Almost every household is equipped with a vacuum cleaner and the technology took a huge leap forward when the no loss in suction cleaner known as the 'Dyson' reinvented the vacuum cleaner market in 1993. This new vacuum cleaner known as the AEG Ultrapower or the Electrolux Ultrapower Studio (model number AG5012UK) demonstrates a technology that could leap and revolutionise the industry once again. Well, it's not so much the technology but its implementation we're impressed with.
Initial Low Expectations
We're talking about the cordless battery powered cleaner tech, which isn't a new concept to us or the industry. We've sampled this segment within the market in the past and weren't overly impressed. Suction suffered and battery life was poor. But AEG have paid specific attention on engineering a cordless vacuum cleaner with household heavy suction and long battery life, which is why we think it could capture the public's imaginations in a big way.
Design & Maneuverability
The lightness of the Ultrapower Plus is exceptionally striking when first coming into contact with this stick styled cleaner. It weighs a mere 4.84kg and in contrast to corded vacuum cleaners, such as the Dyson, it's notably effortless to pick up and transport. It comes in one colour currently, which is a deep metallic blue that we've discovered is very good at shielding off chips and scratches.
The 180 degree flexibility of the Ultrapower Plus is impressive, and this coupled with the lightness and compactness of the design presents a gymnast of sorts. It can swish into tight under-table space, zigzag around obstacles and can quickly change direction. Doing such quick manoeuvres hasn't dug up carpet or other floor materials and hasn't caused it to leave marks either.
Battery Life & Charging
It sports a removable, or as AEG market it 'exchangeable', 25.2 Volt Lithium battery that AEG claim can run for an hour from a full charge. Sceptical of this claim we vigorously put it to the test and the AEG Ultrapower Plus came up trumps. Three speed modes can be flicked through via the press of a button which is located underneath the power button. On medium suction speed it lasted for over an hour in our tests, with full suction it's around 30 minutes. With lowest suction setting enabled we never tested how long the cleaner's battery would last, but this setting wasn't strong enough for general use, but could be useful in certain scenarios, particularly if cleaning lightweight rugs. The cleaner has an LED bar signifying the charge of the battery, which is very visually clear and is always displayed on the front.
Charging the battery is very simple: AEG include a docking station within the box which plugs into the mains electricity, and once the cleaner is docked it will begin to conveniently charge.
Suction is something that really is of high importance on a vacuum cleaner. We have had bad experiences with regards to suction from battery powered vacuum cleaners previously, but we have to say that the suction presented from the AEG Ultrapower Plus is magnificent. The medium suction speed is well suited for general use on carpets and hard floors, with the cleaner performing well on all the surfaces we tried it on. The high speed setting is very powerful and is best used when a heavy duty task needs to be tackled, such as dog hair on a carpet. For instance, we found it necessary to use when we had large pieces of breadcrumbs on a hard floor and the medium suction speed didn't have enough power to suck these up.
The streamlined and light design, coupled with a powerful suction and its ability to go anywhere without the constraints of a chord, made us whip the Ultrapower Plus out on occasions when we wouldn't have bothered with a corded cleaner, meaning a cleaner and better environment. It's also relatively quiet in use and people can have a conversation without having to shout when it's in operation.
One area that this cleaner cannot presently compete is in that of cleaning furniture and reaching in narrow and awkward tight spaces. This is because it has no hose for added tools. Perhaps this could be something for the future?
The cleaning nozzle has a row of four LED headlights on its front, these are always functioning when the cleaner is on. There is no way to disable them, but how much of a contribution they make to battery drain is debatable as LED lighting draws a very low wattage. We originally thought that these wouldn't be much use when cleaning well lit environments, but when vacuuming under tight and dimly lit spaces we realised we were very wrong, they help highlight dirt which you could otherwise have missed. And under tables or cupboards the usefulness of the LEDs is unquestionable. Those who have partial OCD-like cleanliness will adore such facilities.
Dust Container & Filter
This is a bagless vacuum cleaner and so is somewhat similar to the cyclone technology found within a Dyson. A dust container is easily removed at the press of a button from the front of the cleaner. A spring loaded filter will knock the dust from within it into the dust container. Then the filter will unclip from the dust container allowing the contents to be discarded. The amount of storage isn't huge and will likely have to be emptied a few times a week if used to clean a house every day. But as this isn't an overly difficult procedure it's not really a problem.
A clever new technology implemented known as BrushRollClean enables the brush roll to clean itself from the press of a button on the cleaner's nozzle. This is important to keep the performance of the cleaner maximised. It works in seconds, saving all the hassle from having to remove the brush roll from underneath the cleaner and unravel fibres and such. Definitely a plus for hygiene, but the brush roll can be removed is desired.
A Literal Downside
The only true flaw we found from using the AEG Ultrapower Plus every day was that its self-standing design is flawed. On very level flat surfaces it works perfectly, but when left self-standing on a surface with any degree of unevenness we found the cleaner would fall over unexpectedly. So a more secure self-standing design would be greatly appreciated. When not using the cleaner we tended to dock it onto its charging cradle which stops it from overbalancing and falling.
The AEG Ultrapower Plus vacuum cleaner makes the tiresome chore that is cleaning, dare we say it, mildly enjoyable and far less of a hassle. It's the best cordless vacuum cleaner we've ever used.