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Gtech HyLite 2 review: Gtech’s compact successor is better than ever

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

Great for smaller spaces, Gtech’s HyLite 2 is a compact cordless stick that’s surprisingly good at cleaning

Pros 
Small and light
Improved cleaning over previous version
Easy to store
Cons 
Minimal accessories
Uses consumables
Prone to hair tangle
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The Gtech HyLite 2 is one of the smallest cordless sticks we’ve seen of late. It’s so small it looks more like a mechanical carpet sweeper than a cordless stick, with nothing but a slim telescopic wand and handle rising above the floor head.

Instead, all the business of vacuuming, power and dirt collection is done in the compact unit that’s down on the floor. The design is light, affordable, useful for small spaces, and the whole caboodle comes in a package that’s barely bigger than a shoe box.

If you’re getting a sense of deja vu, it’ll be because, as its name suggests, the HyLite 2 is the second in the series – the sequel to the original Gtech HyLite. It’s remarkably similar-looking, but one small change could make a big difference to its performance in our tests – Gtech’s new AirLOC technology.

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Gtech HyLite 2 review: What do you get for the money?

The Gtech HyLite 2 is a lightweight cleaner, weighing in at just 1.5kg and arriving in a box that looks like it’s far too small to hold a full-size cordless stick. The magic is in the wand, which has a telescopic design that expands to four times its size. At its full reach, the HyLite 2’s dimensions are 280 x 180 x 1,090mm (WDH).

The net result of this is that the device can be easily dismantled, the wand folded up, and the whole thing made compact enough to store in a drawer. You don’t even need to find the space to hang it on a wall or secrete it in a cupboard. This makes it ideal for small flats or bedsits with minimal storage.

The floor head is where all the action is, including the rechargeable battery and the collection bin, which uses a small 0.3l disposable bag. This won’t store a great deal of dirt: make no mistake, this is a device designed for small homes. There are only four bags in the box (one preinstalled and three spare), though replacements are relatively affordable, with Gtech charging £12.99 for 15 bags (87p each). 

Because the design is so very different to the norm, it doesn’t come with the usual attachments you might expect to find in a cordless vacuum cleaner. In fact, the only accessory in the box is a dusting brush. While this can be attached to the extension wand to help tease cobwebs from hard-to-reach ceiling corners, it doesn’t actually connect to the suction element in the floor head - it’s literally just a duster.

Gtech HyLite 2 review: What’s it like to use?

The Gtech HyLite 2 is about as simple to operate as vacuum cleaners get. In general use, there’s only the power button to worry about. This is located on the floor head and is designed to be operated by foot. There are no further settings or modes; you simply press the button a second time to switch it off.

Because the device is extremely light, it can be easily operated by anyone. Most of the weight is at the floor head, but it’s still light enough to glide around the floor effortlessly. In fact, it almost pulls itself forward with the enthusiastic pull of the motorised brush bar, but offers a slight resistance to being pulled back again. This may also be because of the brush bar, but may also be a function of the AirLOC.

The AirLOC essentially consists of a pair of flaps, one at the front of the floor head and one at the back. These flaps are hinged, letting larger particles through when the device is pushed forwards, but closing up again when it’s pulled back. This creates a tighter seal on the back pull that should be better at collecting dust and smaller particles.

Because the extension wand is so light it can be locked into an upright position and stand unsupported. This is handy: you can leave the vacuum anywhere without having to find a way to prop it up.

Unlocking and getting the vacuum going again can be done in a single movement, by holding the floor head in place while you press the button with your foot, and simultaneously releasing the catch that keeps it upright by simply applying a little pressure on the handle.

While the vacuum is really intended to be used on the end of the extension wand, you can also remove it (by simply lifting it out of the slot that secures it on the back) and use it as a handheld device. I occasionally found this handy on stairs, where you might want to pass the vacuum along the width of a stair at an angle that isn’t easy to perform with the wand attached.

It works reasonably well like this, but as it’s not an intended handheld mode, bear in mind that it’s not the comfiest to grip or hold. It also doesn’t tackle the corners and edges of stairs as well as a dedicated crevice tool can manage.

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The battery is charged by connecting the supplied lead to a port on the battery itself. This can be accessed whether the battery is connected to or removed from the floor head, so charging is straightforward - and it takes around 2.5 hours to replenish the battery from empty.

A lot of cordless sticks these days come with anti-tangle technology to keep the brush bar free of hair. The HyLite 2 doesn’t have any such luxury, and it picked up a lot of hair during testing. It does come with a blade tool to help remove it, but it’s still not a particularly pleasant job.

Gtech HyLite 2 review: How well does it clean?

The original Gtech HyLite struggled in some of our tests, so I was keen to see how the HyLite 2 would fare. We challenge all vacuum cleaners by dropping measured spillages of both Cheerios and flour onto both hard floor and carpet. By weighing the bag or collection bin after they’ve performed a single pass, we can compare their performance against any vacuum we’ve tested previously.

As you’ll see from the chart below, the HyLite 2 is a marked improvement on its predecessor. The chart doesn’t tell the whole story, though, because the results were actually very similar when picking up flour, with only a gram or two difference between the two devices.

However, it’s when picking up the larger Cheerios particles that the improvements appear. The AirLOC system, which is designed to allow larger particles through when it’s being pushed forward and is new to this device, worked a treat here. It allowed the HyLite 2 to capture around 96% of the dropped cereal, whereas the original only managed around 50% on carpet and barely any on hard floor.

We’ve also compared the device’s performance against a couple of other rivals. The Vax Blade 4 is a chunkier cordless stick vacuum cleaner, but it’s one of the best value models around, not costing much more than the HyLite 2. Its performance looks a little poor here, however, because it doesn’t have enough clearance at the front of its floor head to pick up Cheerios.

The Henry Quick is twice the price at £300, but its bagged design has a similar mess-free appeal to the HyLite 2. The Henry Quick is more powerful, so performed better on the flour tests, but like the Blade 4, it struggled to gather Cheerios because of a lack of clearance space at the front.

The battery in the HyLite 2 is no larger than the one in the original HyLite, and unsurprisingly it offers similar battery life, lasting for 20 minutes or so. It only has the one power setting, too, so there’s no way to eke out a slightly longer runtime.

As you can see from the chart, it offers a similar battery life to the Vax Blade 4 in its most power-efficient mode. By contrast, however, the more expensive Henry Quick can last for well over an hour, which is a real boon if you have a larger space to clean.

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Gtech HyLite 2 review: Should I buy it?

The main attraction of the Gtech HyLite 2 is its compact size and ability to pack away into a small space. If you live in a small flat or only have a room or two of your own, then this vacuum cleaner combines a space-saving design with effective cleaning power and a sensible price. 

Don’t be too awed by the price, though. The collection bags are tiny, the battery life relatively short, and it doesn’t come with all the attachments and add-ons that you might expect from a typical cordless vacuum cleaner. For people in larger properties, it’ll barely make it around the house once before you need to be chucking out the bag and putting in a new one.

If you want something more substantial for the price, then the Vax Blade 4 is only a few pounds more expensive. It’s been superseded by the Blade 5, which is better in several respects, especially if you intend to use it on hard floors, but the Blade 4 is a decent option considering its lower price, and it doesn’t use consumable bags.

If you like the idea of a cordless stick vacuum cleaner with bags for mess-free emptying, but want to go longer between empties, opt for the Henry Quick instead. It’s more expensive to buy but the bags can hold a litre of dirt before they need ejecting.

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