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Gtech AirRAM MK2 review: A simple vacuum with good battery life

Our Rating :
£335.75 from
Price when reviewed : £230

The AirRAM MK2 is efficient but there’s no handheld option and long hair build-up on the roller is an issue


  • Reasonable cleaning power
  • Collapsing handle for storage
  • Long battery life


  • No control over power levels
  • Roller quick to capture hair tangles
  • Collection bin on floor

As an upright-style vacuum cleaner, instead of keeping the motor, collection bin and power supply up at the handle like most cordless sticks by Dyson, Shark and Hoover, the Gtech AirRAM MK2 builds everything into the floor head. This makes for a more compact device that many people find easier to handle, with all the weight concentrated at the base.

The only downside is that you can’t pop the extension wand off and convert it into a handheld version. However, if all you’re looking for is a simple device that focuses on scooping dirt and dust off your floor, then the AirRAM MK2 is a compact and efficient way to do just that.

Gtech AirRAM MK2 review: What do you get for the money?

The Gtech AirRAM MK2 comes in a relatively small box, but it doesn’t pack up quite as small as the Gtech HyLite 2, which is designed to be so tiny it can be put away into a drawer. Instead, this unit stays assembled and ready to use, though the handle can be shortened for storage and the battery removed for charging without having to leave the whole device out.

Fully extended, the vacuum measures 1,120 x 297 x 256mm (HWD), although it shrinks to standing 845mm tall with the handle dropped. The whole unit weighs 3.2kg, with most of the weight in the base (as is typical of the upright design).

Gtech AirRAM MK2 head side view

In the floor unit, there’s a single brush bar with two lines of bristles running along its length in a double helix. The collection bin lies horizontally behind the roller and has room for 0.8l of dust and dirt. Unlike the HyLite 2, the AirRAM MK2 doesn’t use a bag, so there are no additional running costs.

Like the Hylite 2, Gtech has added its AirLOC technology to this updated model. This is a rubber flap that sits on the front of the vacuum to help increase the suction. It’s designed to let larger particles through when being pushed forwards and to seal up while being pulled back, so you get better suction for removing stubborn dirt.

As we mentioned above, most cordless sticks can be dismantled into a handheld unit, and most uprights let you use an attachment and hose to tackle stairs and upholstery. The AirRAM is strictly floor-only.

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Gtech AirRAM MK2 review: What’s it like to use?

Switching the AirRAM MK2 on and off is a breeze, with a huge button on the floor head that you operate with your toe. That’s literally all you need for everyday use of this vacuum, as it has no other buttons for changing suction levels or floor types.

While that keeps things simple, it leaves the vacuum struggling to find the appropriate suction power on a variety of surfaces, something that Gtech hasn’t got quite right.

Gtech AirRAM MK2 cleaning head

While the vacuum is reasonably easy to push forwards, I found it problematic while pulling back. This resulted in either lifting the floor unit completely off the ground on hard floors or gripping too hard to carpets to make the action feel smooth and controlled.

I found that light doormats would often stick to the floor head, or occasionally get a corner sucked up into the roller, forcing the unit to seize up and the battery light to illuminate with an angry red glow.

One feature I particularly like on a cordless vacuum is being able to stand it upright without needing support. Because all the weight of the AirRAM MK2 is on the floor, the handle easily clicks into an upright position and can stick there, ready for when you need to use it next. This happens whether or not the handle is fully extended or retracted in storage mode.

Gtech AirRAM MK2 roller brush

You still need to bend down to empty the vacuum, though, as you have to lift the collection bin out of the floor head. Without any clips or buttons it just lifts straight out, but doing so needs both hands, with one holding the floor head down while the other jiggles the collection bin out of its tight-fitting slot.

Accidental dirt spills are possible as the gap that dirt travels into the collection bin is on the side, rather than the top. Careful handling usually means you can remove it without anything falling out, but the spillage risk is more significant than most vacuums, which contain the dirt at least until you’re holding them over a dustbin.

When ready for emptying, the collection bin must be rotated into a vertical position, and a clip on the bottom releases the dirt. Anything that doesn’t fall out straight away can be teased out with a lever, which can be moved up and down the bin’s length to nudge out any stubborn wads of debris.

