Gtech AirRam 2
If you have a small flat or are looking for a quick-and-easy supplementary vacuum cleaner to store alongside your Dyson, the lightweight and unbelievably efficient AirRam 2 is just the ticket. If you’ve ever used a cordless lawnmower, you’ll know how unbelievably quick it is to set up and get the job done. It’s the same thing with this thoughtfully designed slim-line cleaner from UK-based Gtech: no lifting of heavyweight machines out of the under-stairs cupboard; no unravelling of power cords; and no changing from one AC outlet to another as you move from room to room.
The AirRam’s 22-volt Lithium Ion battery provides up to 40 minutes of vacuuming and takes about four hours to charge. That’s pretty exemplary for a vacuum cleaner this powerful. The dirt collection system, meanwhile, is a stroke of genius. There’s no bag to replace; instead, all detritus is compressed into a cylindrical capsule positioned just behind the front roller brush. To clean, simply slide the ejector arm across and the compressed dirt pops out the side and into the bin. The AirRam is very light, too, and comes with an adjustable dual-height handle. The handle also articulates to the side for steering round corners and getting the machine’s low-profile main unit under beds and other shallow furnishings.
We tried the AirRam out on a hard kitchen floor and a dog-hair strewn carpet and were hugely impressed by how much stuff it picked up, all the way to edge. In fact we were astonished that, after just three minutes of vacuuming, it collected more dirt and hair than we thought possible. And this isn't even the special K9 model. We were equally impressed by the bright LED headlamp, which proved to be far more than just a gimmick. The only surface the AirRam struggled with was a thin Persian-style rug. As the fast-spinning rotary brush is positioned at a low, unadjustable height, it literally snatched the rug and stopped dead for a few seconds before letting us resume once the motor had cooled. However, it worked perfectly on thicker rugs.
Despite that small limitation (a common anomaly with pretty much all rotary brush machines), the AirRam performs exceedingly well; it’s just so effortless to use for those quick shifties round the living room and so easy to store (believe us, this thing is small). The fact that it doesn’t come with any extra tools can be considered a bonus since you’ll probably lose them anyway. And besides, if you want to reach into hard-to-get-at places, invest in the equally excellent cordless Gtech Multi handheld (pictured above) at the same time and enjoy Gtech’s favourable £49 discount. The Multi runs for 20 minutes on a full charge – a few minutes longer than our Dyson model – and comes with two crevice tools (one long, one short), a rotary dust brush and a built-in flexible extension hose. Top marks all round.