* Prices may differ from that shown
Budget vacuums in lieu of more expensive Dyson upright vacuums have been filling the market more recently than established names. Built at budget prices and from other companies (Vaxs uprights aside from the VX-1 range are little more than Dirt Devil models from America) the Vax V045S and 046 Quicklite has been designed where space is limited in the home. In reality however what you get here is a small low powered upright vacuum cleaner with a permanently rolling brush, a bagless design and a HEPA washable filter which keeps dust from leaking into the atmosphere. Forget the idea that higher priced cylinder vacuums may come with a moving turbo air brush. Why? Because unless its a Dyson, the moment the bag starts to fill is the moment the single driven motor starts to weaken in suction and thus the air driven brush starts to weaken and the brushes start to slow down.
** This is a long review where parts appear elsewhere online such as Ciao **
The Vax V046 is like a very small model suitable for a child to play with, albeit the fact that it actually works and can be bought for small caravans, or a place in the home where a second upright needs to be considered...or so Vax would have you believe if space in your home is limited.
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Review Spec **
Cheap to buy online; also available at Comet and Argos.
850 watt fixed suction motor with auto height adjustment floorhead.
Cyclonic and bagless, 2.3 litre in capacity.
Washable filters with HEPA.
4.5 kg in weight.
Compact design and moving roller brush with no beaters - can be used on hardflooring.
Powerful and relatively easy to use.
Removable squeegee improves gliding.
** The Look & The Feel **
It is obvious firstly that Dirt Devil/Vax have looked closely at Dyson's first cyclonic upright model, the DC-01. I miss my DC01's capable skills but not the costs I endured to repair the model when it started to go wrong. The first comparison here is just how similar the front elongated bin lid and canister looks and feels to Dyson's DC01 model, from the way the front bin handle slopes downwards, to the general fitting of putting the bin back onto the cleaner and locking it into place. Infact it looks like a mini Dyson and I'd brand it cute if it wasn't for all that black "Darth Vader" plastic.
As such this Vax is coloured in a black and silver pattern compared to Vax's normal V 046 model which has black and pink as opposed to the change in black and silver graphics superimposed on the main bin. Importantly this is the only difference in model numbers. Quite why Vax decided to colour the whole model in black is beyond me - Dirt Devil's Dynamite model in red and chrome looks far classier.
I must say that although it looks challenging, the plastic on this model is relatively thick but it doesn't inspire longevity. There are no rubber bumpers on this upright model either, other than a forced part of the design to incorporate the look of a bumper but no actual soft bumper surrounding the main flat floor head. But then for the price of £50-00 for an upright cleaner which is small and compact, you certainly get what you pay for in this instance. The machine doesn't feel too lightly made though which is something I could say about my previous Dyson DC01.
** Filtration **
Two main filters supply the need for filtration - the first filter is the filter shroud itself, which is a HEPA filter intended to keep odours out. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air-Arresting, which means it pushes out cleaner air out of the machine than the air that goes into it from the room. It also means that this Vax model is suitable for owners who have pets and for owners who suffer from allergies as it keeps odours out. Both filters are washable and thanks to the tiny pleats of the paper fan in general, the wings are easy to clean either with a small paint brush or washed and left to dry.
Approximately so far, I've found that the filter can take up to 2 hours to dry completely and according to the manual you cant use a hair dryer to dry the pleated filters. However! I have since discovered that by washing the filter with washing up liquid, and then placing it into a pillowcase before installing it into a tumble dryer on a low temperature spin, the filter only takes an hour to dry completely. The result is that although the pleats discolour with age, the filter smells fresh and clean and is ready to be screwed into the bin area as before.
The secondary filter is located at the bottom of the bin, outside where the lock mechanism is located. This can be picked out and washed too, and takes roughly an hour to dry completely. Both filters are replaceable although for cost saving it's just as easy to wash and allow the filters to dry.
