To Dyson or Not To Dyson?
February 23, 2011 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm having trouble vacuuming the carpeted stairs in my new home with our upright vacuum (for obvious reasons). I've finally convinced my husband that we need a canister vacuum to do the job. What's the best option on the market, in terms of a happy balance between quality and price?

Is Dyson really where it's at? I'm looking at the DS23 Animal based on previous AskMe threads, but I'd rather not spend $400 on a vacuum if there are just-as-good products out there for significantly less.

Whether you're a Dyson evangelist or not, please recommend your favorite canister vac. Thanks!
posted by litnerd to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Upright vaccums, eh, suck. Which brings me to the statement that I've been using a (no, two actually; merging households...) mid-range Electrolux over the last 11 years with good results. The fuller-bag-reduces-suction argument is in practice much less of an issue than the Dyson people make it seem. Just change the bag in time.
On the other hand, "significantly less" than 400...I see that the Electrolux Ergospace EL4101A is around 300; very much under that and you end up with something noisy and not nice-y, I fear.
posted by Namlit at 2:41 PM on February 23, 2011

Ugh, don't get the Dirt Devil that burhan linked to. I have and one and it sucks, meaning, it doesn't.
posted by ducktape at 2:41 PM on February 23, 2011

Best answer: Oh! Oh! Oh!

We *love* our Miele S2 vacuum. We love it so much.

The thing is light and mostly made of plastic, but really thoughtfully designed and built like a frickin tank with heavy, sturdy-feeling materials. It's small enough and easy enough to carry that picking it up and moving it up a step or two every so often as you go up is not a hassle. And it sits very soundly on end as well as flat on its casters. 1200 watts, great suction, infinitely variable speed, truly quiet on the "whisper" setting.

It has a million nice little features - fully rotating casters that turn smoothly and let it maneuver anywhere in any direction; auto cord-retract; brackets for the wand in both flat and upright poses that are in just the right place; not-awful bag changes; a cord long enough to do pretty much any room with one outlet; a hose that rotates itself neatly in the wand socket so you don't get kinks. I'd never had a canister vacuum where you could just get on with it without worrying about constantly tripping over or moving the canister around until we got this. You kind of just forget it's there, it moves so easily and naturally with your actions.

It is expensive - ours is the bottom-of-the-line one, and even that was expensive, about $300 - but I like that you can buy the vacuum and then whatever attachments you want from a giant array (I'm pretty sure that S2, S4, and S5 are the models, and the silly names just indicate the different kits that come packaged with it). It was worth it.

I am not really a housekeeperly person, and I sort of hate cleaning, but I LOVE this vacuum.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:43 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Miele! So awesome. Ours is still going strong after 11 years of constant use.
posted by onepot at 2:45 PM on February 23, 2011

After years of having inferior quality, poorly built vacuums break on me and the ensuing guilt for contributing to the landfills, I made the best decision of my vacuuming life to purchase a Miele canister vacuum. The one suitable for my use is the Pisces which I use mostly for hardwoods, upholstery, rugs and the one room of the house with carpeting. They have different models that will meet your particular needs.

For this quality and dependability, there is a price. I paid $750-ish for mine but feel it has paid off for it's reliability and versatility. Not to mention, it works so well, is quiet and has a certified HEPA filter. I'd recommend a vacuum that has enough power and good construction to do what you want it do.. Stop in a vacuum store and look around, ask questions. That's what I did and I'm so glad I did.
posted by loquat at 2:45 PM on February 23, 2011

Best answer: The mister wanted--and got--the Dyson DC07. If it's used on the stairs, the carpet attachment is plugged on and the hose extended. That rarely happens, by the by, since I'm trucking around with my Miele stick vac, which is far easier to lug around the house for the daily hoovering (stairs included). Said Miele vac was bought nearly new off Craigslist for a lot less than list, so if you're price-sensitive, that might help.
posted by evoque at 2:54 PM on February 23, 2011

Nthing a Miele canister vac. We lurve ours.
posted by gnutron at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2011

Best answer: Another thing about the Miele (we have the Olympus too, and I like it)--if you live near a Bed Bath & Beyond, you can use a coupon and get 20% off. If you live near a BB&B and don't get their coupons but would like one, memail me and I'll send you one.
posted by torticat at 3:12 PM on February 23, 2011

I'm going to have to buck the trend here. My family has had a series of Mieles that start out strong but quickly lose suction. They also have a terrible tendency to create that uniquely horrible vacuum-smell. Argh.

So far I have had much better luck with (gasp!) Dirt Devils.
posted by charmcityblues at 3:21 PM on February 23, 2011

Another vote for Miele.
posted by trip and a half at 4:39 PM on February 23, 2011

Charmcityblues, if full suction returns when you change the bag then, well, I guess the vacs really aren't so great for you. But if the suction remains low with a fresh bag then you've got a clog somewhere.
posted by jon1270 at 4:42 PM on February 23, 2011

Best answer: I have a top-of-the-line Dyson DC28 Animal which is great for the entire house... but I wouldn't recommend it (even with the stair attachment) for the stairs.

My stairs have never looked better since I started using a Eureka 71B handheld. ($45 at Amazon). Easy to vacuum the horizontal AND vertical surfaces, bagless, plenty of power, long cord, etc. Just check out the reviews.
posted by Perplexer at 5:46 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

To avoid the vacuumy smell, open the vacuum, put a dab of vanilla extract or some kind of essential oil onto the paper vacuum bag, and then vacuum as usual.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:32 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Eureka, we love ours.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:59 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding Perplexer all the way!

We have a Dyson Animal which is great for the house* but I don't use it on the stairs. Just like Perplexer, I use a Eureka 71B handheld on the stairs. The operative word here is handheld. What's could be better for stairs? Of course you've got to get on your hands and knees to use it. It's also great for the car. Amazon has 998 reveiws on it.

*The Dyson is the best vac I ever bought. Six years old still going strong and NO BAGS. What I hated about bag vacs was just finding the bags in a store.
posted by qsysopr at 4:51 AM on February 24, 2011

Miele Miele Miele. I love mine; it's chugged along through three dogs and four cats.
posted by catlet at 8:54 AM on February 24, 2011

I've had both Miele and Dyson. Both have been excellent, the latter certainly lifts more dirt, the former is better for stairs. I prefer the Dyson as I hate buying bags, and I never seem to have any spares when I need them.
posted by nicktf at 12:29 PM on February 25, 2011

Response by poster: Update: after months of procrastination, I ordered the Eureka 71B (under $40 now on Amazon, and free shipping)--and holy mother it is amazing. This crazy nesting pregnant lady is very happy. Thank you all!
posted by litnerd at 1:09 PM on July 17, 2011

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