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I'm a Dyson fan, but when ours had to go off for repair I found the small handheld vacuum we own just wasn't up to the job of keeping our floors clean - I knew the Dyson would be back within 72 hours so didn't want to go out and buy a new vacuum just for this short period of time; when I mentioned this to my neighbour she lent me her 'spare' vacuum, this Electrolux ZT7740. I ended up using it for a little under two weeks, as Dyson's speedy service ended up being not as quick as promised - despite not being happy with Electrolux in the past, I loved this vacuum and would definitely purchase for myself if the need arose. In fact I might get one for upstairs as it'll save having to lug the Dyson around, and my 'upstairs hoover' is starting to play up at the moment.
This Electolux can be used with or without a bag - I prefer bagless cleaning personally, luckily as my neighbour didn't loan me any bags with the vacuum, so could get straight on with giving the living room a much needed hoovering.
The vacuum is so easy to move around thanks to two responsive and well-placed wheels; we have mainly laminate flooring along with several rugs and carpet runners dotted around the house and the Electrolux pulls along smoothly across all floor surfaces. It has a 5 metre cord length, which is adequate for my needs, and the 1.8 metre hose gives a cleaning radius of around 8 full metres - when I'm vacuuming the entire house I have to unplug it and find another socket sometimes, but this is the same as with most other vacuums so isn't a problem.
There's a dial on the front of the vacuum where you can adjust the suction and I think this is an excellent idea, it's gradiated from 'minimum' to 'maximum' suction with there being definite differences between these power levels. Having four messy children I can't see that I'd even need to use the 'minimum' setting, but by selecting this on the dial and putting my hand over the nozzle I can feel that there is still a reasonable amount of suction there - for the duration of my loan of this vacuum I used the 'maximum' setting as this provided suction that was almost of a comparable standard to my Dyson. Having the dial at the midway point was enough to pick up the small amount of budgie feathers that seem to litter the dining room (well away from where we eat, by the way!) on a daily basis, but I did need to turn it up slightly to get rid of the seed that said budgie tosses around the room. Presumably because he knows he doesn't have to clean it up.
The one thing that would prevent me from purchasing this vacuum itself is the fact that it struggles to pick up long hair from the more deeply piled rugs we have - this is a nuisance to me personally as of the six of us in this house, four of us have long hair so naturally if left the floors can become a little (erm) 'hairy'. My Dyson will grab every single hair that has floated to floor level, but after giving the thick living room rug a thorough vacuuming with the Electrolux I was still finding hairs attached to my crawling sons hands - something that simply doesn't happen with the Dyson.
The washable filter didn't need cleaning during the time I borrowed the vacuum for, although on the last day I did give it a brief wash in hot soapy water so that I could return the vacuum in the same clean condition that I'd received it. It was very easy to remove all traces of grime and fluff from the filter and it was dry to put back in the machine within an hour - likewise emptying the vacuum is a straightforward process as all you need to do is separate the two halves, empty the crap into the bin and click the vacuum back together again. I can see that if you use it as a bagged vacuum this would be just as easy to empty as it appears that the bags simply slot into place - the hole for the bags looks to be fairly standard so I can't imagine you'd have any trouble purchasing bags to fit.
I do think this is a great little vacuum. Having being a Dyson user for ten years I can tell that the suction isn't as good, it will cope with a major cleaning session but this is more time consuming and I much prefer the Dyson for this - it's probably unfair to keep comparing the two actually because of the price difference, but as a very busy mum I need a vacuum that will do the job in the shortest time and with the minimum of fuss. As an 'upstairs' vacuum I'll definitely consider it, but for the downstairs rugs and carpets I want something with a bit more oomph.
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Good review! I suppose you could just buy a turbo brush for this vacuum in order for it to pick up the hairs. I think Electrolux make one that has one as standard ZT7750 pet model (burgundy) and ZT7770 model (orange) but it would be more pricey.