Good looking, good at sucking and good to handle, AEG’s Ultimate 8000 has plenty of good points that makes it well worth considering. Sure, it could pack a bigger bin and the battery life is nothing to write home about but if you live in an average-size home, neither will matter and it’s so lovely to look at, and use, you just won’t care!
Easy to use
Plenty of attachments
No wall mount option
Why you can trust TechRadar
As the top-end model in top-end brand AEG’s Ultimate 8000 line of cordless vacuums, we were expecting great things from this vacuum, ease and power being the German company’s headline claims. Tested in a four-bedroom home for a (messy) family of four with two dogs and a budgie, the Ultimate 8000 did not disappoint on either score. It is indeed ergonomically designed and boasts incredible suction.
AEG also makes bold assertions about impressive battery life, which officially stands at 15 minutes on Auto mode. We managed to eke it out to 17.47mins – not bad, but not the best we’ve tested. In Turbo power you’ll only get a paltry six minutes, which sucks, and not in a good way.
We tested the AP81A25ULT model (number) in an attractive Bronze livery. It is the most expensive of the four models in the line-up and comes packing an impressive array of carefully considered accessories that all load neatly onto a docking base. One of the nozzles AEG is most proud about, and rightly so, is the Ultimatepower floorhead for hard floors, which sucks away the finest of dust and polishes as it goes.
Another positive feature of this vacuum is how light it feels in use. This isn’t necessarily because it’s the lightest cordless out there, it’s a middle-weight at 2.9kg, but more to do with the balance of the design and handle shape/position, which makes it really comfortable to push around, under and above furniture. No arm ache, no awkward wrist angle.
The bin capacity is probably the Ultimate 8000’s most disappointing feature and doesn’t compare favourably to many of the best vacuum cleaners we’ve tested. The emptying action also took a bit of practice but, as it has to be done so frequently, quickly became second nature.
There are certainly a few niggles that AEG could improve upon then, but on ease of use and suction the Ultimate 8000 is up there with the best. And did we mention it has lots of nozzles? Nozzle enthusiasts will geek out!
AEG Ultimate 8000: price and availability
- List price: $658.63 / £549.99/ AU$989.84
- Only available in the UK
The list price for the Ultimate 8000 is a touch on the high side (in our opinion). If you’re not bothered about tonnes of nozzles and are happy to wall mount, you can save £130 by choosing the entry-level model, AP81UB25SH, in the Ultimate 8000 line.
Also, at time of testing, there was a £150-off promo, which made the price-point far more appealing. Hold out for the sales if you can, or shop around. As well as buying direct from AEG’s own website, you can buy this vacuum at AO.com, and John Lewis. The former had the best price at the time of writing.
Price and availability: 3.5 / 5
AEG Ultimate 8000: design
- Superb hand comfort
- Click-and-charge storage
- Quick release for handheld
Starting with the packaging, the Ultimate 8000 gets major environmental kudos for its paper and cardboard-based packaging. Not a jot of plastic was utilised in the safe delivery of this vacuum to our door. The box itself also included a handy quick-start illustration, which shows you how to get set up and charging in five simple steps. Perfect for the instruction manual averse.
The base itself is a feat of engineering, albeit one that looks a little bit like a cat scratching post on steroids. And there is no option to wall mount, which is generally better for saving space. As it stands, the base with vacuum docked is 94cm/37inch tall, 30cm/12inch wide and 41cm/16inch deep, which is reasonably compact. You wouldn’t get it in a standard undercounter cupboard, but it would tuck inside a broom or understairs cupboard easily.
The base uses magnets to connect to the battery – so no fiddly cord insertion required, you just roll the vacuum into position, click the magnets into place and it’s charging. All five nozzles/attachments click neatly onboard, making for a neatly contained unit.
Onto the actual vacuum design, the Ultimate 8000 earned the coveted iF Product Design Award in 2022, so you may not want to store it in a cupboard! We wouldn’t go so far as to say it is beautiful, but it is certainly attractive as vacuum cleaners go and the bronze finish feels fresh and modern.
The control panel at the top is actually quite beautiful in its simplicity, especially if you've had your fill of over-complicated, App-happy vacuums. There's an on-off button then a +/– button that lets you scroll between the four settings, Low, Mid, Turbo and Auto.
One cool feature we’ve not seen elsewhere is the click-release button on the charging base, which, at the press of a big chunky button, undocks just the handheld element, allowing you to quickly grab the unit to deal with emergency spills. Or just whizz over the sofa cushions if the dogs have broken the no-sofa rule, again. The handheld has a built-in nozzle and there’s a small brush attachment onboard that you can pop onto the nozzle when dealing with scratch-prone surfaces.
Talking about quick release, the ease with which you can connect and disconnect attachments is nothing short of dreamy and removes a lot of potential frustration when vacuuming. We also liked the smooth glide of the extension pole, which allows you to slide from full to half height quicky and efficiently. Best of all, there’s a foot release button to make switching between floorheads a breeze – those with bending down/back pain issues will rejoice.
The design of the bin release is almost too simple. You just pull it out at the bottom and, again thanks to magnets, it disconnects from the unit. Initially we were looking for the usual button or clip for bin opening, which is perhaps why there is an illustration on the unit that provides a visual reminder.
Overall, it’s clear that AEG have put a lot of thought and engineering skill into the design of this vacuum. It looks and feels solidly built, with a satisfyingly expensive sounding click when connecting different parts.
