Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0 review

Hoover’s latest really sucks: Air Cordless takes the wires out of work

Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0 BH50140

Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0

“If you’re looking for an ultra-maneuverable vacuum that you can whip around your floors with ease, the Hoover Air Cordless should definitely be on your short list.”
  • Super lightweight
  • Cordless
  • Comes with two batteries
  • Brushroll can be turned off
  • Struggles with mid-sized granules (sand)
  • Feels flimsy
  • Expensive

Wires. They’re just the worst. That’s why computer makers have spent years and billions coming up with dozens of technologies to avoid ‘em — things like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and above all else the lithium-ion battery.

Why did it take so long for vacuum makers to join the party?

In recent years, the humble vacuum has finally tossed the tether and embraced battery technology, making it faster and easier to suck up that dust bunny or lint ball. Dyson has led the charge, with its recent DC59 Animal and Motorhead earning rave reviews. The Hoover Air Cordless is the sultan of suck’s latest entry in the wireless/cordless world, claiming to double the battery life of the competition. But how does it compare to tethered models and other cord-free vacs?

Look and feel

If aesthetics matter to you in a vacuum cleaner, the Air Cordless does have an undeniable appeal to the eye. It looks sleeker and more futuristic than most, with a clear canister and dirt path so you can see debris as it gets sucked in. Sounds gross I know, but it’s actually pretty neat.

Aesthetically we dig it, but in terms of feel, the Air Cordless leaves a bit to be desired. It’s collapsible and designed to be user friendly, but the tradeoff is that all the snap-together pieces make it feel flimsy. The pieces don’t fit together as snugly as they do in the Motorhead, so there’s a bit of wiggle in the chassis as you move it around. It won’t fall apart in your hands, but Hoover could definitely have made this feel sturdier.

Weight and maneuverability

Looks aside, moving this thing around the floor is simply a breeze. The wheels are quite loose, and the pivot ball makes maneuvering the cleaning head around objects effortless. A simple roll of the wrist can take the head from one extreme all the way to the other, with somewhere around 160 degrees of rotation. That’s damn good, and makes hitting those hard-to reach areas a snap.

Not having to fiddle with cords is as eye-opening as putting on a new pair of glasses.

We also appreciated the vacuum’s low-profile head, which made getting under low-slung furniture simple as well.

As for the weight, the Air Cordless tips the scales at just under 10 pounds, so it’s easy to whip around. To help you lug it up the stairs and lift to places other than the floor, it’s also outfitted with a second handle on the top of the dust collection bin, which we appreciated.

Then there’s the whole cordless thing. Rather than keeping you tethered to a power outlet, this bad boy runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Unlike every other products in the cordless category, from laptops to mobile phones to vacuums, Hoover ships two batteries you can quickly swap in and out. It’s a crucial feature. One battery gets you about 25 minutes of runtime — usually enough to get the job done, but a second battery sitting on the charger and at the ready is a wonderful touch. Great idea, Hoover!

If you’ve spent your whole life tethered to the outlet, not having to fiddle with cords is as eye-opening as putting on a new pair of glasses. We highly recommend it – even if it’s not this particular model. Cordless is where it’s at.

Additional features

One thing we appreciated on this vac was the ability to turn the brushroll on or off as needed. This makes cleaning hardwood and other carpetless surfaces a bit easier, and also saves power, since the battery doesn’t need to expend energy spinning the brush at a bazillion RPMs.

Sound

When we used our trusty iPhone sound meter app, the vacuum hovered around 82 to 83 decibels, and peaked at 85. For comparison’s sake, that’s about the same noise level as city traffic heard from the sidewalk; it’s not particularly loud, but you’ll certainly be able to hear when somebody’s using it in the house.

Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0 BH50140

We didn’t find the Hoover Cordless Air to be particularly whiney or piercing, however. It’s more of a droning, mid-register whirrrr. It’s unremarkable, and sounds pretty much average for a vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning performance

To get a sense of how Hoover’s latest cleans, we ran it through our test gauntlet. We start by dumping 300 grams of flour, sand, and rice (100g each) onto a 5×3 foot strip of carpet. After one full minute of walking on it — and grinding this mixture deep into the carpet fibers — we flip the switch and run the vacuum for one full minute. At the end, we weigh the contents of the dustbin to see how much of the original 300 grams it managed to pick up.

All the snap-together pieces make it feel flimsy.

In this case, about 59 percent of gunk made it to the dustbin via the Hoover Air Cordless, on average across three tests. To put that in context, our reference vacuum (a corded Royal Pro Series UR30095) picked up 86 percent, on average.
To get a bit more granular and pinpoint where the vacuum struggles or excels, we then performed the same test, but with 100 grams of each individual substance.

Based on these tests, it’s clear that the Cordless Air does a fantastic job with bigger chunks of gunk – even when they’re ground into the carpet. It picked up an average of 90 percent of rice over the course of three tests. Our corded reference vacuum picked up 98, so despite being smaller, lighter, and battery powered, Hoover’s vac still wasn’t far behind.

It also does a fairly decent job picking up fine particles. In our flour-only test, the vacuum sucked up an average of 47 percent – nearly half of what we originally laid down. That’s not too bad for just a single minute of vacuuming.

Where the vacuum really struggled was our sand test. It had some trouble pulling the small, dense granules out of the carpet, and only succeeded in gathering up 25 percent. It’s worth noting, however, That most vacuums struggle with this portion of the test, and even our corded vacuum only managed to suck up 67 percent of what we ground into the rug.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an ultra-maneuverable vacuum that you can whip around your floors with ease, the Hoover Air Cordless should definitely be on your short list. At just 10 pounds, it’s extremely mobile, yet still has all the versatility of a traditional upright — and all the perks of a full size, like hose attachments and an enormous dustbin.

Furthermore, the ability to turn off the brushroll makes it a breeze to transition from hardwood to carpet and back again.

But the extra mobility and ease of use doesn’t come without a price. As with most cordless vacuums, you’ll lose some cleaning power for the extra mobility.

Highs

  • Super lightweight
  • Cordless
  • Comes with two batteries
  • Brushroll can be turned off

Lows

  • Struggles with mid-sized granules (sand)
  • Feels flimsy
  • Expensive

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