Our Verdict: The Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator is a useful handheld vacuum for quick cleaning jobs and as a backup to your main vac. It’s affordable, lightweight, and makes quick work of dry spills – particularly on hard floors. We found it struggled with pet hair, fluff, and carpet cleaning though. The fabric filter is also quick to clog. It’s also important to be aware of the long recharging time.
Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator
- Convenient for quick cleaning jobs, such as spilt cereal or a patch of dried dirt
- Very lightweight and easy to use around the home
- Built-in crevice tool for cleaning into corners or other tight locations
- Provides excellent value for money
- Can’t match the best handheld vacuums for raw suction power
- No motorised tool makes it ineffective at picking up hair, stubborn dirt, or fluff that’s ground into carpet
- No soft brush for cleaning delicate surfaces
- Fabric filter clogs faster than other filters we’ve tested
- Very long recharging time
The Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator is a stylish handheld vacuum that’s designed for simplicity. It comes with a single power mode, one built-in tool, and an easy-to-empty design. The Gator is also one of the cheapest handheld vacuums on the market – especially if you want to buy from an established brand.
During our testing, we found the Gator to be a useful tool for quick clean-ups. It’s lightweight and easy to use, making it convenient when you need to clean small areas. We also found that it provided decent suction and cleaning performance on hard floors, but it struggled more with carpets and rugs.
How does the Vax perform when tackling everyday cleaning tasks? And are there better options out there in this price range? Let’s find out.
Overview of Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator Features
- Cordless handheld vacuum cleaner that’s designed to be a secondary vacuum for quick clean-ups
- Includes Gator “mouth” technology so it’s easy to empty the dust cup
- Up to 15-minutes battery run-time on a single charge
- Lightweight and easy to hold in one hand
- Built-in crevice tool
In-Depth Look at the Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator
Appearance and Design
Upon unboxing the Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator, we thought it was an attractive handheld vacuum that doesn’t look like a budget model. It has a modern, sleek appearance with an orange and white colour scheme. The only part of the vacuum we think looks dated is the battery light near the handle, as newer vacuums typically have larger LED indicators.
Aside from its appearance, we found the Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator to be lightweight and convenient for quick cleaning sessions. It also has a built-in crevice tool, which is useful for getting into the cracks of sofas or the corner of staircase steps. However, the crevice tool is relatively short, so we didn’t think it was much use for getting into really tight locations.
We’ll discuss the vacuum’s cleaning performance in a later section, but our tests showed it provides solid performance considering the low price. It struggled with harder jobs, so don’t expect it to replace a regular vacuum, but it’s a useful tool when there’s a small patch of dried dirt or spilt cereal.
Unlike some handheld vacuums (such as the Hoover H-Handy 700), the “Gator Mouth” technology makes it simple to empty the dust container, without accidentally pouring dust and dirt all over your hands. In particular, we liked that the Gator mouth opens away from your hands when pressing the dual buttons, making it easy to avoid the released debris.
We also like that you can point the mouth deep into a bin before emptying it. However, we did find that dirt and hair tend to get stuck to the fabric filter (see image above) and need to be pulled out by hand. It was actually quite hard to remove all the debris from the filter, meaning that it clogs quickly.
The H85-GA-B10 has a battery life of up to 15 minutes between charges. This is relatively long for a budget handheld, and should be enough for most small tasks. It also compares favourably with other models in the same price range, such as the Black+Decker Wet and Dry Dustbuster 4.8V which has a run-time of just 8 minutes.
A major downside is the vacuum takes a long time to charge. Vax estimates that a full charge takes around 12 hours, so there’s no chance of a quick top-up if it runs out during a cleaning session. In fact, this is the longest recharge of any vacuum we’ve tested, and greatly limits how useful the Vax actually is for cleaning around the home.
One thing to keep in mind is that a charging base isn’t included with the Vax H85-GA-B10. Instead, it is charged through a standard cable. This isn’t a major problem, but is another barrier to making sure that the Vax is always charged and ready when you need it.
Suction Power and Cleaning Performance
During our tests, we found that the H85-GA-B10 provides decent suction power compared with other handheld vacuums in its price range. It’s also great for cleaning up small spills, especially on hard floors.
However, it can’t match the best handheld vacuums when it comes to cleaning performance and raw suction power. It’s also let down on carpets by the lack of a motorised pet tool – although we wouldn’t expect one to be included with a vacuum in this price range.
Hard floors (or hard surfaces in general) are where the Vax excels, as the lack of a turbo tool isn’t an issue here. It easily picked up oats during our testing, proving it’s a good choice for larger debris. We also found that it generates enough suction to get rid of smaller dust particles or debris.
The lightweight design makes it easy to whip along skirting boards, while the crevice tool (pictured above) helps to get into tighter locations where the regular nozzle might be too big.
