This is the Makita BCL180 using the
fantastic 18v Li-ion battery that powers the huge range of professional
tools. It is also available in a 14.4v version and replaces my old 12v
version that I loved and used for years.
I am currently using it every day and testing
and comparing it against the 22.2v Dyson DC35 - Digital Slim.
Both vacs have plenty of suction and come
with similar accessories. The main difference is that the Makita has a
bigger battery that runs for much longer than the Dyson. 25 mins
against 15 mins max, (on half power), Also the Makita battery can be used in
around 50 other powertools!
The Dyson is easier to empty and has a neat
wall mounted charger. If had to chose between them I would have to be the
Makita , mainly because I already have the battery and charger
from my Makita Drill. I also use the battery in a lamp, chainsaw , leaf
blower and jigsaw.
If you just don't have any Makita tools or
batteries already you will have to buy the vacuum separate to a battery
and charger but the total is still less than the Dyson, (£160 vs
I empty my vac straight into a plastic bag. The filter has 2 layers.
one is plastic one is cloth , both can be washed and re-used.
My filters have lasted 5 years before I felt the need to replace the
(£190 vs £240) approx
Both the Dyson DC35 and the Makita vacuum come
with extension pipes and wide floor attachments.
The Dyson crevice nozzle is longer so better under
* the Makita battery * charger are sold separately
The Dyson battery has 4v more current but way less
power. (in amps)
The Dyson battery is a round £50 to replace.
The Makita battery is way better and can be
used in 50 other tools.
A genuine Makita replacement is £70 and a acceptable
replica is around £50
My Makita batteries are 6 years old and are still
I tested the Makita against the Dewalt 18v vac and
much preferred the Makita as it had better filters and accessories.
Also the on/off switch being located on the handle, was easier to use.
The blue Makita vacuum shown above is now 7 years
old and I use it at least 3 times a week.
I used the original DC16 for a year, I liked the power and easy
I didn't like the short battery life, so was pleased to see the new
more powerful models appear.
The Dyson DC35 is the "big daddy" of the Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners as it has
the most power at 22.2volts and a Lithium ion battery that recharges
in 3.5 hours.
Whilst I have no doubt that it has the best and most consistent
suction, it is large, and the battery duration is very short at
around 6 minutes. This is because a big motor (hence the big
battery) is needed to power the dual cyclone that is unique to
The DC35 is a breakthrough in technology with looks to match. This hand vac is
ideal for small clean-ups and use in caravans, boats etc, but
remember it is not
designed to replace your main vacuum cleaner.
I like the "gun like" feel and I like the filtration and emptying features.
The brush attachment is too soft for my liking and the trigger has
to he held in and cannot be locked on. Otherwise it is good, but I
still prefer the Black & Decker for cleaning the cars. (RIP) The
Dyson does not last long enough to clean my big car, but just about
manages my mini!
Dyson attempt to resolve the problem of short run time by bringing out
a new model with 2 speeds and a digital motor. However it has the same sort of battery and charger
so I am not too excited about it. The Ergonomics have
improved and it is lighter. The new DC59 looks like the
best of the bunch with its long extension and powered head to save
you bending down and enabling larger areas of floor to be cleaned on
The most popular version, DC44 uses a Nickel Manganese Cobalt battery
that takes 5 hours to charge but gives consistent power for up
to 20 minutes.
This is all very good but at £279 it needs to be!
Further Update DC59 - more cyclones for extra suck!
The Latest and Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners tested by
( I am on a mission to find the overall winner)
Black & Decker Dustbusters
The Dustbuster is one of Black & Decker's longest running products and
has seen many incarnations.
It is designed to be used for cleaning up minor spillages or quick tidy
ups. It has a rechargeable battery and comes in many sizes.
From my experience the batteries last 3-5 years if regularly recharged
but sadly are not replaceable.
B&D make the batteries and motor as one module so it is uneconomic to
replace. Handy for them as you have to buy a new vacuum.
The pivot nose version takes up less space and is ideally located on a
shelf whilst the conventional longer Dustbusters are best wall mounted.
Pivot Nose Dustbusters
These compact little vacs have great suction and the double filter system works well.
The folding design makes it easy to store on
charger, and ideal on a kitchen worktop or shelf. Expelled air and dust is not blown into your face like the old dustbusters.
Occasionally the lid to the dustbox has not locked in and the
dust fallen out.
On my one the storage for the little brush is pants so you can easily lose it.
Both of these problems have been resolved
on new models
lid to the dustbox now has a better catch
Nozzle extension and brush are built in and just flip out when
use links below
I tested the 12, 14.4v and18v versions which has the same design and
filters. The 18v version is highly rated by reviewers on
Amazon and popular mechanics.
The 18v model is best value and is the the most powerful.
The new version has this neat folding brush on a slide-out nozzle
This solves the problem with loosing small accessories
Standard long nose (cyclonic) Dustbuster
(best wall mounted)
18 volt special edition Black & Decker Pivot Nose Dustbuster
(The newest models are more compact, & coloured white & blue)
My original model -
The best cordless vacuum cleaner for car mats!
New model is much improved with a see thru dust bin so you can
easily see when it is full
DeWalt Cordless Vacuums
DeWalt are a very innovative company who respond
quickly to customers needs and provide tools we want. If you buy a
DeWalt cordless drill you can also find a huge range of other
powertools to go with it. The 18v range is most favoured with
tradesmen and builders and is widely available. Three of the Fredshed
test team of tradesmen use these tools and swear by them. (The
others swear at them - or just swear)
This is me at Interbuild trying the excellent
DeWalt DC515N-XJ 18v cordless vacuum which
EVERY BUILDER SHOULD OWN! - you filthy devils
There is also a larger model that can run off
the mains as well, both are wet and dry!
