Two floor cleaner reviews in one week, you would think I should have the cleanest floors in Pennsylvania right now, but that’s a whole other story… The real story today is that of the Gtech’s new AirRam floor cleaner. A bag-less, cyclone-less, cord-less cleaner. Wait…cyclone-less? Yes, you read that right – in an age where everyone is concerned with giving their sweeper’s more and more power to suck things up, Gtech is taking a much different approach. Rather than making a power-hungry vacuum that sucks everything it encounters up, the AirRam used high-powered bristles to fling dirt and other things into its containment cups. A small fan then works to compress that dirt into small and easily manageable “bails” – or that’s the theory anyway. So how well does it actually work?
Well first let’s talk about everything the AirRam does right. For starters, it definitely does what it claims when it says it wants to be a “greener” cleaning solution. At its peak, the AirRam only draws 100w of power – a considerable amount less than say a Dyson. One thing that is really nice is that the AirRam has a USB connection in order to hook it up to your computer where you can actually see the power usage and how much you’re saving in energy costs. According to the data, it looks as if the AirRam could potentially pay for itself in savings over a five-year period. If that’s true, then you won’t bother reading our review of the Gtech AirRam MK2. Now that might not seem impressive to some people, but if you look at how much the electricity costs to run other vacuums, the reality hits home.
Being a cordless upright vacuum is another thing that really impressed me with the AirRam – and the fact that it has a really long run time. The good folks at Gtech say the run time is enough to clean an average house two times, but with both floors of my house being carpeted I found it easier just to charge it after each use – besides, the kids love to use it and they never remember to charge it. As it stands though, during testing I turned it on, flipped it over, and let it run once fully charged – the battery lasted an impressive 47 minutes, which is a hell of a lot longer than I expected it to. I’ve used cordless spot vacuums that had a lot less run time than that. Now for those that need a little history lesson, ten years ago Gtech brought the world its first battery-powered floor cleaner – it looks like they’ve learned quite a bit since then. Yes, a lot of that can be attributed to how much better Lithium-Ion batteries are compared to the batteries of ten years ago – but don’t let that take anything away from how well they make them work.
Now I mentioned that my kids love to use it, and that is because of just how light the AirRam is. Coming in at right around seven pounds (3.5 kg), the AirRam packs the punch of a heavyweight in a light weight’s skin. Where my daughters would often complain about having to carry a large vacuum up to their rooms to clean, they both run and fetch the AirRam any time they need a quick sweep.
Now looking at the slim body and seeing how lightweight the AirRam is, one could easily make the assumption that its capacity to hold dirt would be as minuscule as its own frame, and you know what they say about making assumptions… Gtech claims that because of the compression of the “bails” the AirRam can hold as much dirt as a Dyson DC24, and after using it I am inclined to believe them. It can do my living room and dining room before needing to be emptied – now before you go saying “wait, that’s only two rooms!”, let me explain my house’s composition.
For starters there are five people, then add in five dogs (two of which shed horribly), one Senegal parrot, and one Blue and Gold Macaw who loves to throw all of her food, and you can see what kind of messes I have to deal with. Saying it can handle the two rooms with the most foot/paw traffic is no small feat indeed. With messes like that, you’ll need to know how to use a wet-dry vac for water spills.
So what are some of the downsides to the AirRam? Well for starters, there are no hoses or attachments, so if you need to get underneath something like a couch or entertainment center, you will undoubtedly need to have another vacuum on hand. It is an extreme annoyance, and one of the main things that will keep the AirRam from being truly perfect. I would much rather have a “one-stop” cleaning solution. Another thing is that while the “bails” are great once they’re in the plastic, as soon as you go to dump them they fall apart as you would expect. Now, this wouldn’t be much of a big deal except Gtech makes it seem like once they’re in the “bail” form they’ll be neat and tidy. Another thing that, while not a negative per se, was incredibly comical to me was that the AirRam software can be used to track your caloric output from sweeping. I’m not really sure about the use of this since you would be burning calories no matter what vacuum you used, so it ends up feeling a bit gimmicky. Lastly, the Gtech AirRam is unfortunately not sold in the US yet. Across the pond in the UK? Go ahead and grab yourself one, but for the rest of us over here (minus the lucky few like myself who were sent one) it’s a waiting game to see when they bring it over.
The Bottom Line: If you’re anywhere but the UK, keep your eyes out for news of the AirRam coming to your area – it’s lightweight form and heavy duty cleaning abilities make it a definite keeper, just don’t expect it to handle all of your cleaning needs.
If you’re in the UK you can pick up an AirRam from Gtech’s site for £229, the rest of the world has to wait :(
just bought one – yes the downside is attachments but it vacs much better than my dyson . really impressed , light and no cord ;) happy
Absolutely perfect review. In-depth enough to assess viability, and brief enough to read whilst on the loo. Thanks very much for taking the time to post this, you have really helped me.
Good in-depth review, thank you from one who is thinking of buying one!