** Quick Skip Product Review **
Power: 550 watt wet and dry designed upright.
1.5 litre tank double fill.
7.5 metre power cord, with quick release tidy hooks.
6.1kg total weight without water solution.
Standard retail price £99 to £129.99
Nars price £64.99 including P&P from eBay seller; reconditioned model.
Comes with 1 bottle of AAA carpet shampoo (1 litre) & 1 bottle of Multi floor cleaner, (1 litre), additional hard floor squeegee attachment.
Thermal cut out reset button and power button both rubber protected.
Moving brush roll on/off switch.
Can also be used as a bagless dry vacuum before wet shampoo commences.
** This is a long review and appeared previously on Ciao **
I love my old Vax canister; its big, its blue, it has a power control and about ten different attachments to do normal vacuuming or carpet and floor washing. The problem is that whilst the Vax canister is getting on a bit, and it never fails to suck up anything the hose and floorhead are put near it, its a monster of a machine weighing in at nearly 9kg with everything added. Im sure if youve used a canister 3 in 1 machine before youll be no stranger to the weight and bulkiness old tubs like the old Vax design command. And lordy by the time it takes to set everything up, its a wonder you havent keeled over for the amount of time youll need to put your back out stretching and pulling the hose along the floor whilst the Vax gets to work on stubborn stains!
Well how times move on...Vax are no stranger to experimenting with wash vacuums having made an upright in the mid 1980s which could suck up water and wash carpets, but back then its model was also slightly bulky and time consuming. Their Sahara model was strongly criticised for its lack of power despite the claim that it could suck up water at 250mph! Since Vax have more or less merged with American company, Dirt Devil (and not to be confused with the Alba owned outfit Dirt Devil company here in the UK) they have been able to access a myriad of American machines and put Vaxs label on them; the result is this Vax Rapide V0-29 upright washer.
So when my parents got their new flooring put in, which included the marble tiles in their bigger bathroom and a wooden floor in another room, my mum went out and bought a JML mop from Woolworths and after two breakages on two replacement mops at the same design fault, the mops were duly returned. What this Rapide model does however is minimise bulk from older designed machines, has a bit more power and can tackle both hard flooring and carpet. So the time came to look for a wet washer model which could tackle both floors; Bissell have launched the already U.S established model the "Flip It," hard floor/carpet stick vac onto the UK market. Whilst the "Flip It" model has an excellent 2 way versatile design it does not have an actual beater brush bar to aid cleaning and Im already used to that principle with my old Vax canister. The Rapide V0-29/Q model however has brushes built in permanently and this was one of the considerations I was looking for as well as it being smaller and more compact than the current Vax models on offer.
** Switches, Labels & General Design **
Briefly and generally the V0-29 is well marked out although there is a lot of wording and labelling on the machine itself. Three main pedals/switches on the Rapide control the nozzle setting from wet to dry vacuuming, a brush on/off function and the main power button, rubberised just like our old Vax to suggest protection from wet hands. A looped handle with a blue trigger button ensures less hand fatigue as well as better controlled steering.
The handle swings down and up easily with only a slight stop on the central rear pedal before realising that it will not lie flat like an upright dry dirt vacuum cleaner. I'm glad in a way however that Vax have resorted to the older principle of just fitting a handle release and handle which will lower and heighten itself to the requirement of the owner; many upright vacuums these days have a thick motor hinge in the middle which restricts owner's heights.
** Dry Vacuuming Mode **
In terms of dry normal vacuuming, there is suction available from its vacuum only function, but the paper washable filter is tiny and it's only suitable for quick dry dirt suction on the same floors you are about to wash as opposed to being a main upright vacuum cleaner with a small facility to wash. Vax have labelled this model as a hard floor cleaner as opposed to a universal twin wash and dry vac. At least in its primary colour of white it is easy to see where it gets grubby and can be washed down with a damp cloth. However even if it does have a revolving brush bar, this doesnt necessary mean that as a normal upright vacuum, the V0-29 will adhere to the same principles of taking up dirt. The moving brush is only for the washing mode and suction channels in the base of the V0-29 suck up dirt by suction only.
** Getting Rapide ready for use **
When I received this model it was already packaged up in a box and all I had to do was tighten the handle by four cross head screws to fit the handle. The power cord, like many uprights these days (wet or dry type) is already fitted and it fits to the top and bottom of the cleaner at the rear via a main orange quick release hook. Two floor heads are supplied - a rubber squeegee floor head for hard flooring and a floor head for carpets. The floor head not in use at the time of cleaning can be slid and stored in a special hiding area located at the back of the Rapide; something which I find really handy as it wont get lost and can be swapped around any time during certain cleaning tasks.
These floor heads however are very easy to install onto the Rapide. It only takes seconds to twist the lock (orange) before the main water channel pipe (a clear hose so you can see blockages) at the front of the floor head to fit the optional tools into place. The hard floor head is a light blue colour whereas the carpet floor head is clear acrylic but both state clearly what they are for by written decals. Both heads however are easy to clean because a tap can be pushed down the main channels and literally the flow of water washes out the dirt.
