Gtech have been quietly making a name for themselves with their innovative vacuum cleaners. You’ll surely have heard of the Air Ram which has been their biggest seller to date.
However they’ve now turned their attention to the mini lightweight cordless market and have brought us the Gtech Hylite – a great little vacuum that does everything it says on the tin. It arrived in a remarkably small box highlighting just how convenient it can be. It can be stored in a drawer – not a cupboard – thanks to the easily detachable extendable handle.
We have a small reservation over the resilience of the handle – it feels firm enough but probably can’t take a huge amount of abuse before coming apart.
Setting up was dead simple – clip on the handle, charge the battery for a couple of hours and off you go. The vacuum is easy and light to maneouvre making it ideal for those who struggle with more cumbersome full sized cleaners and the battery being placed in the lower section means that there’s no excessive weight placed on your wrist. The arm is extendable and unfortunately doesn’t provide the flexibility of multiple lengths – it’s either fully extended or not at all and no option in between.
The Gtech Hylite uses bags – bucking the trend of moving towards bagless cleaners and this was probably our biggest concern. The bags are TINY – 0.3 litres to be exact. Gtech claim that they can store far more than they appear though thanks to some heavy, airflow-based compression of the dust and particles the vacuum picks up. In our three week test, using the cleaner daily, we had to change the bag once. You can pick up 15 bags, which is probably about a year’s worth, for about £13 online so it’s not as costly as it might seem at first with monthly cost coming in at under £1. Still an added expense.
Gtech claim the bags are more environmentally friendly and also lead to longer-lasting performance of the vacuum compared to bagless cleaners. The bags aren’t reusable so have to be thrown out in the trash but they’re fully biodegradable. The bags mean no filters to clog – which is both the main reason for many bagless vacuums to be discarded and the reason for a gradual decline in suction of these cleaners. The Hylite, on the other hands, might cost you £1 a month but it should last you longer.
The Hylite is supplied with one battery that Gtech claims gives you around 20 minutes of cleaning time. Our tests came in under this figure with around 15 minutes between charges – basically one floor of a house. After which the battery needs to be popped on to charge; this can take around two hours which is a disappointing charge to use ratio. Secondary and replacement batteries will be available but they aren’t at the time of writing and we don’t know how much they’ll cost.
In terms of cleaning ability we tested the vacuum on both hard (tiled) and carpet flooring with mixed results. The Hylite uses a motorised roller which works well but the channel for dirt is small and can easily get blocked. There is no hose option so corners and larger debris will need to be cleaned separately.
With fine dirt on a hard floor, the Hylite was effective of 100g of fine dust and soil it picked up around 80% on the first pass and the remainder on the second. Larger fragments were missed and pushed around the floor.
The same test on carpet was less impressive – of 100g of dust and fine dirt, only 50% was picked up on the first pass, and even after three passes there was still around 30%-40% of the waste remaining in the carpet fibres.
Our second test of picking up spilt breakfast cereal – Rice Krispies in this case – was an all round fail – 90% of the cereal was left on the floor having been shunted around as we attempted to vacuum. This was the same regardless of flooring.
We also tested the Hylite’s ability to pull pet hair out of the carpet and out of a sofa and it was remarkably successful with most hair, even that trapped in the fibres, being pulled up and away.
The Gtech Hylite is a mixed bag – a great convenient vacuum for a quick clean, but not one that does an adequate job when you want to be more thorough. It doesn’t do well in corners and the lack of a hose means it’s unsuitable for many jobs – it certainly can’t be your only vacuum. The size and storage potential however is a huge bonus and means that you don’t have to keep it on display if you don’t have a free cupboard.
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