Reviewed by David Savage
I have always thought that a tidy house means a tidy mind and vice versa, so my other half and I always try to keep the house clean, tidy and mess-free. This is especially important with two young kids in the house as the amount of mess that they create in insane, and it actually doesn’t take very long for the house to descend into a chaos of clutter and dust. Our house is a semi-unusual layout in that we have three floors and two staircases, which can make doing both the big, weekly clean and the daily mini cleans hard work.
The market does seem to have been flooded with a whole raft of new vacuum cleaners of late, and most of these are the newer, stick style of vacuum cleaner; there are fewer and fewer of the larger, traditional types of vacuum around which I think is unfortunate. The stick vacuums are great – I know this as we have several of them in the house, but for all the benefits that they have in terms of weight and ease, they do struggle when it comes to flexibility and all-round cleaning.
We were recently asked to try out the Hoover H-Lift 700, which almost seems to be a step backwards in vacuuming time! It isn’t a light-weight stick type machine at all, but we were hoping that it would be able help us out where the stick vacuums were struggling – the stairs and the ribbed hall carpet.
Having two staircases, both of which go up the centre of the house and which are quite narrow with limited elbow room, we do find vacuuming them quite hard work without the benefit of cleaning hoses on the machines that currently have. But it isn’t just stairs cleaning that sets this one apart from the rest – in spite of it seeming almost prehistoric in design, it is a very, very smart cleaner!
The Hoover H-Lift comes packaged in a large box and requires a small amount of assembly, although nothing that takes more than a few minutes. Contained in the box is the main unit (dust bin and motor), along with the power nozzle, handle, power hose, tube, extension tube, long crevice tool, mini turbo nozzle and 2 in 1 dusting and crevice tool, along with an instruction guide. The H-Lift 700 is described as a 3 in 1 machine but there are actually five different modes – two of the modes are variations on a theme, but the amount of flexibility that this afford you is massive.
There are three basic modes – upright mode which is where the machine is used as a standard vacuum cleaner, stick cleaning mode where the main unit (the heavy bit!) is detached from the unit to give you a lighter vacuuming experience and lift out cleaning mode which is the one that we thought was the game changer – you dump the frame of the vacuum, lift the main unit and the hose out and give yourself the freedom to manoeuvre around awkward spaces, either at floor or ceiling height, or anywhere in between.
After assembling and plugging in the machine (yes, this one is mains powered with an 8 metre, not rechargeable), we first decided to try it out in standard, upright mode. One thing that I would say is that this machine won’t be winning any beauty awards, but that just doesn’t matter. The cleaning power and manoeuvrability are quite simply superb! I would never have thought that a machine of this size could be as nimble as it is, but it moves around the furniture fantastically well and gets right to the edges of the furniture, event around our bed which is normally a nightmare to clean around.
The power nozzle can be used either with the brush bars switched on or off – on for use on a carpeted floor and off is better for hard floors. I thought we had a nice clean bedroom carpet before I switched this vacuum on, but I was wrong! The amount of dust that was in the dust bin after cleaning the bedroom was shocking! Of course, when I think about it, it shouldn’t be a massive surprise as a mains powered machine (I would have thought) would always be more powerful than one relying on a battery.
The next mode that we tried in in was the stick cleaning mode, which is probably the most like the modern, battery powered one we have in the house. The main unit of the machine clicks off the stick, making the whole unit an awful lot lighter and slightly easier to get under low down furniture because the bulk of the motor and dust cannister are no longer mounted to the front. You can then either carry the cannister in your hand using the handle or leave it behind you on the floor. The hose is 1.8 metres so you can move around the room a reasonable amount without having to pick up the cylinder and move it around. Again, you benefit from the really powerful suction of a mains powered machine, but the machine has been made an awful lot lighter.
The final mode is the lift out mode, and this is the one that we were the keenest to try out! This is the most unusual mode, and in this one, both the main unit and the handle detach from the stick, and the power hose is used to connect the main unit and handle to each other. This means that you can leave all of the bulk of the power head and frame behind and have the freedom to clean some quite small and confined spaces.
It was fantastic for cleaning the stairs – I attached the mini turbo nozzle to the handle and I was away! The mini turbo nozzle is powered, just like the main power head and I found that it cleaned our stairs better than they have been cleaned for an awful long time – I found the best way to do I was to start from the top and move down the stairs using the mini turbo nozzle, then once I had reached the bottom of the stairs, I worked back up again but this time using the crevice tool to do inside the corners and edges of the steps.
I think this is a fabulous machine and the cleaning power that it has is fantastic. It is bulkier and heavier than some other machines but the flexibility of the design makes this well worth it. I love that it is mains powered rather than battery powered, so there is no way that it can run out of power part way through cleaning the house. The number of tools that this comes with also adds massively to the flexibility and I can’t think of anything is the house that I wouldn’t be able to reach with one of the modes of this machine.