Vax OnePWR Blade 4 Review
- ✔️ 3 year guarantee
- ✔️ Excellent motor
- ✔️ No loss of suction when full or low battery
- ✔️ Turbo mode
- ❌ Slightly cheap feel
- ❌ Battery not as good as could be
The Vax OnePWR Blade 4 is the latest in the line of Vax OnePWR Blade vacuums, the successor to the Vax Blade series. The Vax Blade series is what most people imagine when they think of cordless vacuums; not an upright, but effectively a handheld with a long neck so you can use it as an upright.
In this review we'll go through what it's been like owning a Vax OnePWR Blade 4, and using it every day. We'll tell you how we found the usage, the battery life, the tools, but most of all how well it actually picks up dirt. Most reviews you'll read may only have had the vacuum for a day or two in order to review it, but I've actually owned a Vax OnePWR Blade 4 for some time now, so hopefully this review should carry some weight.
Let's get to it; performance. How does the Vax OnePWR Blade 4 hold up in our performance tests. My house has a combination of hard floors, carpets and a shag pile rug, so it's the perfect environment to ensure the Blade 4 is up to the task.
Hard floor performance is great. For a standard test I generally throw some rice on the floor and see if there's any left after a single pass. There wasn't, all clear. The brushbar head also works quite well on hard floors - better than other handhelds I've used, which often sit too high to be of any use on hard floors - and it helped shift even some more stubborn marks.
For the carpets the Blade 4 was quite a good all-rounder. There are definitely more performant vacuums out there, but none that I know of at this price point. I have cream carpets and a black labrador, so I definitely know when a vacuum isn't up to the job, but the Blade 4 did very well. There's a turbo mode on the vacuum, which puts the brushless motor into overdrive, but also obliterates your battery in the process. I found that any stubborn carpet areas that couldn't be picked up in standard mode were no problem for the Blade 4's turbo mode, and it left my carpets spotless.
Lastly, rugs. I have 2 rugs, a medium pile and a very long shag pile rug. The medium rug was no problem, and using the turbo mode also helped with any particularly dog-hair-riddled areas. However the high pile rug was more of an issue. The problem here is the brushbar, its job is to spin against the floor with bristles that connect with the floor to dislodge dirt and debris. The issue is that the shag pile from the rug gets caught around the brushbar, which then gets tangled up.
Fortunately, there's an option to stop the power to the brushbar, which keeps the suction but disables the spinning. I'm not sure if it applies a brake or whether it just disables power, but in my case it allowed me to vacuum the rug without much problem. Of course it won't be as thoroughly cleaned as if it had a brushbar going through it, but unfortunately that's the nature of a high pile rug, and you'll experience the same - or worse - with any vacuum.
One thing of note is performance over time. It's all well and good reviewing the Blade 4 for an hour, but how good is it after a few months of constant use? Well, pretty good as it turns out. I use the vacuum every day and have yet to notice any loss of suction of battery length usage.
The battery lasts no time at all if you're using turbo mode, so it becomes quite a skill to know when and when not to use it, but it's something you become used to, and again this isn't something unique to Vax's Blade 4, it's the same on any cordless with a turbo mode.
One great thing I noticed though is how well it performs both when the dust container is full and when the battery is running low. With most vacuums you'll notice a sudden and obvious difference in suction when the dust bin is full, which is a technical reason due to the pressure difference and the motor having to work harder to get dirt into an already full container. Some how Vax seem to have all-but eliminated that issue. The suction also remains good no matter what the battery life too; there is a change when it's very low on battery, but it's more subtle than on other vacuums I've used.
Design and Features
The Vax OnePWR Blade is your standard cordless vacuum. It is effectively a high powered handheld with a long detachable neck that you can fit different tools to.
This design is a popular one, and for good reason. It allows the vacuum to double up as both a handheld for reaching awkward spots and cleaning the car, as well as cleaning floors like a traditional upright. But, an often overlooked advantage of this design is to bring the centre of gravity - where the weight of the product is - much closer to where you hold it.
The advantage of this comes into play when you're reaching high places like ceilings and room corners, or when cleaning the stairs. It's much easier to move around one of these handhelds than lugging around a big upright, where weight was an advantage (as it increases drag on the brushbar), rather than a handicap.
The Vax Blade 4 weight in at 3.1kg. That's not the heaviest handheld, but it's certainly not the lightest. In comparison the Dyson V8 is 2.55kg.
