Over the past year it seems we’ve used a silly amount of vacuum cleaners. I quickly learned which features were important (long power cord) and which features aren’t so important (on board tools.) I realized how important it is to have a machine that you can rely on and which ones let us down. I learned that it’s very IMPORTANT to read a product review or two before purchasing any vacuum cleaner…did you know you can read and submit product reviews now at LondonDrugs.com ? You can! So if you’ve had an experience that might save someone else some trouble you should share. And now…here’s my sucky story.
Dyson dc21 Stowaway
We’ve owned this Dyson for about 5 years now. I think the warranty has just ended (5 year warranty is great.) Generally I’ve liked this machine. It did a great job of picking up pet hair from our upholstery and carpets. We have had a few issues though, and I thought I’d speak to them now.
In our old home, we had short pile burber carpet. This caused the bristles on the beater bar to break off. The first time we noticed our bar had lost a bunch of bristles we thought maybe the cat had chewed them off. I wouldn’t put it past him. So we called the customer service line to ask if we could buy a new one thinking consumable parts wouldn’t be covered under warranty. They sent us one free of charge and it arrived in the mail in less than a week. Pretty good eh? Yes and no. We’ve been through about 4 beater bars for this machine and we need a new one again. It’s kind of a pain to have to replace them all the time.
Then, back in May when we were selling our house we had an issue. A BIG issue. It was the night before our second open house and I was vacuuming when all of a sudden I lost suction. The motor still turned on and it sucked for a second and then nada. Great. Here we were about to have many potential buyers through the house and I couldn’t suck up any cat hair! I took the thing apart and couldn’t find the blockage. We had 45 minutes to get to Walmart and just buy something so we could clean the house. I set it aside and went shopping. I came home with a Bissell machine. Read about it below.
Since then, my dad freakin reverse engineered the thing and found that there was a dryer sheet stuck way way way inside. He fished it out with a coat hanger and it’s working again. Although, this time, it’s not short carpet that’s the issue…it’s long pile. We’re verging on shag here in the new house and the Dyson sucks SO HARD to the floor that it takes a lot of effort to push that baby around. We aren’t using it much any more. Over all I was happy with it, the customer service was good but I think it’s just not the right model for us any longer. Oh, I almost forgot to mention…the power cord on this unit so stupid short. I have to unplug and plug it in 4 times to do our upper floor.
- Great customer Service
- Great Warranty
- Big Power
- Long Life
- Short Power Cord
- Not so Multi-Surface Friendly
- Expensive (although, the high price clearly pays for stellar customer care)
Of all the vacuum cleaners we’ve owned the Bissell CleanAlong has to be the worst. Admittedly, we bought this having done no research on the product. It was an emergency situation with the open house looming and we just had to have a vacuum cleaner that ‘worked’. I use that term lightly.
The connections on this device are lose and need to be jiggled. The hose is too short so the canister repeatedly hits me in the ankles as I try to pull it behind me. Ouch! There is very little control of movement on the power head and if you’re not right behind it and pushing it squarely forward then you pretty much have to drag it in place. Swiveling is not something this machine will do.
It’s now designated to the garage and when it dies, I won’t mourn the loss of it. Oh and PLUS we paid nearly $200 for this stupid thing which is ridiculous considering you can get a pretty good machine for that kind of cash!
- Adjustable suction
- Everything else
Hoover Windtunnel Air Upright
This Hoover upright vacuum is the one we’re currently using most often. ***UPDATE*** the Hoover died about two months after I wrote this review. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, it just died ** It’s small and easy to maneuver. It’s only 12 pounds so I can haul it up and down the stairs really easily and it tackles going from carpet to tile very well. Our upstairs level is bedrooms, a tv room, laundry room and 2 bathrooms. I can get it all done in 15 min without having to change power heads like I’d have to with the Dyson. While the Dyson did have the ability to turn off the beater bar on the power head, I found it wasn’t close enough to the floor do do a good job without changing to the ‘hard surface floor’ tool. But with the Hoover, I just turn off the beater bar and I’m onto tile floor in a second.
The power cord is pretty long – I only have to replug once in order to cover the upper floor. It’s bagless and easy to empty as long as you don’t let it get too full…if it gets really packed in there it’s kind of a pain to clean it out. It has an adjustable height handle so it’s really comfortable to use for us taller folk and I’m really liking it.
The only thing I’m not loving about this unit is that it doesn’t tackle stairs very well. There’s no power bar hand held attachment and so you kind of have to balance the whole vacuum on the stairs. If you try to hold it lower down with one hand for stability you’ll find the exhaust area gets pretty warm.
- Light Weight
- Multi-Surface Compatible
- Good Price Point
- Finicky to switch to hand held hose mode
- No Auto Cord Wrap
- Not good on stairs
*this machine was given to us by LondonDrugs for the purposes of conducting this review*
Swiffer Sweeper Vac
Ok people, I’m going to gush here. I love love love this little wee vacuum! On our lower floor we have hardwood in our kitchen, dining room, living room (which has an area rug) and tile in the washroom and mudroom. This sweeper is my ultimate fav because it’s so easy to grab and clean up a small mess. I bring it out after the kids have breakfast and suck up their toast crumbs. I use it at the front door where the dog hair collects. I use it in the mudroom where dirt and dust collect. I can do our lower floor three times on one battery charge and it does an amazing job of picking up EVERYTHING. I use this right before I steam mop and the floor ends up spotless. No left over dust lines…you know what I’m talkin about right?
If by some miracle of engineering they could get this thing could do an area rug too I’d have it made.
