With its powerful motorised brush and decent run time, the Vax Blade 2 Max can handle most weekly jobs with ease. A great price helps make it even more attractive, but ergonomics and a few extra brush heads wouldn't go amiss.
- Powerful motorised brush
- Long run time
- Clever bin that can be dismantled for cleaning
- Falls over if rested against wall
- Few brush heads supplied
- Review Price: £249
- 45 / 12 mins run times
- Motorised floor brush
- Crevice and dusting tools
What is the Vax Blade 2 Max?
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute set the benchmark for what cordless vacuum cleaners are capable of, with a model that’s every bit as good as a plug-in cleaner. Now, it’s the turn of the Vax Blade 2 Max, a vacuum cleaner that Vax claims is three times more powerful than any cordless model it’s made so far, thanks to its new brushless motor that spins at 70,000rpm.
A neat design, particularly with the fully removable bin, a comparatively low price and great hard floor and carpet performance make this model an enticing choice. Slightly less flexible charging options and a lack of accessories may mean that this isn’t a do-it-all cleaner for everyone, though.
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Vax Blade 2 Max – Design and features
There are only so many ways that you can make a stick cleaner, so the Vax Blade 2 Max looks much like the competition. There are some subtle differences, such as the bin that’s mounted horizontally across the face of the handle. This leads to one of the vacuum’s best features: the bin can be taken out, and the filter and cyclone fully removed.
Not only does this make emptying a full bin really easy, but it means you can give the insides a thorough clean from time to time. Dyson could learn a lesson or two, here. With 0.6-litres of capacity, the bin is a little behind the Dyson V10, but not by much, and certainly in-line with other stick cleaners.
If there’s one issue with the design, it’s that the Vax Blade 2 Max won’t stand up by itself. Attach the motorised brush, and the stick can be locked vertically so that it can slot into the wall-mounted clip, but the Blade 2 Max isn’t strong enough to stand up by itself. I tried to prop the cleaner up a few times while testing and it kept falling over. Dyson fixed this issue on the V10 by putting a small rubber pad on the pack to stop it from slipping over when leaning against the wall. Vax needs to make the Blade 2 Max that little bit easier to use around the house with something similar.
Coming in at 3.1kg, the Blade 2 Max has an extra 500g on its Dyson competition. Even so, Vax has balanced the weight well, and I had no problem lifting it up to suck away a few cobwebs around the ceiling.
Controls are directly at the top on the handle, where they’re easy to reach with a thumb. There’s a power button, a button to toggle the power mode between standard and boost modes, and a button to turn motorised accessories on or off. Unlike with other cordless cleaners, the power button isn’t a trigger switch, but turns the vacuum on or off as with a traditional model. Not needing any hand strength to operate may make the Vax Blade 2 Max easier to use for some people. And, the handle is flexible, too, so you can hold it pistol-style or from the top, with the latter more useful when using some of the accessories.
Vax Blade 2 Max – Accessories
There’s a limited selection of accessories in the box, although they all fit directly into the vacuum’s body or into the 64cm extension tube. You get a main motorised brush, which can be toggled on or off using the button on the main vacuum. There’s also a crevice tool and a dusting brush, but that’s it.
Neatly, Vax provides an accessory holder, which clips onto the extension tube, letting you carry either the crevice tool or dusting brush around with you. Having whichever tool you use the most to hand is really handy.
There’s a wall-mountable stand. Just clip the Vax Blade 2 Max into it to leave it upright when you’re no longer using it, but it won’t charge the vacuum.
Vax sells an optional Cordless Pro Toolkit for £51.94, although this is currently a free add-on for new owners, although tools can be bought individually for between £6.99 and £19.99. This pack really expands what the cleaner is capable of. For detail cleaning, the Stretch hose is excellent. It extends up to 1.6m, letting you easily manoeuvre the tools to clean up spills. This is where the clever handle and on/off controls work perfectly, as you can hold the Blade 2 Max from above and use your spare hand to direct the hose.
The Textile tool makes it easier to clean up spills on sofas or to clean up your curtains. The tough dirt tool has tough bristles for helping agitate dirt, although the bristles can be removed to reveal a smaller head that’s better for stairs. And, the Flexi crevice tool is brilliant, with a nozzle that extends to reach down the back of a radiator, or gives you a bit of flex to reach around difficult areas.
The Cordless Pro Toolkit is an excellent add-on. While I appreciate it shipping for free at the moment, long-term it would be nice if Vax sold a complete package with everything included as a more expensive option.
