- Powerful suction.
- Versatile design with well-engineered attachments.
- Portable, free-standing charging station.
- Easy-to-use control scheme.
- Filter assembly is difficult to clean.
- Mediocre battery performance.
When it comes to modern technology, most of us are drawn to the most exciting products. Devices like the iPhone 13 and PlayStation 5 are the subject of an absurd number of articles. And that only makes sense. Everybody loves to be entertained, and almost everybody uses social media. We all need a smartphone. So it’s these kinds of devices that get the most attention. But the most valuable technologies of all are often technologies we don’t even think about. For example, few people get all hot and bothered reading about AI technology in traffic signals. This is despite the fact that better AI technology produces faster, safer, more efficient traffic for everybody.
This is unfortunate, since time saving is at the heart of our greatest technological achievements. Before the industrial revolution, nine out of ten people worked in agriculture. A farmer could only get so much food harvested so quickly, which limited their productivity. But nowadays, in the age of industrial farm equipment and nitrogen fertilizer, most people rarely even see a farm. Fewer than one in fifty Americans is working in agriculture, and the rest of us are free to do other things.
Vacuum cleaners, like the Ultenic U11, fall into this category of technology. You’re never going to see big headlines just because somebody made a better vacuum. But a better vacuum makes it quicker and easier to clean your house. And the less time you spend cleaning, the more freedom you have to do other things. But is the U11 actually a better vacuum? To find out, we’ll need to take a look at all of its features and functions. We’ll look at the physical design – how the vacuum is built and how you operate it. We’ll look at the cleaning power, and the various attachments. Finally, we’ll talk about the battery life and the filtration system. Once we’ve given it a thorough evaluation, we’ll sum up what we’ve learned, and deliver our verdict.
Design & Construction
The Ultenic U11 is a traditional battery-operated stick vacuum. The main unit consists of a pistol grip, which is molded from black and green plastic. It’s angled slightly forward, with a trigger to control the motor and a battery underneath. This battery helps to keep the vacuum bottom-heavy, so it’s easy to work overhead. Above the grip, you’ll find the motor housing, located in a cylindrical housing. The front of the motor houses the filter assembly, which protrudes into the dust bin. The dust bin is another cylinder, located at the front of the main vacuum unit. It’s clear, so you can see when it’s getting full, and it has a large capacity of 0.6 liters.
Other than the trigger, you have a few other control options. These controls are located on an LCD display on the back of the motor. Here, you’ll be able to adjust the motor speed, as well as the carpet detection mode. There’s also a visual readout of your battery status, although it’s not a percent readout. It’s just a simple three-bar meter like you’d see on older cell phones. Above the main controls, there’s also an array of red warning lights. These will let you know when the filter is dirty or the vacuum is jammed. They’ll also let you know if the main roller brush gets tangled up.
The U11 can be used in two ways. First, it can be used as a stand-up vacuum, with a long tube that extends to your attachment. This is ideal for vacuuming your floor, or using lighter attachments to clean your curtains. However, if you’re working in a car or another tight space, a traditional vacuum will be too big. In that case, you can easily remove the extension tube, and attach your attachment directly to the motor.
The most striking feature of this vacuum isn’t actually a part of the vacuum; it’s the charging station. Most stick vacuums come with a wall mount, which may or may not have room for all your attachments. This is a tried and true design, but it can be limiting. If you want to move your charger to another room, you have to unscrew it, re-mount it, and patch holes. Instead, the U11 comes with a free-standing charging station that’s easy to move. It consists of a stable, circular base, with a metal pole in the center and a charging base on top. You just plug in the charger, slide the vacuum base into place, and watch it charge. Not only that, but there’s a little bracket on the pole that holds all your attachments.
