vacuums: riccar or miele, upright or canister?

honeychurchJanuary 31, 2012

Hi everyone--

I'm looking for a new vacuum, as I'm sick of the bagless dust dervish currently "cleaning" my floors--more like redistributing the dust, but whatever, my fault for going cheap, right?

I've established that I want something with a bag. We are not very allergic people, and having a standard poodle don't have to deal with too much pet hair. But we like clean, and dust-free, and living in a 140 yo house that is not always an easy goal.

On the first floor, we have hardwood floors, porcelain tile, and marmoleum. All of the rooms with wood also have sizable area rugs (so more rug than wood in these rooms), but there has to be an easy transition between the two, like a simple push of a button.

The stairs and two bedrooms have wall-to-wall berber carpet, and the rest of the upstairs hallway and BRs are again wood floors with area rugs.

From what I have read, canisters are recommended for hard floors and uprights for carpets, but for someone like me with both--which one is better and easier?I think I read on another post here "Riccar for upright, Miele for canister?"

I like the Riccar/Simplicity lines because they are made in the USA and seem to have a good reputation. I have a dealer about an hour away. Seems like the Brilliance line might be the way to go?

I like the Miele also because of reputation, and was thinking along the lines of the Callisto (but does this easily switch between floor and carpet or do I have to switch the brush head out each time?)...I also like this option because I could purchase on-line.


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I'm not familiar with the Riccar, but have you considered a Dyson? I have cats, dogs and grandkids, and you would have to pry the dyson out of my hands before I would consider anything else. It's bagless, but I find that to be a treat, I empty it every time I vaccum and it's a very simple procedure. I love it, nothing works as well with pet hair, and I do have half hardwood and half carpet in my home. It does a good job on hardwood, but kicks butt on carpet. Not cheap, but I've had my Dyson animal for 5 years and it's still going strong, compared to my previous system of buying a new vaccum yearly. Id buy another one if this one dies. Also it beats butt on my sisters Oreck.

Its very simple on the Dyson to switch from carpet to hardwood floor, just a flick of a dial, I do it all the time also the dyson works so well that my kids actually LIKED to vaccum, it's amazing the amount of dirt you pick up in a normal "clean" room!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 12:02AM
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After years with a Dyson, I was getting frustrated with the fact that I couldn't go in small places (under a bed etc...) and decided to switch to a canister.
So I decided to go all out and bought the Miele Capricorn...oh my! So that's what it's like to vacuum! The Dyson was no slouch but the Miele is in a different league all together.
First, the quality of the material is first grade, much better plastics that the Dyson. The Capricorn allows you to change the power from the handle (6 settings if I recall) from full power, to quiet mode, to vacuuming your curtains without sucking them. It is pretty quiet even on full power, much more quiet than my Dyson.
I personally prefer a canister because of its maneuverability. It's much lighter to pull and operate than an upright and can go behind tight spaces and under the bed (finally!)
The only downside is you will need two different brushes for your floors (I have both too). On the upside, they're very easy to change, and you can control the brush for the carpet from the handle as well (on the capricorn anyway) so you can turn off the rotating brush without moving your hand when your reach the fringes of a rug for example.
I do love those control buttons on the handle.
A friend of mine just bought a capricorn as well and had the same reaction: I wish I would have bought this a long time ago! It's like vacuuming for the first time. And that's coming from a Dyson!
Great quality, fantastic power, super quiet and very light. Expensive, but like every Miele product, you do get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:06AM
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We have a Miele Salsa upright. It's fantastic and easily switches between hardwood and carpeted floors.

It's light but built like a tank. Even survived a teenager induced free fall down a flight of stairs.

My wife and I were sick of cheap vacuums so we went for a first class machine. We aren't sorry.

