Ultenic FS1 review: this self-emptying cordless vacuum means fewer trips to the trash

·9-min read
 ultenic fs1 cordless vacuum being used on carpet
ultenic fs1 cordless vacuum being used on carpet

One-minute review

The Ultenic FS1 is a cordless, bagless vacuum that can empty its own dirt into a bag in the charging station, and there aren’t too many models around with this feature. At the time of writing, there are no cordless stick vacuums that can self empty in our best cordless vacuums list, so will the Ultenic FS1 make the cut?

Ultenic is still a relatively little known Chinese brand, and although it concentrates on cordless and robot vacuums, its affordable air fryers have featured in our roundup of the best air fryers. The Ultenic FS1 offers pretty standard features for a cordless vacuum, with one notable difference: the self-emptying function.

Its large charging dock houses a 0.66-gallon/ 3-liter dust bag, and with a simple press of a button, the dirt is sucked into the bag. This means there’s no dust cloud every time you eject the canister into your trash. Combine this with the five-stage HEPA filtration and this is a vacuum you’ll want to seriously consider if you suffer allergies.

With four suction levels to choose from, I found it very effective on all my floors; but struggled to use it as a handheld vacuum. The self-empty function does its job, but would be improved if it was automatic. Plus, the bulky charging and emptying station won’t suit every home.

Ultenic FS1 review: price and availability

  •  List price: $799/ £398

The Ultenic FS1 is currently only available in the UK, where you can order online from Amazon. There are plans to launch it in the US around the end of June 2023, where it will also be available from Amazon US. And although the list price is $799, we’re told it’s likely to be discounted to $399 as part of a launch promotion.

The spare battery option should be available to UK customers soon at a price of around £39. We’ve yet to get any details on the list price of spare batteries in the US.

  • Value score: 5/5

Ultenic FS1 review: specifications

Ultenic FS1 review: design and features

  • Telescopic wand

  • 5-stage HEPA filtration

  • Self-emptying

The charging and self-emptying docking station is the main design feature that sets this vacuum apart from all the other cordless vacuums around. And at first I was struck by how large it is. The measurements when the vacuum is docked are 37 x 10.6 x 11 inches/ 94 x 27 x 28cm (h x w x d).

But, when you consider that the dock has the ability to charge two batteries as well as house a 3-liter dust bag, it’s actually quite well proportioned. Note that you'll have to locate it near a power outlet, though, and while it isn't ugly, it’s probably something you’ll want to hide away in a laundry or cleaning cupboard.

Accessing dust bag on ultenic fs1
Accessing dust bag on ultenic fs1

When it comes to the self-empty function, every time the vacuum is placed on the charging dock, the dust canister automatically opens. But here’s the thing, the dock doesn’t automatically suck all the dirt into the bag until you press a button to start the process. Then, when you remove the vacuum, the dust canister lid remains open, so you have to manually close it. And if you forget to press the button to suck out the dirt before lifting it off again, there's a chance you’ll end up with dust and dirt spilling out. Although this is the kind of mistake you’re only likely to make once.

ultenic fs1 on charging dock
ultenic fs1 on charging dock

The vacuum is switched on via the power button that’s located next to the display screen. Power levels are adjusted by pressing a button on the end. There are mode indicators on the screen, making it easy to see if you’re in Eco, Auto, High, or Turbo mode. The Turbo mode is designed to deliver very high suction for short bursts, so it automatically switches off after 10 seconds.

The vacuum comes with a crevice nozzle and a small brush. These can be attached directly to the vacuum for use as a handheld unit, or attached to the telescopic tube for overhead cleaning. There’s no storage space for the tools on the dock, though, which I think is an oversight given its size.

ultenic fs1 with accessories parts on floor
ultenic fs1 with accessories parts on floor

The Ultenic FS1 requires very little setup when it first comes out of the box. A dust bag is already installed, as are all the filters; but it also comes with some spare filters and dust bags to get you started.

In terms of maintenance, the filters are washable and the brush can be removed from the floorhead to make it easy to cut away any hair or clogs. There are fault indicators on the display panel to alert you about faults such as a clogged floor brush.

