Soniclean VTplus Upright Vacuum and Handheld Vacuum review

Soniclean 2

A sonic vacuum cleaner?! No way! Yes way! When the opportunity came to test a sonic vacuum cleaner, the Soniclean VTplus Upright, I was intrigued and so I jumped at the chance to review it. And let’s just face it – most people don’t like to clean, but since it is a necessary task, we want the best tools for the job. Will the Soniclean upright vacuum stand out among the rest? I also received the Soniclean Handheld Vacuum (which does not use the sonic technology). How did it fare in the tests? Read on!

SONICLEAN VTPLUS UPRIGHT VACUUM

Soniclean 1

PACKAGE CONTENTS

  • Soniclean VTplus upright vacuum base with handle
  • Allen wrench
  • Upper hook for wrapping the cord around
  • Sonicfresh air freshener
  • Owner’s guide
  • Warranty card
  • Sonicfresh air freshener guide

Soniclean 2A

DESIGN, BUILD QUALITY & FEATURES

  • Sonic Cleaning Technology: 12,000 vibrations a minute
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs
  • 35-ft. power cord
  • 14″ L x 11.5″ W x 43.5″ H
  • Low profile goes under most furniture
  • Ametek 5.2 amp paramagnetic direct air motor that uses 50% less electricity than other full size vacuum cleaners
  • Jam Sensor Technology – protection feature senses a jam in the brush roll and shuts off automatically
  • Sonicfresh air freshener
  • Threaded collar on the bag assures a completely sealed filtration system
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s belt warranty
  • Three-year manufacturer’s warranty on the vacuum

The Soniclean VTplus vacuum looks like any other standard upright vacuum and measures 14″ L x 11.5″ W x 43.5″ H. The base is made of a lightweight hard plastic and the zippered compartment holding the bag is made of flexible plastic covered with a woven material.

The handle is easily attached to the vacuum with the provided allen wrench and also contains the three position switch. The vacuum also has two hooks mounted on the handle to wrap the cord around when not in use. The uppermost hook rotates to easily release the 35 foot cord when needed. The three arched bars located just above the Soniclean logo on the base of the vacuum are the only lights on the vacuum and light up only when the switch is set on Carpet. These lights are solely meant to indicate that the sonic bar is in use and are not intended for illuminating the area that you are vacuuming.

Soniclean 2B

The power switch, located on the handle, is a nice size (2 inches long by a little over 0.5 inches wide) and has three positions: Off, Hard Floor, and Carpet. It is located far enough down the handle such that you don’t accidentally turn it off while pushing your vacuum around (which is a frustrating problem that I often have with my Hoover Windtunnel).

Located on the back base of the vacuum are indicator lights and the handle release button. On the left side of the base are the indicator lights that will illuminate when you need to change the bag or if you need to clean the brush. Located on the right side you will find the release button to release the vacuum handle out of its locked upright position.

Soniclean 3

What makes this vacuum a “gadget”? That would be the blue sonic bar located on the bottom of the vacuum. It vibrates at a rate of 200 vibrations per second which is supposed to loosen embedded dirt within carpeting. The Soniclean also has Jam Sensor Technology to protect the belt which means that it will automatically shut off the vacuum when the brush roller becomes jammed. And should it becomes necessary to clean the brush roller, it may be extracted by removing the four visible screws (shown on the photo above) that hold the plastic cover over the roller.

Soniclean 2C

Interestingly, the Soniclean vacuum comes with an air freshener that is inserted into the bottom of the compartment holding the HEPA filtering bag. It easily snaps into place and is held by two plastic clips. It can be extracted easily as well just by pulling up on the dispenser. These may be reordered from the Sonicleans web site – one package of eight pods sells for $19.99, which is approximately a one year supply. It is not necessary to replace this when the dispenser runs out; the vacuum will continue to work without it.

Soniclean 2D

The Soniclean VTplus vacuum uses a SEAL-TECH HEPA filtration bag which filters down to 0.3 microns and can be ordered on Soniclean’s web site – one package of eight bags costs $24.99, which is approximately a one year supply. It is very easy to replace the bag. By just pulling up on the yellow handle until it clicks, it releases the bag so that it can be carefully pulled out. If you notice from the picture, you can see that the nozzle of the bag is threaded plastic which creates a seal when the bag is inserted into the vacuum and the yellow handle is lowered. Another interesting feature is that bag contains a cap that may be placed over the opening to prevent dust escaping as you dispose of it.

PERFORMANCE

Soniclean 7A

The Soniclean VTplus upright vacuum uses a sonic bar that produces 200 vibrations per second to be used only on carpet. I tested the upright vacuum on two types of carpeting. The first type of carpet was a dense, low to medium pile carpet (once the switch is set to the Carpet setting, there is no other adjustment for carpet height). I sprinkled colored sand on the carpeting to do my testing. It was interesting watching the grains of sand vibrate as the vacuum approached and after a couple of passes, the sand was gone. The vacuum handled this test well.

