch on the front which releases the whole drum as a sealed unit. You then just carry it to the bin, with no fear of losing the contents, and then just press the catch at the bottom and all of the dust falls out of the bottom flap. I thought this was great and I did check on accessing the filters afterwards which are stored at the top and bottom. They were also easy to reach and one just requires a good shake to clean and the other can be washed under the tap. I have had no need to clean the filters yet. They are designed to last the lifetime of the machine and should not need replacing.


                  --Overall Impressions--

                  I am more than happy with this machine. It has great cleaning ability which is the most important thing in a vacuum in my opinion. I find it easy to use around the house for general cleaning and it is also very easy to store as it is quite compact. The cord is probably a little shorter than I would like as I am used to a very long cord previously and I find it a nuisance having to unplug and then plug in again whilst cleaning the downstairs of my house. The tool attachment is simple and I like the fact that it is all onboard but I would prefer it if the hose wasn't attached by the extra loop but that is probably to prevent damage during normal usage. The ease of switching between hard floors and carpet is great as I do have both.

                  Overall this is a funky looking, efficient machine that I am pleased to use for my cleaning but I would have to consider buying the turbo-brush for the stairs.

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                • Product Details

                  Mach Air is the lightest full size multi-cyclonic upright vacuum cleaner in the world / It has the cleaning power and capacity of a conventional upright but weighs a third less / This makes it easy to carry from room to room and use with the minimum of effort / Its slim compact design means it takes up less storage space too / It has high level H12 HEPA filtration making it ideal for homes with allergy sufferers / Short name: Vax U91-MA-B