When you live with a toddler there's one thing you really can't live without and that's a good vacuum cleaner. Toddlers seem to have an ability to crumbs from nothing. If you have a toddler who likes cakes and crisps as much as Little Miss C does then the the crumbs seem to appear as if by magic. When I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Morphy Richards Innovator earlier this year I had visions of being asked to review kettles and if I was lucky a bread-maker, so I was intrigued and delighted when I received an email asking if I was interested in reviewing their Never Loses Suction Lift Away Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner. I hadn't realised that Morphy Richards made vacuum cleaners at all. Not only does it look good I was also fascinated by the idea of being able to lift part of it off to allow you to vacuum the stairs more easily.
Things started well as soon as the vacuum cleaner arrived as Little Miss C completely fell in love with the box it came in! Whilst it started off as a tunnel she could crawl into it's now been converted into a little house complete with door, window and chimney.
The vacuum cleaner itself is equally impressive and looks very futuristic when you take it out of the box. Fitting it all together makes you realise just how much of a modular design it is. The lift off canister is where all the actual suction power is and everything else is designed to plug into that to turn it into a regular upright vacuum cleaner, as well as it working in a standalone capacity.
There are two different modes of suction when in upright mode, one for carpets and one for hard floors. The suction power itself is outstanding. The Family and Pets version that we tested had no problems at all with anything from the mess that LMC generates to the long hair that I seem to be shedding due to pregnancy. Our main family room has laminate floors with a rub in front of where the sofa is. Transitioning from the laminate to the rug is a bit tricky as you can't easily tilt the hoover backwards to lift it up over the lip, meaning that you instead have to lift it all up and put it down again on the rug section. The vacuum cleaner isn't heavy, but it's a slightly annoying thing to have to do.
The vacuum cleaner was surprisingly noisy though and the turbo mode actually scared Little Miss C the first time I used it - the small turbo nozzle attachment reminded me of a hedge trimmer! Loud noises don't usually affect her at all, so I can imagine that some sensitive young children may find it quite frightening at first.
One big advantage over my existing vacuum cleaner is the length of the power cable. I was pleased to find that I could actually plug it in and hoover all of the downstairs of our house without having to bend down and move the plug. This also meant that hoovering all the stairs was possible with it plugged it in downstairs too. With my old vacuum cleaner I would have to change where it was plugged in half-way through the job, which is obviously a complete faff.
The lift away canister is a stroke of genius. This means that you have all the advantages of an upright vacuum cleaner for the main parts of the house, but the convenience of a cylinder vacuum cleaner for the stairs. Being six months pregnant this was also a lighter-weight option that my existing cleaner. The only disadvantage is that the fixed length part of the hose is quite long meaning that you actually need to be cleaning a couple of steps ahead of you all the time, quite simply as you can't get closer. It's also a bit tricky to balance the cylinder anywhere whilst hoovering as the most natural thing is to have the cylinder in your left hand and the hose bit in your right hand. This means that you don't actually have anything to hold on to. My centre of balance is off at the moment so I did feel a bit exposed when on the stairs.
If a second version of this vacuum cleaner is planned there is one ergonomic change that I think should be made. When using the cleaner in the lift away mode it naturally feels like the power switch should be on the handle that you're holding. It's not. Instead it is just offset to the side on the canister. I'm guessing this is so that the electrics didn't have to be routed into the handle, but when you're on the stairs and need to stop it so that you can hear what a toddler is shouting at you, you need a spare hand to reach the power switch which you don't have.
Whilst the lift away canister is great for being able to clean crumbs off the sofa, it is a bit annoying that if you need to get the vacuum cleaner out only to deal with crumbs on the sofa there is no quick and simple way of using the lift off canister without unwinding all the power cable first, due to how the cable is stored. This is a real shame as I'm afraid it did mean that I sometimes went and got our old cleaner out for little jobs like this rather than use the Morphy Richards one.
Overall, if you're looking for a powerful vacuum cleaner to cope with family life then the Morphy Richards Never Loses Suction Lift Away Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner is well worth considering. The cleaning power is faultless and the flexibility of the design means that it works well in all home scenarios - carpets, hard floors, stairs, households with pets and soft furnishings too.
The Morphy Richards Never Loses Suction Lift Away Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner is available to buy from the Morphy Richards website and retails at £199.99. If you buy before the 30th June 2012 you can also receive an amazing £100 off if you enter the code NLS100BLOG.
Disclaimer: I was sent a Morphy Richards Never Loses Suction Lift Away Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner Family and Pets version for the purposes of this review.