Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vacuum Saga Update ;o)

I thought those of you who were riveted by my Vacuum Shopping Saga might be interested in an update, and today, as I gracefully guided our new machine across the kitchen floor (à la the perfect 1950s housewife, only in comfy sweats instead of a crisp dress-- and minus the ever-present lipsticked smile), I finally remembered that I haven't given you one, yet.

The short version:
I love the new vacuum cleaner! It actually makes vacuuming fun! (Yeah, we'll see how long that lasts. How long before the novelty wears off, do you think?)

When I lovingly park Bissie (that's her name, by the way) in her place in the utility/laundry room, I cast a disparaging eye over the old vacuum. I've yet to decide how to dispose of it, so for now, it's just sitting there, getting more jealous of Bissie with every passing day. ;o) "Why did I wait so long to get a new cleaner?" I ask myself. Because I never dreamed how much of a difference it would make in the cleanliness of our floors and my overall enjoyment of life. (Well, perhaps I exaggerate just a tad.)

Here's a photo of the exact model we ended up getting--
The Bissell Total Floors Velocity Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner (in Galapagos Green):

She's a beauty, ain't she? ;o) A real beaut!

Good things about this machine:
  • It is SO much more powerful than the old one. It's amazing how much hair, sand, and "stuff" this thing picks up!! Even on a carpet that looked relatively clean, it managed to gather up a hefty amount of soil. (This is of course mostly a "first few times you use it" phenomenon, since our old cleaner was doing such a bad job-- which is a good thing. If it always picked up that much, I'd have to be constantly emptying it.)
  • It's quieter than the old vacuum! I expected it would be about as loud-- especially since it has so much more power. Now, it's still noisy, but I don't feel like I have to wear earplugs when I run it (as opposed to our old monster that sounded like a jet engine revving up).
  • The hose is longer and more flexible than on the old machine. It's easier to reach into nooks and crannies. Oh, and because the hose is permanently attached to the base, it doesn't constantly pop out and lose suction.
  • The "turbo brush" attachment is a nice feature. I haven't used it much so far-- mainly on the couch-- but I think I'll be using it more in days to come.
  • I'll never have to buy a bag for this vacuum cleaner. (And with the amount of hair, dust, and dirt this thing picks up, it's a good thing. At the rate this vacuum cleans, I would already have gone through a few bags, I'm sure.)
  • With an on/off switch for the brush and an adjustable brush height, it's designed to work not only on a variety of thicknesses of carpet, but also on smooth floors (tile, wood, vinyl). With the brush switched off and the "scatter shield" down, I can vacuum bare floors without simply scattering the sand across the floor. I've already used this feature several times in the breakfast room and kitchen, and it works very well. I'm thrilled with it, actually, because those two rooms, along with the carpeted "main room", get sandy/dirty the fastest of the whole house. It's nice to not have to break out the broom and dust pan every time. (And I'm more likely to clean it regularly if I can just use the vacuum.)
Not-so-good things:
  • Like most vacuum cleaners these days (or at least the ones in my price range), this one's mostly plastic. This may make it lighter, but it also makes me feel that it's more breakable.
  • The on/off switch for the brush is really more of a foot-controlled lever down at the bottom of the machine. I think a switch up near the power toggle would've been better.
  • When you have the scatter shield down (for bare floor vacuuming), you're prevented from (easily) picking up larger things. For instance, there will be the occasional piece of kibble on the kitchen floor. The vacuum will usually just push these around. I've been able to make it pick up a piece or two with the shield down, but mostly it's not worth the trouble, so I'll go back and pick those up by hand.
  • When using the hose/wand, I've noticed that it doesn't do well with pieces of paper or plastic (such as bits of a plastic bag). They tend to not want to go into the hose, so I have to remove them before I can continue vacuuming. Fortunately, I'm not often vacuuming those things. (Technically, you're probably supposed to pick those up before starting to vacuum, but it was back in a hard-to-reach spot, so I gave it a try.)
  • While researching vacuum cleaners, I read that when you empty the canister on this model, there is often a little hair or dust up above the removable part. It's true, and some of this dust regularly falls down onto the machine when you empty the canister, but it's not much-- not enough to worry about, in my opinion.
So, overall, I've found that the pros far outweigh the cons. Count me as a satisfied customer!