* ALL vacuums can pick up a bowling ball.
If you use the right sized funnel to seal on the ball, you can
probably pick one up with your mouth! Sealed suction cups are how
heavy panes of glass are carried (with no motor whatsoever!). So,
anyone bragging about this "bowling ball" trick are playing on our
ability to be dazzled by marketing ploys. P.S.: This is also a company
that has much to hide, as their products can't sell on their own
merits, so diversionary tactics are used.
* NO vacuum cleaner ever loses suction.
But a lot of them DO lose airflow, which is what moves the dirt from
your carpet to the dirt receptacle. When filters get coated &
saturated with fine dust, the vacuum WILL clog, no matter what some
blokes might tell you. Bagless ones are the worst for this (especially
if you don't clean the filters after EACH USE as the instructions tell
you), as we un-clog hundreds of them a year - even Dysons (they sure
do look cool, though).
* The worst
DIRT BLOWERS are "HEPA" vacs with big, thick filters.
Sound backwards? It's not if you think about it. As your thick,
space-aged HEPA filter gets coated (& clogged), your motor tries with
increasing pressure to do it's job (which is push air through the
vacuum). It eventually either pushes the dirt through the filter, or
(more commonly) the dirt will find an easier way out where two
un-sealed housings join. Being "HEPA" used to mean something, but the
rules for the term's use have changed recently. Apparently, a vacuum
only has to be "HEPA" when it's brand new, with brand new filters,
etc. Most vacuums will be HEPA when their new - you need to know which
ones will be HEPA in 4 months, because your family will still want to
breathe clean air 4 months later, I'm sure (especially the ones with
POWDER CAN KILL ...a vacuum cleaner.
Old-time vacuums could handle carpet powder much better than most new
ones. When carpet powder gets in the pores of your filters or bag, it
cuts off airflow, which makes the motor run hot as it tries to get
air. Heat + plastic equals a melted vacuum, and/or a burned up motor.
If the vacuum is bagless, the problem is much more pronounced, as you
keep the same filters in for a long time, & changing them more
frequently is cost-prohibitive.
1/2 of all discarded vacuums could've been fixed for under 10
Vacuum cleaners have belts. Most belts are rubber. Rubber wears out &
breaks (or worse yet, they slip, so when a good-intentioned consumer
checks it, it's not broke, so "it must be fine". When a stretched belt
is put on the floor, the carpet stops or slows the brush, & you say to
yourself, "there's no suction!" A belt is a couple dollars + a couple
dollars labor + a couple minutes of your time, so do it at least once
per year (twice a year is better). We sell a lot of belts to guys that
find vacs in the garbage - a belt was all they needed!
does NOT mean easy to push.
It can, but it depends on the carpet (& the vacuum). Some 8 lb
uprights (that are closer to 9 1/4 lb if you actually weighed them)
have no front wheels & just float ("self-adjusting"), so on thick
shag, the front-end gets buried somewhat in the thick nap, whereas a
4-wheel adjustable vacuum ( twice as heavy, even), can be "backed off"
the carpet allowing the user to push it easily. If your main concern
is carrying it up & down stairs, then focus on weight. But you WILL
sacrifice power, as "lightweight" means smaller motor. We sell one
that out-performs the more heavily-hyped one, but it'll just be a
vacuum sale - no clothes irons, dog & pony shows, or deceptive
LIGHTWEIGHT OR BIG MOTOR - YOU CAN'T HAVE BOTH.
This may be fine for your situation, but it has been proposed that you
can have both, and on this planet, you can't. And for $400 plus, one
should make sure that weight is the primary consideration, not
cleaning power. Some have bigger motor fans than others, etc., but the
"leading" 8 lb upright (9+ actual lbs), has a 4 amp motor with a motor
fan (the thing that moves air & dirt) slightly larger than a silver
dollar. While the brush is certainly scraping dirt off the surface,
you're not flushing air through the nap, and thus leaving dirt down
deep. And if you have pets that shed, this arrangement often can't
push the clumps of hair up the tube ( about 1" diameter) & into the
bag. In fact, they have a sticker telling you how to un-clog it. If it
were my company, I'd fire my sticker designer & hire another
mechanical engineer to fix this design flaw!
IS A BAD FILTER FOR DUST!
A lot of door-to-door water filtration vacuums have been sold over the
years on the premise that all dirt picked up will be trapped in the
water - that has to be right, right? WRONG!
