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Vax VZL-118C Force 3

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£11.98 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk See more offers
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      10.05.2010 14:58
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      You might settle for this if you are easily pleased.

      It appears that I am currently engaged in the search for what is seemingly the Holy Grail of vacuum cleaners.
      My latest acquisition, a Vax Force 3 Complete, has been an interesting detour.

      After vowing to stick with my old and trusted twosome of a Panasonic upright, a veteran of some 20 years, and powerful Electrolux Boss I was tempted from the path of the righteous by a hefty £50 discount by Curry's on this bagless cylinder cleaner.

      In retrospect I probably should have viewed this as a warning rather than an enticement, heavy discounting generally can be indicative of a less than successful or overpriced product. In this instance I would say that the price that I actually paid perhaps was reflective of the quality and far more realistic than the original price quoted by Curry's. The discounted price that Curry's offer of £99.99 incidentally seems to be in the region of the generally quoted figure at most high street retailers at the time of writing, (which begs the question has anyone ever actually paid £149.99 for this cleaner?)

      Moving swiftly on, there are a some positives about this product:
      * I found it easy to manoeuvre around the house
      * Not too heavy to carry up the stairs
      * The carry handle is conveniently located
      * A variety of tools is supplied with the cleaner
      * The long reach hose is indeed long reach and I could clean my top stair with no problem at all
      * Impressive 6 year guarantee

      So what's the problem then I hear you sigh, well, nothing major really. It does what it says on the box, but only just.

      The Turbobrush
      This proved to be something of a disappointment. Maybe my expectation is just too high but it took a couple or more "sweeps" to pick up some bits and there is no up to the carpet edge cleaning. For this you need to swap to The Crevice Tool which along with the Dusting Brush, fits niftily into the Flexible Hose handle (clever, since you will need it quite frequently to get to the parts that the Turbobrush can't reach).
      The brush head is a swivel type though, which means that no angle is impossible and reaching under furniture is a breeze. However, I used my little Electrolux immediately after the Vax and it easily picked up bits that the Vax and I had missed.

      The Hard Floor Tool
      A simple suction device with (and who decided that this was a good idea, are they still in a job?) bristles all around the outer edge. You can see where I am going with this one can't you. The bristles just mean that you push the fluff and bits about for a while before they actually find their way through the little gaps specially cut in the bristles to the suction pipe! Again, it does suck them up eventually but not as efficiently as I would like. As far as I can see the bristles just seem to hamper the operation and deplete the suction power.

      The Chrome Telescopic Extension Tube
      Now this is a winner in my book, it's handy and sturdy, convenient to use. What more can I say, it's telescopic, it extends to variable lengths, slots neatly onto the flexible hose and being chrome manages to look good too.
      .
      For long reach jobs such as stairs you need to swap over to the Stretch Hose which really does str-e-tch. I could reach the top of my stairs very easily with this, no problem at all. I was tempted to just use the Stretch Hose for everything but this is a no-no and is expressly forbidden in the instruction leaflet which also states that you must not use this for longer than 20minutes.

      A small Upholstery Tool is also provided for a quick once over on the soft furnishing. This is the usual type with the nylon fabric strip.
      The conjoined twin bagless cylinders are simplicity itself to empty so no gripes there.

      On the downside, despite its compact appearance it is oddly cumbersome to store, the two hoses take up a fair amount of space.
      All in all there are few niggles with this vacuum cleaner but even fewer delights. The cleaner packs an impressive 250 effective air watts but somehow the pick up power doesn't seem to reflect this, despite the "No loss of suction" claim on the box. When using the Turbo Brush I expected to feel some "resistance" due to the suction, as you do, but there was none and I had to keep checking that there was no blockage. There was none.
      It's interesting to note that the Dyson DC25 claims only 220 air watts and I have to say that the suction power on that was far superior, so maybe some techie can explain to me why that should be?

      All in all, not a great vacuum cleaner, though I imagine some might well be happy with this I will not yet be retiring my trusty twosome which, combined, still do a far better job.
      Sadly this will be another cleaner that I'll be passing on, so although the Force may be with you it won't, unfortunately, be with me.

      I know you're out there, the omnipotent vacuum cleaner, capable of all things to all men. The search goes on....the technology does exist. I will endeavour.

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    • Product Details

      Short name: Vax VZL-118C