Vorwerk Kobold VK200 Review
Product Name: Vorwerk Kobold VK200
Offer price: £750+
Performance - 95%
Ease of use - 90%
Features - 95%
Price - 55%
Traditional Vacuums are not my normal forte, but when I was approached by Vorwerk to review their £750 vacuum cleaner, I could hardly say no. At this price, it is one of the most expensive vacuums on the market, and just to make your wallet groan, even more, you can expand it with multiple accessories bringing the price to closer to £1.5k. As part of this review, it was insisted that I have a product demo, and this isn't just because I am a blogger, you can actually request a product demo yourself, and due to the cost and number of accessories, it is something I would advise.
I have never heard of Vorwerk before, so I was quite surprised to find out that it is one of the largest direct sales companies in the work and it has a revenue of over €3 billion, in comparison, this is a similar figure to the household name Dyson, with revenue of £2.5 billion.
Vorwerk has several divisions, including carpeting and an intelligent food processor, but the primary money earner is their Kobold VK200 vacuum cleaner. While this is not a robot vacuum cleaner, and you can't pair it with your phone, it is quite a unique bit of kit. It is more of a cleaning system than a single vacuum cleaner.
I was provided with the full system, which includes the main body of the vacuum cleaner, and the vacuum cleaning head, but there is also:
- DuoClean – which is a mopping and vacuuming head for hard floors.
- VF200 Carpet Freshener – a dry cleaning system for carpets
- PB440 – An electric upholstery brush with 2 deep cleaning attachments for mattresses.
- Accessories collection – this includes things like hoses, extenders a feather dusting nozzle and crevice nozzle.
All these parts use the main body of the vacuum to power them, you then swap out the heads. It is a very simple and efficient system, and it does mean you could cut the number of your cleaning gadgets down. For example, you could get rid of a steam cleaner and just use this.
The main body of the vacuum uses filter bags to trap your dirt, and this may seem old-fashioned, but I was assured it is superior to cyclone style systems. In fact, Vorket states that the Kobold VK200 is the only vacuum cleaner in the world to be approved by the TUV (one of the world's leading technical service testers) for asthma, eczema and allergy sufferers. However, using a bag does obviously increase the cost of the system even more, with a pack of 6 bags costing £18, so £3 each. They do seem to last a long time though, I thoroughly cleaned my house which was a bit filthy thanks to decorating work, and I didn't fill up a single bag.
One of the selling points that Vorwerk use to justify its price is the fact that they expect the vacuum to last 17-25 years, and you get a superb 5-year guarantee with it. Beyond the 5 years it is possible to get your Vacuum serviced, though Iw as advised that unless if something is wrong with it, they can largely go service free.
The body of the unit is quite sleek and lightweight, you get a 10m power cable so there are no issues with reach. The system is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, with little chance of breaking or snapping bits. The filter bad slots in with ease and when you close its door the springs automatically lock it in place. On the front of the vacuum there are LED indicators to tell you how full the bag is, they will also glow red if there is something wrong with the system. Rather than just an on-off switch, you have a little slide to select the power, auto is the default, but you also have low medium and high. With auto, the system uses sensors in the heads to detect the best suctioning level to use.
First and foremost, this is advertised as a traditional vacuum, the base unit only includes the vacuum head, and if you were to buy it just like this it would cost you £750.
Thankfully as a traditional vacuum cleaner, it is exceptional. The head has a laser sensor to detect the surface it is on when it is on hard service it retracts the bristles slightly making it more efficient on these floors. Actual vacuuming is very simple, it moves around the floor with easy and you can control where the head is going very simply. The head itself is quite long and flat, and the joint allows the whole system go down flat, so you can slide it under narrow units when you need to. With its flat front and flat sides, it will hoover down edges nicely, though I found it did miss some bits at the very edge of my kitchen floors. The attachments help pick these up though.
