Lightweight and convenient, cordless vacuums now rule the roost. Advancements in motor efficiency and battery capacity have made them very viable alternatives to plain old (and clumsy) corded vacuum cleaners.
The last time anyone had to scramble out their corded vacuum cleaner should be ample motivation to abandon them. For those who don’t: you had to haul the massive body out, connect the pipes and accessories, unwind the long power adapter and hunt for the optimal power outlet to hook it up to.
At an MSRP of SGD 699, the Philips SpeedPro Max cordless vacuum cleaner comes almost twice the price of its regular corded muggle brethren but is quite a bit cheaper than Dyson’s V10 series of vacuum cleaners.
The Philips SpeedPro Max came with its lauded 360° suction nozzle and a motorised turbo brush as attachments, along with a wall-mounted dock that charges it at the same time. I did, however, wish that the dock featured additional attachment points to keep the other accessories.
This complement of accessories offered several configurations in which the SpeedPro Max could be used. Alone, it would be ideal for cleaning on desks or other delicate, easy-to-reach areas. It could be paired with the long pipe included, which allows users to access hard-to-reach areas like lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and curtain rails. A foldable brush is attached to the tip of the pipe, allowing for greater flexibility in use cases.
The 360° suction nozzle is intended to be the main attachment for the Philips SpeedPro Max. It is broad: significantly wider than the attachment available for the Dyson V-series vacuums. At its front edge are three LEDs that were helpful to show the dirt on dimly-lit surfaces.
Its low-profile design also meant that it could easily slide under sofas, beds and cupboards.
Last is the motorised turbo brush that would be useful for more heavy-duty applications like that dirt-caked area behind your fridge you only clean out once every decade.
The SpeedPro Max uses an underslung design, with the filter and motor housed under the slightly slanted grip. This meant it felt more ergonomic in the hand, and I could comfortably use it with arm extended. The Dyson V10 (and V8) series of vacuum cleaners, in comparison, houses the motor and dust compartment in front of your hand. This makes it feel heavier especially for long periods of cleaning.
The Philips SpeedPro Max is operated with a thumb slider that offers a two-stage suction adjustment: regular and turbo. No need to constantly depress a trigger à la Ghost Busters.
In actual use, the Philips SpeedPro Max came in pretty close to its advertised battery life of 1 hour for regular use. This drops to a mere 21 minutes when engaging the turbo mode.
I found myself constantly switching between both modes during actual use, and it lasted long enough for all my cleaning sessions that usually last around forty minutes. For reference, I live in a 146 sqm (1,615 sqft) maisonette apartment with minimal carpeting.
The Philips SpeedPro Max performed as well as its cabled counterparts, except that it usually took a few more passes to achieve the same level of cleanliness. As would be the case for all vacuum cleaners, a second pass with a wet mop was essential in ensuring the marble flooring is free of dirt, grime and oils.
Especially for my multi-storied dwelling, it was a breeze to uproot myself between rooms and floors without the hassle of lugging a heavy motor and rerouting the power cable.
The suction of the main 360° nozzle performed well enough and seemed on par with the iconic Dyson V10, although I noted that it worked better during pushing strokes as compared to pulling ones.
A useful panel above the grip indicated the battery level in minutes remaining, and an indicator flashed to show when battery levels were low.
Emptying the dust from the Philips SpeedPro Max was also a breeze. With a detachable container, you can easily tip it without the dust getting everywhere. I did prefer the Dyson V10’s point-and-shoot system that accurately dumps the dirt without you having to come close to it – a great feature for those with allergens or sensitivities.
Its compact size prompted me to try it out on our car, which had accumulated plenty of dirt in nooks and crannies all around. The first cordless vacuum cleaners had been designed for this very purpose! However, its bulky dust compartment meant it was especially difficult to access the narrowest of corners. I found myself wishing for an intermediate attachment (around 30cm, perhaps) to funnel the dust from slots and other annoying crevices.
The Philips SpeedPro Max retails at a suggested price of SGD 699, which means it’s still pretty costly for a vacuum cleaner. For its feature set, and the convenience it affords, the SpeedPro Max is perfect for those who had eyed Dyson’s family of vacuum cleaners, but baulked at the steep price. It’s for those who look for value while demanding efficacy, simplicity and portability for their homes.