The large model is both mains or battery
This is me, with the DeWalt 18v Li-ion Vacuum!
There is a larger model too but it runs off the same 18V battery.
I prefer the smaller one which is also a quarter of the price!
* make sure you dry the filter thoroughly if you
use it on liquids.
I tested the Makita against the small Dewalt 18v vac and much
preferred the Makita as it had better filters and accessories. Also
the on/off switch was easier to use.
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The 3 Robot Vacuum cleaners that I am currently
testing- from left to right
i Robot Roomba 581
XR - ( Roomba knock off)
i Robot Roomba 880
The latest and Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners
2011 I decided to purchase a Roomba 581 and it is still running today on
the same battery and all original parts. I take it apart regularly to keep
everything clean and free running.
It came with a remote control and a lighthouse to stop it
going where you don't want it too. I don't use either and tend to just set it
off and close it in a room until it is clean. As I travel a lot it is no
point me buggering about with complicated timer settings as I likely wont be
there to empty the bin.
The waste bins (dirt box) on all Robot Vacuum cleaners are
small and must be frequency emptied to keep the vacuum working properly.
Emptying is easy and so is cleaning the filter.
If I need them spare parts are widely available and reasonably
priced. The Roomba can be completely taken apart and all parts are
Several models have evolved from my old bot and most seem to
be highly regarded by their users. They are best suited to
uncluttered rooms . Most reports and reviews are positive but with
any hi tech rechargeable product problems can arise.
As new batteries become more powerful and cheaper these machines will be more
affordable and effective - just like the Robot mowers I started
using 10 years ago! watch this space!
This is my i Robot Roomba completely disassembled ( less than 5
i Robot Roomba 880
Tested Spring 2015
The 880 is an updated
version of my old 581 and looks very similar. It is vastly improved with a
better battery, dust box, filtration, remote control and new rubber rollers
instead of brushes.
It cleans like a legend and collects dust from rooms that look
It has the best system for untangling itself and always docks
This really is the best robotic vacuum cleaner I have seen!
Roomba 620 costs around £300 and is the equvilent of my trusty old
ThA replacement rechargeable battery is around £25-£35 and just
Is there a viable, cheaper alternative to the I robot range?
I have been testing this high spec robot vacuum cleaner that is around half the price
of the Roomba!
I don't know who makes the XR but it appears to be well made.
It has an ultra-violet light for killing germs but whilst this looks
funky I don't think it does much.
The mopping attachment is a waste of time and I binned it after 2
weeks. Until the battery died it was a fairly good Robot vacuum
cleaner. It did not dock or untangle itself as well as my Roomba so
I think they were not able to copy the I-robot software or
electronics - which is a good thing.
Which is the Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaner?
I test my i Robot Roomba 584 against the XR advanced Model
XR left- Roomba -right
I have owned the Roomba 584 for over 4 years and tested it against
rival XR Robot vacuum cleaner.
Both machines have similar specifications and are the same size.
The more expensive Roomba is better at docking itself for recharging
and it is also faster to untangle itself from cables, cords and
The XR is a little quieter but the manual is gobbledegook
Most significantly the XR battery started to deteriorate after 2
years and failed but the Roomba is still going strong. I cannot find
any support from the manufacturer of the XR so it looks like it is
destined to become LANDFILL
If you can
afford it the Roomba is a better deal as it will last longer and
spare parts are easily available.
This excellent new invention from Karcher of
Germany is a sort of cross between a wet -n-dry dustbuster and a
Firstly you soap up the window using a sponge (or
the spray gun and sheepskin supplied) and then swipe down the window
with the vac and in seconds you will have a perfectly clean window
with no smears or mess. All the dirty water is sucked into the
integral tank and kept away from the window.
The Karcher WV50 window vacuum is great on tiles
and cars too. I now use the Karcher every time I wash my car to dry
it off quickly after rinsing. This stops those annoying water spots
appearing. I find that the new smaller 170mm head is best on my cars
as it copes with the angles of the glass better.
I am a pretty hard person to please when it comes to
new gadgets but this one beat my expectations and also impressed my
window cleaning friend Chris and Polish cleaning lady ,who calls me
MacGyver, due to the enormous amounts of gadgets in my house.
You can see a short video of the Karcher
WV50Electric Window vacuum being used at my house
The Karcher WV50 did come with a spray bottle with a
built in cleaning head and can be used with just a drop of washing
up liquid or you can buy special Karcher window cleaning fluid ,
designed for this gadget.
The spray bottle/soaping head is now an accessory
and one you don't really need as any old sponge or cloth with do.
Sometimes the simplest machines are the best and
this little battery powered floor sweeper fits that description.
The Gtech SW02 is so light and efficient, you can
wizz round the room in seconds without the noise and effort of
plugging in a heavy vacuum cleaner.
I was amazed how much it picks up and it is so
easy to empty thanks to its nifty dirtbox that just slides out.
This machine can be used with one hand and is
perfect for all sorts of people including wheelchair users like me!
No bags, no cords, no filters- just picks up dirt
the easy way -by brushing
Surprisingly this little sweeper is ideal for DIY mess like
plaster and concrete dust (small pieces). This because is does not have
filters to block and just sweeps and collects. A smaller, cheaper
version is also available - see below
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