Until recently there's been something of a snobbish rivalry between upright vacuum cleaners and their little cousins, hand-held vacuum cleaners.
Hand-helds have been the black sheep of the vacuum family, blamed for poor suction and short battery life, but Rowenta promises something different – claiming the Air Force combines the wireless freedom of a hand-held with the performance of a canister vacuum.
Purchasing a new vacuum cleaner is a bit like buying a new toaster – you do it only if you really need a new one. The Air Force needed to excel to stand a chance. First impressions were positive – cordless, bagless and slim – the Air Force looked more like a futuristic robotic leg than a vacuum cleaner.
Although it has two modes, for floor and carpet, only the carpet mode produced the real cleaning grunt that I needed. The wireless freedom of the Air Force combined with its unique, but effective triangle shaped-head made it the king of cornering. A bit like a toned down version of the Dyson Ball, the triangle-shaped head can also pivot and rotate 180 degrees meaning that you can propel the Air Force round the room with impressive freedom of movement. It's also got a patented Delta suction head with a high speed electrobrush that rotates 3,000 times a minute. The level of suction does the job – although it's not quite as powerful as a Dyson.
With 40 minutes of wire free action between charges, the Air Force stayed in flight for an impressively long time – about 30 minutes on turbo carpet mode. I'm actually looking forward to the next take off.