I hate vacuuming. You do, too, I bet. But what if I told you there was a handheld vac so useful that it might make you seek new opportunities to suck up life’s little messes? I’ve been using such a device for a few weeks now: the F8 Storm is a modular, battery-powered “stick” vacuum from a company called Roidmi that you’ve likely never heard of. Nevertheless, it works, and it works really well. In fact, it made the shitty keyboard on my three-year-old MacBook (mostly) usable again.
Roidmi says the F8 matches the high-end performance of the Dyson V8, but it costs a lot less money. Indeed, on paper, the argument is sound. The F8’s bundled cleaning attachments and listed specs for suction power, weight, and battery life all align nicely with the Dyson, which sells for around $450 compared to the $289 early-bird price for the F8 on Indiegogo. You can get Dyson’s lesser-spec’d V7 — Wirecutter’s pick for best cordless vacuum — for about $300.
Even if you haven’t heard of Roidmi, you’ve certainly heard of Xiaomi. The Roidmi F8 gets a boost as a member of the Xiaomi ecosystem. The Chinese giant is helping the smaller company with design and promotion and lending a hand with the management of its supply chain for a global marketplace.
Roidmi F8 Storm key specs:
- Up to 2.5kg (5.5 pounds) with roller brush and extension
- 55 minutes of battery life in standard mode, 10 minutes enhanced
- 2.5-hour charge time
- 415W / 100,000 RPM digital motor
- 115 air watts of suction
- 75 decibels of noise, 83 max
- 0.4L dust tray
Now, let me be clear: I’ve never owned or even used a stick vacuum before the F8, so don’t treat this as an expert review. But if you’re tempted by the Indiegogo pricing and worried (as you should be) about buying high-tech gear off a crowdfunding site from a company you don’t know, then let me put your mind at ease: the F8 is a real thing that works very well in day-to-day usage. I’ve used it for about four weeks now.
To begin, the F8 is thoughtfully designed, and it looks great. The build quality is superb and the operation is intuitive, though I did have to check the manual the first time I installed the dustbin. It’s also been a joy to use, not just by me but also by my wife. It’s actually caused us to seek out new opportunities to clean things we normally can’t be bothered with. These include things from cobwebs on hard-to-reach ceilings to dust on the window blinds to dirt in the nether regions of our beds. Surprisingly, it also helped unstick my ailing MacBook keyboard.
By now, you’ve read reports about the terrible keyboards on MacBooks and MacBook Pros that can be defeated by a single spec of dust. Well, I have an original single-port USB-C MacBook that I’ve used regularly at the beach where resident winds have blown tiny bits of sand into my keyboard since 2015. Let’s call it the worst-case scenario for a keyboard that has inspired multiple class action lawsuits against Apple. I had tried a less-powerful handheld vac and canned air to remedy the situation before without success. Then the Roidmi F8 Storm arrived.
The first thing I did when the Roidmi arrived was attach the spot brush to the F8’s body, set the power to high, and I began cleaning the keyboard. After about a minute, I found that some of the keys that were previously too sticky to use were starting to free up. So I swapped out the brush attachment for the smaller suction head in order to direct all 115 air watts of sucking power to each individual key. I did this for about five minutes. The result is a keyboard that lacks most of the bounce from when the MacBook was new, but it’s at least usable again.
So, while I can vouch that Roidmi produced a lovely and highly versatile vacuum, what I can’t tell you is how easy it’ll be to service the F8 or find replacement filters over time. The Roidmi F8 Storm begins shipping worldwide from Indiegogo in August.