Cleaning & Accessories
The Ultenic U11 provides up to 25,000 Pascals (Pa) of suction. This is almost double the power of the average stick vacuum, which has 14,000Pa. However, that’s just the maximum power setting. For better battery life and a lower volume, you’ll want to run in a lower mode most of the time. In total, there are three modes. Eco mode is perfect for hard floors and everyday cleaning on most carpets. Standard mode is better for medium and deep-pile carpets that need stronger cleaning. Max mode is best when you’re dealing with heavily-soiled carpets, or heavy debris on a floor. Alternatively, you can activate automatic carpet detection. With this setting active, the vacuum will automatically adjust the suction as needed for the surface.
The U11 is one of the most powerful stick vacs in the world, but what if you want even more? The most powerful stick vacuum we’ve seen to date is the RedRoad V17, which has 26,000Pa of suction. It’s a very well-engineered vacuum, but it’s not available in North America at this time.
The U11’s main roller has a spiral pattern, with stiff bristles suitable for thick carpets. The bulk of the attachment has a black housing, but the shield over the roller is clear. That way, you can easily see if it’s starting to get tangled. Not only that, but the roller is easily removable, so detangling it is a breeze. The housing is mounted on a swivel head, which can rotate 180 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically. This makes it easy to maneuver under furniture and into awkward corners. And when you’re vacuuming under furniture, a row of four bright LEDs will help you see what you’re doing.
In addition to the primary roller, there’s a smaller mini roller for upholstery and automotive use. It has a black housing and a white brush cover, just like its bigger brother. It also has its own small motor, so the brush is not short on power. However, it doesn’t have any LEDs, though you probably won’t need those for a mini roller.
The kit includes a brush attachment, which is perfect for delicate surfaces. You can use it to clean fine curtains without them getting sucked in. You can also use it for electronics, such as keyboards. The final attachment is a simple plastic crevice tool. It’s basically a flat plastic tube with an angle at the end. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it gets the job done. You can easily reach between couch cushions, or clean around your baseboards.
As you can see, the U11 can tackle just about any household cleaning project. But if you want to save even more time, you’ll want a robot vacuum, like the Ultenic T10. Not only does it vacuum your floor automatically, but it has a self-emptying function for more convenience. On the other hand, it only offers a fraction of the U11’s power.
Battery & Filter
The Ultenic U11’s battery is rated to last for up to 55 minutes. But unlike most manufacturer ratings, this isn’t very realistic. Under normal circumstances, using eco mode, you can expect about 45 minutes of performance. If you’re running at max power, the vacuum will only run for a hair under 30 minutes. To be fair, this is still plenty of time to vacuum a few rooms. And in most cases, you’re not going to be using max power for more than spot cleaning, anyway. Still, the battery life is disappointing. On the upside, it will fully charge in less than three hours, so it won’t be out of commission for long.
The filtration system consists first of the dust canister itself. When the air comes in, it forms a cyclone, and most debris gets flung to the outside. After that, the air gets sucked through a metal mesh filter, which strains out almost everything else. The heart of this system, though, is the HEPA filter. This is an accordion-shaped filter that removes 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. This includes dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and many other common allergens.
The nice thing about this system is that it’s all washable. The metal mesh just needs to be rinsed and set aside. The HEPA filter, meanwhile, can be washed with water and left to air dry. As long as you don’t twist it or wring it out, it will last through several cleaning cycles. The downside of the filter system is that it gets dirty very easily. When that happens, the vacuum’s performance understandably suffers. This means you have to frequently remove the canister take off the filter assembly, wash it, and reassemble.
If you’d prefer to spend less time cleaning your vacuum, consider the Moosoo K17. It’s significantly easier to clean, and it’s almost as powerful. That said, it also has a short battery life, and its dust bin is fairly small.
The Ultenic U11 is a well-engineered vacuum with a couple of major flaws. However, if you don’t mind a shorter battery life and a hard-to-clean filter, there’s a lot to like. The most outstanding feature is the stand, which is great for portability. We also loved all the other attachments, which are well designed. And the vacuum power itself is nothing to sneeze at.