Vacuum Cleaners

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2008 - 2013 Recommendations

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

Upright vacuum for hardwood floors?

September 2006

Does ANYBODY have a recommendation for an upright that will get all the fine grit off of hardwood floors?? Argh, I don't know if I am pickier than everybody else, but I have now purchased and returned two of Consumer Reports' top picks for upright vacuum cleaners. My old Hoover used to leave my floors nice and clean-feeling on my bare feet, but these newer models can't seem to do the same job. I really dislike vacuuming with canister models and am hoping not to have to that route. On a related note, does anyone have suggestions for local stores that will allow me to test vacuums, can answer questions about them knowledgeably? Thanks much. Theresa

I also bought my vacuum based on Consumer reports and hated it. (a hoover wind tunnel, I think). Finally, I recently bit the bullet and bought a Sebo vacuum from the Sew/Vacuum place on Grand Ave in Oakland. I went in thinking I would have my Hoover repaired, but as I was complaining about it the woman working there gave me a lesson in vacuums. My old vacuum never seemed to pick up the lightest piece of fluff off my rug. I ended up using the hand tool to vacuum my rug. Crazy! I love my Sebo. I had never heard of the brand - it's made in Germany. I suggest going to a vacuum place and buying the best vacuum you can afford. The money spent will be well worth the frustration. The Oakland shop told me that I could return it no questions asked if I didn't like it. I was sold! love my $$ebo
Dear Theresa - My husband got me a Dyson upright when we moved from NY to Oakland last Dec.(I actually *wanted* a canister, but can't get the Dyson model in the US at the moment) In this house, I have berber wall2wall, wood floors and vinyl in the kitchen, and this machine has cleaned like a champ everywhere. I'm very happy with it, and thrilled not to have to remember to buy bags any longer. My only caveat would be to advise you to empty the dust cartridge into the garbage can *outside* the house you just vaccuumed; the lump of dirt/dust falls out and lands w/a poof of dust... Despite this, I agree w/James Dyson: ''I just think that things should work properly'' :-) carol
Try a Windsor vacuum from Grand Lake Sew n' Vac on Grand just up from the Grand Lake Theater. The place seems run down when you first go in... but they are extremely knowledgable and helpful. Talk to them about what you are looking for in an upright and they will find the perfect one for you. JM Drew
have you considered a Roomba? I love mine. It vaccums while I'm not looking all I have to do is pick up anything I wouldn't run a regular vacuum over and puch the button. they don't tend to do well with rugs that have long fringes, though. If you're set on an upright I'd recommend a metal royal. barefoot too
Call or go to Grand Lake Sew & Vac on Grand Avenue in Oakland, I bought my Sebo there and have been over the moon about it, best money I ever spent. I too have hardwood floors and am very picky about a clean floor. Their staff is amazing and they will let you try out everything in the store. I will never purchase another vacuum from anyone else, and actually probably won't have too as my Sebo is incredible. vacuum crazy

Decent-priced vacuum that works well

August 2006

I'm in the market for a new vacuum, and I went into sticker shock when I saw the price of these things. Is it really worth it to spend $400+ for a Dyson vacuum? I have to confess, I am a neat freak and love vacuuming, but the majority of my house is hardwood floors, and then I have a few area rugs. Can anyone recommend a decent priced vacuum that works well? Also, where does one buy a vacuum? Sears, Target?? Neat Freak Mamma

We bought a Miele canister vacuum a couple years ago at Vacuum World on San Pablo in El Cerrito and have been very happy with it. I think it cost about $350 on sale, which seemed very extravagant to my husband at the time, but it has been definitely worth it. It's just such a pleasure to vacuum with a vacuum that actually picks everything up on the first pass. It has separate heads for hardwood vs. carpet, as well as various small attachments. We chose this one because it also works well on stairs and is not very heavy.What the salesperson told me at the time (who recommended the Miele as the one he himself used at home)was that it cost more, but would last longer; I think he was right. I also would recommend that store- - they really seemed to know what they were talking about and provided smiling and efficient service. Little Suzy Homemaker :)
I would go to Berkeley Vacuum on Berkeley Way and Shattuck. I think they are very knowledgeable and don't try to just sell you the most expensive item but something to suit your needs. There are Rikker vacuums there in the $200 - $300 range, and also some Mieles in the $300 range....since you mostly have hardwood floors you may not need something with the brush etc. for carpet. anon
I, too, have primarily hard wood floors with several area rugs. I've been pleased with the Kenmore Progressive canister vacuum I bought several years ago (on sale for around $200) after doing research on line (Consumer Reports and googling: vacuum cleaner compare). It reminds me of the Electrolux I used years ago. I prefer the job it does over my old Hoover upright and Mighty Mite canister. Although I do miss the light weight of the Mighty Mite when I'm doing my carpeted stairs, the Kenmore's beater attachment cleans so much better. And the Hepa filter really keeps the fine dust out of the air. While I was researching, several of the reviews criticized the Kenmore's durability (particularly the lid to the attachment storage which is made out of plastic). The lid hasn't been an issue--but I think it could break if I was the kind of person who would stand on it or drop the vacuum upside down onto the floor

