Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Best Vacuum Cleaner

  1. Apr 23, 2010 #1

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Need a vacuum cleaner? My wife just brought home a new Miele and test-drove it. She loves it. We have bought and maintained lots of vacuums over the past ~30 years, and none of them performed all that well - even the top-end Electroluxes.

    A co-worker of hers used to sell and service Mieles and he highly recommended the line. He went to his former boss and negotiated a price of $472.50 (tax included) for a Miele S318 (available only from Miele Diamond Dealers). We paid with a check, and when my wife found out that the S318 was white, she asked if there was another color available. Her co-worker asked the owner if there was another color available, and he upgraded her to a Miele Blue Moon (S5001) at no additional cost. It's a discontinued model, but brand new and top of the line. I looked them up on-line, and even with discounts, they retailed for over $1000. :eek:

    Edit: Here's about the cheapest one I found. We have the standard floor head with retractable brush, the standard crevice, dusting, and upholstery heads, and the Mini Turbo :devil: brush, all for less than half price.
    http://www.allbrands.com/products/abp09594.html [Broken]

    Nice features include a cord that retracts easily, but with a very light spring loading that doesn't stress the cord, multiple power settings for heavy-to-light jobs, four stable 360 deg swivel wheels so that it moves with a light touch, extendable wand with a thumb-actuated bypass that allows you to bleed off vacuum for even more control when vacuuming curtains, etc. Best of all, the discharge filter meets European HEPA standards (0.3 micron, IIR) so that dust mites, their feces, pollen, etc doesn't get discharged back into the air. Even on the highest power setting, the vacuum's noise level is reasonable.

    Too soon to tell about durability, of course, but the performance is great. Also, the fellow that brokered the deal for us was the service-man for that All-Vacuum business for years, and he claims that Miele vacuums needed service far less frequently than Electrolux, Hoover, Bissel, Rainbow, etc, and that Miele had standardized on the motors, fans, etc making service simpler, with very short turn-around times.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2010 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Name your favorite products

    Kirby is probably the most powerful vacuum you can get, my ex bought me one, but it was SO POWERFUL, that it was a pain to move, it would actually raise the carpet up off the floor where ever you went. Being made of steel, the thing weighed a ton too. Hated it.

    I have a Hoover now that has one of those sensors that see dust and the light stays red until the amount of debris being sucked up reaches a satisfactory level. The first time Evo Child used it she told me it was the best vaccum she'd ever used, she was gushing about how clean the carpet looked, and the self propel feature means you can push it with your little finger.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2010 #3

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Name your favorite products

    My former boss' wife had a Kirby, and it was like a dressed-up shop-vac. His wife is a small woman and though the vacuum was OK to handle on bare floors (wood, tile), she had to wrestle with it when doing the carpeted rooms. They bought an Electrolux for the upstairs rooms because the Kirby was such a beast to move.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  5. Apr 23, 2010 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Name your favorite products

    Kirby was the first upright to use a full-sized motor - almost as big as one might find in a canister vac. Today, almost all uprights use high-current motors. Kirbies are far too expensive for what you get [you can pay a over $2000 for one, which is ridiculous], and yes, far too heavy for many people. While in college, I worked in a vacuum shop. I came away believing that Filter Queen is probably the best canister vac. The reason being that the cone-shaped filter, and the cyclonic action [the first to use it] helps to maintain air flow when partially filled. Also, they were the first to use filters good to a few microns. In fact, the product line was first sold as an air filter, not a vacuum cleaner! Miele and Electrolux are also very good. Rainbows are a joke. We made a small fortune rebuilding their torched motors. Water and electricity don't get along well. But you can pay over $2000 for one of these as well. Beyond that, water will not filter all fine dust. Some types of dust, and ash from woodstoves [common around here], pass right through the water filter as if it wasn't there.

    If a Rainbow salesman ever shows up at your door, tell him you want to knock the thing over while it's running and leave it there for a minute. The water goes right into the motor! Poof!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  6. Apr 23, 2010 #5

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Name your favorite products

    What about Dyson, anyone used one of those?
     
  7. Apr 23, 2010 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Name your favorite products

    A couple of years ago, I talked with a vac store owner that we worked with from time to time. He think's they're a joke, but he may have a strong bias if he can't get the line himself!

    The idea that cyclonic action alone can remove all fine dust is pretty hard to believe. Do they make any specific claims about the filtration efficiency?
     
  8. Apr 23, 2010 #7

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Name your favorite products

    It is actually impossible to get any efficiency in separating low-density particles. Venturi cleaners only work well when there is a decent difference in density between the air and the particles to be removed. If you slap a dusty piece of upholstery in the presence of bright sunlight, you'll see a cloud of minute particles that seem to want to disperse and float around in the air. "Cyclonic" upright vacs can't remove that stuff without very efficient discharge filters, and that stuff certainly doesn't end up in the plastic reservoir with the sand, coarse dirt, etc. When we bought this little place and had all hard floors installed to replace carpeting, my wife bought a "cyclonic" upright (I forget what brand and model), thinking that it would be easy to clean the place that way. Wrong! She went right back to the Electrolux because at least with a long wand and a variety of heads it was easy to get under stuff, which wasn't the case with the upright. Also, the upright was visibly discharging fine dust, ash, etc. The upright is living at my mother-in-law's camp at the lake. It does OK at cleaning up sand and dirt that the kids track in, but that's about it.