But how can dirt get out of water? Well, if the dirt is non-wettable
or semi-wettable, it won't readily dissolve in water, and since that
was the only "filter" those vacs had, these finer particles would
either blow out into your house or, since it was damp, get stuck in or
around the vacuum motor. (Some dirt does stay in the water, though,
and since you see it right away, you're very impressed). Ironically,
if you have sinus or lung problems, this is the very dirt that is most
irritating to you. Examples of these particles include : Ash, soot,
smoke (smoke is a particle, & almost ALL of it goes right through
water - just ask your local bong or hookah salesman), instant cocoa
mix ( you ever battle with trying to get that stuff to dissolve
readily in your cup? It's semi-wettable!), POLLEN, ...
P.S. : For years these vac manufacturers have stood by there
convictions about water's filtering abilities, but their new water
filtration machines have a SECOND, NON-WATER filter to catch what gets
through the water. So, what does that tell you?
* DON'T EVER BUY A VACUUM
(AND PREFERABLY, TRYING)
I know it's hard to resist buying things on the internet or
infomercials - it's just so easy. They all look pretty good online,
but there's no way to know how well they work or hold up, let alone if
they'll do the things you want them to do. When you find out the hard
way that the thing is no good, it's a hassle to send it back (you have
to dis-assemble it to get it back in the box, etc.) but there's really
no human accountability on the seller's part. They really don't care
that you're dissatisfied. We do, and we'd rather avoid you returning (
in person! ) with problems and dissatisfaction, so we let you see &
try product, and ask you the questions that you should answer before
you can make a good decision. We fix a couple thousand vacuums per
year, so we get a pretty good read on the repair histories of the
various machines out there, and try to provide the best vacuum
available in a given price-point.
P.S. : Some of the better vacuums cannot be sold on-line anyway, or
the MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing) allowable by the manufacturer is
much higher than what it may sell for in-house. So what's left to
peruse on the web is never all that there is, & many retailer & e-tailers
are mostly offering medium-to-lower-quality machines.
So, in the words of our founder (back in 1939), Harold Henry : SEE,
* MORE EXPENSIVE
= BETTER VACUUM...NOT!
All the vacuums sold door-to-door are over $1000 (some over $2000!),
and not only are they not the best, but some are close to the WORST!
Also, some of these new bagless vacuums are around $500, and a
customer would clean better & get more life out of a $170 vac. This is
not to say that good vacuums will always be cheap either; the point is
that you don't always get what you pay for, and depending on your
needs, you don't always need to pay a lot.
Observe 2 similarly designed vacuums:
Fan ( your dirt goes thru this!)
don't try it yourself!
or do it yourself - it's 2 screws!)
15 lbs ( lighter than many all-plastic vacs)
REPORTS" OFTEN GETS IT WRONG.
First of all, they don't test every vacuum, so how can they tell you
which one is best? ROYAL, the only all-metal vacuum still made, has
almost never been rated ( maybe Royal doesn't "play nice", if you
know what I mean ). Second, they run a vacuum for a couple minutes
and write about it. This tells you nothing about durability ( all
brand new vacuums will last for 5 minutes in a laboratory setting;
what about when the kids beat on it for 3 months?). It also produces
faulty dust emission ratings, as a brand new filter will usually
contain dust for the few minutes of run time. After 3 months when
the "HEPA" filters have had dirt coating them & air pushing the dirt
through, it's a different story. Also, I've never heard of them
using long hair as their "test dirt", and hair is the number 1
killer of plastic vacuum parts.
In summary, nobody is an expert on everything, and judging from the
vacuums that they have rated as "excellent" (when they were actually
borderline junk) over the years I would question their methods -
politics? random guessing? They might do a great job rating
everything else, but with vacuums - take it with a grain of salt.
* HEPA is not HEPA Anymore
This term for dust control ( High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance)
used to only be used for machines that could reliably recover
asbestos, lead, etc., without contaminating the user or his
surroundings, and it was usually a $400 to $500 option (mostly only
available on commercial wet/dry vacs). If it said it was HEPA, it
was, mainly because if it wasn't, the legal liability would be huge
when someone got lead poisoning from your vacuum's false claims of
emission control. Apparently now the rules concerning the use of
this term have been relaxed ( a lot!), because some of dirt-blowingest
vacuums on the market claim to be "HEPA". Technically, they probably
are HEPA for a couple of days - when all the filters are brand new.
