Product Type: Vax vacuums
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Cleaning Faster Than The Speed of Light ?
Vax VZL-6017 Mach 7
Member Name: Nar2
Vax VZL-6017 Mach 7
Date: 13/07/08, updated on 13/07/08 (1844 review reads)
Advantages: Top model has auto rewind cable, good suction, less clogs, lots of tools, good stretch hose.
Disadvantages: Noisy, very heavy, two drive belts means change over will be tricky and annoying
The Vax Mach range is however a new model from the base upwards and it is never left wanting for specifications being quite expensive for its top model costs £199-99 but has a few surprises in store. This is a long review.
The Mach model reviewed here is the 7 model, (or VZL-6017) which sounds like a code for a top secret mission or simply a flight somewhere. It has a few nifty touches, some of which I welcome and some of which I don't. In lieu of the Dyson DC14 I was initially using (brilliant but bulky) the Mach 7 has a surprising inclusion of an auto retracting 8 metre power cord, despite companies' persistence for buyers to consider cylinder vacuums for this very addition of the said cord. Amongst the set integral flush mini turbo brush ideal for picking up threads, stair cleaning and pet hair, the Mach 7 comes with a wealth of features that are purposefully designed for everyday cleaning including a pet hair brush. It features a 1500 watt motor compared to Dyson's DC14 Animal which is equally priced and features similar if not slightly better specifications even if the Dyson is 100 watts down with 1400 watts. From the box all you need to do is screw in the handle to the top of the machine and away you go!
In terms of its design if you don't like black, don't look back. The Mach 7 is unashamedly painted in black and grey matt plastic, shiny from some angles (although the shine has lost its gleam in less than a week) and the words "Windtunnel," adorn the main flank of the bin, to show that the "Zero" suction principle perhaps has been updated. In reality however it's the same branding that Hoover in the U.S have used for years (infact both machines are the same because they are now owned by TT Industries of China), and which is probably one of the reasons to why it has an automatic rewinding power cord, a larger bin capacity of 2.6 litres to capture all that dirt, lazy-assed lifetime filtration claims and other promises of having to clean no filters on this model.
In terms of its outward design most things such as the hose and tools are readily accessible even if the universal design appears to be very wide and bulky. Much as I love Vax's design here, a Dyson upright is so much easier without having to bend down to adjust the floor head on the carpet each time you go from room to room. However as the Vax has this principle, it is disappointing that despite its stretch "Extra Reach," hose, pulling the Vax with you whilst using the hose can be a heavy experience, more so when lifting the vacuum - it is extremely heavy - at 10kg. The Extra reach hose is another hose which clips onto the main hose of the Mach 7 and is very welcome for extra length, particularly if cleaning away from the upright at the time of cleaning or going for gold and doing the stairs without worry that the vacuum is going to fall over.
In terms of tools, I found the quality has improved. A square upholstery brush has been included which has a 2 way purpose; slide the brush off and it becomes a non-brushed upholstery tool, slide the part back on and it now acts as a small dust brush. Two plastic extension tubes are also supplied as well as a crevice tool - and the quality of the tools in general are made with a much better feeling of plastic compared to Vax tools of the past. One surprise however is that the Mach 7 comes with a main parquet floor brush tool which gives some lee way into using the hose and the tool for cleaning hard floors. Use with the hose and its surprising to find that the Mach 7 will not topple over - the hose has been built in from the middle half of the rear of the vacuum (when fully pulled out) which is welcome on an upright vacuum - and all sections of the hose are removable to inspect for clogs. A beater bar stop function (visible by stepping on the silver chrome plated pedal at the bottom of the vacuum by the main floor head) means that it is possible to clean hard floors without having to use the hose and smaller hard floor tool - although it is welcome, if say you have a double landing of stairs and they happen to have laminate down instead of carpeting. An indicator light shows in red LED's if the brush has been turned off, whilst when put back up into the upright position, the brush bar will naturally turn off, again indicating by showing the red LED.
