Issue 99

Gtech's New Vacuum Cleaner Put to the Test: Will They Meet a Dog Owner's Needs?

As someone who owns three dogs and a cat, I am always eager to find time-saving solutions to the never ending (and it really, really is never ending) flow of pet hairs which tumble around. Add winter wetness into the mix with muddy paw prints inevitable and I really do throw myself a pity party on behalf of my cream carpets.

Oh yes, not only do I own three black furred dogs, I also have cream carpets throughout my home in all except two rooms. It wasn't so bad when I had a light haired yellow Labrador, Chloe and one black and tan Rottweiler, Mia. After all, I knew whichever colour I'd have chosen - light or dark - I'd see hairs regardless so I could remain blameless and make the decision based on design preferences, but now it's a battle - carpet vs pets, and there's only ever one winner.

So I regularly test drive the latest vacuum cleaners, whether designed for pet owners or not, to try to find something to make the task a little easier - after all, who really wants to spend longer vacuuming than needed, especially if you work full-time or have family commitments?

A few years ago I reviewed the (at the time) latest Gtech cordless vacuum cleaners, testing out the original AirRam cleaner followed by the AirRam K9, designed with pet owners in mind. For me, they were game changers and I truly got the impression, ignoring the TV adverts which showed the designer, Nick Grey with a Border Collie, that they understood that as dog owners you need a few things as standard from a vacuum cleaner and you don't need to compromise on style, suction or battery life to get it.

And so when the newest models of both the Gtech AirRam K9 2 (RRP £249) and the handheld Gtech Multi K9 (RRP £169) came out, I was eager to give them a try - but I didn't want to leave you out so please read right to the bottom to find out how you can get hold of the latest AirRam K9 2 for yourself - you have enough on your plate at Christmas, you don't need pet hairs to be another job do you!

When my parcels from Gtech arrived I was eager to get started and I dived in without the manuals to hand. I've always found them really easy to set up and I always think, at least at first attempt, it's good to take a good look and see what's intuitive before heading back to the manuals to make sure everything's present and correct.

You can read my review of the Gtech Multi K9 here - find out whether I thought it was better than the last model (which I wasn't 100% sold on), but if you're interested in the upright Gtech AirRam K9 2, read on below.

The New Gtech AirRam K9 2 Review

When fully cleared to open, the first thing I noticed when I took the new AirRam 2 out of the box was that this was quite a different machine to the original AirRam K9 and in fact still owing the AirRam K9, I took some side by side photos to highlight just what's new, both in terms of design and functionality.

But how does it compare? Is it worth the investment? What's actually new about this model compared to the old one?

Well, let me tell you...

New way to start

Whereas the old AirRam K9 started with a button on the handle, the newer model starts in the foot area - much more intuitive to my initial action.

New features for better hair pick up

The first thing that strikes me is the rubber flap at the front which helps the cleaner move pulling out hairs from the edges.

It also has lights which show all of those hardy hairs digging their hairy heels into your carpet. I found this feature really useful.

Our home, even when fully lit up is still quite dark in places because of the dark wood and beams dotted around, so I found this particularly helpful - especially in the winter - when a rainy spell outside can darken the skies or if I'm vacuuming after work the dark nights make the house a little darker inside. The lights really do help you to see the hairs right in front of you making sure you get them all.

Lighter & smaller for a better fit in hard to reach places

At 3.5kg, it's a little lighter than the original model and I've also found the base of the AirRam K9 2 to be shorter in height, which for my home makes it fit better underneath radiators - I can't imagine I am the only person who found the older model a little harder to fit under those type of places.

New rechargeable battery with expected 40-minute run-time

I also notice this model has a battery which can be taken out charged and slotted back in easily. Something I've found extremely useful this summer with cordless garden equipment so I'm really pleased to see it's a feature now part of the Gtech cordless vacuum cleaner range.

The battery takes around 4 hours to charge and gives about 40 minutes of vacuuming time, this is the same battery life as the previous model.

Similar to the Gtech cordless lawnmower, it has a lit up circle which tells you how much charge you have left. When all four corners of the circle are showing green, you have full power.

I find the battery and power of the cleaner two of its biggest assets. Having reviewed more cordless cleaners since I first tested the Gtech's, I now appreciate even more the benefit of having the level of suction this cleaner offers with a 40 minute period to vacuum in (a recent cleaner I tested realistically only gave 15 minutes for the power needed for pet hairs in my home and I felt like I had to choose only the worst areas to clean, or was on an episode of 'Challenge Anneka').

Quieter to operate with extendable handle

I normally vacuum while listening to music, so really, what difference does it make to me? Well, virtually none. But to others who might not listen to music or for others in the home, I found the new Gtech AirRam 2 a little quieter than its predecessor.

