It’s been a while since I reviewed the last cordless, so I’m happy to jump right to the problem with another great unit: the AirRam from Gtech. Although its a 2012 model, it’s still in the top of consumer preferences. Why? Spoilers alert: this vacuum cleaner delivers everything you’d expect from a high-performance upright – powerful suction, maneuverability, and ease of use on all types of surfaces. And it does it without a cord or a bag. The ultra-low profile allows you to reach well under furniture. It swivels slightly when needed (about 28 degrees). And the batteries last very long: 40 minutes of continuous use. If I managed to intrigue you, read on and learn:
- all about the technical specifications of this product
- how it compares to other cordless vacuum cleaners on the market
- when you’ll be able to get in US the latest version, the Gtech AirRam K9
- where to find a decent price for this unit
I haven’t yet analyzed the manufacturer, so I’ll briefly do that here. The Gtech brand is developed and maintained by the British company Grey Technology Ltd. The man behind it is Nick Grey, a former VAX employee. After getting a grip on the vacuum industry, he established a company in 2001, in his natal region: Worcestershire, UK. Since then a lot happened and I’m not going to get into details. What’s important: 15 years later, this company is producing lots of interesting stuff, from cordless vacuum cleaners to electric bikes.
The sheet of features
|Suction power||At first sight, you would think this unit is more of a sweeper than a vacuum. In fact, the AirRam has a special design that sets it apart from the common vacuum cleaners. Besides the enforced rotating brush which is actually composed out of 2 parts connected via a strong zinc alloy bar, this appliance has an engine pump which actions 2 fans (instead of the standard 1) to create a powerful void. The result is a very good suction power that can handle even large chunks of debris. And because the bin is so close to the intake, you won't even need to bother with the clogging. The brushroll is so powerful, that it slightly propels the unit forward if left in a standing position on a hard floor, making your job even easier. After a few tests, I've found the best surfaces to work with are bare floors. Unfortunately, the AirRam doesn't handle high pile very well.|
|Input power||All that power comes from the 22-Volt, professional-grade Lithium-ion battery that keeps the vacuum running for up to 40 minutes at a time. And if you need extra time, a one-hour charge will give you an additional brief run of cleaning. A four-light, easy-to-read LED display lets you know how much cleaning time you have left before the vacuum needs a recharge.|
|Dust capacity||The bin isn't very large (0.21 gallons), but the pressure which accumulates in this part compresses the dust collected. Another positive thing is that is can be emptied easily, just by lifting a plastic lid.|
|Filtration system efficiency||It doesn't come with HEPA, yet it has a good quality washable filter which is supposed to last the entire lifetime of the product.|
|Weight and Dimensions||Measures 10.1 x 11.5 x 44.3 inches and weights 5.5 lbs. With these numbers, it beats most of its competition.|
|Warranty||Comes with a 2-year warranty, including batteries. The UK customers can get this appliance with a 5-year warranty. I'm not really sure why there's such a difference between these 2 warranties, but I guess it has something to do with the fact that it is made in UK.|
|Accessories||Unfortunately, there are no accessories, and the box doesn't contain anything else except for the charger.|
|Special features||28 degree swivel - The head is easy to maneuver.|
Very low profile - can reach under most furniture with ease.
|Usability||Thanks to its light weight and neat design, this cordless vacuum cleaner is very easy to move around. The short charging time and the lovely battery indicator contribute to the level of satisfaction felt when used. Unfortunately, this unit is a bit loud.|
|Price||The producer offers you the possibility to purchase the unit as it is for about $350, or you could add in an extra $100, you can also get a handheld called Multi. Last but not least, you can raise the bid with another $100 bill and get the complete package which also includes a car detailing kit and an extra battery. If you only want the vacuum cleaner, you may want to check out this offer.|
Speaking of warranty, the company offers a 60-day risk-free home trial, as well as free shipping and free returns. You can get more information here. As you can see from the features listed above, the AirRam promises high performance without the hassle of a cord following you around or the need to change outlets every time you change rooms. The AirRam works on all types of floor surfaces, including carpet, tile, and wood floors. However, the bristles are too scarce, too short and too stiff to perform well on deep pile carpets (i.e. shag, frieze). The vacuum reaches into tight corners because each side of the rotating brush has bristles as well. Pet hair and hair that is embedded in your carpets gets cleaned up fast by the AirRam’s powerful rotating brush, but it also entangles quickly, so I wouldn’t buy this unit if you own shedding pets.
