Friday, November 30, 2007

Scooba Hard Floor Mopping Robotic

Vacuum Review: Scooba Hard Floor Mopping Robot Vacuum
Vacuum Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

This might come as a surprise to some of my readers, but I don’t like to mop. As a matter of fact I hate mopping. I can vacuum and sweep all day with a smile on my face but I would rather sit through 3 6 hour long foreign French films I can’t understand than mop. That’s why the IRobot Scooba caught my eye. It’s not quite a vacuum cleaner and by no means a carpet steam cleaner. It’s actually a brand new type of cleaner, a floor cleaner! Here is a review of the IRobot Scooba Hard Floor Cleaner detailing everything I know!

For those of you already familiar with the Roomba, this is going to be a little familiar. The IRobot Scooba is a small disk shaped cleaning robot, yes, I said cleaning robot. (It’s kind of like a helper monkey that plugs in and doesn’t throw its own feces at you.) The small disk shape makes cleaning under furniture such as chairs and tables ideal.

The Scooba is compatible with a wide range of flooring including linoleum, tile, marble, and sealed hard wood flooring. One of my favorite features of the Scooba Vacuum Robot is that it’s compatible with a cleaning solution made by Clorox, a brand I use for most of my laundry and put a lot of trust in. It works like a dream and most people who purchase the Scooba are extremely happy with the Scooba’s performance. Another great feature is once the Scooba has made a pass on your floor, it’s done. The Scooba cleans in a single swipe including prep, scrubbing, and drying.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eureka 4870GZ Smart-Vac

The Eureka Boss 4870GZ gets a good review for being unique and delivering dependability.Hello Readers,

Well, the move from text to video is proving difficult. Your Sensei is still trying to find a decent camera, if anyone out there has any advice on a good camera for internet movies let me know! The script is written, actually the first three scripts are written, we’re just waiting on my of my tech savvy helpers to have a little extra time to start production. He wants to have a career in movies and film; I promised him credits!

Vacuum Review: Eureka 4870GZ Smart-Vac
Vacuum Rating: 4 stars out of 5 for impressive unique features, solid performance, and an excellent track record.
Price: $149.99

Anyway, in lieu of a video review I thought it was high time I bring my readers another in depth, text based vacuum review. I’ve decided to take a close look at the Eureka 4870GZ Eureka Boss. It’s an extremely popular vacuum cleaner and deserves a close look!

Air Selector Switch
There was one feature in particular that caught my eye. When I’m vacuuming my house and I disconnect the hose to dust or pick up a few rebellious scraps of paper, I always wonder how much more powerful the suction of the hose would be if ALL the suction was directed through the suction hose. Well, the Eureka 4870GZ Boss Smart Vac is one of the first vacuum cleaners to let me know! The Eureka 4870GZ includes what Eureka calls an Air Selector Switch that directs all the suction from the cleaning head to the suction hose and vice versa. It’s a remarkable feature!

HEPA Filter
If you’ve read more than a few pages of my vacuum review site, you’ll notice that I really like vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters. That’s because they reduce a lot of dust and allergens that cause people like me allergies and sleeping problems. The Eureka 4870GZ comes equipped with a HEPA filter.

Replaceable Light Bulb
Okay, this was another one of the features I was impressed with. Most vacuum cleaners with built in headlights require users to go through a long, drawn out process to replace the light. The Eureka 4870GZ includes simple instructions for removing a burnt out bulb, something I think the vacuum industry in general should emulate. It’s a little thing, but it’s a little thing I really like about the Eureka Boss.

Suction Power
I don’t have too much to say on this subject. I can sum up my sentiments with the word “extremely satisfied”. Definitely not the most powerful upright on the market, but you’re not going to be disappointed.

I’m satisfied with the price, you might want to check on Amazon every now and then for sales and price breaks.

Assembly for the Eureka 4870GZ requires attaching the vacuum handle and screwing in a few screws. It should take all of 5 minutes for the average person.

What I Didn’t Like
Overall, the Eureka Boss 4870GZ is a strong showing from Eureka. The only complaint I have is with the Power Paw. I was not impressed with it’s performance.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Update Coming


I'm sure my regular visitors are wondering where the updates are. Well, I'm proud to say I'm working on video reviews for some of the more popular vacuum cleaners. It takes a lot more time to write and film a video review than to post some text and JPEGS. Be patient, I promise you all, it will be worth it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Best Vacuum Cleaner Guide

The response to my “Best Lightweight Vacuum Series” has been incredible. As a result, your Sensei has decided to write a “Best Vacuum” series covering several categories from the best upright and canister vacuums to the best top of the line vacuums.

Best Vacuum Article Series
Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners
Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Best Stick Vacuum Cleaners
Best Allergenic Vacuum Cleaners
Best Cute Vacuum Cleaners
Best Car Vacuum Cleaners

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to Remove Pet Hair From a Vacuum Cleaner

Customer: So it was just dog hair? Really? Nothing else, just dog hair?
Me: Yup.
Customer: So, what do I owe ya?
Me: Wel, that was 5 minutes of work and I have a $10 minimum, so 10 bucks please.
Customer: Phew, I thought I was going to have to buy a new vacuum!

If you’re one of these people and want to avoid a $10 service fee and annoying trip to the vacuum repair shop, here’s exactly how I diagnose the problem.

1: Diagnosis
Okay, I know most people are probably sitting there thuming there nose at this post because “it’s so stupid, who needs to know this?” Well, I’m assuming at least 500 people because I get about 10 instances of this problem a week.

The classic sign of a pet hair clog is a sudden drop in noise. No, it’s not that your vacuum has inexplicably turned into a vacuum, the agitator brush has stopped spinning. The agitator brush hits against the carpet several times a second and generates a lot of noise.

2: Fixing
First, unplug your vacuum cleaner; unless you happen to be Superman or Static Shock from the WB’s Static Shock. Safety first!

Next, flip over your vacuum cleaner and inspect the head. Chances are, there’s going to be a lot of pet hair and possibly string from that YoYo your kid bought a week ago wrapped around the head. That’s what’s preventing your agitator brush from spinning and agitating.

Now, pick up a sharp pair of scissors and cut up the hair. Now, roll the agitator brush a quarter and cut along the hair again. Repeat one more time and the hair should be loose enough to allow the agitator brush to spin.

3: Flip and Pick
Final step is flipping over your vacuum cleaner, plugging it in, and turning it on. If it spins and works, congratulations, if it doesn’t, take it to a vacuum cleaner shop or try to diagnose the problem with another one of my vacuum cleaner repair tips.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ives W. McGaffey - A History of Vacuum Cleaners

Well, even though I’m not living the Orange County Dream, (House with a foundation that meets sand and an ocean in my backyard I can surf fish in.) I’m still extremely grateful for the lifestyle I live. I hated working for other people, being in at a certain time, doing things “their” way. It just wasn’t for me. Vacuum cleaners have enabled me leave for lunch when I want, take vacations at my leisure, and spend quality time with my family at work over the summer. (Though my sons have a different name for time spent at the shop, slave labor.)

I feel it’s time I pay homage to the people that developed my industry by writing a “History of Vacuum Cleaners”. I’ll cover who invented the first vacuum cleaner, how vacuum cleaners became an essential cleaning tool for most homes, and even poke fun at some of the nobler than useful vacuum cleaner designs. So, without further delay, here is my History of Vacuum Cleaners as told by the Vacuum Sensei.

Origins of the Modern Vacuum Cleaner
There were several precursors to the vacuum cleaner as we know it today. One of those monstrosities was a large, heavy, cart-like machine that was difficult to push and hard to maneuver. In 1868 a man by the name of Ives W. McGaffey started selling a vacuum cleaner more like the common household vacuum cleaner we know today. Even though his machine took off, it was still fairly heavy and extremely inconvenient for people to use.

Selling the First Vacuum Cleaner
After McGaffey patented his vacuum cleaner design on the 5th of June, 1969, McGaffey partnered with a company called The American Carpet Cleaning Co. The vacuum cleaners were sold to existing American Carpet Cleaning customers for a heft price tag of $25. That was an astounding $500 when adjusted for inflation! Clearly, the McGaffey’s vacuum cleaner was taking homes by storm. Only two of McGaffey’s original vacuum cleaners are known to still exist; they’re both held in a historical museum maintained by the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner company.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dyson DC15 Animal Review

The DC15 Animal is a great vacuum, but has a lackluster list of features.Konichiwa!

I know the Best Car Vacuum Guide isn’t complete; I’ll be taking care of that today as well as bringing my readers a proper review of the Dyson DC15 Animal Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner. We’re almost through the entire line of Dyson Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaners and I hope to have them finished by Sunday evening. Hope you all found this blog useful in some way and happy vacuuming! Now, on to my review!

