Vacuum cleaner value for money
June 22, 2011 5:43 PM   Subscribe

Which vacuum cleaner stays sucky for the longest (relative to cost)?

I've now owned three vacuum cleaners that were awesome for about a year, okay for another year, and practically did nothing during the third year. I clean filters and empty dust out regularly. I have even taken one apart completely and cleaned every last bit of it. Each of these vacuum cleaners cost about $100.

So this time I'm happy to spend more if it will get me something that keeps working well for longer. But only relative to cost. So if $200 will get me something that works well for four years, that's money well spent. If $600 will get me something that works well for 12 years, cool. But I don't want to pay $500 and have something that only lasts six years, since I could buy three $100 vacuum cleaners and be just as happy.

The environmental cost of throwing something like a vacuum cleaner away regularly also does factor in somewhat, so I don't mind spending a LITTLE more in the long term to avoid that.

All that said, what should I buy? Please don't recommend something if you've only had it for a year or two, because I too would have thought my previous vacuum cleaners were awesome at that stage.

I'm in Australia, so it needs to be available here. We have wooden floors with a few rugs, and one short-haired cat, so it doesn't have to be super impressive - just durable.
posted by lollusc to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Our Miele is still sucking like crazy after... 10 years? Maybe 12 years. HEPA filter too and we don't even replace it as often as we should (yearly). And it still works great. I think the cord wouldn't retract once and we had it in for repair but that's it.
posted by GuyZero at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2011

I've personally found that bag vacuums, if well-maintained, last longer than bagless. I can't tell you about pricey brands, and I unfortunately can't tell you about specific brands. But if we're talking about affordable department store-bought vacuums in the $100 or so range, I've have better experiences with bag vacuums. And I've had an all-white husky and a wire-haired jack russell terrier. YMMV.
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dyson or Miele are the only answers. Both are more expensive than $100, and Dyson are bagless.
posted by dfriedman at 5:58 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Dysons are silly expensive but I have one I bought like eight years ago and it's still going like mad, and it's been kicked around a fair bit in that time. It was a grand when we bought it, so over $100 a year so far, but it's bagless and will suck blue off the sky if you wave it around too cavalierly, and all in all I consider it a pretty good investment as I predict it has a fair few years left in it yet.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:09 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Like others are saying, Dysons and Mieles are the best vacuum cleaners on the market. I bought my Dyson when I was in college and have had it ever since, and it's been worth the investment. It's still a great vacuum and performs as well as it did when I brought it home. We had Mieles growing up and they're similarly great.
posted by kdar at 6:12 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

My parents 10 year old Miele is better then my 1 year old $100 whatever-it-is. Every time I go home I try to think of way to fit it in my carry-on.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:23 PM on June 22, 2011

I just had to use my parent's vacuum last weekend - it's a Simplicity, so I don't know if it's available in Australia, but it's at least 30 (Thirty!) years old and it works great. If I were in the market, I'd honestly consider a reconditioned used one that was made in the 1980s or earlier. They're powerhouses.
posted by desjardins at 6:42 PM on June 22, 2011

Response by poster: I have been considering a Miele (other threads here have suggested that Dysons may be overpriced relative to others - although they are better, they are not THAT much better). My only concern with the Mieles is that I am a bit reluctant to buy a bagged vacuum. Mainly because the bags, at about $3 each, are going to add up very quickly. To those of you with bagged vacuums, how many times do you vacuum before your bag is full? If I'm having to change it once a fortnight, for example, that's $80 or so a year. So again, I could be buying a new (cheap) vacuum cleaner once every 18 months or so for that price.
posted by lollusc at 6:55 PM on June 22, 2011

I absolutely love my Dyson, and if it were on Metafilter I'd spouse it. It's the only vacuum I have ever owned that I am happy with.

I know the price is not cheap, but if you watch for a sale it's definitely worth it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:23 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a Dyson and a Miele. Ey are both fantastic. The Miele is like a tank. I'd recommend the Dyson over it for baglessness and the motorized brush, which lower-end Mieles don't have. When I love into my fantasy tiny house with hardwood floors when I retire, hopefully, someday, I will bring the Miele because it will probably still be working and it's tiny and lovely. The Dyson is more practical, though. I hate ordering and changing bags.
posted by theredpen at 7:31 PM on June 22, 2011

When my dyson suction begins to slip, I clean the rollers of all the hair and stringy things and then it works like a champ again.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:34 PM on June 22, 2011

Oops, pardon typo. :)
posted by theredpen at 7:34 PM on June 22, 2011

Sure, you can buy a new vacuum a year but there are other costs beside the initial $ outlay - think of the resources involved in making that $100 vacuum and the massive pile of useless plastic & metal rubbish you would have created in a decade by buying a new one every year.

It's also worth considering the cost of filters - our $200 bagless Volta seemed like a big deal until we went to replace the filter for the first time and were charged forty freaking dollars.
posted by Wantok at 8:46 PM on June 22, 2011

Dyson here, when the old DC-05 fall apart, it turns out it was recalled, so Dyson sent us a DC-26 for about $90. Superb machine.
posted by lundman at 8:49 PM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: To those of you with bagged vacuums, how many times do you vacuum before your bag is full?

