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I'm getting old.
November 21, 2011 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Can we talk about vacuums please?

I'll try to be brief:
My home is almost 100 years old, hardwood floors throughout, only a few area rugs here and there. We have three dogs, all dander-y although only two of them are serious shedders. They have a designated couch and chair, which are not our normal couch and chair. They do not get on the bed, but they do sleep in the bedroom on designated beds.

My fiancee is allergic to lots...although not dogs. She's allergic to dustmites and grasses and oak. (Allergy test like 10 days ago confirms it.) Our house IS pretty dusty. I'm in the process of fixing our whole-house furnace-attached humidifier as it was functioning incorrectly and I do finally have the correct furnace filter installed correctly.

Anyway, I've been made aware of the non-plastic allergy fabrics for beds and whatnot, and we're doing the "change the sheets once a week" thing, which is all well and good. The dogs so shed though...so much...she vacuums literally every day and it fills up the canister every day. The downside is that this is a cheap, hoover vacuum, and turning it on I can see it just throwing dust everywhere. The filter in it is ~$8 and gets replaced monthly.

I'm wondering, if we get a good vacuum, could we use it like...on the bed and the floors and the stairs and everywhere, and can it not make us go broke on internal filters (not that $8 a month is making us go broke, but...it seems excessive and very time consuming, and then there's the pre-filter and the foam band and...ugh it's gross.) and can mitigate the dust AND the hair?

I've read reviews on like, say, the Dyson Animal D28, however that seems like extreme overkill for a house with no permanent carpets. (Although carpet may happen once the most elderly dog passes away, not sure yet, toddler in the house leading that decision.)

So...is there a vacuum that's GREAT for dog hair and dust that doesn't just throw dust everywhere? And can it not be disgusting to dump out the bin? I thought of like a roomba, but a lot of the quickest hair buildup is on the stairs.

Sams yesterday had a returned Animal for $419, which seems kinda nuts for a vacuum, but I suppose you buy it once and you don't need to buy it again ever? I dunno. I ask you.
posted by TomMelee to Home & Garden (58 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dyson!! Don't even look at another.
posted by JohnE at 6:46 AM on November 21, 2011


Filtering is important, otherwise, you just pick up the fine dust and throw it into the air. Hair is easier, because it's long.

Yes, on Dyson -- they're expensive, but they'll last forever. See the Samuel Vimes Theory Of Economic Injustics.
posted by eriko at 6:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't afford a Dyson, but in college I lived in a house that had a (2003-vintage) Dyson Pet, and a hairy cat. This worked out fairly well.
posted by Alterscape at 6:51 AM on November 21, 2011


If dust is a real problem, be sure your vacuum is HEPA rated - I don't know if Dyson machines qualify (they might well, I just don't know).

Latest issue of Consumer Reports rated Dysons (and many other vacuums) and they were surprisingly far down the ratings list. This is a bit of a disconnect to me, as everyone I know who has one (ok, n=2) likes them. Our cheapie Panasonic HEPA has been fine - we have hardwood and some medium pile carpet. On the other hand, the dogs stay outside.
posted by zomg at 6:55 AM on November 21, 2011


Another Dyson household here. It has a washable filter. I dont think it's HEPA rated though.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:58 AM on November 21, 2011


We've had a Miele vacuum for a long time now. Most of them seem to have HEPA filters, and the model we have (long since retired, I'm sure) is very powerful for its size. We'd definitely buy another.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:02 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I absolutely swear by my Miele Olympus. HEPA filtered so you can vacuum up entire dogs without blowing dust anywhere, a parquet brush that works wonders on floors, a great power brush for rugs, extremely powerful but with multiple settings so you can use it on blinds or curtains too, and light enough to cart around all over the house without a problem, including up the stairs (with a crevice tool that is good for stairs too). I feel like it's more maneuverable than the Dysons, but I haven't tried a Dyson with my actual furniture, so couldn't swear to that. It does have a bag, but the bag has a little trapdoor that shuts once you pull it out, so no dust escapes.

Also the bag is like a little quilted pillow and it is adorable. Not that that should factor into your decision.
posted by mittens at 7:04 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seconding Miele..love mine
posted by murrey at 7:05 AM on November 21, 2011


You want a Dyson. Period.

