A disturbing figure: the average carpet contains 100,000 dust mites per square yard. That's like a packed Rose Bowl of legged irritants partying inside your rug, leaving a disturbing mess of mite poop and eggs hidden inside the weave of your floor covering. And although our HEPA vac does a very good at trapping most dust and particles, miniscule critters like fleas, mold, bacteria, viruses and dust mites, mostly survive traditional vacuum cleaning. The newly announced Halo UV-ST Ultraviolet Vacuum sports a unique feature to its cleaning arsenal that sets it apart from the pack: ultraviolet light.
We received a test unit from Halo about two weeks ago, straight from their assembly line, and we've used the new UV-ST on our FLOR carpet tiles, our area shag rug and across our hardwood and tile flooring, putting it through a battery of household duties. First off, the vacuum is a handsomely designed product, with a notably unique looking HEPA filtration case that reminds us of sporty luggage, and has a front fascia of a rugged rubberized front bumper which we've learned to appreciate (plays nice with furniture). Inside is a very well constructed HEPA bag that is certified to trap 99.97% of pollen, dust mites and other fine particles. Nothing new, since our Hoover Constellation is rated for the same cleaning efficiency, but the quality of the contaminant trap seems of higher quality upon inspection of the interior structure.
Where the Halo UV-ST sets itself apart is underneath its cleaning unit. The UV-ST has a two UV-C UV bulbs that expose surfaces to a germicidal light, deadly to allergens such as dust mites and bacteria. Activated with the push of a button, the UV features quickly takes a "DeathRay of Justice" appeal that makes vacuuming less of a chore than without. The LED headlights shine up above, while the UV-C light underneath visibly lights up below, indicating it's UV-C spectrum rays are deactivating "the DNA of bacteria, viruses, germs, molds, fungal spores, and other pathogens and micro-organisms, and thus destroys their ability to multiply." We can't verify whether our rugs contain less live contaminants, since we didn't take samples to create cultures, but visual and tactile testing showed positive results.
There's something admittedly extremely pleasurable vacuuming knowing you're not only cleaning, but also eradicating uninvited microscopic house guests, and so it hasn't taken much for us to use the UV-ST regularly. So how does it measure up? First off, the vacuum is powerful, with multiple surface height settings, and there's not much lacking in terms of it's ability to clean whatever surface it's being used upon. The oscillating brushes greedily swallow dirt and dust without spraying it around like our old Dirt Devil or even our floating canister vacuum we currently own; pushing the vacuum is assisted by this action, so there's not too much physical effort in using this upright (the Dirt Devil we owned for 8+ years was practically a certified upper body workout). We do note that this vacuum is best suited for carpeted or rug covered areas; flat, hard surfaces are an Achille's heel for most uprights; the UV-ST did do well, just not as well as our hard floor specific canister unit. But on our rugs, the UV-ST really shines. We don't know if the effect was merely psychological, but our rugs felt and looked cleaner after repeated use. Our short shag rug was notably softer and fluffier after a single cleaning, and the LED headlights ontop were a welcome feature for hunting out errant cat hair hidden underneath our furniture.
The 17lbs sucker is fairly light, but a bit loud, with it's powerful motor drowning out most conversation. We don't do much chatting while vacuuming, but it's worth noting about the noise level if you like to vacuum early in the morning or late at night without worries about disturbing neighbors. The UV-ST has no belts to worry about nor change, thanks to a gear driven motor (perhaps the source of the louder operating noise). A 31' cord allowed us to vacuum from one room all the way into another without problem, and the telescoping handle is a welcome feature for proper ergonomic height while in use. The UV-ST distinguishes itself from it's previous incarnation with the inclusion of a 13 ft. detachable hose, with a crevice tool and dusting brush, used to clean stairs, furniture and fabrics. We hope in a future model Halo is able to include a UV-C light to the hose unit attachment, so we can apply the same UV hurt on germs on non-floor surfaces.
At $499, the Halo UV-ST Ultraviolet Vacuum is not a cheap purchase. But it's also not a basic model vacuum, and competitively priced when matched up to mid-tier vacuums. The UV-C feature is an industry unique feature that sets it apart from it's other upright counterparts, and for households with allergy sufferers the UV-ST seems a worthy consideration, since the UV light has been tested as an effective way to kill unseen and unwanted pests without the use of chemicals. No, it doesn't look like a Transformer like a Dyson, but it's more sedate looks hide a more thorough cleaning option, and ultimately, that's what we want from our vacuums.
UPDATE: the Halo UV-C has proven to have one glaring design flaw that we've experienced numerous times since getting the vac fixed after discovering a non-working oscillating brush. The gear driven motors has a tendency to derail off regularly when vacuuming rugs and carpets. It can be reattached easily, but then as easily falls off after several minutes of use. Without the oscillation, the vacuum's rug and carpet cleaning efficiency is weak. We hope to see Halo fix this issue in future versions.