Recommendations: canister vacuum cleaner.

caflowerluverMarch 19, 2012

My 5year old Hoover WindTunnel upright bit the dust this morning. I never really liked it any way.

I would prefer a canister so I can get under furniture easier. With the old one, I had to use a dust mop to get the stuff out first then vacuum it up. Plus a canister would be easier to move and more light weight. My old one weighed a ton and was awkward and bulky. Due to my recent problem, I think lightweight would be best.

I have all hardwood or tile floors with some small area rugs so would like a vacuum for all surfaces. Not too expensive either. I looked at Miele but they are out of my range. I have read reviews on Amazon all morning till my eyes feel dry and my head is spinning. Too many to choose from out there. I trust the recommendations I would receive from this forum over other reviewers.



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I've had a Sears Kenmore for at least 25 years. It still runs like a top. I love it (well as much as you can love a vacuum cleaner). I don't know if they are as good today as they were so many years ago, but I would look into it

It says Whisper Tone 12 amp on it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:46PM
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We have a Dirt Devil Bagless Canister and have been happy with it. I don't use it that often, and so I might not be the best person to ask, but Kevin uses it frequently and likes it. I think Bobby said it was a low end model, but it does what I want it to, and I like that it is bagless. It's very light weight and therefore easy to carry when necessary.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I will check them out and read up on them.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:17AM
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Keeping in mind in selecting a vacuum cleaner:

To me, it is important that:

1. The VC works the way I feel comfortable with.

2. It should have a HEPA filtering system.

3. It should be reliable (durable). Most VC lasts a long time because there is only one moving part (motor).

4. Up to a certain point, horse power (watts) means nothing. unlike all the other appliances, a one horse power VC has the same suction force as a 1,000 horse power motor.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm happy with our Sears Progressive.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:16AM
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dcarch - Thanks for the detailed information. I am mostly interested in performance, durability, maneuverability and weight.

Bumblebeez - Thanks for the suggestion. I have heard good things about Kenmore/Sears vacuums in other reviews.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Keep in mind that Kenmore/Sears farms out their manufacturing and doesn't always use the same vendors. Therefore quality of Kenmore products can vary from year to year, depending upon costs etc.
If you can afford it, the Miele is an excellent machine. Our daughter received one as a wedding gift 7 years ago and it's going strong. I have a less expensive Panasonic, which I'm also very happy with. I'm not sure if it has a HEPA filter, but it works well. Make sure to check out vacuum stores for brands other than Eureka, Bissell & Kenmore.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 2:49PM
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We bought a Miele recently. Skipped the bells and whistles, found a sale, was about $400. Still spendy but it is so quiet! I love it. I see them on Amazon for down to $300 (Olympus canister). That is in the range of other brands.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 5:26PM
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compumom, johnliu - I have to get over to the mall and check out the big stores like Sears and see what they have. I wish I could justify spending the bucks on a Miele but just can't. Thanks for the recommendation. I am trying stay under the $200 limit. Also I don't know if I could even find one out here in the sticks. LOL

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:54AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

The progressive we have was in the 300 range.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:29AM
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I had to drop my upright vacuum off for repair- it's a Eureka something that we bought at BB&B for under $200 a few years ago. The contractor borrowed it the last time he worked here and it's been acting up ever since. The final straw was a burned smell and we shut it off. I took it in for repair and just got an estimate of $82 for a new belt, HEPA and "service". If I just want the belt, it's $25 and the HEPA is $28.
I'm debating if I should get a new vac as this one weighs a ton and it has to be carried upstairs for most of the carpeted areas. Our canister vac does the hardwood downstairs. Do those prices seem reasonable or outrageous? Is it worth fixing or should I buy a lighter weight Dyson?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Comnpumom, it's not hard DIY

