What I Really Want Is Something That Totally Sucks

September 15, 2011 @ 2:10 pm | Filed under: ,

The last time I posted a question about vacuum cleaners, I was told (privately) it wasn’t an interesting topic—but that was five years ago, and I for one am still somewhat obsessed with the question, so it’s interesting to one person, at least. 🙂 I’ve bought two vacuums in the past ten years, and both were massive disappointments. Like the Dyson people (whose products are out of my price range), I just like things to work properly!

Here’s what I want: a lightweight vacuum cleaner/electric sweeper for hardwood floors that also works on area rugs. Basically I want a broom that sucks up the crumbs and the dust. I’ve tried the Swiffer rechargeable SweeperVac, and if it had more suction power, it would be exactly what I’m looking for. Alas, its vacuuming capability is simply not up to the challenge posed by this particular family. It pushes the Cheerios around, doesn’t inhale them.

Our Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner is supposed to work on hardwood, but it leaves a lot of crumbs behind (and yes, I’ve tried changing the bag). Besides, it’s heavy and bulky and makes me terribly crabby.

I’ve heard mixed reviews of Orecks. Their light weight is certainly appealing. But then, the Swiffer is so light you can practically twirl it like a baton. Orecks are real vacuums, though. The question is, do they suck?

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33 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Annette W says:

    I have one (not purchased by me). An awesome point is that they come with annual service! For ten years!

    I will test more in my kitchen. It’s known for its sucking power on the carpet…will try to remember to test for you.

  2. sarah says:

    Wonderful subject! My family knows to stop talking when the ad for a steam-cleaning vaccum comes on tv, because I am enthralled by it. If I won the lottery, it’s the first thing I’d buy. By any chance would you have a video to demonstrate your point …? I love vaccum cleaners even more than chocolate bars.

  3. Mindy says:

    I have all hardwood floors with a few area rugs. I use a Miele canister vacuum- lightweight and totally sucks! I did pay in the $300 range for this, but I have learned my lesson on the cheapies. This thing has been abused for 5 years and it’s still going. Also, I bought it from an actual vacuum “dealer”. They were so knowledgable and helpful. I say yeah for German engineering!

    By the way, I have been enjoying your blog for a couple years at least and I can’t believe my first comment is about vacuum cleaners. No, actually, I’m kind of a vacuuming junkie. Favorite chore by a mile:)

    Good luck!

  4. Laurie M says:

    I love my Dyson, March 2004 and still going strong.
    Your house is too small for one and you don’t have enough carpet. It really does carpet better than hardwood.

    I just got a Dirt Devil at Target in MV for 39.99 about 2 weeks ago. It is very light weight. I use it on my laminate in the kitchen areas. I don’t love it so far, but like you, I haven’t found the right thing for doing kitchen crumbs. What I liked about it was that it is lightweight, and has a removable PLASTIC filter. I can’t stand those cloth filters that fill up and you have to buy a new one and they are impossible to find.
    That Target had 50000000 of them all over the store & stacked to the rafters, so I’m sure they still have some.

    My mom has an Oreck for her laminate and I was very NOT impressed using at her house. I think she offered to give it to me and I turned it down! If you really want to try it I can see if you can borrow it.

  5. Laurie M says:

    It’s called Dirt Devil Easy Lite Cyclonic Quick Vac. Forgot to mention it is bagless. It is loud though.

  6. mamacrow says:

    If you can hold of one over there, get a Miele. Mine is second hand, a bit beat up, still utterly brilliant. And ive had a few vacs in my time! (mostly disapointments)

    Honestly, I cant understand anyone finding vacume cleaners completely uninteresting… They must have something lacking 😉

  7. Penny says:

    Well, clearly you have found some interested readers, me included! I have yet to find a vac that does the job well. Please post as you test drive!

  8. Elizabeth M says:

    I disliked my Oreck upright (I think it was their cheapest), but the little canister model is handy for doing upholstery and stairs. It would be good for hard floors, except that the attachment extensions don’t fasten on, they just push together and don’t stay together very well.

    I now have a Hoover bagless upright, and I’ve been loving it. But I don’t use it on the hardwood floor, just the carpets and rugs.

