Here is a short review of vacuum cleaners I have either serviced or currently sell in my store. In 18 years of vacuum and small appliance repair I believe I have a pretty realistic perspective from the bench to the counter, on different vacuum cleaner designs, performance and durability.
Thousands of customer comments also help generate my views. These are the ones made regarding the vacuum they currently own and love, owned and are going to get another real soon or wished they owned instead of the particular piece of junk they paid too much for, is too heavy, smells bad, blows dust, pushes hard, and came highly recommended by some one who does not have the foggiest idea what a “good” vacuum cleaner is.
In some models or brands I have few comments as they are either too new or I have not seen them in for repair at this time. I make no warranty or claim concerning your purchase of any machine not sold by me as value is really based on your individual perspective, unfortunately after the fact.
I receive many e-mails asking for information on Bagless vacuums, lightweight uprights, Vacuums that pick up animal hair (this is the largest), High filtration machines, and which machine will do every thing for $69.00 (if you want one of these, I cant help you.) I try to respond to almost every e-mail, so feel free to send a letter. But hopefully the following will answer a few of your questions.
I will also comment that many machines now in use would do a better job cleaning if people SLOWED down and gave the vacuum a chance to do the job it was designed to do. Cleaning and Vacuuming are not the same thing. People who clean tend to start in one area and go through the complete area they wish to clean.. Under everything and over everything. People whom just vacuum, push the machine back and forth as if a magical event is occurring. It took time for the dirt to get down into the carpet and one or two passes with the vacuum is not going to get it all out. It doesn’t matter what vacuum you have.
Upright or Canister?
Many people have the style machine they have because their parents had one. I suppose it’s a valid reason for being happy with the vacuum you use. If you like the machine you own, you are more likely to use it correctly and take care of it. But if you avoid using it for any of a number of reasons, get rid of it. Go to a reputable vac shop like mine, trade it in if you can, and get on with life. I have never asked anyone what kind of machine their parents had because it may not meet their need. (They often tell me anyway.) Oh yes, I did lose a sale once because the machine was red. (They wouldn’t own anything red.) I believe they probably bought a blue one somewhere else.
Uprights are generally quicker to grab and use.
Canisters take more time to set up and need more room to maneuver.
Uprights can seem noisier because the sound is in front of you.
Canisters are generally quieter. And the sound is behind you.
True but there are some quiet upright vacuums. It has to do with the design and function of the motor. Almost all cheap upright vacuums are noisier because of the type of motor and fan design. They are designed to draw the dirt in about 12 inches and then blow it into the bag. The motors run very fast with a big wide impeller to create the suction and lots of sound is produced by vibration in a cheap rigid plastic housing.
AIR IN = AIR OUT This simple formula works for every vacuum made. Unfortunatly in the case of upright motors like the one mentioned above when the dust bag or filter is full, the fan will continue to blow the air and dirt everywhere else but into the bag or filter. Wasn’t the idea to put the dirt into the bag or filter? And cheap dust bags are the worst because they don’t breath well right from the very beginning,. You don’t get something for nothing. So pay now or breathe later. Comments on bags and filters later.
Uprights with tools on board. (What do they do?)
The Term ‘On-Board Tools “doesn’t mean they are easy to use or that the machine has enough suction for them to do a good job. I find most of t) >=clumsy and too short to be of much use. Listings that follow indicate some good ones.
Canisters are much better at the cleaning of bathrooms and bare floors. Stairs and cars. Under beds and cobwebs. However, a high performance Panasonic upright with a 12-foot hose and tool kit really is quite exceptional if you want an upright with fantastic hose suction!
Bag or Bagless?
At first I saw no real application for the bagless machine other than to offer the buying public an alternative to buying bags. So I guess I became the bitter vacuum bag vendor with a shrinking customer base. I told people right from the start that they would be spending as much on filters as they ever spent on bags and dealing with the mess to boot. But I have discovered that people who don’t like to buy bags, don’t like to buy filters either and the result is worse performance and filthy vacuum cleaners. And then the seemingly endless designs coming out offered even more options to the masses. The repairs have become dirtier than ever before and the repair time has escalated (WHEEEE!.) because I won’t return a vacuum filthy like some shops. But Oh! the consumer magazines couldn’t praise them enough. They have since changed their tune on this. Admitting, ADMITTING that many bagless machines are messy and need constant attention to the filters. HELLO! For some I am sure this all seems quite acceptable. I see what people vacuum up. You couldn’t pay me to touch this stuff. BUT . I do get paid to touch this stuff.
The best application for the bagless machine may actually be the animal hair. Simply because of the volume in some homes is so great. But dust retention is another matter. They still become a filthy foul in due time and the filters still need to be cleaned or replaced in a timely fashion. So the dollar spent pretty much ends up being the same in the long run.
Upright or Canister still unanswered?
If you don’t have a preference from previous experience then let the purpose and need determine the style.
Straight suction – Canister with No powerhead
Powerhead – Motorized brush roller on the end of the wands
General Overview of Some Models on the Market
Bissell Generally inexpensive upright vacuums . Some Good High filtration models available.
Stuff that breaks that can be disappointingly premature. Cheap models are noisy. But so aren’t they all.
Compact Durable metal Canister with power head may be sold door to door. HEPA
Interstate filter available. High Performance motors used. Oldie design but a goodie.
Tri-Star Get yours rebuilt here.
Dirt Devil Generally inexpensive uprights and canisters. Good motors but stuff breaks that could have been made better. Hence the price point. Their Bagless machines filter very well. And leave little to wipe out or brush off during the dust dumping procedure. Bagged machine filter well if you purchase the MicroFresh filters and bags. That’s MICRO-FRESH! Cost not for the weak at heart. But worth it.
Hoover Company now owned by Maytag. Some nice options available. No high end vacs like they used to make but Wind Tunnel is the better series to buy. V2 may not work well with animal hair. Suction divided between dual chambers. High speed Dual brush design opens up carpet knap to remove dirt. Good Idea. Good purchase for cleaning VERY dirty carpets. Same for single brush units. Very aggressive cleaner. Windtunnel canister is the older PowerMax series with the Deluxe WT powerhead. Holds up well.
Please keep in mind that some customer who puts the vacuum back in the box every time she is done using it. Another customer toss it into the back of a moving pickup truck when done. How well a machine continues to work depends a lot on how well you maintain it. Even simple stuff like bags, filters and belts.