1. Go on ebay and buy a belt for $4 to $6.

2. Go to youtube "how to replace belt"

Also you can replace the filter. ebay $15 to $25


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Ellen, you should definitely have a separate vacuum cleaner that lives upstairs. In Venice we kept a separate vacuum in the garage because it was carpeted and the walkway between the house and the garage was tight, since we lived in a beach bungalow.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:31PM
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I refuse to take a vacuum cleaner in for repairs. Every time I did so in the distant past the repair guy(s) will tell me what a piece of sh*t I own and then try to sell me some 700 dollar machine. And the repairs are, as Ellen states, expensive. My solution for the last 25 years or more has been to buy a machine in the 50-80 (or less) dollar range. A HEPA filter seems to be pretty standard. I can change belts, clean out clogs and swap filters myself. These machines generally last 5 or 6 years before something breaks that isn't worth fixing. Then I toss the whole shebang and go buy another one.

The brush roller self destructed on the last vacuum. I may decide to fix it to have a spare vacuum to give to one of the kids. In the meantime I bought another cheap one on sale at Target. Now that I no longer have a dog :( and the kids are gone, cleaning is simplified.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I got a new question. What are the wheels like on your canister? DH is afraid the cheap wheels on most of the canister vacuums out there will scratch the hard wood floors. It isn't so much the 2 big wheels but the small one that is next to the hose end. Especially interested in what the Miele wheel is like. Thanks

DH and I went to the Mall to check out Sears vacuums. All they sell in the store is Kenmore and boy are they pricey! And I can't get over how cheaply made everything is even in the $500 range.

While there I wandered into Macy's because they are having a winter sale. I found Minnetonka mid calf all leather and suede boots for 75% off. They were originally $70 and I got them for little over $17. If you need new boots for this kind of weather, they are having the sale till the end of next week. Lots of styles and types.

DH just rolled his eyes. Go to the Mall looking for a new vacuum and end up with new boots. LOL. They are sooooooooooooo comfortable, I put them on right away and put my old shoes in the box when I left the store. We have been laving lots of rain lately and it has been cold (for us) so these are perfect.

Here is a link that might be useful: DOUBLE FRINGE TRAMPER BOOT

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:08PM
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I'm saving my pennies for a Miele too - have only heard great things and I've been through soooo many vacuums in my time....

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Well, I wasn't going to say 'Miele' before because you weren't heading in that direction. Sounds like you are open to the product.

There is Miele and then there is the rest of the market, mostly plastic POS as you are finding out. Miele has a 7 year warranty on their motor, and that says it all.

For hard surfaces, I am a believer in getting the least expensive bare bones canister of a given product line, without all the pricey extras. The only thing I recommend is to get one of the two parquet floor brushes (if it isn't already included).

The website below does a pretty good job breaking down the three Miele canister lines and their variations. Because there are SO many Miele vacuums, there are about as many webstores that try to explain the differences LOL.

I recommend you go to a local brick and mortar store to look at the units. Feel free to bargain. They may not be able to come down on price, but they can throw in bags/filters (or get them on ebay).

If you really can't stomach the prices, I suggest you look at Riccar/Simplicity (same mfg) but you are going to find the difference in price not that big.

Where is Bobby when we need him!

Here is a link that might be useful: One shopping guide

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:24PM
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I have a Panasonic, Elery's son used to work in a vacumn repair shop, so he seemed like the person to ask, LOL. He suggested the Panasonic at right around $200, says they are reliable, well built and easy to repair. Since the owner liked him he threw in a bunch of bags and a box full of attachments.

I like it a lot and have had it for a couple of years now with no problems. the only problem I have had is that the suction is so hard that it sucked a piece of the carpet edge right up off the floor.

I had a bagless one, I wish I could remember the brand, I know it was made in Canada. It was a great vacumn.....except.....the head and wand was plastic and not very good plastic, and it chipped off every time I vacumned under something and hit a chair leg, etc. I had it repaired twice before I gave up on it and the guy never tried to sell me anything else, said they were good machines except that the plastic parts were cheap. Like I hadn't noticed, LOL.

anyway, I have a Panasonic and like it. I use it a LOT because I have Cooper and he sheds so I sweep every day. It works well on my carpet and also well on my vinyl tiled bathroom and hallway.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 6:50PM
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I forgot to add another reason I mention Riccar/Simplicity - made in the USA.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 8:14AM
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I did a ton of research and last year I ended up buying a Meile, I think it is the Titan model. Love it because it is quiet and LIGHT. Canister VCs are like a ball and chain, so the light weight and super glidey rollers make life easier. It was way more than I originally intended to spend, but I bought it from a VC store that gave me 20% off (I asked for the discount) plus extra bags and filters.