HEPA filter, etc.
posted by dfriedman at 7:08 AM on November 21, 2011


Miele too. Costly but worth it.
posted by kcm at 7:11 AM on November 21, 2011


We use a Dyson to great effect for our mostly hardwood apartment that is home to two long hair cats. It's 100 year-old parquet that is in desperate need of refinishing, and has lots of nooks and crannies between each piece of wood. The first time we used the Dyson we were shocked by how much was sucked up. And we both swear that the floor actually feels different after it's been vacuumed. We got a good deal on one from Woot. (It's not the Animal, but one of the canister vacs).
posted by kimdog at 7:16 AM on November 21, 2011


My husband was a vacuum repairman for years, and I'll try to get him to post when he wakes up. I know dysons are popular with members on here (particularly for reasons like "they make vacuuming more fun"--and you can't argue with that, I guess), but he's never liked them from a service standpoint--they're overpriced and difficult to repair, with lots of plastic parts which frequently break. He seemed to like miele okay (they're another high quality brand), but he usually recommends Aerus Electrolux vacuums, with attachments picked specifically for your specific situation. In other words, you'd probably want a HEPA canister, with a floor brush and furniture attachments. Electrolux vacuums seem to have been made for servicing and maintenance, rather than replacement. They last forever. Our canister vacuum is a model from the early 70s. My mother used a 40s model until a few years ago, when she traded it in for a new one, because you could (finally) no longer find repair parts.

What my husband generally does not recommend is buying a sub-$200 plastic upright. They're made for planned obsolescence, to be replaced within 5 years. He also recommends staying away from bagless vacuums, as (no matter what manufacturers claim), the dust circulates inside, creating situations that is bad for allergy sufferers and worse for the vacuum. Vacuum bags protect the inside vacuum parts--it's necessary when you have dust and dirt floating around inside your machine.

I know these suggestions are expensive ones (more expensive than the returned animal you're looking at), and again, not terribly popular here on metafilter amid the dyston-love. If you go dyson, I'm sure you'll be happy with it. But I wouldn't expect to be able to pass it on to your kids, which is actually a possibility with a real high quality vacuum.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:20 AM on November 21, 2011 [18 favorites]


Yup, Miele. The Cat & Dog version. Bought mine years ago (they still make them, not to worry); it has sucked up the fur and dander of two generations of cats and is still going strong. The bag is a plus: I put a cotton ball with 10 or so drops of lavender essential oil into it evey time I change them out. Smells great (scent molecules escape HEPA filter) and is a natural disenfectant.
posted by likeso at 7:21 AM on November 21, 2011


I have a cat, a hound dog, other pets whose environments are messy when cleaned, a seven-year old and a husband. We do a lot of arts and crafts. There is a policy that tiny toys left on the floor will be unmercifully vacuumed up.

I recently needed to replace my reliable old Sears Kenmore canister vacuum (with sadness - partly because it was hot pink!). It was great for almost seven years; I could take it apart and clean it myself and repair parts were easily available and affordable. Finally the hose disintegrated in a few places from near-daily use over this time, and I was due a few presents from my in-laws and decided it was time to consolidate them for a new vacuum. I tried a Bissell upright in the meantime, thinking that it would be easier to just dump out the bin, the filters were washable and the hose would take care of the dog chair and it would just be easier to scoot it along the floor. I was wrong. It worked great once, then never had the same suction, and it was never good on our (painted wood) stairs. The hose was too short for reaching my curtain tops and cobwebs. With pet hair, suction is everything too, if it works its way into fabric, so vacuuming bedding in between washing is helpful.

I looked at the Dyson you're talking about, and one thing that bothered me, if I recall, is that it's heavier and wouldn't vacuum easily under furniture (even using the hose). Plus, it's easier for us to store a canister vac than an upright, when I considered our space. When this Miele vacuum went on sale at Costco, I just went for it and I adore it. It's light, portable, it's got great suction, the bags and filters trap the dust and cleaning it out isn't gross. The cord is nice and long. The complaint that it's hard to push is from people who've been spoiled by powerheads - I don't mind the workout, though yes, if it glided around that would be nice, I guess. It didn't scratch anything (we have hardwood floors too) and the first bag filled up quickly because it was compensating for all my previous vacuums left behind, but now it's no worse on bags than the Kenmore ever was. Sure, if I can afford one a few grades better I'll go for it when it's time, but I think this will do for us for years. And it's red, which makes vacuuming somehow less gloomy.

