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Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B Review


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  • Cordless convenience
  • Upright and handheld modes
  • Light and easy to use
  • Effective brush bar


  • Low suction power
  • Poor edge cleaning
  • Small and messy to empty bin
  • Slow to charge

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £179.99
  • Cordless, handstick bagless vacuum cleaner
  • 15-minute run time
  • 0.35-litre dust bin
  • 3.4kg

What is the Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B?

The Switch is
the smallest model in Vax’s growing and ever popular Air Cordless range.
This is more of a handstick cleaner for odd jobs rather than whole
house cleans, and offers the versatility of both upright cleaning and,
by unclipping the main body, handheld vacuuming duties.

LithiumLife battery is smaller than other Air Cordless models, reducing
weight and promising 15 minutes of runtime on a single charge. The main
head has built-in lighting and removable brush bar for easy cleaning and
it is supplied with a crevice tool and charger dock. It’s a versatile
little tool overall, but we’d like a little more cleaning power for the

Related: Best Vacuum Cleaner

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 11
Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B – Accessories

Switch is almost its own accessory thanks to its innovative 2-in-1
operation. It can be a compact lightweight upright cleaner, or a
handheld cleaner by releasing a clip. It’s an ideal option for light
spills or taking out to the car. The nose of the clear bin is tapered to
a useable nozzle or you can attach the crevice tool directly to the bin
for more detailed cleaning. The crevice tool conveniently clips on the
back of the upright body.

This model is supplied with a single
compact battery that clips to the back of the motor housing. This keeps
the weight low and at the back, making it very easy to handle. When the
battery is flat it unclips from the machine and can be recharged in the
charger dock, which takes about 10 hours. That is a whole lot longer
than the three hours of other Air Cordless models.

Related: Best Steam Cleaners

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B – Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning

our scales showing a featherweight 3.3kg in full upright mode, the Air
Cordless Switch is one of the lightest cleaners we have handled. The
trade-off is in pure suction power. While Vax makes much of its
WindTunnel2 technology, the small motor and small battery make for very
mild suction compared to the bigger Air Cordless models. Moreover, the
bagless vacuum technology is not a cyclonic design but a simple fan
attached to a dust bin.

So it was a little surprise when it
cleaned our test powder from the red carpet quite well. Thanks to the
rotating brush bar agitating the carpet and loosening the powder, the
main body of the carpet was left relatively clean in just a couple of

Sadly, the same could not be said for the edge near the
skirting board where the dip in the carpet (where it is folded over
gripper rods) proved too much for the Switch’s suck, so plenty of powder
was left behind.

Also Consider: Dyson DC59
Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 15

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 13

can use the Switch on hard floors by switching the rotating brush bar
off from the handle and it again proved relatively effective for light
dusting duties. It picked up light dust and some sand sized particles
with ease, but simply moved a pea-sized piece of gravel around. The
built-in light at the front of the floorhead was nicely bright, however,
and that did aid cleaning on a dark floor in the darker corners of the

Press the release clip on the front and the handheld
section simply lifts off from the middle of the upright frame.
‘Thunderbird 2’, as this was subsequently named around the office, was
effective at picking up light spills like cornflakes and quickly getting
into corners or around upholstery. The suction is nothing like a normal
vacuum cleaner, but even the black car mats looked a whole lot better
for a run over with this unit.

Also Consider: Gtech AirRam
Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 9

either mode, one of the limiting factors is the tiny bin. Not only is
it just 0.35 litres in capacity, the non-cyclonic design begins to
reduce in suction long before the bin is full as its filter gets blocked
and needs a clean out with the bin emptying.

In upright mode
with the brush bar and front light running, the Air Cordless Switch
lasted for an impressive 19 minutes 30 seconds before suddenly stopping
and requiring recharge. The power and ancillaries, like the light and
brush bar, all run consistently until the end. Its noise output in both
upright and handheld modes was around 83dB – which is about the same
noise as a modern mains cylinder cleaner.

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 7
Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B – Stair Cleaning

3.3kg you can simply pick the whole unit up in upright mode and
traverse the stairs cleaning one step at a time. The poor edge cleaning
and low suction mean this won’t be a deep clean. but for a quick spruce
up before visitors arrive it is very handy indeed. Moreover, having gone
up the stairs cleaning as you go you could switch to hand held mode and
come back down going around the edges with the crevice tool.

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 3

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B – Pet Hair Cleaning

Air Cordless Switch’s rotating brush bar transpired to be pretty good
with pet hairs on carpets, again managing to dislodge them from the pile
enough to be drawn into the air flow.

On our test patch of
Collie and Labrador hair trodden into the carpet, the Switch gave a
reasonable representation of itself by cleaning the area in about 15
seconds. Some hairs caught deep into the pile were not removed at all,
but these were few and far between. Another useful feature is that the
brush is easily removed to detangle and clean.

Also Consider: Vax Air Cordless Lift

Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B 5
Should I buy the Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B?

you understand this is not a proper vacuum cleaner but a handy tool for
quick dusting and cleaning duties, then the Air Cordless Switch is a
handy gadget to have around. Its price doesn’t exactly make it a
bargain, though – we’d wait for a price drop before seriously
considering it.

There are good alternatives at this price, too.
The first Vax Air Cordless U86-AL-B is only £199 now – it’s not as light
and lacks the handheld element, but it’s a better all-round cordless.
Compact corded cleaners like the Miele Compact C3 Cat & Dog,
meanwhile, cost the same, aren’t that heavy and clean much better.


A reasonable and cheaper way to go cordless, but there are better ways to spend your money than this. Wait for a price drop.

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Type Cordless

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