Keeping the home clean isn’t exactly at the top of the ‘fun things to do’ list, is it? But good products that make use of clever technology can certainly make the task easier and quicker, which is why I’m always interested in new innovations that promise to do just that. We’ve been testing out the new Gtech AirRam Mk2 cordless vacuum cleaner, to see how well it performs in a busy family home.
The original Gtech AirRam was launched in 2012 and fast became the UK’s best-selling cordless vacuum cleaner. The AirRam Mk2 retains all the popular features of the original model, while adding some new design features and innovations that claim to make it even easier to use, and more effective at cleaning the home.
Our current vacuum cleaner
Our existing vacuum cleaner is a canister design – the sort that has a long hose with a range of attachments for the end. It’s great for getting to hard-to-reach areas and provides powerful suction, but it’s also quite bulky, really heavy, and takes up a fair amount of cupboard space. We also have a small hand-held cordless vacuum cleaner which is intended for those quick cleanups, but it’s suction is very limited and the battery life is poor, which means more often than not we just get the dustpan and brush out instead. I was very keen to see if the AirRam Mk2 could do the job of both machines, and then some.
The Gtech AirRam Mk2 – first impressions
Out of the box, the AirRam Mk2 is a lovely-looking product. The design is modern, sleek and simple, with a grey and green colour scheme. The aluminium handle gives a nice contrast of texture and can be retracted for easier storage.
I knew the AirRam was lightweight – it weighs in at just 3.5kgs – which is great for ease of use all around the home, but I was a bit concerned that this might translate into flimsiness. Not so: it feels very well-made and sturdy. The whole unit is really compact too, which makes it much easier to store than our current model.
The AirRam Mk2 is supplied in four pieces: the main body, two handle parts and the battery unit. It’s very easy to put together and took less than a minute. The battery comes with some charge, but I charged it fully before use.
It’s worth pointing out that the AirRam is specially designed for floor cleaning, and can cope with carpets and hard floors equally well. There are absolutely no settings to change, so you can switch between surfaces without any fiddling around. It isn’t a vacuum cleaner that comes with attachments and crevice tools, so if you’re looking for a cleaner that’s all about floors and doesn’t have lots of extra bits to store, it’s great. If you want to tackle the more hard-to-reach areas in the home, the Gtech Multi is a hand-held model specifically designed for this purpose.
We’ve been using the AirRam Mk2 for a few weeks now, and have really put it through it’s paces in a family home – including during the busy, messy Christmas period. So what’s it like to use?
A doddle, actually. It’s lightweight, manoeuvrable, uncomplicated – and powerful.
The handle has been cleverly designed with ease of use in mind; it pivots at the base allowing super-easy steering. The base has quite a low profile, which means you can reach under most sofas and tables, and as it’s cordless you’re not limited by reach or trip hazards. I LOVE the bar of lights along the front; as well as helping you see what you’re doing under furniture, they look seriously cool.
On our hard floors, I think the AirRam’s performance was very similar to our current vacuum cleaner. The suction is impressive, and it did a great job of picking up all visible crumbs and dust. I can tell when our hard floors are still dirty as they have a gritty feeling underfoot, and there was no sign of this after using the AirRam.
As I moved onto the carpeted areas, I could feel the AirRam adjusting to the different surface with ease. While our current vacuum cleaner is hard work on carpets, requiring lots of elbow grease, I thought it had been doing a pretty good job. Then I used the AirRam, and couldn’t believe what it picked up. So much hair and dirt after just one vacuum!! This is thanks to the powerful rotating brush bar, which really does get into the carpet pile and give it a thorough clean. After a few weeks of use our carpets look much fresher, and I’m sure we’ve significantly cut down on the amount of dust floating about. Impressive.
I thought the AirRam Mk2 might struggle a bit with cleaning right up to the edge, mainly because I’ve always used nozzle attachments to get right into the edges of skirting and cupboards. It doesn’t struggle at all though, and picks up every bit of dust and dirt. It’s a similar story on stairs too: because it’s so compact and lightweight, you can easily lift it and run it along each stair for effective cleaning that avoids all the hassle of hoses and attachments.
In addition to performing well on dust and fine debris, The Mk2 model boasts Gtech’s new patented AirLOC system, which is designed to pick up larger objects too. Having accidentally vacuumed up more than one small toy component, I can confirm that this works really well! Should you need to retrieve something like this, the clear dirt capsule make it quite easy to do that when you empty it.
When it’s time to empty out the dirt, the new AirRam has a redesigned dirt collection system which is easier to use and cuts down on mess. The dirt is compressed into a capsule in the head of the vacuum, which improves capacity. When you’re ready to empty it, you can remove it from the base without opening it, then hold it over the bin and slide the ejector arm to eject the dirt in one quick action. It does create a puff of dust, so I’m emptying it over an external bin, but the amount of dust is definitely reducing as we use the AirRam more. The built-in filter is similarly easy to remove and clean, and it’s also washable.
Cordless appliances always bring up the worry of battery life, and with something like a vacuum cleaner you really want to be able to cover the whole house without re-charging. The AirRam Mk2 has a redesigned battery housing, and a professional grade 22V Lithium-ion battery which runs for up to 40 minutes on one 4-hour charge. For me, that’s more than enough to cover every room in the house. You can also do a short 1-hour charge for a burst of additional run time. The base has a 4-stage LED display so you can monitor the charge easily. I really like the fact that you can remove the battery pack for charging; you don’t have to store the AirRam near a power source, and you can put it away while you’re charging.
The Gtech AirRam Mk2 has totally exceeded my expectations. It’s well-designed, high quality, and super-easy to use. It also really performs on the actual vacuuming, and has tackled a busy family home with ease – not to mention the visible difference it has made to our carpets. Because it’s so easy to get out and use, I’m vacuuming more often than I normally would, but not spending an awful lot more time doing it; so the house is cleaner with very little extra effort. Win-win!
The Gtech AirRam Mk2 costs £199 and is available exclusively on the Gtech website. For homes with pets, there’s also a K9 model which retails at £249. You may also want to check out the handheld Gtech Multi, which has a good range of attachments for cleaning tricky areas. It costs £149, but there’s a £49 saving when it’s bought with the AirRam. All Gtech products come with a two-year guarantee and free delivery. You can find out more about all Gtech products here – and check out this video to see the AirRam Mk2 in action:
Could the Gtech AirRam MK2 be the perfect vacuum cleaner for you?
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I was supplied with a Gtech AirRam MK 2 for review purposes. All opinions and comments are honest and genuine.