Well priced and powerful, the Vacmaster Captura is a great low-price upright vacuum cleaner. The “Lift Off” mode adds some flexibility, and cleaning is generally very good – although the results in our pet hair test could have been better. Still, for the money, this is a great option for those looking for a bagged vacuum cleaner.
- Good price
- Neat bag emptying
- Can’t use floor head in Lift Off mode
- Pet hair pick-up could be better
- TypeA corded upright vacuum cleaner, the main section here can be lifted out for detail cleaning
- ReachA 9m power cable offers good flexibility
A British-made vacuum cleaner, the Vacmaster Captura upright is a well priced model, comparatively powerful and quite flexible thanks to its “Lift Off” cylinder. It uses bags for clean and efficient emptying, with replacements available at a good price.
Performance in general was excellent, although this vacuum cleaner wasn’t quite as good as clearing pet hair as the competition.
Design and Features
- Funky retro design
- Main cylinder lifts away
- Bags easy to remove
The Vacmaster Captura sports a classy, retro look. It’s the kind of appliance that you might find in a 1950s-inspired home, and I really like it. But while the outside may be slightly more retro, this is a fully modern plug-in vacuum cleaner.
In upright mode, the cleaner leans back and is easy to push around. In fact, I didn’t really notice its 7.5kg weight at all, with the vacuum proving easy to manoeuvre around most bits of furniture.
There’s only one power mode here, but the brush roll on the floor head can be turned on and off at the touch of a button. While you’ll want the floor head on for most uses, it can be beneficial to turn it off on hard surfaces, since it stops the vacuum from flicking larger chunks of debris around.
This floor head is designed not to become tangled with hair, and it works: I have four cats and people with long hair in my home and I never once had to halt cleaning to cut out hair that had tangled around the brush.
For detail cleaning, the cylinder can be lifted off the main unit, turning the Captura into a 3.6kg cleaner – a similar weight to your average cordless vacuum cleaner. In this mode, you can use the hose and accessories, making it perfect for cleaning stairs and around sofas.
Note, though, that you can’t attach the floor head to the wand for getting underneath furniture. In this regard, the LIft-Away mode on the Shark NZ850UKT is slightly more advanced and flexible.
There’s a 9m power cable in the box, which meant I was able to clean around most of my home using just a couple of power sockets.
In the box, there are just two accessories: a stumpy little crevice tool and a dust brush. Both accessories can clip onto the holders on the rear of the vacuum cleaner.
Obviously, the Pet Edition of this cleaner includes a pet tool, but note that you can buy it as an optional extra for £24.99 if you pick up this model and decide that you want it at a later date.
The Vacmaster Captura uses bags, which hold a decent 3 litres of dirt in them. Realistically, this should mean that a bag should last for a month or two, depending on the size of your home. Vacmaster provides a generous six bags in the box, with replacement pack of six costing £14.99. Note that these bags aren’t HEPA rated, unlike those supplied with the Numatic Henry, but they do feature five layers to seal in the dust.
The Captura also comes with the best emptying mechanism I’ve seen. Pull off the front of the vacuum cleaner, and the bag comes away. An ejection button then slides the bag out of the cleaner and into the bin. It’s easy to do and mess-free.
- High suction
- Cleans well on carpet and hard floors
- Pet hair removal wasn’t so good
I tested the Vacmaster Captura’s raw power at the nozzle in airwatts, which uses a combination of suction power and airflow. I found power was 222AW, which is just behind the Shark NZ850UKT on its highest power mode, and significantly behind the Henry.
The reason that the Henry vacuum cleaner is so powerful is that it uses suction power alone to clean, whereas the Captura can use its brush bar to agitate dirt and remove it.
Putting the Captura to work in my real-world tests, I started by spreading a teaspoon of flour onto the carpet. A pass through forward and back left a clean strip right through the middle of the mess; cleaning doesn’t get better than this. The same was true with rice pickup on a hard floor.
Next, I moved on to the tricky edge test, where I spread dust right up to the edges of the room. Here, the Captura did very well: you can see below that the the main surface is clean, although a tiny bit of dust can be seen right at the edge, which need to be cleared using the crevice tool.
I moved on to my pet hair test, combing cat hair into the carpet. The Captura managed to get most of it on a single pass, but left a clump caught up in the carpet fibres. Another attempt with the cleaner picked up the remaining hairs; but I’ve seen other vacuums perform better in this test.
In terms of noise, I measured the Captura at 70.5dB, which is pretty quiet as far as powerful vacuum cleaners go. Sure, you’ll know it’s on, but the sound isn’t particularly distracting or annoying.
Should you buy it?
If you want a well-priced upright vacuum cleaner that cleans well on most surfaces, this is a good choice.
Its Lift Off mode isn’t as flexible as the Shark’s Lift-Away equivalent, and other vacuum cleaners performed better on the pet hair test.
If you prefer a bagged vacuum cleaner, since emptying is easier without spreading dust, then the Vacmaster Captura is a great cleaner. It performed well in all of my tests, although pet hair pick-up could have been better. I’d also like to see its Lift Off mode support the floor head, for getting under furniture; something Shark vacuum cleaners do well at. Still, for the price, there’s little to be knocked here. If you want something different, check out my guide to the best vacuum cleaners.
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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Yes, it does. They’re three litres in size and you get six in the box to get started.
It’s supplied with a crevice tool and brush, while the Pet Edition adds a mini pet tool.