Poor hard floor cleaning and rubbish carpet cleaning
Negligible pet hair cleaning
Woeful floorhead design
Review Price: £39.99
Bagless 2-litre bin (claimed)
Metal telescopic tubes
4-Stage HEPA filtration (claimed)
What is the Vytronix VTBC01?
If you are looking for a super-cheap but powerful bagless vacuum cleaner, the Vytronix VTBC01 at under £40 is sure to catch your eye. It packs a 1400W motor, claims a huge 2-litre bin and four-stage HEPA filtration too.
The reality is truly woeful carpet and hard floor cleaning. The floorhead is the main culprit, but the poor efficiency, awful ergonomics and, as it turns out, a very small bin and rubbish filtration, also count against it.
Vytronix is another low-cost OEM company that has generic Chinese-made products coloured and branded to its specification. There’s nothing wrong with that in principle, assuming the original design is good. On paper the VTBC01 has a lot to brag about.
Headline boast is the whopping 1400W motor. That is heading towards the top of the current legislation for maximum motor power for a domestic cleaner. The main body is compact and weighs in at only 3.5kg, so this potent motor doesn’t compromise manoeuvrability either.
The box claims four layers of HEPA-rated filtration. Try as we might by reading the manual and taking the cleaner apart, we could only find two filters: one at the top of the bin and another at the rear after the motor. As energy label testing suggests a grim D rating for dust emission, we can safely assume “4 Stage HEPA Filtration” is the marketing department getting carried away.
Speaking of which, the VTBC01’s headlines also shout about its 2-litre bin. It is patently clear the actual capacity is way short of that. Even with the cyclone assembly removed the bin only held 0.95 litres up to the Max fill mark. It also leaked prolifically from the bin-emptying flap, suggesting yet another source of dust emissions into the air.
The Vytronix’s hose is a fairly stiff plastic affair and fits directly to the bin. Every time you empty the bin it will need removing and replacing. The telescopic tubes are rather good, however. They’re solid feeling, with a positive click mechanism the correct way around not to pinch your fingers on closing. Other bonus points go to the tool clip mounted on the telescopic tube and a cable that did at least measure up to its compact 5m billed length.
The main floorhead has a smooth base with a small rough pad for carpets and a row of stiff drop-down bristles and a rubber blade for hard floors. It’s got issues, though. The head is very light and has a rather stiff tilt mechanism with a limited range of movement. These two factors combine to rotate the head on its own wheels and lift the floorplate away from the surface whenever you tilt the handle downwards.
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The combined crevice tool and dusting brush has appeared as an extra in more cheap vacuum cleaner reviews than we care to mention… and it’s still rubbish. The dusting brush is way too small to be much real use and when flipped over makes the crevice tool too fat to go in any crevices. A small, basic upholstery tool completes the accessory line-up.
Vytronix VTBC01 – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?
The VTBC01’s powerful motor does not have any soft-start or power control, so comes on at full power. This has the effect of spinning the cleaner around nearly 90 degrees on its wheels every time you turn it on. Amusing to watch, but not very practical.
Suction and air-flow at the handle is good, but not really leveraging all that motor power. Side by side with our 600W Numatic Henry office cleaner, there wasn’t a lot in it. No surprise then the VTBC01 only gets an E-rating for energy efficiency. The motor is quite noisy too. We measured 2dB more than the energy label at a less-than-peaceful 82dB.
The Vytronix’s light weight is a bonus in use and the wheels allow it to follow you with ease. The stiff hose does mean it’s more of a meander in your general direction than actually following you, but it’s not difficult to pull around.
What is rather tricky is achieving any effective cleaning with it. On hard floors, the head tended to pop up off of the surface as the handle lowered. As soon as this happens, suction is lost and there is no pick-up until you push the head back down to the floor.
Even ensuring the head was firmly against the tiles for our hard-floor spilled-oats test didn’t help the VTBC01’s performance. The stiff bristles simply pushed a lot of the oats in front of the head and then dropped them on the back stroke.
Things went further south when we moved onto carpet.
The floorhead seems to have two modes. It is either stuck down fast to your carpet so you can’t move it, or the head pops up from the surface and doesn’t clean. The floorhead is far too light for the stiff tilt mechanism in its neck. It is such an obvious design flaw that it makes you wonder how it got into production.
Even ensuring the floorhead was firmly on the floor and physically forcing the head against the suck-down didn’t help results in our formal carpet test. Some of the mix of carpet freshening powder, baking powder and talcum powder was sucked up. Most ended up smudged across the carpet and there were areas completely untouched where the head lost suction. Close-to-edge cleaning simply wasn’t close.
We tried several different pile carpets and the VTCB01 really is one of the most infuriating and ineffective vacuums we have ever tested. Thankfully the sub-1-litre bin didn’t need emptying very often, as the cleaner didn’t pick up enough to need to.
Vytronix VTBC01 – How easy is it to use on stairs?
At just 3.5kg naked the VTBC01 is very easy to simply carry up and down stairs. The lightweight hose and floorhead don’t add much to this mass, although the metal tubes are quite weighty.
It also has a very small footprint, so is easy to place on a step to rest as you go along. For up close cleaning, the main floorhead, upholstery tool and combined crevice tool/dusting brush can all be fitted directly to the handle.
All good but there are several limiting factors at play. The short 5m cable ensures you won’t get all the way up a flight of domestic stairs unless your plug socket is very close. Moreover, the stick down and sudden release of the main floorhead make it wholly unpractical for carpeted steps. We would go so far to say as potentially dangerous. There is every chance of it releasing suddenly and putting you off balance.
That leaves you cleaning carpeted stairs with the small upholstery brush. That isn’t too bad. It focuses the suction power and has a raised section in the middle that stops it sucking down too hard to short pile coverings. Likewise, the Vytronix and upholstery tool didn’t do too bad at cleaning upholstery.
Vytronix VTBC01 – How does it cope with pet hair?
Pet hair was always going to challenge this Vytronix cleaner. The issue with the floorhead either sticking down or popping up and not cleaning anything is clearly the biggest issue.
On hard floors, the head flailing around off of the surface still meant loose balls of dog-hair got sucked in. Well, as long as they were in balls and not stuck under anything on near the skirting edge.
Over carpet it was just painfully bad. We gave it a fair shot by concentrating on keeping the head in contact with the floor and occasionally pushing it down with our foot. Some pet hair in the test area disappeared, but it failed to materialise in the bin.
Flipping over the head, all was not well. The rough patch of material on the floorhead was holding onto hair tenaciously. OK, time to give up on this one.
Should I buy the Vytronix VTBC01?
If you were financially challenged, absolutely desperate for a cleaner and had no way of borrowing a decent cleaner in the meantime, it’s still a no. If the seemingly overblown specification claims don’t put you off, then the woeful performance, awful energy efficiency, grim dust emissions and appalling tool design should.
In our hall of shame for the worst cleaners we have ever tested, the Vytronix VTBC01 is right up there.