This attachment was great, and if you have mixed floors I would say it is highly recommended to get it. It is basically a vacuum cleaning head, but then you have a mopping pad on the bottom which then oscillates. In the past, I would either sweep or vacuum my kitchen floor then steam clean it. With this, I just do it all in one, and it picks up all my mess with ease, reducing the time to clean my kitchen considerably.
It is not 100% perfect though, the mop cloth is a bit of a faff to attach, and you are supposed to wet the back of the cloth. It would be good if there were a reservoir that dripped down onto the cloth rather than insisting you manually wet the back of it. If I didn't clean the cloth between floors, I have to admit, I just wet the front of the cloth, rather than dismantle the head again.
Also, you may realise, this is not a steam cleaning system, and during my demo, the gentleman pointed out that steam cleaning isn't all that great, as hot steam isn't always a good thing for certain types of floor. I have no strong feelings either way, but this system, is quicker than waiting for my steamer to warm up, and I found the overall results just as good if not better than my Vax steam cleaner.
I have mixed feelings about this part. On one hand, it did seem to improve my filthy hallway carpet significantly, but on the other, I am not entirely sure it is a needed accessory. I feel like it is a case of over-engineering. It is basically a dry-cleaning system where you massage Kobosan Active Dry Cleaning Powder into the carpet then wait 30 mins or so and then vacuum it up.
The carpet freshener itself is just a hopper which dispenses the powder onto the floor and rubs it in, and it does do this well and makes the process easy. However, it costs £150 and it really just sprinkles the powder around and rubs it in, I am quite sure you could just sprinkle the powder onto the floor yourself then use something else to massage it into your carpet.
The actual work is done by the carpet cleaner itself which is supposed to help dissolve grease that has built up in your carpet and helps prevent it from trapping dirt.
The overall result was quite impressive though, my hallway carpet did seem a lot cleaner, and during my demo, the demonstrator showed how much was on an uncleaned part of the carpet vs the clean part, and it was quite impressive.
This is a handy accessory that is great for use on the stairs, or as the name suggests, any upholstery. The main head actually has its own motor and Vorwerk claim it loosens pet hair, crumbs, lint, and deep-seated dirt from upholstery and in the car.
There is also an additional deep cleaning and mattress cleaning set, which works in an almost identical way to the carpet freshener, you sprinkle some of their mattress cleaning powder onto your mattress and use one of the heads to massage it in, you then use the vacuum attachment to suck it up. The vacuum attachment vibrates which is supposed to loosen the dirt from the mattress surface or any other upholstery you use it on.
Finally, the accessories, they don't seem to sell these as a set but you can pick and choose what you want to buy. I personally used the hose, telescope and soft nozzle quite a lot. I have a big old house with high ceilings so these bits allows me to reach up high and clean my lights, remove the growing number of spider webs from hard to reach places. The soft nozzle has 2 modes with a short brush or long brush and it works great as a feather duster. I went around my house easily cleaning all my skirting boards. There is also a crevice nozzle which I found very useful to get down behind radiators and for use in the car.
I approached this review with scepticism and if I have to admit, the Vorwerk system has nearly won me over. It is without a doubt the best cleaning tool I have ever used, and it makes cleaning both my hard floors and carpeted floors a breeze. Not only is it simple to use, but it does actually seem to outperform multiple other cleaning gadgets.
That being said, I can't ignore the price, we are a household of 2 people with no pets, and we don't earn a huge amount of money. My car cost less than this system, so spending £1.5k on a vacuum, even if it does last 25 years is a hard pill to swallow. You could also argue that a high-end vacuum and a separate high-end steam cleaner could cost you north of £700, and in this case, the value of the Vorwerk does seem a lot better.
Under different circumstances, I would be quite tempted to buy it, in a household with children, pets or anyone that suffers from bad allergies I can see this justifying its cost in the long term. I would even be tempted if I was just a little bit richer, but being a tech geek most of my discretionary income is already spoken for with computer upgrades and AV equipment.