Wally Bell sheds. A lot. All the time. Sometimes, just for added fun he’ll blow his coat out-of-season—and if he really wants to share the love, he’ll do it more than once a year. At 85 pounds with rock star good looks and the flowing golden locks to match, that is a lot of errant fur. And as much as I enjoy taking up new hobbies, I’m not planning on getting a spinning wheel to start knitting a new dog out of his gorgeous discards any time soon, so until then I’ll just have to continue to suck it up. Literally.
Enter the Euroflex Monster 600XL. First, let’s talk about what it is: a really cool-looking $40 handheld corded vacuum with several attachments that allow you to customize how and where you choose to use it. What it’s not: a $650 Dyson Animal DC65 Complete, which is pretty much God’s ridiculously expensive gift to pet owners everywhere. So with that wildly unfair comparison out of the way, let’s just focus on the nifty little Monster.
What’s in the box?
It also comes with the obligatory Instruction Manual.
Did I mention that it’s really cool-looking? For those who care about these things, check out the Euroflex styling and available colors:
After a minute of admiring the design and bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t sent the blue one to try (although the red is quite eye-catching, too), Wally Bell and I set about gauging whether function would follow form on this little jewel-toned beauty.
As is my usual custom, I immediately tossed the Instruction Manual back into the box. I don’t like to read instructions for things that should be self-explanatory plug & play household items (a caveat here; I may be a bit of a fool but I am not an idiot, I do read before using in the case of those items that could result in a reasonable person putting an eye out or causing some other potentially significant damage to person or property in the absence of appropriate guidance before use). I then went through a highly un-scientific user acceptance testing protocol of pushing every button and latch on the thing, taking it apart, putting it back together, and assembling a vast number of configurations using the various attachments. No great mysteries, everything including the expandable dust cup worked as expected with very little trial and error, and I didn’t break anything in the process.
I did need to make one quick Instruction Manual reference to locate the “upholstery/pet tool.” Turns out it’s part of the “square upholstery brush,” which slides apart to remove the bristled portion and reveal the upholstery/pet tool beneath: a flat bottomed attachment with two small strips of lint brush fabric glued on either side of the suction opening.
So on to the live testing. I plugged it in, turned it on, and voila! Suction! Enough to pick up one of Wally Bell’s missing tennis balls from behind the television stand using all three extension tubes, which I thought was pretty good for starters. The Monster 600XL is touted as a 3-in-1 tool comprising a stick floor vacuum, a handheld vacuum, and a blower, so I’ll go through my experiences with these options in that order.
Stick Floor Vacuum: My favorite way to use the stick vacuum was with just the three extension tubes and no attachment at the end. This little bugger was a champion at sucking up loose fur tufts, fuzz balls, dust bunnies and more, didn’t come apart when I was sticking it under and behind the sofas to retrieve additional tennis balls and other odds and ends, and as an added bonus it was long enough to reach a couple of cobwebs hiding in the corners of my nine-foot ceilings (really, it was just a couple, I swear). I was not as enamored when trying to use it as an actual stick floor vacuum. My least favorite of the attachments was the “floor brush,” which looks like it should have a motorized brush roller in it, but of course at only $40 it does not. There are two tiny wheels on the outer edges of the attachment, so a determined user could indeed roll it over tile or hardwood floors, but for me, a much more efficient use of both my time and the Monster 600XL was to just sweep the floors, push all the junk into a corner, and then use the stick vacuum to quickly suck up the sweepings. No more disgusting dustpans, yay!! Unfortunately, using the stick vacuum configuration on my fur laden area rug was just not going to do it for me beyond picking up the aforementioned fur tufts. The Monster 600XL has very good suction for a handheld vacuum, but in attempting to apply a bit more pressure and back and forth movement to achieve deeper cleaning on the rug, the floor brush simply twisted around at the end of the stick. As such, the area rugs and carpeted areas will for the most part continue to require the attention of a full-sized, brush roller-equipped vacuum, which is probably just as well, because it does seem to run a little warm and I would be concerned about overheating or burning out the motor with the extended use trying to vacuum the entire house would require.
Hand Vacuum: The unit can be configured using any combination of the extension tubes, the flex tube, or just an attachment inserted directly into the vacuum body, and it is very easy to switch things out mid-cleaning. The “dual-use crevice tool” worked great on the stairs and carpet edges (amazing how much fur gathers there so quickly), as well as on the tops of the baseboards when flipped to the brush top position. Unfortunately, the “upholstery/pet tool” didn’t stand much of a chance against Wally Bell’s copious shedding on my down-filled suede sofas. I suppose on another fabric on a firmer sofa in a house with a shorter haired hound those tiny lint brush strips might be of more use, but in my case it looks like I will need to stick with alternate methods for cleaning the furniture.
Blower: Anything that has enough suction to pick up a tennis ball is going to have some level of exhaust coming out somewhere. Warm exhaust. And it does, right out the back end of the unit. Most people will have one of three reactions to this: 1) Immediately box it back up and return it, because “vacuuming is sweaty enough work without having hot air blowing on me while I’m doing it;” 2) Embrace it and vacuum when it’s cold to take advantage of the warm air flow and keep the heating bills down; 3) Learn to angle the exhaust vent away from themselves when using the vacuum function. Euroflex cleverly turned this potentially negative design element into a useful additional feature. As a blower, it’s not gardener grade so you won’t be using it to clear the fall leaves from your yard, but using the “blower nozzle” on the end of the flex hose works great for blowing dust and fur off of silk plants and out from under things, especially if you cover the hole on the side of the nozzle with your thumb to increase the air pressure, which could also be useful in blowing various crumbs out of one’s computer keyboard. It’s possible you could even leverage this functionality to blow up balloons or other small inflatables for your next party, but I did not personally try this.
General Notes: The unit has an expandable dust cup, but as I’ve previously mentioned Wally Bell sheds a lot, so using the cup in the unexpanded mode doesn’t make much sense in this household. Expanding it doesn’t seem to make a significant difference in the vacuum’s overall size or handling so I don’t know what the design logic was, but I’m sure it’s documented somewhere if someone were interested enough to Google it. In any case, expanded it’s plenty large enough to make quick clean-up of Wally Bell’s daily hair loss without having to stop and empty it every ten seconds. It’s made of clear plastic so knowing when to empty it is a no-brainer. Most bits dump right out of it, but as with any vacuum system, occasionally one may have to pluck out a clump of fur or some other persistent flotsam. There is also a removable dust filter, and when I took it out to shake the dust out, this is where I could really see evidence of just how well the little Monster 600XL cleans. I was curious about the durability of the dust filter so took another peek at the Instruction Manual, which does contain some useful information. It recommended periodically hand washing and air drying the dust filter, and fully replacing it every three months (I was able to find them online at a cost of two for $13.50). It would have been nice if an extra filter or two had been included with the unit. The tote bag that comes with it is nothing fancy but it does the job to keep everything in one place and doesn’t take up much space.
Overall, I really liked this little vacuum. While the upholstery/pet hair tool fell short of my expectations, the ease with which attachments could be interchanged to quickly clean up the lion’s share of pet hair and dust from various nooks and crannies around the house more than made up for it, and provided a huge savings of both time and frustration over pulling out the full-size vacuum and hauling it up and down the stairs for the same tasks.
Bottom line: Does the Euroflex Monster 600XL clean well enough and have enough design aesthetic for me to be willing to spend $40 on one? Yes. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes. Would I give one as a gift to a fellow pet lover? Yes.
Wally Bell Rating: 4 Paws out of 5
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