Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920

Score

Sections

Pros

  • Variable suction power
  • Excellent TriActiveMax floor-head
  • Brilliant on hard floors
  • Very good on carpets
  • Funky design, great wheels

Cons

  • Weighty and bulky
  • Average pet hair performance
  • NanoClean bin doesn’t work
  • No rotating brush bar tool

Key Features

  • Review Price: £305.00
  • Energy efficiency rating: A
  • 650W power
  • HEPA 13 filter
  • Bagless cleaning
  • 2.2-litre dust capacity

What is the Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920?

Philips returns to floor care in a big way. The brand has launched a clutch of anti-allergen products, including corded and cordless vacuum cleaners, a vacuum mop, a dust-mite cleaner and even an air purifier. Leaping straight in with the top model, we look at the PowerPro Ultimate FC9920 big-capacity bagless cylinder cleaner.

Claiming to have more suction than an old-school 2,400W vacuum, this A-rated energy-efficient cleaner boasts HEPA 13 filtration, a 2.2-litre nanoClean bin and Philips’ funky TriActiveMax floor-head. With its raft of tools, extending tubes and lengthy cleaning reach, does this new cleaner have the power for professional results?

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Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920 – Design and Accessories

From the huge, colourful box in which it arrives, to the big cleaner and chunky tools inside, the Philips PowerPro Ultimate leaves you in little doubt that it’s a serious, full-sized cleaner.

It uses Philips’ Power Cyclone 7 bagless technology, emptying into a front-mounted bin with a healthy 2.2-litre capacity. The bin can be lifted out and emptied using only one hand. It boasts ‘nanoClean’ technology that promises to stop dust sticking to the side walls.

Despite its bijou 650W motor, this cleaner is a beast, weighing in at a not inconsiderable 6.4kg empty and without tools. Hose, tubes and the main TriActiveMax floor-head add a further 1.6kg to make the PowerPro Ultimate quite the heavyweight.

Thankfully, the size is well catered for thanks to a decent-sized top handle, chunky switches for power and cable rewind, and possibly the finest set of low-profile alloy-look wheels to grace a vacuum cleaner. These large wheels spin on proper free-running bearings and feature low-profile rubber tyres to complete the Carlos Fandango look.

Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920

Key to the PowerPro Ultimate’s anti-allergen performance is its advanced filtration across several layers of washable filter material in two easily removable cartridges. This delivers HEPA 13-level filtration, capturing 99.9% of airborne particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger.

Most bacteria ranges from 0.2 microns to 10 microns in size, so the Philips’ filtration is incredibly effective at removing dust and bugs from the exhaust air, scoring an A rating for exhaust dust emissions on the energy label.

In fact, Philips’ own research suggests there are 21 million allergy sufferers living in the UK, yet only a fifth of the population vacuum their homes every fortnight or less. Worse still, only one in five Brits ever clean their mattress, despite tens of thousands of dust mites making their home there, each producing around 20 allergen-provoking droppings per day.

The PowerPro Ultimate’s dust and dropping-busting tools include a flexible 1.8m hose with long, curved handle and suction release slider, a rather short crevice tool, and a combined upholstery and dusting brush. These two smaller tools can be parked on the handle thanks to a removable holster.

Of the two main floor-heads supplied, one is a simple hard-floor brush with two rows of stiff nylons bristles. The hero tool is Philips TriActiveMax floor-head, featuring large rubber-tyre wheels, a flexible and rotating neck, drop-down bristles for hard floors and handy brushes on the corners aimed at improving edge cleaning.

The metal tubes are chunky and telescopic, and everything from the tools to the bin-release clip into place with consummate ease. They’re just as easy to dissemble for cleaning or storage. This underlines the Philips’ excellent build quality and attention to design detail throughout. There’s only one howling exception for this tester.

The extension tubes feature sliding locking collars, which are released by pushing them forward towards the floor-head. If you tend to grab the tubes with your second hand to help bolster your forward thrusting action then the collar will bite back. Accidentally push forward on it and the top tube will collapse into the lower tube, very efficiently pinching any skin on fingers beneath. Insert expletive of the non-publishable variety right here.

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Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920 – Cleaning

Those wheels are certainly more than just for show. They roll freely with no sideways slip, making the PowerPro Ultimate a joy to pull around. Use a little caution, though, as what looks like bumper strips on the either side of the bow of the machine are actually hard plastic. They’re great for protecting the cleaner but unlikely to be so kind to your furniture in the event of a high-speed collision.

On carpeted floors, the TriActiveMax head proves itself more than a funky design with. It performs outstandingly well, even with the cleaner set to the reduced mid-level “carpet” power setting.

The large wheels allow it to glide over the carpet and the head is superb at picking up fluff, lint and dust. On our standard mixed powder test it cleaned the area well in a single sweep, with excellent close-to-edge cleaning thanks to those side brushes and air channels that run to the very edge of the head. Out in the open it cleaned a big area of carpet very quickly indeed, reducing overall cleaning time for bigger rooms.

Even ramping up the variable power slider to full power mode, the floor-head didn’t suffer too extensively with carpet stick thanks to the clever head design and sizeable wheels. In fact, we found ourselves cleaning most of the carpets in this mode with great results – perhaps the best we have seen from any cleaner/floor head combination without a rotating brush bar.

The Power Pro Ultimate sucked up dust, fluff and granular dirt with ease, leaving the pile looking handsomely groomed. Quite how this cleaner scores only a C rating for carpet cleaning on the energy label is a mystery to us. Mind you, other cylinder cleaners at this price might have offered that variable power control on the handle too.

On hard floors, the head is even more freely moving, yet remains solid. The wheels make steering the head a joy and their rubber tyres ensure it doesn’t bounce or chatter over textured floors such as riven tiles.
Philips PowerPro Ultimate FC9920
Pick-up results were again excellent, with good cleaning deep into tile grouting grooves and floorboard cracks. The head did have a minor issue with our standard mixed oats test, though. While it cleaned exceptionally well on the forward stroke, the solid rear brush would simply sweep particles out of the way on the back stroke.

This wasn’t a major issue, with only a couple of particles remaining after one forward/reverse sweep. Otherwise, the TriActiveMax floor-head delivers superb results on hard floors and absolutely outstanding hard-floor edge cleaning thanks to the extra side brushes.

Better still, the freely articulating head allows you to roll over the handle down to floor level. As long as you don’t mind driving the head forward at a little of an angle, this provides superb reach under low obstacles..

As for Philips’ nanoClean technology stopping the dust from sticking to the inner walls of the bin: well, it’s a bit of a fail really. While there was some reduction in static attraction to the bin wall, the effect was marginal at best. Plenty of dust sticks to the side wall and even more to the lid.