Gtech AirRam Review
- Fantastic value
- Great battery life
- Head has to-the-edge cleaning
- Very light for an upright
- Picks up dirt well
- No tools/attachments
- Relatively new brand
Here we are reviewing the Gtech AirRam cordless vacuum, now in its second generation (mk2). The first generation took the market by storm. Originally only available from John Lewis they became the must-have cordless upright vacuum to have, and with supply low this kept demand high.
That was a few years ago now, and Gtech have taken their already amazing cordless vacuum and built an even better version.
We’re impressed with pretty much everything the Gtech AirRam Mk2 has to offer, and we think you will be too. There are a couple of downsides, but we had to really dig deep to find them.
As with all of our reviews you’ll find we go into a lot of detail. We use these cordless vacuums every day, and as such have a unique opportunity to highlight the nuisances that only become apparent after continuous use over a period of time.
So, let’s get into it. How does the Gtech AirRam Mk2 fair compared to the competitors?
The Gtech AirRam has been built solely for floor cleaning. Unlike other cordless vacuum cleaners, which try to cover every eventuality by way of attachments (if this interested you, checkout our Dyson V8 cordless vacuum review), the Gtech AirRam concentrates on the floor.
It works hard for you to suck up dirt from your carpet and hard-floors alike. You don’t have to mess around with settings to try to adjust the height of the cleaning head like you do with other cordless vacuums.
The cleaning head features a powerful brush bar which spins at high speed to dislodge dirty, dust and pet hair from carpets and floors. The high powered motor then sucks that dirt and hair into the the vacuum.
Design and Features
At first glance the Gtech AirRam doesn’t look like much more than your standard upright. However, look more closely and you can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the design and feature set that make up the amazing cordless vacuum.
Let’s start with the dust bin. The capacity is 0.8 litres, which is more than enough to hold a few trips around your average home. To save both weight and space the Gtech actually stores the dirt it collects in small bales inside the head of the vacuum cleaner. The dirt and debris is pressed into small blocks which enables the Gtech to store a lot more in a smaller space, which means less emptying. Because the dust and dirt is pressed into bales in this way it makes removing the dirt easier as it will nearly always come out in one block. Too many times have I been stood out over our bin trying to get the last few chunks of dirt out of a traditional canister.
One of the more pointless features of the Gtech AirRam is the USB port. The USB port allows you to plug your Gtech AirRam into your computer to give you some stats, such as:
- Amount of battery used
- Amount of battery remaining
- How much electricity saved (versus a traditional corded upright)
- How many calories burnt while vacuuming
Personally I find this feature to be one of the few negatives of the Gtech AirRam. It’s all very impressive, but a total novelty. No one is going to plug their vacuum into their computer to view these stats, so what is the point? It’s using up weight and battery life (probably very little, but still) for no real benefit.
Lastly if the LED lights on the front of the vacuum head. Some people think these are pretty useless, but I actually find them quite good. You’ll find that because the lights are nearly flush with the floor they highlight dust that you might not ordinarily see. I have a black labrador who malts a lot, and I have dark hard floors in my kitchen. It’s not unusual to vacuum, only to discover a black hair clump floating around after I put the vacuum away. It’s just so hard to see, but the LEDs on the AirRam make that hair that’s commonly missed stand right out.
The Gtech AirRam weighs in at a mere 3.5 kg. The light weight is down to the strong but light chassis and neck which is often where a lot of the weight sits.
Unlike a conventional upright, which has the motor on the main body of the vacuum, the AirRam has the motor and all of the main components in the cleaning head. This means that the engineers were forced to keep things small and compact. That said, they haven’t let the size impact on performance, and suction of this cordless vacuums rivals that of the leading corded cylinder vacuums.
To put it into perspective, the Dyson pictured above weighs 6.6 kg, which is nearly double that of the AirRam. If weight is something that influences your buying decision then the Gtech AirRam is the clear choice.