Gtech AirRAM MK2 cleaning head and battery

I live in a house with a lightly shedding pet and several long-haired relatives, and found that in no time the roller bar quickly became clogged and tangled in a layer of long hair.

It also collected various stringy bits of debris and wrapped those around the roller for good measure. A combination cutter and comb is supplied to help combat the problem, and it was only a five-minute job to remove the roller, cut through the hair and tease it off with the comb, but this would have to be a regular job in my household, something you don’t need to do with anti-tangle models such as the Hoover HF9.

As for other regular maintenance, the various internal filters are also easy to remove and clean, and can be rinsed in clean water. They need to completely dry out before being reassembled and used, but everything is easy to access and put back together again.

GTech AirRam MK2 Battery life chart

The battery takes around four hours for a full charge, which then lasted 43 minutes in our tests. That’s an impressive performance, particularly given that it only has a single power setting, so doesn’t rely on a relatively weak economy mode to eek as much time as possible from its battery. In the chart above you can see how the Hylite 2 and some similarly priced cordless stick rivals manage at their most powerful settings.

Gtech AirRAM MK2 review: How well does it clean?

I put the Gtech AirRAM MK2 through the same series of challenges that I use to test every vacuum cleaner, so you can see how it compares to its rivals. I test the vacuums using measured quantities of Cheerios, flour and pet hair, and weigh how much is collected from a single pass. This test is performed on both short-pile carpet and hard flooring.

Cheerios can be a challenge to some vacuum cleaners, particularly on hard flooring, where models without fluffy rollers will often just push them around instead of scooping them up. The AirRAM’s AirLOC system helps here, as it folds back far enough to let a Cheerio pass through. I had to jiggle the floor head slightly to encourage some of the larger Cheerios in, and a few were still too large to be sucked up, but the AirRAM MK2 still managed to collect 93% of the cereal we dropped.

The result was even better on carpet, collecting every piece of cereal apart from a few stragglers that had escaped to the side, registering at 100% on my scales.

Gtech AirRAM percentage spills cleaned chart

In the hard-floor flour test, the AirRAM MK2 managed to gather 92% of the flour into the collection bin. There was a little left in the cracks between the tiles on my laminate floor, but I suspect the rest was sucked up between the floor and the collection bin.

A single forward pass of the AirRAM MK2 only picked up 32% of the flour spilled on carpet, so I kept going and pulled the vacuum back again, to close up the AirLOC flap at the front and create a better seal with the carpet. This improved things, taking the collection up to 76%.

In the pet hair test, the AirRAM MK2 performed best on carpet, picking up 95% of the loose dog hair I laid down (and rubbed in for good measure). It wasn’t quite as proficient at this on a hard floor, where some of the hair clumped together and didn’t make it through to the collection bin, though it still managed to pick up a respectable 73%.

Gtech AirRAM MK2 review: Should I buy it?

Perhaps the worst thing about the Gtech AirRAM MK2 is its price. There are plenty of versatile cordless sticks available for £250-£300, so this model is up against quite stiff competition. Compared to most of those, it’s reasonably good at picking dirt up off the floor, but it’s hamstrung by its inability to do much else.

However, to help combat this, if you shop around you’ll find offers to bundle the AirRAM M2 with Gtech’s excellent Multi MK2 K9 handheld vacuum cleaner. That’s a fine combination, but most of its rivals have a handheld option already built into the same model, and these bundles inevitably cost more.

If you’re on the lookout for a small, compact floor vacuum, the Gtech Hylite 2 might be a better option. It’s smaller, can be easily dismantled and stored in a drawer, and is around £100 cheaper than the AirRAM MK2. This model actually picked up more of our test spills than the AirRAM MK2 could manage, too.

For a similar price I think the Hoover HF9 is a better option. It’s a powerful cleaner that performed better than the AriRAM MK2 in most of our tests, and it’s easier to empty by simply carrying the main unit to a bin and opening the bottom. The Hoover HF9 can operate as a handheld as well as a floor vacuum, and the Pet model comes with a motorised upholstery tool that’s also effective on stairs, and is useful whether you have a pet or not.

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