JSHarris

Vacuum cleaner recommendations?

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After nearly 30 years of sterling service, my ancient VAX is showing signs that all is not well.  It's a 121, the original wet and dry model, and bits have gradually been breaking/failing for some time, and now the motor is making ominous noises, so I suspect it's not long for this world. 

 

I could just rebuild it, as you can still get motors and all the other parts for these, so around £80 would see me with all the parts needed to fix the bits that I know need fixing, assuming there's nothing else about to fail.

 

However, the VAX 121, very good as it is, is a bit big and cumbersome, so I'm thinking of just buying a replacement, rather than just go on fixing it. 

 

Something like a Henry might be an option, I don't really need the wet and dry capability any more, but I don't like upright vacuum cleaners at all, so it needs to be the same sort of form factor as the old VAX or the Henry.  We already have a cordless vacuum for all the light and fiddly work - what I'm looking for is a machine with far more suction than a cordless machine and that's tough enough to be used for things like cleaning out the back of my car, or vacuuming the workshop floor, as well as very occasional household use.  It doesn't need to have a particularly good carpet cleaning action, so I can live without rotating brushes in the head.  Not fussed if it looks pretty or not - we've lived with an ugly, bright orange, VAX for 30 years.  The only thing I wouldn't give house room is a Dyson; we bought one once and it was the most useless, over-priced bit of junk I've ever seen.

 

Can anyone recommend a tough, high suction power, replacement, please?

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Some of the new small cyclonic units work exteremely well After having smoked the motor of our previous cyclonic Vax we got another (a C86E2) earlier this year and it's quite remarkable. The dust container is a reasonable size and solid debris up to about 20mm will get through the cyclone into the bin. Very little ultrafine gets through to the main filter.

Runs a turbo head waay better than anything before it so motor size aint the be all and end all.

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19 minutes ago, dpmiller said:

Some of the new small cyclonic units work exteremely well After having smoked the motor of our previous cyclonic Vax we got another (a C86E2) earlier this year and it's quite remarkable. The dust container is a reasonable size and solid debris up to about 20mm will get through the cyclone into the bin. Very little ultrafine gets through to the main filter.

Runs a turbo head waay better than anything before it so motor size aint the be all and end all.

 

Thanks, I can get one from Argos for around the same price as a replacement motor for the old VAX, so looks worth a punt.

Edited by JSHarris

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Sorry Jeremy, my notes were wrong, it's a C88AM but the filter set is common.

 

..just looked on vax.co.uk. Eeek! ours didn't cost that much!!!!

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Thanks for the update and PM, saved me pressing the button on something that probably isn't up to the job.  I'll have a hunt around for deals on the C88AM.

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@JSHarris

 A dry Henry is likely to be a George without the wet kit. They still advertise models over the EU limit, so perhaps it has as many holes as the incandescent lighting ban.

 

Screwfix sometimes gave Henry type Hoovers on offer in store.

 

Aldi have a 1500w wet dry workshop model for £50, which should be OK.

https://www.aldi.co.uk/workzone-wet-and-dry-workshop-vacuum/p/078756159811300

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Thanks, 1500W sounds like a sensible amount of power. IIRC, the old VAX is either 1200 W or 1400 W, and has great suction, when the bag and filters are clean.  My wife wouldn't ever use the VAX (probably why it's still working after 30 years) as she reckoned the suction was too great, and tended to stick the head to the carpet,  I did show her the small suction reducing slot control, but she seemed to always forget to use it.  It also did a passable job of washing fitted carpets, not quite as good as the professional machines, but not bad,

 

I've always been amazed by the capability of the old VAX.  It was thoroughly abused during the build, and used to clean up lumps of plaster, concrete dust, loads of sawdust and never once complained.  Before that it was used as the shop vac in my old workshop, sucking up wood, plastic and metal swarf, without any problems. The only modifications I made to it were to change the standard filters for some cut from a left over roll of hob extractor filter fleece and change the standard paper bags for reusable, washable bags (a very worthwhile mod, it increases the suction a great deal I found).  The failures have been bits of old plastic going brittle, in the main.  I've had to repair the plastic filter support grid a handful of times now, and replace both the bucket catches, but that doesn't seem bad for a machine that's worked hard for some many years.

 

The Henry type machines look similarly robust to the VAX, but less cumbersome.  I had noticed that all the contract cleaners when I was still working used Henrys, so that must speak well for their reliability when used heavily.

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+1 For Henry.  We have a  VAX for wet dry work and a Henry for everyday it's very good at least as good as the VAX while the cable wind and two speed control make it excellent. Only brought it to clean our sons uni room when he moved out and we now love it.

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Henrys pretty bombproof I use it and like you, notice contract cleaners do too. Perhaps as @Ferdinand says try to source a non eu handicapped model. What's this about conversion kit to wet and dry?!

