Written by James Hall | 0 Comments | Last Updated: March 20, 2017
Gtech AirRam Mk2
- Long 40 minute run-time
- Highly manoeuvrable
- Bin is easy to empty
- Headlights to illuminate dust and dirt
- Great for cleaning floors
- Lack of tools makes it less versatile than stick vacuums
- Struggles to pick up pet hair
- Doesn't clean right up to the edge
The Gtech AirRam Mk2 is the follow up to the highly popular original AirRam. It features a similar style to its predecessor, but aims to improve the vacuum in a number of ways. A lot has changed in the cordless market since 2012 though, so can the Mk2 compete with popular models from Dyson and other brands? And how does it perform on carpets, stairs and hard floors? Keep reading our Gtech AirRam Mk2 review to find out!
Overview of Gtech AirRam Mk2
- 40 minute battery life from a four hour charge
- Powered by a 22V lithium-ion battery
- Headlights show up more dust and dirt
- New bin design that’s easy and hygienic to empty
- AirLOC system to improve large debris pickup
- 0.8 litre dust capacity
- 2 year guarantee from the manufacturer
Features and Performance
If you haven’t used the original AirRam, the Mk2 is a cordless vacuum that’s built specifically for cleaning floors. While other cordless models, such as the Dyson V6 Fluffy, aim to provide “full home” cleaning including above furniture, the AirRam is much more like an upright vacuum. It also adds several new features, such as headlights and a redesigned suction system.
Appearance and Design
The first noticeable difference between the Mk2 and original AirRam is the colour scheme. While its predecessor had a bland grey colour palette, the Mk2 adds a welcome splash of green. It also has a redesigned floor head, which we’ll talk about shortly.
Aside from the colour scheme and new floor head, the appearance of the Mk2 is very similar to the original. It has a collapsible handle, allowing for easy storage, and simple controls. With a weight of 3.5kg, however, the AirRam Mk2 is reasonably heavy for a cordless.
The Mk2 is designed to be easy to steer around the home. The handle itself can rotate and there’s a joint between the floor head and attachment. While this might not sound like a major feature, it makes the Mk2 highly manoeuvrable and a pleasure to use. The fact that the motor is in the floor head also improves balance. You never feel as if you’re battling the Mk2, which can sometimes be the case with bulkier models.
As you can see from the image above, the vacuum can recline almost to horizontal. This allows you to clean under furniture much more easily.
One of the downsides to both versions of the AirRam is the lack of an extension hose. This, combined with the upright design and lack of a detachable handheld, means the AirRam is only suitable for cleaning floors. While we understand Gtech has made a conscious decision not to include a hose or detachable handheld, it greatly reduces the vacuum’s versatility compared to cordless stick models.
There are advantages to the Mk2’s design though. Unlike many vacuums, it doesn’t have a typical dust canister. Instead, dirt is compressed into a container inside the floor head. Gtech estimates that the storage capacity is 0.8 litres, which is fairly large for a cordless – but still requires regular emptying.
The good news is that emptying is quick and easy. Instead of just tipping the dirt into the bin, a slider is used to forcibly remove it. We like this feature, as it means you don’t need get your hands dirty trying to pull out the last bits of dust and dirt.
Suction Power and Performance
One of the great things about the AirRam Mk2 is the powerful brush bar. While many cordless vacuums struggle to pick up dirt in cracks between floorboards, the Mk2 has no such trouble. This is important, as the raw suction power of the machine is actually low due to its design.
In fact, the brush bar is so powerful that it can move the vacuum forward on its own. This makes cleaning hard floors very easy, as the machine feels like it’s gliding despite the relatively heavy weight.
While the suction performance is very good on hard floors, the Mk2 struggles a little more with carpets. It still has decent dust and dirt pickup, but it can’t match the power of the best upright vacuums. Like many cordless vacuums, it also has difficulty removing pet hair that’s been caught in carpet fibres.
We’re also surprised that the vacuum doesn’t come with a height adjustment feature when switching between carpets and hard floors.
Like the original AirRam, the Mk2 uses a 22V lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries have a number of advantages, including consistent power throughout their run-time. This means the vacuum doesn’t lose suction power as the battery gets lower. Lithium-ion batteries also charge faster, so the Mk2 only requires 4 hours to recharge. This is considerably faster than many other cordless vacuums.