  • Design score: 4/5

Ultenic FS1 review: performance

  • Good suction and maneuverability on floors

  • Heavy and bulky as a handheld

  • Suction is better at the front of the floorhead than the sides

The handle feels chunky in the hands, verging on uncomfortable if used for long periods. For context, I’m 5ft 2in, so I don’t have very big hands; others may find it more comfortable. Another thing I noticed when I used it on high suction for a prolonged period was that the motor part above the handle started to get quite warm and I could feel this heat on the top of my hand.

When vacuuming up a flour spill on my tiled kitchen floor, I had to switch it to Boost mode and go over the area a few times to completely remove all of the flour. It was pretty efficient at collecting oats from wood floors, though. And when it came to tackling debris along the baseboards, it was far more effective when I approached the baseboard with the front of the vacuum than when I walked along with the side of the floorhead against the baseboard.

The vacuum is pretty well balanced when cleaning floors and offers good maneuverability, gliding easily around tight corners and across all floor surfaces. But when used as a handheld vacuum it feels unbalanced, heavy and cumbersome. I tried vacuuming my car and quickly developed an arm-ache, so found it best to use it in short bursts.

When converted to a handheld vacuum its usefulness is limited, since there are only two small tools included in the box. The crevice nozzle is handy for getting down the side of the car or sofa seats. But the round brush is small, and I found that its size combined with the angle of vacuuming, often meant it was tricky to use unless attached to the telescopic wand. I also missed having a tool specifically for upholstery.

Vacuuming car with crevice nozzle on ultenic fs1
Vacuuming car with crevice nozzle on ultenic fs1

It is possible to attach the floorhead directly to the handheld unit, and I found this to be the most convenient way to vacuum the stairs. But, the telescopic tube is another useful feature that allows you to decrease the distance between the handle and floorhead when needed.

Vacuuming stairs with the ultenic fs1
Vacuuming stairs with the ultenic fs1

The vacuum defaults to Auto mode when switched on, and in this mode it supposedly increases the suction power when you move to carpet. I tried to test this, but found the volume of the vacuum didn’t change as I moved from one floor type to another. This is usually a good way to confirm that the suction power has changed, so without a change in volume, it was tricky to assess whether it was actually doing it. Nevertheless, Auto mode will be fine for most daily vacuuming tasks.

Vacuuming carpet with the ultenic fs1
Vacuuming carpet with the ultenic fs1

I recorded a noise level of 80dB in Auto mode on carpet, but for times when noise is an issue, this drops to 70dB if you use Eco mode. The self-emptying function hit 82dB on my noise meter, but it only lasts for 15 seconds.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Ultenic FS1 review: battery life

  • Removable battery

  • Can only be charged via docking station

  • Screen doesn’t tell you the exact battery percentage

During the review, I timed the battery life when vacuuming carpet on high suction; the battery lasted just under 12 minutes. Ultenic says the runtime extends to 60 minutes, but this will of course be when using Eco mode. Battery life in Auto mode will vary.

A full recharge took just under 2 ½ hours, which is pretty speedy in comparison to other cordless vacuums I’ve reviewed.

The battery doesn’t need to be removed for charging; simply placing the vacuum on the docking station initiates charging. But if you purchase a second battery, there’s an additional slot on the docking station for it to charge simultaneously.

There’s a battery level indicator on the vacuum's display panel, but it’s pretty vague, since it only uses three bars to illustrate the battery level. During vacuuming, the last bar will flash when it’s about to run out of juice.

Close up of ultenic fs1 vacuum screen
Close up of ultenic fs1 vacuum screen
  • Battery score: 5/5

Should I buy the Ultenic FS1?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if...

Also consider

If you’re not sure about the Ultenic FS1, here are a couple of other options to consider...

How I tested the Ultenic FS1

  • I used this vacuum in my own home

  • I vacuumed floors, upholstery, shelves and my car

  • I timed the battery life and how long it takes to recharge

I used the Ultenic FS1 all around my two-bedroom, split-level home in the English countryside. I tried out all of its suction levels on my carpet, hard floor, tiled floor and stairs. During testing, I monitored the battery life, noise levels and tested it with purposeful spills of flour and oats, as well as general everyday cleans.

I’ve been reviewing vacuums since 2008, when I started reviewing appliances at Good Housekeeping UK. I’ve seen a lot of vacuums come and go and can spot potential gimmicks or annoying features a mile off.

Read more about how we test.

[First reviewed May 2023]