 

also my Henry has lost one of his legs (wheels). Presume you can buy spares but every wheel I've tried to nick off other Henry's never seems to come off easily!

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Might be worth trying a local auction house for a second hand Henry. I've been to the auction house in Bedford a few times and each time the seem to have several - perhaps a Bedford has a lot of cleaning companies go bust or something?

Edited by Temp

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I bought two Henry’s at auction a couple of months back - £15 each. They are 110v but the more powerful ones. You need the proper bags in them and usually the filter needs a good clean but they are great. 

 

The other thing to bear in mind is Numatic who make Henry make an industrial hoover with the same guts but a different casing. These come up at auction a lot and get ignored as people are looking for the Henry’s ... 

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I'd buy TWO of these in a heartbeat if they were still available. Take some serious wet & dry abuse. Bought mine branded as Wickes but Earlex did them too. A bit noisy maybe but super powerful.

 

Got to be careful to by decent wet and dry filters rather than the "yellow" copies which are crap. I'd have this if it was nearer. Tbh I hose my filters clean and re-use. I WISH I'd bought the spare hose sets and filters when TLC Direct had them on clearance.  

 

https://www.gumtree.com/p/wet-dry-vacuums/wickes-wet-and-dry-hoover-/1266426054

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24 minutes ago, Onoff said:

I'd buy TWO of these in a heartbeat if they were still available. Take some serious wet & dry abuse. Bought mine branded as Wickes but Earlex did them too. A bit noisy maybe but super powerful.

 

Got to be careful to by decent wet and dry filters rather than the "yellow" copies which are crap. I'd have this if it was nearer. Tbh I hose my filters clean and re-use. I WISH I'd bought the spare hose sets and filters when TLC Direct had them on clearance.  

 

https://www.gumtree.com/p/wet-dry-vacuums/wickes-wet-and-dry-hoover-/1266426054

 

+1 I've got the wickes one. Had it years and it's been well and truly abused wet and dry. Still going strong. 

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10 hours ago, Oz07 said:

Henrys pretty bombproof I use it and like you, notice contract cleaners do too. Perhaps as @Ferdinand says try to source a non eu handicapped model. What's this about conversion kit to wet and dry?!

 

also my Henry has lost one of his legs (wheels). Presume you can buy spares but every wheel I've tried to nick off other Henry's never seems to come off easily!

 

Perhaps I misunderstood something. I perceived there to be a Dry Hoover with an added kit for use with wet from the Numatic website.

 

F

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33 minutes ago, worldwidewebs said:

We have a Henry and it's very good, but it's a VERY poor relation to the Miele we also have.

 

What are the main differences?

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We also have a Miele. They're fairly compact and pretty indestructible and maintain good suction even when the bag is almost full. 

 

Treated ourselves to a new one when we moved in but the old one (must be pushing 18 years old) is still going strong and is now the basement / building vacuum.

 

However, I couldn't resist posting this... http://newsthump.com/2017/03/29/dyson-begins-work-on-new-10000-watt-vacuum-cleaner-for-proud-brexiters/

 

 

  • Haha 2

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2 hours ago, Nickfromwales said:

@JSHarris

I have a mint condition Henry up for cheap. 

Do you want it? 

 

Nick, remember what happened last time you tried to sell one of the kids...

 

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1 hour ago, Bitpipe said:

 

Nick, remember what happened last time you tried to sell one of the kids...

 

It's ok, I've worked it out now. B|

Sell them and move house immediately 

:ph34r:

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If there anything like mine they will be left back on your doorstep before the nights out.

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9 hours ago, Nickfromwales said:

@JSHarris

I have a mint condition Henry up for cheap. 

Do you want it? 

 

 

Thanks for the offer,  Nick, but SWMBO has decreed that a Henry looks "too industrial".................

 

I took the car in for a service today, and whilst kicking my heels around town popped in to the new appliance "super store" that's just opened.  By luck they had a range of (not particularly cheap) vacuum cleaners that you could have a go with, and one was the Vax C88-AM-PE (different name in the shop, but same part number on the unit, so same spec) that @dpmiller suggested.  I was impressed, it's relatively small and light, has loads of suction, and looks a bit less industrial than a Henry.

 

So, I came home, did a bit of surfing around, and bought a new one for £60, with the 6 year manufacturers guarantee and it comes with the rotating brush head (not fussed about that, but it might be useful for cleaning the car).

 

Pity the price in the store in town was massively greater than the online price..................

 

It should be here by Thursday, so if I get a chance before we shoot off to our favourite holiday hotel for a few days R&R (this one: http://www.burghisland.com/ - the cocktails would probably appeal to @Ferdinand...................) I'll try and post a review in this thread as to how it compares with other machines we've had, ranging from the crappy Dyson to the superb old Vax 121 (I reckon the suction of the Vax C88-AM-PE is on a par with the ancient Vax 121, from my quick test).

Edited by JSHarris
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