Help Needed

I need to buy a vacuum cleaner but never having bought one before, I have no idea what type, model or brand to get, so all recommendations (based on experience only, please) would be welcome.

As for parameters:

  • Cost:  if your recommendation is expensive, I can deal with that as long as the thing is reliable. Spending extra money on something that lasts for ten years is not expensive, it’s a bargain. On the other hand, if they’re all fragile regardless of cost, then I’ll just go cheap and replace every year, if that’s your recommendation.
  • Capabilities:  Must be able to vacuum both wooden- and carpeted floors.
  • Dust storage:  Can be bags or washable cylinders, I don’t care (unless this is an important distinction, in which case please explain).
  • Weight:  irrelevant as there are no stairs involved.
  • Additional features:  if, say, a steam-cleaning capability is included, it cannot detract from the primary function, i.e. vacuum cleaning. Ditto a detachable hose cleaner; I’ve heard that while the flexibility is nice, the suction leaves a lot to be desired.

If y’all don’t know or have little expertise (like me), then ask yer wives and such.

Otherwise, I’ll just go with my gut instincts and get a broom, mop and a Shop-Vac.


  1. As the owner of three dogs and a cat – combined weight of 286 lbs (the cat is the six pounder) – my house in the SE Alaskan rain forest (i.e. wet and muddy whenever it’s not white and frozen) produces prodigious quantities of fur, mud and general dirt. You’d be amazed at just how much dirt a 135 lb Kuvasz can pick up in its coat by taking a swim in a silt laden glacial river. Dog dries out – silt has moved from river to house! The absolute BEST vacuum cleaner that I’ve ever found is the Dyson Animal. It does a great job of cleaning and has held up for four years now when most other vacuum cleaners give up the ghost within a year or two. Two thumbs up on this one. And if and when it dies – I’m buying another one. Hmmm…I wonder if I should volunteer my house as a test site for Dyson R&D…

  2. After two years of skepticism (four years ago) I submit this, from Costco.

    Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

    ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9 out of 5 stars. Read reviews.

    Item #1752553

    Model #UV540
    Your Price

    Shipping & Handling Included*

    2-in-1 Vacuum: Upright and Lift-Away®
    Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology®
    HEPA Filter, LED Headlights
    Powerful and Lightweight
    Brushroll Shutoff, Swivel Steering
    Includes: Crevice Tool & Air Driven Pet Brush
    If from Costco you get distinctive design improvements plus a stretched warranty. Thing is a workhorse. Free delivery

    1. We have one upstairs and one downstairs.
      Keep them clean (hair’s the biggest culprit – 3 women) and they work great!

  3. We have a Hoover upright vacuum that uses inexpensive replacement bags, retired not I do all the floors every other week and the 12 amp motor really sucks, hard floor, rug or carpet. Long cord and easy to change bags. We have had ours for 18 years and hope it never gives out, the only thing I caution about is the noise and since I am half deaf I wear ear plugs and do the floors when my wife is out. We have a rough coat Brittany and she sheds year round so the bags are changed every three uses. I have never had trouble with the belt but I also cleans and sweep the hard floors, now tile, and don’t have any things that get caught up in the brushes. After the vacuuming on the tiles I use one of those Swiffer wet mop thing and it all works well, clean floors and my work is done.

    Now the bad news is the Hoover WidePath Tempo Bagged Upright Vacuum thing being sold today might not be a good as the old ones but they are not too expensive and it averages four out of five stars on several thousand reviews. If and when my current one breaks down I will replace it with a new one and expect a few years out of it. Your mileage my vary but I hope whatever vacuum cleaner you purchase “Sucks like a $20 truck stop hooker taking the chrome off a trailer hitch”, or as my old buddy used to say, “I a tell’n ya, that ole gal has real talent, she can suck start a Harley.”

  4. Dyson – no. I’ve killed two in my small house and Kims been here – the .west .wing it is not! Dyson are over rated and over priced IMHO. Even the Alledged light weight ones are heavy. In this case, heavy does equal expensive, but not efficient. They aren’t developing the corded ones any more in the UK, so if you’re happy to charge one for 35 days for a 20 second use, knock yourself out.

    Do you have hard floors and carpet or just one or the other? If you have both you will need a hoover that has a switch or slide that changes from one to another type of flooring.

    A,long reach hose is good to get cobwebs off the ceiling or corners, do books, high places and hard to reach corners. Get that too,if,you can.

    Wet and dry cleaners tend to be cylinder, like a Henry, but I’d rather mop and bucket rather than sacrifice suction (wouldn’t we all, lol). Henry’s are used by a lot of decorators/builders, as they have good motors and. Are strong if heavy and not particularly manoeuvrable.

    I’d go chamber over bag any day. One for ease of emptying, two for not having the hassle of buying and changing bags and three for capacity.

    I have an upright here – a Vax air stretch. As the name implies, it’s a dyson turbo cylinder dupe, with a very long hose (steady). Lightweight, washable hepa filter, does stairs, carpets, laminate floors the lot, don’t know if you can get them stateside, but something similar to this would be an idea .

  5. My mother has this exact Electrolux. It still works perfectly despite being nearly 50 years old. I replaced the cord once in about 1985.

    It is the shape and about the weight of a torpedo. Other than liquids, I cannot imagine what it would not do. And it has a bare floor and carpet attachment. The Swedes that make them know what the hell they are doing. Nothing sucks like Electrolux! If I could not buy one used (and they are everywhere used) I would get a shop vac and a mop.