For the Dyson though, if that's what you're thinking of, keep checking Craigslist. In Toronto when I was considering them, people were listing ones they'd won in contests or had as extras (?? I know.) between $300 and $350, but you'd have to move fast on those.
posted by peagood at 7:22 AM on November 21, 2011


If you don't want it to be disgusting to dump out in the garbage, I would recommend against a Dyson or any other bagless vacuum I've tried. Also, I've used a Dyson Animal on places with mostly hardwood floors as well as small area rugs, and it is total overkill for that. It sucks up the area rugs and it's a real pain to use on them unless they're really heavy and thick. I've also used a smaller Dyson ball model, which was nice, but still best at carpeting and not really anything special on a bare floor. A Dyson is great for houses with wall-to-wall carpeting. For what you described, I don't see how one would really suit you.

I think you should look at Miele's canister vacuums. They're pretty sturdy from my experience. Also, once you've got the big stuff out of the way like giant tufts of fur, a Swiffer is actually pretty good for dusting hardwood floors.
posted by wondermouse at 7:24 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, disinfectant.
posted by likeso at 7:25 AM on November 21, 2011


Wow! Thanks for all the responses so far. The volume of goo that gets tossed DAILY (uncompressed) is about the size of two, normal sized hands making a "brain" shape (fists closed, palms together.) That's daily with our nasty little POS vacuum, I swear I didn't think my dogs had so much hair...and those are just the "every day" places, not the nooks and crannies that don't see it daily. Are bags going to fill up super fast? are they expensive?

We also don't have any furniture to vacuum under other than the dining table (no vacuum is going to get under my sofa...it's seriously like 1/2" off the floor.", although that's something I would have never thought about.
posted by TomMelee at 7:28 AM on November 21, 2011


Also HOLY SHAT the Miele Cat and Dog is $649 plus shipping. I thought the Animal was expensive. Yeowch.
posted by TomMelee at 7:30 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd keep in mind that once you get a better vacuum and do an initial cleanup, things will probably be a little less voluminous. Your old vacuum is likely spewing out hair and dust as it's working.

Vacuum bags for most common brands are cheap. Like a couple of bucks. With brands like Miele and Electrolux (and I should mention that sears electroluxes are different than what I'm talking about), if you can find an authorized dealer/repair shop, you can go in and ask if they'll sell you an older refurbished models, which will likely work just as well.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:34 AM on November 21, 2011


Good lord. I paid around €200 for mine back in the day. They're running at €260 now. Guess living next door to their home country makes a huge difference - sorry!
posted by likeso at 7:35 AM on November 21, 2011


Pho and others:
I see this Electrolux (I'm shopping @ Amazon b/c I have prime and I'm an addict) and this Miele and also this Miele (which is the same price but seems to come with an extra tool? Maybe? It's hard to tell?)

It says the Miele has a 4.76Qt bag versus the Electrolux with 1.5Qt? Am I reading that right? Any comments on these sweepers?

Also, amazon seems to sell generic Miele bags...any comments on those? They're just cheaper.
posted by TomMelee at 7:40 AM on November 21, 2011



You want a Dyson. Period.

HEPA filter, etc.
posted by dfriedman


The Dyson is the single most impressive piece of household industrial design that I have encountered. Every significant element was re-thought and re-invented. And it's not so much a HEPA filter, as a HEPA system. It traps the particulates with a clever air-vortex crack-the-whip method that doesn't rely much on filters. Despite the precious price, I've come to believe in mine to the point that I bang it around quite a bit, using it at several locations, in industrial applications. Not one problem.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:41 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm fairly positive that that one isn't an Aerus electrolux--they have some licensing deal with other companies, and I wouldn't feel confident recommending you buy it. I'll try to go rouse the husband and get him to weigh in.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:44 AM on November 21, 2011


We do not currently have dogs or cats, but I have to say - Roomba. With scheduler. Maybe you're better at getting around to vacuuming than I am, but our apartment is infinitely cleaner with a Roomba than when I was supposed to be doing the vacuuming with our fancy vacuum. Perhaps the roomba is not quite as efficient, but 85% efficiency done every day beats 99% efficiency done when I would get around to it.
posted by lyra4 at 7:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have a dyson DC-17. Pros: it sucks up whatever I ask it to (lots of kid detritus, but no pet hair). Cons: it's bagless, and I find dealing with the emptying to be a hassle. If the trash can isn't totally empty, then dust and yuck gets all over the place, and I invariably have to take the cover off the bagless receptacle and scrape at the sides to get at the
matted dust.