Big Miele fan here!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:15AM
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I don't know about the Riccar or Dyson, but wanted to chime in on the Miele - I purchased a S5281 (Callisto) almost two years ago and couldn't be happier with it. Previously we had a mid-high end Kenmore. The difference is night and day. We have an old house with which tends to be dusty (all hardwood/tile/painted pine floors), but when I vacuum with the Miele it is CLEAN (not even anything left in the air to be seen on a sunny day). The Miele vacuum is much quieter than the Kenmore and I love the adjustable height handle - I am tall and can finally vacuum without hunching my back, while the handle also reduces to be the perfect size for kids to help with the cleaning as well.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:59AM
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Thanks for the input! I think after sleeping on it I am leaning towards a canister, but I am still too lazy to think about changing brush heads back and forth in each is possible to use the carpet head and just turn the brushes off for the hardwoods or do I really need to switch to the parquet floor brush?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:47AM
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My sister has always liked her Riccar and wanted to buy vacuums for her kids and I needed one as well. We live not to far from the Riccar/Simplicity factory and decided to visit their factory store in St. James Mo. They also have a museum of antique vacuums. The curator is Tom Gasko who also works in the factory store. He was pretty interesting to talk to.

We ended up buying the Simplicity Jill from him. We have had them a few years and everybody is happy with them. It is a smaller cannister. I have mostly hardwood with rugs and use the allergy type bags. I think it was about $150 from that store.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tom Gasko

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 9:41AM
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We have the Miele Capricorn with the SEB-236 model power head. The answer is, yes you can run it over hard floors and you will work without switching to the parquait brush head. Just shut off the brush -- it's controlled at the handle -- and continue vacuuming. But on the Capricorn, you can switch the heads out without bending over at all. There is a latch on the wand that you just step on and the powerhead comes off. Then you just snap on the parquait attachment by hand. When done, remove the parquait brush just plug the wand back into the powerhead. It's easy. The parquait attachment cleans hard floors better, and it gets into the grout lines of our tile much better.

A word on Riccar. Prior to the Miele, we had a Riccar upright. While it was constructed well and lasted about 8 years, it got to the point where it was eating belts. Since the belt drive cannot be shut off on the Riccar upright we had, it proved less than ideal for our tile.

The Miele is far superior in every way. Better suction, better attachments and wand (you can lay the handle over and the power head will go all the way flat underneath a bed, or use a brush tool and extend the wand and you can get ceiling registers clean.) It has a HEPA system and you will never see a drop of dust escape it. It is very quiet, too. Best vacuum I have ever used.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:59AM
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We just bought a "Shark Lift Away" and believe it or not it is better than the Dyson.
Only cost $160 from Bed Bath and Beyond with the 20% coupon.
Can also get the regular Lift Away from Costco for about $130.00

We have a huge oriental rug in our living room, had just vacuumed it about 2 weeks prior with our old vacuum.
I could not believe the amount of very fine dust the Shark sucked out of that rug that we thought was supposedly "clean". I literally filled the canister up to its full mark.

I did a test at BB&B with the Dyson before buying it.
At BB&B they have a little rug with the Dyson logo on it right in front of the Dyson vacs.
I took down the best Dyson they had and vacuumed the entire rug twice.
Took down the Shark and went over the just vacuumed rug and pulled out quite a bit more fine dirt that the Dyson left behind.
The Shark was quieter, lighter, was both an Upright AND a Canister all in one and had more suction plus cost about $400 less.
I was totally amazed how good this vacuum is for the price.

Ours comes with a hardwood floor attachment that both vacuums and dust/cleans the hardwood.
The regular head is small and also lays flat so that you can get under almost any furniture.
The swivel turning is just as good as the Dyson ball.

It turns into a hand held canister in 2 seconds.

If it last 10 years its the best value in Vacuums there is.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Just adding my experience to Mojavean's on using the Miele's carpet head to vacuum tile and wood floors, by turning off the rotating head. We don't have the top of the line model, but did pop for the version that has the cord integrated into the wands so that changing brush heads is pretty easy.

But we are both pretty lazy and 95% of the time use the carpet brush for the whole house (which is a mix of carpet, rugs, hardwood, and tile.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 2:51PM
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