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Hoover Air Cordless review: Can this cordless vacuum go the distance?

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hooveraircorlesscheerios-1.jpg
The Air Cordless struggled on the Cheerios tests. Colin West McDonald/CNET

But, the Hoover Linx stick vacuum was able to pick up 100 percent of the fruity Cheerios on hardwood, mid-pile, and low-pile, so I had high expectations. Unfortunately, the Hoover Air Cordless struggled throughout most of this test. It picked up 65 percent of the fruity Cheerios on mid-pile, 92 percent on low-pile, and 22 percent on hardwood.

As with other upright vacuums, I turned the brush roll on for both carpeted surfaces and off for the hardwood test. When the brush roll was on, many of the Cheerios got jammed in the nozzle and in the hose, but most of them got trapped at the connection point between the hose and the dust bin -- although to a lesser extent on the low-pile carpet. That created a huge mess, because Cheerios spilled everywhere whenever I removed the dust bin to try to empty it.

With the brush roll switched off, it simply pushed most of the Cheerios around the floor. I did try turning on the brush roll on the hardwood out of curiosity and ended up with massive clogs once again. This also happened with the Dyson DC59 Motorhead, though, which only picked up 55 percent on hardwood and 66 percent on both mid- and low-pile carpet.

PET HAIR, 0.2 OZ. (PERCENTAGE PICKED UP)

Hoover Linx
100
100
100
Dyson DC59 Motorhead
100
100
100
Hoover Air Cordless
100
100
0

Legend:

Mid-pile
Low-pile
Hardwood

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The Air Cordless did much better on the pet hair test. It picked up 100 percent of the pet hair on both the mid- and low-pile carpets with the brush roll engaged. But, when I switched to the bare floor brush and turned off the brush roll, the vacuum failed completely. Instead of collecting the pet hair, the hair simply clung to the brush and was pushed from one section of the floor to another.

I tried it again with the brush roll on and it picked up everything with ease. Since the special hard floor brush roll is softer and less likely to scratch your floors, I would definitely recommend switching it on if you want to vacuum large dust bunnies or pet hair on your bare floors. The Dyson DC59 Motorhead picked up all of the pet hair on all three surfaces, but it doesn't have a brush roll "off" option, so the default comparison isn't entirely fair. If you switch on the Air Cordless brush roll when cleaning hardwood, these two vacuums end up with identical results.

SAND (PERCENTAGE, OUT OF 2.5 OZ)

Hoover Linx
34
48
99
Hoover Air Cordless
43
57
59

Legend:

Mid-pile
Low-pile
Hardwood

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The Hoover Air Cordless also struggled on the sand test, calling its suction power into question. It picked up 43 percent of the sand on mid-pile, 57 percent of the sand on low-pile, and 59 percent of the sand on hardwood. Even the Hoover Linx stick vacuum, which shouldn't theoretically be more powerful than the Air Cordless, did significantly better on the hardwood test.

We also did a suction test to compare the airflow of the Air Cordless to the brand's WindTunnel 3 upright and the Linx stick vacuum. Interestingly, the WindTunnel 3 had an airflow of 41 cubic feet per minute (cfm), the Linx got 36.5, and the Air Cordless reached just 23 cfm. These results are consistent with the performance results.

Conclusion

Hoover is on the right track with its $300 Air Cordless but isn't quite there yet. That's because the brand's $180 Platinum Collection Linx Cordless stick vacuum performed better overall on all three of the major tests. So, while the the Air Cordless could replace your upright, you're paying more for its battery-powered mobility than its suction power. For that reason, I'd still suggest the Linx over the Air Cordless -- just make sure you spring for an extra battery; the Linx comes with only one. And if you want a solid upright vacuum, I'd still recommend the $300 Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean over the Air Cordless, the Linx, and the WindTunnel 3.

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