Battery Powered Vacuums
Having a dog means more cleaning. There is a surprising amount of hair and dirt accumulating every day. Getting out our big vacuum and juggling with the cable is annoying. So we thought about buying one of those newfangled battery powered ones.
I had a small Dyson DC30 for many years and thought to have a look at what Dyson offers. But 800 EUR for the Dyson V15 seemed a bit steep. So on the Amazon spring sale I decided to order three of the cheaper Non-Dyson ones on offer to see how they fare.
I don't really have any hard requirements for the new vacuum. It should suck (hehe), it should be able to clean our door mats (which Tarly likes to sleep on sometimes) and it should be easy to handle and empty.
The Proscenic P12 was the cheapest with 180 EUR. It's a brand I've never heard of, probably some Chinese company.
It comes in a surprisingly small, but well packaged box that contains the motor with dustbin, battery, an extendable pipe, a powered roller brush, two smaller nozzles, wall mount, wall wart and an extra filter.
Quality looks fine overall. The battery is charged by inserting a barrel plug in the side, so it's not automatic when you hang the vacuum on the wall mount. But theoretically you could buy a second battery to quickly change it when running out of juice.
The motor has four levels of power, selectable through a capacitive touch button on the top. The display shows the power and battery levels. Unfortunately the motor makes a loud whistling noise which gets louder with every power level. Another weird thing is that when you turn the device off, it will power up to the highest level for a few seconds before turning off.
The bristles on the roller brush are very soft so even in highest mode it does not manage to fully clean dog hair from the floor mat. The roller can be removed by pulling a small lever. That mechanism feels a bit fiddly and might break at some point.
The light is only in the center of the brush but is surprisingly useful to highlight dust and hair. The turning mechanism at the brush head tends to lift up the head when you try to vacuum under the bed. OTOH the ability to shorten the pipe is useful.
Emptying the dust container is simple. The bottom opens with a push button similar to my old Dyson, so it can be emptied without removing the dust bin, but you also can remove it fully. This is also the way to access the filter. I'm not sure where to get replacement filters or how often they need replacement.
Overall this is an okay vacuum, but the loud whistling noise really ruins the experience. I'm not sure if this is by design or if I got a faulty unit.
Philips SpeedPro Max
The Philips SpeedPro Max was the most expensive with 270 EUR. It's a well known brand and our current cable bound vacuum is also by them.
The large package contains surprisingly few parts: the motor with dustbin, a powered roller brush, a non-extendable pipe, a wall mount and a wall wart. The pipe has a flip out brush for smaller stuff.
The first thing I noticed was that there was no battery. It's built in and seems not to be user serviceable at all. This reeks of built-in obsolescence – I really don't like it.
The charger cable is magnetic and clips into the wall mount, which is nice since the vacuum will automatically charge when hung.
The motor has a physical switch for 3 power modes and a display showing the battery level. It is very quiet but seems to be powerful enough.
The powered roller brush is quite good. It collects dust on the forward and backward swing and the bristles seem to be sturdy. The roller can be pulled out on the side. I the highest mode, the vacuum cleaned dog hairs out off our door mat with no problems.
The light is much better than on the Proscenic. I did not expect it to be that useful. The tilt mechanism at the brush head is the best of all three machines and makes vacuuming under the bed easier.
To empty the dust bin you have to remove it from the motor, which is done by the push of a little lever button. Then the lid has to be removed which is a bit more fiddly - no button or lever here, just a press fit. But once you figure it out it works fine. The Philips uses a washable filter which is located at the bottom of the dust container.
I really like this vacuum, but the non-replaceable battery is a real bummer.
Bosch Unlimited Series 6
The Bosch Unlimited Series 6 was the mid price range at 215 EUR. However this seems to be one of the typical Amazon Sales bullshit scams where the price is actually lower after the sale (now at 180 EUR). Bosch is of course a well known German brand.
The surprisingly empty box contains the motor, a non extendable pipe, a powered roller brush, a smaller bristle brush, a 2.5Ah battery, a wall mount and a wall wart.
The barrel plug of the wall wart attaches to the wall mount, so you can charge the battery when hanging the vacuum. However, the big advantage of this machine is that it uses the standard 18V Bosch (green) batteries which I already own and use in various other devices.
The motor has two modes (normal and turbo) and a single LED which turns red when the battery is low. It's quiet but seems to have enough power.
The roller brush has little plastic bristles and the roller can be pulled out at the side. It worked surprisingly well on the door mat even in normal mode. Unfortunately the brush does not have a LED light like the other two and I am really missing it.
Emptying the dustbin requires to remove the pipe, then remove the bin from the motor and pull out the filter 1). A somewhat awkward and potentially dusty affair. The filter is not washable and you're supposed to just shake it clean.
I really wanted to like this vacuum, because it would fit so well into my existing battery ecosystem, but the missing light and weird cleaning put a damper on my enthusiasm.
In the end I like the Philips the most. It has good handling and sensible cleaning options. The non-changeable battery is a risk of course - it's at least covered by the warranty for two years. So that's the one we're keeping.