After a few weeks or months, though, many of them ( especially
bagless ones ) are the worst for dust emissions. Ironically,
probably the best vacuum for dust control has really distanced
themselves from using the term "HEPA" (probably to avoid the
aforementioned lawsuit thing). Come in & see which one it is.
* REPAIR HISTORY =
SELLABILITY ( FOR US, ANYWAY)
In 2005, we repaired over 8,000 vacuums and carpet extractors at our
3 stores!!! That has been our typical annual average (although I
don't have the energy to quantify 60+ years of sales data). While we
like voluminous customer traffic, we'd prefer those patrons to be
happy, not irate because WE sold them a bad vacuum!
When you buy a vacuum from a place that doesn't repair them, the
machines they stock are NOT stocked based on how well they last, and
since those stores now send you to a warranty station ( hey, that's
us!) instead of refunding your money, they really don't have to take
responsibility for the quality of the product. We DO take that
responsibility for what we sell you. If price is your sole
consideration, you can buy very low-priced vacuums here, but you'll
always be told honestly what to expect from said purchase.
* DOING OTHER PEOPLE'S
NEXT TO NOTHING - WE MUST BE
We are the WARRANTY SERVICE CENTER for : Hoover, Eureka
(Electrolux), Royal, Riccar, Dirt Devil, and probably some that I'm
forgetting. You might think that having to repair hundreds of
Walmart-calibur vacuums for free even though we didn't sell them
would be irritating to us, but...
1) We get to learn what's out there & what the common problems with
it are. ( Sometimes we get warranty repairs on vacuums that are so
new that we never knew they existed yet - THAT'S a bad omen!) That's
how we stay informed about things that we don't sell.
2) When the customer expresses dismay/disbelief with the quality of
their purchase, we can tell them what we know about their purchase,
compare it with their household situation, etc., & advise them on
whether they can expect on-going problems. Of course, there are
always better vacuums within eye-shot, if a customer is so inclined
to look. It's actually the perfect time to directly compare features
between the "prone to break" machines & the "prone to last" ones.
3) It's good PR. Although we can't throw cash around like Bill
Gates, we take pride in helping people in our community the best way
we can - with good service. I believe doing "free" warranty repairs
and giving free estimates has been the best advertising we have ever
done. Chances are good that "getting done right" by us will come up
in some future conversation with friends or family, thereby drumming
us up another patron.
CAN BE BAD
We had a customer that bought a vacuum at a warehouse-type
mega-store, and they have ( or had ) a policy of lifetime
replacement on anything you bought there when it broke, even if it
was due to abuse, etc. After the 3rd "free" vacuum replacement, she
dragged the broken thing in to us to look at under the
manufacturer's warranty. Well, since most discount-store-grade
vacuums have plastic brush rolls, they usually melt at the ends
unless you are extra vigilant in your maintenance, and most
manufacturers don't cover that, so I couldn't help her ( not for
I suggested that she consider something more suited to her
situation, i.e., something that couldn't be bought at the discount
store. Her reply was : "But theirs are 'free' for life!"
So I got philosophical, & said : " YES, BUT 'FREE' JUNK IS STILL
I asked her how much time has she spent running around getting the
"free" replacement vacs ( packing up a van-load of kids each time),
how clean her many hundreds of dollars worth of carpet is staying
with the half-functioning vacuums, how long said carpet will last,
how clean her air is with the dirty carpet & a dirt-blowing vacuum,
how clean she thought her kid's lungs were staying in said
Maybe I'm crazy, but NOTHING is more valuable to me than my time!
Just the time this woman wasted on her "free" vacuum replacement
alone ( so THAT's why he kept putting those quotation marks around
the word "free!") is very sad to me.
You only get so much time on this Earth, so how people value their
time so little is beyond me. And in this case, the "free" vacuum
actually costs more in time, gasoline, carpet, asthma meds,
nerve-endings - hers AND ours as shoppers ( I'm sure those kids are
losing patience with their semi-annual trip to replace the vacuum, &
whine accordingly) than if she bought a good vacuum in the first
place! Spending money is cheaper than "free"? Just another of life's
* "TOP OF THE LINE" MIGHT BE "WORST OF THE WORST"
Companies spend millions on research & development to build a new
product. As such, they must aggressively market it as their newest,
best model to recoup their money, EVEN IF IT'S JUNK! This phenomenon
seems to be happening with most vacuum companies as they
increasingly ask marketing guys to design the stuff, seemingly with
little input from anyone who knows how vacuums work or what typical
use a vacuum must endure. What's worse, some manufacturers throw all
their eggs into 1 basket, phasing out the "good old" stuff that made
them the millions of dollars in the1st place. Then they get all
surprised ( sometimes even belligerent) when we say we won't sell
it! And finally, the big box stores' role in all of this. Since they
only want the newest model of everything they, by definition, end up
with only the newest, crappiest stuff, foregoing the "old" (better)
stuff due to space limitations.
