The $300 Hoover Air Cordless, available only in the US, ushers in an entirely new vacuum category that's essentially a hybrid of the brand's $180 WindTunnel 3 High Performance Bagless upright and its $180 Platinum Collection Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum. The result is the cordless upright -- a model that claims to have the power of an upright and the mobility of a stick vacuum. It's also one of Hoover's most beautifully designed vacuums.
And while it was competitive with other upright models we've reviewed, it wasn't able to match the performance of the highly-rated Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean, the Hoover WindTunnel 3, or the $550 Dyson DC59 Motorhead -- the Motorhead is the only other cordless model around that makes similar upright replacement claims.
The most interesting takeaway, though, is that it didn't test as well as Hoover's own $180 Linx stick vacuum -- a battery-powered stick model designed for its cord-free simplicity rather than its high suction power. So, while this is a very good vacuum, it's hard to recommend spending $300 when you can spend $180 on the Linx and get better results.
Hoover's Air Cordless is a gray-silver upright-style vacuum with bright blue accents. The Air Cordless comes with two removable 25-minute runtime lithium ion batteries, a battery charger, a reusable filter, a dusting-crevice tool combo, a swiveling dusting brush, and a separate brush roll specifically for bare-floor cleaning.
It's just shy of 10 pounds, making it incredibly nimble, although the Dyson DC59 Motorhead weighs half of that, at 4.96 pounds. It has a removable wand for targeted cleaning with the extra brush attachments, and it boasts the same three-suction-channel WindTunnel tech that you find on Hoover's WindTunnel 3 upright.
Not only is the Air Cordless lightweight, it's also very maneuverable, with a pivoting nozzle that can navigate around furniture and other obstacles with ease. I also appreciate that it comes with two batteries. That way, you can charge one while you vacuum with the other. Each battery also display a three-LED status bar to let you know how much battery life remains.
While it's designed to transition easily from carpet to hardwood, tile, or other hard surfaces, the two brushes complicate things a bit. If I'm cleaning a space with an area rug that transitions to carpet -- or if I'm simply cleaning a home that has different flooring types throughout, I don't want to stop and switch out the brush roll.
That midvacuuming effort kind of defeats the purpose of an efficient, cordless design. Many standard uprights come with a single brush, so I have to worry only about tripping over the cord and finding a conveniently located outlet. The Air Cordless removes the cord concerns, but adds the bother of custom brushes.
A crossover vacuum with SUV performance?
Although the $300 Air Cordless and the $550 Dyson DC59 Motorhead are the only two vacuums that make direct upright replacement claims, I compared it to the $180 Hoover WindTunnel 3 upright, the $180 Hoover Linx stick vacuum, and the $300 Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean upright as well. That way, I can account for the hybrid nature of the Air Cordless. It really is the crossover vehicle of the vacuum industry.
The fruity Cheerios test results were very inconsistent. I wanted to see if the nozzle could clear the Cheerios -- rather than simply pushing them around the floor -- and if they made it to the dust bin -- rather than getting stuck along the way. Yes, this is a bit of a "torture test" for a vacuum, because those big, sticky cereal bits can clump together and create all kinds of cleaning unpleasantness.