Vacuum Review: Dyson DC15 Animal Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner Vacuum Rating: 4 stars out of 5 for failing to distinguish itself too much from a vacuum cleaner $50 cheaper.

I wish I could tell you there was some monumental difference between the DC15 and the DC14 but I can’t. I wish I could tell you that there was an extra cleaning tool, accessory, or difference in cleaning power, but I can’t. To tell you the truth, there’s just one single difference between the Dyson DC14 and the Dyson DC15; a motorized agitator brush.

I’ll give this to Dyson, the motorized agitator brush is will remove dirt that’s a little more ingrained than the less expensive Dyson Vacuum Cleaners. But the difference is small. Remember, I’ve already raved about how powerful the Dyson is and I stand by it. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to spend an extra $50 bucks just so I can pocket some extra affiliate revenue. If it made a huge difference I would definitely say that but it doesn’t. If you want that littly, tiny, extra bit of cleaning power and $50 bucks is worth it to you, then by all means, buy the Dyson DC15.

I know this review seems a little short, but if I made my Dyson DC15 review any longer I would just be regurgitating information I’ve already talked about. If you want to know about the basic features of every Dyson Cyclonic you can check out my main Guide to Dyson Vacuums here. Thanks for reading!

The Vacuum Sensei

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vacuum Cleaner Ninja

I was surfing around the net for information to complete my upcoming Roomba Robot Vacuum reviews and found this Roomba Ninja robot and just had to share it with ya'll.

Isn't this the coolest vacuum cleaner you've ever seen? Compliments of the people at Roomba Hacks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Best Car Vacuum Cleaners Guide


Yes, it’s midnight. Your Sensei is a night owl as much as work permits him to be. I thought I would write a guide to “The Best Car Vacuum Cleaners” while I’m up this late. It’s another topic a lot of people email me about. I’m sorry if I’m not answering individual emails, it’s just so busy between getting the kids to school and back. Anyway, without further rambling here is my guide to the Best Vacuums for Cars.

What I’m Looking For
To make it to my “Best Car Vacuum” list a vacuum cleaner has to meet very specific standards. This is what I look for in a car vacuum cleaner:
1: Compact Design – The point of a car vacuum is to avoid using your large, bulky canister vacuum so you can get under and behind the seats and not feel the constraints of a vacuum hose.

2: Light Weight – Hand held vacuums like the Dyson Root have not made it to my list of car vacuums because they’re heavy. If it’s too heavy you won’t have the dexterity to maneuver between crevices.

3: All the Normal Stuff: Of course, all these units are checked for price and value and weighed against their cleaning power.

Enough said, let’s take a look at the lucky vacuums that made the cut on my “Best Car Vacuum Cleaners” guide.

Pick #1: Eureka 71A Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner
Price: $45
The Eureka made it to the top of my list with an innovative design. The 71A includes a powerful mini-agitator brush for cleaning large swaths of seats and flooring, but when you need to get between and under seats this hand held vacuum cleaner is built with an onboard hose that allows users to easily clean crevices. It’s not the cheapest sucker on the list, but it’s definitely the best car vacuum on the market!

Pick #2: Black and Decker CHV1400
Price: $35
It retails under $35 and includes crevice tool and brush for cleaning car upholstery. I’m satisfied with the cleaning power and it’s extremely lightweight. It’s also equipped with rechargeable batteries; excellent for people who hate replacing AA’s every couple months.

Pick# 3: Black and Decker CHV7250 7.2 Wet Dry Vacuum
Price: $19.99
This one is for the Scrouge McDucks of the world. If you want a car vacuum that’s good for quick pick ups before dates or company, this is definitely the one to get! My favorite part about this car vacuum is that it’s capable of picking up liquids as well as solids! Great for picking up those 42 oz. soda spills!

That does it for my car vacuum picks. I hope you found it helpful. As always, if you have questions, comments, or personal reccomendations you can always email me at

The Vacuum Sensei

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dyson DC14 Animal Cyclonic Review

The days are getting colder and I’m too old to take advantage of those last few cold hours of sunlight during the fall to surf. Hrmmm, that’s the price of getting old I suppose. Oh well, at least it’s football season! At the very least, you, the reader of this vacuum blog will benefit as I’ll probably have much more time to devote to blogging until the Southland warms up a bit in March and April. Without further haste, I bring you a review of the Dyson Animal DC14 Animal Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner.

Vacuum Review:Dyson DC14 Animal Cyclonic Vacuum
Vacuum Rating: 4 stars out of 5 for delivering identical performance of the DC14 all floors and being significantly more expensive.

I know this is going to sound strange but the DC14 All Floors is identical to the DC14 Animal. Well, nearly identical. I’m sure you’re wondering how Dyson can justify a price spike of more than $100 for the Animal. Well, I’ll explain the differences and you can decide if you want to pay a hundred bucks for the extra features.

First, it’s purple. It might not be a big deal to a lot of people, but if you’re a huge purple fan a hundred bucks might be worth it. Aside from the cosmetic the DC14 differentiates itself with a powerful hand tool, a low profile cleaning head for cleaning under furniture like tables and chairs, and a carpet cleanser solution kit.

Difference #1: The Hand Tool
Both Dyson models are equipped with hand tools but the Animal comes with a powered hand tool that allows you to get deep into the fibers of your upholstery. Does it work better than the standard tool set? Definitely, is it worth the approximately $40 price tag? I tend to think not. Personally, it’s not a big deal to me, but it might be to you. If it’s something you think you’ll use, by all means, by the Dyson Animal, if not, you can always go with the All Floors model and have identical carpet cleaning performance for a $120 less.

Difference #2: Low Profile Cleaning Head
This one might be worth it if you hate playing musical chairs when you clean your home. I do, but once again I can’t justify the price tag Dyson has given to this helpful yet expensive tool. Once again, use your own judgment but I wouldn’t pay the asking price.

Difference #3: Carpet Cleaning Kit
Dyson also includes a carpet cleaning agent it calls Zorb. Not worth it to me, I could easily pick up a bottle of Resolve. (I’ll talk about removing carpet stains in a future article.)

The DC14 Animal is still a great unit and would buy one if I had plenty of spare cash, but I don’t. If I were in the market for a high end vacuum cleaner but wanted to keep costs down to a minimum I would definitely lean towards the Dyson All Floors model rather than the Dyson Animal model. But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure there’s going to be several of you writing me emails raving about Zorb or the hand tool and feel you got your money’s worth, but I personally wouldn’t. I’m not telling you not to buy the Dyson DC14 Animal, just know that there are cheaper alternatives without sacrificing any performance whatsoever.

Dyson DC14 Cyclonic Upright Review

Well, another day another review here from the shop. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been focusing a lot on Dyson lately. I’ll be going through all the Dyson uprights till I’ve reviewed them all. They should all be properly reviewed by this weekend and then it’s on to another exciting vacuum cleaner brand. I haven’t decided what brand that will be, but we’ll find out soon enough. I’m going to ramble all day if I don’t cut to the chase so here we go; today I bring you a review of the Dyson DC14 All Floors Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner.

Vacuum Cleaner: Dyson DC14 Cyclonic Upright
Vacuum Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The DC14 Cyclonic Vacuum is the next step up in Dyson’s ladder. I’m sure a lot of you are asking how Dyson justifies charging $30 more for the DC14 when it looks identical to the DC07. Well, there’s a good reason for the 7.5% price increase I’ll cover those differences and you can decide for yourself if the extra features are worth the extra dough.

Difference #1: Smaller Debris Bin
The DC14 is equipped with a slightly smaller debris bin than the DC07. I know you’re probably wondering “why should I pay more for less? The truth is something had to be sacrificed to fit the extra features offered by the Dyson DC14 Cyclonic. It’s a worthwhile comprise and I doubt most people will notice the small change. (I didn’t until I checked the specifications.)

Difference #2: Debris Channel
I know this is going to make me sound like a techno-nerd or possibly a vacuu-nerd but Dyson has developed a cutting edge design for the DC14. Their exclusive “Debris Channel” technology prevents debris from being pushed and spread around your carpet and instead, traps dust and dirt under the vacuum for suction.

Difference #3: Suction Hose Built in Handle
If you’re a fan of efficiency like I am, this feature is going to appeal to you. (My dream car is a ’91 Honda Civic DX that gets 100 MPG somehow.) The suction hose is built into the handle of the DC07 Cyclonic Upright. The result is a neater, cleaner looking vacuum cleaner, I can’t say it’s necessarily more convenient or better than the DC07 suction hose, but it’s definitely cooler. (Makes me feel like I’m pulling out a lightsaber every time I’m ready to vanquish dust bunnies.)