Just on bags, you don't need to replace every time they are full! Goodness, no. Many if not most bags are held by a clip at the non-tube end, you can just empty the bag out and you're good to go. We have a bagless now, but it's our first and I think I've replaced vacuum bags maybe twice or three times in the rest of my whole life.
posted by smoke at 8:54 PM on June 22, 2011

Response by poster: Okay, so reading around it seems most people change their bags once every couple of months, so maybe a bagged vacuum wouldn't be that much more expensive. So say I'm going to buy a Miele or a Dyson. Which model(s)? Does price within each of those brands basically correlate with anything? If it correlates with sucking power, I guess I only need one of the less expensive ones. If it correlates with longevity, I'd be willing to pay a bit more. If it's all about extra accessories, less weight, or aesthetics, then I'm not so interested.
posted by lollusc at 8:55 PM on June 22, 2011

When I bought my Miele, which is 10 years old and still going strong, price correlated with size. The more expensive model had a wider brush and a bigger bag. The sales guy said "if you have a big house, buy a bigger Miele, otherwise buy the smaller one".
posted by monotreme at 9:19 PM on June 22, 2011

If you have pets, you want bagless.

I had a Hoover for a while, but it didn't do squat to pickup the fur of our two cats and a dog. I bought a Dyson when I got a bonus at work and it is AMAZING. I fill the container with pet hair every time I vacuum. It's really quite shocking how much pet hair is on the floors.

So, TLDR, consider this a (n)th for the Dyson.
posted by j03 at 9:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know the models any more, but I have a version of the compact barrel Dyson with hepa filter. It's handy because it folds down pretty snug and you can store it out of the way under a bed or in a cupboard or whatever. How it compares suction-wise to one of the uprights, though, I have no idea.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:55 PM on June 22, 2011

Maybe we don't vacuum enough but we only chain bags on our Miele every... 4 months? I probably buy one box of bags a year.
posted by GuyZero at 9:58 PM on June 22, 2011

I have a dog that sheds and a Dyson DC25 Animal - the one with the fancy big rolling ball on the bottom. The "Animal" part gets you a very nice and useful set of attachments and a different color. I fill the vacuum cleaner canister *every time* I vacuum, which is once a week. It does an excellent job, is easy to maneuver, and saves me from emptying a bag every time I clean. I certainly wouldn't have a bagged vacuum now that I've had a Dyson.
posted by pkingdesign at 11:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Datapoint: Refurb Dyson for $300 from Amazon 6 years ago, still our primary vac, last three years of that is in a 6-person frat-house-like environment. :) Zero maintenance cost.
posted by trevyn at 11:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite] also sells refurbished vacuum cleaners, including ones from Dyson. My refurb has been great.
posted by asphericalcow at 12:27 AM on June 23, 2011

Best answer: I've got a Miele that's about 12 years old; the thing is built like a tank and will probably outlast me. I buy a pack of bags about once a year that comes with replacement motor and air filters.
My girlfriend has a Sebo K1; similarly high (German) build quality, but a lot lighter than the Miele. She's got a semi-longhair cat and it copes fine with the hair (she bought a carpet beater attachment which is amazing at pulling cat fluff out of her carpets). It's about three years old and she's bought a new service box once. Warranty is five years.

The best value for money is probably going to be the Numatic Henry which is used by pretty much every commercial cleaner in the UK. They're cheap and last forever plus there appears to be an Australian distributor.

On the Dyson front I've heard from friends who've bought (a second) one that the build quality has dropped since they moved production from the UK, but whether that's true or just jingoism I couldn't say.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 1:56 AM on June 23, 2011

Dysons are good suckers, but they're noisy. Those cyclonic dust traps whistle louder than a really loud whistly thing.
posted by flabdablet at 2:35 AM on June 23, 2011

All the professional cleaners I've ever met use Nilfisk machines, by the way.
posted by flabdablet at 2:44 AM on June 23, 2011

Best answer: Personally, having used three dysons owned by other people, it's not a brand I would recommend. They had all lost suction and frustrated me hugely. So I'd suggest the Miele
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:49 AM on June 23, 2011

I've been very happy with our Sebo, which we've had for at least 9 years. The suction works well up to the point that the bag is completely full. I probably don't change the bag more than three times a year (maybe only twice) and the bags are inexpensive.

We were going to get the Miele. My husband went to try it out to see if it aggravated his breathing problems, and the salesman recommended the Sebo. We don't have rugs so got the cheaper model.
posted by sevenstars at 5:27 AM on June 23, 2011

We had all kinds of canister vacs, Sears, Hoover, etc. Nothing, absolutely nothing, worked better than the Dyson we purchased.
posted by JohnE at 6:20 AM on June 23, 2011

those backpack ones professional commercial cleaners use are the bomb! Really. I will never buy a consumer vac again!
posted by jannw at 6:32 AM on June 23, 2011

I've been using a 6 gallon shopvac for two years now in my carpeted apartment and it is fantastic! The suction is incredibly strong and it doesn't have rollers for hair to get tangled in. I bought a floor/carpet attachment with a brush around the rim that acts as a rake and it gets all of the pet hair out.

I change the bags maybe twice a year. The shopvac costs about $50 and the bags are $3 each.
posted by jacindahb at 8:35 AM on June 23, 2011

I have a 3 year old refurbed Dyson from Amazon ($225) that still works like a champ. We have a medium hair cat and a short hair cat and no problems, no maintenance.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:18 AM on June 24, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! I think we're going to go with the Miele Cat & Dog. I've found one for about $450. I'd be happy to buy a refurbed older vacuum cleaner, but can't find anywhere in Aus that sells them (online or off). Amazon and overstock don't deliver vacuum cleaners to Australia.
posted by lollusc at 5:46 PM on June 26, 2011

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