Vacuuming is a chore that nobody loves to do. Yet it is one of those necessary evils that we all have to deal with. You roll up your arms, unwind that power cable, and just get on it with it. So when Dirt Devil wrote to me, promising me the ‘most fun I will ever have using a vacuum cleaner’, I had to bite. Few days later, the 360 degree Reach Upright Stick Vacuum Cleaner (that is a mouthful, that is!) arrived, and I took it for a test drive.
Before we go in the performance and how well it faired, lets have a quick look at the specifications and what you get.
- Powerful stick vacuum
- Reach wand for hard to get areas.
- Handheld for off floor cleaning tasks
- Corded cyclonic power.
- Massive 10m cleaning reach.
- Cyclonic Suction Power
- 0.6L Capacity
What’s in the box
- Corded Stick Vacuum
- Crevice Tool
- Upholstery Tool
As far as vacuum cleaners go, their setup can be either straight forward or all kinds of complicated. The vacuum cleaner in question was part of the former category, meaning that it just clicked in, as was expected. You click in the bin, the cord and the attachments, plug it in, and off you go.
Ease of use
As far as usage goes, there is a little switch on the top that can be flicked between Off, ‘1’, and ‘2’. The difference between 1 and 2 is that with 2, you can operate it in carpet mode, i.e. the scrubber at the bottom of the main piece. For my operation, I mostly operated it on 2, specially with the other attachments, as at that stage it doesn’t really matter.
At just under 5 kilos, it sounds quite a heavy package to have to carry around with you while you vacuum your home. However, I am not sure whether it is clever weight management, or just ergonomics, but it doesn’t actually feel like I am lugging a dumbbell around while I vacuumed the house. Of course, the handling and the weight varies with different attachments. I have used this to vacuum my whole house, which includes two stories, 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and the tricky matter of stairs, and I wasn’t really feeling any extra tiredness in my right arm.
However, one of the noticeable things is that as you use it to vacuum, you do get a warm draft coming from the vacuum on to your arm. It isn’t unpleasant, and is probably just the suction mechanism hitting air back at you.
I have to say I am rather impressed with this when it comes to suction. It happily has a go at pulling up tiles and carpets if let loose around the house. It also comes with a little adjustment tab on the longer attachment stick, so if you do find it pulling things all the way from Australia, just slide it down to adjust it. When it comes to the competition, I’d be brave and say this is probably one of the most powerful vacuums I have tried. And yes, that is counting the big full sized vacuum cleaners too. Which means that for a hand vacuum cleaner, this is easily the best I have tried.
The curious case of the ‘bin’
So the first time I tried using the vacuum cleaner, I noticed that the lid was a bit ‘off’. It needed a bit of work to close and open, and the mechanism wasn’t smooth. Since the bin itself is rather small at 0.6L, it had to be emptied quite regularly. As a result, after a few uses of the vacuum cleaner, I found the lid starting to break. I thought it was a design fault, but I wrote to them, and they sent me another one. The next one was built better, and I did not have that problem.
However, the point to remember here is that the bin is rather small. On average, if I vacuum the whole house, I need to empty it about 3 times.
Another issue I have found with it is the fact that the red circular bit, which is designed to help manage the incoming dirt (and bits of hair, gunk, and all that) tends to build up in a ball near the entrance. That means that after about 20 minutes of use, you have to empty it, even if it doesn’t look full. It also helps if you manually pull out the deposited dirt-ball manually when you empty. This means that while being extremely handy to vacuum, the constant need to empty it does add to the annoyance of the whole process somewhat.
The tricky bits
Almost all vacuums are happy to go over carpets, but how well does this work around the tricky bits? How does it handle stairs, and more importantly, can it get into those annoying and fiddly corners?
Well, it is rather good on the stairs, though the upholstery tool struggles to get right in the corner, because of its shape. It does pick up dirt rather well, and at times I have also used the whole vacuum stick to vacuum stairs. That one didn’t work as well, but if you go from up to down, it seems to push dirt and bits down as you vacuum and you can pick them up as you climb down.
The crevice tool is brilliant though. Having a soft tip means you can pretty much stick it anywhere you like, and it will try and pick up stuff. The powerful suction also means that you can even glide this between wooden floor panels, and it will pick up the bits that you can never really get to normally.
All in all, brilliant.
If I had to be picky, the bin filling up rather quickly is the only problem this tiny little beast has. Other than that, it is handy to use, fits well in the awkward places, and is extremely powerful. All of this under a £100 too!