I know this VC will last me 25 - 30 years and it is such a pleasure to use. I can't say I now *enjoy* cleaning, but I hate it a lot less than I used to.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:16AM
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Thanks for the new suggestions. The problem I have is that I live in a small town, so don't have a lot to look at and choose from in regards to brands of vacuums. It is quite a drive to get to a big city area to see all the vacuums out there. I would like to see and touch and examine a Miele or Riccar before buying, especially at those prices.

I have been so disappointed in the high end ones I have seen and so has DH the engineer. The price must be for all the bells and whistles, which I don't need. Just can't see why they are charging so much for cheap plastic appliances that are going to break in 5 years. I remember when things were made of metal and were meant to last. I know I am dating myself. LOL

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:20AM
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This one really sucks.....has amazing suction.....and if you don't have long hair pets, you can step down a model.....saving about 15 bucks.
I am on my second one.....and the reason the last one died is because a cleaning lady used it without a bag and burned out the motor.
Lightweight easy to handle very powerful suction....think it's 1200 amps....but noisy!!
Linda c

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Hey guys.... I don't check the forum like I used to... I remember the days when I'd check it multiple times a day even from my phone and work computer.... I'm working two jobs now and I just don't have the time and energy to participate or cook like I used to.... but it feels like a part of my life is missing so I thought I'd check in and see how everyone was doing and make sure everyone was still alive :o) Now you know the way to bring me out of hiding is to bring up vacuum cleaners!


You've gotten some excellent advice that I can only echo.... you guys didn't even need me for this :o)

If you an afford it, Miele hands down! They are quiet and have great filtration and all the wheels on the canister body swivel so it makes backing out of a tight corner very easy.... you can just kick the machine whichever direction you want it to go and it will readily submit.... it can cost between 700 and 1000 dollars for a Miele, so if that's not in your budget, the alternative as others have mention is Panasonic/Kenmore. Panasonic still makes most of the higher end Kenmores, but there are a few that are now made by TTI (the parent company of Dirt Devil/Hoover/Royal) and they (TTI) are an awful company and they make incredibly low quality products... vacuum people around the world mourned the day they bought Hoover.... of course they closed the North Canton Ohio factory and put all the workers out of a job and moved all production to China....

Panasonic/Kenmore canisters will resemble the one in the link below and can be had for around 2 or 3 hundred dollars.

Things to look for in an canister would include a fingertip switch (who wants to go back to the machine to step on a pedal?), brushroll off feature for quick cleaning on bare floors, dedicated bare floor tool for detailed cleaning in tight spaces, dedicated dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool (many manufacturers are trying to combine all those functions into one tool and their attempts result in a piece of trash that doesn't perform any of the tasks well), direct connect wands and hose (you should not be able to see a cord or wire on the outside of the hose.... it will get tangled and you will throw the machine in a bonfire), rubber coated wheels (just scratch the wheels of the model you are testing to figure out if it has this, it will be obvious), and a quick release wand.... a quick release wand is very nice.... there is a pedal at the bottom that if you step on will release the power nozzle with just one press... this makes getting the wand off very easy for snatching a quick cob web or doing baseboards or something that is just too big to go through the power nozzle... Another thing to look for is a manual height adjustment pedal on the power nozzle, many canisters lack a height adjustment and it's important to have one because everyone has different kinds of carpet. Telescopic wands are nice too.

Something that I like (more common on Miele than Panasonic) is a swivel neck on the power nozzle.... then you get "power steering" and it makes it more maneuverable than a machine that you just have to push back and forth.

LG has a new canister out that is called the "Follow ME"... it has motorized wheels and will literally follow the user around (look it up on youtube if your'e curious.... it's fascinating really) but I don't think that's necessary.

