Bosch BCH6PETGB Athlet ProAnimal

Score

Sections

Pros

  • Powerful upright cleaning
  • Good power & time on level 2 (28 mins)
  • Turbo mode for stubborn dirt
  • Cordless convenience

Cons

  • Poor suction on 60-minute mode
  • Unstable when parked upright
  • No way to switch off brush bar
  • Very poor edge cleaning

Key Features

  • Review Price: £250.00
  • Bagless upright vacuum cleaner
  • Cordless
  • 0.9-litre bin capacity
  • Up to 60 mins run-time
  • Pet specific tools

What is the Bosch Athlet ProAnimal?

We’re big fans of Bosch’s Athlet cordless vacuum cleaner range. The models we’ve tested deliver the goods for day-to-day vacuuming and are easy to use, but they’ve been a bit lacking where mucky pets are concerned. Enter the new Athlet ProAnimal, which promises to clean up pet hairs 30% faster than one of Bosch’s own mains-powered pet-specific cleaners, the BGL3PETGB.

This Athlet combines the range’s spectacularly long run-time – now 60 minutes – with a separate ProAnimal brush bar designed for pet hairs and a wide upholstery brush for giving pet beds or sofas a de-fluffing. The handle can be swapped with a shorter version for use as a portable cleaner with supplied hose and tools, allowing you to get to parts normal stick vacs just can’t reach.

Video: Should you buy Dyson’s new robot vac?

Bosch Athlet ProAnimal – Design and Features

The ProAnimal is certainly one of Bosch’s better-equipped Athlet models. In addition to the main stick vacuum cleaner in its striking letterbox red, you get a shortened stubby handle with power controls, which is easily interchangeable with the main handle. This saves you whacking the long handle into doors, walls and furniture.

There’s also an adjustable strap that attaches to the short handle and the hose clip, both using Velcro pads, which wrap around onto themselves. The system works well and we found it quite comfy having the lightweight cleaner body (just 2.7kg with hose) over the shoulder.

The hose is a useful 1.55m long, nicely flexible and terminates in a short straight handle. We struggled with the hose handle a little, since the straight design meant a little more wrist-twisting action was required compared to curved handles. That said, since there are no extension tubes you’ll likely be reaching up or down to clean steps and furniture, essentially straightening out your wrist anyway.

Related: Bosch Athlet BCH62550GB review
Bosch Athlet Pro Animal

Three tools are supplied for the portable option: a suitably lengthy crevice tool; wide upholstery tool with fluff-collecting strips and cut-out to stop the tool sticking down; and a wide, flat nozzle that’s specific to this model for pet beds and similar furry duties. All are well designed and built, demonstrating Bosch’s long experience in vacuum cleaners.

For upright/stick use, you get Bosch’s matching red All Floor floor-head, complete with second brush bar with slightly shorter, slightly stiffer bristles for pet hairs. The solidly built floor-head has a freely rotating and tilting neck, while its four wheels and the low 3.3kg total weight make it light and manoeuvrable as an upright.

It also sports the easiest-to-remove brush bar we’ve yet seen: simply push the clip and slide out. Both brush bars have also been designed with shallow slots running their length, which really helps when trying to insert scissors to cut off entangled hairs.

For charging, the ProAnimal is freestanding, just about – you have to carefully balance it upright. Tilt it over a little and, due to the articulation in the neck, it will topple. There’s no docking station or holder, so the wall-wart charger uses a fly-lead that plugs straight into the rear of the machine.

It takes around six hours for a full charge but will reach 80% charge in half that, as indicated by three LEDs on the front.

Bosch’s SensorBagless technology monitors dust in the bin and the state of the washable filter, running an LED on the front to indicate its status. Blue is OK; red means the bin needs emptying or the filter cleaning. A second filter is supplied for speedy mid-cleaning filter changes. Like other Athlet’s in the range, the 0.9-litre bin clips off easily and the top removes for emptying.

Bosch Athlet ProAnimal – Cleaning

In either upright mode or as a carry-about cleaner, the Athlet ProAnimal offers three power settings: 1, 2 and Turbo. It’s level 1 to which the claimed 60 minutes’ battery life applies, and in this mode the rotating brush bar is also disabled.

Sure enough, the cleaner ran for just over 60 minutes (60mins 50secs and 61mins 30secs) in two consecutive tests. However, Bosch has clearly sacrificed power for the headline run-time as suction through the nozzle is quite pathetic.

Using the hose and small tools the vacuum is fine for light dusting duties, but with the low airflow spread out over the full width of the AllFloor head, there’s precious little pick-up ability on level 1 as an upright cleaner. Mind you, it’s whisper-quiet at just 65dB in this mode, ramping up to 75db and 78dB in level 2 and Turbo mode respectively.

Bosch Athlet Pro AnimalBefore

Move the switch to level 2 and the Athlet ProAnimal gets firmly into its stride, ramping up suction power and airflow to more useful levels. If the floor-head is attached, this second setting powers up the brush bar as well.

We’re not fans of being unable to switch off the brush bar independently, since there’s a danger of it picking up a stone or, from experience, a broken fragment of crockery, and scratching softwood floors for example. Yet, since you can’t engage the higher power modes without the brush bar running, you don’t have much choice. I could understand this if it were an air-powered turbo brush, but since it’s motorised it would make more sense to have a separate switch.

Bosch Athlet Pro AnimalAfter

That aside, level 2 gave us just over 28 minutes run-time and delivered all the great carpet and hard-floor cleaning we’ve come to expect from the Athlet range.

The brush bar is effective at agitating dirt, picking up hairs and beating the carpet, allowing the mid-level suction to lift away debris much easier than trying to simply suck it out of the pile. This left the test carpet buffed in just a single stroke and, with the usual back and forth action, delivered a very good clean indeed.

The low floor-head also proved ideal for slipping under radiators and radiator covers (pictured), and the articulating neck allows the whole machine to be laid right down to floor level to get under low obstacles too (pictured).

However, just like the previous Athlet we tested, the AllFloor head is woeful at getting close to the skirting board. Even a quick squint at the underside shows the brush bar cleaning area is much smaller than the width of the head, and there are no air channels to aid collection at the sides of the head.

Ironically, the wide and flat pet tool is absolutely ace for nipping round the skirting, cleaning that missed half-inch. Not ideal, I grant you, but effective nevertheless.