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Vacuums that don’t suck: Cannister or Upright?

I hate to vacuum.  Don’t get me wrong, I really do love clean floors.  What I hate is the vacuum itself.  In the past several years, I have gone through several and they all have the same problems.  The stupid belt things break or come off the spindle almost every time I use it or it clogs.  In the case of the clogs, I’m at a loss.  I’ve taken the current vacuum apart (It’s a Hoover Windtunnel Rewind) as far as is possible and cleaned it from multiple entry points.  But there is a section of the hose that I can’t declog without completely ripping the vacuum into its pieces parts.  Since every other part of the hose system is clean as a whistle, this is where the clog must be.

The belt thing is just aggravating.  At this point, I might as well get one of those mechanical vacuums because nothing else seems to last more than a couple of minutes on my floors without a malfunction.  When I was a kid, the vacuum my mom had never acted like this.  It always worked, much to my dismay.  And it’s not like I don’t know to raise or lower the device to account for carpet nap or bare floors.  Before this vacuum, I had a second Oreck.  The first Oreck was fantastic.  I used that sucker until the motor burned out.  But the second Oreck was a lemon.  I didn’t want to believe it.  I thought it was just me.  But the belts broke sometimes twice in a session.  And that sucker had about 6 screws of different sizes that needed to be disassembled to change the belts.  It got old really fast.

In the past 10 years, I’ve had more success with a little shop vac than my actual vacuum cleaners.  I give up.

Can anyone recommend a reliable vacuum cleaner for a reasonable price?  The Dyson’s look intriguing but they’re out of my price range.  I’ve never used a canister vacuum.  They just look bulky and hard to use, especially up and down the stairs but I might be wrong about this.  Add you suggestions to the comment thread.

Note: I don’t misuse my vacuum and regularly clean the beater bar thingy, removing anything that might get wrapped around it.  The issue seems to be poorly made vacuums.  Since one of the offending vacuums was an Oreck that was made here in the US, foreign made crap isn’t the explanation for why vacuums are poor quality.

14 Responses

  1. I was spoiled for life by Oreck. Light, easy to bring upstairs, could suck a golf ball through a garden hose. That is, until I got a double-coated dog and was horrified to find that the non-rotating brushes collected hair, jammed and then there was that funny smell. The motor burned out in just a few weeks. Since then, I have devoured information on vacuums, but always, when I find one I think would suit me, it turns out to weigh like a Buick–or it costs more than I KNOW it’s worth. So I did the most logical thing I could do. I now have no carpets. Just a sea of bare floors and area rugs. I bought a cheap shark that works great and went bagless for the first time in my life. I have no idea how long it will last, but it’s cheap enough for me not to care.I have had it for a year and it still sucks in a good way.

    I also have a canister and it is true they are bulky and a pain to maneuver, but they are the absolute best on bare floors as they don’t blow the dust (or dog fur) around. And believe it or not, i own a Roomba Pet Series, which I turn loose when I leave the house. Aside from an occasional cat taking a a ride on it, the pets have gotten used to it, defer to it and get the H out of its way. Admittedly, I have returned home on occasion to find the thing jammed under something or beeping its ass off because it needs to be emptied. Eh, vacuuming is and always will be a pain in the ass. And just about appliance and electronic device they make today is made by 12 year- olds in China after a day in the rice fields. It’s not just vacuums, hardly anything is made well or made to last any longer.

    • I love my Roomba, too. We call her “Rosie”. And then I have a Scooba that follows behind her and washes the floor.

  2. The last time I was in the market for a vacuum was in the late 80s. I bought a Miele Black Diamond vacuum that is still the same today, although a few plastic parts have broken and have had to be replaced. My mother had Electrolux vacuums that lasted forever. There are refurbished Electrolux available (at least there were in the late 80s). They cost the same as my new Miele.

  3. Consumer Report gave the Hoover the best rating, and that’s what I got. I’m a satisfied customer, but I got that vacuum in 2010, and I don’t know if there’s something better today.

  4. We have a Kenmore canister vac. Awesome. Much easier to vacuum around things. And fine on stairs.

  5. If it was available in the US, which I don’t think it is, I would recommend a Volta Bolido.

    Me, I hate dusting much more than vacuuming and I have yet to figure out how to remove dust rather than just move it around. 😯 Similar to pocket fluff, it seems to come from nothing. Right out of the blue.

    • I hate the Swiffer “sweeper” and don’t recommend any of them at all but love the Swiffer duster – especially the one with the extended handle. It’s great for dusting tall shelves, molding and ceiling fans and wall sconces. It seriously attracts the dust and doesn’t simply move it around. Plus you don’t use any chemicals. You can usually find coupons for this product either in the Sunday paper or online.

      • Thanks for the advice Isabelle! ‘It seriously attracts the dust’ is exactly what I’m looking for. And while I doubt anything will ever make me outright enjoy cleaning, this just might be what will make it more satisfying. As in: the satisfaction of actually being able to see a difference between “before” and “after”. 🙂

        • Swiffer makes dusting sheets too — and they keep attracting dust even when they look totally filthy. I think they’re meant to put on the Swiffer Mop for hardwood floors but, I like to use them on stuff that seems in appropriate for the dusting stick.

  6. We’re using a discontinued Eureka that is reliable and pretty light. When they were being sold we grabbed extras so that’s what I’m using at my parent’s house and “R” uses it at his mom’s. Works just like a vacuum should!

    We have and incredible shedding dog, our daughter’s American Eskimo (?) and we do have to de-fur the carpets now. After using a squeegee kind of thing, we’ve settled on putting de-furring brushes on long sticks and dragging them across the floor. Sounds weird but works like magic. And doesn’t take long at all.

  7. We use a combination. Most of the vacuuming is done with Ridgid shop vacs. They are very heavy so we have one for each floor. We bought a Dyson but mostly use it on the one carpet. The problem is the stairs. We have been using a Shark on that.

    Ridgid makes a “portable” cannister model that isn’t as heavy as their bog suckers. We’ve got that, too. They are pretty cheap, especially when bought on sale.

    We have our own incredible shedding dog,a Harlequin (black and mostly white) great Dane. We have little white hairs everywhere so we do need something that sucks up dog hairs.

  8. You can always see that guy from GoVacuum on youtube doing lots of video reviews, he helped me buy a MIele I love.The link is http://www.youtube.com/govacuums

  9. I know how you feel.

    We’ve had similar situations and have gone through around 4 vacuums between 2003-2009. I decided that I’m not purchasing a $800 Dyson or a $1200 Miehle or Rainbow – not matter how excellent their reviews may be.

    I have a broom, Bissel “Sweeper” (non-electric) and a Hahn steam mop (the model which has an attachment so that you can steam clean small areas, or bath tile, upholstery and refuse to ever purchase an electric vacuum ever again.

    The Bissel Sweeper works very well on both rugs and hardwood floors. The Hahn steam mop is the best cleaning device I’ve ever purchased. Our floors look great (and they need to be redone). It also cleans our bath (all stone or porcelain Italian tile) really well. AND the Hahn steam mop (and I guess all steam mops) do not use any cleaning solution.

    The Hahn was $120 on Amazon (new) but I know someone who purchased a refurb (same model) for $85 on a different site (something like Wahoo?) and she hasn’t had any problems. Our Bissel sweeper was something like $30 (also from Amazon) and our broom is synthetic angeled from Target ($10-ish).

    Best of Luck!

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