* MORE "CONSUMER REPORTS"
Since they began rating the repair history of vacuums ( & seemingly
rating them almost completely opposite of what we have observed),
I've always wondered how they got their data for this. As I said
before, we have done thousands of repairs every year for over 50
years, in the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the U.S.A., and we've
NEVER been asked about it, nor has any other service center that we
communicate with been asked. So who DO they ask?
I have learned from a Consumer Reports aficionado that they ask
their subscribers - the same people that throw vacuums away because
they need a $2.00 wear item (like a belt - see my prior rant). So if
you do this & they ask how it lasted, you'll say " not too long",
which is really bad science. If the average consumer were experts,
then I wouldn't fix 8,000 vacuums per year, because they'd be fixing
their own! Not to beat a dead horse, but a little bar graph stating
how many repair "instances" a brand had with zero information about
how many of said machines are in service just adds to the
* CONSUMER REPORTS and TOYOTA
Maybe this will be the last flaw I'll point
out regarding Consumer Reports magazine. If you still blindly use
this thing as gospel, well, their marketing department has done
their job. But this is topical ( to the year 2010 ), and it confirms
my suspicions that their misguided approach to vacuums ratings
applies to other products. Case in point - Toyota cars. They are
perennially rated as number 1 in this magazine for quality, performance, etc. All of a sudden,
Toyota has a massive recall that the company was pressured into enacting for sticking accelerators
after many fatal accidents that were possibly linked to this problem. And then, "all-of-a-sudden",
Consumer Reports dropped them from their "Best Buy" designation. BUT WAIT A MINUTE! What about all
the extensive testing, research and analysis that went into making this ( and all of their other )
decisions to call something "good?" And then their decision to reverse this ranking came after
Toyota's debacle was all over the 10 o'clock news for a month? It is obvious ( for the 10th time )
that whatever testing methods they use ( if any ) are hap-hazard at best, and maybe, like the rest
of the publishing world, there is a more sinister ( and believable ) way for a magazine to sustain
itself and for products to get the good rating. In closing, I have some advise for the Consumer Reports
research department - start watching the 6 o'clock news - then you'll have your data 4 hours sooner than I did.
* ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT SCAMS
The latest marketing scam-of-the-month some vacuum companies ( think over-priced and lightweight)
are using is Ultraviolet light on the underside of the nozzle to "kill" germs as you vacuum. There are many problems with
- If the vacuum is only 4 or 5 amps total - motor, headlight AND ultraviolet generator, I doubt that their ultraviolet generator would give an Amoeba a suntan, much less kill it.
- At the speed that the average vacuumer moves ( i.e., FAST), the effects would be negligible even if the ultraviolet WAS powerful.
- Like dust mites, kill 'em all you want - on and under carpet, but give them an hour
and they'll be back unless you somehow get your humidity levels in your house way down.
In summary, get a vacuum with more than a toy motor in it so that your carpet is clean
and the germs won't want to live there any more.
- This just in ( 6-12-11): It has
been found that Oreck's (makers of Halo vacuums) claims regarding
the germ-killing effectiveness of the ultra-violet lights on the
bottom of their vacs is a load of B.S., just as I theorized. They
have settled the complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by
paying a $750,000 fine.
Apparently while the FTC does not have the energy to prosecute
general false advertising, which is rampant & costly to the public,
they draw the line at making false medical claims ( so we won't die
from bad products, we'll just get ripped off - we'll still have our
health, though!)There's big money in duping the public, so public -
don't blindly believe what you hear.
* VACUUM PRODUCT PLACEMENT ON TV
One must be aware that we are constantly
barraged with subliminal sales pitches around every turn. For
instance: on these home renovation shows I keep seeing a Dyson
vacuum cleaner sitting in the corner of the room, subtly being shown
on camera - in a room that doesn't have any carpet in it. No home
renovators would bring a Dyson to a job site, & no home-owner in
there right mind would buy a Dyson to clean hard floors. So, just
like when a movie star chugs down a Pepsi in a movie on camera, apparently vacuum companies do it too.
* Now Your Vac Can Have A Ball!
