Well built and arriving with a neat charging dock, the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 offers excellent value. It isn’t particularly powerful, but it can clean up pretty much any mess, albeit slowly. For small spills and limited coverage it’s a good choice, but if your budget will stretch then you can pick up a more powerful handheld vacuum cleaner that’s likely to prove more versatile.
- Great value
- Cleans well but slowly
- Nice charging dock
- Low suction
- Fiddly to empty
- TypeThis is a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner
- Battery lifeExpect around 26 minutes of battery life on a single charge when using the vacuum in the standard power mode
Priced at around £50, the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 is the cheapest handheld vacuum cleaner I’ve reviewed.
This is a special edition model available in flashy colours, but a standard version comes in at a few pounds less. Perfectly fine for basic jobs; however, this vacuum cleaner struggles slightly with heavier debris.
Design and Features
- Lightweight design
- Clever 2-in-1 tool
- Neat charging dock
Despite being relatively cheap, the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 is nicely designed and doesn’t skimp on features. While I could reasonably have expected a plug-in power adapter for charging, Beldray includes a charging dock into which you drop the vacuum for powering up, so it’s ready to grab and go when you need it.
There’s a slot in the back that carries the clever 2-in-1 tool. This is a dusting brush and crevice tool that clip together for easy storage, and pull apart when you need to use them individually.
At just 580g, the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 is super-lightweight, and easy to use as a result. It offers a nice grip, making it comfortable in the hand, too.
Getting it up and running isn’t difficult, either. There’s a single power button: press it once to turn on the vacuum; again to move to high-speed mode; and a third time to turn it off. I prefer a cleaner with a dedicated turbo button, since it leaves the power button for on/off control only, which is slightly faster. Still, that’s a minor complaint.
Note, too, that there’s no battery indicator on this model, so you won’t be able to view roughly how much charge is remaining. Again, a minor issue.
This model comes with a 0.1-litre bin. This may sound limited, but when you consider that this vacuum cleaner is likely to be used for small jobs, it won’t be an issue. Emptying is a bit fiddly, though. The nozzle end lifts out completely so that the contents can be tipped out of the bin, which is similar to the Beldray Revo Digital BEL01163. However, trying to do this without making a bit of a mess is difficult.
The entire bin can be removed, providing access to the filter at the rear. This should be washed regularly to keep suction power at its maximum level.
- Quite weak suction
- Cleans well, but slowly
I measured the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096’s performance in AirWatts. On standard power, I measured power at just 7AW, which is the lowest I’ve ever seen on a cordless vacuum cleaner.
On its higher power setting, suction jumped to 19AW, which is still comparatively low. The Shark WV270UK is more powerful on its standard power setting.
To see how these figures translate to real-world performance, I put the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 through my normal set of tests. First, I sprinkled flour onto my test carpet, running the vacuum cleaner forwards and backwards through the centre of the mess on standard power.
As you can see, there’s a very narrow clean strip through the middle. That’s good performance in terms of suction, but I wouldn’t want to clean too large an area with this vacuum cleaner since it would take a long time.
Next I combed cat hair onto the carpet for the pet hair removal test. On the standard setting, the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 managed to clear some of the hair, but simply pushed the rest of it around, leaving a big clump behind.
I switched to the boost setting, but this took a lot of effort. Suction-only vacuum cleaners aren’t really cut out for dealing with pet hair; you really need a model that has a motorised brush, such as the pet version of the Hoover H-Handy 700.
Next, I sprinkled rice onto a countertop. On standard mode, the vacuum picked up every grain – although, again, this was quite a slow process. More powerful vacuum cleaners such as the Shark WV270UK can complete the task much faster.
For noise, I measured this vacuum at a loud 74.3dB on standard power. On its boost setting, the sound became higher pitched at 74dB. Overall, this is a loud vacuum cleaner, although this is something it has in common with most handheld models.
On standard power I measured battery life at a reasonable 26mins 30secs on standard power, and 17mins 25secs on high power. That’s quite a long time, although the low power and small nozzles mean that you won’t be able to clean that far with such battery life. This is a vacuum aimed at dealing with smaller spills.
Should you buy it?
If you want a cheap handheld vacuum cleaner for smaller jobs, then this model is well-built and will do the job.
If you want a more versatile and powerful handheld cleaner, then there are better options available.
It can pick up pretty much everything, but the Beldray Airlite Cordless Graphite BEL01096 is quite slow, and is only really suitable for cleaning very small area. Depending on what you want to clean, that may not matter: if you want a vacuum for small spills, such as crumbs on a dinner table or kitchen counter, then this cleaner offers great value.
However, for those looking for more versatility, with a vacuum that can clean faster and cover a larger area, then the Shark WV270UK or Hoover H-Handy 700 are great choices. Check out my guide to the best cordless vacuum cleaners for even more choice.
How we test
We test every vacuum cleaner we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main vacuum cleaner for the review period
Tested for at least a week
Tested using tools to measure actual suction performance
Tested with real-world dirt in real-world situations for fair comparisons with other vacuum cleaners
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No, this model has an integrated battery.
This vacuum cleaner has standard tools only; there’s no motorised pet tool.