Eat My Dust: Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

November 10, 2006 @ 3:02 pm | Filed under:

Y’all were so helpful with the bread recipes (and I have more links and recipes to add to the carnival, just as soon as I get a chance!) that I thought I’d throw a new question at you. My old vacuum cleaner was one of the things that didn’t make the cut when we moved. This house has all hardwood floors, and I want a lightweight vacuum to save me from having to sweep every day. Any recommendations? I want something that won’t scratch the floors but will pick up the crumbs and can handle area rugs too.

I do use a Swiffer broom a couple of times a day, and that’s great for dust but not crumbs. Has anyone tried the new Swiffer vac? It seems like basically a long-handled Dustbuster with a Swiffer pad mounted behind it. Looks promising, but wouldn’t work on my area rug. Hmm.

I don’t want anything big that will take up a lot of room in the closet. I know Orecks are small and light. Are they worth their salt? Will they scratch hardwood floors?

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20 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Becky says:

    One of the recent Consumer Reports — October, I think — reviews vacuum cleaners. Hey, maybe a chance to go to the new library (again?!) 🙂

  2. Teresa Kendall says:

    To get an orek that doesn’t scratch the hardwood floors; you will have to spend about $600 for the deluxe model. You will receive extras in that price. I got an electric broom and a shoulder-held canister vacuum. The down side beside the price is that all will need filters and you need space to store everything. The orek does have good power. Hope this helps.

    Loyal Reader,

  3. Mirissa says:

    I have hardwood floors and area rugs downstairs and I love my Miele. It is expensive, but it handles so well ( I used to hate using canister vacs because I’d get all tangled up), cleans well and is quiet! The downside is that they’re expensive, but you could look for a used one. They’re built very solidly and don’t scratch floors or furniture.

    On a cheaper note, my brother just got a Kenmore for his new floors and is very happy.

    Good luck deciding!

  4. HS says:

    Before I got my current vacuum cleaner, I decided to ask the experts what they thought: I called a local reputable vacuum repair center and talked to a very friendly man about which brands seem to have the fewest problems. He told me that from his experience Hoovers are best. We bought one and have been very happy with it. (He also told me to stay away from models with clear canisters, for what it’s worth.) I don’t know about the not scratching floors part, but perhaps calling a local repair center would be helpful in your case as well. Hope that helps!

  5. dayspringdawning says:

    My Kirby is neither inexpensive or small/light but it has and does everything! And I love it. (I also have hardwood floors) and use the arm attachment almost entirely. We felt it was worth the money because of the warranty and more than one person I know has had theirs for 20+years!! My one girlfriend took her 20 year old Kirby in, paid $100 for a “tune up” and it still works like new! I had a canister vac and hated it! Lots more dusty. We have allergies so the hepa filters with the Kirby helps, too.

  6. Laura says:

    In my experience, inexpensive vacuums are not worth it. Might as well bite the bullet and make a 20+ year investment.

    I love love love my Dyson Animal. It handles wood floors and carpets really well. Plus has a 17 foot extension tube for getting up high in the nooks and crannies.

    Plus? It’s purple! 🙂

  7. coffeemamma says:

    We just moved to a house with hardwood and ceramic floors as well. We needed a Hepa filter due to our son’s asthma and allergies, and our paediatrician recommended the Kenmore model with a Hepa filter and Hepa replaceable bags. It was inexpensive, and works like a dream (on our area rugs, as well). It has a ‘bare floor’ setting that turns off the beater bar, and ensures no scratches. Ours is the lime green upright model (can’t remember it’s name…)

  8. Jeanne says:

    We like our Eureka Mighty Mite – sort of a small canister. We have all wood or tile floors, and I prefer a canister for these. My sister is a “professional” house cleaner and this is what she keeps in her car in case a client’s vacuum does not work or something. She likes it. I know at one time it was on Consumer Reports as either a “best buy” or else as something like “if you have a second vacuum besides an upright, this is the one to have.” Something like that.

    It’s not expensive.

    Downside, we have had a wheel come off, then pop on and off somewhat.

    Also, the hose is not one that coils up easily. You might want to handle one to see if you think it would store in your closet well.

    And finally, it is a “mite.” That is, it’s a small size, so at our house, the bag fills up fairly quickly (we have a Golden Retriever who contributes heavily). (I don’t mean multiple times in one use; I mean, after multiple uses)

    But I sort of like putting in a new bag – I take a cotton ball and put some vanilla flavoring on it and stick it in the bag and enjoy my inexpensive “room freshener.” If you have a small bag and get to change it often, you get to smell the vanilla more often! : )

    Glad you have made the move successfully and are considering things “beyond the move.” We moved from Mississippi back to Virginia in July, and I just made home made pizza dough for the first time this week. The kids were like, “She’s baaaccckkk.”

    Well, maybe.

    Good luck with the vc purchase!

  9. Kelly says:

    I’ve also got the purple Dyson and love it! It’s a tad noisy, though less than you’d expect, it picks up *everything*. The filters are also something you don’t have to replace (you clean them yourself every 6m or so).