When you employ marketing wizards, your company can invent a problem that doesn't exist, then "solve" it for you. For example : that vacuum cleaners are hard to steer. They're not, nor have they ever been! Think about it - you've NEVER complained about your ability to turn your vacuum. "Hey Bob, this Hoover needs a front-end alignment or something - I can't go left with it!"
In fact, if you have a thumb & 1 finger, you can turn your vacuum any way you'd like. The "solution" to this "problem" - a ball-like swivel deal that actually puts all the weight of the vacuum not only in your hand, but when you pivot it, all the weight ( at least 15 lbs) is pitching
& rolling in your wrist. Good luck getting rid of that carpal-tunnel syndrome with one of these vacs! To me, using one of these vacs is a little like wrestling a salmon. A traditional, older-style upright leaves you with almost no weight in your hand
& steers effortlessly. They never bragged about it because it was a non-issue.
Aside from the obvious ( if you ever look at one) quality issues, this is an unnecessary tangent in vacuum design that many consumers blindly believe is better because the company trying to sell them said so.
If you installed or refinished wood
floors & think now you won't have to vacuum, you are misguided
for a few reasons. First is the obvious dust inhalation issue.
If you don't have asthma or allergies you may not notice the
difference, but brooming floors stirs up a lot of dust. Suck it
into a good vacuum & get it out of the living space. Lots of people just "swiffer" the
floors - myself included, but not before I vacuum! If you have
sand in your area ( eg., either coast, The Great Lakes, the Gulf
region, Arizona, - ie., much of America), then pushing a
sand-covered swiffer across your floors is like lightly sanding
them. and you will dull them out over time. Check with your
flooring manufacturer and you'll see that they will probably
void your warranty if you're doing this, as they can tell by
the scratch patterns you've created.
To keep a bagless vacuum working
properly ( or at least o.k.), the user has to of course dump out
the cup, and then clean the filters regularly - the owner's
manuals say after each use. Many people have proudly told me how
they take the vacuum out to the garage & blow out all the
filters with their air compressor. I kind of did the math on how
much time this probably takes as opposed to changing a $2.00 bag
( which takes me about 10 seconds and creates no dirt cloud) and
I came up with about 20-30 minutes from start to finish for the
filter removal & blow-out on the bagless vac. This is also close
to what we spend here when we vacuum off customer filters &
unclog them with our shop machines. I have so little free time that I
can't put a price on it; the last thing I would want is to give
myself more chores to do! So I say, with the same amount of
pride, that I save my precious free time for more important
things, not to mention by not creating clouds of dirt that end
up back in my living space that I'll have to clean up again.
I hear people lamenting how much
money vacuum bags cost, and use that to justify why they bought
a bagless vacuum ( which ends up costing more if you do the
right thing with the filters!). Also, we hear - "we have dogs
or cats so we'd fill up so many bags..." Correct - you have
dogs, so your house has 10 times more air-borne pollution in it,
so ALL THE MORE REASON TO EMPLOY A GOOD DUST-CONTAINMENT SYSTEM
SO YOU DON'T BREATHE IN A BUNCH OF CRAP INTO YOUR BODY.
I haven't priced a set of lungs, but
I'm sure their way more costly than $20 a year for bags. Anyone
who thinks their bagless vacuum is containing the dust just
isn't paying attention. Go see what asbestos or lead
abatement guys are using for that job - I guarantee you it isn't
*Why Not Re-use your
Garbage Bags to Save Money?
Here's why - because it's a filthy bio-hazard, a lot like the one in most people's vacuum cleaners. Dog-oil covered hair, cat-spit covered fur, food crumbs & various
goo, cat-pee covered litter dust, etc. All packed together in a nice humid Petri Dish, fermenting and waiting to be poofed out for you to breathe.
And then you leave in the funk-infused "permanent" filter to
reek up the place every time you run it & continue to breed gross things. Plus, kitchen bags cost about the same as vacuum bags, especially when you figure that you use more of them per month than a vac bag.
I'm just saying, if you're complaining about changing vacuum bags for whatever reason - cost,
hygiene - then you should start complaining about the kitchen trash too, lest you make no sense.
In Summary - nobody has invented a better way to collect &
contain, & dispose of your dirt without blowing it around
your house, all marketing aside. It's not free, but at a
couple bucks a month & 10 seconds of your time, it's a
good deal for clean air & minimal hassle. The only
improvement to it has been that they've made thicker, non-explodable
ones to combat the human negligence factors of over-filling
or getting them wet.