Time for some venting…

A Review of the Russell Hobbs ‘Advanced Cyclonic’ vacuum cleaner (Model No. 14720)

We’ve had this device for some time now.  For a product of one of Britain’s leading appliance manufacturers, it’s a surprisingly crap design.

First, what’s good about it:

  1. It was fairly cheap
  2. It’s reasonably light
  3. It sucks.  In the nicest possible way, you understand.  At least until the collection chamber gets more than about 20% full and/or the filter clogs.

What’s not so good:

  1. It’s too light – tugging the hose inevitably lifts the front of the cleaner (see below)
  2. The wheels are too far from the end.  As soon as the front starts to lift, the plastic body hits the deck and you can’t move the little b*st*rd without hauling it physically along, scraping its arse on the floor.
  3. The motor is right over the wheels, hence the weight is there too, and the little beast flips at the tug of a hose…
  4. The wheels are slightly wider than the body, and have ‘sticky’ rims.  Hence, if you try to pull the beast round a corner or round furniture, it inevitably jams on the front rim of the wheels.  Further tugs then usually tip it onto its side.
  5. The hose juts out right at the front of the body (rather than on the front of the top like much of the opposition).  This means that any pulling tends to lift the front off the floor and the case then hits the ground (see item 1)  It also make it harder to manoeuvre since the low and far-forward centre of pull tends to make it crash into things with its fairly square front (most of the opposition have rounded fronts so they slide past things).
  6. The cable has a surprisingly sticky surface, and snags on absolutely everything.  A harder-surfaced cable would slide more easily (It’s not quite as bad as cat-5 cable, but it’s close!)
  7. The handle is right at the back, above the wheels.  This is fine unless you’re trying to clean the stairs, when you actually want the cleaner to stand on its back end.  This it does just fine, but how the hell do you pick it up?  There is nothing to get hold of at the front except the hose, which has a quick-release clip.  Careful where you grab the hose to pick it up or it disconnects and the cleaner lands on your foot.  It’s light, but not that light!  Some kind of a finger grip on the front underside would be really useful: after all, there’s nothing much else there.
  8. Removing the dust box is dead easy.  In fact, a bit too easy.  The little lever that releases the dustbox is just in front of the handle, so, guess what?  Sometimes you grab the wrong bit when trying to pick it up and end up with just a dust box…  Oh, and don’t believe the hype: there are plenty of bits of cr*p in the box that will fall out if you give them half a chance.
  9. Emptying the dust box is not immediately obvious, but, of course, once you know it’s not too bad.  However, that’s not all there is to it.  There’s a little perforated tube that gathers all the long bits of rubbish and wraps itself tightly in them.  This blocks up quickly, especially if SWMBO (or, of course, your goodself) has got long hair.  It needs a firm quarter-twist to remove it and, hey presto, your hand is covered in cr*ap.  Cleaning the hairs and threads off this tube is a bit of a marathon.   Then there are the filters.  I’ve had HEPA filter cleaners before, but none that clog their filters like this one.  Maybe it would be better if they’d put the filter such that the accumulated fine dust fell off into the dust box, but no: you quickly accumulate a 2 centimetre thick additional filter layer and the sucking plummets.  Until I discovered this filter, I found it impossible, after a couple of weeks, to pick anything up.

So, imagine the scenario.  You’re cleaning in a typically restricted British room.  You reach a corner and want to turn, so you step past the cleaner and tug on the hose.  What happens?  Does it docilely turn and trundle along behind you?  Does it h*ll!  The tug lifts the nose of the cleaner, the back hits the deck and further tugging stands it up on its arse.  Further tugging and it topples over onto its top or side.  Half the time this causes it to either switch off or try to reel in the cable…

So, generally, a cleaner to avoid.  Russell Hobbs really do need to go back to the drawing board with this heap of junk!

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