The main water tank is a long blue acrylic bin which is double walled. Inside it sits the main dirt filter and a white plastic see through grid.
** Setting Up For Wash **
Filling the solution into the Rapide however is a lot easier than our old Vax canister. There are no tubes to unlock here, no pump to sort out either. The empty bin for example looks like a double walled clear acrylic water tank which at first thanks to the instructions I thought was a single tank due to the wording in the manual. It kept stating "clean/dirty tank," and I originally began to think that the tank was a single unit which held clean and dirty water together and through the "cyclonic" action managed to displace both states of water separately. Oh if only it was this clever!
However, by releasing the tank at the front (via orange lock just like many bagless cyclonic upright vacuum cleaners) an inner filter is revealed as well as an opened out plastic filter carrier which actually doesn't hold anything other than dirt in use. Here is where you DON'T fill it with water but insert and drop in the carrier and paper filter top back into the tank and align the arrows, whereupon similarly when emptying dirty water you just lift the top off and the tank can be emptied out. So where does the clean solution aided water go?
At the back of the bin there is an orange screw top where once it is undone you can measure the solution in the cap and pour it into the backing. At first I didn't think there were any holes here and I couldn't imagine pouring water down the same small measuring spot at the back. 40°C is the maximum temperature of hot water which the Rapide can take so in this instance I used hot tap water as opposed to boiling hot water. Poured into a small water jug (which Vax could well enclose to make filling easier) there are markings fore and aft on the tank which show where the maximum amount of clean water and soap mix can reach.
Sure enough by pouring into the screw cap fixing, water appeared to flow down into the secondary wall of the tank; it is a pity that Vax do not show this in their user manual as the owner could well be as puzzled I was initially. Once the water has been filled and the tank installed (just like a bagless bin on uprights the bin is easier to install if the bottom of it meets the holder and swung into place and locked) the Rapide can be used.
And if you put in too much water, the Vax's cyclonic action in the water raises the white plastic grid to the top and switches the Rapide off automatically as opposed to standard motor burn out/thermal protection.
The time it takes to set up old Vax canister? Around 8 to 10 minutes to install and fit everything together including the floor head. The time it takes to set up Vax Rapide? 5 minutes if you have never done it before, 2 minutes thereafter.
** Performance **
* Washing on Hard Floor *
When the Rapide is switched on, it is possible to start washing the floor automatically although the solution in the tank only emerges once the blue trigger on the white handle loop is squeezed. In use the solution is spread over the floor from under the Rapide and the two soft rubberised wheels ensure marking is kept to a minimum. There are only two wheels at the back of the cleaner to aid movement, rubberised so not to damage flooring and in use although the floor is wet the Rapide tends to slide around until the water is sucked up. On hard flooring the soft brush roll comes into its own even if it is only to add agitation. But the Rapide is generally fast over light staining on hard flooring; particularly when once the trigger is not squeezed the Rapide will suck up all the dirty water through its removable floor head and is totally viewable. Here is where extra noise occurs; not from the motor but from the squeegee which starts to howl and squeal over the floor surface. Once it does this, the floor is dry! Not only that but when the floor is becoming dry, the wheels at the back give the owner a second opinion by gripping the hard floor surface where previously the wheels slid about easily.
In terms of light staining such as recent liquid drink spills, the Rapide is excellent at pick up. However with only 550 watts of power, there is not sufficient pull where stubborn or old stains prevail on the floor despite the moving brush roll. I found I had to go over and over stubborn stains against Vax's claim here but luckily in use the weight of the cleaner is lighter than when carried and moving the machine to and fro can be done by a couple of fingers on the handle as opposed to a whole hand.
One very handy aspect over our old Vax canister though is the fact that when all the solution has been used up (the trigger controls the flow so you can keep some back for the next task) the Rapide rises in motor pitch sound to let the owner know that the solution and water has run out.
** Washing on Carpet **
For carpet use the floor head has a thick plastic agitator line similar to our old Vax canister but the difference here is the extra agitation of the permanent brush roll on the machine itself. Vax have given the brushes a different colour rather like a rainbow and there's even a small screen in the middle so that the owner can see the state of the brushes in use. In terms of scrubbing action, the Rapide betters our old Vax canister because there are brushes here as opposed to none on the old canister model. I found using the Rapide on both surfaces just as good although stubborn stains were harder to break down and shift and again takes a bit longer moving the machine to and fro until the stain has disappeared. Edge channels on both floor heads also mean that edge brushing and washing is also available on skirting boards.
