Last year, I reveiwed the Gtech Multi and I was really pleased with it. It had some great, well-thought-out features and I am still amazed by how powerful it is, and how far it goes on a single battery charge. So, when Gtech told me about the improvements they had made to the famous Airram design, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to put it through its paces. I was given it to try, and am, as always, impartial in my views. I have tried to find negatives, honest, but it really is a great little vacuum cleaner. The first thing I noticed, as soon as I opened it, was how few parts it has. It was ridiculously easy to put together, and very straightforward to use. The husband does not 'do' instructions, and even he hasn't had an issue with it!
My favourite features include; the battery, which pops out for charging, and the dust barrel, which has a switch to push out the dust, meaning you don't get dust on your hands. This is especially relevant to me, as I am very allergic to dust and this has always been a personal bugbear with barrel-type vacuums. The barrel is quite small and is housed in the base, but is big enough to comfortably clean my whole house before it needs emptying. It simply lifts out, you flick the dirt into the bin, and pop it back in, in seconds. The whole design of this appliance appears to have been built around ease of effort for the user. To clean the filter, you just slide it out of the barrel, rinse it, dry it, and put it back. Everything you need is really accessible and being able to take out the battery is a great safety fetaure too, so you don't risk your fingers when removing a blockage. It weighs hardly anything and is a dream to carry up and downstairs. It charges from flat in four hours, but, if you suddenly find you need it in a hurry, you can get a quick clean out of a one hour charge.
The battery indicator (visible in the photo below) has four sections, which all light up when it's full and gradually go out as it loses charge. The indicator is very bright and easy to see, even whilst you're using it, which is really helpful to keep an eye on your charge levels as you clean. Other ingenius features include: an ability to bend completely flat, for cleaning under furniture, more manoeuvrability than you would ever expect from a cleaner that looks pretty solid in design, and, wait for it... headlights. Yes, you read that right, this vacuum cleaner comes equipped with lights on the front making it look really cool. They are also surprisingly useful. Not many people vacuum in the dark, but if your house suffers from low light, like ours does, it makes it very easy to see where you've been and where you've missed! We loved the lights on the handheld Multi, particularly for doing the hard to reach bits in the car, but did not expect to find them on the Airram! There is a bit of a technique to using this cleaner that differs from a standard vacuum. It uses patented AirLOC technology, which means it picks up larger particles efficiently (watch out for Lego!) as well as fine dust. The way this works is there's a flap on the front that opens on the forward motion, picking up larger debris, and closes on the backwards motion, creating increased suction to pick up smaller bits. It is quite loud, and sounds like someone snoring, but, as long as you remember to go backwards and forwards with it, it works really well.
The downside to the lack of parts I mentioned earlier, is that there are no tools. Not one. It vacuums and that is all. Which is a bit of an issue when it comes to edges, not to mention nooks and crannies. In fairness, it does a pretty good job on the edges, better than our previous vacuum, but sometimes you need a little more, such as along the kitchen cabinets in the kitchen, and around the oven. If you have a handheld cleaner, either the Multi, or another with a long handle, this should pick up the slack, but if you don't and aren't intending to get one, you might find it a struggle if it's your only cleaner. I've read that some people use it as a secondary cleaner, alongside their main one, and I can see the attraction, as it is so light, for upstairs. It is also so much quicker if you have a large house and just want to give it a quick once-over, as you don't have to keep stopping to unplug and replug when the cable runs out. However, to get the most out of it, I would recommend coupling it with a good quality handheld, which is what we did and we haven't needed to use our old vacuum cleaner since. You can buy the AirRam and Multi together for £299, which I think is a bargain for the amount of flexibility you get. We have been really surprised by how easily we have switched from a standard vacuum to a cordless and barely notice it runs on a battery at all. I can do the whole house on one charge and then I just plug the battery in, ready for next time. Overall, I'd say the whole experience has been a roaring success and I would happily recommend it.
P.S. I know it's not very clean and new-looking, but that is because we have used it all over Christmas and have really put it through its paces!