One of things I do approve about the Mach 7 however is the suction principle. If not for Dyson, the filter shroud is very similar and has the same kind of perforations you would find on a Dyson DC01. Just like the latter I found it really easy to ignore the bin when the Vax just kept picking up dirt room after room. The suction is incredible on this machine as a result and proves to a point that the Windtunnel technology/Zero suction principle works just as well as the old and original Dyson DC01; the only difference compared to my DC01 is that the suction from the Mach 7 through the hose is equally as strong and unwavering. Edge to edge cleaning is also possible on both sides of the Mach 7 whilst a see through floor head ensures that the owner knows exactly what condition the moving brush is in if say for example, hair or visible threads have wrapped themselves around the brush.
Another advantage is that the handle is of a looped design so you can hang onto the Vax a la Oreck's helping handle rather than having to rest your hand on a more traditional handle; the on switch is also handily located at the top and is painted in silver which at best is easy to locate. Ploughing through carpets can be a back breaking exercise however and this is more evident from the highest setting for the main brush roll. However the handle is also bent at an angle towards the cleaner which means steering and handling isn't matched to the heavy weight of the vacuum - carrying it reveals the weight whilst using it reveals a better gliding nature even if the motor is noisy and can't be reduced in suction or sound.
Externally and in use the downsides of the Mach 7 are more difficult to spot. Bearing in mind that Dyson's similarly priced DC14 has Root cyclones compared to the Vax's copied dual cyclone idea, it seems rather expensive to pay out for a Vax of this design even though Dyson has a wealth of other machines on offer at the same price and have increased cyclones for longevity of better performance and less actual cyclone cone clogging.
Emptying the Mach 7 is similar to most modern Dyson uprights as well; the whole bin assembly unlocks from the top and there's a bottom trapdoor button to release the dirt. Then if you must clean the filter holes if they are visibly clogged, the top bin can be unlocked which has the main cyclone filter pulling away from the main bin. No matter whether I was putting it into a black bin liner or similar, I found emptying the Vax just as messy as I have done with Dyson vacuums; once the trapdoor is closed over there is always some dust and dirt on the floor when the mechanism locks up! Despite escaping dirt, emptying the Mach 7 is quite an easy operation to do even if there is slight twisting to be done on the top lid to get into the main cyclone. A further carbon filter is located at the top inside the bin assembly before the dirt bin can be put back in and this should be washed and allowed to air dry for 24 hours before installing; this is a very welcomed filter as it doesn't allow the smell of bad odours to seep into the rooms whilst I use the Mach 7. A further HEPA filter is located at the bottom of the bin area just above the motor and, just like Dyson it's a question of simply pulling it out of its tray to inspect it. So for most owners worried about allergens escaping from their vacuum, the Mach 7 already has the all important high efficiency particulate air filter even though it is not washable, it is designed to last a "lifetime." Time will tell!
Sadly however there is a downside to the Mach 7 and it is revealed internally. It takes no less than 6 screws to undo the floor plate if your Mach 7 should ever have a broken belt, and sadly even if Vax wish to claim for reasons of a longer lasting use and ownership, this is an upright vacuum which uses TWO drive belts. This means that whilst you have to pull out the rotary brush, a drive belt has to be undone from the motor pulley before the other drive belt is installed. What a pity for what seems to be an easy and quick to access upright vacuum cleaner which has been designed for everyday use should ever have this time consuming maintenance problem.
To boot this seems to be the Achilles Heel for the Mach 7. Aptly named, the Vax is an excellent all rounder, able to clean up quickly and easily with the extra reach hose, good quality plastic tools and welcomed additional tools such as mini pet hair brush and that larger parquet brush for hard flooring. Tie in the beater bar stop function, a powerful headlight that gets into the corners, superb suction and offering consumers a general positive peace of mind, the only slight disadvantage is faffing about with a screwdriver and drive belt hell when the belts go, a heavy weight when carrying and a loud motor.
Despite the cost of bags, its no wonder I'm slow on the uptake of bagless cyclonic vacuums, because ultimately its about time companies moved with the times and produced something a little quieter than a jet plane taking off. Great for cleaning in larger homes though the Vax deserves to do well, but for the more sensitive of ears, I'll stick to my Sebo and Miele vacuums; even if they do use bags! Thanks for reading.İNar2 2008
Summary: The Dyson DC14 is better! But a good effort from Vax nevertheless.
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