Available for £220, the Vax Blade 4 is one of the best-value cordless vacuums we’ve tested
- Great price
- Solid cleaning performance
- Impressive battery life
- Rather bulky and heavy
- Poor at sucking up larger items
The advent of cordless vacuums has made cleaning your hard floors and carpet easier than ever, but the best ones don’t come cheaply (the Dyson V11, for example). The Vax Blade 4, however, is a more affordable cordless vacuum that still manages to provide solid performance.
It impressed in our flour-pickup tests and in everyday use, making it a good option for those looking to dip their toe into the world of cordless vacuum cleaners without breaking the bank.
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Key specifications and price
- Bagless vacuum cleaner
- 0.6-litre dust container
- 3.1kg (including powered floorhead)
- Up to 45mins battery life
- 2hrs 30mins charge time
- Motorised floorhead, crevice tool and dusting brush included
- Price: £220
What do you get for the money?
The Vax Blade 4 comes with a powered floorhead, a crevice tool and dusting brush as standard, along with a wall mount. If you buy it directly from Vax, it also comes with the free toolkit of additional attachments worth £50. That’s a fairly generous selection of tools compared to similarly priced cordless vacs, although pricier models sometimes come with additional floorheads.
Unlike some rivals, the Vax Blade 4 has a detachable battery, so there’s no need to wall mount the vacuum cleaner directly next to a power socket. The Blade 4 has two power modes – standard and boost – and you can also choose whether to activate the brush bar in the powered floorhead or not. Its battery level is indicated on the main unit by a strip of lights and there also LEDs on the powered floorhead to illuminate the areas you’re cleaning.
What’s it like to use?
At 3.1kg with the motorised floorhead attached, the Blade 4 is noticeably chunkier than the rivals such as the Dyson V7 Motorhead, which tips the scales at 2.3kg. This makes carrying and manoeuvring the vacuum cleaner noticeably more arduous.
The Blade 4 has a 0.6-litre removable dust container, making it larger than those found in similarly priced competitors. The G-Tech Hylite has a 0.3l bin, for instance, while the Dyson V7’s has a 0.54l capacity. However, as is typical of many cordless vacuums, I sometimes found I had to put my hand inside the container to remove stubborn detritus I couldn’t evict by shaking alone.
Although I found it relatively straightforward to get under sofas and chairs with the Vax Blade 4, its design stops you from steering the floorhead by tilting your wrist when the wand is flat against the ground. This makes manoeuvring the vacuum cleaner more arduous than I’d have liked.
How well does it clean?
In testing the Vax Blade 4 performed very well. It cleaned 88% of flour from short pile carpet and 96% from hard floors. That’s some way better than even the Dyson V8, which removed 80% and 92% of flour on those surfaces. On the whole, our real-world testing echoed these figures, and the Blade 4 collected impressive amounts of dirt on both hard and carpeted floors.
One significant caveat is that the Blade 4 performed less well with larger particles. Our test for this involves attempting to clean a spillage of Cheerios from both hard floor and carpet. Here, it failed to pick up any Cheerios from the hard floor and only 38% on carpet.
That’s not a reflection of its suction power, per se, but rather a consequence of the floorhead’s design, which resulted in the Cheerios being pushed along the floor rather than passing underneath. In most real-world scenarios, this shouldn’t present a problem, but it’s worth being aware of nonetheless.
How’s the battery life?
The Vax 4’s 4Ah lithium-ion battery promises up to 45 minutes of use between charges, which is very good indeed, but this figure falls to just 7mins 30secs when boost mode and the powered floorhead are activated simultaneously. This is not unusual – for comparison, Dyson’s V7 and V8 lasted 6hrs 42mins and 7hrs 16mins, respectively, in the same rundown test.
Thankfully, the vacuum cleaner performs solidly enough in its regular mode that you should expect something closer to the first number than the second in everyday use. Vax says the battery takes 2hrs 30mins to charge and, because it’s fully removable, you can buy additional batteries, although they’re rather pricey at £80 each.
Is there anything else it’s not good at?
If anything, I found the Blade 4’s suction can be too great when it’s in boost mode, which can stop it from gliding easily along carpets and hard floors alike. That’s not a major problem, however, because as I’ve already mentioned, the Blade 4 picks up dirt effectively in its regular mode, which provides the longest use between charges.
Should I buy it?
I have no hesitation in recommending the Vax Blade 4 – it’s one of the best-value cordless vacuum cleaners we’ve ever tested. It may have limitations but it performs very well at the majority of cleaning tasks and lasts for longer than its rivals between charges.
The only catch is that, at its new lower price of £199, the Dyson V7 Motorhead is even more appealing. It’s cheaper and more lightweight than the Vax Blade 4 and performed better in all the pickup tests. If I was pressed to make a choice between the two, I’d almost certainly opt for the Dyson instead.