  10. Christie says:

    I just got a floor sweeper similar to the kind janitorial staff use. It’s about 3 feet wide and very quiet! Once around the room and I’m all set.

  11. GailV says:

    Aha, I just bought a new vacuum today, since we just installed hardwood floors last week. I used the 2005 Consumer Reports to help with my decision, and bought a Kenmore canister, which happened to be on sale (yippee!).

  12. sarah says:

    I love, love, love my Electrolux. It picks up dog hair unbelievably well from carpets, sofa, etc. I love the lo setting option for curtains. The drawbacks are that it is bulky, expensive, and heavy. Since you don’t have any furry friends around, I would probably not invest in a vacuum of this caliber. Where it seems to outshine the others, in my opinion, is pet hair. I think most vacuums should be able to handle crumbs, dust, play doh, etc.

    My grandmother gave me her very small Eureka, cannister-style vac when I went to college. It was quite old (maybe 20 years??), but worked like a charm. It then had four years of dorm use (I think I was the only one ever to have a vacuum) and then I used it several more years until I got a dog and a husband. Then, I needed the “Lux”.

  13. Leslie in Springfield says:

    I’ve had a Eureka Mighty Mite since college (1986), when I bought it for an apt. with hardwood floors. Works like a dream (still!) and never scratched a thing. Lightweight and easy, plus my model could also be used as a blower to inflate air matresses, etc. After acquiring a dog who shed like crazy and a house with carpet and wood floors, we bought a Dyson Animal (the purple one). It’s fabulous, but probably more than you need if you don’t have carpet and/or shedding animals. It’s also expensive, and too heavy for my 9-yr-old to really use. My 6-yr-old can handle the Eureka. Good luck!

  14. mary says:

    i’ve had hoovers and mine was a top rated vacuum cleaner. after i’d owned it for 13 months, it suddenly began overheating and shutting down. i would vacuum 5 min, shut down for 15. repeat over and over. when i looked at epinions, there were many of the same complaint.

    i now have a dyson (animal) (have had it since easter.) it’s the best vacuum i have ever owned. even the hubster who thought $500 a ridiculous amount of $$$ for a vacuum, says it’s the best vacuum ever. it works beautifully on hardwood floors. no more do i sweep. i can dyson and hold the baby. my kids dyson under the table after meals. it never clogs, never shuts down. if you vacuum your kid’s lego, just dump the canister (there’s a button so you don’t actually touch any dirt) onto a trashcan lid and let the kids find their own trash, er, toys. this is the best purchase i made all year.

    i wouldn’t steer you wrong, lissa. this is the vacuum you need. :0)

  15. trina says:

    We have a St. Bernard, and a Golden Retriever, so dog hair was one of our top concerns with a new vacuum. After much research, and a guy who has sold and repaired all sorts of vacuums for 23 years, he told us to get the Oreck over the Dyson Animal. He said if you have a large amount of dog hair, which we have, the Dyson can become clogged and is harder to service. He said that the Dyson is a great product, but not for our dogs.

    We purchesed the Oreck with the 20 year waranty and absolutely love it. It does not scratch the wood floors, and is light and easy to use. If I could only get it to brush the dogs, we would really be in service!

    Good luck!

  16. Jennie C. says:

    I love my Oreck! I don’t have hardwood floors, but it has two speed settings, and the lower one works really well for area rugs and bare floors. It is, though, supposed to be fine on hardwood, too.

  17. Christine says:

    I would recommend a Royal upright. They are less expensive than the Oreck and work better. There are hard body or soft bag models with or without on board tools in the $100-$150 range. We own a cleaning business and of all the vacuums we have purchased, I have been most pleased with this brand.


  18. moreena says:

    We’ve been happy with our Kenmore canister. I don’t think it’s scratched the wood floors, but it’s hard to say since the dog and kitty claws already do a number on them. At least, there haven’t been any serious scratches. Works well, has held up through considerable cat and dog hair, and was cheap to boot.

    I can’t ever get those stick vac models to hold up for more than a few weeks or so. The 3-foot dust mop sounds awesome too (comment above). I can’t imagine where I would store it, though.

  19. Lisa says:

    I’ve had a Kenmore cannister vac for 10 years, and have had it serviced one time, 3 years ago (a wheel fell off). It works great on carpet as well as hard floors. I like the cannister vac because it is so much easier to get into small spaces. Also, if you’re in the middle of vacuuming the floor and happen to glance up and see a cobweb on the ceiling, you can just step on a little lever and release the floor sweeper thingy and reach up with the wand and get it, then go right back to vacuuming. Easy-peasy!

  20. Anne V. says:

    I LOVE talking housekeeping 🙂
    We tryed the Oreck and if it is important to get under your beds-which it was for me since I only vacuumed bedrooms…uhhhh…hmmmm…every few months? It doesn’t work. I also have a Kenmore cannister and it goes under beds-with carpet attachment-and other than having to lug it up stairs I have no problems with it.