Stair cleaning is a mixed bag. The Vax is a convenient choice for cleaning surface dirt and other debris from carpeted stairs, but lacks the suction power and agitating brush bar for deeper cleaning. However, this is to be expected from a relatively cheap handheld vacuum.
We wish it had a dusting brush for more delicate surfaces though. There were multiple times during our testing when we had to avoid cleaning a table, sideboard, or other location because the hard nozzle might cause scratches.
The Vax struggles more with carpets than hard floors. It’s fine for cleaning up small spills on the surface, but we found the lack of a motorised brush bar prevents it from cleaning deeper to remove more dust and dirt. It also couldn’t remove fluff that had been ground into the carpet.
Unfortunately, we also found that the H85-GA-B10 doesn’t have the cleaning performance to deal with pet hair. It really struggled to remove hair or fluff that had become caught in carpet fibres during our tests, so we certainly don’t recommend it for pet owners.
In this case, we recommend looking for a more powerful model. But for small dry spills, cleaning up mud from hard floors and vacuuming stairs, it’s more than capable.
Ease of Use
The Vax H85-GA-B10 is a simple vacuum cleaner to use. There’s only one power mode, a single built-in tool, and a basic emptying system, so there’s nothing complex about using it.
We found that the 0.3 litre dust capacity was plenty for the type of cleaning jobs the Vax is designed to handle. You might need to empty it during a cleaning session if you’re picking up larger debris, but for most cleaning jobs the vacuum has ample capacity.
Additionally, we enjoyed using it around the home. The vacuum feels lightweight and balanced, even when using it for the full 15-minute run-time.
Tools and Accessories
There’s only one tool included with the Vax, and that’s the built-in crevice tool. As you can see from the photo above, this slides down from the main Gator nozzle, so you don’t need to worry about using it.
We generally like built-in tools, although in this case, we felt that the crevice tool wasn’t long enough for it to be useful when cleaning tight locations. It also felt stiff to pull down, although it might loosen up over time.
Another downside of this handheld vacuum is that it doesn’t come with charging plate or docking station. There’s just a standard charging cable, which means that you need to purposefully charge it between cleaning sessions.
The Vax comes with a basic fabric filter. This does a decent job at removing dust and other allergens from the air, although we don’t recommend this vacuum for people with dust allergies. If you have allergies, look for a bagged vacuum with a HEPA filter.
The filter is easy to remove and can be washed. We found that you need to rinse it regularly to prevent clogging, which can be frustrating, but at least it’s easily accessible.
Tip: Always make sure the filter is completely dry before putting it back inside the dust cup.
Price and Value for Money
When we bought this vacuum cleaner, it had an RRP of £49.99. At this price we think it provides excellent value for money.
It’s not the most powerful handheld, nor does it come with the most advanced features. But if you want a lightweight vacuum to act as a backup to your main vac, then the Vax is a solid choice at this price.
Vax H85-GA-B10 Specification Table
|Ninja Column 1||Ninja Column 2|
Vax H85-GA-B10 Vs Hoover H-Handy 700 Express
|Ninja Column 1||Vacuum 2||Vacuum 1|
|Vax Gator H85-GA-B10||Hoover H-Handy 700 Express|
|Around The Home Cleaning Score||3.5/5||3.5/5|
|Car Interiors Cleaning Score||2.5/5||2/5|
|Pet Hair Cleaning Score||2/5||2/5|
|Stairs Cleaning Score||3.5/5||4/5|
Frequently Asked Questions
Can The Vax H85-GA-B10 Clean Wet Spills?
No, the Vax is not designed to handle wet spills. You also shouldn’t use it to vacuum up wet food or damp mud, as any moisture inside the vacuum can damage the motor (or even risk an electric shock).
Can The Vax H85-GA-B10 Clean Pet Hair?
The Vax is not a pet vacuum, as there’s no motorised pet tool for pulling hair out of carpets or sofas. We found it can handle loose hairs, but it struggled to remove hair or fluff from carpets. For this reason, we don’t recommend it to pet owners.
We think the Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator is a solid handheld vacuum cleaner for quick cleaning tasks. It’s not the best handheld we’ve tested, but we think it provides excellent value if you want an affordable, lightweight, and easy-to-use handheld vacuum for dry spills.
It’s particularly useful for cleaning cereal, dry dirt, and other small cleaning jobs on hard floors. It generates relatively strong suction for such a cheap handheld, so it can handle both smaller particles and larger debris on hard surfaces.
The Vax struggles to clean carpets though. We found that it can’t remove most ground in fluff or pet hair, mainly due to the lack of a turbo tool.
It also takes an age to recharge, making it less convenient than newer handhelds. So, if you want a handheld for regular cleaning throughout the day, then we don’t recommend this model.
However, if you want a cheap handheld for occasional cleaning jobs – especially on hard floors – then it’s an option to consider.