At a glance
Clever featuresLight and manoeuvrableGreat for cleaning corners and blinds
Better results on hard flooring than thick carpetsNo HEPA filterManual not very clear
If you’re looking for a very budget-friendly vacuum, this is a tempting option. It’s more powerful than you’d expect, it’s well designed and comfortable to use, and it’s a versatile cleaner for all areas of your home.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Ultenic U12 Vesla
There are seemingly dozens of Dyson clones on the market. At first glance, the Ultenic U12 Vesla’s design appears to consign it to that wannabe category. But it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve – and an unbeatable price point – that set it on its way to being one of the best budget cordless vacuums around.
Inevitably, though, there are a couple of compromises to be made along the way. Read on to find out what they are.
If you don’t know the brand, Ultenic is a fairly new name in floor care, designing affordable vacuums and robot vacuums with a focus on tech features.
Design and build
Two additional cleaning tools
Battery time display
The U12 Vesla is a lightweight cordless vacuum (it’s 3.5kg/ 7.7lbs) with a grey plastic body and accessories.
It has a retractable aluminium wand so you can get just the right height for comfortable cleaning. However, we should say that this will benefit shorter users rather than taller ones – the wand doesn’t extend beyond a standard length.
The telescoping wand is also handy for storage, and you’ll note that the Ultenic comes in a much smaller box than your average vacuum. The box and protective inserts are all recyclable cardboard – but each vacuum cleaner piece comes wrapped in its own plastic sleeve. These will be thrown away as soon as you start using the vacuum, so we really wish companies would end this practice.
The display shows motor speed, battery life and error symbols for blockages. It’ll also show your remaining vacuuming time in minutes
As well as the main cleaning head, the U12 comes with two accessories modelled on those offered by Dyson: a crevice tool and a combination wide mouth/ soft brush cleaner. The accessories can be fitted either to the end of the wand for cleaning blinds and in the corners of a room, or on the body of the vacuum itself, for shelves and car seats.
They click neatly onto the vacuum and between them, you can clean just about anything in your home or car.
The U12 has a large (1 litre) round, clear, easy empty bin that, thanks to its shape, doesn’t trap pet fur or hair. It’s washable as well but there’s no mention of a HEPA filter, so if you have allergies or a dust sensitivity, this is not the right vacuum for you.
It comes with a removable battery that you can pop out and charge separately, if that suits you better. This also means you can choose to buy a second battery, so you can keep one charged and swap it out as needed. Spare batteries are available from Ultenic for $47.99 – US, UK and EU models are available.
The biggest visual difference between the Vesla U12 and any number of Dyson clones is its high-quality display. It’s inset above the vacuum’s grip and shows motor speed, battery life and error symbols for blockages in the floor brush and air duct. It’ll also show you your remaining vacuuming time in minutes. The time will update depending on the power setting you’re using, so you always have a good idea of how long you have left.
There’s another safeguard in the series of slow flashing indicator lights in green, blue or red that will give you a more obvious warning of where you stand.
In a bizarre design/ marketing move, the display is intended to reference a car dashboard. The product page on Amazon says that it’s “inspired by high end sports cars” and “makes cleaning a thrilling race to a spotless finish”. It seems niche to me but if you have a race car bed or make brrrm brrrm noises when you run to catch the bus, this could be a point in its favour.
There are three control buttons on the front of the vacuum, and you can reach them with your thumb while using the vacuum. There’s no need to keep a trigger pressed down in use, either. In the centre is an On/Off button. To the left is a button to let you cycle through the power modes. To the right is a light button.
The vacuum has a green “laser” on its main cleaning head in imitation of Dyson’s latest vacuums. It’s actually just a series of green LEDs but they work pretty well to light up hair and fluff when you’re vacuuming in dark corners. It’s not as good as the Dyson laser but it is as good as any white LED headlights. Plus, it has an old-school ravey vibe.
However, the light button on the control panel gives you another LED lighting option that I haven’t seen before. You can turn on a white LED to brighten up dark corners when you have one of the smaller cleaning heads attached. I found this to be genuinely useful when cleaning in nooks and crannies.
The vacuum also comes with a fairly basic dock you can mount on a wall with two screws. It includes space for the two accessories.
Performance and features
Good on pet hair
50 minutes maximum run time
The U12 Vesla is extremely manoeuvrable and feels very light in use, thanks to the wheels to the rear of its main cleaning head. Unlikely many other models, these don’t get tangled up with hair. However, there are a tiny set at the front, which do. I spent some unhappy minutes tweezing out the cat fur caught in these.
I found it to be excellent at cleaning shelves and corners, very good on hard flooring – with no scattering of larger debris, and decent at carpet cleaning
The U12’s roller brush is advertised as being “tangle-free”. Lots of brush rollers are advertised in this way and many disappoint. This one didn’t, in the short term at least. Over a longer timeline, I think hair would start to wind around the ends of the brush roller – but this is a common problem that no vacuum design has perfectly solved.
Ultenic says that the U12 Vesla has 30,000Pa (Pascals) of suction. But we shouldn’t really rely on this to show how well it’ll work or how it compares to rivals. For a start, Pascals currently tend to be used to measure the suction of robot vacuums. Dyson uses air watts (AW) and some other brands only measure the wattage of a vacuum cleaner to show how much power its motor has.
Vacuum cleaner design also plays a huge role in how effective the suction is. That’s why testing is important. While using it, I found it to be excellent at cleaning shelves and corners, very good on hard flooring – with no scattering of larger debris, and decent at carpet cleaning. If you have deep pile carpets, however, I think you’d need a more powerful vacuum for proper deep cleaning.
The U12 Vesla has four motor speed settings. Or maybe five. I’ll explain. There are four motor speeds (essentially power settings) accessible from the button on the control pad. There’s also a fifth speed on the dial – that may or may not be related to Auto mode – although I was never able power the vacuum up that much and the poorly written manual was very little help.
From a fully charged battery, you’ll get a maximum of 50 minutes on setting one (eco mode), 32 minutes on setting two, 23 on three, and 15 on four. Altogether, this is pretty competitive, although I have no knowledge of the arcane fifth setting.
The battery takes around three hours to charge fully.
Price and availability
What really makes the U12 Vesla stand out is its price point. We’ve reviewed plenty of budget-friendly vacuums at around the $/£300 mark but you can buy this vacuum for around half that.
In the US, it’s available for $199.99 from Amazon – although with frequent discounts and voucher offers, you’re likely to pay significantly less, so it’s worth checking – and $149.99 direct from Ultenic.
In the UK, the RRP is £189.99 and it’s available from Amazon – but with the discount offered at the time of writing, you can get it for just £149.99. You can also buy direct from Ultenic and choose a UK plug.
The Ultenic’s price and overall quality for its price point makes it a very tempting option for anyone looking for a quick and easy vacuum for an apartment, a second vacuum for the hard flooring in their home, or a handy grab-and-go cleaner for car interiors. Our only word of caution is that thick carpets will probably need a more powerful vacuum for deep cleaning.
If this isn’t the perfect vacuum for you, have a look at our round-up of the best vacuum cleaners we’ve tested for more options.