We try Tefal's new vacuum to see how this brands launch into floorcare has fared

Tefal is a new player in the floorcare market, but does this new range of cordless vacuums have what it takes to compete with the big boys?

Tefal vacuum cleaner on Ideal Home background
(Image credit: Future/Tefal)
Ideal Home Verdict

The Tefal X-FORCE 12.60 Pet & Car isn’t a bad vacuum, it includes some decent features and I particularly loved the small turbo brush. That said, it didn’t wow me and there are some obvious drawbacks that annoyed me during use. The battery life and messy-to-empty canister were particularly tiresome.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Automatically adjusts suction power

  • +

    Covered by Tefal’s 15-year repairability guarantee

  • +

    Flexible wand

  • +

    Useful small turbo brush

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Messy to empty

  • -

    Filter needs rinsing weekly

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Tefal is a brand that needs no introduction, but until now, Tefal isn’t a name that springs to mind when thinking about a new vacuum. However, following the success of its floorcare range across Europe, Tefal is now bringing its cordless vacuums to the UK. But will it make it onto our best vacuum cleaner guide?

The X-Force Flex range includes four cordless vacuums. I tried the X-FORCE 12.60 Pet & Car which is the second cheapest. The two more expensive models are more powerful, with longer run times, and additional cleaning modes.

At almost £380 this isn’t a cheap vacuum, but in comparison to premium cordless vacuums like those from Dyson, it’s pretty budget friendly. And I was interested to give it a go and see what Tefal would be bringing to the table in what is already quite a crowded floorcare market.

Tefal X-FORCE 12.60 product specs

Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Tefal)
  • Max. run time: up to 45 minutes 
  • Bin volume: 0.9 litres
  • Weight: 3.2kg
  • Dimensions: H29.4 x W12.5 x D38.1 cm
  • Modes: eco , max, boost
  • RRP: £379.99 for 12.60 model, which has a 45 minute run time

Unboxing, setting up and first impressions

Once out of the box, the chunky red plastic body of the Tefal X-FORCE Pet & Car isn’t really my cup of tea. But personally I keep my vacuum hidden in a cupboard, so the appearance is of little consequence. What I would say is that it doesn’t feel super low budget nor is it high end, it’s definitely more of a mid-range vacuum on first impressions.

The flexible wand is a feature that’s activated by pressing a button half way down the tube. Once pressed, the main tube bends in half, making it much easier to reach the floorhead under low furniture. It’s a feature I’ve seen on other vacuums and it can be helpful.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

When the wand is removed from the vacuum, the handheld unit has a dusting brush permanently attached to the end. Likewise, when the main floorhead is removed, there’s a permanent dusting brush on the end of the tube.

Other attachments included in the box are the crevice tool and the motorised animal turbo brush. Either of which can be directly attached to the main handheld unit. A wall mounted charger is included in the box, and helpfully, it includes storage for the accessories. 

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

If you don’t plan to use the wall mounted charger, you can charge the battery directly by plugging in the charging cable. Just be aware that in order to do so, you have to remove the battery from the vacuum. This does mean however that you can discreetly charge it wherever you like, while storing the majority of the vacuum out of sight.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

There are three power levels to choose from; eco, max, and boost. Plus there’s an auto mode that’ll automatically adjust suction depending on the floor type detected. The settings are selected via buttons above the handle. Or, if you simply need a quick increase to boost mode, you can pull the boost trigger on the handle for as long as you want the higher suction level. Then it’ll go back to normal when you let go.

What is it like to use?


When vacuuming across various floors in auto mode, it increased and decreased the suction depending on whether I was vacuuming carpet or hard floor. And I also occasionally noticed the suction increase when vacuuming up a higher density of debris on hard floors, though this didn’t happen every time.

I used it non-stop for over 30 minutes while testing the battery life and found it comfortable to use when vacuuming floors. It felt well balanced and the handle was comfortable to hold. There’s a trigger to start and stop the power, but thankfully you don’t have to hold it in during use. 

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

It manoeuvres well around corners and even coped well on a bumpy tiled floor. The flex wand certainly made vacuuming under my sofa and footstool much easier. It meant I didn’t have to kneel down in order to reach all the way underneath. You don’t have quite as much control in this mode, but that’s fine since you’re only using it like this for short stints.

In general, auto mode is perfectly fine for most hard floor vacuuming, unless you have a big spill that needs extra suction power. And since auto mode increases the suction to a more powerful level on carpet, it’s also the ideal mode for carpeted rooms.. The headlight isn’t very bright, so I didn’t find it to be much use. 

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

I spilled some oats on my carpet and though it was fairly effective at collecting them, it also dragged some along behind the floorhead. So I had to criss cross over the area in different directions to ensure the spill was fully removed.

Next, to test out its ability to clean right to the edges of the room, I sprinkled oats along the skirting board. On hard floors, it removed all the oats after I ran it along the skirting board twice. I did it in auto mode as well as boost and even in boost mode it needed two passes to collect all the oats.

Annoyingly, during this test I noticed it fired some of the oats out behind it. So some of them shot back about a metre to a different part of the floor and I had to go over and vacuum them up from there. This made the task more long-winded than it needed to be and it even happened in boost mode.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

Edge cleaning on carpet was less effective. I spilled oats along the base of a door and vacuumed along it a couple of times, but even once the majority had been collected, there was still a 1cm line of oats close to the door which it couldn’t remove. In the end I had to use the crevice tool to remove them.

