This well priced and powerful cordless vacuum does a lot for its price point. Its HEPA filtration system and auto-empty dock mean it’s a great option for people with hay fever. It looks good and it has some handy features but you should note that it feels heavy in use.
Bagless cordless vacuums are now ubiquitous. With very few exceptions, if you want a high-spec cordless vacuum, you’ll need to go bagless.
But that’s not ideal for people with hay fever, allergies or a sensitivity to dust, because it means a lot more contact with all the gubbins you vacuum up. That’s particularly the case if you need to poke around in your stick vacuum’s tiny bin to get all the wedged bits out.
Enter the Ultenic FS1. Dust-wise, this cordless vacuum is the best of both worlds – it’s a modern cordless vacuum that empties, via suction, into a bag in its charging stand. There are only a few options like this on the market. Another that we’ve reviewed is the Samsung Bespoke Jet, a vacuum that the FS1 appears to be modelled on.
Design and build
Dock is 94cm/ 37in with vacuum
Max 60 minutes runtime per battery
Swappable battery – only one included
The Ultenic FS1 has a navy and grey build, with orange accents. It has smart, high quality appearance – and is a welcome antidote to the attention-grabbing colour schemes of rivals from Dyson and Shark. I really think that most of us want a vacuum cleaner that blends in, rather than one that draws attention to itself, like either a giant toddler toy or a strimmer. More options like this would be welcomed.
The discreet colour scheme is particularly important as the charging/ auto-empty stand is fairly large and solid, and is designed to stand in the open, rather than being hidden in a cupboard. At the very least, it’ll need a nearby plug point and enough clearance above it to attach the vacuum. When the vacuum is in the stand, it’s around 94cm tall (37in), and the dock has a 29 x 25cm (11.4 x 9.8in) base.
The vacuum itself is designed along familiar lines, with a clear dustbin over a gun-style grip. It’s one of the heavier cordless vacuums – but not by much. On paper it’s a very similar weight to the Dyson V15 Detect, with the FS1 at 6.8lbs/ 3.1kg against the Dyson model’s 6.6lbs/ 3kg.
However, it feels heavier in use, perhaps because of its thick, unergonomic grip. This also makes it less comfortable when you’ve been vacuuming for a while. Still, the swivel-set main cleaning head means that it is very manoeuvrable.
It has some great design features, including a telescoping wand, so you can adjust its height for comfortable use, and LED headlights to make cleaning in dark corners easier. The headlights are effective enough that it’s actually more efficient to vacuum in a dark room.
The battery can be removed and you can buy a second one to swap in to double the cleaning time – which is a maximum of 60 minutes on its lowest setting. Spare batteries are available from Ultenic for $55.99, which is considerably cheaper than a Dyson battery replacement.
It’s hard to confirm how long it takes to charge the battery: as you store it by standing it in the charging dock, it is always topping up, so it’s hard to drain the battery and it doesn’t tend to run out in use in the same way that a cordless vacuum does when you need to make an effort to remember plug it in.
You can even charge a second battery in the dock at the same time.
In the box, along with the vacuum, charging stand, battery, a spare filter, two spare replacement vacuum bags for the dock (there’s also one already inside) and a cleaning brush are the main vacuum cleaning accessories.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
You’ll get a brush tool and a crevice tool and these are fine enough. They can be used, either on the end of the wand or straight on the vacuum body and click in easily once you line up the markers. But it would be nice to have an upholstery tool as well.
The brush is fairly effective on the surface of upholstery – for example, at removing pet hair from a sofa – but that’s largely because of its stiff bristles, rather than its suction. It won’t do much to deep clean cushions or mattresses unless you drag the main cleaning head onto your bed or sofa.
The filter has a five-layer system which finishes with a HEPA filter. It retains 99.99% of fine dust down to 0.3 microns to clean the air before it discharges it.
Its HEPA filtration, combined with the auto-empty system, means that it’s a good option for people with hay fever or a sensitivity to dust. The FS1 will keep your air cleaner and minimise the amount of contact you have with the contents of the vacuum’s bin.
There’s a layer of microbial and odour protection in the dock in the form of UV lights as well.
On the top of the vacuum body is a simple LED display. It features a battery life indicator, but as this is only divided into thirds, it’s nowhere nearly as detailed as rivals that give you an exact battery life percentage.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The power setting you’re using is also displayed there. There’s a lower and higher power option, and an Auto mode, in which the vacuum will respond to the surface you’re cleaning.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The button to cycle between power settings is on the end of the vacuum, above the grip, which is a good place to put it. But the On/Off switch is on top, located next to the display, so it’s not quite within touching distance when you’re using it, which is a little annoying.
Effective LED headlights
Cleans right up to edges
The FS1 is an excellent vacuum. It has powerful suction – Ultenic says that its 450W motor can power 30,000Pa of suction. This makes it difficult to compare with rivals such as Dyson and Samsung, which use air watts to measure suction.
What I can say it that the FS1 is very effective in use and its well-designed floor head easily picks up everything from hair and dust to larger pieces of debris that other vacuums can scatter.
It cleans right into corners and up to walls, with enough power to pull up any bits that are at the edges of its cleaning head. It can also get fairly flat to the ground, so it’s good for getting under beds and sofas.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The vacuum isn’t particularly loud in use. It’s only very noisy in turbo mode and apart from testing this mode – which would be good for cleaning up big spills or getting ingrained dirt out of carpets – I didn’t have much cause to use it.
The lowest cleaning mode was more than adequate for handheld dusting, and using the auto mode in conjunction with the main floor head meant that I didn’t have to think about settings most of the time.
Most of the time, when using it, I’d switch the lights off and use the LED headlights, which do a better job of illuminating hair and dust than an overhead light.
And when you’ve finished, you just stick the vacuum back in the dock. Charging is automatic but emptying is not. You’ll need to press the button on top of the vacuum handle. The dock suction isn’t as noisy as that of the Samsung Bespoke Jet – nor is it as powerful. That means that you may occasionally have to remove trapped hair by hand.
There’s one issue with the auto-empty feature. When you lift the vacuum out of the dock to begin cleaning again, the dustbin lid on the vacuum will be open. It pops open when it docks to make emptying possible but you’ll need to remember to close it again before use.
When I first started testing it, there were a few confusing moments where, bleary and pre-caffeine, I’d begin vacuuming while simultaneously scattering everything all over the floor again.
Still, the only real problem I had while testing the FS1 was its weight. Its overall design and uncomfortable grip means that it does start to feel heavy after you’ve been using it for a while, so I wouldn’t recommend buying it for your granny.
Price and availability
Ultenic sells primarily via its own website and on Amazon.
If you’re in the US, the best price at the time of writing is from Ultenic, where there’s $120 off the $399.99 MSRP. At this price, this vacuum is a bargain. There’s currently also a $70 discount voucher option from Amazon.
In the UK, Amazon is currently offering £50 off the £398 RRP. Although this isn’t quite as much of a steal as the US price, it is still very good value for its feature set and quality.
The FS1 is an excellent vacuum cleaner, combining strong suction with a brilliant feature set that includes its self-emptying dock. Being able to return the vacuum to its stand for charging and emptying, is a huge plus.
My one real reservation with the product is that it is uncomfortable and feels heavy after some use.
To see how the FS1 stacks up against the competition and to browse more of our recommended options, have a look at our round-up of the best vacuum cleaners we’ve tested.