Vax Blade 2 Max – Charging and run time
Vax’s wall mount doesn’t house the charger. Instead, you have to remember to plug the power adaptor in manually every time you leave the vacuum. According to Vax, this is a decision based on research and how people struggle to clip a cordless cleaner into a powered charging dock. I’m not so sure: having been through the Dyson V6, V8 and V10, I’m perfectly happy with the way that the docks work and prefer the drop-and-forget way of charging.
Once the power adaptor is plugged in, the Vax Blade 2 Max takes up to three hours to charge. On a single charge, it can run for up to 45 minutes on standard power. That’s a long run time, and in-line with what the Absolute V10 can do (that can last over an hour, but only on its lowest power setting, running for 23 minutes on the more comparable middle setting).
Intelligence in the battery ensures that suction doesn’t drop as the charge fades, so you get the full power of the cleaner from start to finish. On Boost mode that finish won’t be far off, and the cleaner can only go for 12 minutes like this. That’s longer than the V10’s 8-minute maximum mode, however.
Switching between modes, you should find that the Vax Blade 2 Max will last you to clean a moderately-sized home. Those with larger homes will need to split up the job a bit, recharging between cleans.
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Vax Blade 2 Max – How noisy is it?
Due to the way that the Vax Blade 2 Max is designed, the motor is quite close to where you hold it. Measuring from head height, while holding the vacuum normally, I measured it at 82.3dB on normal mode and 85.4dB on boost.
That’s comparatively quite loud and I certainly couldn’t hold a conversation over this cleaner. That said, the vacuum isn’t too loud as to be overwhelming, but you’ll certainly know that it’s on.
Vax Blade 2 Max – How does it clean hard floors and carpet?
Using the Blade 2 Max on standard power, it’s proved to be a capable cleaner. On hard floors, I spilt some oats, then gave the vacuum a pass with the motor turned on. This flicked some debris out of the way, so I turned the head off and pushed the cleaner manually. The cleaner got most of the mess but left a couple of bits behind.
A few more swipes picked everything up, but the Dyson V10 did a better job thanks to its soft motorised floor head.
Switching to carpet, I put down a combination of flour and a carpet freshener right up to the skirting. Turning on the brush and giving the vacuum two passes I was very impressed, and the bulk of mess was picked up.
There were just a few specs by the skirting, but whacking the vacuum up to full power mode and pushing the head into the skirting, rather than parallel to it, got these last bits. After a couple more sweeps, the dust was all gone. Again, the Dyson V10 did slightly better in these tests with a sweep, although both models are capable of cleaning up mess, just you might need a couple of extra swipes with Vax’s model.
Thanks to three cats in the house, the carpet can be rather hairy at times, with ground-in mess. The brush managed to pull out the hair well, keeping my carpets looking fresh and clean.
Thanks to the weight, the Vax Blade 2 Max is easy to manoeuvre, particularly with the motorised brush head turned on. With this motoring way, the Vax Blade 2 Max glides along, practically pulling itself. Its jointed and mounted on wheels, too, making it even easier to push, while the light at the front highlights any mess.
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Vax Blade 2 Max – How easy is it to use on stairs?
The lack of accessories starts to become a bit of an issue when you start to clean stairs. While you can fit the motorised brush head to the main body, it’s quite large and cumbersome, certainly for cleaning the narrow treads on my Victorian stairs. A second, smaller brush head would have been useful, and it’s a shame not to have the option in the box. Buy the Cordless Pro Toolkit and the Tough dirt tool makes stairs far easier to clean.
Using the crevice tool makes it easy to get into the edges of the stairs, though, picking up the dirt and, in my case, cat hair that accumulates there.
Why buy the Vax Blade 2 Max?
Given the price, it’s hard to knock the Vax Blade 2 Max. For almost half the cost of Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute, the Blade 2 isn’t that far behind, particularly on hard floors and carpets. Its long run-time on standard power is also greater than the V10’s run time on the middle setting.
But, the Cyclone V10 Absolute has the edge. Its overall cleaning performance is better, with the one-hour low-power mode proving to be surprisingly effective. And, it has got a greater range of accessories, including motorised brushes for hard floors, carpets and stairs. Overall, it’s the more accomplished cleaner and one that could replace a corded cleaner.
The Vax Blade 2 Max is still a great cordless vacuum that can do most of your jobs, but the lack of bundled accessories means that it’s not always that easy to use, particularly on stairs. In fact, I’d say that the Cordless Pro Toolkit is an essential add-on for any Blade 2 owners. Still, for the price, the Blade 2 Max is a great choice for anyone that wants a high-performing cordless vacuum and doesn’t have the cash to spring for Dyson’s top-end model.