Hands-on review: Gtech HyLite compact vacuum cleaner
Image credit: GTech
Who needs a robot to do housework if you’ve got a gadget neat enough to persuade humans to do the job?
We’ve tested a few vacuum cleaners during the course of 2019 that claim to have unique selling points. The most novel was probably the Kobold VR300, one of a host of robot cleaners that claim to get on with the task in hand while you do something more enjoyable, even when you’re not at home.
To update Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the 21st century, though, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a family in possession of one or more teenagers must be in want not of a robot to do household tasks, but technology that gets youngsters off their backsides and doing the jobs themselves. After all, unlike a machine you don’t have to follow them around moving any furniture that gets in the way or reorienting them when they get stuck in a corner.
Most of the previous attempts by vacuum cleaner manufacturers to make using their products seem if not enjoyable then at least less hassle than you might anticipate have focused on bigging-up how powerful and easy to empty their devices are.
What parents know, however, is that kids aren’t bothered about getting every last dust mite out of the carpet and you’re lucky if it even occurs to them that emptying the cleaner is an essential part of using it. Once they’ve been worn down into submission, they just want to grab the vacuum and get the job done to a standard of parental acceptability.
In this situation, bigger isn’t always better, whether it’s running time, suction power or dust-storage capacity. Step forward the Gtech HyLite. Never mind boasts of being “designed for homes of the future” (aren’t the boffins working on homes that won’t need cleaning?) and ready to “take us into our new age of vacuuming” (again, I’ve got my fingers crossed that there won’t be any vacuuming in the new age), this neat little unit does a good job of cleaning whilst also being compact enough that you’ll be able to ask your reluctant teen to just grab it out of the drawer and run it round the room.
Out of the box, you’d be forgiven for being sceptical about the HyLite’s ability to deliver equivalent performance to a larger cordless cleaner. Weighing just 1.5kg, it can be taken apart into a small main unit and extending handle in seconds to genuinely fit into a cupboard drawer.
Simplicity is the watchword here, with no filters or bins to remove and clean out. Dirt is pulled straight from the floor into the head, so there are no long hoses or tubes to get blocked and reduce suction power. We liked how compact and easy to store it is, plus the option of either upright or handheld use, taking mere seconds to switch between states. The 20-minute runtime we got from a full charge was enough for a reluctant teenager to run around a few rooms and clean well enough that the results were noticeable.
What will put some potential users off is the fact that as the dirt’s collected, it’s stored in a small bag in the head unit. Although this eliminates the need for filters, it’ll fill up in a 20-minute session and either need replacing (GTech reckons a pack of 15 at £12.99 will last a year, but we’d allow for more if you’re cleaning every week) or emptying, which is a bit messy.
Then again, as GTech is at pains to point out, council tips are full of bagless vacuum cleaners that haven’t been taken care of and are less efficient during their working lives because their cyclone bins use more power. GTech reckons that each 0.3 litre HyLite bag can actually hold up to a fill litre of compressed dirt, compressed by the 10 litres of air that the cleaner sucks up every second.
Overall, we’ve been impress by this neat little device, not least by the fact that it’s compact enough to sit behind a door ready to be whipped out a couple of times during the day, rather than waiting for a single big clean once a week. As a bonus, the ability to remove the handle and run it round holding only the head unit like a duster (there’s a built-in handle to make this comfortable) means you’ll end up using it in hand to reach places inside and outside the house. If you’re into glamping, a full charge would probably even keep your home-from-home tent or yurt spic and span during a week’s holiday.
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