A bizarre quirk of my job in 2021 is that I get sent a new cordless vacuum cleaner practically every week. Aside from true wireless earbuds, I can't think of a product that rolls off Chinese production lines in quite such prodigious numbers. This is an interesting development, as not so long ago, there was only really one company making the things. If you wanted cordless, you wanted a Dyson cordless vacuum or nothing.
In truth, not that many people wanted cordless for anything other than the car or cleaning up little spills. They were impressive for their time but ultimately underpowered and overpriced. Now, that has all changed. Cordless vacs make up easily the lion's share of the vac market and there are dozens of brands producing them to a very high standard. Not to mention a number of brands producing them to a not-very-high-at-all standard, but we're not here to dwell on that.
Practically all of these wire-free vacuum cleaners follow the Dyson template of a motor unit with a handle at one end, a detachable tube at the other, for cleaning your floors without having to get on your hands and knees, and a bag-less bin in the middle for, you know, storing all the crud. Most are good, some are excellent, they're becoming something of a blur, and Dyson still makes them better – and more 'premium priced' than anyone else.
However, now a new champion has risen from the east! The Roborock H7, coming soon to a floor near you, is super light, relatively inexpensive and has impressive sucking power and battery life. And in a genuinely novel twist, you can use it either with or without bags.
I have already subjected it to Trial by Sucking up Nasty Stuff and the H7 looks like a winner.
- Dyson V15 Detect review – the current state of the art in cordless
Roborock H7 price and availability
My H7 has evidently arrived super early, since it's not sale in the USA until July, and there's no launch date or price for the UK or Australia as yet. The pricing I do know is a very reasonable $499 in America, which would equate to £350 and AUS$650, if the world was a fair place. since it isn't, it'll probably be more like £400 and AUS$750.
It sucks up hair! It sucks up glass!
The one undeniably great thing about being sent loads of cordless vacuum cleaners is I don't feel any obligation to treat them with any care whatsoever. Don't consider this a review, more a snapshot, but here's what I have found so far.
First, I used it after cutting my own hair – lockdown habits die hard, and it's not like I have a lot of hair to cut. I did this in the bathroom after a shower, so the floor was rather moist. 'If it dies, it dies,' I thought, but the H7 happily gobbled up the wet hair. Well, it probably wasn't very happy about it, but it did it.
Later on, while snipping the spine out of a chicken with a pair of scissors – this is a process known as 'spatchcocking' and means you can cook it faster – contrived to knock over a heavy tumbler, which duly smashed into a million pieces, and stabbed me in the hand.
I feel like you're not only learning a lot about the Roborock H7 here but also getting a fascinating glimpse into my day-to-day lifestyle.
I picked up the largest and sharpest bits of glass and then reached for the Roborock. Again, it was able to 'hoover' – sorry, 'Hoover' – up the fragments without complaint. So basically on the first day of use, the H7 had done two of the worst jobs a vacuum cleaner can ever be asked to do. Next, I shall use it to clean soil and leaves off my balcony and then get back to you.
Everything about the H7 feels very modern and plush. For a start the main body is tiny – about one third shorter and a bit lighter than the Dyson V15 Detect – and has a very pleasing push button above its handle to toggle betwixt the three cleaning speeds. Where a lot of modern Dysons have been decidedly on the bulky side, and hence not ideal for handheld use – a situation admittedly now address by the tiny and zippy Dyson Omni-glide – the H7 moves effortlessly from grown-up floor cleaner to handheld dust-buster, just by removing the cleaning tube and adding the brush or crevice head instead.
It also fully charges in just 2 and a half hours, and serves up an industry leading 90 minutes of battery life. Admittedly only on its lowest power setting, but it's still an impressive stat. Suction is perhaps not as 'awesome' as the box claims, at 160AW – the V15 Detect has 240AW – but it's incredibly impressive for something so small.
The only thing so far that has disappointed is the dustbin. Where most cordless vac bins these days have fantastically elaborate emptying mechanisms, the H7 employs a method that I can only describe as 'the bottom flaps down and the dirt falls out'. Except in a small, half-litre bin, quite often the compact detritus will not fall out, and you will have to get out a chopstick to fish it all out.
However, the Roborock H7 even has a further, handy trick up its sleeve here: you can just to use it with dust bags instead. This is good news for you, as emptying becomes easier, and great news for Roborock, as it can sell you more dust bags and become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. You get two in the box. I haven't tried it yet but when the full review of this thing appears in July, I will have a full report for you.
The best thing about the H7 is that it has gone back to the original Dyson template of a compact design that moves easily between stand-up vac and handheld. But while the dimensions and design have a pleasingly retro feel, the battery tech and suction power are bang up to date. Oh, and the charger/wall mount is magnetic so all the attachments stick to it, like a mother vacuum feeding her babies. Nice one.
• While you wait for the Roborock H7 to arrive, why not check out the best cordless vacuum cleaners you can buy?