Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet U84-AL-PE Review

Sections

Pros

  • Light and steerable as upright
  • Great on stairs
  • On-board accessory storage
  • Mostly effective cleaning

Cons

  • Only average on pet hair
  • Hard to clean brush bar
  • Doesn't clean right to edge
  • Short hose and wand

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £169.00
  • Corded bagless upright vacuum cleaner
  • Lift-out and carry cylinder section
  • 800W motor
  • 1.5-litre
  • Handheld pet hair tool

What is the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet?

Claiming to be the UK’s lightest corded lift-out cylinder, Vax’s Air Lift Steerable Pet aims to be a true all-rounder. Its 800 watt motor packs a bigger punch than similarly cordless models and the 1.5-litre dust bin should see you getting around a few rooms before it needs emptying.

For pet owners, alongside the main steerable floor head with turobrush, Vax’s compact Turbotool has been designed to lift ground-in dirt and fluffy hairs from a variety of surfaces. Add in a combined crevice tool and dusting brush stored on board, the relatively affordable price ticket and a six-year guarantee, and the Air Lift Steerable Pet could be an all-round bargain, too.

Vax Air Life Steerable 5

Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet – Design & Accessories

The Air Lift Steerable Pet is virtually ready to go straight out of the box. Simply clip the dual purpose handle/wand to the main body and away you go. The main floor head is large and wide, promising to cover a good acreage of floor quickly.

The turbobrush can be switched on/off independently and has a floor selector slider on the top offering a choice between low pile carpets/hard floors on one setting, and deeper pile carpets on the other. This does not alter the actual brush bar or floor head height, but simply reduces suction so the head won’t stick down to smoother surfaces. The main head also lacks any simple way of splitting apart for better access to the brush bar, so quick cleaning requires the traditional picking at the debris with scissors through the floor opening.

For detailed and spot cleaning duties the main handle has a double life as a cleaning wand. This attaches to the hose, which unclips just above the floor head. Both are on the short side and even combined their reach won’t give your ceiling cobwebs too much to worry about.

Related: Best Vacuum Cleaners Round-up
Vax Air Life Steerable 9

Yet here lies this model’s neatest trick, as with a push button the whole motor and bin assembly lifts clean off of the main column and can be carried around and lifted up to gain reach with ease. We do mean with ease too, because this unit is a featherweight 3.6kg with a smooth top mounted handle and a whopping 10m long cable. It has a flat base so can be placed down and, with the motor at the bottom, is quite stable too.

The supplied tools can be used direct onto the short hose or with the wand and offer a fair spread of cleaning abilities. The 3-in-1 crevice/upholstery and dusting tool is a little more compact than we would like, with a very small dusting brush in particular. Yet this does keep the weight down when carrying the lift-off section as the tool clips onto the side.

Related: Best Lightweight Vacuums
Vax Air Life Steerable 7

Vax’s Turbotool has a lot more to get excited about as it is a neat, compact, air-powered turbobrush tool with a row of raking/grooming ‘claws’ at the front. These are a soft rubber so will not damage surfaces and should help lift pet hairs and other debris from carpets and soft furniture. By sliding off a rubber O-ring at the neck, this tool splits in two for easy cleaning.

The 1.5-litre dustbin is straightforward to empty and this model’s exemplary A rating for dust emissions is taken care of by two filters, positioned before and after the motor. The pre-motor filter is washable while the post motor fine particle filter is a replaceable unit. Vax recommends replacing both filters every 6-9 months depending on use.

Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet – Cleaning

Practically, the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet is a joy to use. As an upright cleaner, it rolls and turns with ease, and the balance in the hand is great even when turning sharp corners – early steerable Vax models tended to twist out of your hand.

The mid-section lifts off simply and, with the superb Turbotool and extra-long cable, the cleaning reach is huge despite the rather short hose and wand. It’s pretty quiet in use too, measuring just 82dB at ear-height – some 4dB less than the EU label’s A rating of 86dB.

In fact, we have actually seen very few cleaners that achieve an EU energy label ‘A’ rating for all four key parameters; carpet cleaning, hard floor cleaning, dust emissions and noise. So just how good is a AAAA rated machine and can the energy label be used as a reliable indicator of performance? Er, well, sort of.

Related:
5 Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
Vax Air Life Steerable 17Before

Out in open rooms and on both carpets and hard floors, this Vax turned in an admirable cleaning performance. It cleared our mixed powder on carpet very efficiently in the three-pass test and did an excellent job on tiles. Here it drew in all of the porridge oats, pushing none out of the way, and sucked them out of the grouting groove with no problem.

Vax Air Life Steerable 21After

However, the results were not quite as perfect when it comes to cleaning very close to the skirting and there was still a little test powder still showing close to the edge after the test.

Vax Air Life Steerable 15Before
Vax Air Life Steerable 19After

On harder floors results were generally excellent, but the hard bristles would suggest it would be best to switch off the beater bar for more delicate surfaces.

The Air Lift Steerable Pet comes into its own in lift-out mode. It offers super suction power and the exceptionally good Turbotool quickly became our general cleaning tool of choice for all but delicate surfaces and upholstery.

The pet-like claws add a real benefit of raking dirt loose from carpet and aid pulling out longer pet hairs too. The smaller tools are fine for detailed cleaning, but the compact size of both the dusting brush and upholstery tool make cleaning larger items such as the sofa a bit of a chore.