Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet review in a sentence: it looks quite like a Dyson, cleans a lot like a Dyson and costs way less than a Dyson…
The cordless vacuum cleaner industry is currently awash with contenders as our increasingly lengthy Best Cordless Vac guide so amply illustrates. Where once we had the choice of a Dyson, a Dyson or a Dyson, now it’s gloves-off time with hordes of cordless models with unpronounceable names pouring in from abroad, but mostly mainland China.
This is a good thing because it gives us more choice. However, with prices often in excess of £400 for an averagely decent cordless model, you’d be forgiven for thinking that anything below, say, £260 should be avoided like el plago. But you’d be wrong because there are some cracking cordless vacs out there that don’t cost the earth – like this pet-specific model from carpet cleaning crackerjack, Vax.
This writer has been using the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet for a couple of months now and, for the keen price of £259.99, it has performed exceptionally well. Incidentally, if you don't have pets, the standard Blade 4 (sans the extra motorised pet tool) is even cheaper – £219.99.
So what’s so good about this cordless vac then? Let me tell you.
Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet review: Design
While not quite up to overall Dyson standards, the Blade 4 Pet is robustly built and looks like it could withstand quite a few bumps and scrapes. Where most cordless vacs have their motor housing and dust collectors in an in-line vertical position, the ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet’s is horizontally orientated. This make it easier to remove the bin by simply squeezing two clips together. The downside is that it doesn’t look as streamlined and it feels a little ungainly in handheld mode.
At 3.1kgs, this model is a bit heavier than some but you only really notice it when cleaning above head height. Thankfully, its weight is of little concern when using it on floors though the acute angle of the handle means it isn’t as comfortable in the hand as, say, the ROIDMI RS60, the benchmark in comfort.
At just 22cm in width, the Blade 4 Pet’s antimicrobial brush bar is about 3cm shy of Dyson’s V11 benchmark so it will likely require a few more back-and-forth sweeps to cover the same surface area.
On the power front, this model uses a brushless motor for long-term reliability and a rechargeable Vax ONEPWR lithium ion battery that’s hot swappable with other ONEPWR devices. It comes with two levels of suction plus the wherewithal to engage the motorised brush head for carpet or rugs.
It also comes with an LED headlight (or Dust Tracker) to illuminate darker recesses of the abode and a cheap but cheerful wall mount-cum-charging bay for those who can be bothered to drill some holes in the wall.
Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet review: Performance
For a cordless stick vacuum that costs less than £260, this one is an exceptional performer. Although the lowest suction setting is perfectly fine for light dusting duties on hard floors, it’s pretty useless for picking up anything bigger than a small cornflake. But switch it to the higher level and the suction increases five fold, sucking up practically all detritus – including rice, oats, cornflakes and shredded paper – from hard floors with consummate ease. You should reasonably expect about 45 minutes of running time in this configuration.
For carpets and rugs, the high setting with the motorised brush engaged is even more powerful – you also get the benefit of headlight in this mode. In our rug test, the full monty mode (ie high power with motorised brush) vacuumed a rug as well as the Dyson V11, though the battery did fade away in about 10 minutes. This may sound terrible but truth is, nearly all current cordless vacs run out of juice very quickly when used at full pelt – the Dyson V11 only manages about five minutes more and yet it costs nearly three times the price of the Vax. Remember, in the real world, 10 minutes of vacuuming is usually plenty enough time to cover a couple of carpeted rooms, and possibly more.
If things get really hairy – like the dog bed, sofa or car seats – with this model you get an extra mini motorised pet tool that genuinely makes an impression, removing pretty much all signs of canine and feline life.
The 0.60-litre dust collector is of average size for a cordless stick and the three-stage filtration system does a great job of keeping dust and musty carpet smells to a minimum. But while the removable bin is a doddle to eject and easy enough to empty, it is a bit fiddly putting it back on again.
The main drawback of the Vax Blade 4 Pet compared to Dysons is that it's much less fun to use as a handheld. Yes, the crevice tool is very handy for cleaning in tight spaces, but the motor-cum-bin unit feels a bit cumbersome and heavy in the hand.
Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet review: Verdict
In high mode, the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet sucks as well as the best in class. However, carpet use will chew through the battery’s reserves very quickly and the narrower-than-average brush head will add a little more time to the cleaning session. But if you’re after an otherwise extremely efficient cordless stick vac that costs a lot less than the majority of the competition, then consider popping this one on the list.