What is the Vax Air Cordless Lift U85-ACLG-B?
The Vax Air Cordless was a big hit with us last year, but Vax is back with improved versions this year and the new Vax Air Cordless Lift is its new flagship cordless vacuum cleaner. It adds a handy headlamp and a boost mode for tougher spots, but the biggest change is an innovative lift-out cylinder feature that makes it even more flexible.
Other key features include the battery dock charger, two high-power lithium-ion batteries that last up to 25 minutes each and a switchable brush bar for deeper cleaning. The Vax Air Cordless Life is light, versatile and easy to use and, despite a slight weakness in edge cleaning, cleans well overall. If you want to go cordless, it should be high on your shortlist.
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Vax Air Cordless Lift U85-ACLG-B – Accessories
One of the best things about the Vax Air Cordless Lift compared to rival cordless machines is the removable battery. The fact two are supplied is even better, ensuring you’ll always have one ready if you run out of power.
The separate charging dock can be placed anywhere you have a handy power point and charges a LithiumLife battery in around three hours. Three step LED indicators on the battery show the state of charge, both charging and in use, and they clip in and out of the cleaner with ease.
We got over 27 minutes out of a brand new, fully charged battery and that’s with the brush bar running – you’d get more without it, though less if using the boost mode. The power is constant throughout the run-time, though the rotating brush bar did shut down after 19 minutes to save power. Vitally, with both batteries charged up you can get around a fair sized house in a single vacuuming session.
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As an upright cleaner, the Air Cordless Lift is easy to manoeuvre thanks to its pivoting head and large wheels that give it excellent steering. The head offers a switchable rotating brush bar for carpet and hard floors and now incorporates side brushes for close to edge cleaning.
The hose detaches to allow more detailed cleaning with the 2-in-1 dusting brush and crevice tool and brush head with flexible neck. We found the flexible neck a little short on the first Air model, which limited reach. Not so the Air Cordless Lift – it’s longer and therefore more useful for hard to reach areas.
Not only is the hose longer, you can lift the main body of the cleaner out from the upright frame and floorhead to give you a very portable cylinder cleaner. The top handle makes it easy to carry or lift to clean cobwebs or curtains high up, and the design incorporates small feet allowing it to be placed down standing upright – perfect for stair cleaning. Everything clips back together with ease.
It’s a very neat design that’s a big step forward compared to the first Air Cordless, which was a little cumbersome to carry around. It’s almost on a par with the Dyson DC59 for ease of use.
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Vax Air Cordless Lift U85-ACLG-B – Carpets and Hard Floor Cleaning
Tipping our scales with a battery and accessories in place at 5.5kg, the Air Cordless Lift is almost a kilo heavier that the original model, although still a relatively lightweight machine. But unclip the cylinder section and the portable unit weighs in at just 3.3kg, making it incredibly portable and easy to carry around the home.
You won’t notice the extra weight in upright mode – the whole machine feels very well balanced. The pivoting head makes steering a dream and the front headlamp illuminates the floor with a bright white LED light – it seems a little gimmicky, but it’s handy when cleaning under sofas, beds and tables.
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The original Air Cordless impressed us with its cleaning power thanks to Vax’s WindTunnel3 technology and the new Lift model is no less efficient, competing favourably with many corded models.
The boost button has a significant positive effect on the suction power and you can hear the main motor spinning faster, too. While this is likely to halve your run-time if left on all the time, the extra suction is the perfect boost when tackling deeper carpets.
With the brush bar turned off it cleaned hard floors with ease – the new protruding side brushes sweeping dirt away from the edges as you go. The extra power didn’t help on this surface and we preferred the extended run time under normal power.
Move onto carpet and switch on the brush bar and the Vax can show many budget corded uprights how to get the job done. It cleans well and the boost mode tackles dirtier areas well. Even in boost mode it can’t totally match the best corded uprights, but for everyday cleaning it works a treat.
Its only serious let down is that the side bristles on the main head did little for the edge cleaning performance on carpet – as shown above. Like the original model, there was a noticeable line of residual test powder close to the skirting despite passing over the area three times.
On the plus side, the new lift-off system makes it even easier to nip around the room edges with the crevice tool afterwards. Used like this, the Air Cordless Lift is so light it positively encourages you to clean areas that don’t normally get any attention, such as the top of doors and doorframes, radiators, behind awkward furniture and curtains. Left charged up, the Air Cordless Lift is like having an instant cleaner, ready to go at all times.
The suction power is again more than ample for these duties and for light curtains and cushions is actually a bit too strong. A low power mode would be useful here as there is no suction release slide on the tools or hose.
If you do need extra power, though, the boost mode gives an appreciable increase in suction and a little more noise. In standard power mode used in upright form, the Air Cordless Lift made around 86dB measured at head height above it, which is about average the same as lower power corded models.