buy me a vacuum?
November 10, 2011 9:24 AM   Subscribe

what kind of vacuum or dust buster should i buy?

i have been looking into buying a handheld vacuum for quite some time, but keep on putting it off. i'm getting sick of our current rug-cleaning method (picking up and kicking/punching to get the dirt off, then sweeping the floor beneath), so here i am...

i live in a small (~500 sq. ft) apartment with hardwood floors. there are area rugs in the living room and bedroom, the bathroom has tile floors and the kitchen has those fake tile stickers.

i definitely need something small, as storage space is minimal, but my experience with dust busters is that they don't work.

is a dyson worth the price?
how about this dirt devil cone?
or a roomba?

so please send me your mini-yet-powerful vacuum suggestions. thanks in advance! if something works for cleaning the whole apartment and not just the limited rug space, even better.
posted by sabh to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
We bought a cheap Dirt Devil Featherlite Bagless and have been very happy with it for our small apartment with hardwood floors and area rugs. I use it everywhere- wood floors, carpet, tile, and the attachments are all on board if I want to put the stick on and do the couch.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on November 10, 2011

I got a cheap shopvac from Home Depot a few years ago and it works great, something like this. Added old attachments from another vac.
posted by mareli at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2011

I know it's marketed towards pet owners, but the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is an amazing device. It comes with two faces: a standard molded plastic one for hard surfaces and a rubber one for fabrics. The vacuum power on this little buddy is ridiculous, and the rubber attachment does an amazing job of pulling up dirt, debris, crumbs, hair, fur, whatever might be embedded into a rug or couch. It's bagless and super-easy to clean. (Protip: Buy a few extra filters up front. I change mine out every few months but I've had to order them direct.)
posted by mykescipark at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2011

I love my Roomba. But if you want to get all the nook and crannies, having a dyson handvac as a backup would be good. The roomba you can have vaccuum every day when you're out, so you'll only need to bring out the handvac to get dustbunnies in the corner or heavier cleaning every once in a while.

Though, the shopvac suggestion is a good one instead of the dyson handvac, since it's multi-purpose (wet/dry if you have a water issue sometime, heavy dirt, big items like wood chips (if you have a fireplace), etc)
posted by rich at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you can manage to find this bissell 3-in-1 vac, buy it.

I did a lot of research. For example, where the suction vents to is very important because on the smaller designs, that air ends up blowing the dirt away from the suction opening, etc. This was my final choice after running around to many many stores and trying options out in the store.

It's quiet, picks up larger items, and super light-weight. My cleaning person thinks it is fabulous, and she uses all different models and has lots of practical experience.

I wish the cord was a bit longer, that's about it on complaints. It's $20.
posted by jbenben at 9:51 AM on November 10, 2011

Quite a few years ago I bought a Dirt Devil based on the photo on the package (I think it was a guy in a hard hat being held up by suction). The suction part is all that it was advertised to be but emptying out the cup is a nightmare. It takes three hands to get the front section off, frequently jams at an angle if you don't get it back on quite right, and the filter is impossible to clean so I need my big vacuum cleaner to get all the dust out of it.

It has been redesigned so my advice is to take the store sample apart before you buy.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:16 AM on November 10, 2011

My fiance had the Kone and it didn't last long. IIRC it just didn't pick up anything.

I also had a Roomba 500-series and although it's a great idea, the damn thing was just too finicky! It would get crap caught in it and I'd have to clean it all the time. I think once we got a dog it also really couldn't handle the dog hair and would clog (this was before the pet model). At one point I knew I wasn't going to use it for a few weeks so I let the battery drain, and that killed the battery. iRobot wouldn't sell me a new battery, they said I had to buy a whole new vacuum. Forget that!

At one point I had a Shark cordless vac (I think I actually found it via AskMe) that was great until the battery just stopped holding a charge.

My current vacuum is a little Dirt Devil stick vac at Target (something like this) and I love it. It was about $15. It's super lightweight so it's not a pain to haul around, and it is easy to store. It's pretty well-made for such an inexpensive product, and it's easy to empty the cup. I've had it about a year now.

If I ever have a big house with carpet (and money to spend) I'm going with a Miele canister vac. My mom has a White Star and it's fabulous. Very lightweight and easy to maneuver, and it has a hepafilter to help with allergies.
posted by radioamy at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Based on a Consumer Reports recommendation, we bought a Eureka Boss smart vac. It's a little more expensive and heavy as hell, but it's very powerful, and you can make the room look markedly different in only a few minutes.
posted by Gilbert at 10:31 AM on November 10, 2011

The shark navigator is the perfect small, upright vacuum for pet owners. Keeps going where the dirt devil and bissell lose suction (read the reviews!). We bought this based on its great reviews and small available storage space and it has been a wonder. Has a great pet hair brush. We have had larger vacuums and also roombas but this does the best by far. Cost us $140, but you may get it locally or on amazon for around $120 if you shop around.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:26 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: I have owned several hand-held, battery-powered vacs in the past and have found them all lacking in user time and power. While recently looking for a model that would perform and last for a while, I decided to look for a corded device due to my experience with battery-powered models. It was important to me to find power, versatility and a decent price. While Dyson models may work very well, they are very pricey.

What I found after my search was this Eureka Hand-Held Vacuum, 71B model that has been very highly rated by users. It is powerful (it's corded), very versatile (it has a flip up visor in the front to allow for vertical suction) and also has an attached hose with an included attachable/removable crevice tool. The price is very reasonable; as I write this, it is $38.99 on Amazon with free shipping.

I bought one and have used it several times. It is very well made, and I have been quite pleased with its power and effectiveness. It does an excellent job of cleaning up black kitty hair on a creme colored sofa; it leaves no trace of it. It is definitely the best hand-held vacuum I have ever used, and I highly recommend it!
posted by konig at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks for all the help!
i really want the dyson dc23, but maybe i'll save a dyson until i move into a bigger house, and for now just get the less pretty eureka 71b.
i think i like the idea of a roomba (a robot! cleaning my apartment!) better than the actual product, which gets some pretty mixed reviews... i don't want to have that plus a dust buster.
i don't have any pets, but if it's good enough to suck up pet hair, i'm sure it will catch mine, too, which i tend to find on the floor a lot.
posted by sabh at 12:59 PM on November 10, 2011

I currently love (a lot) my Miele Olympus because it works great, it's tiny for my Brooklyn apartment, and the hose lets me do dusting and reach places I wouldn't be able to with an upright.

Previously, I had a Hoover Flair upright that was good because of the brush (I have a bunch of rugs that needed that kind of cleaning) and it got into lots of places. I ended up going through a few of them over a few years because they tended to overheat, but as they are pretty cheap it was a pretty good deal to buy one every two years. Also, since it's an upright it's quick to get the whole apartment.
posted by sub-culture at 1:49 PM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Seconding the Eureka 71B. It was the choice I made after my own Vacuum-filter AskMe. I am so happy with it I could burst--in fact, my main problem when I take it out is that I start looking all over my house for other things to vacuum.
posted by litnerd at 2:10 PM on November 10, 2011

I just acquired a Shark Navigator this evening (thanks, Amazon, for the 50% off sale) and was thrilled by how well it worked on my very plushy beige carpet. Not least because my house is strong with the cat fur force. Lightweight, easy to assemble.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:39 PM on November 10, 2011

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