That’s about it for this review. I hope to have another one up today time permitting. (It’s slow for now, but that can change at any minute.) Remember, this review just covered the unique features of the Dyson DC14 Upright Vacuum Cleaner, if you want to see ALL the features of this vacuum visit my Dyson Vacuum Guide for detailed information on the Dyson Cyclonic Upright line.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dyson DC07 Cyclonic Review

Vacuum Review: Dyson DC07 Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum Rating: The DC07 has earned 5 stars out of 5 for being great for dust allergies, the least expensive in the Dyson Vacuum lineup, and delivering exceptional cleaning power.

Your Sensei is finally back after a much too long hiatus. The first few weeks of school are always busy for me as my kids deal with new teachers and tougher subjects. Things seem to have settled down at home and should leave me with enough time to resume writing my vacuum reviews and advice. So, before I make my readers wait any longer here is my review of the Dyson DC07 Upright Vacuum Cleaner.

Coming in at just under $400 this is the cheapest full upright in Dyson’s vacuum cleaner line. Still, the DC07 Vacuum Cleaner is feature packed, delivers excellent value, and employs Dyson’s extremely powerful cyclonic suction technology. In case you didn’t notice the DC07 is nearly identical in design to the DC07 Animal. In fact the only difference between the two is color and hose attachments. (Dyson Animals come with a slimmed down cleaning head for cleaning under furniture, a power brush for cleaning upholstery, and a carpet cleanser for cleaning stains.)

Unlike some of the more expensive Dyson Vacuums, the yellow DC07 lacks a large debris bin for collecting dust. Expect to empty fairly frequently for the first couple weeks of vacuuming, especially if you’ve been using a lower quality vacuum; lesser vacuums leave behind a lot of dirt the DC07 is going to pick up. But after your first few vacuuming sessions this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I feel comfortable giving the Dyson DC07 Cyclonic Vacuum my best rating because it’s backed by Dyson’s 5 year warranty, but more importantly Dyson’s near perfect track record. This is the most economical high end vacuum cleaner you’re going to find on the market today. It offers identical cleaning power to most of the other Dyson Uprights and costs about a hundred bucks less than the next cheapest one.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Still Around

Don't worry, your Sensei is still around. Between football pratice, homecoming, and girls softball games it's been a hectic week. Things will settle down soon and I'll be back to reviewing vacuum cleaners. See you then!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dyson Guide

This week has been hectic. I broke a vacuum cleaner, sprained a toe, and finally ate a falafel! There was a street fair nearby and I must say there were very tasty. Anyway, let’s get down to business. Today I want to talk about Dyson. I really like the brand. Everything they offer is well designed and has consistently performed extremely well. Every Dyson Upright Vacuum Cleaner comes with a standard set of features and I’ll cover them in this Guide to Dyson Vacuum Cleaners.

Stair Cleaning
Every Dyson upright vacuum cleaner is equipped with a 17 foot suction hose to clean stairways without having to lug a heavy vacuum cleaner up and down.

Hygienic Quick Empty
One of the main complaints about bagless vacuums is dust. Opening up a debris bin and flipping it over to empty creates lots of dust and can aggravate asthma and allergy sufferers. Dyson has developed a unique bottom open debris canister that eliminates this problem! Simply remove the debris bin, place over garbage can and pull the quick release trigger that opens your debris bin from the bottom, keep dust in the trash and out of your air.

Brush Control
Dyson vacuum cleaners are equipped with an on/off brush control switch the shuts off the rotating brush head. It might not seem like such a big deal but you’ll be able to reduce wear and tear on sensitive or vintage carpets. It’s also great if you have hard wood floors or tile, you won’t be throwing dirt and dust all over your kitchen!

Lifetime Filter
Dyson claims to have a lifetime filter, but I don’t believe that. In your Sensei’s opinion, nothing lasts forever. That said, it’s still one of the best vacuum filters on the market, and should last for many years.

HEPA Filter
Every Dyson upright vacuum cleaner is built with a HEPA filter. I’ve covered the benefits of HEPA filters before so I don’t feel I need to remind you that they’re great for people with dust allergies and remove particles greater than .3 microns from your air.

Asthma Approved
One of the standard features that really make Dyson vacuums stand out is an endorsement on their lineup from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In case you’re wondering what this means, here is a list of tests and standard the AAFA requires for a seal of approval:

1. Evaluation of airborne allergen levels during vacuuming
2. Evaluation of the integrity of the air filtration system
3. Assessment of the performance of the vacuum cleaner immediately prior to activation of bag replacement / receptacle emptying signal and filter change signal
4. Assessment of exposure to allergens during bag change or receptacle emptying

For more information on the AAFA and the ASP-VC-01: 07 Asthma friendly rating you can read the AAFA’s PFA describing this rating Here and visit the official AAFA site.

Airflow tools
With the exception of the Dyson Slim DC18 every Dyson upright vacuum cleaner comes with Airflow tools. If you’ve ever tried to clean curtains with conventional vacuum hand tools, you know how your curtains get stuck, dirty, and wrinkled. The Dyson has designed their hand or “Airflow” tools with openings on the side to allow air to continue flowing, preventing clogs.

Root Cyclone Technology
All Dyson vacuum cleaners except for the DC17 Animal are equipped with Dyson’s time tested Root Cyclone Technology. I really don’t think my readers care how it works, and if you do, visit Dyson’s Official Site and learn all about the mechanics. There’s also a really good Wikipedia article, just do a search for Dyson. What I really think you care about is performance. Do Dyson vacuum cleaners really work? Yes, they do. Dyson is by far my favorite upright vacuum cleaner brand! Yes, they are expensive, but Dyson has a long track record of delivering quality, high end home vacuum cleaners that pick up an insane amount of dirt. If you’ve never used one on your carpet, there’s a good chance you’re going to be amazed with the amount of dust and debris pulled from your carpets!

5 Year Warranty
Finally, every single Dyson upright vacuum cleaner comes with a 5 year warranty. You won’t find anything close to a 5 year warranty for less than a few hundred bucks.

That’s it for my Guide to Dyson Upright Vacuum Cleaners. I’ll have detailed reviews of every Dyson Vacuum Cleaner and a price analysis up as soon as possible. Thanks for visiting.

The Vacuum Sensei

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Reader Email - Difference Between Dyson DC14's

Hello Readers!

I want to start today by answering a reader email.

“Dear Sensei,

I read your review of the Dyson Animal and am thinking about buying one. Could you tell me the difference between the Dyson DC14 and the Dyson DC14 Animal? If there isn’t a huge difference I would really like to save some extra money and go with the yellow DC14.

Thanks and KIT,

Thanks for the email Susan, I promise to have a Guide to Dyson Vacuum Cleaners and cover the ones out on the market right now. Look for it soon!

If you have a vacuum question you want me to try and answer, you can reach me at I’m happy to read and respond!

The Vacuum Sensei

Dyson Stowaway DC21 Canister Review

Vacuum Review: Dyson Stowaway DC21 Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum Rating: 4 stars out of 5 for a space saving design and powerful suction but lacking a decent power cord length.

I hate Mondays. Mondays is the day after Sunday, my only day off, and every other week, just a day before payday. That means my fat business checking account becomes an anemic checking account. Urrrghhhh! It’s time to begrudgingly get down to business and bring my loyal readers another vacuum cleaner review. I haven’t done one of these in several days due to the high volume of requests for a guide to the best vacuums for X type of flooring, carpet or budget. Now that I’ve answered many of those questions the emails seem to have died down a bit, though I’m still getting emails for “The Best Expensive Vacuum”, don’t worry monopoly monocle wearing elite, I’ll have a “Best Vacuum Guide” for you too. As for now, I bring you a review of the Dyson DC21 Stowaway Canister Vacuum Cleaner.

Dyson consistently stands out for allergy relief. Their unique suction and 3 step filtering system greatly reduces dust allergens in your home. HEPA filtration comes standard with every Dyson Vacuum cleaner and the DC21 is no exception; if you suffer from allergies, any Dyson Vacuum cleaner would be an excellent option to consider.

As far as portability and convenience goes, I really like the large wheels for transport. A lot of canister vacuums are hard to lug around, and it’s not secret I prefer upright vacuums to canister vacuums, but the Dyson DC21 Canister Vacuum definitely scored points for large wheels that make it significantly easier to move around your house. The cleaning head included with this canister vacuum is fairly thin, making it a little bit easier to reach under furniture.

One other thing I feel I should note before I mention what I don’t like about this vacuum cleaner is the off / on motorized cleaning head feature. If you have hard flooring and don’t’ want to bother with broom and dustpan, you can shut off the motor bar or brush bar to clean up your kitchen, bathroom, hard wood flooring, etc. Vacuums lacking this feature shoot out debris and your Sensei knows first hand that it hurts! I was actually cut by a small rock when I accidentally rolled my vacuum onto my kitchen floor!

