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.

Feed URL

There's buttons on the left for Yahoo, Google, and Feedburner feed readers.

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.

Amazon Honor System

Vacuum Review Interupted

Ahhhhh, your Sensei has a customer in the shop. I was just about to do this review too....I'll finish when I get home tonight.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hoover S2220 Flair Bagless Upright Review

Hoover Flair Bagless Stick Vacuum S2220 ReviewKonichiwa! Your Sensei is up and running sleeping in really late, I got nearly 11 hours of sleep! Ughhh, last night was horrible till I finally conked out and got some rest. I woke up this morning feel much better, though I still have a sore throat and stuffy nose. Hopefully your Sensei will be well enough to make it to the shop on Monday. If not, Johnny can handle things for another day or two. If worse comes to worse, I go to work a little under the weather. I’m getting off track, it’s time to address the reason why you’re really here. You want to know what I think of the Hoover Flair Stick Vacuum.

Your Sensei loves to keep things as simple as possible. That’s why I bought every single “15 Minute Recipes” book the Sensei’s children had to sell in high school. Simplicity is the reason why I like the Hoover Flair Stick Vacuum. It’s also the reason why your Sensei didn’t like this vacuum. I’ll explain why it seems I’m so contradictory.

There are a few Stick Vacuums out there that force the user to endure a long assembly process. Removing screws, adding faceplates, and most people wind up with extra parts that weren’t meant to be left over. Not true with the Hoover Flair Stick Vacuum. Assembly is extremely simple: There’s a small bolt on the front of the vacuum, twist it counter clockwise with your fingers, slide the handle on, then twist the bolt clockwise. Poof, you’re done! Even for the least mechanically inclined person this should be simple and take no more than a minute.

However, once you’ve used the Hoover Flair for a few months you’ll need to buy a couple of parts to keep this vacuum running at maximum potential. First, the filter grill has to be replaced on a regular basis. This is the final filter air goes through before it’s put back into circulation and if it’s clogged with gunk you vacuum will spew out dust filled air back into your home, your Sensei’s worst nightmare. Okay, well, there are worse things like fires, floods, and killer bees, but still, for a vacuum repairman that cares a lot it’s pretty bad.

Performance wise, the Hoover Flair is fine. This wasn’t the most powerful stick vacuum I’ve ever had in my shop, but it was adequate. A quick run through the test carpet showed me that I wouldn’t be ashamed to have it in my home, though I’m sure if I checked my repair notes I could definitely find other stick vacuums that were better at picking up loose particles than this one.

Your Sensei ultimately decided the Hoover S2200 Flair Vacuum earned 3.5 stars out of 5 because I just didn’t see the value I see in other stick vacuums. There are several on the market right now that deliver more power, features, and less taxing maintenance than the Hoover Flair. If you’re dead set on buying a Hoover Flair your Sensei recommends patience, wait for it to go on sale then pounce on the savings.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Your Sensei is Sick

Thank heavens for Johnny and my son. If it weren't for them the shop would have to close it's doors today. Your Sensei is sick. Fortunately, all the repairs due by Saturday are finished! So, your Sensei is going home to rest and drink lots and lots of orange juice!

There may be a vacuum review up tonight, it depends on how I feel. Here's to all our health!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Vacuum Sensei is getting big enough to warrant what I believe the kids call a "sitemap".

Other Pages
Cool Links

Vacuum Reviews
Hoover WindTunnel Upright Vacuum Review
Bissell Momentum Upright Vacuum Review
Eureka Boss Smart Vac Upright Vacuum Review
Hoover Tempo Widepath Vacuum Cleaner Review

Steam Vac Reviews
Hoover F5914-900 Steamvac Review
Hoover F7452900 SteamVac All Terrain Review


Bissell Momentum Upright 3910 Review

Great vacuum, though I have received a few mechanical complaints.Vacuum Review: Bissell 3910 Momentum Upright Vacuum
Vacuum Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The truth about vacuums is they’re not all equal. Some lack a reasonable amount of features, some are way too expensive, and some have a track record of mechanical problems. I’m going to admit that I was on the fence about what to rate the Bissell 3910 Momentum Upright. I spent a lot of time trying to determine if this vacuum cleaner deserved 4 stars or a slightly below sub-par 3.5 stars. Your Sensei takes his vacuum reviews very seriously and I ended up sleeping on this one for a while. I wrote this about 3 days ago and finally came back to it this morning just before heading to the shop. Please know I took a lot of time to write this review in particular.

