Mark Harris
10 BEST VACUUM CLEANERS - The Independent, 8 September 2004

Technology expert Mark Harris chooses a selection of super sucking cleaners to blow you away

Polti Vaporetto Steam Cleaner £320
Vacuum cleaners are great for dust and loose dirt but for serious grime, only a proper steam cleaner will do. The Vaporetto turns ordinary tap water into very fine, dry, high-pressure steam heated to 120°C, dissolving grease and killing germs, bacteria and household dust mites. Its aluminium tank holds enough water for about an hour of steam cleaning, but you should always use a normal vacuum on your carpet beforehand.
John Lewis (0845 604 9049;

Hoover The One £230
Beneath its space-age design and ridiculous name, The One turns out to be a very capable cleaner. An 1800W motor provides tremendous suction, and it really is very easy to switch between floor surfaces, empty the bagless dust container or deploy the spring-out stair cleaning tool, all with a single touch. This loud, heavy and tough vacuum is best suited to larger houses.
Hoover (01685 721222;

Electrolux Trilobite ZA1 £1000
If you’re nervous about handing your house keys to a human cleaner, try this robot vacuum instead. Its ultrasonic navigation isn’t infallible - you’ll end up with some dusty corners - but at least there’s no danger of it polishing off your sherry and calling Australia while you’re at work. It can clean regularly throughout the day, returning to its base station automatically when it needs to recharge.
Electrolux (0870 605 5055;

Henry Hound £180
Henry has been blowing his own trumpet for well over 20 years, and is as close as you get to a classic in home cleaning. Behind his ever-smiling face, Henry’s technology has moved on. This high-end model comes with a huge Odourtex activated charcoal filter to lock bad smells into the large 9-litre dust bag, plus a bewildering variety of nozzles and accessories.
Numatic (01460 68600;

Hoover Freejet £70
An astonishing 10,000 people each year suffer vacuum cleaner-related injuries, so if you’re fed up with tripping over cables (or even just annoyed at having to change sockets every few minutes), take a look at the cordless Freejet. It has a bagless cyclonic system and a neat folding design, but it’s less powerful than most mains-powered units and you’ll only get 15 minutes of wireless freedom before it needs recharging.
Hoover (01685 721222;

Dyson DC08 Animal £300 ---- BEST LUXURY BUY
Gadget-packed Dysons have made cleaning cool, and this cylinder sucker is no exception. Every nozzle and flap has an ergonomic clip or foldaway storage pod, and the whole thing curls up on itself for compact storage. This pet-friendly model comes with a bactericidal, anti-allergy filter, a Turbo Brush for fur collection and even two months’ free pet insurance in case you use it too close to the hamster cage.
Dyson (01666 827200;

Miele Art S928 £160
Don’t be fooled by this upright cleaner’s slim styling or modest weight (6kg), it has a powerful 1000W motor and an anti-allergy HEPA filter. There’s a generous 8-metre power cord and an additional 2.3-metre stainless steel telescopic tube attachment. Male shoppers should note that despite its red rose pattern, the Art cleaner is not suitable as a romantic gift.
John Lewis (08456 049049;

Panasonic MCE468 £70 ---- BEST BUDGET BUY
Vacuum cleaners with bags may be yesterday’s technology, but they’re also available at yesterday’s prices. Panasonic’s great value 1600W upright cleaner hasn’t got any ground-breaking gizmos, just solid performance, five-stage dust filtration and a sizable (6.1 litre) bag. Some of the more expensive cleaners would also do well to copy its wide edge-to-edge head, for cleaning right up to the skirting board.
Panasonic (0870 535 7357;

PetVax £180 --- BEST BUY
If your dog wipes his feet before scampering through the house, you’ll have no need for this wet/dry cleaner. Owners of less considerate or accident-prone pets will welcome its pumped water carpet washing system, combination head for all surfaces and 1300W vacuum motor. The spill kit includes odour filter and stain remover, although carpets will take a couple of hours to dry after using the wash function.
Vax (01905 795959;

Black and Decker 9.6V Dustbuster £50
This handheld vacuum uses a cyclonic action similar to the latest mains-powered uprights, swirling the air around to collect larger bits of dirt instead of having them stick to the filter. The rechargeable 9.6V model is perfect for finishing off awkward corners and tackling the occasional (dry) spill, or there’s a 12V version (£55) if you need a little more power.
Black & Decker (01753 511 234;

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