- Turbo-brush floor head
- Variable power
- Great selection of tools
- Light and compact
- Standard head poorly designed
- Floorhead stick-down
- Limited cleaning reach
- Edge cleaning only good on the right side
- Turbo-head doesn’t deep clean
- Questionable build quality
- Review Price: £99.99
- Variable power
- Turbo-brush floor head
What is the Duronic VC70?
Budget and dirt-busting bagless vacuum cleaners don’t come much more affordable than the VC70 from British bargain-electricals specialist Duronic. Yet unlike many machines at the price, the VC70 boasts A-rated energy efficiency from its 700W motor and comes with a handy turbo-brush floor head.
Nicely built telescopic metal tubes, three layers of dust filtration and variable power are all features that punch well above their weight in terms of price. There’s a decent selection of standard tools, and we rather like the funky red colour too.
Related: Best Vacuum Cleaners
Duronic VC70 – Accessories
Straight out of the box, the VC70 is neat, compact and supplied with a range of tools that belie its price. The metal telescopic tubes are a nice touch; they feel solid and open and close with a positive feel. As with many telescopic tubes, though, be careful not to press the release clip as you push forward. We’ve found the howling that follows pinched fingers is often louder than the cleaner itself.
The hose is somewhat less impressive; not overly long at just 1.5m, not particularly stretchy, and rather inflexible. On one end is a simple clip fitting to the cleaner body, and on the other is a curved handle with basic suction release slider.
The push-fit tools cover a short and unusually shaped (oval) crevice tool, a decent-sized upholstery and dusting brush, and a multi-purpose floor head. This offers a tilt and pivot neck, two wheels and two front rollers for easy movement. Drop-down bristles and a rubber blade cater for hard floors.
This is a good selection of tools at the price, but the Duronic goes on to add a mid-sized turbo-brush floor head as well. This offers tilt and pivot flexibility, wheels fore and aft to reduce its propensity to stick down, and soft sweeping bristles. The VC70’s accessories list is complete with a tube-clip for the smaller tools, and a clip on the cleaner body that allows the main floor head, tubes and hose to be parked upright.
The cleaner itself is no less well specified with a 700W A-efficiency rated motor with variable power. The main foot-switch on/off knob doubles as the power control and can be rotated from light suction to full power, or somewhere in between. The opposite foot switch rewinds the very short 4.7m cable. Both switches felt rather fragile and plasticky, but held up for our tests.
The dust bin is a useful 1.8 litres in capacity and easily unclipped from the main body. The clip that holds this to the main body is a small, rather fragile-looking lug of plastic. Given that the handle on the bin doubles as the handle to carry the cleaner around, I worry about the longevity of that clip. The VC70 weighs only 3.7kg on its own and 5kg with hose, tubes and turbo-brush floor head attached, so maybe it won’t be an issue if you treat it with care.
The top of the bin rotates to reveal two layers of washable filtration and a bottom flap releases the dirt. The whole bin and cyclone assembly come apart easily if you want to give it a clean. Flip the cleaner over and there is a third post-motor filter on the underside, concealed behind a flap. The chances of anyone remembering that it’s there after six months of using the VC70 are slim, but it too should be washed out and dried regularly.
This Duronic is packed with features and tools that make it great value for its regular £100 asking price. At the sort of price it’s more commonly available for – perhaps half the RRP – it really is very well specified.
Duronic VC70 – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?
The VC70’s large rear wheels and central trolley wheel make it a dream to pull around on all but the deepest-pile carpets and it tracks you like a hound. The hose is short and stiff, though, so on hard floors the cleaner will often move a little erratically as you tug the hose.
Its 78dB noise claim on the energy label is a little ambitious; we measured 79dB on carpet and 81dB over hard floors on full power. Reducing the power right down to the minimum setting changes the tone more than the volume, so the figures are only a decibel or so less on this setting. Adding on the turbo-brush made the sound a decibel or so louder on carpet, irrespective of the power setting. Either way, the VC70 isn’t that quiet but it doesn’t sound like a jet-engine either.
The main floor head sucks down so well to carpets it could be used as a physics lesson for kids. On full power, with the air release closed, it all but didn’t move on our test carpet; only opening the slider or reducing the power to minimum would get it to let go.
In both instances, actual useful suction power then became non-existent. Even using half power and plenty of brute force, the floor head was difficult to move forward. On the back-stroke it would lift up and simply chatter across the carpet. All that force managed to jam the head onto the tube, requiring a two man/four-handed operation to prise the two sections apart.