One last note for the good side, this vacuum cleaner is pretty quiet. I’m not going to say you can vacuum and hear everything on your favorite TV show at the same time, but it is less noisy than most other vacuum cleaners on the market. If noise is somewhat of a priority, look into buying any Dyson model.

Okay, now for the bad. I felt like the 16.4 foot power cord was extremely short. One of the main things Dyson was going for with the DC21 Stowaway Canister Vacuum was a compact design. It is, by all accounts, a very efficiently designed vacuum and able to fit in relatively small places, but I feel Dyson could have sacrificed a little bit of size for a slightly longer power cord.

Aside from the extremely short cord length, be aware that there have been some complaints about “stiff hand tools”. They can be rough on delicate or vintage upholstery but shouldn’t be any problem for your run of the mill furniture. A headlight on the vacuum head would have been nice, it really lets make sure you’re not leaving anything behind, especially when you’re cleaning darker corners.

All in all, this vacuum cleaner is just about what I have come to expect from Dyson. I do feel they have sacrificed a couple potentially useful features to keep the size of this canister vacuum down; it’s not a bad thing if one of your concerns is storage size.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Best Cute Vacuum Cleaners

One of the great things about being married is having someone tell you what you should do, one of the bad parts about being married is having someone tell you what you should do. So, with a couple grumbles, my wife talked me into writing a “Best Girly Cute Vacuum Cleaners” article. Just so you know, my wife picked everything out and these aren’t rated in terms of “do they work”.

1: Pink Dyson DC07
It’s no secret your Sensei is a fan of Dyson. If I could afford one your Sensei would definitely keep one in his own home. They’re just so darn expensive. I might be able to convince my wife that the $400 price tag for this Pink Dyson Vacuum Cleaner is worth it because when you buy one $40 is donated to cancer research by target. (Can I write that off somehow?) According to my wife the Pink Dyson DC07 Vacuum Cleaner is the “ultimate girly girl vacuum cleaner”.

2: Henry Vacuum Cleaner Numatic HVR200-22
Taking the number 2 spot on our 5 best cute vacuum cleanrs is the Henry Canister Vacuum. Cleaning your home never looked so happy with a smiley face painted on this girly vacuum cleaner. It seems these units are exclusive to the UK. If you REALLY want one you can probably have it imported but these cute vacuum cleaners already come with a heft price tag. ($88 pounds sterling plus shipping, which means at least $175! That’s the weak dollar for ya!)

3: Bissell 3600A Barbie Vacuum
If you have a “little” mommy at home this might be the Cute Vacuum Cleaner for you. It seems Bissell has partnered up with Mattel to create a Barbie Bissell Kids Vacuum Cleaner. It’s pink and actually works. (This takes me back, I used to have a lawn mower that spit out bubbles.) I’m glad Mattel and Bissell had the foresight to make this kids vacuum cleaner cordless, there’s a good chance they’ll want to vacuum right along side you!

Well, that does it for my list of “Best Cute Vacuum Cleaners”. My wife and I would appreciate it if you knew of any others you think deserve to be on this list. You can email us at

The Vacuum Sensei

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Best Hypo-Allergenic Allergy Vacuum Cleners

Wow! Competition in the Best Vacuum Cleaner series is really heating up! Today I’m responding to requests from people looking for Hypo-Allergenic or Allergy Vacuums. I know I’ve said this many times, but your Sensei suffers from dust allergies and knows how much of a difference a proper hypo-allergenic vacuum cleaner can make! Don’t expect to see any “bargain vacuums” on this list; the lower end stuff tends to shoot out unfiltered air even though they’re rated as “allergenic”. (That’s because there’s no industry standard as to what “allergenic” vacuums are.) To make it to this list, a vacuum cleaner must possess a sealed HEPA filtration system and have enough cleaning power to thoroughly clean your home. Without further interruptions, I bring you my “Best Allergy Vacuum Cleaners” list.

Best Allergenic Upright Vacuum Cleaner: Oreck XL Celoc Hypo-Allergenic Vacuum
In addition to having one of the best allergenic filtration systems on the market the Oreck XL Celoc comes with a lot of features and enough cleaning power to earn its place on my list of Best Allergenic Vacuum Cleaners. Oreck has put in a lot of time and effort into designing all their vacuum motors, the result is an efficient motor that delivers quiet performance. Weighing in at 9 lbs. the XL Celoc isn't too heavy or too light, just know that it can get a little heavy as the vacuum bag is filled. I also like the feel of this vacuum cleaner, it has an incredibly smooth motion making this vacuum cleaner easy to maneuver around coffee tables and TV stands. Further swaying my opinion is the included hypoallergenic canister vacuum cleaner and clothing iron. I've seen these specials before, and usually they're second rate machines. Fortunately, Oreck has too much invested in their name and track record to pass on poor quality equipment to their consumers and the included canister vacuum cleaner meets your Sensei's quality standards. I can't speak for the free iron, nor have I even seen one, but I'm going to assume they work.

Best Allergenic Stick Vacuum Cleaner: Miele S168 Stick Vacuum
The Miele S168 is a little bit of a hybrid between an upright and a stick vacuum. It has a long, thin look and feel but pushes along your carpet more like an upright vacuum. If more than one person in your house vacuums and you’re concerned about posture, the Miele S168 Allergenic Vacuum is designed with a telescoping handle that allows you to adjust your vacuum handle for people of different heights. A very useful feature in my house where I’m 6’1” and my youngest is 5’6”. The only thing I personally dislike about Miele Vacuum Cleaners in general is the old, boring designs. They’re usually dull or off whites with extremely mundane looking frame.

Best Allergenic Canister Vacuum Cleaner: Miele S4210 Sirius S4 Galaxy Series Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Miele takes 2 out of 3 top spots with their stylish Galaxy Canister Vacuum. The Miele Galaxy Vacuum stands out for far more than just a bright paint job, this Miele can perform toe to toe with some of the best vacuum cleaners on the market and will help reduce the amount of dust allergens in your home air. Just a quick note, canister vacuums are the absolute best type of vacuums for allergy sufferers. My experience tells me they’re much less prone to leaked unfiltered air in general. I like the Miele S4210 S4 Galaxy Canister Vacuum in particular for it’s nearly 30 foot power cord and self rewinding design. (That means you don’t have to wind the power cord yourself, great for the lazy!) If you have delicate or vintage furniture to preserve, this unit comes with a special battery powered cleaning brush made with high quality, genuine horsehair that' gentle on delicate material. Just remember, canister vacuum cleaners are designed for cleaning hard flooring and wood floors in particular. If you have thick carpets, this Miele isn’t for you. However, you CAN buy an attachment from Miele that makes this canister vacuum just as effective at cleaning thick carpeting as well as hard floors. Like the S168, the vacuum handle is telescoping, allowing you to adjust for comfort.

The Fight

Your Sensei has been trolling the internet for vacuum stories again. This one comes from the personal blog of Qinwen. Drop by her site sometime while you're surfing!

between the vacuum cleaner & me.

It was one hell of a fight.

I was vacuuming my room today, cos my sis is finally coming home after 2 months of internship in Shanghai!

Must make the room clean clean to welcome her back. I'm a nice sis! (I wonder what she bought for me! :D:D)

And of course, I took a bloody long time to clear the stuff I piled onto her desk, chair and "her space" over these 2 months.

It was mainly books, scrap pieces of paper, newspapers, a water bottle and others. I even found one sock under her table.

Yes! One sock! I have no idea where is the other matching pair. Must find it soon...

And I also found my long-lost lip balm! MUAHAHAHA!

I held the lip balm in my hand while I continued to vacuum the room. Then, I saw my messy table, with bits of eraser dust and staples around. I tried to lift the vacuum cleaner head high enough to reach the table with one hand to suck in the dirty bits. After a few months of not exercising, I realized I couldn't even do that! So, I had to put my lip balm down and try again. I lifted it! Yay! Taking care to only suck in dirty stuff, I must say I failed miserably.


Bloody hell.

I want it back so badly that I sought ways to find it back.

I opened up the backside of the vacuum cleaner. There was a few pieces of black sponge that were soft, squishy, rotten and yucky. I had to shift those pieces before quickly stuffing the black sponge back and I accidentally broke some of them into much smaller pieces. Yucks! So, no luck there.

I opened the front part of my favorite friend, the vacuum cleaner and TA-DA!

I saw the brown rubbish bag that contains my lip balm! I'm smarter than you think, I DID NOT dip my bare hands into that, I used a clipper!

Smart me!

I took about 5 minutes figuring out how to close the backside and the front part.

I turned on the vacuum cleaner again to clean the remaining part of the room.

And that was when I decided, we are friends no more. I declare


The backside started to fart and shit!

I mean it! It was blustering out the small pieces of disgusting black sponge all over my bed and pillow!

It wouldn't stop till I turned it off!

Then I did the stupidest thing in my life ever.

