Vacuums as a whole both literally and figuratively suck. While there are very good models designed to last a lifetime, they can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and a good portion of the vacuum category is inhabited by cheaply manufactured and shoddily designed home appliances that seem more befitting of the toy aisle than products intended to serve daily/weekly duties keeping the home clean. Industrial designer, founder of Guerra Office and co-founder of Visibility Studio, Joseph Guerra hopes to address many of the shortcomings of the typical affordable HEPA vacuum with his Airsign HEPA Vacuum, a model engineered from the ground up to cost less, perform better, and have less of an environmental impact across its lifetime.
A cursory glance at the Airsign website makes it evident this vacuum is aimed toward a generation raised upon products with an evident and ingrained emphasis upon human centered design, the IDEO.org developed creative approach to problem solving integrating empathy of the end user. For this purpose the vacuum is compact, rounded, and refreshingly devoid of extraneous parts or branding; if Muji or Naoto Fukasawa ever designed their own canister vacuum, one could easily imagine the curvilinear simplicity of the Airsign as the conclusion. And like Apple, Guerra made efforts to make unpacking the vacuum itself an event, with thoughtfully arranged boxes within boxes to simplify assembly.
The vacuum’s controls include oversized buttons designed for foot operation, with latches, snaps, and buttons engineered to offer tactile feedback. In the short time testing a review sample, I found the matte finish aesthetically pleasing and the assembly well fitted, but also a bit lightweight compared to my decade-old compact canister Miele. What both share is a powerful 1200W motor, sealed chambers, and a replaceable true HEPA filtration cartridge unit designed to keep air exhausted out from polluting interior spaces.
Upon use, Airsign seems best befitting of smaller homes or apartments where a single lightweight canister can do its best job keeping floors, upholstered furnishings, and other interior details free from dust. The Airsign fell a bit short in comparison to our Miele and Dyson stick vacuums in regards to cleaning carpet tiles and rugs efficiently and quickly, both across short and longer woven surfaces, but the lightweight maneuverability made carrying and cleaning across a two-story home simple rather than a tedious chore, especially in the kitchen and on hardwood flooring where the floorhead glided easily.
Airsign makes it a point they’ve manufactured their vacuum with 20% recycled plastic, and the entire vacuum is engineered to be easily disassembled for end of life recycling. Both the wand and carry handle are made out of 100% aluminum, and there is no glue, permanent snap-fits, painted or co-molded parts to hinder safely recycling parts, one of a generation of new consumer products incorporating material circularity as an inherent and laudable feature.
The Airsign HEPA Vacuum is launching with a $295 price tag and is available only in matte black (Airsign says more colors are on the way), and includes three dust bags, a HEPA filter kit, a dust brush, a crevice tool, an accessory clip, floorhead attachment, and an accessory wand.