I'mmot sure if I would buy one again. I like that it can deal with my fairly abusive vacuuming style, but emptying it is no fun. On the other hand I don't have to worry about running out of bags.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:52 AM on November 21, 2011


The two Mieles are identical, both with the crevice tool, upholstery hose and dusting brush - the confusion is because they're referring to the "head" as a tool (Comes with Miele FiberteQ SBD350-3 Combination Rug and Floor Tool Perfect for Bare Floors and Area Rugs). See the little doohickie on the right? It's a manual switch you use to alternate between carpet and hard floor settings.

I use reasonable quality generic bags - I trust the HEPA to take care of nasties. That said, there is a difference, and if your main concern is SO with allergies, I'd go with the brand version.
posted by likeso at 7:52 AM on November 21, 2011


The husband says any electrolux that you don't buy from a licensed franchise is "crap, and god forbid you have to get service on them." So I'd stay away from that one on amazon. He's serviced orecks and mieles, which he'd recommend (oreck above the miele), as well as dysons, which, again, weren't easy to repair or service ("they're made to be used until they break" were his exact words). His one warning about aerus electroluxes is that their entry-level canisters don't have HEPA filters (and, of course, you'd have to go to a brick and mortar to get one). If you need to shop online, I'd stick with the mieles or orecks, and again, go with a vacuum with a bag if you want it to last.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:52 AM on November 21, 2011


Sigh. Upholstery nozzle. Yeah. More coffee.

PhoBWan, PhoBWan's husband and I are in agreement: get the Miele.
posted by likeso at 7:56 AM on November 21, 2011


Along the lines of a few earlier posters especially ericko's link to the Theory of Economic Injustice, if there is one thing my grandfather taught me it is that sometimes I cannot afford a bargain. Pay up and get a good machine. It will be worth it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:03 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Our house is similar to yours and with similar conditions. We have had dogs, cats and a daughter allergic to dander, dust mites and alder (and a few other things) and a son with asthma. The daughter has since grown up and moved away but in the nearly two past decades we have had Miele, Electrolux, Sears, Pullman-Holt, Pristal and a few others. Overall, we have found that no vacuum available for a reasonable price (under $6-700) is great but that Sears Kenmore Progressive HEPA canister vacuums perform as well or better than them all except in one key area: longevity. In particular, the connection between the canister and the wand/floor thingy has been a point of failure with the contacts eroding over time due to their progressively getting loose due to mechanical force at the connection point and the inevitable arcing that occurs across the loose join with high amperage current. Some of this failure is due to operator abuse by disconnecting—hot plugging—the wand while the machine is running to quickly clean a crevice, etc., but with our latest vacuum, about 4 years old, we have tried to be careful and the connection point is failing anyway. The cost to repair is about 75% the cost to replace the entire vacuum so we just buy a new one.

Still, we continue with Sears because they simply work and for a far lower price and because the bags and accessories are widely available.
posted by bz at 8:07 AM on November 21, 2011


leahwrenn---that's exactly what I'm hoping to avoid. Thank you SO MUCH for your candid reply.

likeso- I thought so. Differences between two sellers I figured. Now if I could figure out the difference between the 2120 and the 2121, I'd be happy. I googled it and didn't find anything...model year?

pho- Unfortunately the rapid influx of Big Box Stores has crushed all the little guys out of my neighborhood. I also get frustrated at brands with different guts based on where you buy them and don't really like to support that model, eg NewBalance. I'll scope out aerus machines though before I do anything. The oreck guy irritates me...is that a valid reason to avoid his machines? It certainly keeps me away from some brands of insurance.

Thanks for the heads up on the bags, btw. Anybody vacuum their bed?
posted by TomMelee at 8:10 AM on November 21, 2011


I have a Miele. It is basically a commercial machine. It's designed differently from the Dysons (that I've seen) in that it is designed to be repaired. You can pretty much take it apart with hand tools and replace all the moving parts, which gives me great confidence that it will actually last forever.

Looking at Miele's website, my model doesn't seem to be on there anymore. And their new models look suspiciously ... plasticky. That's disappointing if true.

Anyway, mine uses a paper bag and then a HEPA filter on the outlet. The bags are cheap; I replace them generally before they are full (every 2 vacuumings or so). The HEPA filter I have only replaced once or twice in the few years I've had the vac, but this may be because I purchase upmarket bags that supposedly have smaller holes than the cheap ones. Not sure.

