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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.