It also features a nifty extendable handle which you might find useful, I keep it in the extended position permanently but you can set it back to the shorter height with the press of a button (the same one you use to extend).

New way to empty & tap filter clean

Personally, I think these are new and much-welcomed changes.

I never had a problem, like some others I've read, emptying the front filter and slotting the filters back in, but I have learnt some lessons along the way.

After my first Gtech review, I learnt that washing the filter pads were a mistake - I literally couldn't get them to smell fresh or even normal again. With my second Gtech review, the old AirRam K9, I found over time the dial inside which would allow you to remove the lid and tap the filters clean wore away and I had to use something like a knife or the end of a spoon to turn and open. Over time the area began to wear away and I was sure it was only a matter of time before I couldn't open at all.

Luckily, I've not got to that point and I have the new AirRam K9 2 to take over so I won't have to find out and this newer model won't have similar problems given how you empty and clean is very different.

The dust bin empties quite simply by lifting up using the handles at the top and slots back in easily in the same position once you're finished cleaning.

To empty, hold over a bin, with the thicker grey end marked with a green arrow held down over wherever you are emptying the debris into. Open the lever where the arrow is and then move the green lever from its position to the now opened end to push out.

At the opposite end, you will see the end of the filter and you can take it out to clean.

The AirRam K9 2 comes with a spare green filter so you can switch and swap as you like, although I am certain I will mainly use the tap to clean method rather than wet to wash and dry.

The filter also comes with a new way to freshen up your vacuum.  I'm not sure it's really obvious where this is without really knowing the how's and where's, in fact to fully understand how I could use the box of filters with a fresh scent I had to visit Youtube to understand, after even asking my mother-in-law to help me find it who was at our home when I was unboxing the cleaner saying 'how many vacuums do you own?'.

On the old AirRam K9 you simply slotted in at the front of the filters, in this newer model you still attach to the filter but it's concealed.

Here's where it is.

Firstly, lift out the filter.

Then slide out the inner black tube, as pictured below.

Once fully out, you can see it at the top with the green paw print embossed lid and white padded filter below. It slides out easily so you can replace as and when needed.

The scent lasts longer than the original model I think, unless time has dulled my senses. Regardless, it's welcomed in a home with so many pets, purifiers and smelly things dotted about to conceal and remove any odours my pets omit. Ok, I'm talking most specifically about Mia - she's like a whoopee cushion when she moves. It's ridiculous. And embarrassing if guests are here.

No price difference between the models

The newer model is priced at £249, which is the same as the old Gtech AirRam K9. It comes with a two-year warranty as well as a box of scent boosting filters and an extra filter.

This is I think a good time period for a warranty. In my experience, vacuums - even those who say they don't or won't lose suction - inevitably do. And it's normally around 18 months when I start to notice the difference in pick up.

Summary

Ultimately it comes down to what you want a vacuum to do and what your own household needs are.

For me - I need something that's going to help me save time while cleaning my carpets, helping to combat my pet hair problems and give me around 40 minutes to clean my home from top to bottom. I need something that I know will have a decent suction and power for about 18 months-2 years, realistically across all models that is the most I've experienced, some even less. Being lightweight and cordless is a bonus, and a welcomed one at that.

All in all, this model has taken to heart critique given about the older model - the height for example to reach under areas like radiators - with the technology enveloped in a fancy new design in keeping with more of the overall look expected from the Gtech products range.

I've always been a fan of them so it's no surprise I like this model. In my opinion, the AirRam K9's stand head and shoulders above other cordless vacuum cleaners I've reviewed and I think if you bear in mind the heavy duty mine undertakes when used, it works out value for money for the period it's at its best. If you combine both the upright Gtech AirRam 2 and handheld Multi, there is a special offer on the Gtech site (link below) which is still very competitive - or much less (by more than £100) - than others in the market.

If you've previously liked what Gtech have done I think you'll feel the same, if you haven't yet been converted you should seriously consider next time you're in the market.

New Gtech AirRam K9 2 - One of the best cordless cleaners for pets
  • Ease of Use
  • Features
  • Value for Money
  • Durability
  • Ability to Pick Up Pet Hairs
  • Product Support
4.1

But before you go, we promised you a special offer didn't we - it wouldn't be right of us to forget and lucky for you, we didn't! To celebrate Christmas, we've teamed up with Gtech to offer one lucky reader the chance to win their very own AirRam K92.

To be in with a chance of winning...

All you have to do is comment on the post our Facebook page or below at the end of this article (leaving your email address hidden behind your username) with why you'd like to win alongside your name and dog's name. You must be a UK resident to enter.

We'll be in touch with the lucky winner before the 20th December to ask for your address - so keep an eye out for our email to send a speedy reply.

Good luck!

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