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Vax H86-GA-B Gator Handheld Vacuum Review

Written by James Hall |

Vax H86-GA-B Gator Handheld Vacuum




Ease of Use


Cleaning Power







  • Strong suction for a handheld
  • Built-in crevice tool
  • 18 minute run-time


  • Long recharge time
  • No dusting brush
  • Crevice tool too small for cars

The Vax H86-GA-B Gator handheld vacuum cleaner has recently been superseded by its cousin model, the H85-GA-B10. But how do the two models compare? And is the Vax H86-GA-B Gator still worth buying? Keep reading to find out!

Overview of Vax H86-GA-B Gator Features

  • Stylish handheld vacuum cleaner
  • Cordless model for more convenient cleaning
  • Lightweight design weighing just 1.3kg
  • Gator technology reduces mess when emptying the container
  • Capable of cleaning all around the home, including both floors and upholstery
  • Crevice tool for reaching difficult areas
  • 10.8V battery provides decent power for a handheld
  • 18 minute run-time between charging
  • Also comes with a 2 year guarantee from Vax

In-Depth Look at the Vax H86-GA-B Gator

Appearance and Design

The Vax H86-GA-B is built with the company’s distinctive orange and white colour scheme, giving the model a stylish and modern appearance. While we don’t think it looks quite as attractive as other handhelds, such as the Black+Decker Lithium, it’s not an ugly model.

Aside from its aesthetic appearance, the H86-GA-B has been built with functionality in mind. There is a built-in crevice tool for cleaning difficult-to-reach areas (see the picture below), and the model is relatively lightweight for extended cleaning sessions. It also has a 0.3 litre capacity, which is small but enough for most simple jobs.

Battery Life and Power

The Vax H86-GA-B comes with a 10.8V battery. This is considerably less powerful than the 18V battery in the Black+Decker listed above, but comparable with the newer Vax H85-GA-B10.

Where the H86-GA-B beats its sister model, however, is in run-time. Vax claims you can clean for up to 18 minutes with this model, compared with just 15 for the H85. It’s not a huge difference, but could be an advantage if you want to clean a large area without needing to recharge.

Suction Power

While the 10.8V battery is far from the most powerful on the market, the H86-GA-B still provides excellent suction power for a handheld model. It’s not able to rival larger upright or cylinder models, but is capable of dealing with mud on carpet and pet hair.

Ease of Use

The H86-GA-B is a simple model to use, like other Vax models, although it doesn’t come with many extra functions. Ease of use features include:

  • The Vax H86-GA-B Gator is a lightweight model. Weighing just 1.3kg, you won’t get tired even when using it for the entire 18 minute battery life – which is vital for any cordless vacuum cleaner.
  • While it doesn’t come with any attachable tools, the model has a built-in crevice tool for getting into nooks and crannies around your home. This can be quickly extended from the end of the main nozzle.
  • The “Gator Mouth” technology included with the H86-GA-B is designed to make it as simple as possible to empty the vacuum’s bin without spilling dust everywhere. This is a common problem for handhelds, so is a welcome addition.
  • The H86-GA-B comes with a washable filter, saving you money on replacements.


The Vax H86-GA-B has an RRP of around £50, although you can often buy it for a little less than this. While this is the same RRP as the newer H85-GA-B10, this model is often available at a considerably larger discount. Considering the only real advantage of the Vax H86-GA-B is its slightly longer battery life, it’s hard to argue that it’s the best option of the two. Even so, we think the Vax H86-GA-B provides excellent value for money.

In addition, the Vax H86-GA-B Gator handheld vacuum cleaner comes with a two year guarantee from Vax. This provides extra peace of mind, especially as handhelds are notorious for being unreliable.

Vax H86-GA-B Gator Reviews

Vax H86-GA-B Gator handheld vacuum reviews have been largely positive, with the vacuum receiving a high average rating from nearly 1000 reviews at the time of writing on shopping sites. Here are a selection of some positive comments from reviewers:

  • A reviewer writes that the Vax H86-GA-B has strong suction that dealt with stubborn dirt better than his previous handheld vacuums. He adds that the interior design of the Vax H86-GA-B prevents dust from falling back out of the cleaner when switched off.
  • Another reviewer writes that the vacuum is fantastic for home cleaning. He mentions that the suction is strong and particularly effective at picking up food, and adds that the battery life is long enough for nearly any job.
  • A reviewer writes that the Vax H86-GA-B Gator is capable of sucking up pet hair, which is a difficult job for many handheld vacuums. She adds that the suction power remains consistent until the bin starts to get full.
  • Another writes that the Vax H86-GA-B Gator is the “best handheld vacuum she’s tried.” Positive comments include that it has excellent suction and is lightweight. She adds that it’s great for vacuuming stairs.

And some negative comments:

  • A reviewer notes that the lack of a dusting brush is a drawback, as this a commonly used attachment around the home.
  • Another downside is that the crevice tool isn’t thin or long enough to be very useful in a car. This is a shame, as the Vax H86-GA-B otherwise would have been an excellent handheld car vacuum.
  • A reviewer writes that the charging indicator doesn’t go out when the vacuum is fully charged, so you don’t know when it’s ready to use.
  • Several reviewers note that the Vax H86-GA-B takes a long time to charge considering its 18 minute run-time. If you want to use the vacuum throughout the day, you may need to choose a model with a faster recharge time.


The Vax H86-GA-B Gator handheld vacuum cleaner is a decent model that falls short of being an essential purchase. While there is little reason to get it instead of the fantastic (and cheaper) Vax H85-GA-B10, you won’t be disappointed with either model for cleaning around the home. The lack of accessories, such as a dusting brush, and long recharge time knock a few points of our score for this model though. Click here for the vacuum’s price.

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