The Proscenic P12 is a cordless vacuum cleaner that features an upgraded anti-tangle roller brush, plus something that will rival a competitor offering at the top of league.
It's certainly a vac worth considering if you’re looking for one of the best cordless vacuums that won't break the bank. Proscenic is still pretty new on the floor-cleaning scene, but this Chinese brand is trying to shake up the market with its affordable smart home appliances that include some of the best air fryers as well as some of the best robot vacuums. The Proscenic P12 cordless vacuum is the latest launch from the brand and comes loaded with upgraded features that improve upon the previous top-of-the-range Proscenic P11.
On the face of it, the Proscenic P12 looks like many other cordless vacuums. However, it boasts more features than you’re likely to see on similar low-to-mid-priced models. These include the hidden but very desirable HEPA filtration, as well as the more in-your-face features such as a large, LED display screen. Then there’s the green detection headlights, a feature that appears to be inspired by Dyson’s "Detect" laser for illuminating small particles that are invisible to the naked eye.
It comes with a removable battery and two simple accessories, which, if you’re the type of person looking for an accessory for every task, might leave you wanting more for added versatility. Or, if like me, you’re sick of your home being cluttered by unwanted accessories, you’ll welcome the paired-back approach.
On test, I found that the P12 worked pretty much as I expected, cleaning all parts of my home and picking up fine dust as well as larger particles with ease. But my carpets weren’t as thoroughly cleaned as I’d like. Plus, the unit a tad on the heavy side when using overhead, or for longer periods. All-in-all, though, I was happy with the ease of use and results. Read on for more in-depth details about how I got on.
Proscenic P12 review: price and availability
- List price:$400/ £229
Since cordless vacuums from the big brands such as Dyson can cost in excess of $600/ £600, this is a reasonably priced alternative. But unlike very cheap, budget models, this one still includes HEPA filtration, multiple suction levels and a display screen.
- Value score: 5/5
Proscenic P12 review: specifications
- Price: $400/ £229
- Bin volume: 0.33 gallon/ 1.5 liters
- Speeds: 4
- Filtration: Five-stage sealed filtration system including two HEPA filters
- Suction power: 33kPa
- Battery: up to 60 minutes' runtime
- Weight: 3.5lb / 1.6kg (handheld vacuum with no accessories attached)
- Additional tools: Crevice nozzle, 2-in-1 dusting brush
Proscenic P12 review: design and features
- Green LED headlights
- Five-stage filtration
- LED screen
This gray cordless vacuum is nothing special to look at. The shape and configuration is typical, and it looks similar to many other models that have come before it. It isn't until you switch it on that some of the extra features become apparent. The two most obvious being the green LED light and the LED screen.
The first fans out from the front of the floor head, illuminating the path ahead. Then there’s the LED screen, which sits on the top of the vacuum and displays the battery percentage and current suction level, so you can see these with just a quick glance. It’s easy to cycle between the four power levels by pressing a symbol on the lower part of the screen.
I'm a fan of the telescopic tube. This type of adjustable-height tube is common on canister vacuums, but often lacking in cordless models. It means you can set the height of the vacuum to a level that’s comfortable for you. The maximum height, from floor to the underside of the handle, is 41.5 inches/ 105cm, while the minimum is 31.5 inches / 80cm. Annoyingly, the Proscenic P12 doesn’t stand unsupported, or lean against a wall with any stability. This means you'll have to rest it on the floor, even when pausing for a short time to move an obstacle.
Aside from the main floor head, the P12 comes with a crevice tool and 2-in-1 dusting brush. Both appear to be of decent quality; they click satisfyingly onto the handheld unit, and don’t come off until you press the release button. This means they’re unlikely to accidentally fall off or come loose – something I’ve experienced with lesser vacuums. It's also possible to attach the floor head directly to the handled unit, for use without the tube.
Included in the box is a storage hanger that you can screw to the wall. This neat solution allows you to hang the vacuum on the wall. And, conveniently, since the battery is removable, there’s no need to locate it near a power outlet. The storage hanger includes space for the two accessories to keep everything in one place.
For fuss-free emptying, a button flips open the base of the dustbin, so the contents drop directly into the trash. And for simple maintenance, the two HEPA filters are removable and washable. Likewise, the anti-tangle roller brush can be removed from the floor head to dislodge blockages and to clean.
- Design score: 4.5/5
Proscenic P12 review: performance
- Good maneuverability
- Tools function well
- Hairs didn’t tangle in roller
The power level defaults to level two (of four) when it’s first switched on, and for me this was sufficient for general daily cleaning of my wood floors. But for carpets and rugs, I found it needed to be on the highest level of suction. Even then, my carpets weren’t immaculate; I could still see some bits of surface fluff that remained on the carpet after several passes. Having said that, I could tell from what was in the dust bin that it was picking up dust and dirt that I couldn’t see, so that’s not to say it doesn’t work on carpet.
The green light doesn't span the width of the floor head; it fans out from the central section of the vacuum. And in daylight, I wasn’t convinced that it really helped me to see anything that I couldn’t already see. On my uneven slate tiles, it simply made the undulations more apparent, and it made little to no difference to what dirt I could see on my carpet. Having said that, it comes into its own in dimly lit areas such as dark corners and under furniture. Here, the light proved a benefit – it was certainly illuminating fluff and dust that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to see.
For general use on floors, the weight of the Proscenic P12 feels well balanced, with the floor head agile enough to maneuver around corners with ease. But I noticed it felt heavy after prolonged use and when vacuuming overhead; your arm will tire quickly.
As someone who always vacuums my sofas, I missed having a dedicated upholstery tool. The 2-in-1 tool did an okay job on my sofas, although since the nozzle isn’t very wide, it took a while. However, the crevice nozzle is a good length and useful for hard-to-reach spots. Meanwhile, the dusting brush is a generous size and I found it very useful for removing dust from ledges and shelving.