In use the air from the machine is very apparent, which is emitted at the bottom half of the cleaner. I've since vacuumed up food particles such as onion slices and orange peel which has had no effect of passing its odours back into the room. Cigarette ash has also been picked up which is known for its strong odour - but the HEPA filter fitted copes admirably which is a surprise for a budget cleaner.
** The User Manual **
Vax have simplified Dirt Devil's manual for the V046 model which means square blurbs of info detailed in black writing in a fold out small booklet. There is a good trouble shooting problem page and whilst the information and general pictorial diagrams are correct, there is no guidelines to the washing of the filters.
** Using The Vax **
One of the main design aspects of this Vax is the fact that it has a telescopic handle which can be raised or compacted into the rear of the cleaner by way of a lock button located at the top rear of the vacuum. It does nothing new here other than allow the cleaner to be stored away in tight and low spaces and in use, allowing the handle to be pulled upwards. It is not height adjustable though which is a slight downside but in all other respects, the handle's advantage is that the cleaner can be put away if space is at a premium. Measurements are length 27cm by 77cm in height. With the handle retracted, the height is nearly halved as a result and the cleaner can be used for near pick ups of dirt when the handle is retracted back into the body too.
One apparent downside to the Vax is that I find it is very noisy thanks to its high powered 850 watt motor. It is a good model however to consider if you have a main vacuum cleaner which only employs pure suction. Here on the Vax, the roller brush doesn't use beater bars either, so for hard flooring there are no markings on the floors that I have tried this machine on. A plus to the design is that that the floor head has edge brushes fitted into the roller bar which speeds up general cleaning time, particularly ploughing through rooms with squarish dimensions.
In terms of gliding factor, the Vax doesn't glide very lightly unless you remove the rubber squeegee line before the revolving brush but in both respects, it does gobble up a lot of dirt! I was frankly shocked at the amount of dirt this little machine managed to pull up. And just like Dyson, because of the circular dirt bin cylinder shape, you can see dirt spinning around quickly. Despite the graphics on the bin, it is also easy to see when it's time to empty.
The problem with the noise however is two fold - The Vax here suffers from the simple fact that the automatic adjusting floor head has brushes which "vroom" at high speed, agitating the carpet and at the same time causing a lot of noise - On thin carpet tiles and short looped carpets, this noise is absent and the high pitched ring of the motor sounds like any other vacuum cleaner in use. Push it over onto a thick pile carpet and the "Vroom" returns.
Furthermore, this Vax model has no hose at the back which may well limit appear nor are there any small tools or further options you have to buy. Vax do make other models in the Quicklite series for example where a hose is located at the back and where additional tools are supplied.
Underneath there are 2 wheels at the back and 2 smaller wheels before the floor head. After the floor head a further 2 smaller wheels are also positioned to aid gliding factor. Does this knock down the universal appeal of the machine in general? Not in my opinion! And, the amount of mains cord on the Vax is also impressive! Forget 5 metres where you would usually find this amount on budget cylinder cleaners. On the Vax you get nearly 7 metres of stretch which is a boon given the small dirt capacity of 2.5 litres -Dyson's flagship upright model boasts the same dirt capacity in this respect. The cord also fixes onto two small hooks which turn in a 360° rotation which means the cord is easy to wrap around and take off. There is also a nib at the top of the comfortable ribbed black handle which allows part of the cord to be locked in place - ideal for keeping the cord out of the way, safely.
** Emptying the Dust **
This Vax has a relatively easy empty principle. Just like the Dyson DC01 (and countless models in Dysons upright range), there is a push button release which unlocks the whole bin as one piece. Twist the black top off and it comes away revealing the bin and filter. Once the filter unscrews off the top of the dirt bin, the bin has a permanently fixed handle on one side which adds a carrying advantage. Tipped upwards, dirt can then fall into your normal refuse bin before installing back into the cleaner and then relocking the main filter back in. Then re-affix the main top to the bin, screw to lock and then fit onto the cleaner to lock into place. You can optionally just take the bin and empty it but the dirt will cling to the filter at the top, so it's always best and ideal to remove the filter before emptying the bin.