Need a vacuum that will last forever

June 2005

I'd like to get a vacuum cleaner that will last (almost) forever. Currently we only have two rugs and no pets, but that will probably change. We do have cobwebs and dustbunnies galore hiding under/ over/behind everything, kids that spill sand (and more) from pockets, down pillows that lose feathers, and lots of hardwood floors. I'd like something easy to haul around, with good attachments, and works well on non-carpet surfaces. Thanks! Gotta Start Cleaning....

I just bought a vacuum cleaner. I've always had an Electrolux passed down from older relatives, and when mine broke, instead of shelling out $800 for another one, I went online to Consumer Reports. (By the way did you know you can subscribe online just for a month for only a few dollars?) CR's Number #2 ranked vacuum was the Eureka 4870DT Upright Vacuum which was only about $150. I found it at Amazon, read the reviews about it, and got it delivered to my door two days later, which was good because 1) I didn't have to drive to the mall and 2) the dust bunnies were piling up. I'm very happy with the Eureka. It has great suction. One of the Amazon reviews said they took a cannister vacuum and then figured out how to make an upright from it (I guess cannisters have better suction) It adjusts for carpets vs. wood floors (I have both) has a hepa filter, a light, a hose, and several hose attachments which all store neatly on the vacuum, so you get the convenience of an upright, but you have the hose attachment for things like stairs. It isn't as solid looking as my Electrolux - it has a lot of plastic parts - but that's a benefit too, because it's much easier to carry up and down stairs. It isn't any louder than my Electrolux, it cleans as well as the Electrolux, and it costs a lot less! Ginger
Definitely go get yourself a Meile! Best vacuums, hands down. Has attachments for hard-surface floors, turbo attachment for rugs - high and low pile, and all the other standard attachments. Moves around the house easily on little wheels, cord stores in machine. Meile's the best. I also recommend getting yours at the Berkeley Vacuum Center on BErkeley Way just above Shattuck. Great service, where they'll run you through the different models and you pick what's best for you. Meile's are a little pricey though. Got mine six or seven years ago, and it was $500. But, I've loved vacuuming ever since! Meile fan
I LOVE my Miele Flamenco!! I have hardwood floors, two kids who like to walk on spilled cheerios, plenty of dust bunnies trying to form and this vacuum takes it all on! It's manuverable, light, has a good reach, several useful attachments and a very good filter (I didn't go for the HEPA, but the standard filter works great, even with my dust allergies)! I can't recommend it highly enough. I've had it 1 1/2 years and it works like brand new! Rachel
Hi - You ask for the best vaccuum cleaner in 2005, but I'm going to recommend my vaccuum cleaner from 1999 because it still works. (I would hope ANY vaccuum from 2005 still works, so I'm not sure that's the right question!) I have a Miele. From around 1985 - 1999 I bought a new vaccuum cleaner about once a year. Finally I'd had it, so I paid three times as much for the Miele. I've now had it for six times as long. So it definitely has been worth it.

