Product Type: Vax vacuums
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Better Than Henry?
Member Name: Nar2
Date: 27/07/07, updated on 27/07/07 (3771 review reads)
Advantages: It looks and feels like Henry
Disadvantages: But the bags burst in use, tools can't be stored on the machine, endless details lacking and dated!
When it comes to mass sales and popularity, Numatic's Henry cylinder canister vacuum cleaners take some beating; consumers from commercial and domestic environments are catered well with Numatic's range and its spot on profit margins for both sectors seems to be an area Numatic enjoys well. I've found though that unless you have a large home, having a Henry can be a bit of a waste of time in a small space; all that hose (2.5 metres of it), tubes which must be taken off and a large floor head which can get stuck under furniture and appear bulky seem like a lot of effort in use whilst storing Henry away in a property where space is at a premium can be off putting.
I don't mind using Henry at work though because despite the older technology of using standard suction as opposed to bagless and cyclonic applications, dust gets in a bag and not all over the owner when it comes to emptying and cleaning the filter; something which for professional use other than sucking up general day to day dust can actually clog filters, Dyson not excepted here.
But why have Vax bothered to copy Henry? The only reason must surely be down to sales. Because, whilst Vax would have you believe that this new model is a "Professional" canister vac, the V-100 Pro Dry Vac is nothing other than a chopped down version of Vax's own 3 in 1 machine, albeit with a HEPA filter fitted, a few styling changes and a stubbier top motor. The only difference is the V-100 can only pick up dry dirt. And guess who has been using it since they returned to one of their many Summer jobs??
** Familiarity Breeds Contempt? **
If you have owned, borrowed or even tried a Vax 3 in 1 canister cleaner in the past, then setting up and using the Pro Dry Vac is quite similar. The top motor for example is virtually the same as most 3 in 1 machines complete with handle (but not moulded or curved like Henry's handle) and the On button located on the top. Underneath the top motor sits the new HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) ring, quite a large black ring with a filter which is not washable. The filter ring has been working since the day we got it (more than a month) and coping with so much dirt especially put to use in homes which had pets, the V-100 copes admirably with retaining odours in the bag and filter.
Forget trying to copy Henry with his unique roller manual cord rewind mechanism though, because on the Vax there is none. Instead you have to wrap all 10 metres of the power cord around the top of the motor, whereupon the electric plug can be clipped to the back of the cord via a clip. Hardly the last word in new design here, and for a Professional tag, quite astounding Vax could get away with something so cheaply designed. But it does take a shorter time to lasso the cord around the top against hand wrenching with Henry, particularly if you are in a hurry. Why canít Vax go out on a limb and fit an auto cord rewind? Theyíd be the first to do so on a canister type design like this.
** Using It **
The first time I tried the Pro Dry Vac I was pleasantly surprised to learn how easy it is to move the model from room to room but it's really all down to the fact that the Pro Dry Vac has a long 10 metre power cord, and a stubbier motor which lessens the overall bulk of the machine and its known less weight (6kg against my 9kg Vax bought 15 years ago!) and the castors at the bottom. Whilst it is fair to suggest that the V100 lacks a variable suction control, the noise of the 1200 watt motor has a familiar ring to it similar to my own Vax, but at the same time there seems to be more air whoosh from this model than my own, and the whine of the motor therefore isnít as noisy as my own 3 in 1 machine which is a great surprise. In general use the V100 is a great little cylinder vacuum even though it looks like Numaticís Henry and has similar features. But thatís merely using itÖ
On the body of the Vax no additional bumpers have been put around the diameter of the Pro Dry Vac which could help it in the long run to sustain scratches and bumps; again another disappointment for a cleaner which carries the "Pro" tag. The 6 wheel castors have been designed to fit flush within the base of the Pro Dry Vac which is a new design against other canister Vax machines, but other from (again!) copying Henry with his two front wheels, pull the Pro Dry Vac roughly, and the castors can topple the cleaner over.
The floor head and tubes move precisely though, whilst the height adjustable telescopic tubes ensure that height measurements for the owner can be met all around with the use of the ratchet lock system. Whilst this is great in general use, it certainly makes the grade better than Henry for storing. At least the floor head is smaller too, more compact and brushes go down via the single pedal on a hard floor and a carpeted floor which I find is a hell of a lot lighter and easier to push than Henry's high efficient floor head on normal carpets.