I turned on it on again and tried to suck the sponges in while the other side of the vacuum was spewing more out.

Work Done = Zero

Okay. I shall just leave it at the climax. Gotta bathe and go airport now!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Best Stick Vacuums Guide

Best Stick Vacuums

Here’s another article in my “Best Vacuum Cleaner” series. This time I’m going to cover my top 3 picks for stick vacuum cleaners and explain why I like each of them.

Best Low End Stick Vacuum Cleaner: Bissell 3106A Featherweight Lightweight Vacuum

I like the Bissell featherweight for a lot of reasons, not the least of which it’s price. This stick vacuum makes it to my “Best Stick Vacuum” list because of it’s thin price. Amazon retails this lightweight, stick vacuum cleaner for about $20 bucks and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on sale for a couple bucks less. I liked the Bissell 3106A because it doubles as an upright vacuum, hand held vacuum, and you can attach a crevice tool. All three uses combine to form one of the most versatile stick vacuums on the market.

Best Mid-Range Stick Vacuum Cleaner: Dirt Devil Bagless Power Stick

If the practically no frills Bissell Featherweight isn’t for you, check out the Dirt Devil Bagless Power Stick Vacuum. It comes with a couple more cool features and retails for about $50 online. I liked that the agitator brush has an on and off switch so you can switch from carpet to hard floors when you need to, the handle also folds, great for saving space. The Dirt Devil Power Stick Vacuum also comes with a rechargeable battery set so you don’t have to replace the batteries every 3 months. That gets annoying! Finally, this stick vacuum earns it’s place as the best mid-range vacuum cleaner for having an incredible amount of suction power for such a small vacuum. I’m normally not a fan of the junk Dirt Devil puts out, but this is truly a diamond in the dirt devil so to speak.

Best High End Stick Vacuum Cleaner: ????
After reviewing my notes, I can’t recommend a high end Stick Vacuum at the moment. I’ll update this one as soon as I possibly can. It’s going to take some more research, hopefully some more stick vacuums will be dropped off at the shop this week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bissell 5770 Healthy Home Bagless Review

Vacuum Review: Bissell 5770 Healthy Home Bagless Upright Vacuum
Vacuum Rating: 5 stars out of 5 for delivering excellent performance, being priced just right, and providing a solid sealed HEPA filter

Konbanwa! Tonight I bring you a review of the Bissell Healthy Home 5770 Vacuum Cleaner. The Healthy Home Vacuum is one of Bissell’s mid-range vacuum cleaners and there are a lot of things I really liked about this vacuum.

The Bissell Healthy Home retails for around $250 and I expected to see greater performance compared to some of the low-end vacuums Bissell offers. Much to Bissell’s credit, they have met and exceeded my expectations with the Bissell Healthy Home. I was also extremely satisfied with the solid feel this vacuum has. Poor quality vacuums feel wobbly, and those vacuums tend to break down fairly quickly. A stable feel while pushing a vacuum cleaner is almost always a sign of a well made vacuum.

The Bissell 5770 Healthy Home Vacuum has adopted the bottom opening debris bin trend sweeping canister vacuum designers and it’s a much welcome change. A bottom opening debris bin reduces the amount of dust normally associated with emptying a canister vacuum cleaner and makes a canister vacuum much more competitive with bagged vacuums. I can easily envision all vacuums within a few years adopting a similar design.

One of the things your extra dollars pays for is a sealed HEPA filter system that purifies your air as you vacuum. Vacuum cleaners on the lower end of the spectrum filter part of the air while other air is exhausted through small openings throughout the frame of the vacuum cleaner. It’s not too big of a deal if you don’t have allergies, but if you suffer from dust allergies like me, you’ll definitely appreciate the difference a sealed HEPA filtration system will make on your quality of life.

Other features worth mentioning are the 35’ power cord, spinning power brush, and Acarosan Dust Mite Spray. Your Sensei hates it when he’s moving along a hall and about to go into the next room and he hears his vacuum power down. Urrghhh, it’s frustrating! I can’t imagine running out of slack with 35’ of cord, unless you’re Riche Rich and vacuuming your mansion. The power brush is a great add on for people who want more from hand tools than a brush or crevice tool. It really lets you get all those oreo crumbs you dropped in your couch! I’m also a sucker for extra stuff and freebies. I’m not sure if it works, but I am glad Bissell has packed in a bottle of their Acaroscan Dust Mite Spray with every Bissell Healthy Home 5770 Upright Vacuum Cleaner.

Vacuum News: Electrolux Addisoni

Here's another odd vacuum story. It seems scientists in South Africa have named a newly discovered fish after the Vacuum Cleaner Company Electrolux. You can read the story here. Like Pikachu from Pokemon, this fish can deliver a shocking blow to enemies, prey, and nosey cameramen.

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner Guide

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner Guide

Thanks for everyone who writes in asking me for my opinions on vacuum cleaners. Unfortunately I’m unable to answer you all so I decided to start writing some guides that can answer a lot of your questions. One of the most common emails I get starts out with “What’s the best upright vacuum cleaner?” It’s a question I was glad to answer for the first 50 times, but now it’s kind of wearing on me. So, for all of you who thought about emailing me today looking for advice on the best upright vacuum cleaner here’s my Guide to the Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners. I’ll update this page periodically as new models come out, manufacturers drop their prices, and anything else I can’t foresee happens. On to the show!

Best Budget Upright Vacuum Cleaner: Hoover Tempo Widepath
I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to some, but the best budget vacuum cleaner on the market right now has to be the Hoover Tempo Widepath. If you don’t believe me, read any of the hundreds of positive Amazon or Epinions reviews and see what they have to say. I have no problems disagreeing with the crowd, but the Hoover Tempo Widepath has given me no reasons to disagree with it in my shop. It was fairly quiet, extremely powerful, and one of the cheapest vacuum cleaners on the market. I believe they still go for less than $70 bucks.
Read the Full Review

Best Midrange Upright Vacuum Cleaner: Bissell 5770 Healthy Home Bagless Upright Vacuum
The Bissell 5770 Healthy Home Upright performs extremely well compared to other vacuum cleaners in this price range. I haven’t managed to write up a full review on this particular unit, but as I go over my notes I’m remembering why I rated it so high. First, it comes with a power brush attachment with small spinning agitator brush for cleaning deep down your upholstery. Next, the assembly was fairly easy and most people can put this vacuum cleaner together in less than 5 minutes. If you’re concerned with dust and allergens, this upright vacuum cleaner is equipped with a sealed HEPA air filtration system, greatly reducing allergens in your home. Replacing the filter was also quick and extremely easy compared to most other filter systems. Finally, the Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum Cleaner is designed with a bottom release debris canister, which means dirt free falls into your trash can. If you hold the canister over your trash can before release, you’re going to cut down on a lot of dirt that gets released into the air.

Best High End Upright Vacuum Cleaner: Dyson Animal DC07 Cyclone Upright Vacuum Cleaner
The Dyson Animal series is your Sensei’s favorite high end vacuum cleaner line. There are several different versions of the Dyson Animal. The DC07 is the basic unit and is the cheapest of the bunch. The rest of the vacuums in this line are more expensive because they target niches like allergies. I’ve chosen this specific Dyson Animal Cyclone because it was the basic. It’s best feature is power. You’re probably going to be shocked at the amount of dirt this upright vacuum cleaner is going to earn you. I’ve already written a full review of this specific model and you can read it here.
My Dyson Animal DC07 Review

Suck Away Breast Cancer

I can't believe I didn't find out about this earlier than I did but Dyson has a Breast Cancer fundraiser going on right now. They're selling a special edition of the Dyson DC07. I've reviewed this model already and really like it. If you're a lady and prefer a pink version you can pick one up at Target and $40 will be donated to further the fight against breat cancer. Just thought I would let my readers know.

Here's where I found the story and you can win this special edition Dyson Vacuum by entering a random drawing. I entered!

Vacuum News

Konichiwa! Today your Sensei wants to bring you a new segment he calls “Vacuums in the News”.

Vacuum Cleaner Art
Will Flannery, a fellow appliance enthusiast sees art in everything. He takes the remnants of old appliances from his shop and sculpts them into pieces of genuine art. My favorite piece is his giant robot that sits outside his shop.

Vacuum Cleaner Hurled at Victim
Another sad tale about a man who hurls a vacuum cleaner in a heated argument. I guess he thought knives weren’t sharp enough.

Vacuum Sex Toy Robbery
This story makes me think I should institute an “always wear gloves” policy whenever a customer brings in a vacuum.

Hoover Agility WetVac F6215-900 Review

Not a bad vacuum, I just think there are better bargains out there. Vacuum Review: Hoover Agility F6215900 WetVac
Vacuum Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 for being similar to other less expensive Hoover WetVacs.

