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.
“Bought a Shark six months ago...”
May I ask if you have pets? Trying to find another vacuum but it has to do well with pet hair.. Thanks.
I’ve had a Panasonic for about 30 years and it runs great for those twice a year house vacuumings......
I remember when Westinghouse used to make a vacuum cleaner.
Back when the Pittsburgh Pirates moved into Three Rivers Stadium and began playing on artificial turf, their legendary play-by-play man, Bob Prince, began referring to a runner on base as “a bug on the rug”. And to remove a bug on the rug you need “a Hoover” (which became his term for a double-play).
When Westinghouse, the owners of KDKA radio, fired him in 1975, one of their beefs with him was that he was constantly promoting a competing brand of vacuum cleaner every time he called the double-play “a Hoover”.
Of course today Westinghouse is CBS, and makes nothing but crappy TV shows. The name Westinghouse was sold to Toshiba, which makes nuclear reactors under that name.
I loved being single too, for much the same reasons. I had a great old dog that had outlasted several wemens and life was good. Then I met this lady, I just haaad to have her. Now my great old dog is dead and long gone and I am married to the best woman that I have ever known. Such is life.
Thanks Vigilant. Excellent info.
DAMN YER EYES!
I hate assembling vacuum cleaners out of the box. Why the heck should I buy something and then do the work of assembling it? Can anyone recommend a vacuum that’s good and also comes assembled?
It is probably a Sebo, ours cost about $600 several years ago. It is the quietest vacuum on earth and sucks like a hundred hotties and is flat enough to go under most furniture. German quality at its best, just like a Porsche!
I neglected to buy any new BAGs.....and emptied the existing bag by hand.....and have been reusing it for months.
Its Industrial Strength!!
Tijeras_Slim for the WIN!
We have one. Love it too. They could have made the power cord longer, though.
Meile ten years old and going strong
Re: I will not talk about in-home central vacs.
After experiencing the benefits of Central Vac, I would have such a system in all of our future dwellings - even as a retrofit. Up to $2K cost for an after original construction installation, but tubes will last forever and the vac itself (life-span 20+ years) replacement is under $800.
I nearly wept when we had to leave it behind.
I have owned 2 Kenmore canister vacuums, both bought secondhand rom people who bought them new but then ditched them for Kirby vacuums. The first one was bought from a Kirby salesman, the second was bought out of the Recycler online from a woman in Pasadena, California. For the sdcond one, I only paid about $50. Couldn’t afford to buy a brand-new one, but have been pleased with the Kenmores. Also have a small, cheap Shop-Vac. Have also owned a couple of cheaper canister vacuums. At some point will probably get an upright vacuum.
I bought an Oreck in 2009 during a sale, after considering a Miele and a Riccar. Sad to hear what happened to the company.
Shop Vacs suck (that's a compliment). I use mine for a lot of household cleaning.
HEPA filters are great, but they are expensive. Water filtration is so much better than HEPA & costs the price of a quart of tap water. While HEPA may get 99% of dust & dirt, with little leakage back into the air, water traps 100% of the dust & dirt, with ZERO leakage. I don't worry about seals & such, as the dirt goes from the hose directly into the water reservoir, becoming mud that does not aerosol.
Because HEPA filters are so expensive, one is always tempted to postpone a filter change, which means the filter is not working as efficiently as when new; perhaps not at all. No way to know for sure.
With the Rainbow, the water "filter" is easily changed before EVERY vacuuming, & the "filter" is always brand new & working at top efficiency. Adding a few drops of scent to the water makes the house smell nice. I can use the vacuum as purely an air cleaner/freshener.
Plus, the dirty water shows you what dirt has been removed - proof the vacuum is working properly, & if something valuable gets sucked up you can easily retrieve it from the reservoir.
No, I do not sell Rainbows, but I'm glad I bought one. (Now, watch it break down next week - it's pretty old).
As I said, no expensive vacuums until the lady disappears! She would break it and waste $600!
I have a 20+ year old Rainbow vacuum. I can still get parts and like Monica, it can suck the chrome off a 57’ Chevy.
“Our Man in Havana”: Never read it, but laughed through the movie a few times.
There iws no reason in the world to do that, or even to use a vacuum: a hose, concrete floors, and tile wainscoting work great: floor drains optional.
I have had Rainbows demonstrated a few times, but I just don’t see $1200 sitting there when I look at one. I’m sure it’s a good sweeper, just not worth it. We have an inherited Kirby now that dims the lights for the entire block when I turn it on - seems to pick up way more dire than our old cheapo Dirt Devil did.
Portland has a vacuum cleaner museum. No postcards, though, for those who want to send them to their favorite neat freaks.
I've worked in commercial kitchens. I've cleaned floors many times with a hose and a squeegee.
These guys don’t get that the thing about vacuum cleaners is that someone has to use it on a regular basis.
I like one that has quick attachments for all the tasks I want to do so I can edge and nook clean, a stair attachment, a brush and then switch right back to floor cleaning with on-board storage of the tool I was using.
When I end up with some time at home I like to do some room cleaning as my eyesight is better than my sweetie’s and I can find things that she can’t see.
Absolutely. Spring and Autumnal Equinox, when I check the smoke detector batteries. Regular as clockwork. Twice a year. ;)
May your dream come true soon! Carpeting is wall-to-wall DIRTY LAUNDRY. Filthy, full of dust, dust mites, dirt, bacteria, and an invisible cloud of it gets roiled up with every step you take. By far the most unhealthy disgusting thing in your house!
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