The only real problems with the Panasonic/Kenmore machines are that sometimes the wheels or pedals on the power nozzle can break off, they are of course cheap plastic.

If you insist on supporting an American company, Simplicity/Riccars are good machines, but for the money, I'd go with the German Miele.... still can't beat Panasonic/Kenmore for value for money.

I'd recommend not to go bagless.... the only company that makes a decent bagless is Dyson, but their canisters tend to be bulky and not well reviewed.... the power nozzle motors are whiny, they lack a height adjust and a quick release wand and a fingertip switch and you get that bagless mess every time you empty the silly thing... though it's fun to see the dirt in the cup, the dust poof when you empty the thing makes it not much fun.

Another thing to look for is a 360 degree swivel hose.... like the one in the link below, the hose swivels 360 degrees where it comes out of the machine. The alternative is that the hose would be fixed and typically come out of the front of the machine and you have to turn/pivot the entire machine every time you move....

I wish you luck in deciding and hope you'll let us know when you finally settle on a machine :o)

Here is a link that might be useful: Panasonic canister on Amazon

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Here is a video I made of two of my canisters... very old video (I have new furniture now and the vacuums are all up on shelves)... one is a Kenmore (but it's a blagless LG made machine, not a Panasonic), the other is a Miele.... the Kenmore now lives in my trunk and is my 'travel vacuum'...

The Kenmore has the fingertip switch, telescopic wand, quick release power nozzle, direct connect wands, a swivel neck power nozzle.... but it's big and bulky and the hose comes out the front.... the Miele is quiet and powerful, but it's a low end model so it lacks a finger tip switch, integrated wand/hose cord, quick release power nozzle, height adjustment.... things that even the cheapest Kenmore/Panasonic have and this was a 700 dollar entry level machine... maybe seeing the two side by side and hearing me compare them will give you some ideas about what you want....

I don't know if variable suction is important to you or not, but if you do need less suction sometimes, make sure to get one with a motor that has a dial or slider (more common with Mieles and high end vacuums than more plebeian vacuums like Panasonic/Kenmore)... cheaper vacuums tend to be on 'full blast' at all times which is fine if you aren't vacuuming small rugs or drapes....

Another thing that many Kenmore/Panasonics have is a small power nozzle (called a Powermate Jr. on Kenmores).... it has an electrically driven brushroll (some are air turbine, suction driven, avoid those) that is great for animal hair on furniture, carpet stairs and vehicles.

Here is a link that might be useful: Canister comparison

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:31PM
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vacuumfreak - I kept hoping I would hear from you. Thanks for all the great information! I will check out the videos. I have put the whole matter on hold for right now. I do that when I can't make up my mind. But I will print out your recommendations as well as the others I received and take them when I do go shopping again.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:32PM
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in my humble opinion all WindTunnel upright vacuum are worthless...i have 2 of them sitting here ? why u ask? i don't know....they need a new hepa filter every year..$80 plus $ range....i have the small oreck canister, that will pick up a 8 pound bowling ball....indeed, it pulls the carpet right off the floor....but i decided i wanted a non electric sweeper, the ones the food places to use to vacuum around the tables when you leave....well, darn, if Big Lots had them on sale the following week.....i am almost embarrassed to tell you how much dog hair it pulled out of the carpet....and i can run it every day, at great ease and only takes a few minutes...and i can use the canister to get the corners and the places it needs....ih yes $ 12.00 bissel....i was actually looking on line...when i saw this add

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:56AM
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I know I'm almost a year late to the "party," but will say that I have a 15 yr old Miele White Star (names have changed since then), which has a turbo straight suction head, as well as the hardwood floor soft brush head. Telescoping wand (great, because I'm 5'2" and my husband is 6'3"), moves around easily on swiveling wheels; long, retractible power cord; foot pedal controls; adjustable suction; other 'tools' store inside machine; 'full bag' indicator; notches on end and side of machine so you don't have the wand lying on the floor when stopping/storing.

My only regret is that I didn't get the kind that has the electric power head....

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:37AM
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