Bosch’s latest cordless vacuum cleaner – the Bosch Unlimited – marks a major design change for the brand, as it finally embraces the Dyson-style convertible stick design that most rivals now favour.
The older Bosch Athlet cordless vacuum cleaners are shaped like slim upright vacuums, but without the cord. Unusually, they don’t have a pull-out handheld vacuum for smaller jobs such as cleaning crevices or cars. Instead, there’s a rather clunky system where you have to attach a hose to the bottom and strap the whole lot over your shoulder.
Not so the Unlimited, which converts into a small handheld unit. But this Bosch has more up its sleeve than simply adopting a new design. It also has some extras to challenge Dyson, including interchangeable batteries that work across the Bosch cordless power and garden tool range.
The top-end Unlimited model comes with two batteries, and Bosch says its 60-minute quick-charge feature means that the second battery will be charged by the time you’ve used up the first one, so you’ll never be stuck with a dead battery while cleaning.
It sounds promising, but it will cost you at least £400 to buy. Read on to see how it compares with other premium models, or skip to our Best Buy cordless vacuum cleaners for the best cheaper options.
Bosch Unlimited cordless – can it stand out in a crowded market?
The Bosch Unlimited comes in three versions: basic, standard and premium. You get extra filtration on the standard and premium models, but the quick charger and spare battery only come with the premium model.
The premium model costs a cool £500, the same as the equivalent top-end Dyson – the V10 Total Clean. We’ve compared the key specs below, along with another premium alternative, the Shark DuoClean, so you can see how it measures up against the competition:
|Runtime on minimum power||Runtime on maximum power||Battery recharge time||Weight||Price|
|Bosch Unlimited||45 mins*||7 mins*||1 hour*||3.5kg||£500|
|Dyson V10||43 mins||8 mins||2 hours 17 mins||2.6kg||£500|
|Shark DuoClean IF250UKT||40 mins||24 mins||3 hours 30 mins||5.5kg||£360|
*not tested, based on manufacturer’s claims when using the vacuum with an electric floor tool attached.
The Bosch and Dyson have a similar battery life when using the main floor tool. Manufacturers usually quote the battery life using the vacuum in handheld mode only, as it lasts for longer, but this doesn’t reflect how much floor-cleaning time you’ll actually get.
However, Bosch claims that the Unlimited will recharge a lot faster, using its quick-charge mode, and of course its batteries are interchangeable. It’s not the only model to have swappable batteries – Shark’s DuoClean models also have this feature, as does the Henry cordless vacuum. But if you have Bosch cordless power tools or garden tools at home, it will also work with the rechargeable batteries from any of these products, which could be handy.
We haven’t tried out this Bosch yet, but we’ll have an initial review up within a week or so, and it’s already on its way to our test lab. In the meantime, find out what we thought of the recently launched Dyson V10, Shark Duoclean and older Bosch Athlet models by heading to our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews.
Is now the time to go cordless?
A number of significant cordless vacuum cleaners have launched in the past few months from manufacturers looking to grab market share from Dyson. Many have introduced new features to try and stand out from the crowd. Here’s a round-up of the latest features vying for attention:
- Interchangeable batteries – both the Shark DuoClean IF250UKT and the Bosch Unlimited come with two batteries, so one can be charged while the other is in use. This doubles your runtime and could come in handy for larger homes.
- Larger capacities – cordless vacuums typically have a tiny dust capacity of around half a litre, but this is starting to change, meaning less-frequent trips to the bin. The Dyson V10 has nearly double the capacity of previous Dyson models. Gtech’s bagged cordless vacuum (the Gtech Pro) claims to fit around 1.5 litres, while the Cordless Henry HVB160 fits more than 2 litres.
- Return of the bag – most cordless models are bagless, but if you hate emptying bagless vacuums, bagged options are emerging, including the cordless Numatic Henry and the Gtech Pro Cordless ATF301.
- Built-in mini tools – Philips has incorporated accessories such as the crevice-cleaning tool into the cleaning tube, so you don’t have to carry them around with you. See our Philips SpeedPro Max Animal first look review to get our verdict on this feature.
- Flexible cleaning tubes – we’ve seen some vacs, such as the Shark DuoClean, that have a section of flexible tube. This allows you to bend the vacuum at a slight angle, making it easier to reach under low furniture. The Shark also folds over for easier storage.
- LED lighting – from battery-life indicators to floor headlights, manufacturers are adding LEDs to light up dingy corners and make it easier to see if you’re running low on cleaning time.
In theory, this means more great extras for you. However, it’s no use having extra bells and whistles if your shiny new vacuum doesn’t actually clean properly. We’ve found a record number of Don’t Buy cordless vacuums over the past year, so it pays to choose carefully.
If you’re thinking of buying a cordless vacuum, check our cordless vacuum reviews first to avoid getting landed with a dud.