Also, when vacuuming a smaller area rug of this same type of carpet at an entryway, some loose weather stripping from the base of the door got tangled up in the brush which then automatically shut off the vacuum. The Jam Sensor Technology passed with flying colors (although this was an accidental test)!

Soniclean 5a

The second type of carpeting that I tested the Soniclean on was a loose, medium pile carpet. When vacuuming up sand, the front of the vacuum did fairly well, even against the wall. There is some hint of pink color still left behind, but after a few passes it was gone.

Soniclean 5c

The left side of the vacuum had difficulty picking up the sand along the edge of the wall even with several passes.

Soniclean 5b

However, the right side of the vacuum had no trouble picking up the sand against the wall with two passes. After using the upright to vacuum as much sand as I could, I pulled out the handheld vacuum to see if it could pick up any more. I discover a only a small amount of pink sand in the bag. The sonic bar of the upright vacuum did better than I thought it would, but maybe not as well as advertised.

Soniclean 7c

I did like that fact that the Soniclean adjusts to lie flat on the floor to get under furniture like my bed. However, in order to get it to lie flat, it is necessary to press the release button again on the base of the vacuum. This is similar to other vacuums and is something I have always found a little annoying.

Soniclean 6b

I also tested the vacuum on two different types of hard flooring which requires you to select the Hard Floor setting on the switch (this setting does not use the sonic bar). The first was a tile floor, where again I performed the test with colored sand. When vacuuming the floor, the front of the vacuum had no difficulty picking up the sand against the wall.

Soniclean 6

The left side of the vacuum left sand along the wall after several passes just as it did on the carpet.

Soniclean 6a

The right side, however, had no problems and picked up all the sand along the edge. Unfortunately, I also noticed that this vacuum threw the sand out behind the vacuum because the brush roller remains on even on the Hard Floor setting and there is no way to turn the brush off to prevent this. Very disappointing!

Soniclean 6D

What I really liked about the Soniclean was the fact that the front of the vacuum was a low enough profile (2.5 inches high just in front of the blue “bump” on the vacuum) to vacuum under the base of my cabinets. It was able to reach up to two inches under before the blue bump on the vacuum hits the cabinet (the cabinets are 3.5 inches off the floor). My other vacuum won’t fit under there, so I was always having to vacuum this area with a handheld vacuum cleaner.

When I tested the Soniclean on laminated hardwood flooring, it did as well as on the tile floor. One thing to note is that the Carpet switch setting should not be used on hard floors. I imagine that using the vibrating sonic bar on these floors may damage either your hard floors or the sonic bar.

The Sonicfresh air freshener was an interesting feature of this vacuum. The air flows over the dispenser when using any setting of the vacuum. I find that this was not a very important feature for me and could take it or leave it. My daughter used the vacuum and found that the scent gave her a headache, so I have since removed it. There appears to be only one scent available from the Soniclean web site.

 

SONICLEAN HANDHELD VACUUM

Soniclean 4

PACKAGE CONTENTS

  • Handheld vacuum
  • Hose, two extension tubes, a floor brush tool, a crevice tool, a pet hair tool (contains rotating brush), an upholstery tool, and dusting tool
  • Nylon Strap with metal clasps
  • Bag to hold the accessories
  • Owner’s guide
  • Warranty card

DESIGN, BUILD QUALITY & FEATURES

  • Canister dimensions: 15″ L x 6″ W x 8.5″ H
  • 4 lbs.
  • Cord: just under 15ft
  • One year warranty

The Soniclean Handheld Vacuum is fairly lightweight and seems like any other handheld vacuum. It has a small power switch located on the handle just behind the front strap clasp and there are several tools provided (floor brush tool, crevice tool, pet hair tool, upholstery tool, and dusting tool) to tackle just about any vacuum job.

This handheld vacuum and the associated accessories felt and looked less robust than my Hoover handheld vacuum. My Hoover also has the benefit of having a single telescoping extension tube which is made of heavy duty plastic, while the Soniclean uses two separate extension tubes (which means you have one more thing to keep track of) that are made up of a thinner and more lightweight plastic.

Soniclean 4C

The Soniclean Handheld Vacuum, like the upright, uses a HEPA filtration bag and with a simple twist counterclockwise of the front of the vacuum, you can easily pull out the bag to change it. The drawback is that there is no cap to place over this bag to catch the dust that may spill out and you will have to pay for replacement bags – one package contains eight bags for $18.99 on the Soniclean web site which is about a one year supply.

PERFORMANCE

Soniclean 6c

The floor brush tool of the handheld vacuum did a rather lackluster job on both tile and laminated hardwood floors in my testing. However, it is my experience that all floor brushes like this seem to push the dirt around instead of vacuuming it up. It was necessary to make several passes to really clean up the sand. Using just the extension tubes with and without the crevice tool was much easier to vacuum the sand, but these tools are only meant for localized cleanups and not entire floors. Sigh.