Switching to the turbo-brush floor head on carpets improved the manoeuvrability considerably, allowing you to vacuum at full power and with the air-released closed. This did a great job of picking up surface dust and debris, showing a clean sweep of the test powder in a single pass on our red carpet test.
However, the very soft bristles and the turbo-brush’s propensity to slow down on deep-pile carpets doesn’t make for a particularly deep clean. Looking closely, we could see powder residue deep within the carpet, and it took a few passes to clear the area completely. Certainly, don’t expect the sort of beating and sweeping action you’d get from a full-sized upright cleaner.
Edge cleaning with the turbo-brush head is good but rather dependent on which way you tackle the problem. The right-hand side of the head (looking down on it from behind) has the brush extending almost to the very edge of the tool. The left side has to cater for the belt drive and doesn’t get close. The results are reflected in the edge test – with excellent skirting cleaning if the right side is to the wall; average from the left. Left-handed users take note.
Downstairs on hard floors, the main floor head came into its own. The four wheels and brush/blade combination made it a whole lot easier to move around. Sadly, it wasn’t much more effective.
The front brush simply swept our test oats in front of it and the rear blade pulled them back on the backstroke. Several particles stayed in the head until you lifted it from the floor or turned off the power – when it then dropped them. With lighter dust particles and normal dirt it isn’t such an issue, but if you regularly clean up the likes of breakfast cereal it will be.
We tried the turbo-brush head on our hard-tiled floor (we wouldn’t recommend using a rotating brush head on soft-wood floors, however) and the results were better. Most of the particles were picked up in a single sweep, and fewer pieces were left behind or dragged about. The downside was that several softer bits of oats simply became squished into the tile by the brush action. In addition, the noise of the cleaner plus the turbo-brush hammering on hard floor reached a very intrusive 86dB – the level of heavy road traffic noise.
Duronic VC70 – How easy is it to use on stairs?
The combination of short cable and short hose presented a challenge on the stairs. Well, a challenge for the three steps in the middle of our stairs specifically, in that we simply couldn’t reach them thanks to not having a plug socket close by. Your mileage may vary depending on where your power points are, but the VC70’s cleaning reach is pretty limited.
The VC70 is easily compact enough to sit on the stairs, but you need to keep a hand or foot on it: there’s every danger of the stiff hose pulling it clean off the step. The cable length isn’t going to allow you to tackle an entire staircase in one go, even if you have a plug socket close to the foot or head of the stairs.
All of the tools will clip directly to the curved handle, making for best cleaning a step at a time. Following the experience with open-floor cleaning, we didn’t even attempt to try the main floor head. However, the turbo-brush did prove quite handy for stairs, if a little unwieldy.
For our narrow, carpeted stairs, the key tool was the upholstery brush. Yet you still have to balance power level and the air-release slider to make it manoeuvrable; there are no air-release channels on the tool itself. Having the crevice tool on the handle was handy for a quick detail clean-up half-way up the stairs, though.
Duronic VC70 – How does it cope with pet hair?
The turbo-brush floor head was clearly going to be our tool of choice for the pet hair test. We shuffled our Collie and Labrador from their favourite mat and set about a 30cm patch that looked like the floor of a barber’s shop. With the turbo-brush head sitting on the deep-pile mat, the brush itself didn’t actually start spinning until we lifted it from the ground. It then carried on, albeit slowing drastically, throughout the test.
The combination of very soft bristles and the brush’s inconsistent speed meant pet hair cleaning results were mixed. At about 15 seconds to clean the patch of hair, the VC70 certainly isn’t without capability here, but the soft bristles tended to skim over hairs that were wound deeper into the carpet.
In the end, it took several passes to free all the embedded hairs, but at least the head was easy to move while doing so. You could probably achieve the same result from a non turbo-brush cleaner, by similarly repeating sweeps, but it would be much harder work.
Should I buy the Duronic VC70?
The VC70 is a solid budget cleaner with a great specification and a fine selection of tools for the asking price. While the main floor head can be left in the box, since its performance is poor, the turbo-brush head saves the day, offering superb carpet cleaning potential – all the way to the edge, as long as you clean right-handed.
For the £50-£65 that the VC70 is regularly available, there are no major failings – but this cleaner is clearly built to the price and performance reflects this in all of our tests.
Our final caveat is that a couple of parts, including clips and knobs, look relatively fragile if you want a cleaner to last much past its 12-month guarantee.
It’s cheap and well equipped, but it won’t last long.