Weight in a cordless vacuum is very important. Manufacturers spend a lot of time and effort trying to ensure their vacuums are as light as possible. They do this to keep the vacuum manoeuvrable, but is it better?
Well that's up to you really. If you're comfortable with a little extra weight when it often leads to a few key advantages:
Better build quality. Manufacturers resort to plastic parts to keep weight down, but that leads to a cheap feeling product.
Longer battery life. The battery is one of the heaviest components. More weight = bigger battery, often.
Stronger motor. The other big weight item is the motor. Bigger motor = better suction.
Better traction and cleaning. With a heavier vacuum there is more downward force on the carpet or floor when vacuuming. This creates more drag and friction between the carpet and the brushbar, which in turn lifts more dirt and leads to a cleaner floor.
Of course it all comes at the cost of having a heavier vacuum, which for some is not a welcome change as it makes it more effort to move around, especially on stairs and when doing room ceiling corners.
To put it into perspective, the Dyson V8 is often cited because it's the most popular handheld vacuum, and the Vax OnePWR Blade 4 weighs the same as the Dyson plus a tin of baked beans, roughly.
The Vax OnePWR is fairly light, but not the lightest. To be crystal clear with this; the weight is not a problem, it feels like and nimble.
The brushbar has a screw hinge attached to it, which allows it to move in many directions. You get the standard up-and-down movement, but it also allows the brushbar to stay stationary while the next can move freely. It isn't quite as nimble as a ball joint like that of a Dyson, however you really can't tell the difference.
It's easy enough to get underneath sofas and coffee tables due to the brushbar's low profile, and it's easy to reach difficult nooks throughout the house.
Vax advertise the OnePWR Blade 4's battery life as being up to 45 minutes.
In our tests that didn't really happen, it was closer to 35-40 minutes, and even less depending on how much you use the turbo mode.
Vacuums that have a turbo mode often get a bad reputation when it comes to battery life. Often owners are a little trigger happy on the turbo mode and then complain about the battery not lasting the advertised levels. Turbo mode is designed to be used maybe 2 or 3 times during a charge for a quick blast of a few seconds each time. I've known people to attempt to do their whole house using turbo mode and then complain when their battery only lasts 10 minutes.
Anyway, the point is that the battery in the Vax is solid - it lasts long enough to do upstairs and downstairs on a large 4 bedroom house, with small uses of turbo mode, and plenty of battery left to spare.
Now common-place for mobile phones, the Vax Blade 4 now comes with quick charge. In just 3 hours you can go from empty to nearly-full on a battery.
Quick charge is a very useful feature for those of us who don't have a permanent home that has a charging point for their vacuum. For example, we store ours in our under-the-stairs cupboard, but there's no plug socket in there, so we have to remember to charge it before use. Fortunately we only need to charge it around once per week, but the fact it can be charged in just 3 hours makes this so much less painful.
And, of course, when you forget to charge it life is much more convenient if you can give it a quick hour's charge and do a quick clean.
To give a direct comparison, the Dyson V8 takes around 5 hours.
Vax have made it a little confusing about their offering with the different models available. To be clear here: there is only one model of Vax OnePWR Blade 4, the other models for sale are just the same vacuum with added bits of equipment.
For example, there is a package available with an extra battery and a separate upright carpet cleaner. That's great, but calling them different models is misleading, it's the same vacuum with an extra battery.
There's no way for me to make a recommendation for what to buy here, as it depends what you want. I have the base model, and it's done me just fine. You can always buy the additional tools and spare batteries at a later date, even if it's slightly more expensive to do so, that would probably be my recommendation.
|Battery Run Time||45 minutes|
|Charge Time||3 hours|
|Capacity/Dust Box||0.6 Litres|
|Noise Level||78 dB|
|Good for Pets?||✔️|
In summary the Vax OnePWR Blade 4 is one of, if not the best cordless vacuum available at this price point. There are definitely better vacuums out there, but you'll need to be paying twice the price to get one, and personally I don't think the difference is really there to warrant the price hike.
There's no better review than when the reviewer says they bought one, and I did, and then recommended it to anyone who asked. Vax have done a great job on the build, it's weight provides a good mix of build quality and performance, without becoming too heavy to impact manoeuvrability.
Battery run time is good, but Vax have made it easy to swap the battery so the option of having a spare or two on full charge is always there, something that you can't do with even the most expensive Dysons.
All-in-all it's a great vacuum, and comes highly recommended.