    And I agree, vacuum cleaners are fascinating. Such a pleasure when they work.

  9. Sarah says:

    Second/third/fourth the above votes for a Miele. Pricey, but you’ll get your money’s worth. My parents is ten years old and still running perfectly. I bought my first one, the base $299 model, this year after tolerating my husband’s ancient pushes-dirt-around-but-doesn’t clean vacuum from his bachelor days for as long as I could bear. Don’t regret the purchase a bit, and I’m a cheapskate.

  10. Katie Muniz says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Oreck. With cats and small children everywhere, it cleans up all the mess. It can handle anything, army men, wet noodles, you name it…it can take it. I have also used a Miele and I still say, hands down, the Oreck wins.

  11. monica says:

    We have a black and decker upright that is great for rugs and hardwood floors. it is cordless and light enough that the kids can use it. you do have to keep it plugged in all the time when it is not in use as it doesnt keep a charge longer than like an hour. but i rarely vaccum for that long. It also doesnt have a bag, which it a lot nicer for cleaning out. it was rated really good on amazon and we love it.

  12. Marcia says:

    I am all ears as my Hoover is unhappy with me. It’s 10 years old and has been repaired once. I like the bag so that I can throw our garbage away….so I’m looking for another bagged vacuum for mostly hardwood in our house too!

  13. Jennifer says:

    I recently bought a Shark. I love it. Dysons are out of my price range too and even if had a spare $500, I wouldn’t want to spend it on a vacuum. The Shark goes from wood floor to carpet very easily. The agitator(?) turns off so it doesn’t just blow the dirt around on a hard floor. Judging from how much I have to empty the canister, it’s getting a good bit of dirt up.

  14. Amy Caroline says:

    Ok, I know the dyson is expensive, but get this… we literally bought three vacuums in one year! I was furious. We had a huge dog that shed a small dog everyday all over my carpet and had 4 kids at the time. Not vacuum could handle my workload.

    So Hubby and I decided that the Dyson would be cheaper than a new vacuum every few months.

    I have had that Dyson now for 5 to 6 years!!! It has more than paid for itself. It really is worth every penny.

  15. Kathryn says:

    I love my Henry (http://henryvacuumcleaner.com/), though he isn’t lightweight and is only available in the UK – he sucks up everything, is almost unbreakable, and is the only vacuum that smiles when you use him 🙂

  16. Sara says:

    I just got a Shark, too. After being burned on the Electrolux that is not an Electrolux, and the Hoover, which was ridiculous, and then the Bissell which was better than the Hoover, but not by a lot.

    I really wanted a Dyson, but we can’t afford it, so I got the Shark Navigator. It’s smaller, but easy to maneuver and gets up a LOT of dirt. The price at Costco was a reasonable $129, between the cheapos (Hoovers and Bissells) and the Dyson’s.

    That must have been your hubby that said vacuums are boring, because we don’t think so!

  17. Natalia says:

    We purchased The Clean Team big- vac http://www.thecleanteam.com/catalog_f.cfm?category2=cat13&category=Vacuums&#Application.addToken#
    It is great on hardwood floors. It has a great suction power and it is light weight despite the size. The wheels roll easily. the only think i don’t like about it is that the cord is not retractable. We have had it for a almost two years and no problems.

  18. Pam says:

    I got a mid-priced Eureka recently. It is not very light, but the motor is so strong it almost seems self-propelled. The best part is that it has a feature where you can turn off the brush for vacuuming bare floors. Works wonderfully.

    I tagged you in the latest homeschooling meme going about. Would love to hear your thoughts. http://everydaysnapshots.blogspot.com/2011/09/homeschooling-in-ten-but-i-only-see.html

  19. Jen Lynch says:

    Ha! This is one of my favorite topics. I LOVE to vacuum recreationally, I find it soothing and it provides endless amusement to my family. I have a Fein mini-turbo shop vac. It has an insanely long cord and hose, I can do my entire first floor from one outlet. It can be used with a bag or as a canister, can be used wet or dry. It is best for a house with mostly wood floors, the brush works on carpet too. I cleaned houses professionally with this vacuum for four years. It is a workhorse and I love it. And it is orange. Good luck!