And you can get them fixed instead of throwing them away, which is awesome. This year we feared it was dead but we only need a tiny little inexpensive part and it's as good as new. Ours is a canister type with an air filter and a non-powered rug brush - basically the entry level model. We use it on a mix of hardwood floors and wool area rugs. We have two messy kids and until recently had a shedding factory of a dog. No problem at all. I can't recommend it highly enough. it really sucks

I bought a Rhoomba vacuum robot from Sears and I love it. It's especially good at going under furniture. It doesn't have any problem with the fringe of my area rugs, which really surprized me. And it does a great job on cat hair. Downside is that the rollers need to be cleaned a lot - probably because it works so well.
I have a Eureka 4870 and it's been great. It's got a hepa filter, and my dust allergies improved significantly when I bought this thing. It's an upright, and not too heavy. It works well on both carpet and wooden floors. They're available in Sears, or online; I got mine in Target for about $120 in a sale. My father has a Miele canister - which I love using, it's easier - but not so good for the dust allergies (no Hepa filter in his model). I think a Miele with a Hepa filter would possibly be even better than the Eureka - but it costs a lot more. Janice
i didn't see the original post but love out dyson complete! our vacuum broke in our move to an old house we would be doing renovations on. the housecleaner asked for a miele, which i had been wanting too. hubby asked me to check the reviews on the dyson for hepa filter and price. i was surprised!!!!! the dyson has a finer hepa filter that was washable for half the price!!!! i went to the dyson website and checked out the features of the various models and chose the dyson complete available at sears. i bought it online and picked it up without entering the store. we LOVE it. it takes a little getting use to as it functions a bit differently than a normal vacuum, but it is amazing what it picks up!!! we empty the canister an unbeliebable amount of times compared to our old bag. and now our housecleaner asks us to call her other clients and tell them about the vacuum for them to buy. miele is no longer her favorite as she finds the dyson easier to use and does a better job. there is this groovy dusting wand for walls (along with many other attachments), a long hose so one doesn't need to schlep the vacuum on the stairs, and is awesome on animal fur. julia

A good first vacuum

March 2004

I'm getting married soon and am looking to register for/buy a vacuum and need recommendations. It will be for medium pill carpeting probably and I would love to have attachments to get into any nooks and crannies. I've never bought a vacuum before and am not sure what is a ''reasonable'' price.....something that is not so cheap that it will die in a few years, but nothing that will cost more than a sofa or something would be nice. Any suggestions or tips would be very helpful and appreciated. Thank you. Mrs. Park to be

I can't recommend highly enough the Dyson vacuum. You've probably seen them in the brigth yellow or purple. My husband who is admittedly a vacuum freak absolutely loves it. We bought the higher end ''animal'' model since we have 2 dogs, it is a cute purple color. The suction is amazing. We had just finished vacuuming with our old vacuum when we brought this one home and vacuumed again, we completely filled the cannister. It is a bagless vacuum so they're no spendy bags and filters. It has lots of attachments that neatly fit right on it, clearly designed by an engineer. Register a Dyson, I know you can buy the non-animal model at Target, we bought ours at Sears. Happy cleaning! Sucked In B(u)y A Dyson
Absolutely go for the Miele vacuum. Our kid has a dust mite allergy, so we had to buy a seriously effective vacuum, and did lots of research. It's a terrific vacuum, and they have different models at various price levels. Berkeley Vacuum sells them. Good luck! married with vacuum
Our Miele has held up wonderfully for about 7 years. I love the HEPA filter and that the attachments store so neatly inside the canister. It's a joy to use. Vacuum Every Day
Dyson - it's a fabulous vacuum with great suction power. They now carry them at Target as well as Sears I think(range $400-800 depending upon style). I bought one (online - direct from the company) after a friend recommended it and have just loved using it. I did the vacuum trick of vacuuming with the old vacuum first, then vacuuming with the new one, and was astonished with the amount that my old vacuum left behind. don't mind vacuuming anymore
We love our Samsung Power Jet. We've heard they can be hard to find (we bought ours online) but they are excellent and a reasonable price. Ellen
Dear Mrs. Park to be!
Electrolux vacuum cleaners are the best out there (In my opinion) - it's on the expensive side, but you will have it for at least the next 20 years. My mom replaced the one she bought in 1971 a few years ago only because she wanted a newer model with better allergy fighting filters, etc. I've had mine since 1994 and it still feels like new. They are built to last. There is even an electrolux store on Telegraph in Oakland. The salesmen seem to be stuck in the 70s, but if you can get over that, it's well worth it! Congratulations!!!! a fellow future bride!
We just bought a new vacuum after researching through Consumer Reports, 2003 year-end recommendations. The Kenmore HEPA was the top pick this year, and much less expensive than others posted on the historic listserve responses. We've been happy with it: cleans hard surfaces and medium-pile carpets pretty well. We have 2 adults, 3 teens, 2 dogs, 2 cats--lots of dirt. Amy
Consumer Report reviewed them last year, I think. Check your local library for back issues. J12

