Our household has relied upon an Electrolux Ergorapido for a couple years now, and we've always liked the convenience a 2-in-1 vac provides for easy pet fur and kitty litter cleanup duty. Electrolux recently gave us a walk-thru of their updated stick vac line, which improves on what we already know and use, with models equipped with beefier 12-volt power, cyclonic filtration, LED lighting and even a 18 volt lithium ion battery model that gave us a serious case of vacuum update envy.The $99 Unirapido is basically an updated 12 volt version of the Ergorapido that was once only available in the European market; offering cyclonic filtration and an extra large one-liter dust cup capacity, it's the heir apparent to the foundation of Electrolux's stick vac lineup. Like the rest of the European design line from Electrolux, the orange and gray design is extremely handsome compared to the typical domestic counterpart, though we wish a little less branding was applied across the front. Again on the plus side, the inclusion of a charging and running indicator light warns users when their 18 minutes of run time is nearing end and it's time to charge back up. We do hope you do not normally need to be vacuuming more than 18 minutes at a time, but if you do, you'll be kept in the loop by the indicator light.
The other two stick models shown were the $129 Ergorapido Ultra+, a 2-in-1 cleaner with a removable hand vac with brushes, 12-volt power and a LED headlight, and its even more powerful brethren, the $199 Ergorapido ION, which comes armed with a quick-charge 18-volt lithium ion battery. We noted almost all the major vacuum manufacturers were showcasing lithium ion battery models for their quick charge capabilities, increased power and usually offered with interchangeable use, but the Electrolux line retains the US crown for best industrial design in our book.
Over in Electrolux's canister vacuum section was the lightweight $399 UltraActive unit, with cyclonic filtration, DeepClean powerhead attachment, and LED headlight (another notable trend amongst many of the vacuums we saw during the show). For those who hate the noise associated with vacuuming, the $499 HEPA filtration UltraSilencer DeepClean operates at a hushed 68 decibels, making it a good choice for those of us who like to clean during the early morning or late at night. The operating sound in silenced mode was akin to that of a small fan on low setting and at lower pitch than a typical vacuum engine (offensive higher notes have been hushed without any real noticeable cleaning action loss).
If an upright is more to your fancy, Electrolux is offering the Versatility, a 12 amp bagless model with a removable wand and hose that reaches an expansive 14-feet. The HEPA filtration has been designed to eliminate odors and captures 99.97% of pet dander, dust mites, pollen and mold. The Versatility lives up to it's name with a surprise quick draw feature, the Quick-Release Wand; the vac's handle slides out into a hand vacuum for upholstery and stairs. It's certainly one of the most eye pleasing uprights in the market, with soft rounded edges and matte finishes that give the Versatility a quality appearance (we've owned a few uprights, and we prefer vacs with softer edges, since you're bound to hit a few walls/corners while cleaning). We only wish this was also offered in a HEPA bag model, since even the best bagless models aren't recommended for allergy sufferers, since they release minute particles upon emptying no matter how well designed the cup container is.
Speaking of pollutants in the air, Electrolux also previewed a future air purification system made from recycled materials and utilizes lower power consumption, shown alongside the now available Ergospace Green canister vacuum. The sample model shown was basically an Electrolux Oxygen 3 air cleaner, but manufactured with the specifications of their Green line. Hopefully one day there won't be any difference between a regular line and an eco-manufactured product (or a premium placed ontop), but we're happy to see home appliance manufacturers finally steering toward incorporation of recycled materials and simpler designs.