Note: This article was first published on 26th July 2018 and updated on 27th May 2019 to include our hands-on for the newer SpeedPro Max Aqua model.
If you regularly clean your house with a full-sized vacuum cleaner, you’ll know what it chore it can be. First is the set-up - there’s a long hose that connects to the nozzle that you’ll have to unwind before use and then there’s the heavy motor unit itself that you’ll have to lug out.
Then, there’s the issue of power. Or more accurately, sorting out the power cable. Because it’s never long enough for to cover the entire house, you’ll find yourself either having to hook it up to a large extension cable that you then have to drag along with you, or keep switching power plugs as you go. Neither is an ideal situation; and that’s not even taking into account how easy it is for cables to get stuck under doors!
Enter the cordless vacuum. For years these were small and underpowered affairs which meant they were only suitable for picking up food crumbs from sofas or perhaps for cleaning up the backseat of your car. I remember using a handheld one a few years back, and it barely lasted us 20 minutes at a go. Not really something you’d consider a serious replacement, especially when the small form factor meant you had hunch over often when cleaning.
That’s all changed now, with Dyson’s V8 vacuum arguably leading the way for new cyclone vacuums. (Thus named because of the way they draw dust in when vacuuming). Get the strength of a full-sized vacuum without the weight and more importantly, without the cord. Sounds a bit too good to be true, so when I was offered the chance to test out the new Philips SpeedPro Max in my new home, I happily took it back.
Charging was a simple affair. Simply place the magnetic disc on the bottom of the vacuum and connect the other end to power. It takes five hours for a full charge, but when that’s done, you’ll have about an hour of cleaning time. That drops to 21 minutes if you run it at Turbo mode, but I doubt you’d need to do so as the highest “regular” speed cleans just fine.
Set up is just as simple as the pieces simply snap in place. Just choose between a small brush or the standard size, and you’re good to go. Unlike the Dyson counterparts, there’s no trigger to hold down here. Just push the switch to your desired speed and you’re good to go. That’s all you really need from a vacuum anyway so why complicate things?
Anyway, I'm happy to report that the SpeedPro Max really does do a good job of cleaning, proving you don’t need a full-sized vacuum to get the job done anymore. I ran it over a variety of settings (including Turbo mode for the dirtier areas) and it lasted a good 50 minutes or so, easily living up to the battery life claims.
As for the advertised 360o suction action, well that sort of works, but not to the extent that you might imagine. I could see that the vacuum was picking up specks of dirt from the sides of the vacuum's intake, but the side suction wasn’t significant enough that you’d clear a much wider area of floor with each swipe. (Effective radius of about 1cm from the sides perhaps - does that count?)
Still, it’s certainly easier to clean the floor with one of these. The main head maneuvers just enough to let you reach the odd nooks and corners of your home, and the low profile makes it easy to just slip it under the bed for cleaning there. Needless to say, not having to be tethered to a heavy motor is great too, as it’s just that much easier to move around the house.
The main head of the SpeedPro Max comes with a row of LEDs that are always on, presumably to let you better see the surface you’re cleaning. Given that most people do their cleaning in the day, perhaps you might be better served if that only comes on in the dark, or if you could control when you need the extra visibility. Still, it's great that the LED lights can instantly light up any dark corner or when the nozzle goes under the bed.
Cleaning the vacuum after you're done is also a simple affair. No bag to remove or water to pour away. Simply remove the dust compartment, shake out the dust and dirt into a bag or over a wastebasket, and you’re good to go. I would wash the compartment every now and then for cleanliness, but ultimately the SpeedPro Max is very much a fuss-free appliance - something most people would appreciate for sure!
After using the SpeedPro Max for about two weeks, I'm convinced (just like my colleague) that the right cordless (stick) vacuum cleaners can clean a house just as well as the regular vacuums can. Now if only you didn’t have to pay twice the price for the convenience! The SpeedPro Max retails for S$699, which, while quite a bit cheaper than the Dyson V8 and V10, is still about twice the price of your regular full-sized options.
It's been just about a year, but Philips has released another version of the SpeedPro Max - the SpeedPro Max Aqua. This new model is essentially the SpeedPro Max with better battery life (it now goes up to 75 minutes on Eco mode) and a new mopping attachment that lets you map and vacuum at the same time.
As you can see in the video below, all you need to do is fill the mopping tank attachment, fit on the vacuum head, and you're good to go. For stubborn stains, you can step on a pedal on the mopping attachment to release more water.
You can add your usual cleaning detergent to the tank for a more thorough mopping session, and there are two types of microfiber cloths including in the package, allowing you to adjust the amount of flow released respectively.
As with the SpeedPro Max, the SpeedPro Max Aqua is a modular system, so you can convert from a long stick vacuum to just using the main engine for tighter spaces. What we hadn't quite noticed before is that the brushes are actually very easy to remove for cleaning. Just release the catch and slide it out for a quick clean, then pop it back in.
All in, it seems the SpeedPro Max Aqua is another great option if you're looking for an alternative to your traditional vacuum and mop. Given how close to the SpeedPro Max this model is in terms of features and specifications, we'd say owners of the original will be hard pressed to upgrade, but everyone else will probably find it a great time-saver, especially if you've been on eyeing on the SpeedPro Max, but have yet to jump on the bandwagon.
The Philips SpeedPro Max Aqua is available now at all authorized Philips resellers for S$799.
Writer, photographer, music lover. Loves basketball, spends too much money on kicks.