If you like the look of premium, self-emptying vacuums like Samsung, this is a cheap way of feeling like you own one. It's excellent at vacuuming up debris — including hair — across a range of surfaces. Sure, it feels a little cheap, but it's brilliant.
Great with pet hair
Easy to maintain
A little heavy
Feels a little cheap
Can't free stand
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Cordless vacuums are becoming increasingly clever and several now have self-emptying charging bases. But whilst whilst I love this self-emptying tech, I definitely don’t love the price tag. However, it seems Ultenic, have spotted this gap in the market, offering reasonably priced vacuums with self-emptying tech.
Having tested and enjoyed the Ultenic U12, I was keen to get my hands on other models made by the brand. The FS1 offers smart self-emptying, a neat charging station, and total cordless convenience. According to these specifications, it should rival the best vacuum cleaners on the market.
I took it to our test centre and wasn’t disappointed. The FS1’s suction power is pretty faultless. Its agility and weight leaves a little to be desired and some features are quite gimmicky, but if you want a cheap vacuum, this is one of the best.
|44.8"L x 10.75"W x 11.8"H
|Bag in station
|Approx 1 hour
|Approx 2.5 hours
|Base station, but stick is cordless
Unboxing and setting up the Ultenic is easy. It comes in a few pieces: the floor head, the adjustable hose, the bin, and the charging station. There are some extra accessories, including a replacement filter, two dustbin bags, and accessories for couches and crevices. These are all good to have and a nice touch for a cheap vacuum, but they’re about what I would expect.
The pieces of the Ultenic all click satisfyingly into place. My battery came fully charged, but if yours doesn’t, Ultenic estimates that it will take approximately two and a half hours to load with up to one hour of charge, which could be a lot better. The station has the bin pre-inserted, so there’s very little prep to do before you can start vacuuming.
Who would it suit?
There’s no escaping it, for $230 this is a cheap cordless vacuum. It’s perfect for those who are on a budget, but still looking for a reasonable vacuum. It does a good job of cordless cleaning and the dustbin has reasonable capacity, so it suits large homes. In fact, if you’re short on space, you might not like having to store the charging station in full view. It’s not ugly, but it’s no design feature either.
I wouldn’t recommend this to people who need an ultra-light vacuum and those who will vacuum the ceilings. It’s heavier than the average cordless and a little cumbersome because of the way the weight is distributed.
What is it like to use?
I never know what to expect when testing cheaper vacuums but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with this. It’s a good, basic model. The performance is near-perfect, there are, however, a few things to know.
Test 1: flour and sugar
Our first test for any vacuum is how well it vacuums flour and sugar on hard wood, carpet, and linoleum floor. The Ultenic was brilliant. I don’t actually have much more to say. I didn’t have to do multiple passes and the vacuum didn't redeposit any flour.
The wheels moved smoothly across every surfaces. I could imagine that they would struggle on long, fluffy rugs, but most vacuums would. It’s not the most nimble for navigating around furniture, but, for the price, you get something that will easily pick up light debris.
There is also a floor laser, imitating the Dyson V15. It might help you for showing dust under furniture, but, for the most part, this is a bit of a gimmick and doesn't work like the Dyson.
Test 2: cereal
Scattering cereal across the floor is an excellent test for how vacuums handle bigger debris. If it's not cereal from the aftermath of weekday breakfasts, it could be your pet’s kibble. I wish I had more to say, but this was pretty faultless across the floors again. It pushed a few cereal pieces across the hard floor, but cleared everything up quickly.
At this point, the dust bin was full. I had suctioned flour, sugar, and cereal across three different floor types by this point, so I was expecting the bin to be full before this.
But here is where the Ultenic fell down. Simply sitting the vacuum in the station will open the bin, but, unlike other models, it won’t automatically empty. I lifted the bin up and scattered flour all around the station, making quite a mess. You need to hold the button down to activate the bin emptying process. This is generally thorough, although it will leave little debris at the top. I ended up reaching in to remove it. This Ultenic offers premium features, but misses the finesse of more expensive appliances.
Test 3: hair
Our final test is on one of the toughest opponents for most vacuums: hair. This is probably the Ultenic’s greatest success. In line with all the other tasks, the Ultenic demonstrated exceptional suction power across all floor types. I thought it would struggle, but this was seriously impressive. However, when I flipped the vacuum over to check the floor head, there was some hair wrapped around the rollers. This could be a lot better, but all the hair was picked up from every surface. If you have pets or live in a large home, this will clean it, albeit with a few quirks.
Cleaning, storage, and maintenance
I’ve mentioned that this has a charging station, where you can sit the vacuum when it's not in use. You’ll need to separate the battery to charge it, which isn’t an intuitive thing to do, but it’s relatively easy and tidy. The floor head fits neatly underneath and aside from remembering to press the button on the vacuum to ensure that it empties properly, it’s all very easy.
As far as vacuum storage goes, having a station is stylish. It’s quite big, so if you live in a small apartment, I’d think carefully about positioning, but it’s brilliant nonetheless. The filter, unlike the other Ultenic, didn’t clog and is really easy to access and remove.
How does it rate online?
As you might expect, this is a popular vacuum. On Amazon, it boasts 4.3 stars, with most people citing the power and luxurious features. If you have allergies, this is better than other bagless vacuums, because it empties into a bin and has an HEPA filter too. I found plenty of allergy sufferers who used this without any issues.
I had to turn to other expert reviewers to find some criticisms and these mostly centred around the agility and overall feel of the Ultenic. My issue with the self-emptying came up in other reviewers' tests, as it's not completely hands-off. Others also commented on the chunky handle, which isn't comfortable to handle for long periods of time.
How does it compare?
The first vacuum I thought of when I saw the Ultenic is the Samsung Bespoke Jet. This is triple the price and, for some people, could be worth it. The Samsung feels more premium, it’s ultra-lightweight, boasts the same brilliant suction power, and automatically empties the bin when the vacuum is in the charging station. It’s more svelte and stylish too, so, if you have the money to spend, you might be tempted to invest in the Samsung.
However, I’d like to re-emphasise the ‘if you have the money to spend’ part of that phrase. Buying the Ultenic could save you $400. If you’re not fussed about a few pounds of weight and some luxury features, which most people aren’t, this is a better bet.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a cheap cordless vacuum This almost guarantees that your money will be well spent. The suction power is second to none; the overall design is slick and stylish; and it’s incredible value. However, if you have more money to spend and you really care about luxury features you may be better off buying the Samsung.
How we test
At Homes and Gardens, we really care about how we test vacuums. Before we recommend any cordless vacuum to you we take it to our test centre where we put it through a range of tests designed to emulate home use. We’ll see how well it can vacuum sugar, flour, cereal and hair up from hard floor carpets.
Our team will also make notes on the unboxing, cleaning, storage and maintenance, so you know what it’s like to use in your own home. If there are any quirks or features we think you need to know about, we write them in the review so that there are no surprises when the vacuum arrives at your home. If you’d like to find out more, you can read our page detailing how we test vacuums.
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Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.
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