Before I talk about the bad, I want to discuss the good. There’s a lot of good stuff about this vacuum. First, I was satisfied with the suction power of this vacuum. My time on the test carpet picked up A LOT of dust. Anyone who purchases this vacuum will be extremely pleased with their carpets after a few passes with the 3910 Upright Vacuum by Bissell.

Your Sensei is also impressed with the included turbo brush. It seems in their quest for customers, vacuum manufacturers are starting to add more powerful vacuum hand tools, Eureka has had a lot of success promoting their vacuums with the “Power Paw” and it’s great to see other manufacturers like Bissell jumping on the hand tool bandwagon. It really benefits consumers! The rotating turbo brush really lets you get the dirt that lies beneath the top of your carpet and is great for cleaning high traffic areas like stairways and doorways.

A lot of customers come in complaining that their vacuum cleaner is shooting out dust faster than they pick it up. While I’ve never quite figured out why vacuums seem to be able to violate the laws of conservation, your Sensei does know how to prevent this from happening. The most common reason your vacuum is releasing dust back into the air is a dirty filter. It’s an often overlooked aspect of vacuum maintenance. The Bissell Momentum 3910 Upright is built with an on board clean filter indicator which means your vacuum will tell you when it needs to be cleaned. Even your Sensei forgets to clean out his personal vacuum filters and your Sensei loves that users are kindly reminded to perform this crucial vacuum maintenance that will prolong the life of your vacuum and keep your house cleaner!

And now for the bad. Honestly, once I took this vacuum apart and put it back together for one of my customers I had no problems with this vacuum. It worked great, did everything it said it was supposed to do, and delivered excellent performance. I start to take issue with this vacuum when I check it’s track record. Some, though by no means all Bissell Momentum Uprights have issues with “carpet beating”. It’s not the worst thing that can happen to your carpet but if you used a defective unit for several years your carpet might look a little more worn than it should. I want to be clear, “carpet beating” is very rare with the 3910 model and I’ve only seen it happen 3 times in my shop. But it does happen, and it is a defect. If you do have a defective model return it to your store or bring it to your local vacuum repairman or woman. They’ll be happy to make a few simple adjustments to ensure your vacuum is working properly.

If it weren’t for a rare mechanical defect in this vacuum cleaner it would have a perfect 5 stars out of 5. After much thought, I felt the risk of having to lug a defective vacuum back to the store should cost Bissell an entire star. At just under a $100 bucks it’s still a very great buy, just know there’s an extremely small chance you’ll have to exchange it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hoover Tempo Widepath Upright U5140-900 Review

Vacuum Cleaner Reivew: Hoover Tempo Widepath Upright Vacuum U5140-900
Vacuum Rating: 5 Stars out of 5 for superior performance and a low price!

Your Sensei has wanted to write about this vacuum ever since it was brought in to his shop a week ago. This vacuum performed so well your Sensei will be buying this unit for a new couple in my neighborhood. The Hoover Tempo Widepath is the best performing upright vacuum cleaner I have ever received in my shop and when I did a little research on it, found that it sold for $70 bucks. That’s right, $70 bucks. Never in my life have I seen such value in a vacuum cleaner. Before I pee my pants I want to write about why I liked this vacuum so much.

I haven’t had the privilege of working on the Hoover Tempo Widepath till last week when a customer brought it in complaining it shut down after 15 minutes. I get a lot of these complaints during heat waves and it had been over a hundred degrees for the past several days. I figured it was overheating but inspected it just to make sure.

Removing the front plate revealed a very well designed vacuum. The seals were tight, there was no unintended overlapping of components, and the drive belt was extremely stable. I could tell she had used her Tempo Widepath quite a bit because there were stains and hair wrapped around the rollers. After checking for any obstructions and loose wiring I put the Tempo back together and gave it whirl on the test carpet. I was amazed with the suction power the Hoover Tempo had and noticed that it was extremely easy to slide along the carpet and maneuver. You usually have to add a drive system to get vacuum cleaners to slide along carpet this easy, especially the thick, test carpet I was using.

