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HoLIFE Portable Vacuum Cleaner HLHM036BWUS Review

This middle-of-the-road vacuum failed to impress
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Price:   $80 List | $54 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent battery life, fairly convenient
Cons:  So-so cleaning performance, terribly with pet hair
Manufacturer:   HoLife
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Feb 6, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 8
  • Dust & Dirt - 20% 6
  • Tough Messes - 20% 6
  • Hard-to-Reach Areas - 20% 5
  • Battery Life - 15% 8
  • Convenience - 15% 6
  • Pet Hair - 10% 2

Our Verdict

While there isn't anything overly terrible with the HoLIFE Portable Vacuum Cleaner, there also isn't anything particularly exciting about it. It delivered lackluster results in the majority of our tests and its one above average result in our battery tests is canceled out by its horrendous showing when it came to collecting pet hair. On top of that, it was outperformed by less expensive products, making it hard to recommend.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $80 List
$53.99 at Amazon
$240 List
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$110 List
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$65 List
$64.99 at Amazon
$70 List
Star Rating
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Pros Excellent battery life, fairly convenientUnmatched cleaning performance, unrivaled battery lifeGreat for getting those hard-to-clean areas, good valueFantastic at picking up pet hair, great valueExceptional runtime, fairly easy to clean with
Cons So-so cleaning performance, terribly with pet hairExpensive, heavyLackluster battery life, two hands to operate, obnoxiously loudNot the best for tight spaces, can’t clean small gaps or cornersAbysmal at picking up pet hair, not the best at cleaning
Bottom Line This middle-of-the-road vacuum failed to impressThe V7 is the absolute best of the best when it comes to these productsIf you want a great all-around handheld vacuum that won’t break the bank, the Flex Vac is a fine choiceIf you are shopping for a handheld vac on the tightest of budgets, then the Pet Hair Eraser is a great choiceWe would be hard-pressed to find an area where this vacuum stands out from the rest
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories HoLIFE Portable... Dyson V7 Car+Boat Flex Vac BDH2020FL BISSELL Pet Hair... Cleaner KB-9005
Dust & Dirt (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
Tough Messes (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
Hard To Reach Areas (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
5
Battery Life (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
8
Convenience (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
Pet Hair (10%)
10
0
2
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
2
Specs HoLIFE Portable... Dyson V7 Car+Boat Flex Vac BDH2020FL BISSELL Pet Hair... Cleaner KB-9005
Model tested HLHM036BWUS 231772-01 BDH2020FL 2390A KB-9005
Measured weight (no tool) 2.4 lbs 2.9 lbs 3 lbs 2.6 lbs 2.4 lbs
Measured weight (heaviest tool) 2.5 lbs 3.7 lbs 3.1 lbs 3 lbs 2.5 lbs
Usage type Dry & wet Dry Dry Dry Dry & wet
Dust capacity 0.6 L 0.5 L 0.5 L 0.73 L 0.6 L
Wet capacity 0.1 L N/A N/A N/A 0.1 L
Measured runtime 26 min 10 sec Normal: 33 min 57 sec
High: 6 min 23 sec
15 min Without motorized brush: 20 min 42 sec
With motorized brush: 17 min
25 min 18 sec
Charge time 3-5 hours 3.5 hours 4 hours 8 hours 3-5 hours
Charging indicator Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Washable filter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Measured noise (at arms length) 68 dBa 70 dBa 82.5 dBa 71.4 dBa 70.7 dBa

Our Analysis and Test Results

The HoLIFE finished a bit behind the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser and tied with the Homasy Handheld Vacuum Cleaner. To be honest, we are pretty much convinced that the HoLife and the Homasy are actually identical products with different brands, as they both performed identically and the parts are actually interchangeable. However, we did find that the Homasy usually retails for about $10 less, making it a better option. The BISSELL cleans far better than the HoLIFE, though it doesn't have as long of a battery life, it also retails for about $15-20 less than the HoLIFE and we vastly preferred it.

The HoLIFE Portable Vacuum Cleaner HLHM036BWUS.
The HoLIFE Portable Vacuum Cleaner HLHM036BWUS.

Performance Comparison


To find out which handheld vacuum truly has what it takes to claim the top spot, we compared a bunch of different products, then bought all the ones that showed the most promise to test out side-by-side. We split our tests into six groups, with the HoLIFE's results in each of them outlined below.

This vacuum does a decent job at cleaning tight spaces.
This vacuum does a decent job at cleaning tight spaces.

Dust & Dirt


Our first round of tests — and the one that captures how most people will end up using these products — ranked and compared the performance of each vacuum at picking up light household messes. We used the bristle attachment and cleaned up dust and dried on mud with the HoLIFE, noting how well it cleaned and how easily the bristles got into small areas and in corners. It did fairly well in this first round of tests, which are responsible for 20% of its final score, earning a 6 out of 10.

The bristles are a little stiff, so it didn't do amazingly well at cleaning up the flour from our statically charged sheet.

