Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Brushroll Clean Xtra review: Messy results undermine Electrolux's nicely designed stick vac

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MSRP: $179.99

The Good The Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Brushroll Clean Xtra pivots on a dime, has a powerful battery, and converts easily from a stick to a handheld.

The Bad It tangled pet hair, flung large particles and picked up a comparatively small amount of fine particles on our performance tests.

The Bottom Line The Ergorapido is a nice-looking, easy-to-use vacuum that's in the wrong line of work. It's a vacuum cleaner you'll enjoy taking out of the box, then want to put back into the box once it starts struggling to actually clean your floors.

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5.8 Overall
  • Performance 4
  • Features 6
  • Design 8
  • Usability 7

I get annoyed when I have to clean up extensively up after a vacuum cleaner. As you might expect, we intentionally dirty our floors when testing vacuums, and some work is required to reset the floor after a test run for any machine. But instead of small touchups, the Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Brushroll Clean Xtra necessitated that I vacuum the testing surfaces all over again with a different machine after every single run across all types of surfaces and all types of dirt.

This Electrolux vac updates the Ergorapido series to mixed results. It now has a more powerful lithium ion battery to go along with the company's standout vacuum feature -- the brushroll clean. It's a simple concept. The brushroll cavity houses a blade that rests out of the way at the top of the compartment. Get hair tangled on the bristles, and you can press a lever while the vacuum's running to lower the blade and slice the hair away.

Given that I recently tested the highly competent Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal from the same parent company of Electrolux -- a machine that sold me on the whole brushroll clean concept -- I had high hopes for this Electrolux stick. It has an attractive design, and it maneuvers beautifully. It just won't get your floors clean and the brushroll clean feature isn't as effective on this stick as it was on the Eureka upright. Despite the reasonable $150 price and the solid design, I can't recommend the Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Brushroll Clean Xtra.

Plenty of style

Far and away, the best thing about this vacuum is the maneuverability. The vacuum's head attaches to the body with flexible hosing for the air flow and a pivoting joint that can turn almost a full 180 degrees. As a result, with a turn of the wrist, the vacuum can swivel 90 degrees in either direction and readily navigate any corner.

The Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Brushroll Clean Xtra weighs just over 5 pounds, so it's easy to lift, though not necessarily more so than the many other stick vacs we've tested. The lithium ion battery holds a charge well, running for over 30 minutes on normal speed and 14 minutes on high speed, though it takes a long 4 hours to regain a full charge.

For comparison, the most competent stick vacs we've tested -- the Hoover Linx and the Dyson V6 series -- each hold a charge for 15 to 20 minutes of work, but fill up after 3 hours of down time. In turbo mode, the Dyson v6 only lasts 6 minutes.

The lithium ion battery lets you vacuum for awhile on a single charge. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

On the front of the Ergorapido, four LEDs help you keep track of the vac's remaining charge while you work, though the display is slightly counterintuitive. The Ergorapido only uses three of the four lights to indicate your charge level. So if your vac has over 75 percent of battery life left, you'll see three orange bars lit. Two light up between 25 and 75 percent charge, one lights with less than that, and that one LED blinks when the battery runs out.

I would have expected the four lights to each represent a quarter of the total charge, and had to use the instruction manual to figure out the Ergorapido's specific code. When I first started using it, I thought the unlit fourth light meant I hadn't fully charged it.

Instead, the fourth light only turns on when there's a problem. It shines red instead of orange -- it's solid red if the engine is overheated, and it blinks if the airflow is clogged.

It didn't take me long to learn the Electrolux's LED system, and having four lights and two colors allows it to relay somewhat specific signals through a simple mechanic. I prefer a simple progress gauge as on the Black & Decker 36v Max Lithium Stick Vacuum with ORA Technology . The lights for those blink when there's a problem as well. The second color on the ErgoRapido feels like overkill and is why the system is counterintuitive, but again, it communicates with more clarity than most once you learn its language.

Press the eject button to remove the hand vac. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Above the LEDs is a power button specific to the pull out hand vac. While in place in the stick vac frame, the hand vac juts out slightly. Push a button above it, and it ejects easily. It also snaps back into the main vac securely, so this is a convertible vacuum that converts well. You might think that's a given, but we found on the Bissell Bolt Ion 2-in1 Lightweight Cordless Vacuum that it's not.

You'll need to pull the hand vac free to access the dust bin, which you'll need to empty regularly, since it's a little undersized. With the Dyson V6 vacs, you empty dirt with a single button press. With the Ergorapido, you need to remove the hand vac, remove the bin compartment and lift off the filter. It's a little complicated, but each piece snaps into and out of place easily and securely.

The attachments don't provide that same satisfying snap when you fit them on the end of the hand vac, and the Ergorapido only includes two -- a crevice tool and a brush. Given the brushroll clean feature, the convertible hand vac, and the reasonable $150 price point, I didn't think the Ergorapido too bare bones in terms of features, despite the small number of included attachments.

I also liked the look of it, though its base red coloring reminded me of Dirt Devil 's traditional appearance. The buttons accent the red with silver. In addition to the power button on the hand vac and the button that ejects the hand vac, another power button and a speed control button sit at the top of the stick vac's handle, within reach of your thumb while gripping the machine.

Power and speed buttons sit at the top of the handle, in reach of your thumb. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The speed button cycles the vac between high speed and normal. Turn the vac on, and flip it to high speed, and you'll get the most out of the brushroll clean mechanic. With the bristles spinning at high speed, press your foot on the lever at the corner of the vacuum and the brushroll blades will descend and scrape away some tangled pet hair.

You can purchase the Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion Brushroll Clean Xtra from the company's website, as well as from Best Buy, Amazon, Home Depot and other major appliance retailers. I reviewed model number EL2081A which costs $150 and is specific to the US, but comparable models are available overseas.

In the UK, the AG3012 costs £229.95. In Australia, you'll find the similar ZB3012 for AU$250. Both the UK and AU models have an 18V Lithium Ion Battery, as opposed to the 14.4 battery in the US version, and both come with an added vacuum stand.