2003 & Earlier

Vacuum for stubborn pet hair

Sept 2003

I have 3 cats and a dog, so the hair factor is high. The dog likes to roll on rugs, and he has that needle-type hair that digs into the fibers. We've tried a bunch of cheapo vacuums, but most of them miss the cat hair, and ALL of them leave the dog hair. Has anyone used a Kirby for stubborn pet hair? At this point, money is no object, as I have a daughter who is almost ready to crawl. Please help!!

We have a long haired dog with non-needle type hair. She sheds everywhere and when the car is full of it, we use a lint brush to remove it. The sticky lint brushes don't work and neither do vacuum cleaners. The lint brush we use has soft red little bristle-type things that pick up the hair, and you basically brush the item that has all the hair stuck on it, then when it's on the brush, you remove it with your hand. We also use it to de-fur our clothes. I have seen these at Ralphs and also Longs. I believe Bed Bath and Beyond may have them too. I have 2 types from 2 different manufacturers, but basically they look like:

Evercare has a web site: but it doesn't really show this product clearly. Anon

I have one shortish haired dog and two cats, all of whom shed like mad. I also used to have a cheap-o vac but for the same reasons as you finally plunked down a couple hundred for the kenmore whispertone. I love it, it does a really good job on our carpet. although our carpet is that berber stuff so maybe that is an easier type to vacuum? I vacuum nearly everyday, the frequency probably averages to five times a week, and the machine works just as well as it did two years ago. the whispertone is a canister vacuum and you can buy it at sears then get your refill bags at osh. gael
Hi there, We only have one dog, no cats, but she's a long-haired dog and with our two young kids, I too want the floors and rugs to be as hair-free as possible. So years back I bought a Samsung Quiet Storm vacuum-- it is not cheap (as I recall my husband almost made me take it back because he had such sticker shock). However, I LOVE it because it truly does the job. I got it at the Vacuum World store on San Pablo in El Cerrito. I have had it for four years and have taken it in for repairs once when one of the little buttons that enables you to take the attachments on and off broke and Vacuum World had to order another part. Good luck finding the perfect vacuum! luisa
Without a doubt get a Miele. Buy one with an electric hose. They make a cat/dog hair model... I forget which one, but anyone with an electic hose will do. It is expensive but if money is no object you will be very happy. Also be sure it has a hepa filter. Both of these features will make for happy, productive vacuuming. We bought ours online (and didn't have to pay tax!) at Or you can always try Ebay if you have the patience. one dog and two cats
Consumer Reports magazine reviewed vacuums a while back (sorry, I don't remember which issue). Try your local library. J12

Quiet, small vacuum cleaner

June 2002

I need to get a new vacuum cleaner. My current one, a Eureka, lasted about 3 years before breaking. I'd really like to get one that is longer-lasting, works well on wood floors and carpets, isn't super-noisy, and doesn't take up a lot of storage space. Any suggestions? Phyllida

Check out the Samsung Quiet Jet. It got one of the highest ratings in Consumer Reports. I haven't had mine very long, but it works very well, is relatively quiet and not too heavy. I got it at Berkeley Vacuum on Berkeley Way in--you guessed it--Berkeley. Nancy

Long-lasting vacuum that picks up pet hair

March 2002

We need a new vacuum cleaner. Past vacuums have started out working ok, but then seem to go down hill pretty quickly and a number of them literally start to fall apart. We don't have much money, but if it really made a big difference we would try to get a pricier model. Can anyone recommend one that really works well and is worth the money in terms of how long it lasts? It'd be great if it could actually pick up dog and cat hair! I've looked at the website and didn't find anything that specifically addressed my question. thanks in advance, karlyn