The run-time is 40 minutes from a full charge, which is more than the average cordless and long enough to clean a medium size home. It’s surprising that Gtech hasn’t improved the battery life in the four years between the original and Mk2 though.
A docking station isn’t included with the Mk2, as the upright design means it can stand on its own. Instead, a simple charger pack is used to recharge the battery.
As the AirRam Mk2 is designed for floor cleaning, the floor head is one of the most important components. It’s built with a powered rotating brush bar that’s designed to pull more dust and dirt out of carpets. As we mentioned earlier, the Gtech largely relies on this brush bar for its cleaning performance, as the suction power is low.
The floor head also uses Gtech’s AirLOC technology. While this sounds fancy, it’s effectively a flap that creates a seal when the vacuum is moved backwards. This allows it to pickup larger debris, such as cereal, without sacrificing its suction power for smaller particles.
Additionally, the floor head is designed to clean right to the edge of walls and skirting boards. This is vital, as the lack of a hose means there’s no option to whip down walls after cleaning. Gtech claims the combination of edge cleaning and lightweight design also makes it suitable for cleaning stairs, although we don’t think it’s as convenient as a cordless with detachable handheld. We’ve also read reports that the floor head isn’t capable of cleaning right to the edge – which is a problem considering the lack of accessories or tools.
Another downside is that the brush can quickly become tangled with pet hair. It’s also not the easiest to untangle. This, combined with the poor pet hair pickup, means we don’t recommend the AirRam Mk2 if you have a dog or cat that sheds.
The combination of washable filter and unique design means very little dust and dirt escapes into the air. Gtech claims the filter should last the lifetime of the machine, but it’s important to clean it on a regular basis to maintain suction power.
As with all cordless vacuums, however, the Mk2 is a bagless model. We don’t usually recommend bagless vacuums for people with allergies, as the emptying process can allow allergens to escape into the air. There aren’t any bagged cordless models on the market though, so if you suffer from dust allergies you may want to get another family member to empty it directly into an outdoor bin.
- An LED display shows how much charge is remaining in the battery
- Lights at the front of the machine illuminate the floor
- The power switch is foot operated
- The battery can be removed if it needs to be replaced
At the time of writing, the Gtech AirRam Mk2 RRP is £200 – although you may be able to find it for cheaper on various shopping sites. We think this price provides great value if you’re looking for a convenient second vacuum to use between cleaning with your main vacuum. As a full replacement for a corded vacuum, however, the Mk2 falls short.
Like the original AirRam, the Mk2 doesn’t come with any attachments or tools. A multi-tool can be bought as a separate handheld device, but this adds considerable cost to the machine.
In addition, Gtech offer a 2 year guarantee that covers faulty manufacturing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Differences Between the Gtech AirRam and AirRam Mk2?
On the surface, it doesn’t seem there are huge differences between the Mk1 and Mk2. The aim of providing a floor-cleaning cordless as a second vacuum rather than a true upright replacement is certainly the same. They also both weigh 3.5kg and have a combination of telescopic tube and additional handle.
There are a number of additions though. Firstly, the AirLOC suction system improves the vacuum’s ability to pickup larger debris without compromising on smaller particles. Gtech has also added headlights and a new, easier-to-empty bin design. Overall, the Mk2 is unarguably a step up from the original model, even if the basic design is the same.
While the Gtech AirRam Mk2 cordless vacuum is undoubtedly an improvement on the original AirRam, the changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The easier-to-empty bin, new suction system and headlights are welcome additions though, and we think the Mk2 provides excellent value for money.
The competition for cordless vacuums is much stiffer than when the original AirRam was released though. Models such as the Dyson V6 provide better cleaning power and are much more versatile – although the AirRam is cheaper and has a longer battery life. Many people will also be put off by the lack of accessories and poor performance with pet hair .
That doesn’t mean the Mk2 doesn’t have its place though. It isn’t a full vacuum replacement, nor is it as versatile as the best stick cordless vacuums, but it’s considerably cheaper than Dyson alternatives and does a great job on floors. If you’re looking for a cordless to clean carpets and hard floors that doesn’t cost as much as stick models from Dyson or Hoover, it’s certainly an option to consider.