I welcomed that you don’t need to keep a finger on the P12's trigger. Instead, the trigger simply acts as an on/off switch, which makes for more comfortable vacuuming. However, personally, I found the handle a bit chunky; but it must be said that this a very subjective area and those with larger hands might find it’s just right.
The Proscenic P12 emits noise at a level of 75dB on carpet on suction level two, rising to 85dB on the highest suction. Noise on hard floors was similar on the highest suction level, but on level two it was a little louder at around 80dB. However, these noise levels are pretty typical for a vacuum, and in my experience didn’t make the Prescenic vacuum feel loud or unpleasant to use.
Emptying the dustbin was messier than expected; the dirt didn’t all fall out on its own, I had to get my hand in and pull out the remaining bits. Even after that there was quite a lot of dirt clogging the metal filter, so I had to remove the fluff and dirt from that, too. The upside is that the large capacity means it doesn’t need emptying as frequently as some other models.
- Performance score: 4/5
Proscenic P12 review: battery life
- Battery percentage shown on-screen
- Removable battery for flexible charging
- Battery life comparable to other cordless vacuums
The higher the suction level, the quicker the battery is drained. When vacuuming continuously on max suction, the vacuum lasted for 10 minutes, but this can be extended by making use of different suction levels instead of defaulting to the maximum. And since the battery percentage is clearly displayed on the screen, you’ve at least got plenty of warning when it’s getting low, enabling you to prioritize the areas that really need a clean, before the battery runs out.
Once I’d drained the battery, I timed how long a full recharge took: around 3 hours 20 minutes. If you’ve removed the battery to charge it, you’ll see a blue flashing light while it charges. The light will then remain solid once it’s fully charged. If you charge it while it’s in the vacuum, the screen displays the battery percentage as it charges, so you can see exactly what the level is.
- Battery score: 4/5
Should I buy the Proscenic P12?
|As cordless vacuums go, this is a budget friendly choice, that doesn’t scrimp on features.
|5 / 5
|Lots of useful design features that appear to have been well considered.
|4.5 / 5
|Works best cleaning hard floors and other surfaces, but less impressive on carpet.
|4 / 5
|Battery life is comparable to most other cordless vacuums, but having the exact percentage displayed on the screen is helpful.
|4 / 5
Buy it if...
You want a decent vacuum on a budget
This isn’t a low-budget vacuum, but a reasonably priced model that offers a lot of bang for your buck. It comes with all the features you need, but it’s still half the price of the premium brands.
You have allergies
HEPA filtration is a must for people with allergies due to its ability to trap small particles that may irritate allergy sufferers. This vacuum offers five-stage filtration that includes two HEPA filters and so emits non-allergenic purified air.
You want a vacuum for different floor surfaces
Not all floors clean the same, so if you have a varied selection of surfaces to vacuum, it’s helpful to have the option of different levels of suction. This vacuum has four to choose from, so whether you need light suction for delicate floors or powerful suction for carpets, you're covered.
Don’t buy it if...
You expect the green light to revolutionize your cleaning
As I already mentioned, for most cleaning the green light didn’t have much impact – it didn't make much difference to what I could see. There are plenty of reasons to buy this vacuum, but the green light isn’t one of them.
You have mostly carpet
While it’s fine on carpet, it didn’t remove everything, with some pieces of fluff tricky to vacuum up even on full power. If your home has a lot of carpet, there are better, more efficient models you could choose.
You want numerous accessories
While the two accessories included in the box are useful, there’s no upholstery tool or mini turbo brush, which are essential accessories for some people.
|Proscenic M8 Pro 8 robot vacuum
|from $499 / £549.99
|0.14 gallons / 0.65 liters
|Dust bags last up to 60 days
|0.72qt / 0.68L
|No. of speeds
|up to 60 minutes
|up to 250 minutes
|up to 60 minutes
|5.5lb / 2.5kg
If you’re not sure about the Proscenic P12, here are a couple of other options to consider...
Proscenic M8 Pro 8 robot vacuum
If you like the idea of putting your feet up while a robot gets stuck in on your behalf, fear not, Proscenic also makes robot vacuums. The M8 Pro is a self-sufficient creature that can even empty itself at the end of vacuuming. It can mop floors, too – so long as you’re only looking for a light clean.
Read our Proscenic M8 Pro review to learn more
It might be double the price, but if you have the money spare, the Shark Stratos is an excellent choice and will perform well on carpet. It’s loaded with smart features and clever sensors that will adjust the suction power automatically. The downside is that the floor head is chunky and the dustbin is smaller than that of the Proscenic P12.
Read our Shark Stratos review to learn more
How I tested the Proscenic P12
- I vacuumed wooden floors, tiles and carpet
- I used it for a week in my two-bedroom, split-level house
- I tried all the tools and suction levels
I used this vacuum in place of my regular vacuum for normal dust and dirt pick-up around my home. I also used it to vacuum unexpected spills, as well as to thoroughly deep-clean carpets and remove dust from shelving and sofas. I tried out all of the power levels and timed exactly how quickly the battery was depleted when used on the highest suction level continuously.
I used a decibel meter to measure the noise level on different surfaces. In addition, I noted how easy the vacuum is to use, including the comfort of the handle, how weighty it feels while vacuuming, and how easy it is to switch between power levels. I timed how long the battery took to recharge, and checked how securely the accessories click into position.
I started reviewing vacuums in 2007 for Good Housekeeping UK and have reviewed hundreds of models in my time. I have plenty of experience to draw on when trying out a new vacuum and can quickly spot gimmicks or poor design features, as well as what’s clever and innovative.
Read more about how we test.
[First reviewed March 2023]