Never has there been a machine like this that’s made me feel like a kid. We got a Roomba Robot Vacuum as a gift at Christmas. I was so excited. I was giddy. I’d wanted one so so so bad. And for a while it worked and it entertained us. We marveled at how it knew not to fall down the stairs. We laughed as it perplexed the cats. I ran it every day and it did well on the hardwood floor and the area rugs as long as it didn’t come across any string. Or tiny toys. Or anything larger than a crumb. I don’t remember which model it was but it didn’t have any scheduling features or a charging doc. I just plugged it in to charge.
It was annoying after a while to hear it singing it’s ‘problem’ song. The melodic tone would signal me that it had jammed up on this that or the other. Oh and it was LOUD too.
And then it died.
I was sad. Even though it was a pain in the rear, it was still entertaining and it still did clean up a bit. It only lived for 5 or 6 months and then I set it aside to be fixed. I found it when we were packing up to move and decided we didn’t need to haul a dead machine to the new place, nor did we really need it at all. And so it went to the recycle bins at the dump. RIP my robot friend.
- Hands Free
- More of a sweeper than a vacuum
- Lived a short life
NOTE: The picture shown is not of our actual machine. It died and got thrown away so I didn’t have it here to snap a pic of. This was a stock image I bought to use for illustration purposes only.
And there you have it! My sucky story of love, hate and death. I hope I might have saved someone a bit of insanity by sharing all these details. What kind of vacuum cleaner do you have? Do you love it? Or no? Am I missing out on the ultimate vacuum cleaner? Let me know in comments!
** wondering what we’re using now? Have a read: Dyson vs Roomba
You have had a lot of vacuums! I’ve had the same one for about 7yrs…a good old Sears Kenmore. Love it.
I don’t think I’ve ever considered a Kenmore…is it bagless?
Amanda @ Confessions From HouseholdSix says
You sound like us. There was a time where we barely had a vacuum that lasted 6 months. We currently have an older model Dyson, and my major complaint is that it’s so damn heavy. I can’t take it up and down the stairs myself on these steep stairs in this old house. My husband isn’t always home, so I’ve been on the look out for another vacuum to keep one on each floor.
yes, the Dyson is heavy. I think we’ll keep it for our lower floor and use the Hoover upstairs. Still, we have the long pile carpet on the stairs to contend with. I wish there was one machine that would do it all!
Only you could make reviews of vacuum cleaners funny!
Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity says
I have a Bissel ClearView II that I love. Of course anything is better than the old vacuum I had from my mom’s old cleaning business. 😀 I got it at Big Lots for about $40.
I’ve always wanted a Dyson, but with your review, I guess I’ll pass. I have a kid who doesn’t understand the meaning of “food goes in your mouth, not the floor” and there are always small pieces of toys on the carpet. I can’t have a vacuum that can’t handle that kind of work.
As for the Roomba? I never thought of it than more than an overpriced toy robot.
Yeah the Roomba is a good example of something that sounds like a cool idea, but sucks when it’s actually put into practice. Maybe they’re good for vacuuming hard floors, but they’re basically worthless for vacuuming carpets.
I published this post several years ago and we have actually JUST bought a new Roomba last week. We went with the 650 and we are using it exclusively on the hardwood floors for dog hair. So far it’s doing very well and I think they have come a long way since in terms of engineering and design. I’ll update if I change my mind but so far, I’m loving the new one.
I feel your pain. It seems like we are vacuum killers at our house! The one that has lasted the longest is an old Eureka commercial upright (bag one) that I bought at a yards ale for five bucks. That thing is amazing, except for the bags and the fact that it has no hose/hand tools. I recently received a Windtunnel like the one you mentioned above for review and am loving it so far, though it does feel so light that I’m wondering how it will hold up. Thanks for the great post!
Yes, I cannot stand the sound on the Roomba, but I think I need one of the Swiffer Vacs for our hard wood floors. We just got a Hoover wind tunnel today, so I have yet to try it out.
We have a Kenmore vacuum that we’ve had for so long I can’t tell you how old it is (probably about 12 years or so). It isn’t bagless and it is a canister vac so stairs are a bit of a pain but the hose is long enough that we can do them without balancing the vacuum on the stairs (we do live in a split so our flights are shorter). It has lived through pile carpet, a dog, and two babies/toddlers/kids/pre-teens/teens (do they ever stop spilling?) and now is living out it’s semi-retirement since we put in hardwood on our main floor. We use a Swifferish, moppish sort of thing for that much of the time but still have carpet on other floors. Sounds like the Kenmore may be the reliability kings/queens. I had hoped to get a Dyson when this died, but will definitely need to do some more research.
Mary Sue Joyce says
I have a similar love/hate relationship with vacuums. My kid were taught as early as they could comprehend that vacuuming was fun, and in grade school they were as excited as I was to get a new vacuum. I have had hovers, ken mores, bissels, 2 roombas, a rainbow, and my current bestess ever; my oreck magnesium. It was a little over $300.00 at Costco & is an upright, with a soft zippered case for the bag. It is light, very efficient, picks up everything, goes from deep carpet to hardwood without adjustment. The cord is very long. It doesn’t have attachments, but comes with their little canister (with shoulder strap if you’re moving around) it’s the one that will pick up a bowling ball. I bought this because friends were raving about it. Live on a farm with lots of outdoor animals, and 2 dogs, 2 cats, and grandsons (2,4, & 6). Here everyday. Teaching them to vacuum also!
really? I’ve never tried an Oreck. You have me very intrigued! My dad swears by his Miele but they’re pretty pricey.
ANY vacuum will pick up a bowling ball, provided the seal between the ball and hose is good. Mythbusters picked up a CAR with a vacuum. Suction is important, but filtration is much more important. I have a Dyson Stowaway. After a while the dust builds up inside the cyclones (it will do this in any bagless machine). I just use compressed air (outside) to blow it clean once a year. It’s now over 10 yrs old, works like a darn.
Cord length is never a problem – just use a correctly rated extension cord.