When it’s time to clean out the vacuum, you don’t have to deal with messy, dusty bags. Instead, the AirRam uses an easy to remove tray. It’s easy to clean the filters, too. They are simple to remove, washable and never need to be replaced – a feature that saves you money. The manufacturer’s manual suggests cleaning the filters once a month by rinsing them in tap water, squeezing out the excess water, and allowing them to dry before returning them to the vacuum.
The vacuum is easy to steer and use. Its 7.7 pound weight is about half that of many standard cord-powered vacuums, so there’s little effort required to bring it up and down stairs. The design of this lightweight vacuum cleaner also gives you the ability to clean hard-to-reach places. You don’t need to change settings when you move from one surface to another, and because of the ultra-low profile you can maneuver it under all types of furniture instead of moving things around. If fact, you can really change much since you can interact only with the On/off button.
After you purchase it, you will need to register your warranty within 90 days on producer’s website. Have the serial number from the base of the vacuum at hand. You should also keep your receipt in case you ever have a warranty claim.
Nick Grey says he started Gtech “to create sensible, easy to use products, which do a great job.” The AirRam has received many reviews from customers eager to assess whether this cordless vacuum lives up to its promises. Here are some favorable thoughts:
- “I used to hate vacuuming. I clean frequently because I live near the beach and I have a Golden Retriever. The AirRam is a top score. It’s fast, easy to use and very powerful.”
- It’s loud, but its not noisier than my previous upright. It works well on carpets, linoleum, tiles and wood. It’s agile, now I can reach in tight spots like under beds and kitchen cabinets.”
- I was skeptical in the beginning. This thing doesn’t look like a vacuum cleaner. After two weeks of daily use, I can’t imagine myself living without it.”
Some negative reviews:
- “I would love to say that I liked it, but when I turned it on, it sounded like a jet engine. My wife and cats went running. This was a deal-breaker. Otherwise, it’s very easy set-up and it works exactly like it was advertised.”
- “It tangles and doesn’t work well on my thick shag carpet.”
The Multi handheld
The Gtech Multi is a versatile handheld. The producer came up with the idea of producing a cordless handheld due to the fact that their cordless stick has no attachments. Besides the unusual design, the Multi features a powerful suction and a 14″ extension tub that can help you reach most places in your house. Besides the crevice tool, the dusting brush and the flexible hose, you can separately purchase a car detailing kit which comes with a soft dusting brush, a flexible crevice tool and a small upholstery tool. Similarly to the AirRam, the Multi’s 22V Li-Ion batteries hold a 30 minutes charge and can be recharged completely in 4h.
The newer version – Gtech AirRam K9
Earlier this year, the company launched in UK an improved version of the AirRam, the Gtech AirRam K9. Unfortunately, this version is not yet available in US, but I believe they’re planning to bring it here pretty soon. Among the improvement, one can count:
- Stiffer plastic case. This material is called Gun Metal. Some parts of the unit are no longer made of plastic, but from zinc alloy which resits wear better.
- Better pet hair performance. The brush bar got upgraded, and now long hair doesn’t entangle around the bristles.
- Scented filters. You can now use filters with lavender essence.
Conclusion and VGM
If you are looking for a vacuum cleaner that runs without a cord, this lightweight unit might be for you. The Gtech AirRam is easy to clean and maneuver around the house. The price is decent, it has plenty of features, and a long trail of good reviews. Here’s my VGM:
Finally, I would love to hear what you’ve got to say. Do you like the design of the AirRam? Plan to buy one soon, or are you willing to wait for the newer K9 version?
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