Despite the HEPA filter, I dont think this is suitable for consumers who have dust allergies. Why? Because simply once top bin lid comes off, dust catches up into the air and the HEPA filter has to be unscrewed first before the bin can be tipped into a bin. I find that bagged cleaners in this respect do a better job of disposing the dirt once and for all and it seems silly to why Dirt Devil/Vax have reverted the design where on other models in the Quicklite range there is a down flow dirt trapdoor and the additional filter does not need to be removed!
** Additional Downsides **
Although the Vax can vacuum lying flat, the large bin gets in the way at times, which limits distance particularly under tables and kitchen chairs.
It takes 6 screws to remove the base sole plate to gain access to the drive belt! Like most uprights which use a drive belt, the Vax's belt can be slipped off easily and installed which is a good point against the 6 screws which need to be put back in to fix the sole plate on. What a pity Dirt Devil didn't incorporate a flywheel like Sebo in this respect or a secondary motor which mimics Electrolux.
I found that the Vax has a bad tendency to pong after a few months but this is simply because the main dirt channel tube at the back of the cleaner is not removable aside from one screw which fixes itself to the main dirt channel leading up to the bin. Of course Vaxs manual doesnt state this but try damp antibacterial cloths, three at a time to ensure that the dirt channel is completely clean as well as the main brush roll this improves the bad smells and dirt which can get clogged due to the ribbed nature of the dirt channel hose at the back. There is a handy top on the main pleated filter where the owner can unscrew the filter from the main emptying bin and a space to write on when the filter was bought to judge replacement date on average in a year's time. Ive had this model for less than a year and already my filter needs to be replaced.
And where recently Vax were contacted regarding HEPA replacement filters, the reply was disappointing; they are still waiting for fresh supplies from the Middle East where the filters are made. Frankly Vax for a company who are selling in all the high street shops, this is a pathetic excuse! Drive belts seem to be in mass supply though...I wonder where they are made!
Another downside due to it's cheap production is that there is no pedal to push the floor head down and neither does it come away from the floor when the handle is put back up into the upright position. The handle flops down easily enough though where there is no need to put your feet on the vacuum to steady it - wheeling it back to a cupboard though means you end up having to carry it as the handle doesn't lock up.
** Cost **
My V0-46 was bought reconditioned but it comes with an additional one year's guarantee and there are no scratches which are viewable on the vacuum cleaner, or indeed it's universal appearance (something which is typical following a marked down reconditioned tag.) The filters are all new as well as the motor whilst the brush bristles are white in colour. The Vax here cost me £14-99 plus £8-00 for postage rates - that's nearly less than half of the original price of nearly £50.
What is the price at Comet & Argos (they have a posh all in silver painted one) brand new? £49-99/£49-95 for the Vax 046 model (and for those who are Argos fans, Argos have misprinted the cord length which isn't at 5.75cm!)
Additional future consumables such as a drive belt replacement (pack of 2) will cost you direct from Vax, £2-99.
** Conclusion **
Careful maintenance will keep the V046 from breaking down although it is a disappointment that Vax do not enclose an extra filter when the upright has been bought new as the only other extra you get is an extra drive belt for the motor brush.
For the fact that it is extremely lightweight, easy to carry and relatively easy to use, the Vax V045/46 Quicklite upright is a good model to consider particularly as the buttons and handle are chunky enough for all ages of people. If only it wasnt so noisy and if plastic quality was better it could prevent the Vax from knocks and scratches. Other disappointments against the large bin capacity is the fact that the filter has to be removed first before the bin can be emptied useless when people with dust allergies may have bought this model for the sole reason that it comes equipped with a HEPA filter. Thanks for reading. ©Nar06/ Nar2
Ebay Seller: "gradedelectricalsdirect."
Short name: Vax V-046