I sat down last night to do my normal hours worth of web browsing and spilled cranberry juice all over my carpet! Ughhh, I knew I had to break out my steamvac and clean it up before it had a chance to dry. After all was said and done I went through my notes and decided a wetvac review was in order. Today I bring you a review of the Hoover Agility F6215-900 WetVac.

First thing I want to talk about is assembly. Hoover scored a lot of points for shipping the Hoover Agility fully assembled. The only thing a customer has to do upon receiving their vacuum is lift up the folding handle. Your Sensei wish more vacuum manufacturers would get that simple assembly is process will sell more vacuums. A lot of people in my shop complain about having to spend 15-20 minutes screwing in faceplates and missing washers.

Your Sensei is a clean freak. Except for the guest room, the one place in my house I feel I’m entitled to keep messy, I vacuum my carpets every day. I like knowing that every nook and cranny of my home is fit for use as a plate. Hoover has indulged my fetish for through cleaning by designing the suction hose to be removable. I have a Hoover SpinScrub at home and I can’t remove the hose. There’s some film on the inside of the hose and I really wish there were an easy way of cleaning it out. A removable hose is definitely going to be on your Sensei’s wetvac checklist next time he buys a wetvac!

The Hoover Agility WetVac F6215900 passed your Sensei’s cleaning test with flying colors. It was able to remove common stains from the test carpet within a reasonable amount of time. I also liked the feel of the powered hand tool, it’s great for spot cleaning upholstery.

If the Hoover Agility were about $20 bucks cheaper I would be able to give it a much better rating. It doesn’t differentiate itself too much from other Hoover Wet Dry Vacs that go for less money. For some people, a removable suction hose may be worth the extra money, it’s just something you’re going to have to decide on your own.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eureka 4870HZ Boss Review


Vacuum Review: Eureka 4870HZ Boss Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5 for mediocre suction power, and saving from 2 stars for a sealed HEPA filter system.

Vacuum Sensei here, just got done with another long, hot day at the shop. I really wish the air conditioning repairman would get here! I think my lack of air conditioning is costing me 5 customers a day! Anyway, your Sensei has decided to soldier on and type out another vacuum review based on the notes from his note pad. Today, I bring you a review of the Eureka 4870HZ Boss Vacuum Cleaner.

There are several vacuum cleaners in Eureka’s Boss line and the 4870HZ is the big daddy of all the Boss models. This vacuum runs in the $180-$190 price range and comes with a couple extras to separate itself from the rest of the vacuum cleaners in this line.

When I write a review I always check the official vacuum manual to see what assembly is like, then I’ll have one of the Padawans take it apart and put it back together to see how long it took and how difficult it was. I found assembly for the Eureka Boss 4870HZ was a little more taxing than most other vacuums on the market these days. It’s not a big deal, but if you’re the type of person who likes instant gratification there’s a lot of other models that require significantly less assembly.

What sets the 4870HZ Vacuum Cleaner apart from all others in the Eureka Boss line is a sealed HEPA Vacuum Filter. Remember, a vacuum with an unsealed HEPA filter is basically useless because unsealed vacuums exhaust air that isn’t filtered. Eureka thinks a sealed HEPA filter system is worth about $20 bucks more than the next best vacuum and your Sensei agrees. I suffer from allergies and a sealed HEPA filter system on my vacuum cleaner is a must!

Most high end vacuums have built in heat sensors that shut the vacuum off automatically to prevent you from damaging your vacuum cleaner. The Eureka 4870HZ is equipped with just such a heat detection system and it may turn off on you if you’re cleaning out your car on a hot day.

For a vacuum cleaner that costs nearly $200 I wasn’t impressed with the suction power. The rotating agitator brush on the other hand more than made up for suction. It’s extremely strong and stirs up a lot of the dirt that lay deep inside your carpet.

All right, that does it for your Sensei today. I’m going home to drown my sweating body in my pool.

Reader Email: Clarify your Vacuum Ranking System

Jeff wrote in "Why did the Hoover Tempo Widepath Receive 5 Stars and an obviously much more powerful vacuum like Bissell Momentum Upright receive 4 stars? Could you clarify your ranking system please?


A few people have sent in some emails asking how why a vacuum like the Hoover Tempo Widepath received 5 stars while a clearly, more powerful vacuums received as little as 3 or 4 stars. The answer is simple. You don’t judge a Honda Civic by the features and performance of a Mercedes. They’re in two completely different classes and marketed to two entirely different demographics. When I write a review about a vacuum that costs a hundred bucks or less I’m comparing it to my experiences with other vacuums in that price range, not to a Miele, Dyson, or Oreck.

Dyson DC07 Cyclone Animal Upright Review

Vacuum Review: Dyson DC07 Cyclone Animal Upright Vacuum
Vacuum Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 for being one of the most powerful residential vacuum cleaners on the market.

Your Sensei has another great vacuum review for you today! Last Saturday I asked a Johnny if he was willing to come in to the shop Saturday morning and help me test vacuums. School work was light this weekend for him and he was glad to come along. We spent about 6 hours testing about 15 vacuum cleaners. That should be enough reviews to keep me writing till the end of October! On to the review!

Just before the Dominos delivery man dropped off our 3 for 5’s and Oreo pizza we tested out the Dyson DC07 Cyclone Animal Upright Vacuum. (Your Sensei just might write an Oreo Pizza review out of spite. One word sums up most of my sentiments “cardboard”.) One of my favorite features equipped on the DC07 and most other Dyson Vacuums is the “Hygienic Quick Empty” canister. This allows users to position the dust canister above a trash can and use a “quick release” button that pulls the bottom out of the canister, letting the dust free fall into your trash can.

If you’re a regular reader of this vacuum blog you’ll know I complain a lot about power cords. Most vacuum manufacturers make power cords too short for the average consumer. Dyson understands this and has included 37’ feet of power cord on the Dyson DC07 Animal Vacuum Cleaner. (Most mid range vacuum cleaners come with 17-22 feet of power cord.)

Another cool feature of the Dyson Animal is the self adjusting vacuum head. Anyone who has a couple different types of carpet knows how tedious adjusting those knobs can be. It’s even worse on older vacuums because they tend to stick or stop working after a year. Dyson really put themselves one step ahead with the automatic carpet height adjustment feature!

It’s time to get to the best reason why you should purchase the Dyson Animal DC07 Cyclone Upright Vacuum Cleaner; cleaning power. The Dyson Animal Upright Vacuum is one of the most powerful residential grade vacuum cleaners on the market. I’ve used Dyson Vacuum cleaners several times before in my shop and knew what to expect. A few swipes of the test carpet reinforced my belief that Dyson is one of the best vacuum cleaner brands on the market! They’re a little more expensive than the cheaper, less effective Hoover and Bissell models, but your carpets are going to sparkle after a couple uses. (I’m not badmouthing Hoover or Bissell, they’re great units for users on a budget, it’s like comparing a Lexus to a Honda.)

There was one thing I didn’t like and it’s not a design flaw or defect, it’s just a personal preference. Dyson designed the DC07 Animal Upright Vacuum with a “reversible wand”. The vacuum hose is built into the handle and if you like to be thorough and clean along the edges of your furniture this can get a little annoying. Every time I reached for the handle to push the vacuum to the next spot there was no handle to grab! Some people might not mind, I’m not one of them. I’m not going to mark the Dyson down for something this trivial, I just thought my readers should know about this feature before they bring it home.

Like most other Dyson Vacuum Cleaners, it’s a little heavy. Dyson claims there’s only 4 lbs. of pressure on your wrist, and that may be true, but the vacuum does weigh about 20 lbs. If you like the feel of heavy vacuum cleaners, like your Sensei does, this is a great vacuum, if you want something a little lighter and more maneuverable check out Oreck. They’re fairly powerful and much lighter than most Dyson Vacuums.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oreck XL Celoc Hypo-Allergenic Review

Vacuum Review: Oreck XL Celoc Hypo-Allergenic Vacuum with Bonuses
Vacuum Rating: 3 stars out of 5 for being really expensive

I write this vacuum blog for the average person. The wife that goes to work and comes home to vacuum for her family, the single college dorm guy who vacuums once a year for his annual keg party, and you. Yes you, the one who has dust allergies. It’s because I write for the average person I can’t recommend the Oreck Hypo-Allergenic Vacuum Cleaner; it’s simply not for the average person.

Like most other people in the United States, your Sensei loves a bargain. I’ve been known to spend 20 bucks in gas to buy 2 for 3 dollar Big Macs, much to my stomach’s regret. Unlike the cheap Big Macs, the Oreck Hypo-Allergenic Vacuum doesn’t even seem to offer a good bargain. Let’s explore why your Sensei doesn’t think this vacuum warrants your hard earned dollars.

