When you’re looking for the latest technology, it’s easy to miss the little things. Big, flashy releases like game consoles and smartphones get a lot of hype, and understandably so. We all love to play the latest and greatest video games. And who doesn’t want a better smartphone? But there are other, less exciting gadgets that have just as much impact on our daily lives. A good example of this is cleaning technology, like your vacuum cleaner. No, your vacuum isn’t exciting, and cleaning your house is a chore, not fun and entertainment. But a good vacuum can save you time, which you’re then free to spend doing other things.
In the past, battery-operated vacuums were generally pretty weak. But modern technology has made smaller motors and batteries more powerful. Now, it’s entirely plausible to clean your entire home without a corded vacuum. But not all battery-operated vacuums are up to the same tasks. Most notably, they don’t usually work well with wet messes. And like any vacuum, they don’t typically work on caked on dirt and grime. If you want to clean those types of messes, you’ll need a wet-dry vac with an integrated mopping function. Thankfully, there are some vacuums that are more than up to the task.
We’re about to review the RedKey W12 Wet-Dry vacuum Cleaner. This is a vertical, battery-operated vacuum that’s designed for cleaning any type of solid floor. It has an effective mopping function, with a well-designed roller and housing. The battery is long-lasting, and the roller even has a self-cleaning function. But those are just a few of the features we need to be looking at. We need to talk about how it’s designed, and how easy – or not – it is to operate. We need to look at how the cleaning actually works, and what kind of performance you can expect. And we’ll also have to talk about cleaning and maintenance. Let’s take a deep dive into this vacuum, and see what we discover!
Design & Construction
The RedKey W12 Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaner has a vertical design, with an attractive white housing. From the bottom of the wheels to the top of the main body is just over 27.5 inches. When the handle is inserted, it protrudes up by about another foot. This provides a comfortable operating height for most people.
The handle itself is angled backwards, which makes it easy to hold. On top, there are a pair of rubbery grey buttons. The back button is a power button, which turns the vacuum on and off. The forward button controls the spraying function. In front of these buttons are a set of blue indicator lights. These let you know the status of the W12 at any given time. There’s a light to let you know when the clean water tank is empty, or when the dirty water tank is full. There’s a light to let you know when the roller is tangled, as well as a little three-bar battery indicator.
When the water tanks are empty, the entire unit weighs only 8.4 pounds. That’s light enough to easily carry around from place to place. Even a pair of full water tanks will only add about two pounds to the total weight. The water tanks are built into the front of the housing, and both can be easily removed. The clean water tank is located near the top of the main housing, and the dirty tank is on the bottom. Both tanks are transparent, so you can easily monitor the current water level.
At the base of the main housing, there’s a rotating joint where it connects to the roller housing. This joint can pivot up and down, but not from side to side. Even so, you won’t have any issues fitting under most furniture and shelves. While the roller housing is wide and deep, it’s barely thicker than the roller itself. Big black wheels at the back make it easy to roll across any type of floor. Meanwhile, the roller cover is made from transparent plastic. This makes it much easier to find and remove any potential tangles you might encounter. The rest of the roller housing is white, to match the main body of the vacuum.
If you don’t need a wet mop, RedKey has plenty of other offerings. We recently reviewed the RedKey F10, which is a more traditional, battery-powered stick vac. It comes with several attachments, and it’s light enough to use overhead. Then again, it’s no good for wet cleaning.
The W12 comes with its own little stand, which is used for the purposes of charging and self-cleaning. We’ll talk about the self-cleaning more in a second, but charging is more straightforward. You just set the vacuum into the stand, and it charges. The only catch is that you have to be close enough to a power outlet to plug into it. In addition to the stand, the kit also includes a multi-purpose cleaning tool, and two extra roller brushes. Everything is covered by a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. If you experience any kind of premature failure, you’ll be able to get a refund or a free replacement.
So far, so good. But how well does the RedKey W12 actually perform in practice? Let’s start with the design of the brush itself. The roller is actually surprisingly soft, with a material that’s similar to microfiber. This makes it exceptional for mopping and sweeping on a solid floor. You don’t have to worry about the material scratching your hardwoods or your tiles. It’s also absorbent enough that wet mopping won’t leave any streaks. That said, there aren’t any proper bristles. You can run the W12 over a carpet without any trouble, as long as you’re running it dry. But the roller isn’t going to penetrate down into the piling. So for anything other than light dusting, it’s no good on carpets.
Then again, it’s exceptionally effective on solid floors. You can run it dry for a casual cleaning. Or, you could activate the spraying function. This will wet the floor in front of the roller while you’re cleaning. As you pass over the area, the roller will agitate any caked-on dirt and gunk. Then, the vacuum will suck the dirty water into the collection tank. Obviously, there’s a limit to how well this will work. You’ll need a solution for greasy messes, and bad messes will require more than one pass. Still, it’s surprisingly effective, and does a good job on most everyday messes.
The tanks themselves have slightly different sizes. The clean water tank has a capacity of 520ml, and the dirty tank has a capacity of 460ml. When you’re cleaning a floor that was originally dry, this works well. A little bit of water is absorbed in the roller or lost to evaporation. But most of it ends up getting sucked back up. That said, when you’re cleaning a wet mess, the smaller dirty water tank is somewhat limiting. Because everything you suck up goes into the tank, you’ll have to empty it before the clean tank runs out. This is a minor inconvenience, but the W12 would have been a bit more versatile with a larger dirty tank.
When you’re done cleaning your floor, the roller is going to be dirty. The last thing you want is a dirty roller sitting around and festering. Instead, you can take advantage of the W12’s self-cleaning function. First, set the vacuum in the base. Next, press the self-cleaning button on the front of the handle. The vacuum will spray water into the base, and the roller will agitate. The motor will suck the dirty water up, and you’re left with a clean roller. Then, you can take the roller out of the vacuum, and set it in the slot on the stand so it can dry.
As you can see, the W12 is very easy to use. But what if you want something even easier? In that case, consider investing in a self-emptying robot mopping vacuum. They’re useful on carpets as well as solid floors, and they empty themselves when they’re done. Then again, none of them is as powerful as the W12.
Battery & Filter
The RedKey W12 has a 2,600mAh internal battery. This is enough charge to last for about 45 minutes, depending on what you’re doing. You’ll get a bit more if you’re only dry vacuuming, and a bit less if you’re constantly spraying. Regardless, that 45-minute number is a good ballpark. That’s sufficient to clean over 2,000 square feet, as long as you’re only making a single pass.
With most vacuums, there’s some kind of internal filter you need to clean. But since the W12 is designed for use as a wet vac, there’s no need for a physical filter. Everything goes into the same dirty water container, including dust and solid debris. This means you don’t have to worry about cleaning out any kind of filter. Then again, It also means you’ll have to deal with solid debris when you dump out your dirty water. That’s where the multi-purpose cleaning tool comes in handy. It has a broad filter basket into the handle, which you can pour the dirty water through. This will collect larger pieces of solid debris, so you won’t clog your drain.
If you like the design of the W12 but want better carpet performance, check out the Dreame H11 Max. It has a similar design, but it’s a bit more powerful, and performs slightly better on carpets. Then again, the battery life is shorter, so you can’t clean as much area on one charge.
The RedKey W12 Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a powerful, versatile tool for cleaning any kind of solid floor. The mopping function works very well, and it’s easy to cover a large area on one charge. Even so, it’s light and manageable enough that it remains easy to operate. If you need a high-quality mopping wet-dry vacuum, you’re looking at a solid choice.