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Vacuum cleaners from other manufacturers rarely give Dyson a fright in terms of performance, but Vax’s new Mach Air could give that company food for thought.

The vac claims that it’s the lightest full-sized multi cyclonic upright vacuum cleaner in the world, weighing in at a paltry 4.9kg. Colour aside (silver and orange), it doesn’t look too dissimilar to some Dyson models we’ve come across in the past.

The vac is colour-coded. The orange signifies the working parts, such as buttons and switches, the brush, the central unit, the cable stay and hose connector. The rest is in silver.

The handle is adjustable, so it saves space and can be easily stowed in a small cupboard under the stairs and then extend it when in action. The handle has eight height settings, so will be comfortable for most users. When retracted it is 96cm tall and fully extends to 112cm.

The cable is six metres long, which was in our opinion too short when trying to get around the whole house without unplugging it and re-plugging it somewhere else.

But it is when you fire up the unit you discover the beast within. It easily rivals any Dyson performance-wise. It also clings to the carpet in tests. Like a lot of modern vacuum cleaners, you can stop the brush bar spinning, by pressing a button, when you want to vac hard floors.

You can release the handle and attach other cleaning tools to it. The handle has to be connected to the hose going into the main cyclone unit. This is rather more finicky than what you can do with a Dyson and takes a little longer.

This hose can be supplemented with another hose attachment, but even when this is all put together, it doesn’t seem long enough and on stairs we found that we had to bring the whole cleaner up the stairs to vac the last few steps at the top. A longer hose would have given it a greater range and our house isn’t exactly Buckingham Palace in terms of size.

There is also a three-way cleaning tool that clips to the back with the usual nozzles and brushes on offer. When clipped into position it makes winding the power cord a little more difficult than it should be.

The chamber capacity is 1.5 litres, which does help it make the vacuum cleaner compact but also means that you fill it quite quickly. For some houses you may need to empty this before you finish cleaning. That said, emptying is easy enough to do. Just detach the chamber from the main unit release the bottom catch and let the contents come out.

The filters are easily accessible and can be cleaned in a straightforward manner.It is also HEPA certified. The covers can be opened and cleaned out without too much trouble.

In case of obstructions, the Mach Air has a safety feature which cuts power to the brush and this should stop the device getting damaged. A small red reset button on the side gets things going again once the obstruction is cleared.

Being light-weight and small, the Vax Mach Air is easy to move around the whole house. It is great to use and easily gets to most hard-to-reach areas that other vacuums can’t get at.

The tools and hose attachment could have been better thought out and here is where a Dyson steals a march on the Vax. The Vax can be as versatile as its main rival but the time taken to put hoses together to clean other parts of the house means that more time is spent vacuuming overall. Also, the emptying of the canister could have been made easier.

That said, the suction of the cleaner is as good, if not better than most of its rivals and the compactness of the unit should mean that it won’t take up too much space in the cupboard.

Rating: 9/10 (available from Amazon – Link)

vax_mach_air_vacuum_cleaner