This past weekend we had to replace our vacuum cleaner. For the past 6+ years we’ve been living with a Hoover than neither my wife nor I really liked, but it did the job so we dealt with it. However, having survived over six years in a house full of little boys, it was on its last legs and we knew that we’d be replacing it sometime soon.
With all of this in mind, I was thinking of picking up a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas (romantic, I know). But that all changed this past Saturday morning when I awoke to the smell of burning rubber. As it turns out, my wife had gotten up earlier than me and was in the process of cleaning up around the house. Unfortunately, the vacuum seized up and burned out, and all we were left with was a non-functional vacuum and low-hanging cloud of smoke.
Since messes tend to accrue around here rather quickly, we were in a bit of a rush to find a replacement.
We only knew three things:
» We wanted an upright vacuum
» We wanted something that excels on carpet and hard floors
» The name Dyson was burned into our minds from all their advertising
My first step was to hop on over to Consumer Reports to check out their ratings. Here’s a quick rundown of their top 10 (based on performance in a number of categories), complete with model numbers and estimated “street” prices:
1. Sears Kenmore Progressive w/Direct Drive (35922; $300, CR Best Buy)
2. Hoover WindTunnel 2 (U8311-900; $250)
3. Sears Kenmore Progressive w/Direct Drive (bagless version of #1; 36932; $300)
4. Hoover WindTunnel 2 (U8361-900; $320)
5. Eureka Boss Smart Vac Ultra (4870; $150, CR Best Buy)
6. Electrolux Oxygen3 (EL5035A $400)
7. Kirby Sentria ($1350)
8. Riccar SupraLite (RSL3; $350)
9. Hoover Tempo Widepath (U5140-900; $60, CR Best Buy)
10. Bissell Healthy Home (5770; $250)
So what can we learn from all of this? Well, for starters, price isn’t necessarily a good indicator of performance. Second, despite all of the hype surrounding Dyson, their best model (the DC17 Absolute Animal, $550) finished just outside of the top 10 at #11. And you know all those Oreck ads you hear on the radio? Their top rated model (the XL21-700, $750) rounded out the top 12.
In the end, we went Sears Kenmore Porgressive w/Direct Drive for a couple of reasons… First, it was the top performer despite having a mid- to lower-end price tag. Second, we knew exactly where to buy it. Since it’s a Kenmore, it has to come from Sears, and our local store happened to have it in stock. Thus, we didn’t have to chase around town trying to find what we wanted. And to top it all off, they had it was on sale for $249.
Setting it up was a snap, and my wife seems quite happy with it thus far (I still haven’t had a chance to try it out).