But I like the paper bag; it's very easy to change and I've never gotten dirt on the floor as a result. (The bags I get have a sticky closure that seals over the hole once you remove it from the vacuum.) I've always been a bit suspicious of the Dysons; I think part of their cachet is that you actually see what they're picking up each time you vacuum, while with a traditional bag machine, you only kinda/sorta feel it when you change the bag.

Similar to PhoBWanKenobi's advice above, I've been told by the guy at the local vac shop that the better manufacturers (Miele, Oreck, etc.) sell different stuff to actual shops and to department stores. Just looking at the stuff he stocks, I believe it -- although there might be some overlap, you don't see the all-metal commerical-grade stuff in Sears.

If I was in the market for one today, I'd probably get a copy of whatever Consumer Reports had the latest round of reviews and go with whatever they suggest, making sure to get one with a good powered hand tool (for getting pet hair off of furniture). But plan on spending a bunch of C-notes if you want a good machine, regardless of brand.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:11 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We looked at quite a few vacuums the last time we got one.
Looked at Dysons, but rejected them since they were far too flimsy.
Electrolux seemed too heavy, and the Miele just didn't click.

What we ended up with is a Sebo and so far (5+ years) it has been excellent.
It is a bag, which is kind of a pain, but they do come with a sealer cap, which makes changing easy.
The main advantage for us (with a long-haired spouse and two shedding kittens) is the ease of cleaning and disassembly. Every section comes apart easily with just a button, which makes unclogging hoses or cleaning the brush dead simple.
Another advantage for frequent cleaners is the long cord (40 ft). Plug it in once and we can virtually clean the entire house.
It is also fairly light, and gets pretty low for under chairs and furniture.
The cleaning lady (who presumably deals with different vacuums a lot) thinks it is one of the best she has used.

Lest I look like a shill, it does have some disadvantages.
The bag changes can be fiddly if you don't do it all the time.
Our cord has been run-over a couple of times.
It is a little loud, you probably aren't going to be doing any late night touch-ups.
posted by madajb at 8:21 AM on November 21, 2011


Tom, here ya go: difference between 2120 and 2121.

And yes, I vacuum the bed. I use the upholstery tool to go to town on the mattress when changing the sheets and use the "head" (after wiping it down!) on the sheets (duvet cover) itself when Pusslikeso has been camping out on the bed/shedding gloriously. Mr.likeso says he vacuums up an entire cat equivalency every week during spring - when he does the vacuuming, that is. ;)
posted by likeso at 8:23 AM on November 21, 2011


Thanks for the heads up on the bags, btw. Anybody vacuum their bed?

I literally vacuum the beds (as in, throw the vacuum up on the mattress because I'm too lazy to detach the wand) and don't have any trouble with my Sebo.
It does come with the usual brushes and nozzles, but honestly, if I can get the main roller to it, I'm using that.
posted by madajb at 8:25 AM on November 21, 2011


Don't balk tooooo much at the price of a Miele. They last forever. I've had mine since 1997, and it works as well as it did the day I got it (and yeah, those Amazon off-brand bags are fine for my model. I use them.) If they'd pass a law that would allow it, I'd marry my Miele and have 10,000 of its babies. It's serious, serious love.
posted by heyho at 8:26 AM on November 21, 2011


heyho-I do wonder at the gestational period of a human/vacuum hybrid, 10,000 seems like a lot, unless vacuums have babies like spiders.
posted by TomMelee at 8:27 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


pho- Unfortunately the rapid influx of Big Box Stores has crushed all the little guys out of my neighborhood. I also get frustrated at brands with different guts based on where you buy them and don't really like to support that model, eg NewBalance. I'll scope out aerus machines though before I do anything. The oreck guy irritates me...is that a valid reason to avoid his machines? It certainly keeps me away from some brands of insurance.

Yeah, I find the whole electrolux/aerus electrolux thing to be weird and frustrating but apparently it has to do with some naming rights deal when the company originally formed as an offshoot from another company or something. It's ridiculous. "Aerus Electrolux" is what you want to look for, as they're actually totally separate companies. The rest are made by Eureka.

I have a Miele. It is basically a commercial machine. It's designed differently from the Dysons (that I've seen) in that it is designed to be repaired. You can pretty much take it apart with hand tools and replace all the moving parts, which gives me great confidence that it will actually last forever.