In the kitchen, I noticed that when vacuuming up some food debris, the wheels could track softer debris around the floor. For example, I dropped some suet pellets and tried to vacuum them up but they got mashed by the wheels and spread around the floor instead.

Small tools

I used the motorised animal turbo brush on my two sofas and I really loved it. I vacuumed the sofas using auto mode and it was really effective at removing crumbs and dust. Furthermore, the size of the brush meant it was quick to cover large areas, making this job a breeze. 

The motorised animal turbo brush was also the perfect tool to vacuum carpeted stairs, it could reach into the corners easily and meant I could vacuum the risers too. Like the main floorhead, this tool includes a headlight, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

When the main floorhead is removed, there’s a dusting brush permanently attached to the end of the wand. I used this a few times overhead to suck up cobwebs from the corners of the ceiling. But it felt super heavy lifted at this angle, so I could only really do this for a few moments at a time.

Similarly, when the wand is removed from the main part of the vacuum, there’s another dusting brush permanently attached. It’s really handy for when you’re vacuuming floors and suddenly spot some crumbs or dirt on another surface. It means you can vacuum it immediately without having to go off and find a handheld tool.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

The main drawback with this tool is that the angle can’t be adjusted, so there are some scenarios where it’s not at the right angle and I found myself holding my arm at unnatural angles to use it, especially for higher shelves.

The crevice nozzle is a good alternative for reaching into awkward areas and it was handy for getting at crumbs that made their way into the crevices of upholstered dining chairs. It was also good for reaching a bit of floor between the toilet and the wall that I couldn’t get to with the main floorhead.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

I attempted to clean my car interior with this vacuum, but struggled to clean areas like the dashboard. The animal turbo brush works well on the seats and the mats, while the crevice tool helps to get into awkward nooks and crannies. But once again, the fixed angle of the dusting brush limited what I could reach with it.


When vacuuming carpet on Boost mode, the battery lasted just six minutes before needing a full recharge. This was just enough time to vacuum my bedroom, but that’s all. I expected auto mode would last longer, but it increases the suction on carpet, so only lasted seven minutes when vacuuming a carpeted room.

On the flip side, when vacuuming only hard floors on auto mode, it lasted 36 minutes, which was plenty of time to vacuum my living room, dining room, kitchen, and two small bathrooms, with battery time to spare. 

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

Using the motorised animal turbo brush in combination with the auto mode also drained the battery fast. I didn’t time it, but I just managed to vacuum two sofas, a foot stool and a flight of stairs before it ran out. So the takeaway is that the battery life varies significantly depending on the surface you’re vacuuming and the power level you use.

Testing the Tefal vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

Recharging took under two hours though, which is pretty impressive. And I understand that once launched, there’ll be an option to buy additional batteries, which will reduce the low battery anxiety.

Cleaning and maintenance

It’s a shame that the vacuum doesn’t have a point-and-shoot design for emptying the dirt out of the canister. Instead, the whole thing has to be removed and the filter section lifted out. Then it can be upended into your rubbish bin. It’s quite a messy process.

The manual says to wash the dirt canister and the easy wash filter once a week. I’m not sure that’s realistic for most people. Although it does come with a spare filter so at least you can swap them over and continue to use the vacuum while one filter dries. 

The fine particle filter only needs a wash twice a year, then it needs replacing every 12 months. But the easy wash filter needs to be replaced twice a year. In terms of the filter washing and replacement  schedule, it feels like a lot of maintenance in comparison to a lot of other vacuums I’ve reviewed.

How does it compare to similar vacuums?

Currently topping our best cordless vacuum guide is the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT. It has a slightly higher RRP, but can usually be found for under £400 if you shop around. It comes with a great range of tools including a much better dusting brush. I’d say the Shark feels like more of an all-rounder, it comes with a more robust floorhead as well as a screen that gives more detailed information on the battery level. In my opinion, the Shark is a better vacuum that’ll suit more households, so it’s definitely worth heading over to that review and having a read before you make a decision.

I still think that in a busy house a cordless vacuum isn’t always the best solution. And to avoid the anxiety of running out of battery before you’ve finished your clean, consider the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog. This is a reliable plug-in vacuum that’ll allow you to vacuum for as long as you like. Plus, you’ll avoid the messy dust emptying because the bags keep everything contained. It’s a similar price and from a brand with a long history of making dependable vacuums, so don’t let the cable put you off.

Should you buy the Tefal X-FORCE 12.60 Pet & Car?

If you don’t want a budget-blowing premium vacuum, this mid range Tefal model has a lot to offer for its mid level price tag. Features such as the auto mode, the flexible wand and the animal turbo brush are all useful extras that you won’t get with a more budget vacuum.

However, it’s not without drawbacks. It’s messy and fiddly to empty and the battery doesn’t last very long in boost mode or even on auto mode for some tasks. It’s also a bit chunky and the fixed angle of the dusting brush limits its usability.

For general day-to-day floor cleaning it’s fine and I do love the animal turbo brush for cleaning upholstery. The way the floorhead flicks some debris out behind it won’t be a problem most of the time in quieter households. But this particular quirk, along with some of the other drawbacks above will combine to make it less than ideal for larger or busy homes.

Helen McCue
Freelance Reviewer

 After completing a Home Economics degree, Helen went on to work for the Good Housekeeping Institute and has been reviewing home appliances ever since. She lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire in the UK.