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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2006
I'm old enough to remember when vacuums were serious pieces of machinery made completely of metal. Over the years I've watched vacuums become plastic toys, made to be more visually stimulating than anything else. So I guess you could say I had an attitude going into this purchase. I had a sense that all current vacuums were jokes to some extent compared to real vacuums like the Kirby or the Electrolux of the 1960's or the commercial bagged uprights of today.

So you'll be surprised to hear how much I like this vacuum. It has a hose and one attachment and they fit tight to the vacuum and don't flop around. Going from floor to hose suction is fast: You turn a large switch, lift the hose off the top of the vacuum, and bang, you're working. When you're done, you flip the switch, lay the hose over the top of the vacuum, push the end into a holder on the other side, and you're back to doing the floor again. It's fast. Takes about two seconds to switch. It's fast and I like fast. It's got two small crevice and brush tools that fit firmly on the side of the vac. They are right-sized for the machine and they don't get in the way. This is a pet peeve of mine -- vacuums with so many attachments hung on them that you feel like a traveling circus going from room to room. Come on -- I'm not going camping when I get out the vacuum. I can walk back to the closet if I need an attachment. I don't need six different kinds of attachments hanging off the side of my upright.

The dirt cannister -- well, it snaps out and back in pretty easily. You just dump it out. There's a final filter of course that gets dirty fast, and you get to decide how to handle that. I'm sure performance is degraded pretty quickly as that filter gets dirty. I pop it out and blow most of the dirt out of it from the inside using compressed air, but most owners aren't going to have any way of reverse-blowing a small filter. This is where I've never completely understood the advantages of bagless designs -- sure, the coarse, heavier stuff falls to the bottom and you get to see it -- which I have to admit is fun -- but the fine particles of dust which really plug up the pores in a filter, you still have to stop those with something. In a bagged design, you stop them with the entire bag which has a huge surface area. In a bagless, you stop them with a small filter which has nowhere near the surface area of a large bag. So whether or not a bagless is any better (or even as good as) a commercial upright or a conventional Oreck-type bagged vac, I can't say.

I've read the reviews about the vacuum blowing down. It really doesn't blow downwards, although it does blow forward at certain times. The vac discharges air forward in a line perpendicular to its upright tank (or handle) about three inches off the floor. Any time the vacuum handle is tilted backward, the air is blowing upward and forward at an angle, so it's not a problem. When the handle is pushed completely forward so that it's at a right angle to the base -- the position you normally store an upright in -- the air is blowing forwards from a discharge point about three inches off the floor, and in this position it might stir up some dust in front of the vacuum. But under normal conditions, with the handle tilted back, the air blows upwards and has not created any problems for me. Turning off the vacuum before raising it to a fully upright position might solve the dust-stirring problem. Personally I've never experienced any problems with it. The ring handle looks silly but it makes the vacuum easy to use in any position. It's a good idea.

The cord is about 20 feet long which is passable. You wind it around a couple of cleats on the back just like an old Hoover upright. I'm fine with winding. Auto-retracts are nice but when they stop working you have a mess on your hands.

If you turn the Optima upside down and look at the bottom, all you see are countersunk Phillips-head screws. This is the first thing I don't like about the vacuum. I don't know how the roller-brush is driven, but if there's a conventional rubber belt that can break, it's going to be time-consuming to change the belt. Users should be able to change belts without special tools in less than three minutes, which is the standard set by commercial uprights. Nobody wants to fool around with taking out 10 or 12 screws.

Whether or not these clear-canister bagless vacuums are better than (or even as good as) conventional, bagged, metal-bodied commercial Eureka- and Hoover-style uprights, I don't know. But this one has a ton of suction and works great on the hardwood and office-type carpeting I use it on. If it's louder than other uprights I haven't noticed it. If you want a powerful, lightweight, no-nonsense bagless vacuum that's cheap to buy and works well, the Optima will probably work for you. If it falls apart or loses suction as it ages, I'll update that here.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2006
I just got the vac today and so far so good. I'm nowhere near a vacuum expert, this is actually my first upright so based on that here are my first thoughts:

Pros: suction is crazy, I was a bit afraid to get sucked in... The Optima's pretty small too so storing it in a closet shouldn't be a problem. I gotta say that it does look pretty nice too, feels sturdy despite the plastic look and has thermal protections and advanced features as such. It also comes with extra filter (normally $15 from Eureka). The filter can be washed (not dishwasher) up to 6 times according to the manual though I'm sure it'll take a bit more abuse (but we'll see).

Cons: the powercord is a bit on the short side (barely reach the other side of the bedroom w/o changing outlets).

Feels a bit heavy to maneuver around, and the floor nozzle (brush part with the wheels) doesn't have a manual release mechanism (though I'm guessing most uprights are like this). In any case when it's upright it's a bit harder to get it loose.

Also the vacuum does have amazing suction which is definitely a plus but you gotta make sure that towels and things aren't lying down on counters or else it'll be sucked in... I'm not kidding, this thing's got some power!