Another downside is that thanks to its design there is no bag indicator on this model. Once the model starts to lose suction then normally this is a tell tale sign that the bag is full and needs to be emptied.
The height adjustable telescopic tubes and inclusion of a high grade filter are good advantages of owning the Pro Dry Vac. The hose is 2.5 metres long on the Pro Dry Vac which unsurprisingly is the same long length you will find on Henry! Cleaning stair cases has never been easier although thanks to the large diameter of the Pro Dry Vac in general, (and hence it's "canister" tag) it proves to be a balancing act on stairs because of its general circular girth. How many other aspects have Vax done to copy Henry? There are less thought out design faults here to mention though;
** How does Pro Dry Vac Cope Professionally? **
For general dust, especially fine dust such as saw dust, wood and chippings, I found that the Vax could easily gobble up dirt well but like paper bags for my 3 in 1 model, this Vax also suffers from the worst trait from bags which have a tendency to burst. I was shocked when I couldnít believe after a new bag had only been put in the day before and after it had been used in three homes, that the bag was full after there was no suction. After inspecting the bag which wasnít at all full I discovered that the bag was actually torn. This is caused by the immediate suction from the motor and in this respect it is a failing of which my old 15 year old Vax also suffers from. Like my own machine, Vax really need to consider a fabric bag for use in this type of machine, or once and for all, make proper paper bags which donít tear whilst in use Ė otherwise the bin gets flooded with dust and before you know it the Vaxís main filter is completely clogged with dirt.
Not very professional, Vax!
** Additional Cleaning Tools **
The additional tools mimic Vax's own canister cleaners from years gone past, from the excellent brushed upholstery tool which is bulky and made of thick PVC plastic, to the similarly designed crevice tool; I still have the tools on my own Vax 3 in 1 canister cleaner and although the crevice tool is badly scratched, all other tools are intact. And as the design mimics the tools, there's no surprise to learn that there is no tool tidy for these tools to be stored on the machine; another black mark for a Professionally designed vacuum cleaner.
** The Paper Bag *
Unlike the fuss and nonsense that goes hand in hand with Henry's rubber membrane bags, there are no rubber membranes here; just a slide and lock card fit over the dust bag entrance slides into the dust channel, just like older Vax canisters - and unlike Henry you don't have to keep screwing the main hose into the machine until it locks. Just a twist once and the hose is locked to the machine - like all Vax canisters. But unlike Vax 3 in 1 canisters, once the bag is fitted, fit the motor on the top and the clips either side of the motor clip to the bin securing it down.
To gain access into the bin area, you must undo two thick catches which sit at the side of the machine externally. Once unpicked the motor comes off easily enough which reveals the central motor filter which can be unlocked for further cleaning.
** Prices **
EBay have a few stockists who can sell a reconditioned V100 at around £40 to £50 and in this respect if that includes postage and packing charges, the V100 would perhaps be a bargain - if owners can put up with the fear of bursting bags and for the model to become bagless which it can do, save for clogging up the main filter.
Brand new Argos, Comet and Currys are selling this model new at the price of £80 to £90 which is atrocious. Numatic's Henry however has a similar price but is so much better in so many ways.
** Conclusion **
And that is the problem, because the irony is in all but with the model name, Vax have created a basic canister cleaner which cannot suck up water and nor can it wash carpets. It feels and looks like Vax have tried to think about a possible rival for Numaticís Henry but wrapped in a body which lacks up to date features and plastic which feels lighter than previous machines. This is why I still like keeping my old Vax canister even though it is heavier to pull around; it can also use fabric reusable bags against this sorry paper-bag- only machine.
Professionals however prefer Henry at the end of the day and clearly it is easier to see why when it comes to the choice of buying and using a canister vacuum cleaner with no fear of the paper bag tearing in use. And for £80 or £90 brand new, the Vax V100 simply isnít professional enough to be considered by consumers looking for a reliable and easy to use vacuum cleaner which has a long cord and a deep bag capacity. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Summary: Vax needs to do better than this!!
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