I already touched on this a little bit but want to reiterate how cheap this vacuum is. You can get it delivered to your home for about $70 bucks. I’m surprised Hoover hasn’t increased the price of this vacuum cleaner to $99, I’m sure most people would still find this vacuum an excellent bargain at a hundred considering the performance the Hoover Tempo Widepath delivers.

Keep in mind that the Hoover Tempo doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles more expensive vacuums come with. No drive system, though you probably won’t miss it and no options for shutting off the roller brushes so you can vacuum up hard floors. One thing users should be careful of is sucking up curtains. I’ve had some horror stories of people vacuuming around curtains and other loose objects like t-shirts. A vacuum this powerful puts you at high risk of being one of the people walking into my shop in tears telling me "that shirt I got from my boyfriend on our first date" and then asking "can you do anything to help me?" Just be careful friends.

For being the most powerful vacuum I've ever used under a hundred bucks delivered to your home or office, the Hoover Tempo Widepath has earned 5 perfect stars out of 5!

Cool Links

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hoover F7452900 SteamVac All Terrain Review

Hoover All Terrain Steam Cleaner boasts a built in water warmer.I have a review of the Hoover F7452900 SteamVac All Terrain. I had my “padawan” learner Johnny help me put this vacuum together for the sales floor. Of course, after it was all set up we tested it out so I could give it a thorough review for you, the readers.

What Your Sensei Thought
The All Terrain SteamVac was built by Hoover to clean all of your floors from tile to carpet and most everything in between. I’ve seen several companies try to market an All Terrain steamvac that cleans tile and carpet with mixed results. As far as hard flooring goes, don’t expect any steamvac to restore your tile to mint condition.

The Hoover SteamVac did a fair job at scrubbing tile in our bathroom. The true test came when I had Johnny go over another strip of tile with a regular scrub brush. We definitely noticed cleaner tile with the scrub brush, but compared to the amount of time it took it didn’t seem worth it. The Hoover Steam Vac definitely made our tile look a lot cleaner, but it’s still no match for the Danny Tanners of the world willing to scrub on all fours.

As far as carpets are concerned, it performed as expected for a steamvac in this price range. (I use a large outside door mat and carpeting my dogs sleep on for vacuum testing.) This unit definitely has better cleaning power than some of the lower end Hoover steamvacs, however I expected a little more from Hoover. Hoover typically goes above and beyond and I would have liked to see better results from a unit over $260.

The All Terrain Steam Vac includes a built in water warmer to keep your water warm while you steam clean your house. It’s frustrating when my water is cold halfway through the tank and I have to refill my steamvac with warm water. Worse still are the units that have two tanks, one for water mixed with solution and the other for dirty water, and if I want to properly clean my carpet I have to dump expensive carpet cleaner down the drain!

One of my complaints with this unit is the brittle clean water container. Most units are made with soft plastic and can drop without breaking. I suspect if I dropped this water tank I would be ordering a couple extra parts with the note “clumsy sensei” on the invoice. Be careful with the tank, protect it.

All in all, the Hoover All Terrain SteamVac is a decent wet vacuum cleaner that’s great for carpets, and pretty good at cleaning tile. It’s one of Hoover’s higher end models and includes several extra convenience features such as tanks for clean water and cleaning solution so you don’t have to go through the trouble of mixing water and cleaner. It gives you a lot more control over how much detergent gets sprayed and is useful for cleaning high traffic areas and trouble spots on carpet. If this vacuum were about 15 bucks cheaper I wouldn’t hesitate to give it 4.5 stars, but the price tag and disaster prone water tank put this steam cleaning vacuum at 4 stars out of 5.

Cool Features
30’ power cord
3 tanks for clean water, dirty water, and cleaning solution
Good for cleaning tile

Included Tools
SpinScrub hand tool
Edge cleaner
Built in water warmer

Size: 19” x 13.25” x 44”
Weight: 30 lbs.
Amps: 12
Power Cord Length: 30’
Warranty: 1 year

Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge

Steam Vac Review: Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge
The Sensei’s Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge is an all purpose steam vacuum cleaner designed to clean home carpets, upholstery, and the inside of your car. Features include two spinning brush speeds, included tools, and the SpinScrub rotating brush system equipped with 5 spinning brush heads.