This is generally what you want to look for. Like, are there places that specialize in repairing your vacuum? Can you take it apart? Are easily broken parts (the brush belts, for example) separate, or hooked up to the motor? That sort of thing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2011


I vote against Miele. Our upright Miele was poorly designed and too plasticky (as Kadin2048 mentions) despite its high cost. Our Orek (also expensive, you're paying for a lot of advertising) seems much better designed for repair etc.
posted by anadem at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2011


Nah, not talking upright. No speaka. Cannister.

And I'm with heyho. Another reason for the European price differential apart from geology: sheer number of progeny. (It was me and my Miele. We're very happy.)
posted by likeso at 8:33 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a Miele. It is basically a commercial machine. It's designed differently from the Dysons (that I've seen) in that it is designed to be repaired.

A friend had the top-of-the-line, and it was indeed designed to be repaired. She finally got fed up with taking it to be repaired, and got something else. If it was mine, I probably could have made the repairs: things like the control on the handle not working right, probably just a loose connector; the cord not rewinding properly, etc.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2011


A friend had the top-of-the-line, and it was indeed designed to be repaired. She finally got fed up with taking it to be repaired, and got something else. If it was mine, I probably could have made the repairs: things like the control on the handle not working right, probably just a loose connector; the cord not rewinding properly, etc.

The vacuum repairguy in the next room would agree that you (or, many people, at least) could repair these vacuums yourself. The difference is that doing so in lower end brands would be much more difficult. All vacuums develop little twitchy problems over time, as they're machines with motors and moving parts. The difference is largely whether or not these problems can be fixed when they occur, or if you're better off tossing it for something new.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:52 AM on November 21, 2011


Yeah, I find the whole electrolux/aerus electrolux thing to be weird and frustrating but apparently it has to do with some naming rights deal when the company originally formed as an offshoot from another company or something. It's ridiculous. "Aerus Electrolux" is what you want to look for, as they're actually totally separate companies. The rest are made by Eureka.

!!! That sucks. I can't imagine that branding-wise they've allowed each other to coexist.

(And yea, I'll be repairing them myself, I'm *that* guy.)

Also, and for the record---my dad SOLD rainbows. I'm so glad nobody recommended them.
posted by TomMelee at 8:55 AM on November 21, 2011


Get a used/reconditioned Filter Queen. They suck like crazy, they are cheap, and there are lots of them around in thrift stores and vacuum repair shops. You can easily take off the circular outlet plate on the top (under the handle) and attach another hose with the same fitting, which you can run out a convenient window or door, so the exhaust air with all the fine dust that escapes most filters is blown outside. The regular filters, which are cheap, will catch all the dog hair, etc.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:56 AM on November 21, 2011


Dyson...every so often you can get them on woot.com for about $250...

AWESOME, high quality vacuums.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:43 AM on November 21, 2011


The good doctor and I live with four resident cats and a rotating cast of foster kittens, so you can imagine the amount of fur and dander generated. He really, really wanted a Dyson, so we have the DC-28. It's a great vacuum, but its weight and bulk made it even more of a chore to hoover. When our stick/cordless vacuum died, I put my foot down and got a Miele S-168. The cost of bags is negligible; we probably replace it every three to four weeks on average. The HEPA filter is washable, and that also helps with cost. The Dyson still gets a weekly workout, but vacuuming now happens on a daily basis because of the Miele's weight and portability.
posted by evoque at 10:04 AM on November 21, 2011


My husband was a vacuum repairman for years, and I'll try to get him to post when he wakes up. I know dysons are popular with members on here(particularly for reasons like "they make vacuuming more fun"--and you can't argue with that, I guess), but he's never liked them from a service standpoint--they're overpriced and difficult to repair, with lots of plastic parts which frequently break.

Being skeptical of cheap plastic vacuums isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Dysons are not of the same low quality as your average Wal-Mart plastic $150 vacuum.

There has been nothing in my 7 years of ownership that correlates at all with the "frequently break" claim. Everything on my original DC07 vacuum works just as well as the day it was new. Yes, it's mostly made of plastic, but it all seems to be good, sturdy, thick, high-quality plastic. It certainly has stood the test of time at my house, picking up the hair of two big shedding dogs. All of the parts still snap together firmly and solidly.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:50 AM on November 21, 2011


We're very happy with our Miele, but given the amount of stuff you're vacuuming up I wonder if you won't get a bit of sticker shock with the cost of bags (even generic bags). I think going bagless (even if it makes the disposal a bit more icky) might be the best approach for you.
posted by yoink at 11:50 AM on November 21, 2011


As the son of an independent vacuum dealer, I'd also recommend going and talking to a dealer.

