Vax Air3 Pet – A Return Review Two Years On

Vax Air3 Pet - A Return Review Two Years On

In October 2012 we tried and tested the then-new Air3 Pet after two years on VAX launched their Air3 range of light, full-sized, multi-cyclonic upright vacuum cleaners. The Air3 Pet comes with a six-year guarantee so gives peace of mind when making a large purchase – and after 22 months, as expected, ours is still in daily use but not without a few problems along the way.

The six-year guarantee VAX offer really does come in handy with this lightweight machine. Unfortunately, as we have found out, the structure of the build is not as strong as the suction on the Air3 Pet. It only took a few weeks for the pipe holder clip to break, as well as the end clip that attached the hose to the head, and so far we have had two new heads, two new clips, and a new body. In fact, aside from the pipe and small stair brush, we think we have probably had a complete machine replacement -two years on in parts.

The newest head arrived today after its predecessor fell apart at the joint. The original head lost a wheel and needed a complete replacement. It is not until you get a new head that you realize how foggy the old one was getting and how much extra effort you were putting into the work of pushing. With the new head on we were practically pulled around the carpet at turbo speed.

We like to clean our cleaners and have totally taken apart the main dirt chamber on many occasions, washing thoroughly and drying before reassembly, yet it still manages to allow dust into the main part of the cleaner and fails to contain it within the dust box alone.

That aside, we have put it to work on a daily basis, on the hairs of two dogs and two cats, as well as a number of long-haired individuals who work and live here. Human hair and odd lengths of the cotton tie around the head brushes, restricting their rotation, so we regularly remove said debris to ensure optimum performance. However, it is clear from the new head that the older ones were definitely not doing their job, regardless of our efforts to free them from restrictions.

The smaller rotating pet Turbo Head was the first casualty to completely be discarded. It worked wonders when it worked but the cheaper construction meant it kept falling apart. Designed to be opened to remove obstructions, once released it failed to stay together again.

Our brush tool no longer boasts many bristles but still does the job, when it can be persuaded to stay attached. Similarly, the extension pipe for the stairs is held on by a small, plastic, one-sided clip that delights in letting go under the slightest stretch or pressure.

So why is the Air3 Pet still here?

Well, aside from the cost involved in buying a new vacuum and finding it is not fit for the job (this is one product you cannot test and return due to lack of performance – is it not time that a manufacturer had working samples available in stores?) – we actually think that when the Air3 Pet is working it does a really good job. The brush lines and lack of pet hair on the floors and carpets today, after the new head got to work, are testament to VAX’s ability to build good cleaning power into their vacuums. But why did they put it into such a flimsy carcass and thin plastic body?

Will we continue to use the Air3 Pet for the next four years and order new parts each time it breaks – or would it be easier to find an alternative that matched its build to its performance? With new models now priced around £150 (compared to the original £299) it is not an as expensive investment as it was two years ago – but for £150 we still expect a certain level of quality.

One very positive point to mention is that on customer service performance and their ability to rectify any problems, VAX cannot be faulted. A simple call to their customer helpline with the problem, each time, and a new part or parts were dispatched within three days.

Vax is one of the UK’s best-selling floorcare brands and the only floorcare specialist to offer a comprehensive range of carpet cleaners, upright and cylinder vacuum cleaners, cordless, steam, and hard floor cleaners. For more information on the Vax Air3 Pet and the VAX range visit www.vax.co.uk

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