Vax Air Cordless Switch H85-AC21-B Review


  • 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: The Best Vacuum Cleaner Round-up

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.



Type Cordless