Soniclean 8A

I do not own any pets so I tested the pet hair tool (which has a rotating brush) and the upholstery tool by sprinkling some dried up grass clippings on my microfiber living room furniture (grass seems to adhere to this furniture fabric really well). Both the pet hair tool and the upholstery tool did very well in getting ALL of the little bits of grass. Yay! You can actually see that each tool had pulled up the fabric and was clinging to it while the vacuum was on. One thing to note about the upholstery tool, it has a red strip of velvet-like material stuck to the mouth of the tool that came off very easily while vacuuming the furniture. These strips have a slightly sticky backing that may allow them to come off frequently when the tool is used.

When testing the dusting tool, I found that it was much like the floor brush tool, it just pushes around the dust.

My husband also tested the handheld vacuum to see how it would do with hair clippings on a tile floor. After I gave him a haircut, he then used the handheld vacuum with both extension tubes to clean up the hair. His opinion was that it did not have the same amount of suction as our Hoover handheld vacuum.

DECISION TIME!

The sonic bar on the Soniclean VTplus Upright Vacuum did not seem to add a whole lot to its cleaning capabilities but it is my opinion that the upright Soniclean is comparable to my Hoover Windtunnel. It is a decent vacuum that did a good job cleaning carpeting and maybe a little less so when cleaning hard floors because the brush, which cannot be turned off, throws dirt out behind the vacuum. Also, the fact that the front of the Soniclean had a low enough profile to vacuum under the base of my cabinets was a plus for me because I really don’t like to pull out two different types of vacuums to clean my house. Because of this feature, the Jam Sensor Technology, and the fact that it uses less electricity than other vacuum cleaners I will probably use the Soniclean to vacuum my house but I will continue searching for the ideal vacuum to suit my needs.

The Soniclean Handheld Vacuum is lighter weight than my Hoover handheld vacuum. The pet hair tool and upholstery tool seemed to work very well, however, the floor brush and dusting tool did not. Therefore I will only be using this vacuum to clean my upholstery. In general, I find using handheld vacuums frustrating and using the Soniclean handheld was no different. Both hands are usually preoccupied when operating them. One hand holds onto the hose while the other holds onto the canister (which is attached to a strap and hung on your shoulder) to keep it from swinging around and hitting something or falling in your way when bending over for something. This makes vacuuming with a handheld awkward, uncomfortable and annoying.

If you think you might be interested in this vacuum, visit the Soniclean web site.

 

Product Information

Price:$199.80 + shipping
Manufacturer:Soniclean
Pros:
  • Upright vacuum: Lightweight
  • Upright vacuum: Uses 50% less electricity than other full size vacuum cleaners
  • Upright vacuum: Low profile
  • Upright vacuum: Jam Sensor Technology works well
  • Upright vacuum: Vacuums carpets and hard floors well
  • Handheld vacuum: Pet hair tool and upholstery tool work well
  • Upright and handheld vacuum: Has HEPA filtering bag to reduce alergens
Cons:
  • Upright vacuum: Brush cannot be turned off on hard floors
  • Handheld vacuum: Floor brush tool cleans hard floors poorly
  • Handheld vacuum: Uncomfortable to use
  • Upright and handheld vacuum: Not a very robust look or feel
  • Upright and handheld vaccuum: Not bagless, therefore requires expensive HEPA filtering bags
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • O-Qua Tangin Wann May 10, 2014, 1:57 pm

    The sonic bar at first thought seems like it could be a gimmick, perhaps unnecessary and/or redundant. Isn’t the fast spinning of the brush-laden roller supposed to go deep into the carpet to bring up any dirt? If a vacuum’s brush roller is doing its job, the statement by Kathleen saying the sonic bar didn’t seem to add a whole lot to the cleaning makes perfect sense. Thanks for the review.

  • Kathleen Chapman May 13, 2014, 11:49 pm

    @O-Qua Tangin Wann – I think you are correct that if the brush roller works well, there really isn’t a need for the sonic bar, and when comparing the brush roller vs. sonic bar, I believe the brush is what is doing most of the work on this vacuum.

    Just a note about sonic vs. ultrasonic (forgive me if you already know this but some may not), in general humans hear between the ranges of 20-20,000 Hz (20-20,000 vibrations per second) which is the sonic range – the Soniclean sonic bar works at 200 vibrations per second. The ultrasonic range is beyond 20,000 Hz and there are many instances where ultrasound is used to clean things like jewelry or surgical instruments, but these machines usually use some kind of solution to aid in the cleaning (sound travels much better in water and that energy is used to break the bond between the contaminant and the instrument needing to be cleaned via cavitation).

    There are some instances where sonic cleaning is being used without the aid of water or a solution, but these are used in industry to help clean things like silos, or boilers, etc. So science supports sonic cleaning, I just don’t think it has really been studied for or applied to household cleaning just yet (or is just beginning to have some application in the general population). I can see that there would need to be some studies to determine the frequency and intensity needed to break the bond between material like dirt or mud from carpeting. So, yes, I do think that the sonic bar on the Soniclean vacuum is mainly to attract buyers, but as the science develops there may be some real potential there for the future of household cleaning.

Leave a Comment