The Airider in the Test Lab

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Product: The Airider Vacuum Designer: Mike Rooney Price: $399

Rating: Recommend*

For cleaning month we had the pleasure of checking out a new concept in vacuuming that is sure to excite your nephew and spark plenty of cocktail conversation. The Airider Vacuum is a patented hovercraft vacuum.

Turning the Airider on is fun. Like an eager pet, it rises up when turned on and tags along behind you with barely any effort. It can also handle carpeting and rug surfaces (it comes with attachments for all surfaces).

And that is not all. The Airider is powerful, with 200 mph of airflow, and clean, with a HEPA filter and a bagless canister that allows you to see how much dirt your picking up. There is also a nice hose and wand design. The wand is retractable and so is the hose, allowing for very compact storage. The hose design allows one hose to fit inside of another. The inside hose can be extended when you need it, giving you twice as much reach. When you are done, a simple push of a button redistibutes the suction and pulls the extended hose right back inside the other.

Problems? The Airider main weakness is in the design of its bagless canister. We found it awkward to empty the canister and did not revel in the prospect of washing the HEPA filter in our sink when it gets filled up. In this category, Dyson's upright design is yet unbeaten.

In addition, the lack of wheels does mean that the vacuum doesn't move when it is turned off, making it necessary to pick the unit up at the beginning and end of your vacuuming holiday. Due to it's powerful motor, the Airider is not light either. It turns out that wheels ARE useful sometimes.

In summary, the Airider is an eyecatching and powerful addition to the canister vacuum category (in which we wish there were more!). It is a very good compact vacuum with a few rough edges, and it's sure to please many who are looking for a vacuum unlike any in their apartment building.

*Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

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