Vax has updated its popular Blade cordless vacuum range with two new models, both costing less than £250, and claims the Blade 4 can beat some Dyson models on cleaning power.
Unlike previous Blade models, the new ones have easily replaceable batteries, so a dead battery won’t spell the end of your vacuum. That’s good news, as our annual survey of cordless vacuum owners shows this is the top reason cordless cleaners fail over time.
At £180 for the slightly lower-spec Vax Blade 3, and £220 for the Blade 4, these models are competitively priced, but can they really leave rivals in the dust?
We’ve put both to the test in our independent lab, and have checked how effectively they suck up dust and debris, trap allergens, and how easy they are to use compared with popular Dyson models.
Vax cordless vacuums compared – see how other Vax models, including the Blade Max 2, have fared in our tough tests
Vax Blade 3 and 4: what’s new versus the Blade 2 series?
The new Blade models are actually cheaper than the Vax Blade 2 Max was at launch. It was originally priced at £250, although recently we’ve seen the price drop to around £200.
The main change for these new models is the universal battery.
Vax says that the brushless motor in the Blade 4 is quieter, more durable and optimises performance, but you also have the option of going for the cheaper Blade 3 model, which doesn’t have the brushless motor. It will be interesting to see how different the two models are when we put them through our tough tests.
The removable battery is designed to work across several products in the Vax ‘ONEPWR’ range, which also includes a hard-floor cleaner (Vax Glide) and mini carpet and upholstery cleaner (Vax Spotlessgo).
You can also buy spares, in case your battery develops a fault or starts to lose charge over time – or you simply want a spare handy for more in-depth cleans. There’s no word yet on how much this will cost, but spare cordless vacuum batteries typically cost £50-£70.
Tools and attachments
With the Vax Blade 4 you get a wall mount, a battery charger and a dusting brush and crevice tool for handheld cleaning jobs. If you buy direct from Vax.co.uk, you get an extra toolkit thrown in free of charge.
The floorhead has stiff nylon bristles that can be switched on and off with a button on the handle, depending on the type of floor surface you’re cleaning.
As accessories go, this line-up is pretty basic, although relatively standard for the price.
The Vax Blade 4 has two power settings, and the battery is claimed to last for 45 minutes on its standard setting, and should charge in three hours.
For the price, these are decent stats, especially now that you can buy an extra battery. Premium rivals, such as the Tineco Pure One S12 (£470) and Dyson V11 (£500), last longer, but you’ll have to pay for the privilege.
Other handy features that were also on the Blade 2 Max include a removable dust container for easier emptying and LED headlights to illuminate stray dust and debris under furniture and in corners.
The Blade series also has an unusual ‘side-on’ dust container. Vax says this allows for direct airflow from floor to bin, and more efficient cleaning.
See our review of the Vax Blade Max 2 to find out whether these features lived up to the hype.
Best cordless vacuums for 2020 – see our top-rated models
Why replaceable batteries matter
Lithium-ion batteries, which power cordless vacuums and many other cordless gadgets, have a limited life. They also tend to gradually lose charge over time.
This means that models with batteries that can’t be replaced are destined for the rubbish pile, contributing to global waste problems and leaving you out of pocket.
As such, as part of our aim to only recommend the very best products, going forward Which? will no longer award Best Buys to any cordless vacuum that does not let you replace the battery if it fails.
Find out more about how we test cordless vacuum cleaners.