Gtech claims 40 minutes of battery life for the AirRam. In our tests it lasted for just over 31 minutes on a difficult floor with lots of debris, close enough to the 40 minute claim, and more than enough for a daily once over. Four LED lights in a panel on the front let you know how much juice is left, however this is a little imprecise as our AirRam ran out of steam while 2 lights were still on.
The most frustrating aspect of battery-powered devices, aside from how quickly they run out of power, is how long they take to charge. Gtech has considered this is and equipped the AirRam with 'fast charging'. In our tests it took around 4 hours to charge from empty, which stretches the definition of fast a little but its much better than most stick vacs. Unfortunately, the AirRam can’t be used while plugged in but extra batteries are available to buy for £40.
One of the Gtech’s biggest and boldest claims about the AirRam regards its efficiency, 100W for 40 minutes of cleaning. Gtech claims the AirRam can pay for itself in five years based on 20 minutes of use a day with an energy cost of 14p per KWh, as compared to a 2400W traditional vacuum. While the cost of a KWh and 20 minutes of use are accurate, it should be noted that only the least efficient or most heavy-duty vacuums use 2400W. Most Dyson or Miele vacuums run between 800W-1500W although upright vacuums, such as those from Hoover, do run at 2200W-2400W.
The AirRam is still brilliantly energy-efficient, particularly considering its cleaning performance, but savings will depend on how much you vacuum. It's good news for your carbon footprint, too, if that's a concern.
You can calculate exactly how much you’re saving by plugging the AirRam into a PC (there’s no current OSX app) via a USB cable that can be ordered for free. In addition to power used, the software tells you the condition of the battery and even how many calories you’ve managed to shed while vacuuming.
The AirRam is a good-looking vac and comes in white (version tested) and graphite (otherwise known as dark grey). It’s very simple to put together - the aluminium handle slots into the main stem and locks securely into place. Similarly the battery slides into the back with ease.
As we’d expect for a vacuum costing £200 build quality is good and the AirRam looks and feels solid, particularly the handle, brush and wheels. The lengthy five-year guarantee provides additional peace of mind.
At 3.5Kgs the AirRam is lighter than traditional vacuums, but heavier than most stick ones. If you have back problems or struggle with heavy objects then the AirRam is the perfect vac.
At £200 the AirRam isn’t cheap; it also isn’t as functional as other vacuums that come with multiple attachments or that can tackle thick carpet. But that’s not the point of the AirRam. It's an addition to your cleaning aresnal not a replacement for a vacuum. It's also good looking and easy to use and the efficiency means it pays for itself in the long-term.