Skip to comments.The Freeper's Guide to Vacuum Cleaners
Posted on 08/12/2013 10:43:30 AM PDT by golux
Vacuum Cleaners: The Freeper's Guide
Here, in a nutshell, are the critical basics on vacuum cleaners. These facts will be of use if you are buying a new or new-to-you one.
Thanks to the babel of modern advertising and increasingly shoddy manufacturing standards, FACTS are harder to find, and little known. Here they are.
No brand names are mentioned in this piece.
There are two general kinds of vacuum cleaners: canister vacs and upright vacs. I will not talk about in-home central vacs. The question of what kind of vac to choose is purely yours, but many who vacuum thicker carpets choose the heft of uprights. Also, these vacs, because of their heft (by this I mean weight over the target area) are often thought to have more effective roller brushes.
Canisters are at their best when they follow you around like a puppy dog. They also have the potentiality for having stronger motors (since they roll around behind you,) and being easier to handle. If you like vacuuming the labyrinth under your dining room table with speed and agility, as I do, a high-suction canister vac with a nimble attachment is your best choice.
Roller brushes have only one important job, no matter what the salesmen tell you: it is to agitate the fibers of a carpet so that particles may more easily be sucked up. A good roller brush is powered independently, not by suction.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO CONSIDER in buying a vacuum cleaner is SUCTION. Not "no suction loss," not "cyclone suction," not "anticyclone suction," not "magic water suction," none of that matters... What matters is SUCTION. Suction is power, and you can feel it. If you are doing parquet floors, if you are doing shag carpets, the number one thing is suction. The better your vac sucks, the more time it saves you (or your housekeeper) and the cleaner your home will be.
How do you measure suction? Never mind the TV ads or the salesman with the handful of dirt or rice. Feel it with your hands. When it's turned up (yes, you really do want variable speed) does the vac feel like it really "sticks" to your floor or carpet? It should.
No amount of clear lucite, gadgety words, fancy descriptive labels, space-shippy looking doo-dads or inspiring advertising can make up for SUCTION. And just because a company claims to have good suction does not mean it's products do. The vacuum business is full of lies and shedazzle.
One of the reasons I am writing this for my FRiends is because I have never, in my life, seen so much advertising and so much genuine product loyalty surrounding absolutely terrible products. (I run a small, successful advertising agency and we have been specialists in the vacuum trade, local and national, for over 15 years. I am also personally a fan of fine vacuum cleaners and love to use and study them.) Much of what you will find on the shelves today - and many of these units sell for hundreds of dollars! - is absolute junk wrapped in pretty ribbons and award-winning advertising. It's sad to see.
(Why won't you find high-quality vacuum cleaners, used, at your local thrift store? Because your local "sew n vac" guy got there first or got the call when it came in. He "serviced" it, (opened it up, sprayed and wiped it off, replaced the power cord maybe,) and put it on his shelves for sale.
What is also important is a SEALED SYSTEM. If your motor is more powerful than the housings that keep dust, dirt, and dander from pushing back out into the surrounding air, your vacuum cleaner is effectively just an "aeresolizer," worsening the air quality in your home. Look for o-rings, feel for drafts, FEEL the unit. Is it simple? Does it close with a pleasing "thwup?"
When turned on, is it quiet and strong? Quiet strength is a good preliminary indicator of both a sealed system and a good quality motor.
HEPA and "S-class" HEPA filtration means nothing if the system is not completely sealed. The higher grade (or smaller micron gauge) the filtration, the more difficult it is for the air to pass through the post filter, and the more likely it is that unfiltered air is escaping into your home. If you have kids or families with allergies, this is a very, very bad thing.
Do you get what you pay for? Yes, on the whole. At the same time, good ads and a heavy price tag are no guarantee of quality.
I urge you to be suspicious of gushing reviews: many vacuum owners rave for years about their first half decent vacuum, until they use a truly great one. Don't trust your friends.
Many companies - a few in particular - who made absolutely marvelous vacuum cleaners ten or twenty years ago have unfortunately succumbed to the natural temptations of business and have quite drastically cheapened and worsened their products. A vacuum dealer who admits this and can discuss these trends openly is someone you can trust... More than others.
Finally, on the subject of vacuum dealers, I do encourage you to visit them, to speak with them, and to do your purchasing with them. You may save ten or twenty dollars buying your unit from a big retailer (if they do happen to carry a unit you want) but you will miss out on all of the advantages in education, service, "freebies," and general mutual loyalty that come with buying from an expert in the field.
That is enough for now. I hope these words may prove helpful now or in the future to you and yours. Happy vacuuming! Freepmail me if I may be of particular assistance.
We still have our Electrolux purchased in 1993-still going strong.
Another thing to consider is where the vacuum cleaner was made. Today, most of them are made in China. I use one that was made in the good old USA, but when I was in the market for a vacuum cleaner, I considered getting one that was made in Germany.
Thanks for the tutorial. I’m looking for one and you’ve provided tips. Will PM you for more specifics as FR doesn’t allow commercial endorsements.
I have a 1954 Lewyt that still runs, but there are no accessories.
I find it strange the vacuum is spelled “uum” instead of “ume”.
I use this monster and the suction is scarey.
It will pickup anything not nailed to the floor or walls
We have 2 Dysons. Love ‘em.
Have you ever read ‘Our Man in Havana’ by Graham Greene? I think you’d like it.
We have a rebuilt Electrolux canister, more than 20 years old and given to us as a wedding present.
We also have an upright Hoover, purchased used from a vacuum cleaner repair guy more than 15 years ago.
They get the job done, although the Hoover requires frequent partial disassembly to disentangle hair, dental floss and thread that gets wrapped around its carpet beater brush mechanism.
The Miele S5281 Callisto canister vacuum cleaner is highly rated. It is expensive, but quiet, and with a HEPA filter to protect against recirculation of small particle dust.
What about Bill Clinton...afterall, he has a nose like a Hoover.
Just had to replace a Bissel. Bought it a decade ago at Walmart for forty bucks, and would likely still be using it if one of my kids had not swept up something that locked up the beater bar tighter than San Quentin.
Tangles of hair are a big problem for our vacuums. Does anyone make a vacuum cleaner brush that goes through a hair snipper as part of the process? :-)
The word is derived from the Latin word, vacuus, meaning empty using the fourth declension, genitive ending -uum.
My Hoover Celebrity Canister purchased in 72 to establish credit @ Sears still Sucks.
Accessories are getting hard to come by but its a good vac.
Yeah, and his wife's head is a vacuum chamber.
I love being single.
You just made my hair hurt.
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