Cleaning Performance of Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaners Varies High Power Consumption and Long Recharging Time 4 Models Can Only Operate Less Than 10 Mins

15 January 2020
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Cleaning Performance of Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaners Varies High Power Consumption and Long Recharging Time 4 Models Can Only Operate Less Than 10 Mins

Thanks for its handy, stylish and easy for storage design, cordless upright vacuum cleaners are very popular in the market. The Consumer Council tested 20 models of cordless upright vacuum cleaners and found that their performances varied significantly, of which the cleaning performance of 5 models was unsatisfactory, rated 2.5 points or below. The models generally have a weakness of taking too long to recharge but drain out fast, the findings were similar to the same exercise the Council conducted 2 years before. The test also revealed the non-stop operating time of 4 models at its strongest suction power after a full battery recharge was less than 10 minutes and 8 models took more than 4 hours to recharge fully. The model with the best cleaning performance could only operate 7 minutes continuously, yet it took 4.5 hours for battery recharge and consume the most energy. The retail price of cordless upright vacuum cleaner is higher than that of traditional wired vacuum cleaners, but its cleaning power is relatively weak. Consumers are advised to compare carefully the power and efficiency of various wired and cordless vacuum cleaners to choose a suitable product for their home.

The test was conducted in collaboration with multiple international consumer organisations on 20 cordless upright vacuum cleaners, of which 19 of them supported handheld use. Retail price ranged from $1,398 to $6,998, a difference of 4 times, all models cannot be used for cleaning when recharging the built-in lithium-ion battery. Most of the models come with different types of suction heads, suitable for cleaning different areas at home. 

The test has referred to the European Standard EN 60312-1. Testing items included cleaning performance, operating time, suction power maintenance, energy efficiency, quietness and ease of use, etc. On the whole, the performance of cordless upright vacuum cleaners was given an average rating – with only 2 models rated 4 points, 2 others rated 2.5 and 2 points, while the remaining 16 models rated 3.5 or 3 points.

The cleaning performance of a vacuum cleaner is the most concerning factor. The cleaning performance of 20 models varied significantly, rating from 1.5 points to 4.5 points, of which efficiency of suction head of 30% of them (7 models) was found not satisfactory, 6 were weak in hard floor cleaning, 3 cleaned poorly on carpet, rated merely 2.5 points or below in related testing items. On the contrary, the cleaning performance of over half (11 models) of the tested models was found satisfactory in handheld mode, rated 5 points for this item. The test result also revealed that the cleaning performance of vacuum cleaner on carpet was better than that of hard floor cleaning in general.

The battery operating time of upright vacuum cleaner is another concerned area. The test found that the battery recharging time and operating time varied significantly among the models, ranging from 51 minutes to 5 hours 19 minutes for battery recharge, a whopping 5 times difference. There was also a large gap between the time that a fully charged model can be used until exhaustion of power, ranging from 7 minutes to 38 minutes. 4 models when operated at their highest suction power could only operate for less than 10 minutes that included 2 models with the best cleaning performance. Another cheapest model ($1,398), who has the longest operating time (38 minutes) but its cleaning performance scored only 1.5 points. Consumers should pay heed to models with short operating time to be used in smaller areas or cleaning jobs of a short duration but not to clean a larger household at one time.

In addition, the test found that their ability to maintain high suction power throughout the cleaning operation were very diverse. 5 models were found unable to maintain a stable suction power throughout the operation and its suction ability reduce obviously, rated merely 2.5 points or below, of which the suction power of 2 models reduced by more than 7% after operating 7 minutes, rated 1 point only; whereas 9 models could maintain consistently at 99% of their highest suction power throughout the operation, scoring the highest 5 points.

The power saving performance among the models was just fair, rated 3 to 4.5 points. The power consumption ranged from 29 watt hours to 100.5 watt hours when they were recharged. It is worth noting that the model with the highest power consumption was also the shortest in operating time. Consumers should turn off the power switch on the socket of the vacuum cleaner after charging to save energy and electricity costs. However, due to the longer charging time of some models and the fact that consumer may wish to ensure the vacuum cleaner is fully charged each time when it is used, they may not turn off the switch every time after charging.

On the noise level, the models were measured between 68.9 and 77 decibels, equivalent to the noise level generated by normal conversation or busy city traffic. 9 models rated 2.5 points or below considering their lower average quietness level. In terms of ease of use, the performance of the models was more even, rated 3 or 3.5 points, more than half of the models (11 models) could not “stand upright” on floor and must put in a holder or hang on wall; 8 models were found easy to raise dust when cleaning dust container or motor filters; 8 models provided only brief description while 6 models should improve the ease to dismantle for cleansing.

The Council suggests the following tips when purchasing and using a vacuum cleaner:

  • Consider the household size, frequency and preference of use in order to compare the function and limitation of different types of vacuum cleaners. Do not merely determined by new design and follow the trend, or base the purchase decision sole on the price;
  • Cordless upright vacuum cleaners are space-saving while the traditional cleaners have to be wired but their overall suction power is stronger, and their average price is lower;
  • When the hose and other suction heads to the vacuum cleaner are attached, make sure they are properly connected;
  • Turn off the power when it is fully recharged, or upon cleaning and inspection;
  • Most vacuum cleaners cannot be used to suck up water, nor to suck up hot objects or when they are burning, such as ashes and cigarettes, do not try recklessly to avoid danger. 

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