What the Sensei Says

This is the cheaper, better version of Hoover’s SteamVac Agility. I’m not knocking the Agility Steam Vac, it’s a great unit at a great price, but the Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge is a much cheaper unit that offers identical performance with just one minor difference. This model doesn’t include a “tool caddy”. The tool caddy is a minor convenience and allows users to remove the tools and carry them in a bundle. While some people may find it indispensable, it hardly seems worth the $30-$50 more Hoover feels it’s worth.

One of the things I really like about this Hoover is the sturdy design. It doesn’t feel wobbly when you move it along your carpet. Some steam cleaners are built with flimsy plastic and they’ll break down within a few uses, generating me a lot of business. Flimsy steam vacs are also much harder to push in a straight line, they’ll wobble and that’s frustrating when you’re trying to clean your living room carpet!

Remember, your carpets will never be dry on the first swipe and even after several thorough runs to pick up excess water your carpets are still going to feel damp. However, powerful suction on your steamvac is going to cut down on a lot of drying time so you can put your house back together quicker. The Hoover SteamVac had exceptionally powerful suction abilities and the carpet in my shop dried within 3 hours. (I always try to test drying time under similar conditions, there’s always a fan pointed down at the carpet for all my tests to account for people with spacious windows and those who actually do use fans to dry their carpets quicker after steam cleaning.)

One thing I didn’t like, and the primary reason I can’t give this steam vacuum my best rating is leakage. No, it’s no a poorly designed steam vac, but it is a little difficult to make sure that all the seals are properly closed. For the casual steam vacuum cleaner, it might be a little frustrating to learn how all the bits and pieces fit together and know the sounds each connection makes when they’re firmly sealed.

Also, is it too much to ask for a steam cleaner that can hold as much dirty water as it does clean water? Hoover, if you decide to roll out another version of the Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge please, please, please design the next dual tank system to hold equal amounts of water in the clean water tank and dirty water tank. I just don’t see why I should have to empty the dirty tank twice before filling up the clean one. I would really like to be able to empty and fill them both at once!

Cool Features
5 Rotating Scrub Brushes
Includes 2 hand tools for cleaning small spaces
Clean Surge feature squirts extra detergent on high traffic areas
Includes Hoover’s special carpet cleaning detergent
Safe for some hard flooring

Dimensions: 29.6” x 19.4” x 14.4”
Weight: 31.1 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 35 lbs.
Cleaning Hose Length: 8’
Warranty: 1 year Hoover warranty

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hoover Windtunnel Bagless Review S3765-040

Hoover WindTunnel Canister Vacuum Cleaner Review
Vacuum Rating: 3 stars out of 5 for costing too much
Price: $179.99
Buy The Hoover WindTunnel

I have a guest room 3 of my friends still insist is “their” room”. Despite their willingness to live like hobos, I keep a lot of extra stuff in there, fans I don’t use in the winter, your Sensei’s huge pile of old computers I keep saying I’m going to refurbish but probably never will, and of course it is now the perfect location for the Vacuum Sensei’s video vacuum cleaner reviews! I bring that awful mess up because I keep a canister vacuum on hand to clean between the heaps of plastic and wood. It’s easier to maneuver a canister vacuum in small spaces than it is to plow an upright through the mess. I do prefer uprights to canisters, but if you’re like me and have a lot of furniture or crowded quarters, a canister vacuum just might be the best of the two options.

Your Sensei was eager to review the Hoover Windtunnel. I had heard so many things about it from a friend who purchased one. (I told him to get a Miele, he was looking for a high end canister vacuum and Miele is the cream of the crop, super expensive, but the best out there.) What did the Vacuum Sensei find? Lots!

I touched on this in a previous review but manufacturers have been trending towards developing better hand held tools. It’s about time! They’ve basically stayed the same since the vacuum cleaner was invented it’s extremely encouraging to see some innovation in the industry. The WindTunnel by Hoover is great because it includes a handheld tool whose brush is powered by power and not by air. You get a very aggressive, strong vacuum brush by adding a little more than a few wisps of air. You can get the dust and grime that’s buried deep down in your carpets. The Sensei was impressed with the light and comfortable grip of this useful gadget as well!

