Battery-powered vacuum cleaner Gtech AirRAM Review

Is it wrong to be a little in love with a vacuum cleaner?

Gtech Cordless Vacuum Review

Totally sucked in by the AirRAM

Heck, if this feeling is wrong I don’t want to be right.

The Gtech AirRAM cordless vacuum cleaner (RRP £229.00) came into my life just a few short weeks ago, but already I’m infatuated.

Why’s that? Well, I’ll tell you.

There’s a carpeted area of my house in the diner part of the kitchen that attracts every single atom of dirt and debris thanks to its thoroughfare status. Even though we adopt one of those uptight no-outdoor-shoes-inside policies, the floor remains resolutely littered with grub – usually about five seconds after I’ve hoovered.

Gtech AirRAM Review

Consequently, I have spent a lot of my life cleaning it. I have a brilliant, tiny Dyson City Wool + Wood vacuum tucked away in the kitchen cupboard and I’ve had all manner of great handhelds, including the Dyson Handheld (which got destroyed by a water leak) and the Black and Decker Flexi Hand Vac (which was perfect in many ways, but did leave me crawling on the floor to clean the whole floor (not really what it was designed for).

The Gtech AirRAM is the perfect combination of these excellent cleaners: it’s cable-free and battery operated; it has great suction and it’s extremely manoeuvrable.

Cleaning made easy with the AirRAM

Designed by British company, Gtech, the AirRAM combines the handy elements of Gtech’s floor sweepers (remember the one your grandma had?) with more modern cleaning methods. Because it collects the dirt down in little trays in the cleaning unit, it can maintain impressive sucking power (the dirt doesn’t have to travel so far), lasting for a good 30-40minutes on one charge.

Charging takes just four hours and the battery is removable so you can charge more easily. You can also get a free bridge cable (or just steal the one off your printer) that lets you see the stats on your battery usage. Apparently, it tells you how much money you’ve saved thanks to going wireless (Gtech press tells us that the AirRAM can save up to £252 in electricity bills over a five-year period). Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if the Gtech really does save on energy bills because the software doesn’t yet work on the Mac OS; it’s coming soon, apparently.

Things I liked

  • The AirRAM picks up a LOT of dirt. All the cat hair it collects every time I use it is a little alarming.
  • The dirt gets compressed into “bales” which means it can store a lot more than you’d expect.
  • It lasts well on one charge making it easy to do a good 40-minute cleaning session without needing to re-juice.
  • It’s very easy to manoeuvre. It goes almost totally flat for getting under coffee tables or beds – and you can steer it round corners thanks to the clever handle.
  • It’s light enough to carry round easily.
  • You can remove the handle and stash the two parts in a pantry cupboard. (Gtech, please note: the next version should include a clever way to clip the top handle to the bottom one so they stay neat).
  • It’s cable-free; having to plug in a cleaner to do a quick run around just makes it feel more like hard work!
  • You can store it upright, or you can open the head to make the whole unit flat. This means you could hang it on a hook in the understairs cupboard without it getting in the way.

Things I didn’t like

  • You can’t tell if it’s charging when you plug in the battery. A reassuring LED would be nice
  • It’s far too easy to put the handle in the wrong way round. If you do that it is REALLY hard to get the handle out again. Weirdly, the handle looks like it’s the wrong way round when it’s the right way round, which makes the whole thing too complicated.
  • Like all bagless vacuums, it’s never as easy to empty the dirt collectors as the makers promise. The trays are wider than my dustbin so using a bin bag was the only way to safely trash the detritus.
  • You can’t do stairs, skirting boards or wall edges. It’s not designed for that, but it does mean that this is more a secondary cleaner not a primary one (or a primary cleaner for ease-of-use with a secondary nooks-and-crannies cleaner on standby).

Katie Lee

Dork Adore's Editor! Katie started out life as a tech journalist and blog obsessive, launching the UK's first and biggest blog publishing network, Shiny Media. Favourite dork things: knitting, crochet, Press Gang, Buffy, Battlestar, Doctor Who and lifehacks.

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  • Katie

    Just a quick update: At some point the brushes got snarled up with sewing threads and the motor started squealing quite loudly. We cleared out all the brushes and cleaned the filters, but the noise is still there. The Airram still works, but it’s not so much fun now it makes such a high-pitched noise while it’s doing it. I will speak to manufacturers and find out what the problem might be.

    • Katie

      Another update: the Gtech people took it away, fixed it, and returned it good as new the next day!

      • henrymouni

        I have the same problem, as have many others.
        Only had mine for a few weeks and not used it much.
        Before the screeching and rattling, I found that the vac filled too quickly due to the small dust compartments, and then it spits the dirt out.
        The battery life is shorter than advertised, and it needs attachments.
        They should spend the money they are using for TV adds, on improving the product.
        A good idea in theory, but the good reviews it got are a mystery.
        Too expensive or what it is methinks!
        How is your vac now Katie?

        • Katie

          It’s all fine actually – no problems since that original breakdown. But you do have to keep on top of the hair and stringy things getting caught up in the rotating part (just like my mother’s old hoover when we were kids!) I don’t find the dirt tray gets full that quickly, but I use mine mainly for spot cleaning rather than doing the whole house. I still love it a lot.

          Get in touch with Gtech (via Twitter worked well for me) and they will arrange for it to be fixed. Once mine was fixed it’s been perfect.

  • Ange

    Have you tried dysons new dc 35 which is the same sort of thing as the gtec air but you do have attachments to do the nooks & crannies, but downside is you only get 15 mins of charge but i have found that time sufficient as it does move quite quickly & its used to keep on top of things ie like you say kitchen is a bit of attraction for debris x Ange x

    • Katie

      I had the older model without all the bells and whistles. I liked it a lot, but I did find it heavy, and I’m totally sold on the Airram now.

    • henrymouni

      What does it weigh Ange?
      Is it easy to push?

      I have no problem with a 15 minute charge.
      You can always get a spare, and switch them.

  • Sean Trent

    Mine has started the high pitched noise. Although I registered the warranty I now can not find the receipt. I hope Gtech will look at it as it is too noisy to use at the moment!

    • henrymouni

      I sent mine back and got a full refund.

      I bought a VAX upright cordless and it is great!

      Gtech will have your order on file, and will be able to work from that.

      Get the ref number on the vac plate. They may ask for it.

      Also if you paid by visa (or paypal) you will have a record on your statement.

      Ask them to collect it, if the offer to repair it.

      They will arrange that for you.

      This fault is an ongoing problem for them, so they are well aware.

      Good luck.

      The Vax is also a beautiful looking vac!

      “Vax U91-LF-B LiFE Cordless Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner”.

      I got mine from amazon £117.79, but you can deal with Vax UK direct, but they are more expensive!

  • Pippa

    Can anyone help I need to remove the handle from my Gtech air ram to put it back in the box it wont budge I don’t know what I am doing wrong

    • Innocent Loverboy

      Have you tried tweeting Gtech to ask them directly? They’re quite good at responding to that sort of thing.

    • Katie

      Sounds like you put the handle in the wrong way round (as I did the first time I used it). I had to put something thin down the front to push in the button (which should normally poke out the hole at the back but obviously doesn’t do that when you put it in the wrong way round!)