Finally the vacuum is a bit on the loud side but again you're not gonna spend your life cleaning so hopefully that won't matter much!

Overall this product is pretty descent so far. I'm definitely not dissappointed by the purchase. I only gave it a 3 stars rating because of the short comings though I have no doubt other vacuums in the same price range would score equally if not less!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2006
It should be zero stars! I bought this vacuum because it was rated 4 stars. Maybe people rated it right after buying it, and their initial impression was positive. Cause long term, this vac does not hold up. I had the vac only 5 1/2 months and only used it as a spare. So it was used very little. It does not have very much suction, maybe only what you would expect a sweeper vac to have, so I've always used my better vac mostly. The wheels keep falling off, and you have to pick them up and put them back on every couple seconds. It's impossible to vacuum. In fact, the PLASTIC wheels are DISINTEGRATING! The plastic is turning into powder as the wheels turn. I'm going to lose a substantial amount of money on it, as I have to throw it in the garbage can. Sure, the company will repair it, but maybe I'd have to pay postage, which would be a lot, and they'd probably install new PLASTIC wheels again, and the same problem would happen again in 5 more months. I told the company that I don't want to see this vac again, but if they want this one back, I would be willing to accept a Eureka Maxima, but they refused to accomodate me. So, for my next vac, I will buy from either Hoover or Dirt Devil. You certainly don't pay that much money for a vac and expect it to tank in 5 months. It can be forgiven, but not when the company refuses to please it's customers. I don't think that is indicative of a good company, and I will not support their wages by purchasing their products, when they won't support their customer.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2006
Don't believe the hype with this machine. I did and ended up returning it to Amazon. It is extremely hard to push. But worse than that, the filter is in the same location as the dirt collector cup! That means that the filter gets clogged after vacuuming just 2 rooms. You have to take a toothbrush to manually clean the filter EVERY TIME you use it. Horrible design! In fact, Eureka finally figured it out and created another model correcting this mistake. The new model says, "Now the filter is not in the collection cup" on the box. Apparently a lot of people complained. Avoid this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2005
Don't be fooled by its size or the toyish look. This is a mean vacuum cleaner. I compared its suction on hardwood floor against a full-size canister that was recommended by the Consumer Report. The Optima picked up as much dust as the canister, but at 1/3 of the price and 1/2 the weight and closet space.

It is fairly loud, mind you, but the noise level is nothing out of the ordinary. And sure, the color is not to everybody's liking. But heck, no vacuum cleaner is likely to become the showcase piece in any household's decor.

For its performance, price and compactness, the Optima is a winner.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2006
When I first purchased the Optima about six months ago, this inexpensive lightweight vacuum seemed the perfect thing to vacuum dog hair and desert dust from my tile floors. As described in other reviews, this little machine does indeed have a surprisingly powerful engine. In fact, it pulled an amazing amount of dirt from the berber carpeting on my stairs that had just been vacuumed using a Hoover Wind Tunnel.

Now for the bad news (and there's plenty). As noted, I primarily use this vacuum at least every other day to sweep large expanses of tile floor. Unfortunately, the Eureka Brain Trust inexplicably found it necessary to position the motor's exhaust angled toward the floor just above the vacuum head. The predictable result is airborne hair, dust and allergens where, after inhaling a portion, you can watch the remainder settle on your furniture and countertops.

Another irritating problem: Once full, emptying the cup sends one on a new allergy adventure. Although the bulk of the dirt ends up, as intended, at the bottom of the receptacle from which is it easily dumped, a large percentage of dog hair and schmutz remains steadfastly adhered to the filter located at the top of the cup. The best way I have found to clean the filter is to manually peal the nasty stuff off (as dust and whatnot flies through the air) and then use my Hoover upright to vacuum the rest of the dirt off the filter. Vacuuming a vacuum . . . does this make any sense? Although it can be washed, Eureka recommends replacing the filter after six washings. Since replacement filters are not readily accessible (nevermind the expense) this is easier said than done.

The Optima's low purchase price is reflected in its shoddy construction. Anchoring the hose-end on the lower right side of the vacuum is a plastic clip that protrudes enough to easily catch on cabinet kickboards and furniture. I managed to snap the clip off after the first couple of weeks, thus forcing me to tie the hose around the handle to keep it out of the way. And the handle now refuses to lock into position - it spins around annoyingly while trying to manuever the machine. The brush attachment will not stay mounted on the spindle provided. And just this week, the left wheel has decided it no longer wants to stay mounted on the axle and repeatedly wobbles off to destinations unknown.

While I use my Optima often, it has not been abused. As others have stated, I find it too difficult to push over carpeting, therefore, I have limited its use to sweeping tile floors. Unfortunately, too many items have broken or failed to justify keeping it. I realize that $60 is a relatively inexpensive price to pay for an upright vacuum - especially with a 12-amp motor - but not if it lasts less than six months. After all, the Optima wasn't meant to be disposable . . . nevertheless, the imminent fate of the one I own is just that - the garbage bin.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 26, 2006
First off I wanna say that for a small house or apartment this really is a great vacuum cleaner.