  6. Get a Stormy Daniels Super Sucker from Trumpco.

    It will suck the chrome off a trailer hitch, a golf ball through a garden hose and certainly the dirt off your floors.

  7. When I was a teen my parents purchased a Sears Kenmore canister vacuum – – when I left for the Navy ten years later it was still going strong. Later when I moved in with sister, Mom, and nephew, they kept buying uprights – – which gave out after a year or so. I finally got disgusted and purchased a Dust Devil canister, which has been working fine for over 20 years now. Canisters are a little more cumbersome to lug around and prepare for the vacuuming chores, but seem to be designed for longevity, and they are easier to troubleshoot and maintain. If you go canister, go for one with as large a diameter hose as you can find – – the wider the hose, the lesser the chance of it clogging.

  8. I was in the hunt for a vacum 2 yrs ago. Every morning I walk a couple of miles in the local mega-mall before it opens. All the illegal alien cleaners, dusters, and window cleaners are hard at work. Dang near all of then were using little Eureka vacums. The last Eureka vacum I had lasted damn near 40 years. So I bought what the mall folks use (a pretty good recommendation IMHO). And it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

  9. I’ve had a Miele C3 canister for 12 years now. It’s powerful, flexible and super quiet, has a rug beater head with a variable height adjustment for different pile heights, floor and hose attachments, has a more than 40′ operating radius. Uses a disposable bag. They run $800-$900. Shop around.
    Cherman engineering and all that.

  10. Get a floor model with-
    A rotating brush head for carpets . Nice if it can be stopped for hard floors.
    A long cord.
    A easily extendable hose and nozzle for corners and cobwebs.
    And a BAG- the entire fucking purpose of a vac is GET RID OF DUST- why the hell have to breath it all back in when fussing with a canister that has to be dumped out?
    There is nothing as efficient as containing the dust in a bag and disposing of the whole thing. Whoever thought there was some benefit to a damned HEPA filter taking every micro particle out of the intake air, and then exposing the user to the entire collection of dirt when dumping was a fucking idiot, and I don’t give a damn how many fucking PHD’s he had behind his name. Same guy will design the new SMG for the army. Bells ‘n whistles boy’s, bell’s n whistles!
    Go to the local thrift store and pick the best one you can find for $20. The Sharp I am using is 20 years old and works fine.

  11. I’m going to third (or whatever) the Dyson. I have the Animal, too. We’d been going through vacuums about every year or 18 months due to juvenile user misuse. I decided to try the Dyson 5 or 6 years ago. It’s lasted.

    You can take it almost all the way apart for when someone (ahem) vacuums a sock or a small towel. The easy disassembly makes cleaning the machine itself easy enough. You can do pretty much all levels of maintenance with a Swiss Army knife. I had to replace part of the lower beater because long hair had wrapped the shaft and cut it eventually. Parts can be had and are easy to replace.

    I’d buy another one if this one broke.

  12. What is your use case? Is this for inside the house? Your workshop? Your garage / car?

    My brother and his family love their Roomba. Me? I have a Miele

    1. Roomba… the appliance that learns your floorplan, and shares it with the mother ship:

      “iRobot (the Roomba’s manufacturer) says that they won’t willy-nilly sell your floorpan to just anyone – they claim that disclosure will only happen with your “informed consent”. Ignore for a moment the question of whether High Tech Marketing Departments and their Legal beagle running dogs are or are not all a bunch of rat bastards. The iRobot privacy agreement itself says this:

      [We may share your personal information with] other parties in connection with any company transaction, such as a merger, sale of all or a portion of company assets or shares, reorganization, financing, change of control or acquisition of all or a portion of our business by another company or third party or in the event of bankruptcy or related or similar proceeding.
      So if they go bankrupt, and the most valuable asset they have is their customer’s floorplans, what do you think will happen?
      Moving on. One discussion that I’ve seen is what happens if you don’t have a Roomba but you buy a house from someone who does. Can you prevent the information from getting sold? It seems like this would be like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.
      There are interesting questions about who might want your house data. Here are a few ideas:

      Local governments who want to know if additions were made to a house without licensing.
      Companies who want to know how old your kids are (a crib was replaced with a bed – the kid is no longer a baby).
      Burglars looking for homes with valuable things to steal (the high end Roombas have cameras, and while we don’t know what information they collect, we do know that it will be stored at iRobot and will pretty quickly become a hacker magnet).
      There are probably lots of other people who would want this information, and you wouldn’t want them to have it….”

  13. We use an Oreck upright, which has worked very well. It dealt with Fuzzy, our dog who cloned by shedding twice a year. You can get an idea, since she’s my gravatar.

  14. Get a bagless. You won’t ever have to worry about finding, and then fitting, the proper bag again.
    They are worth it for that fact alone.

    Dyson’s are cool – but way too expensive.

    I’ve had a Hoover Pet Bagless vacuum for about 10 years. It works great, and gets abused to all heck (I have two black labs plus two boys a 16 year old and an 11 year old. And my wife. But she doesn’t create a mess. She only cleans it up).

    The Hoover cost us a fraction of the Dyson. Its been used and abused for 10 years. And its still going strong. Of course, part of this is due to the fact that it is easy to take apart, clean, and service on my own. Which is important cause dog hair and all sorts of crap that my boys bring into the house can jam a vacum up good.

    This one is similar to what we purchased. Its $146 on Amazon. Which is about what we paid for ours 10 years ago.

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