Vacuum shopping with a few requirements
March 1, 2012 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest a vacuum cleaner that has a washable HEPA filter, doesn't vent out the front, isn't heavy, is reasonably priced, and has a button to turn off the brush?

We have so far tried several vacuum cleaners and all have been found wanting. Does our Dream Sucker exist? We've bought & returned an LG (LUV250C) and the Shark Navigator Lift-Away (the commercial for which my kids all learned to recite), and we looked very closely at several Dysons in-store.

The LG was awesome except that it vents the air right out its lower front, forecefully blowing away anything you were about to vacuum up. (What engineer would do this I cannot imagine, except that the Dysons also seem to do it.)

Also, the LG kind of "grabs" at our low-pile carpets and has to be dislodged with a shove. My wife is petite so this is a problem; also, we're trying to convince our kids that Vacuuming Is Fun! and this is a strong counter-arguement. :7(

The Shark was good but it was pretty heavy. ISTR that it also had a tendency to dump its canister messily.

The Dysons won't stand up on a staircase, and we don't want to own a second vacuum just for stairs.

Many other vacuums don't have a control to turn off the brush. (We are ripping out carpets and adding hardwoods, and we'll end up with maybe a third of the house carpets; about a third of the downstairs is tile.)

We are neutral on bagged/bagless (and getting used to the bagless). We haven't considered a canister before. We can't find a place to try a Miele in our state (Rhode Island).

Is our snowflakiness just too flaky?
posted by wenestvedt to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: We have a Dyson DC25 ball vacuum. It has a HEPA filter that can be removed and cleaned, there is a button to disable the brush, and it isn't too heavy IMO (at least, for a vacuum cleaner). It is bagless: you remove the can, hold it over a trash bag and open the trapdoor. It isn't too messy, so long as you keep the container inside the bag when opening the trapdoor. I can use it on the stairs, but I do have to hold it up. YMMV on that front, but you might stop by a department store to pick one up and see if it is too much or if it is workable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 PM on March 1, 2012

Our DC25 stands on the stairs just fine.
posted by scruss at 12:45 PM on March 1, 2012

Dyson, again and again and again. The filter is easy to clean and plays nice with my allergies, which is saying alot. We got the pet version for the hand-held turbine brush and it was worth it. They also have a 5 year warranty and, supposedly, great customer service.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and mine (non-ball variety) stands up just fine on the staircase.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2012

Reasonably priced? Go to a vacuum repair shop that sells used vacuums and tell them what you want.

The one around here has refurbished commercial models that do everything well.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:41 PM on March 1, 2012

I am a rabid Dyson fan. The Dyson ball vacuum I have has a hose built into the handle that pulls out with attachments for doing things like stairs, it can take a bit of practice to get used to getting it out but once you get the hang of it it is easy. At least that's what I've used it for, I just attach a short nozzle straight to the hose and work my way up the stairs, I don't have a huge stair case and I find the pole handle gets in the way on stairs (though is useful for other things).

Canisters take a little getting used to to empty, the main trick being don't empty it above the bin, stick the end in the bin and you don't get dust everywhere. The filters are great and easy to clean.

If you go here and scroll down to page 6 it will show you how it works. I've never managed to get my hose to stretch that far though it is very stretchy. The dyson are pricey though, but with 2 dogs in the house and my tendency to shed like a collie dog I've never regretted getting one, you can pick up refurbished ones.
posted by wwax at 2:05 PM on March 1, 2012

Best answer: I have a Bissell pet vacuum that does all that and the center cylinder detaches for doing the stairs, cars, fiddly corners. Half the price of a dyson and very good.
posted by fshgrl at 4:50 PM on March 1, 2012

I have a $50 Eureka Optima I got at a big box store four(?) years ago, and I love it. Super light, not sure it comes with a HEPA filter, but you can get one.
posted by momus_window at 5:24 PM on March 1, 2012

Best answer: I bought a Miele on eBay. Not cheap, but so worth it. It’s the most fantastic, powerful vacuum I’ve ever used, not a speck of dust gets through, and you can have a conversation at normal volume while using it. The cats don’t even run from it.
posted by bongo_x at 6:23 PM on March 1, 2012

Best answer: Here is my vacuum question. I got a lot of great answers and wound up with a Miele Olympus that blows (ok, sucks?) my mind. It'sHEPAs aren't washable (really never heard of a hepa washable before), but the filtration is UNBELIEVABLE, it's not stick (it's a canister, which seems awkward until you try it and now I'll never, ever go back), it's amazingly quiet (dogs stay on their couch when I try to vacuum it), and it makes a handy ride-around for our 14 month old. The engineering in it is AMAZING. (You replace the filters when you open a new box of bags, new boxes of bags include new sets of filters. With three dogs, a baby, and 2 adults in a 1500 sf2 house, a bag lasts about a month vacuuming no less than once every 2-3 days.)

FWIW, the Olympus model I got is for hardwood/laminate floors and area rugs, there is NOT a power head---however powerhead models are available and mind does just fine on our big, whole-hallway 3-dog sleeper rug.

Someone said in that thread that it made their floors feel different...and holy poop it's the truth. Sits on my stairs fine, has a crazy long auto-retracting cord, and doesn't look a basketball mated with a transformer.
posted by TomMelee at 5:14 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In fact, we ended up keeping the LG unit. We found the manual online -- ours was a floor model with no paperwork -- and now know how to operate the thing properly. We've been using it for about a month, and we're pretty happy. (A major part of this was my wife realizing that There Is No Perfect Vacuum.)

Thanks, everyone!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:13 PM on April 2, 2012

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