My girlfriend and I bought this for our little loft (760 sq ft) and were really impressed at the amount of power this little thing has.

It sucked so much crap out of my carpet that it was actually kinda gross.

However the filter gets clogged up pretty quickly, we've banged the dust out of ours a couple times but eventually it gets to a point where it needs to be replaced. Filters are about $11 and only need to be replaced maybe once every couple months.

The other problem I have with it, as one other reviewer mentioned is that it does BLOW it's air out the front of the vacuum, now who ever came up with this fine bit of engineering needs to be kicked in the head. While it's not a huge inconvinience it does send dust bunnies and lighter bits of dust bouncing around in front of the vacuum and skirting away from you at the last minute so that you have to kind of sneak up on em and back the vacuum over them. Fortunately the vacuum is really light so manipulating it is relatively effortless.

Still, Vacuums are supposed to suck, not blow.

And lasty there's the handle that doesn't quite stick well enough, every once in awhile it will just slide open when I'm trying to keep it down for stairs, but thats pretty rare.

Other than that it does a great job, using the attachments is quick and easy since the hose is already attached to the unit and all you have to do to use it is turn a knob at the base.

The handle is adjustable length so using it on stairs or other objects is easy, especially since it's really light weight.

I felt like I definitely got more than my moneys worth out of this machine and with the exception of a few minor inconveniences I'd recommend it to anyone with a small home or apartment.

Pro's

1. Great suction

2. Lightweight

3. Easy to use attachments

4. Uses the canister instead of bags (emptying is easy)

5. Excellent price

6. Small and portable (tucks away nicely)

Cons.

1. Filters clog up quickly (especially with animals)

2. Blows air out the front and pushes some lighter dust away

3. Handle doesn't lock tightly enough.

Again the cons are really not crippling features and the vacuum is really a great little piece of machinery if you ask me.

I'm happy to have bought it and love using it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2006
I'm a fan of industrial design and was really impressed with this thing when I saw it. I noticed that it came with no wands but then saw that the crevice tool doubles as one. Clever!

Air does not go through the hose while doing floors so clogs are unlikely. The multi-selection power switch is great. The high-quality hose stretches far.

We have hard wood floors, oriental rugs and throw rugs. We were amazed at how much hair from our golden retriever our big old Kenmore had missed!

The head is small but that makes it more maneuverable and concentrates the suction. Unless you have acres of carpet, you will like the size.

The front air exhaust and pushing effort have not been a problem. The cord length is just right. It doesn't tempt you to keep going when you should just change outlets. A little hook holds the cord out of the way.

Noise level is good and the sound is not very annoying. There is a light to show you if the beater bar has jammed. It cuts power automatically. Cool. Love the adjustable circular handle. Radical.

This is our first bagless. They are a bit messy but it's great being able to see the dirt and hair you are picking up. The filter gets dirty fast though. Supposedly, you can wash it six times. Our vacuum came with only one. They are $10 online.

If you never thought vacuuming could be fun, try one of these.

7 month update:

We're still on the original filter! We just take it out on the deck with a car snow brush in hand, bush off the dust blobs, give it a few taps on the rubber seal to loosen the fine dust and brush it off again.

We broke the little plastic wire holder off, but feeding the wire through the circular handle works even better to keep it out of the way.

The beater bar collects a lot of golden retriever hair so we have to turn it over and pull that off.

Still 5 stars!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2006
Bought this vacuum after reading positive reviews, but I have to say that the forward exhaust system is a deal breaker. On floors and low pile carpet dust and dirt are blown forward before the vacuum has a chance to pick them up. We will be returning it and looking for something similar without the forward exhaust.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2006
I just moved from a hardwood floor to a carpeted apartment, so I had to buy a vacuum. After borrowing my friend's Hoover a couple of times, I finally gave in. I was going to go with the Dirt Devil Dynamite but it did not have any attachments. So I decided on this one. There are five things that I absolutely LOVE about this vacuum:

1. And most important: THE SUCTION. Its amazing! I mean, thats why we buy vacuums right? To suck up stuff? A+

2. The noise: This machine is the quietest I have ever used. A+

3. The attachments: Powerful brush for windosills and other hose for steps and furniture crevices.A-

4.The compactibility: This machine is not only portable, but the handle retracts, a plus for short people. You can put the handle all the way down and just stick it in the corner somewhere. A+

5. It's just so CUTE!!! A+

A few nitpicks:

1. The filter. I must join the others who complain about cleaning it. It really is a chore. So many crevices. Note: even though this vacuum does not come with a HEPA Filter you can buy a HEPA filter when you reorder.

2. The cord is a little short.

3. Even though is not good on bare floors, I dont buy vacuums for bare floors I buy them for carpets.

Hope this helps.

EW
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