The other benefit of the reduced weight is damage to furniture. If you have a near 7 kg weight and bang it into your skirting boards or dining room chairs repeatedly you’re going to do some damage. Because the Gtech AirRam is much lighter than a conventional upright you don’t have that risk.
Tying into the weight, the Gtech AirRam is also highly maneuverable. Because it’s so light it makes moving around from room to room quite easy.
As we mentioned, most of the weight sits on the cleaning head of the AirRam, meaning the weight is nearly entirely on the floor. The benefit of a heavy vacuum cleaner is that it helps force the bristles of the brush against the floor, which aides in cleaning. So does having a light vacuum mean it won’t clean as well?
Ordinarily, yes. But the AirRam uses a combination of its powerful brush bar head and powerful suction to pull itself towards the carpet while cleaning. This means that you get the benefit of a heavy vacuum cleaner, without the additional weight. It also means that it adjusts better to different floor surfaces – it naturally gets less traction on hard floors, so lifts slightly, which helps the clean.
The neck of the Gtech AirRam sits on a pivoting ball which enables the long arm and neck to move independently of the bottom cleaner head. This allows you to glide around corners and maneuver the AirRam with ease. It really feels totally natural and easy when using it.
You’re also able to lower the arm of the AirRam to near total horizontal, flat onto the floor. This, combined with the low-profile head, allows you to get really low under raised sofas and between chairs.
The profile of a cordless vacuum is actually really important and often missed when making a purchase. Think about it, you’re buying a cordless vacuum so there aren’t wires, so you can get around the home with ease. But you’ve landed yourself with a big cumbersome vacuum, so you still end up having to pull out chairs from tables and moving things round to clean them. All of a sudden you realise the issue isn’t just with the cord, but the vacuum itself. Gtech have thought of all this, and the AirRam is about as nimble as you can get.
You may have noticed the handle on the arm of the AirRam. This adds to the maneuverability of the device. The majority of the weight is at the base of the unit on the cleaner head, which means carrying the AirRam can be cumbersome. It’s much less of an issue because of the handle.
Gtech must have known that people’s biggest gripes with cordless vacuum cleaners is the battery life. With the Mk2 AirRam the battery now lasts a full 40 minutes of continuous usage.
By our reckoning, the average home takes at most 20 minutes to vacuum, and that’s when being thorough; you could do it in far less. With that in mind the Gtech AirRam will give you two full cleans on a single charge.
There are a few reviews floating around that we’ve read that complain about the battery lasting closer to the 30 minute mark. I can’t really comment on those, but I can tell you that having owned an AirRam for well over a year now I personally still get the full 40 minutes from mine.
Unlike a number of other cordless vacuums the Gtech AirRam does not have a charging mount. This is both a plus and a negative. We recently reviewed the Dyson V8 cordless vacuum so check that out if you’re interested in a cordless vacuum with a charging mount/dock. These mounts are nice because you never forget to charge your vacuum; as soon as it’s put away it’s charging. The negative is that quite a lot of people don’t have space to hang a vacuum cleaner on the wall. It needs to be close to a power socket, and needs screwing in, something many of us don’t want to do.
|Battery Run Time||40 Minutes|
|Charge Time||4 Hours|
|Good for Pets?|
There you have it, the Gtech AirRam Mk2 in all its glory. Possibly the greatest cordless upright vacuum on the market today at an extremely attractive price.
The Gtech AirRam brings together 15 years of innovations. It is lightweight, versatile and has some technology that no other cordless vacuums have.
Subtle features on the AirRam such as the condensing dirt collection system – which keeps your vacuum light but also makes it easy to empty – and the front-facing LED light system really help you clean your home in a way that other cordless vacuums at this price point can’t.
If you’re looking to buy a cordless vacuum cleaner for your home and you’re unsure of what vacuum is right for you then I would personally recommend the Gtech AirRam, it’s the perfect all-rounder and the price means it comes in way under many of the competitors.