He's obviously biased, but he also agrees that Dyson are largely breakable, plasticky items that are wrapped in a whole heck of a lot of marketing. Again, YMMV, but just his opinion.

If you were in his shop, he'd likely try to sell you a Miele or a Sebo, as both are very well made, and notoriously good with pet hair and dander because of the filtration.

Lastly, Dysons are bagless, and while that may seem like a good thing (no more buying/changing bags), the bag is a critical piece in the filtration system on a good vacuum. Think about it, the bag is the first thing the pet dander meets , and if thats not there, where the heck is it going?
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 2:23 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bought a vacuum (Sebo upright) from a site called Ristenbatt a few years ago. Their site has more information than you really want to know about vacuums, but it's really helpful. I sent them a whiney email complaining about how every vacuum I'd ever had had been ruined by my long hair getting knotted up in it, and they recommended a particular model that is designed in a very specific way to deal with that problem. I would place great reliance on their opinion as to what would work best in your situation.

Roombas are a hoot to watch, and pretty impressive, but they don't hold very much dirt and they tend to pout if you don't spend as much time fussily cleaning the vacuum as you would have spent cleaning the floor by hand. Sophisticated electronics don't get along so well with dirt.

To deal with dust and dog hair on hard floors, you really can't beat a good old fashioned dampened dust mop. Saves a lot on filters, and might let you get by with a cheaper vacuum for the rugs and furniture.
posted by Corvid at 2:25 PM on November 21, 2011


We have a Miele and love it. Since we have wood floors and only one tiny rug at the front door, we decided not to get a powered roller carpet head. Just the basic wood/area rug head works perfectly for what we have. Once in a while if our guest room or bedroom gets musty we close the door and take off all of the hose and run the vacuum for a couple minutes to filter the air.
posted by Swisstine at 2:49 PM on November 21, 2011


Also the Miele is very quiet for a vacuum. You can adjust how strong you want the suction. I was shocked on first use when cat just sat on the couch and watched the vacuum instead of freaking out and trying to run out the closed window.
posted by Swisstine at 2:54 PM on November 21, 2011


Dyson vacuums for allergy sufferers. Black Friday sale to start. I have asthma and allergies. I LOVE my Dyson.
posted by shoesietart at 3:10 PM on November 21, 2011


I'll throw in a data point for Simplicity. Built like a tank, never had a problem with mine (going on ten years). Multiple filters, including HEPA. A bit expensive ($500-600), but worth it.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 3:47 PM on November 21, 2011


I find our Dyson to be really clunky and wish we'd gotten a Miele canister. How strong/tall is your wife? How many stairs in your house?
posted by barnone at 7:24 PM on November 21, 2011


I seem to have started a Dyson vs Miele war here...good times.

She's pretty tough (for a girl! (I kid.)), about 5'5". We've got 12 stairs to a landing, then 2 angled stairs, then 4 more to the second floor.

My floors are in...not "rough", but not great shape either. Whoever refinished them before we bought the house took them down too far and only put one coat of poly on, so there is some gapping between boards here and there, lots of places for grime and hair and whatnot. That's another askme for another day---what the heck to do with this floor. WRT to the "Swiffer" idea---doesn't work so hot, as the little uneven bits like to catch the fabric and tear it or just steal all the hair, etc. It would probably be helpful to moist-wipe it more often though, to help keep it feeling fresh and whatnot. Essential oils on the filter seems like a good idea.

We've got a brute of a shopvac---one of the 5 gallon 6.5hp ones. It normally lives in my shop but right now we bring it up for jobs like "time to move the couch and get underneath", I feel like the arm on the canister Miele would make this easier...although I really don't know where I'll store any of them.
posted by TomMelee at 5:05 AM on November 22, 2011


Go to a store and have her carry the Dyson by the handle. The hose is stupidly short too.

For the stairs, I actually use a tiny shop vac. Others use a small Dust Buster type of vacuum. The Dyson is impossible on the stairs. A canister might be easier - not sure.
posted by barnone at 9:24 PM on November 22, 2011


I just saw a late night commercial (not infomercial) that the Miele vacuums are on sale this weekend for Black Friday. Check out a local retailer if that is the way you are leaning.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:52 PM on November 22, 2011


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