Vax Air Cordless Switch Review

Vax Vax Air Cordless Switch Review
  • Cheap and cheerful
  • Middle can be removed for a handheld
  • Lightweight
  • Poor suction
  • Needs more attachments
  • Powered brush bar needs more power

Introduction

The Vax Switch is arguably the entry level cordless vacuum from Vax.  At sub-£100 the vacuum is extremely attractive to users who live in a flat or small home or who don’t have much of a cleaning requirement.

Vax have gone for the convenience factor with the Switch.  It looks and works just like a regular upright, but you can detach the main body to use it as a handheld.  The handheld and upright in one is a solution to a problem that many have identified, including Dyson.

Due to the nature of the Switch actually just being a handheld in an upright chassis it does lack a little power, but don’t be put off – unless you have pets or high pile carpets you might be OK.

Performance

The motor in the Vax Air Switch is powered at 20 volts, which is much lower than many competitors.  Admittedly this is noticeable, especially on carpets.

Under the hood the Switch is effectively just a handheld in an upright position, so you get the same power you might expect from a powerful handheld.  Unfortunately that power and performance just doesn’t rival that of a traditional upright.

Vax’s Cordless Air Switch does have its place though in terms of performance.  In our tests it performed very well on short pile carpets and on hard floors, picking up everything we threw at it.

The convenience factor is clearly the selling point here.  It was very useful being able to just unhook the centre body to use as a handheld, especially on the stairs and in the kitchen.

Design and Features

Vax Air Cordless Switch Detach

The first thing you notice about the Switch is that it’s a standard upright.  This changes with a quick press of a button on the middle body and a quick pull of the handle.  Quite a useful features, and a different way of doing it than we’re used to seeing, like with the Vax Blade that we recently reviewed.

As you may have noticed in the video at the start of this review, the Vax Cordless Air Switch has front-facing LED headlights.  We first saw these in our review of the Gtech AirRam and many believe they’re a pointless feature.  At Which Vac we’re actually on the other side of the fence and think they’re a great feature.  One of the tests we run is picking up bundles of fibres from a dark hardwood floor.  We do this as it emulates how pet hair collects in a home, especially on hard floors.  Every vacuum that we have tested that hasn’t had front headlights has failed to pick up all of the hair purely because you can’t see it.  Those bright headlights shoot across the floor and cast large shadows against any fur and debris, making it very easy to clean darker floors.  It’s also good, of course, for seeing under sofas and tables!

One feature we’d like to see on the Vax Air Switch is more attachments.  Currently there is just a single rigid crevice tool.  Whilst this tool works great, it would be useful to see a brush head or even a mini motorised head for the handheld.

Weight

We’ll keep this one short; the Vax Air Cordless Switch is a light upright, really light.  It weighs in at just 3.4kg in upright mode.  That’s extremely light.  To put that into perspective, the Dyson Animal Ball upright (the corded upright Dyson) weighs nearly 8kg.

Vax have tried to make the Switch as light as possible to make it easy to carry round.  They say themselves that it’s built to be ‘perfect for any quick pick-up’, and we’d agree.

Maneuverability

It’s quite obvious that the Air Cordless Switch is maneuverable.  It’s light, at just 3.4kg, but most of all the entire centre detaches so it can be used as a handheld.

The powered brush bar head isn’t as maneuverable as some of the competitors.  We found it to be a little cumbersome and stubborn when trying to navigate around corners, but that is with us being quite picky – the average user of the vacuum probably won’t notice.

Vax have bundled the Switch with a rigid crevice tool but there aren’t any other attachments, so although maneuverable the Switch isn’t necessarily the best for getting into all spaces.

Battery Life

Vax Cordless Vacuum Battery

We tested the Air Switch cordless vacuum’s battery.  Vax claim 20 minutes battery life and we actually got 21 minutes of continuous usage out of it.

Interestingly, Vax claims that the battery and motor work together to provide ‘fade-free’ usage, but in our tests there was a distinct change in power at around the 19 minute mark.  This ties in well with Vax’s 20 minute battery claim though, so we’re inclined to agree with Vax.

The battery can be charged with a stand alone dock and can be totally removed from the device.  A removable battery like this is actually a desirable component for consumers that often goes unnoticed.  Because it’s totally removable it allows you to easily replace the battery in a couple of years time when the charge doesn’t hold for as long.  You also have the ability to upgrade the battery to a longer-lasting alternative.

Compare this to the Dyson range, which requires the entire unit to be docked in order to charge because the battery isn’t easily removable, and you can hopefully see the benefit.

The Facts

Power 20 V
Battery Run Time 40 Minutes
Charge Time 3 Hours
Weight 3.4KG
Capacity/Dust Box 0.35L
Noise Level 82dB
Good for Pets?
Additional Tools? 1

Our Ratings

Design

7/10

Features

7/10

Price

9/10

Summary

The Vax Air Cordless Switch upright is a nice piece of kit.  It’s lightweight, and it can transform quickly into a handheld for convenience.

Is it suitable for larger homes, homes with lots of carpets or homes with pets (or even young children)?  In our opinion, no.  Instead the Switch is aimed more at small homes or apartments that require little cleaning, or as a second vacuum that can be taken upstairs easily due to it’s light weight and no cord.

The price reflects all of this, of course – coming in at around £80.