LG's top-of-the-range CordZero stick vacuum, the A9T-Ultra, delivers on suction power, and the accompanying "all-in-one" tower dock helps you neatly store the many accessories it comes with (such as a spare battery and mop head). But the tower dock's main appeal – its auto-emptying function – could be improved, as it uses plastic-heavy disposable dust bags which cost almost $10 each. But the auto-emptying function itself works well, so this model may be worth considering for those with severe allergies who want the convenience of a lightweight stick vacuum.
For years we've been impressed with LG's stick vacuums and how well they clean. The latest unit is a CordZero A9 type like other ones we've reviewed in its range, and our initial tests show it performs well, with very good dirt pickup performance in our unforgiving carpet test. We used the soft roller head for our hard floor tests, and our first impressions were also very good. It's great for removing pet hair and for using in the car, too.
LG's stick vacuums are suitable for those who prefer an on/off switch rather than one requiring you to keep your hand on a trigger mechanism (which is common on Dyson models), which means it's easy to turn the vacuum on and off and adjust the suction level using only your thumb.
What does the LG A9T-Ultra come with?
Motorised accessories include:
You can store all the accessories in the LG's tower dock.
- brush head
- soft roller head
- power mop head
- mini rubber brush head
- power drive mop designed for hard floors.
It also comes with traditional accessories that most stick vacuums come with, like a crevice tool and dusting brush/upholstery combination tool, as well as a spare battery and vacuum filter, and an anti-tip kit so you can safely mount the tower near a wall.
The spare battery sits just inside the top of the unit and gets charged after the on-board battery is full.
Most other stick vacuums we've tested don't have enough storage for all the extra accessories they come with, which increases the risk of them getting misplaced or simply sitting unused in a drawer.
But the LG's all-in-one tower neatly stores the vacuum and all its components in one sleek unit while also acting as a charging dock for both the vacuum and the supplied spare battery (there are also two hooks on the outside to store larger nozzles including the mop attachment).
You simply open the 'doors' of the unit and store the required accessories at each side. The spare battery (which sits at the top of the unit) gets charged once the stick vacuum battery is charged, so you don't have to worry about losing power halfway through a cleaning job. It takes about four hours to charge each battery.
The vacuum will run for longer on lower suction speeds or if you're using non-motorised accessories, but if you're running it continuously on maximum mode you can expect the battery to last between seven and eight minutes.
But the main appeal of the tower (and possibly the reason you've kept reading) is the self-emptying function.
How does the auto-emptying process work?
View of the LG's dust bag inside the tower with the door open.
When the vacuum is placed back into the LG A9T-Ultra's all-in-one tower, the dirt from its 0.4L dust bin can be either automatically or manually emptied into a larger dust bag, which we measured at around 2.5L capacity. This size is comparable with the dust bags of many traditional barrel vacuums, such as Miele's.
The tower itself has an additional motor protection filter and exhaust filter to help prevent dust escaping once it's emptied into the bag, and these need to be washed every three months.
It takes just under a minute for the whole emptying process, including around 20 seconds to initially lock the vacuum in place. While it's effective, it can be noisy to hear the suction in action, particularly towards the end of the cycle when a stronger suction force is applied. The user manual also warns that you may need to repeat the emptying cycle if the stick vacuum's bin is very full and consists of debris such as long hairs.
The LG disposable dust bins – a pack of three costs $29.
Not needing to physically empty the dust into a regular bin has its advantages, particularly for people with allergies who want the convenience of a light, nimble stick vacuum without the hassle of encountering dust. However, our testers were not impressed by the amount of plastic that makes up the disposable dust bag.
We'd like to see a more environmentally-friendly design, particularly as the bag capacity itself is only equivalent to around five or six full stick vacuums. Given it's stored in a separate unit, we found ourselves wishing the bags had been made bigger. Not to mention the cost, which can add up quickly – a pack of three dust bins will set you back $29.
Is the mop nozzle worth it?
An increasing number of stick vacuum models out there use a mop function, including the A9T-Ultra. To use it, you need to fill the mop head with warm water which is then slowly released into two mop pads (you can set the water release to a high or low level). These pads spin onto a hard floor surface.
While the mop head was effective at cleaning clay residue from our linoleum test floor, it took a while and we had to replace and rinse the mop brushes halfway through. We found that while the mop is handy for buffing a floor and keeping it nice and shiny, it's unsuitable for large stains or spills, and it doesn't actually suck stains up.
If you already have a steam mop or even a regular mop, it may not be worth the hassle of using the attachment. But we did find it quite easy to drain the mop head and clean the mop brushes before leaving them to dry.
What about the full test results?
We'll be updating our stick vacuums review shortly to include the complete test results of the LG A9T-Ultra, as well as the results of other stick vac models from brands like Dyson, Roborock, Electrolux and Bosch.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.