The stiff bristles can leave streaks behind.
The stiff bristles can leave streaks behind.

However, they were excellent at getting off caked-on dirt and mud from a section of linoleum.

The stiff bristles on the HoLife quickly loosen dirt to be sucked up.
The stiff bristles on the HoLife quickly loosen dirt to be sucked up.

The bristles did a good job of cleaning wider surfaces, like window sill or shelf, even getting into the corners, but weren't the best at smaller edges, like the top of trim or baseboards.

The crevice tool is useful for cleaning between cushions.
The crevice tool is useful for cleaning between cushions.

Tough Messes


We upped the difficulty in our second metric, tasking each vacuum with cleaning up flour and oats from upholstered cushions and carpet, as well as sucking up larger particles. These tests also account for 20% of the overall score, with the performance of the HoLIFE earning it a 6 out of 10.

The HoLIFE got off to a good start in our first test, doing surprisingly well at removing flour from the carpet. It cleaned up a lot of the mess, but it couldn't match the performance of the vacuums that have a rotating brush.

The HoLife did surprisingly well at cleaning up flour.
The HoLife did surprisingly well at cleaning up flour.

It didn't do quite as well with the oats on the carpet and on the cushions, leaving a fair amount of dust behind on both surfaces.

The HoLife left behind a fair number of crumbs.
The HoLife left behind a fair number of crumbs.

This handheld vacuum was also able to clean up mini-wheats without becoming clogged if you didn't use an attachment. Finally, we measured the air flow each vacuum caused using an anemometer mounted in a makeshift wind tunnel. The HoLIFE caused it to read 1338 FPM — approximately standard for these products.

The HoLife doesn't have much of a reach in either gap size.
The HoLife doesn't have much of a reach in either gap size.

Hard-to-Reach Areas


Our third metric compared how effective each one of these mobile vacuums is at cleaning difficult to access areas of your home. We used the HoLIFE to clean out the grooves of a sliding window track and measured how far it could reach under our simulated nightstand and appliance to determine scores for this category, which is also responsible for 20% of its final tally. The HoLIFE gave an overall lackluster performance, earning it a 5 out of 10.

The HoLIFE's nozzle is a little wider than some of the top products, making it a little more time consuming to clean out the window track, but you could eventually get it just as clean if you were willing to take the necessary time.

Unfortunately, this wider nozzle means that it can't clean as far under a nightstand or appliance. It only was able to clean 8.5" into the 3" gap — representing a nightstand or sofa — and about 5" into a 1.25" gap, similar to the space under a dishwasher or stove.

The HoLife has one of the more impressive batteries of the bunch.
The HoLife has one of the more impressive batteries of the bunch.

Battery Life


Now that we covered where and how well you can clean, we looked at how long you can clean for. For this metric, worth 15% of the overall score, we timed how long each vacuum lasted on a completely full battery, awarding points accordingly. The HoLIFE did quite well, receiving an 8 out of 10. This vacuum lasted for a little over 26 minutes — one of the longest times of the groups — and takes 3-5 hours to recharge, according to the manufacturer. However, it did charge a little faster in our tests, only taking 2 hours, 40 minutes.

We weren't a fan of the "on" switch. You need to hold it in the "on" position for a second or so for it to start.
We weren't a fan of the "on" switch. You need to hold it in the "on" position for a second or so for it to start.

Convenience


Next, our convenience and ease of operation tests are also responsible for 15% of the HoLIFE's score. We looked and scored the ease of emptying the collection bin and how much it could store, as well as the weight, noise, and ease of storing attachments for each product. The HoLIFE again did about average, earning a 5 out of 10 for its middle-of-the-road result.

This vacuum is right in the middle of the group when it comes to size, weighing in at 2.4 lbs. without any tools and its heaviest tool only adding 0.1 lbs.


However, this vacuum did stand out by being one of the quietest models of the group, only registering at 68 dBA on our sound meter.


It can be a bit of a pain to empty the bin, which can hold up to 0.6 L of dry mess and up to 0.1 L of liquid.

The HoLife requires a bit more effort to empty than many other products.
The HoLife requires a bit more effort to empty than many other products.

The attachments for this vacuum are not integrated and there isn't really a convenient way to keep them organized with what is included in the box.

Pet Hair


For the leftover 10% of the total score, we ranked and scored how well each vacuum did at removing pet hair from both carpeted floors and cushions. The HoLIFE finished with a rather abysmal performance, earning a 2 out of 10.

It got about 85% of the hair off the cushion, but almost none of it actually made it into the collection bin, with most remaining trapped on the brush. It was the same story with the carpet, but at least half of the hair we spread out was still on the carpet after the HoLIFE cleaned.

Value


This vacuum is a bad value option, as there are less expensive products that significantly outperformed it.

Conclusion


All in all, the HoLIFE is a mediocre vacuum. It isn't the worst we have seen, but it is far from the best.


David Wise and Austin Palmer