  20. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh, definitely not my hubby! He’s a work-at-home dad: he groks how VITALLY IMPORTANT these domestic riddles can be. The two of us can debate the merits of kitchen sponges vs. scrub brushes for, like, minutes.

  21. Penny says:

    lol – I so get that. Our latest debate here was “spaghetti or rotini?”. 10 minutes at least.

  22. Elizabeth M says:

    Rotini, definitely. Stands up to a nice chunky sauce.

  23. Anne Marie says:

    Of the four vacuums I regularly have used in my marriage, my mother-in-law’s Electrolux was by far the best, but who has $1000 for a vacuum? I’ve owned two Kenmores and one Hoover and the Hoover sucked–Kenmores were great.

  24. Theresa Ruppert says:

    I hate to vacuum. With my Dyson animal I do not hate it so much and my back does not hurt anymore. Get one with the ball. Amazing difference. It sucks up kitty hair instead of “chasing” it around the room. works on hardword as well/

  25. Suze says:

    Isn’t it funny how we derided the thrill of new appliances as teens and now getting any new appliance is really a great occasion! I have a Riccar that I a bought at a local vacuum shop about 15 years ago. Best vacuum I’ve ever had. I bought the upgraded attachments with it and it was not cheap but it has been a good investment. It does carpets and with the attachments I do my hardwoods and am very happy with the way it picks up and cleans those woods.

  26. maria says:

    Refurbished Dyson Animal is my recommendation. We got one at an affordable price (my husband found the refurbished on online, not sure where but can find out) and have used it now for literally at least five years or more. It works great and as vacuums go, not too annoying. Going from regular stand up to the hose attachement is a tad of a bother but no where near the hassle of previous vacuums we have had. I would not want to have to get it out every day though.

    For cheerios and crumble, wee ones about and large ones tracking in messes I’ve used the simple sweep w/a broom then dust-buster up the pile method. :\ Not grande or anything but gets the job done.

    Hope this helps some. And I think it is an excellent subject that warrants discussion. Plus you made it quite funny there too. 😀

    🙂 maria

  27. Haley says:

    A friend of mine has an Electrolux ErgoRapido that she raves about, though she does say that the higher the voltage the better.

  28. Kate L. says:

    We have had a regular Dyson for 5.5 years. It still works as wonderfully today as it did when we bought it. I remember that I signed up for the Target credit card when I bought it so I could get the 10% off and I think I had a few Target gift cards to use at the time which brought it down to the ~$300 range when all was said and done.

  29. Cate says:

    I love vacuum cleaners, and had an unintentional hobby of collecting them because they kept dying on me. Get a refurb Dyson. You will marvel at the time you save not thinking about vacuums anymore. I have a 6-year-old animal, no ball, that is as good as it was on day one. I love that every part of it is washable, and there are no bags. I’ve owned hoovers, orecks, kenmores, black and deckers and probably others, but the dyson really is the best. But now I really want a Henry because it looks like the noo-noo. Which came first, henry or noonoo?

  30. Fanny Harville says:

    My husband gave me a Kenmore Progressive with Direct Drive/Intelli-clean two years ago for Christmas and I burst into tears of joy when I opened the package because I was so happy to own a vacuum that actually works. Our house is all hardwoods and area rugs and it sucks fabulously and toggles easily between wood floor mode and rug mode…

  31. mary says:

    I have had my canister Electrolux for 15 years. It has attachments for hardwood, carpet and furniture. Works great, never had any problems. Worth the $ for the long life of the the machine.

  32. Molly says:

    We have mostly hardwood floors with area rugs and low pile carpet tiles in bedrooms. I LOVE our Miele canister vacuum. We use it every day. Even my littles can use it with ease. The best feature? It does what it’s supposed to do…it sucks. I also just purchased their base model for $300. Worth every penny.

  33. Heidi says:

    I love my cordless Quickup by Eureka! We have hardwoods, pergo and sissal rugs, 2 kids home all day and a dog. We swiffer with a reusable head and then vacum. I also have a real vacum cleaner but the Quickup does a great job.