Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Max Upgright Vacuum Cleaner U84-AL-Pme In-depth Review

One of the most powerful and versatile upright cleaner in the market, the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Max upright vacuum cleaner is Class AAAA energy efficient vacuum with all the features you would want on an upright vacuum.

Make: VAX | Model: AirLift Steerable Pet Max Vacuum | Profile: Upright
Model no: U84-AL-Pme | 6 Years Guarantee


  • Bagless cleaning – easy to empty and no bags to buy
  • Flexible floorhead pivots for greater manoeuvrability
  • Perfect for homes with pets
  • Lightweight cylinder lifts out to clean high surfaces
  • Cyclones separate air and dust for powerful cleaning
  • HEPA filters remove allergens from the air in your home

What is in the box?

The Air Lift Steerable Pet series comes in three different packages with incremental attachment tools. The packages are as follows:

  1. Air Lift Steerable Pet: 3-in-1 Tool (Crevices, Dusting and Upholstery tool),  TurboTool and Handle
  2. Air Lift Steerable Pet Max: all of above plus Fur ‘n’ Fluff Tool and Tool ConnectorREVIEWED HERE
  3. Air Lift Steerable Ultimate: all of above plus Mattress Tool

The three main parts of the vacuum cleaner are

  • lift out cylinder
  • back panel and floor head
  • handle (also doubles as extension with tool and hose in lift out and above floor modes)

Use the storage clip on the vacuum to hold the 3-in-1 Tool.


The most important question is, how well does it perform? The vacuum cleaner performed amazingly well. You can see instant result in the see through dirt container.

We turned off the air vent for maximum suction power and put it to work on a small spot, 2 feet by 1 feet and already, we can see the hair and dirt it picked up that we could not see with our naked eye.

We continued to work on a white five by seven feet short pile carpet and it did not disappoint. The carpet was not all that dirty to begin with (or so we think) but we can see a pile of dust and hair collecting in the vacuum cleaner after only a short time of use.

It is also surprisingly quiet with the brush bar turned off. The noise level does increase when you switch on the brush bar as this is driven by a separate motor and belt near the floor head. We compared this to a Dyson animal series canister vacuum and it is definitely a lot quieter.

We have a dog at home and while he does not shed heavily, we can still find small amount of hair around the house. The vacuum has effectively lifted the tiniest dust and smallest strands of hair that we missed with our previous vacuum cleaner.

As an upright vacuum, the unit is light and easy to steer. It has a ball like joint that lets you go around the corner and change direct easily. We had fun running the machine around furniture and working around obstacles. The cylinder and floor head also reclines fully letting you reach under chairs and sofas.

With the suction set at high (air vent off), you will need a little elbow grease to drive this thing as it is seriously powerful.

The only disadvantage compared to a canister vacuum is its reach. While the unit is able to recline flat and can reach under the furniture, it is restricted by the diameter of the cylinder. All is not lost however, if you really need to reach well under the furniture, you can use the hose, extension and tool. Learn more about the different modes of operation below.

The Versatile 3 Mode of Use

The Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Max has three versatile modes. You can use the vacuum as:

  1. A full upright unit for steering around the floor like your conventional upright vacuum
  2. Use the host and extension tube with the lift out cylinder attached great for sofa and pot cleaning or
  3. Lift away from the base (back panel and floor head) and use the host and extension tube, carrying the lift out cylinder.

Settings in the full upright mode include:

  • Activating the brush bar, turning this on for carpet and off for hard floor, great for picking up hair and fur.
  • Moving the air vent slider to open position for reduced suction especially on high pile carpet and close for maximum cleaning on short pile carpet or hard floor.

When using the hose and extension tube, you can either attach a tool straight to the free end of the tube or release the handle from the base unit and attached the free end directly to the handle and desired tool to the other end of the extension tube to reach to high up spaces. See photo gallery below for all the different modes of usage.

Cleaning Out the Vacuum Cleaner

Vax recommends cleaning out filters by tapping it over a bin every 4 to 6 uses and to wash it out every 3 – 6 months. The three things to clean out are:

  • The dirt container (emptying this in the bin) – 1.5litre dust bin with flip down bottom for easy emptying.
  • Pre-motor filter by tapping over a bin to remove any dirt and wash under running water and leave out for 24 hours or until fully dry
  • The separator using a soft brush to remove any dirt and replace

We have to add that cleaning out the dirt container while it looked straight forward was a little tricky as the clip lock that holds the bottom of the dirt container faces inside and not away from the handle direction. It’s easy enough once you reached for the clip lock, the floor drops open and the dust and hair falls out so be sure to do this over a bin. You can then give the container a good tap and shut the floor or door when done.

There is a post-motor filter that cannot be washed, scrubbed or brushed but to be replaced if heavily discoloured. Do not expect to replace this soon unless under heavy use.


Who Is It For?

Pet Owners: You have pet(s) at home and need a vacuum that is capable of lifting up hairs from the carpet and hard floor. The powerful brush bar is actually driven by a separate motor instead of by suction.

The wave formation of the line brushes works efficiently in picking up hair. If hair or thread is caught around the brush bar, simply use a pair of scissors to cut and remove it.

Our test shows that even without the brush bar action, the suction alone was enough to pick up fine hair that we did not even know was there. The Fur and Fluff tool is great for sofas, pets chair and bed.

The Turbo tool has fast rotating brushes powered by the suction to quickly pick up and remove hair and fur easily when used with the host or lift out mode.

Just Love Uprights: You have have a thing for a cabled upright vacuum, VAX Air Lift Steerable Air Max is one to consider. Its powerful multi-cylonic technology offers constant powerful pick up and no loss of suction, as long as you maintain it as per instructions in the user guide.

Above Floor Tasks: If you need to clean beyond just the floor, the lift out canister, one of the lightest at only 3.5kg, extension and tools lets you reach the steps on the staircase, use it for spot clean, the ceiling and small hard to reach places. It works just as well for above floor cleaning.

Car Owners: Tired of small and weak battery powered car vacuum cleaners, bring out the cylinder in lift away mode. With the 10 meter cable, there is plenty of slack to go around the car. Use the 3-in-1 tool for the seats and hard to reach gaps and the fur n’ fluff tool if you have pets in the car.

Multi-function Oriented: You are not alone in this. Often, smart consumers look for more ways to use a piece of appliance. They are so used to multi-use gadgets like their smartphone. Devices with uni-purpose (point and choose cameras, watches, PDAs) are become or slowing becoming irrelevant.

An upright vacuum can be just that, an upright vacuum. But choosing the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Max meant you get more than just an upright vacuum. The lift-out cylinder is useful for stairs, above the floor and car cleaning. No need to lug the whole unit around.

A combination of tools and extension meant the unit can be used to provide complete home cleaning, from pet hair to stairs, upholstery, pet beds, high up air vents, cob webs on ceilings, dusting hard to reach places and more.

Environment Friendly Consumer: If you are looking for an energy efficient appliance, the Air Lift Steerable Pet Max U84-AL-Pme is AAAA rated. A rated for energy, A rated for hardfloor pick-up, A rated for carpet pick-up and A rated for emissions. The unit consumes 950Watt with brush bar turned on and 800Watt in lift out mode.

Would we recommend the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Max? Certainly, if you are looking for the full power of a corded upright bagless vacuum, and still want the versatility of a canister vacuum plus you have pets at home, then the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Max is certainly what you need, nothing less.

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