Another thing your Sensei likes about this canister vacuum is the washable HEPA filter. Hoover says you should clean it out once a year, but coming from someone with allergies, I would clean it out at least every 3 months. It’s nice to know your vacuum cleaner is performing at its optimum potential.

One thing I didn’t like was removing the vacuum head. It’s kind of a pain to press down on the vacuum release nozzle. Well, it’s difficult for me; but remember, your Sensei is clumsy and always got picked last for dodgeball.

My main complaints with the Hoover WindTunnel are debris canister size and price. The debris canister is extremely small. I wouldn’t be surprised if regular vacuum users were dumping out dirt on a weekly basis. A good vacuum cleaner can last a couple weeks between debris dumps.

The Vacuum Sensei staff agreed the Hoover WindTunnel is a mediocre vacuum cleaner to own, If the Hoover WindTunnel retailed in the $150 range I might be able to give this vacuum cleaner a higher recommendation, but excessive price tag weights it down to 3 stars.

Cool Features
Self-winding power cord
Cleanable and reusable HEPA filter
Includes Hoover’s hand power tool
Large wheels make transport easy

Included Tools
Crevice Tool
Small Brush
Hard floor tool
Dusting brush
*Powered hand tool - Great pack in!

Size: 28.1” x 15.7” x 13.5”
Weight: 13 lbs.
Amps: 12

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Eureka Boss Smart-Vac 4870GZ Review

Includes the Power Paw for deep cleaning!Eureka Boss Smart-Vac Upright Vacuum Cleaner Review 4870GZ
Vacuum Rating: 4 Stars out of 5 for a fair price considering performance and features
Buy the Eureka 4870GZ Vacuum Cleaner

What Your Sensei Thought
Gosh, today your Sensei was going to get even further ahead on his vacuum review cue, a rare situation, but it was just too damn hot! Your Sensei decided to call it a day and put aside his other duties and take a swim in a neighbors backyard pool. But before I indulge in the fruits of my labor I feel I owe it you my loyal readers to review one last vacuum cleaner before calling it quits. Today, I bring you a review of the Boss Smart-Vac Upright by Eureka.

At just about 25 lbs. the Eureka is one of the lighter vacuums your Sensei has to review. Don’t let this lightweight fool you like it did me, this is actually one of the sturdier vacuum cleaners on the market. Some vacuum handles are loose and wobble when you push them, in extreme cases this can ruin your posture and unstable handles indicate a poorly designed vacuum cleaner. I’ve read many emails of people complaining that they would be able to user their vacuum cleaner for the next 5 years if the handle weren’t about to fall apart!

The Eureka 4870GZ is not the most powerful vacuum cleaner I’ve encountered, but it satisfactorily completed the cleaning task. It can pick up most dust and pet hair in your carpet, but don’t expect it to be as powerful as a Dyson.

The Vacuum Sensei will never judge a vacuum cleaner for “good intentions”, I judge a company by results. Unfortunately, the Power Paw Stair Brush accessory is just that, one of Eureka’s good intentions. The agitator brush simply isn’t powerful enough to provide any practical value. You’re better off using more traditional vacuum cleaner attachments to clean crevices and couches. Oh, there’s also no place to store the Power Paw onboard, that means you’ll probably have to search every room in your house before you can use it anyway.

One of the things that irks me is a large vacuum cleaner with a small vacuum bag. Ughhh, one of the things I hate is replacing vacuum bags, (My reason for keeping a canister vacuum at home.) and the Eureka Boss Smart Vac has a very small vacuum bag compared to its size. If you live on a ranch or farm and have a very dusty floor get used to switching out the vacuum bags fairly frequently. It’s not that big of a deal, but its one factor reducing my rating of the Boss Smart Vac. It also emits more heat that your typical vacuum. It definitely detracted from my cleaning experience in this extreme summer heat, but I suspect if I get to use another one of these units in the winter I’ll be extremely grateful.

One quick note about price, the price was just right. While it’s definitely not the bargain of the century, Eureka has priced the Boss Upright very fairly.

Included Tools
Power Paw for stairs and upholstery
Crevice tool
Extension wand

Size: 15” x 44” x 12”
Weight: 25 lbs.
Amps: 12