The Vacmaster Respira is a very powerful vacuum cleaner with an anti-tangle head. It’s a little cheaply made in places, including a basic power switch and a hose connector that can prove fiddly to keep in place. However, for the low price, these niggles can be forgiven.
- Very powerful
- Useful 2-in-1 tools
- Great value
- A little cheap in places
- TypeA plug-in upright vacuum cleaner
If you’re not interested in all the fancy connectors and modes that high-end vacuum cleaners have to offer, and are instead looking for a basic yet powerful vacuum cleaner, then the Vacmaster Respira should be of interest. It cleans brilliantly, and is available for a starting price of less than £100.
Design and Features
- Slightly fiddly to convert for tool use
- Easy to move around
- Simple controls
Rather than attempting to do anything fancy, the Vacmaster Respira is a standard plug-in upright cleaner, designed for regular cleaning jobs. In many ways it’s similar to the Hoover H-Upright 300, although the Respira costs a lot less.
In fact, opt for the standard version of this vacuum – it doesn’t include the pet tool – and you’ll be paying out just £99.99. For those who do have pets, the Pet model adds a mini motorised brush, with the price going up to £119.99 – which is well worth it for cleaning pet hair off sofas.
Aside from the pet tool, both versions of the vacuum cleaner are identical. I quite like the clever three-in-one tool, which is a crevice tool that has a double-headed brush that you can slide into position for dusting or cleaning upholstery.
This tool clips to the back of the vacuum cleaner, so you can carry it around with you as you clean. Potentially, this leaves only the pet tool for which you’ll need to find a home in a cupboard.
To use the pet tool, the short plastic wand needs to be pulled out and the hose unwound. The wand is held in place by friction, so will require a good yank to set it free. A clip would have been nicer, but would no doubt have added to the price.
With the hose free, there’s enough extension to clean up around the ceiling; but I found I had to stoop over to clean the floor with any of the tools. A longer metal wand would have made life easier – but, again, it would add to the price.
Converting back to upright mode means looping the hose back round, and then pushing the wand into place. I found it a little fiddly to make the connection tight; the plastic wand popped off a few times, stopping suction from getting through to the floor head.
This vacuum features a 2-litre bin, which should prove sufficient for a couple of cleans at least. It comes away from the vacuum cleaner’s body, with a button to open the trapdoor at its bottom releasing the dirt collected into a bin. This door was a little stiff at first, so I recommend opening and closing it manually a few times before using the Respira.
Open the top of the bin and the central filter pulls out for easy cleaning. Plus, there’s a secondary filter on the underside of the bin that can be removed and washed.
The Vacmaster Respira has a single suction mode, although the button on the side lets you switch the floor roller speed between Hard Floor (labelled as “I”) and carpet (labelled as “II”). It’s a little cheap-looking, but that’s a minor complaint. If there’s too much suction to move the vacuum cleaner – as I found on short-pile carpet – then there’s an air vent that can be opened to reduce suction pressure.
Vacmaster has opted for an anti-tangle head that stops hair from becoming caught around the roller. It’s a welcome addition, particularly on such a low-cost vacuum cleaner, since it saves the horrible job of cutting away tangled hair.
I found the Vacmaster Respira easy to manoeuvre, but the presence of the bin meant that often I couldn’t get the floor head underneath all furniture. The advantage of a rival cleaner, such as the Shark NZ801UKT, is that its Lift-Away mode lets remove the main cylinder and push just the wand and floor head around.
- Lots of suction
- Cleans right to the edge
- Excellent pick-up on all surfaces
I started by measuring the Vacmaster Respira’s raw power at the hose in airwatts (AW). At 229AW, suction power was similar to the Bissell SmartClean Pet cylinder vacuum cleaner, and a little way behind the Shark NZ850UKT. However, anything above 200AW is very powerful.
Next, I moved to my real-world tests, starting by sprinkling a teaspoon of flour onto the floor in an “X” shape. I pushed the Vacmaster Respira forwards and backwards through the centre of the mess. As you can see in the images below, there’s a clean sweep through the middle of the mess, although the vacuum cleaner did leave a trace of flour towards the edges of the floor head.
It was the tough edge test next, where I sprinkled flour right up to the skirting board. Running the vacuum cleaner along the edge of the room, it picked up everything, without the use of any tools.
Pet hair collection on carpet was just as good: the Vacmaster Respira didn’t leave any hair behind.
Finally, to the hard floor test. Here, I threw a teaspoon of rice grains onto the surface. The Vacmaster Respira proved super-impressive, clearing up all of the grains without dropping any back onto the floor.
Note that at 72.9dB, the Vacmaster Respira isn’t particularly quiet. This vacuum cleaner will certainly make its presence known when it’s turned on.
Should you buy it?
If you don’t mind the more basic build and want a powerful yet cheap vacuum cleaner, this is a great choice.
If you want something more flexible and better built, then you’re better off looking elsewhere.
At less than £100 for the standard version, the Vacmaster Respira is something of a bargain. It’s a little basic in places: the hose isn’t easy to connect, and the mode switch looks cheap. These are easy things to get past when you consider the high level of suction and great cleaning power on offer. You get a more refined experience with the Shark NZ850UKT, but if you’re on a tight budget, the Respira is a great-value vacuum cleaner. If you’re after a different style of cleaner, 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