One of the things Oreck hypes up is the “Intellashield” built into the handle and base of the vacuum cleaner. The Intellashield is supposed to kill germs on your vacuum cleaner and “works even when your vacuum is off”. Your Sensei is not an anti-germ freak. I love germs! Some bacteria are actually good for you, like the bacteria in yogurt. So, when I see things like “Intellashield” built into vacuums in an effort to entice me and anybody else looking for a vacuum I just blow right over it. The only possible benefit I can see for an anti-bacterial handle is sparing yourself a trip to the medicine cabinet for Neosporin in case you cut yourself during an intense vacuum exercise regimen. I see no reason to mark the Oreck XL Celoc down for the Intellashield, but Oreck hasn’t earned any extra points either.

It’s time to get to the only reason why you should buy this vacuum. I get a couple emails a week from people asking me about the best hypo-allergenic vacuum cleaner. If you’re concerned with removing dust allergens like dust mites, their poo, (Yes, their poo, that’s what causes most people trouble.), and pollens from your home then the Oreck XL Celoc Hypo Allergenic would be a great vacuum ton consider. It’s one of my favorite high end, hypo-allergenic vacuum cleaners. Your Sensei does have some mild dust allergies, but it’s nothing a normal vacuum cleaner can’t fix, but if you have extremely sensitive allergies I would definitely suggest investing in this Oreck.

As far as cleaning power is concerned, you’re going to get a very powerful vacuum. If you want really, really clean carpets you’re going to have much better results with an Oreck compared to your run of the mill Hoover or Eureka vacuum. This is a great vacuum cleaner for people in rural areas where dust is a huge concern. You’ll suck up buckets with the Oreck XL Celoc.

Other things worth mentioning are that this Oreck Vacuum comes with two free gifts, an iron and a hypo-allergenic canister vacuum. The canister vac pack in is a great supplement to your Upright Vacuum but the iron just confuses your Sensei. Oreck also backs this vacuum cleaner with a 5 year warranty and includes 3 free vacuum checkups, they get very detailed; checking for seals, replacing your belt, and ensuring your vacuum is in top condition.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finding the Best Vacuum Cleaner

This morning I woke up and did a search for “Choosing the Best Vacuum Cleaner” on Google and found 10 generic search results that had roughly the same information. It’s so frustrating to see these generic guides written by “MFA’s” or made for adsense websites that rewrite each other’s articles in hopes they’ll generate a few bucks a day in advertising revenue. In an effort to make the internet a better place, your Sensei is going to post the most common questions people ask him in HIS VACUUM SHOP about buying the best vacuum cleaner.

1: What are HEPA Filters? Do they work? What can they do for me?
I know I’m going to be labeled a geek for knowing this but HEPA filters were actually developed for the Manhattan Project, the code name for atomic bomb research during World War II. HEPA filters purified the air to prevent radio active particles from polluting the air. The acronym means “High Efficiency Particle Arresting”.

A vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filtration system is supposed to remove 99.7% of air particles .3 microns or larger from your air. There are a lot of vacuums out there with HEPA filtration; if you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner to reduce dust allergens and pollens in your homes look for a “sealed” HEPA filtration vacuum. Unsealed HEPA filtration systems allow air to escape from others parts of the vacuum cleaner unfiltered. If you’re looking for a good Sealed HEPA filtration vacuum I can recommend the HEPA Filtration Upright Vaccum Cleaner Model SC5845

2: What is a self propelled Vacuum Cleaner?
Self propelled vacuum cleaners are a must for the Vacuum Sensei. Upright vacuum cleaners equipped with a self propelled drive system help users push the vacuum so it’s much easier to move along your carpet. Just be aware that self propelled vacuum cleaners carry slightly higher maintenance costs.

3: How many amps should my vacuum cleaner have?
This is one of those “no right or wrong” answers. Some vacuum cleaners make better use of their power with efficient air flow designs and well made agitator brushes, so I can’t give you a set in stone number. Your Sensei can give you a good rule of thumb, don’t go with any upright or canister vacuum with fewer than 12 amps.

4: Which Vacuum Brands do you personally recommend?
I don’t recommend brands because their vacuum lineup changes from year to year and there’s almost always a dud or two in a manufacturers’ product line. I have no problem recommending specific vacuum cleaners but I will never, ever give a blanket endorsement to a company.

5: What’s the difference between vacuum cleaner types? Which one should I get?
There are three basic types of vacuum cleaners: Upright, Canister, and Hand Held.

Canister Vacuums
Canister vacuums are usually shaped like eggs with hoses attached to them. They’re made for people with hard floors and have customizable vacuum heads so you can switch to one with an agitator brush for cleaning carpets or one without when cleaning hard wood surfaces. They’re also great for people with lots of stairs and cleaning ceilings. The main drawback for canister vacuums is portability. Canister vacuums aren’t as mobile as their upright or hand held counterparts.

Upright Vacuums
Uprights are the most popular vacuum model. People with large carpet surface areas love them because they cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time and they’re easy to move around. They’re horrible at cleaning hard surfaces and will probably hurt more than help if you tried to clean your hard wood floors with an upright vacuum.

Hand Helds
I like hand held vacuums because they’re great for reaching small corners and cleaning cars. Hand held vacuum cleaners are usually kept on hand by people who like to spot clean. Buy a hand held vacuum as a supplement for Upright and Canister vacuums.

6: How much does a good vacuum cleaner cost?
You can get a great bargain vacuum cleaner for less than a hundred bucks. Some of the better, more powerful home vacuum cleaners on the market are made by Miele. They generally run from $300 to $600. But, you can still find a great vacuum cleaner for less than a hundred bucks. Just scroll through my reviews and find one with features you like, I’m sure you’ll find a great deal on a vacuum cleaner.

Well, that covers the most common questions I get about finding the best vacuum cleaner at my shop. If you have any other questions about finding the best vacuum cleaner for you, just send the Vacuum Sensei an email and I’ll be glad to answer you.

The Vacuum Sensei

Friday, September 21, 2007

Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners on a Budget

The reader emails keep pouring in here at the shop and today I get to answer Losing True’s question. What did you have to say Losing True?

“I really would like your advice on what you think is a great vacuum. I have an old Kirby that has always driven me nuts (hard to use and heavy to lug up and downstairs, though it is very strong). I want something that you think is the best value for someone on a budget who actually likes to vacuum.

You have a great niche going. Keep it up!

Losing True”

Thanks for the compliment losing true. Your email wasn’t too specific so I’m going to assume you’re open to uprights and hand helds.

Hoover Tempo Widepath Upright Vacuum Cleaner
18 lbs.
First model I want to introduce in this Guide to the Best Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners on a Budget is the Hoover Tempo Upright. I’ve given this vacuum a full review already and it’s the only vacuum cleaner to date that has earned my top 5 Star Rating. It’s not the lightest or cheapest kid on the block, but it’s powerful and effective.

Black & Decker CHV1400 14.4-Volt Cyclonic DustBuster
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
I haven’t gotten around to posting a full review of this hand held vacuum yet but I have 2 pages of notes waiting to be typed into my computer when I have the time. This is my favorite hand held vacuum cleaner and I reccomend it to a lot of my friends searching for a great hand held vacuum.

I like this one because it’s fairly cheap (Retails for $35-$40.), has a very good repair history, and is very powerful for a hand held vacuum. (Most repairs were for wear and tear.) It's also rechargeable. Your Sensei doesn't like buying batteries and went nuts after the Wii came out and buying new batteries every 6 days for 4 controllers! I will never give the okay to buy any hand held vacuum cleaner that requires replacing batteries, it's just much easier on everyone involved, including the environment! Black and Decker helped propel the Handheld Cyclonic DustBuster to this list by including a crevice tool and cleaning brush when many other manufacturers don't.

Bissell 3106A Featherweight Lightweight Vacuum
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
I know you’re looking for a bargain Losing True and your Sensei has found it. I saw this lightweight vacuum in my shop 2 months ago when an older lady cracked the front plate and asked me to replace it. Coming in at $25 bucks, yes, that’s right, an upright vacuum cleaner for $25 bucks this is the cheapest, lightest vacuum cleaner I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Factoring in price and size this is a very powerful vacuum. If you’re looking for the best lightweight vacuum bargain, look no further than the Bissell 3106A LightWeight Vacuum. (I’ll post a full review of this vacuum sometime soon.)

Well Vacuum Sensei students, that's it for my guide to the Best Lightweight Vacuums on a Budget. Remember, these are only my suggestions, do your own research, there's a lot of excellent lightweight vacuum cleaners out there I probably have never seen or heard of. If you find any of these burried gems, just be sure to let me know, it's great to share wisdom! Have a great weekend everyone!