Design: 5 / 5
AEG Ultimate 8000: performance
- Vacuums well across all floor types
- Auto cleaning mode is one of the best we’ve tried
- Clever roller cleaner effortlessly removes trapped hair
If there’s one thing you cannot fault the Ultimate 8000 on, it's suction power – 153 watt’s worth of suction power to be precise. Provided you keep the bin emptied and filters clean, the suction is more than adequate for all manner of vacuuming surfaces. We tested on short and deep pile rugs, wool carpet, engineered wood floors and array of tiled floors and always filled the, admittedly small, bin when cleaning for a full battery’s worth of time.
The cleaning performance was excellent across all floor types, and we were impressed by how easy it was to slide the multi-floor head – which has really decent lights to guide the way – under furniture and get right into the corners. The only snagging point came with hay (a common feature when your children have a pony), specifically on carpet, as it literally snagged and required several passes before it would give up to the suction. Hay is a rather niche annoyance though, and we’ve not yet met a vacuum cleaner that can extract it from carpet in a single pass.
Now let’s talk about those nozzles. You get the usual crevice nozzle (in addition to the one attached permanently to the handheld unit) and a brush nozzle, which has a very useful angle that twists 360 degrees. Then there’s a clever bendy extension attachment, which can be used to angle the crevice nozzle to reach on top of wardrobes, wall units and other cobweb traps you’d usually need a ladder to reach (or quietly ignore).
The upholstery brush is just brilliant at dislodging pet hairs from soft furnishings, especially in Turbo mode. The upholstery brush is also small enough to get right into the corners when doing the staircase carpet and, like all the nozzles, can be attached to the handheld and used to blitz over the car mats.
As a mostly long-haired family, we also appreciated the BrushRollClean button on the main multi-floor head, which, when pressed for 5-30 seconds, cuts and suctions away any hairs on the roller. So clever, not to mention satisfying.
Emptying the bin is kind of easy, and kind of awkward. All you need to do is pull on a wire handle at the top of the bin and the filter unit slides out, leaving you to tip the bin contents out into the general waste. The awkward part is deciding what to do with the dusty filter unit while you’re busy making sure all the dirt is emptying out. Our waste bins are under the island, so the filter unit was placed on the worktop, which then required a wipe down with anti-bac. The more dextrous might be able to empty the bin one-handed while still holding onto the filter unit.
Performance: 4 / 5
AEG Ultimate 8000: battery life
- Up to 35 minutes in full vacuum mode
- And 60 minutes in handheld only
- Speedy recharge time
Let’s be honest, the battery life isn’t going to blow your mind, and we’d expect more cleaning time given the fairly high price-point of this vacuum. However, it was sufficient to whizz over a four-bedroom house, so long as we moved quickly and didn’t get too fussy about going right under furniture or lifting sofa cushions etc.
You can buy a second battery that can be kept charged and ready to go for $132.77/£110/AU$197.63, which is quite a hefty investment on top. Also, the battery only takes 2.5 hours to charge, which is good by cordless standards, so you could do downstairs in the morning and upstairs after a little rest!
In the lowest setting with floorhead engaged it lasts about 35 minutes (60 min in handheld only), but, with lots of frequent flooring changes, we preferred the Auto mode, which automatically switches power depending on the surface. The responsiveness of the Auto mode, which you can hear, is really very impressive. Auto mode provides just over 17 minutes to clean, as long you don’t even contemplate using the Turbo button, which drains the battery faster than you can blink (if you blink for about six minutes that is).
The power level indicator is a touch basic. Three LEDs that go out one by one. The last one flashes for quite a while before the machine actually run out of juice, which certainly gets you cleaning faster but is unnecessarily stressful. Like the fuel light on a car that comes on when you still have 100 miles in the tank!
Battery life: 3 / 5
AEG Ultimate 8000: score card
|Price and availability
|Not quite as mad on the money front as a top-spec Dyson but still a bit OTT.
|3.5 / 5
|Super smart design with super smart features that make it effortless to use.
|5 / 5
|There’s no dispute that this vacuum has suction in spades.
|4 / 5
|A bit of a let-down really, a free extra battery would solve the issue.
|3 / 5
Should I buy the AEG Ultimate 8000?
Buy it if...
You have long hair and/or pets
Or pets with long hair. The Ultimate 8000 copes admirably with both human and pet hair, and the choppy/sucky button that removes it from the roller in the floorhead is pure genius.
You have intolerant neighbours
This is one of the quieter vacuums we’ve tested – our decibel recording App measured the noise levels at between 53-58 dB – so if you’re fond of vacuuming at 3am you won’t risk waking grumpy neighbours.
You have a lot of tall cupboards, crevices and corners
The reachability of the Ultimate 8000 is impressive. Add the bendy attachment and it can manage to access angles you can’t even see but know they’re chock full of cobwebs. Sorry spiders.
Don't buy it if...
You walk like a snail
Auto mode is undoubtedly the best mode on this vacuum, but you won’t have much time to play with before the battery light starts blinking, so you’ll need to be quick on your feet.
You have loop-pile carpets
Loop-pile carpets, especially wool-based ones, and sisal are not suitable for use with a powered roller brush as they will pill and look old way before their time. There is no option to turn the roller brush off on the Ultimate 8000.
You own a herd of horses
The Ultimate 8000 really cannot cope with hay in a carpeted home. No vacuum can cope with hay in a carpeted home. Sell the horses and live a happy, hay-free life.
- First reviewed: November 2022
Linda Clayton is TechRadar’s roving product reviewer and wannabe domestic Goddess (very much a work in progress). She is a professionally trained journalist and has been busily writing for all the glossiest interiors magazines for the past 20+ years. Any spare moments are spent running; for headspace, Podcast catch ups and to counteract her Magnum Caramel Billionaire addiction.