It has been unwell for quite sometime. I'd repaired the beater bar, fixed the release pedal, rigged the height adjustment, straightened and unkinked the hose and reset the slippery belts numerous times. The HEPA filters needed replacing, again, the canister was cracked, the tools were misplaced or broken (the wands are often used for swordplay around here), and my vacuum just didn't have the sucking power it once had. So last week, after it tore through another belt and while I was operating on it's smoking remains trying to fix it I found the plastic roller inside to be cracked, sharp and slicing through the belts. That is when I finally caved. These repairs were beyond my abilities and the potential costs for professional help were beyond my means. Time to get a new vacuum.
I guess I shouldn't say "the potential costs were beyond my means" because truly if I couldn't afford to repair a vac how would I be able to replace a vac. What I should say is that the repair bill was going to easily top $100 and the machine might last another year if I was lucky. I'd rather get a new machine.
So I set out, as I usually do when making a big purchase, to research the best machines. I headed straight to my library website where I logged in and was able to access Consumer Reports online for FREE. I read all about what things to look for in a vacuum, customer satisfaction surveys, machine and brand reliability and then their performance tests. I scoured the site off and on for a couple days weighing what rating areas were most important to me (ability to clean carpet and ability to clean pet hair) and which areas I would be willing to give up a little on (noise). On the Consumer Reports site I was also able to compare different models side by side and instantly shop local sales online to find the best prices (my max was $200).
After all my hemming and hawing and pondering and weighing I still couldn't make up my mind. This is when Dave looked over my shoulder and said "Get that one". He was pointing to a Hoover that, though it was their bottom of the line model, was very highly rated (scored a 72/100, the highest rated model got a 74/100 and the lowest rated model got a 40/100). It was listed on Consumer Reports for just over $100 but when we searched local prices we found that it was on sale at Sears for $80!!! Needless to say we ordered it online and scheduled a pickup for that evening.
This machine is a bagged vacuum. The last few machines I've had were canisters and always seemed to throw out half as much dust as they were taking in, the HEPA filters were always clogging and very expensive to replace and it was such a pain to empty the gunk. I was sick of it! The bags are their own filter, keep all the gunk contained and are easy to collect and empty. Since the bag is the filter that means that there isn't a filter to get clogged which means the suction is better too.
My last machine had all the bells and whistles. It had all the indicator lights, multiple adjustments and settings and tools and everything. I rarely paid attention to these let alone used them. This vacuum is minimal. It has a 4 level height adjustment and it has 5 snap on tools (2 wands, dust brush, upholstery tool and crevice tool). Because of the minimality this machine is lighter and easier to carry and maneuver up and down my stairs and is smaller which makes it easier to store.
Though I am very happy with my purchase and feel like I got a great deal there are a couple of drawbacks to this machine. Unfortunately the tool hose is not made of as supple a plastic as the old vac's hose was and is not as long. This can make vacuuming the stairs a bit more cumbersome as well as reaching very high cobwebs a lot more difficult. Fortunately I live in a low ceilinged home and my stairs are not in a high traffic area of the house therefore I don't foresee the short hose being a huge problem. The second drawback is that the electrical cord is also short. Though I don't have a large home I am lazy and don't like to unplug and replug my vacuum more than twice while vacuuming the house. To solve this I will either add an extension to the cord OR I will harvest the cord from the old vac and install it on the new one. There is a 10 foot difference in the cords.
My previous vacuum had been broken for about 4 days before the replacement arrived and thus my floors unvacuumed for that long. There was accumulation, plenty of testing ground for the new vacuum. I have been using my new vacuum for 4 days now. I have used it on the bare floors in the boys room, the area rug in my bedroom, the carpet throughout the house, the stairs, the upholstery, the windowsills and jams, the corner cobwebs, the dogs bed, under the boys bed. I have tried this thing out on every surface I have to offer and it does an excellent job (Beware if you have sensitive wood floors as the beater bar does not stop turning even if you have it set to bare floors) picking up everything in sight and leaving the carpets looking and feeling cleaner than they have been with the old vac. The suction on this machine is incredible. I did accidentally capture a few marbles and a lego man head, RIP, before I even realized what happened. And I am happy to report that after all this cleaning my vacuum bag isn't even half full; the old canister would have required at least 2 emptyings and filter cleanings.
But what I am most happy about is that for less than the cost of repairs on the old machine I got a new machine that is a top notch performer. Who would've thought?