The Vacuum Sensei,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bissell Flip It 5200 Wet Dry Hard Floor

Yaaarrrrrrrrrrr! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yarrr! Today your Sensei will shed his kimono and katana to dawn his ol’ Captains’ hat and pistol to let ye know if ye should swab yr’ deck with the Bissell Flip It 5200 Wet / Dry Hard Floor Vacuum. Arrrrr! All hands on deck and set sail for email! Gyarrrr.

“What do you think of the Bissell Flip It? I love the idea of never moppingagain, and having a quick stick for little messes (the ones Lucy won't eat)is enticing. Is it worth it? Thank you so much, once again, for your wisdom. :) I am not worthy.

La Rêveuse (Ronica)”

Vacuum Review: Bissell Flip It 5200 Wet / Dry Hard Floor Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum Rating: A pathetic 2.5 stars out of 5 for being too impractical for daily use and having a history of leaking

Aye Ronni, my Bonnie Lass. The Bissell Flip It. I’ve not seen the likes of this amphibious monster in my shop for a fortnight. Fortunately your Capn’s log is as reliable as John Silver is long. There be two of these vacuum cleaners and I’ll cover the Bissell Flip It 5200 in this vacuum review.

Every good company finds a need and fills it. Bissell has tried to fill the “too lazy to mop” niche by introducing this monstrosity of a vacuum cleaner. Before I get into the many reasons why I hate this vacuum cleaner, I’ll cover the good. I like to think that there’s good in everything.

Some 2 in 1 vacuum cleaners are put together very poorly. Users sometimes have to go through a long set up process to switch modes. One of the first generation versions of the 2 in 1 required you to switch hoses, unscrew stuff, and leaked like a boat made from Swiss cheese. (I won’t mention that company’s name because it has since put out better vacuums and your Cap’n believes in second chances.) The Bissell Flip it is so far the easiest hard floor vacuum to switch modes with. Like its name implies, you simply flip the vacuum around and you’ve gone from wet to dry or dry to wet. Here’s a video that demonstrates how it works.

The Bissell Flip It 5200 is compatible with two different cleaning heads. If you have, let’s say, a wood floor living room and a tiled kitchen you can clean both floors without damaging either because you’ll be able to switch the vacuum heads. I was also happy with how easy it was to switch the vacuum heads; once again Bissell has scored a few points with how user friendly they made the Flip It 5200.

Okay, now for what I didn’t like. Not only was the suction for the Flip It Vacuum terrible but a poorly designed exhaust system blew away a lot of small debris like hair, lint, and dust. Even if this vacuum is capable of picking something up there’s a good chance you’ll blow it away before it gets anywhere near your vacuum. A quick specifications check revealed a laughable 3 amp motor powering the suction on this vacuum. I was very disappointed. Bissell does offer more powerful versions of the flip it, but you’re definitely going to have to pay for it.

Next, a lot of customers complained about leaking. Despite the fact that leaking Flip It Vacuums mean I get to eat at very nice restaurants the Cap’n was not pleased. Bissell needs to change course and fix this problem when it releases its next generation of wet / dry hard floor vacuums if it plans on selling any.

Last, and certainly not least, this vacuum is nothing more than an electric sponge mop. If you’re looking for something that’s going to save you time, money, and get your floors clean don’t buy the Bissell Flip It. It’s bulky and much less maneuverable than a regular sponge mop and it’s going to set you back at least $85 bucks plus filter replacements, and expensive Bissell made floor cleaner.

If you’re looking for something to make your floors shine buy a mop. No, seriously, buy a mop. I’ve yet to be impressed with a home grade vacuum cleaner that’s supposed to take the place of a mop. It has a fair amount of cleaning power, but it’s not ideal at all for cleaning small spaces. I dare you to try to clean behind your toilet with the Flip It.

Cap’n Vacuum

Monday, September 17, 2007

Eureka 71A Hand Held Review

Vacuum Review: Eureka 71A Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5 for having adequate cleaning power and a couple cool features but failing to deliver customer value and a cordless design.

Konichiwa! Today your Sensei has a review of the Eureka 71A Hand-Held Vacuum. It’s not that often I get a hand held vacuum here at the dojo. Most people don’t bother to bring them in unless they’re covered under warranty. These things are simple enough to make so a vast majority of hand vacs outlive the length of their warranty and when they do break down it’s usually cheaper to buy a new one. Fortunately for my readers a cheapskate came in asking to have the Eureka 71A Hand Held Vacuum repaired.

After I gave this man an estimate of $27 to fix his hand vac he said “no thanks.” I stopped the man just as he went for the door and said “I could use it, I’ll give you $10 bucks.” The man agreed and your Sensei has repaired the hand vac and gave it a thorough review. This is what your Sensei found.

The Eureka 71A has a very similar look and feel to the Power Paw included with some Eureka Upright Vacuums. If you read my thoughts on the Power Paw you’ll know I really, really liked it. Just like its counterpart the Eureka 71A Hand Held Vac has lots and lots of power for a hand held and picks up plenty of dirt.

The 71A Vacuum by Eureka separates itself from a lot of hand helds by including a built in vacuum. You’re probably buying a hand held to clean hard to reach areas and the rectangular design of most hand helds prevents users from taking full advantage of the portability they offer. An on board suction hose allows you to reach places you normally couldn’t with your average hand held vacuum cleaner and your Sensei really likes this feature.

Another thing your Sensei likes is the spinning brush head. This is a relatively new trend in hand helds and it looks like it’s catching on. Your Sensei prefers spinning brush head hand helds over the conventional style because spinning brushes or “agitators” loosen up dirt and dust in your carpet or upholstery making it easier for your vacuum to pick up.

However, your Sensei can’t give this hand held vacuum cleaner his best 5 star rating. I’m really of vacuums that don’t do what they’re supposed to do well. A hand held vacuum cleaner is supposed to be quick and easy to use, put away, and store. Unfortunately, the Eureka 71A is powered with an electrical cord rather than batteries. It’s not convenient to reach high to vacuum out cob webs or go behind your couch if you’re tethered to a cord. For this your Sensei is going to mark this Eureka Hand Held down quite a bit. A power cord ruins a lot of the benefits of buying a hand held. As far as price, this unit comes in around $45 - $50 and as far as I’m concerned, it’s an average deal.

*One note your Sensei forgot to mention is that this unit is a little heavy.

Reader Mail Bag: How Can I Thank You

Hello All,

I just checked my email and found it stuffed with subject lines reading "Thank You Sensei". After reading through them and writing everyone back I've decided to put up one. Partly to boost my ego, but mostly to answer a question it seems I'll be getting regularly.

"Dear Wise Vacuum Sensei,

I had been looking for a low cost vacuum that wasn't going to break down after a couple months. I scrolled through your reviews and found the Hoover Tempo Widepath. It was cheap and powerful, just like you said. As one of your very satisfied students, I was wondering how I can pay homage to my Vacuum Sensei. Your student is very sorry for not buying through your Amazon links and would have if you had posted Sunday's post on Friday!"

Begging forgiveness,

April, your Sensei can't begin to describe how grateful he is for your email. As a matter of fact I'm posting it on my refrigerator door to point to when Ms. Sensei is frowning at and saying I should be "mowing the lawn" instead of taking care of my readers.

So, how can you help the Sensei? There's a lot of ways for you to help out the Sensei and all the other vacuum buyers who find themselves without teacher. MOST, I repeat, MOST of the ways you can help the Vacuum Sensei don't involve money. Here are the free ways you can help me spread the word and get more people started on the righteous vacuuming path:

1: Buying vacuums through my Amazon links.
Every time you click on one of my Amazon links I'll get credit for anything you purchase. Amazon will never charge you extra because you made your purchase by clicking one of my links.

2: Link Love
I'm extremely flattered when people think I deserve a mention and link on their personal blog, website, or message board they frequent. Anything you do to help get the word out about this Sensei is greatly appreciated! If you found my information helpful, useful, or well written, consider linking to me. I may have a banner or two in the future but for now you can copy and paste this code into your site:

The Vacuum Sensei
Vacuum Reviews

*Oh, and if you're as frustrated as I am with some of the poor quality vacuum review sites ranking high for keywords like "vacuum review" linking to me on your blog will go a long way in riding the net of these poorly constructed vacuum sites!

3: Subscribe to My Feed
You can subscribe to my feed and be updated automagically of Vacuum Sensei updates. I write a review or article almost every day.

4: Thank or Please Review Email
Reader response is one of my prime driving factors. It makes me feel good knowing I'm making a difference out there, even if it's a small one. Thank you emails are great and "Please Review" emails let me know my diligent efforts to gain your trust have paid off.

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Not Free: Donate
If you found my vacuum advice extremely helpful you can buy me a beer for my trouble. A beer in my neck of the woods is about 3 bucks at happy hour including tip. I would consider us even if you bought me a beer. My preferred donation method is the Amazon Honors System. If works like a regular purchase, except you can get a refund for your donation if you decide I don't deserve it a few days later.

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