I swear by Miele vacuum cleaners; they are expensive and worth every penny. Janet
Go to Grand Lake Sew and Vac and talk to Reggie. He'll probably set you up with a Sebo upright -- not cheap, but he'll convince you why it's actually better than the more expensive Mieles. I have dust allergies and I vacuum a lot. I've been really happy with my Sebo. And the two times I've had troubles, I've brought it down to Reggie, who fixes it in a jiffy for no charge (it's usually some blocked something that I didn't figure out how to unblock) and then walks me and my vacuum back to my car. They also will take trade-ins on old vacuums, even if it's a pathetic piece o' junk like my old one was! -- Ilana
We bought a Miele Solaris last year and have been extremely happy with it (~$700). Its a canister vacuum (vs. an upright) that has a motorized attachment for carpets which I highly recommend (the lower models aren't motorized). It works great (carpets and floors are really clean after vacuuming), its very quiet, and perhaps because of the HEPA filter it doesn't have that vacuum cleaner smell (either when vacuuming or when it is stored in the closet). Kind of pricey, but from websites that we looked at, very reliable and should last a long time. kelly

HEPA vacuum cleaner

December 2001

We're looking to buy a hepa vac, and any advice/info. would be very welcome. Thanks in advance. Shirley

We got a Eureka brand canister vacuum, model 'Royal' or something like that, and got their HEPA bags. It was over $300 I think at the vacuum store on Grand Avenue, not cheap; but seems to do the job (NO visible or smellable dust emitted, unlike with every other vacuum cleaner I have ever used). It is probably not good for industrial use (someone makes wet/dry industrial HEPA vacs), but great for the home. You can buy cheaper non-Eureka replacement bags, we found out. -Nils
I bought one through Allergy Control Products several years ago. They have a web site - Elisa
I've just been through this process and bought one - here's what I found: The Eureka Boss SmartVac upright (which I bought for $150 this week) has a hepa filter and claims to have a fully sealed unit. It got the best recommendations amongst the ones you can buy in the shops, for the lowest re-emissions of dust particles. I was looking for one as we've found lead paint in the house, so I want to clear the possible lead dust, also I've developed allergies since coming to the USA. The only competitor was the Hoover Ultra Windtunnel, but most recommendations seemed to be for the Eureka for lowest emissions of dust. The sealed unit seems to be the issue; what's the good of a hepa filter if the dust just gets out round the side...? An interesting hepa vacuum, though more expensive (about $600) is the Nilfisk family vac. This is a canister one, and Nilfisk is a Danish company that claim to manufacture vacuum cleaners for NASA. They also specialise in clearing lead and aspestos dust. I think the vacuums they use for that are more refined than their 'Family Vac' model, but it sounds as if it is at least as good as the Eureka, probably better. I'm thinking of getting one of these. There's a website at I hope that helps; I'm tired tonight so I hope it makes sense! Janice
One of the vacuums recommended cost $600. If you're willing to go that high, consider getting a central vac instead. I love mine. The canister (size of a small barrel in my case) goes in your basement/garage, so all the exhaust (w/dust, etc.) stays there. You just plug a long hose into your wall outlet, turn it on with the thumb switch, and vacuum with the various attachments. There is no need to have a HEPA filter on anything, since you're not breathing in any dust or particulates. I love mine. It's an Electrolux. Their closest office is in Oakland (658-2851). My mom has an Electrolux central vac, too. My sister has a Beam central vac. Hers was $600 and her husband did all the installation (basically putting up wide-bore PVC pipe in your basement to the wall outlet(s). Mine was more because I had it installed by an Electrolux contractor. (I didn't buy mine from the Oakland store, but rather from a salesman at the California State Fair.) -Jennie Van Heuit
I just bought a vacuum cleaner for my house which has mostly wood floors but also a bit of carpeting and rugs. From my research (primarily a Consumer Reports article from a couple years ago I found at the Berkeley Public Library) it appears that upright vacuums are basically for carpeting. Canister vacuums can usually do both. I ended up buying a Hoover Powermax Deluxe for $250 at the Berkeley Vacuum Center on Berkeley Way near Shattuck and we love it. It is a canister with a power rug attachment and works well on both wood floors and carpets. You can get it with HEPA bags that cut the dust emissions down to almost nothing. The other option I considered was a Eureka Mighty Mite (a compact canister) for the wood floors and and an inexpensive Hoover upright for the carpets, which would have come out to the same price. You might find prices slightly cheaper at a large department or discount-type store but I like supporting a local business and their prices for what I was looking at seemed reasonable. Anonymous
Uprights don't have as much power as canisters. My Electrolux does both wood floors, linolium, and carpets. And it uses the HEPA bags. Marianne