** Manoeuvrability **
Manoeuvring and handling the Rapide is wonderful though. At 6.1 kg the Rapide isn't the lightest wash vacuum I have tried but the general softness of the plastic as well as the LG/Oreck style helping handle means that hand fatigue is reduced and at some points I found pushing and pulling the Rapide back could be done just using a pinch of two fingers on the handle and mimics a light use similar to our Sebo upright. I would never be able to have done this with our old Vax canister!! As soon as the Rapide sucks up the water and leaves the floor dry, the wheels start to regain their grippy texture which maximises steering. Carrying the Rapide is also easier to lift from the handle at the rear of the machine rather than from the handle at the top; the main floor head though is large so it is useless for cleaning carpeted or hard floor stairs. At least the 7 metre power cord is long which means transferring from room to room doesn't pose a problem. Carrying it is not something I recommend, it can be tipped on its rear wheels and wheeled back to storage after use though like many upright vacuums.
** Emptying and Motor Noise **
In terms of the dry dirt vacuuming only, dirt collected goes to the inner filter located at the top of the tank. The user manual states that the filter must be dried if it is cleaned and washed but since using it for washing, I discovered that the filter gets wet anyway and dirt can be either tapped into a bin (as the manual suggests) or removed by using a small clean paint brush. The filter is similar to HEPA filters though; fine paper pleats are easy to see and dirt trapped in between is reasonably easy to dislodge.
Emptying is as easy as installing. Unlock the tank, carry to the sink, lift the filter cartridge out (the only part which unlocks is the inner dry dirt collecting filter) and emptying the dirty water into the sink. I always get rid of solution in the tank too although it is possible to leave the soapy solution in the inner walled tank of the same bin for the next time you use it.
Surprisingly, the motor noise isn't as quiet as I thought it would be. After experience of my Vax Quicklite dry upright, the Rapide is noisy although in use with the constant squawking and squealing of the squeegee it can get too much if used for a prolonged time.
** Other Downsides **
If you are thinking of buying this machine and thinking it would act as a main wash vac in your home; don't. There are many reasons for this;
The Rapide has a small tank capacity of only 1.5 litres total volume (0.75 litres dry dust) which limits appeal but in use meant a tank lasted us two rooms before giving out. Always keep a warm fully filled kettle on supply before use if the intention is to clean more than one or two rooms depending on size.
Secondly, the Rapide gets difficult to push when either floor heads have completely sucked up all water and solution. Rapide can only wash sealed hard flooring as opposed to unsealed.
Thirdly, what a great pity there is no additional hose to aid above the floor cleaning or for cleaning upholstery. Like many things in life this is a compact upright which is designed for small homes and larger models in the Vax range (and probably more expensive) have a smaller hose with small tools to deal with fabrics and upholstery.
Fourthly the agitator brush screen cannot be removed to aid cleaning after tasks have been done and it is additionally moved by a drive belt which can be ordered from Vax if it breaks. Although it looks if the screen can be prised open using a blunt knife it doesnt have thick points on it which look as if the screen can be put back. Able fingers or a paint brush can be inserted into the brush roll itself to remove any viewable dirt which gets on the screen and if used regularly a lot of dirt does accumulate there.
** The User Manual **
The user manual is a black and white booklet which shows diagrams rather than the real model; Vax would do well here to properly word and show where each part of the info is applicable instead of the owner trying to fathom out particular areas on the machine.
** Shampoo Tips **
Far from trying to pad this review out any further I must add some very important information! Whilst two bottles of different cleaning solution came with this cleaner, the retail price for each bottle is priced individually between £4-99 and £6-99 available from Argos, Vax themselves (online), eBay and on the high street at several different supermarkets and domestic companies such as Comet, Currys, Miller Bros and John Lewis for the 750ml version against the bigger 1 litre bottles.
Whilst both solutions are great and adhere to what they deliver in tems of shampoo action and cleaning, I've changed the solution brand to 1001 3 in 1 shampoo which like Vax products does a similar job, low foaming too, leaves a lovely smell and is also approved by Woolsafe carpets. Price per 500ml or 1 litre bottle; a mere £1! As such cleaning carpets and floors has never been so cheap! 1001 is available at Semi Chem, privately owned pound shops and at some supermarkets.
** Conclusion **
If you have a heavy, bulky canister with a long hose which can wash carpets already but need something more compact and upright I definitely think the Rapide V0 29/Q is worthy of consideration.
The Rapide does very little wrong other than the fact that if it had a larger tank and more power/suction, it could replace two machines in one but then I think the weight would be heavier as a result too. As a second back up machine it replaces the need to set up our old Vax unless I intend to wash large rooms where there are expansive areas of carpet. In short it is a breeze to use and doesnt involve stooping or sore backs when the cleaning is over and done with.
The Rapide V0-29 does what it states on its label mostly I found it is perfect for quick flooring clean ups on either carpet or sealed hard flooring and even with heavy staining when it needs some more time spent with it, Id rather use this than get our old Vax canister out. When it takes up little more space than a standard large upright vacuum cleaner with no hoses to worry about, the size is a bonus. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Model: V-029/V029/V029Q. Also goes under the name "V029 Rapide TotalFloors."
Purchased from eBay seller: gradedelectricalsdirect.
Short name: Vax V-029