    We still have the Electrolux, but it has been moved out to the garage. When we need to vacuum out the vehicles or pick up messes in the garage, it will be there, at the ready.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  9. Apr 23, 2010 #8

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Btw, turbo, you might appreciate this. I did so many Rainbow rebuilds that I could do one with my eyes closed. If you look at their construction, you will see that this was no small feat. But these things came in almost every day. With that and rebuilds from trade-ins, of which he had a moutain behind the store, I probably rebuilt at least a thousand of them. I think I got $25 a piece, and I could rebuild one in about thirty minutes. So thanks to all of the die-hard Rainbow lovers who helped to fund my education. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  10. Apr 23, 2010 #9

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    One of my nieces had one (though it is no longer around, AFIIK). She was dating a guy that sold them and she got a real "deal" on one and sicced him on on my wife and me. We let him do his demo, and politely showed him the door. That was an ungainly POS (to be generous) and WAY overpriced.

    While I took Duke for a walk this afternoon, my wife ran the Miele through a few more paces, and she is loving this machine! We both have respiratory problems and allergies, so the European HEPA certification is no small thing for us. With an active dog bringing in dirt and dust, and our reliance on wood-heat, it's nice to have a vacuum that will handle the "small" stuff. She used the "dust brush" on the CRT TV this afternoon, and the glass is so clean that it looks like it was wiped down with a micro-fiber cleaning cloth (our usual dusting tools for hard surfaces). The crevice tool did a heck of a job on the disk drives of my PC, too. It's hard to believe that such a compact cannister vac (Miele calls it a "full sized") can be so powerful. It puts our old Electroluxes to shame and is much easier to use. My mother used to have an old Electrolux on wire skids, and my wife and I have had several with combinations of skids and wheels, etc. The Miele has 4 wheels on 360 deg casters, and it follows you around so easily that you don't know that you're towing it. Her co-worker, who used to sell and service these, claims that with normal use, Mieles can be expected to last ~30 years or so. As long as the switches and electronics hold up, I believe that he is right. Very solid build, powerful and quiet (a good measure of close-tolerance construction).
     
  11. Apr 23, 2010 #10

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hmm, $50/hour for rebuilding household appliances. I think I missed my calling.
     
  12. Apr 23, 2010 #11

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The job really sucked at times, but for an LA transplant living in the sticks and going back to college late in life, it was tough to beat. I could go in late at night and make as much money as the need for sleep allowed. It was a sewing and vac store, and you would be surprised. People get very serious about this stuff. The low-end world of Walmart is a universe away from places like this. People think nothing of dropping $2K, up to perhaps $10K, on a sewing machine, or spending $400 to rebuild a Rainbow. Our profit margin on rebuilds was about 200%. Some parts sold with a 1000% markup. The top-end vac systems were thousands of dollars. I remember one built-in system that was something like $15K. Of course, it was for a huge expensive house.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  13. Apr 24, 2010 #12

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Oh, BTW, the $472.50 price included 3 boxes (5 ea) of vacuum bags that probably retail for around $60 total. I didn't realize this until a little while ago, when looking at the place where the vacuum is stored. There must be one heck of a mark-up on vacuum cleaners to allow the owner of the store to give us such a deal on this cannister vac.

    I talked to my wife's co-worker a couple of days ago and asked how he could get such a good deal on the S318 (the original goal) and he said that his former boss and his boss' father (who owns a much larger store in Portland) bought 300 S318s a couple of years ago, and only had about 10 left in stock. The upgrade to the Blue Moon model was a nice surprise, since we would have been very satisfied with the S318 at this price.
     
  14. Apr 24, 2010 #13
    Nilfisk rocks. True HEPA, used by NASA
     
  15. Apr 24, 2010 #14

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Nice, but we don't need a ride-on vacuum/sweeper. Our house is about 800 sq feet with hard floors, so anything elaborate is overkill, though we use wood heat, and need something that can deal with fine ash and dust.
     
  16. Apr 24, 2010 #15
    I have a great Hoover, with handy attachments for pet hair, that work really well. I only have 2 rooms with carpet and vacuum once a week. Like Evo's, mine has the dirt sensor and very good over all performance.
     
  17. Apr 24, 2010 #16

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Re: Name your favorite products

    The cyclone thing is used to remove a lot finer particles than dust in industry.

    Dysons don't do so well in consumer guide tests because against a completely fresh empty bag they aren't that much better. But compared to a typical haven't changed the bag for months type usage they are great.

    The newer ones also have a HEPA filter
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2010
  18. Apr 24, 2010 #17

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not using light-gauge plastic and a $20 motor and fan. :biggrin: We aren't talking about a centrifuge here.

    That is more a matter of flow than filtration. It is the idea that a bagless vac doesn't pass the dust that is tough to believe.

    I do remember seeing that now. So much for filterless vacs! So it becomes a question of the cost and frequency of filter replacments. Also reduced flow over time and during each use.

    PS, mgb, I started to edit your post by accident. It should be the same as posted now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  19. Sep 3, 2010 #18
    Have currently have two - a $300, 900 W Sharp upright that is fairly lightweight even though it has a rugbeater built in, and a $50 Red Devil canister vac w/o any beater attachment.

    Interestingly, the Red Devil's bearings began to go out within the first year (in 1992). My solution was to spray them with http://www.hydra-tone.com/RustyduckFrame1Source1.htm" [Broken], a commercial-grade silcone grease used for firearms and fishing reels. Here we are, 18 years later and after hundreds of hours of use (and five moves) and the Red Devil is still going strong. I did have to replace the broken on-off switch with a Radio Shack toggle, but that's worked well for 16 years. I'm simply amazed I can still find bags for it!

    Meanwhile, the Sharp had to have the rubber rug-beat drive belt replaced. Otherwise, it's fine, too. I purchased it in 1994.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  20. Sep 3, 2010 #19
    As for cyclones - they employ a bag in addition to their cyclone catchers, right?
     
  21. Mar 31, 2012 #20
    I can't without my Dyson DC25!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook