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on October 19, 2007
The Eureka 4870 is consistently rated very highly by Consumer Reports. I am still scratching my head trying to understand why. There are certain vacuum cleaners that are brought in for repair that I can guess what the problem is before the customer tells me. This is one of those machines.

This vacuum cleaner is our number 1 repair customer. The Eureka 4870 is brought in for repair MORE THEN ANY OTHER VACUUM CLEANER. The only reason I have given this vacuum 2 stars, is because when this vacuum is working, it actually does clean very well, however the number of times you will have to bring the vacuum in for service, outweighs how well it cleans. Let me first tell you about the Pros to the Eureka 4870, as this can be summed up with a few sentences.

Pros:
The Eureka 4870 motor actually is a very high output motor, and creates a decent amount of suction power. The motor is the only metal component to the vacuum, and is the only part on this vacuum that I have never seen problems with, or had to replace.

The vacuum has a nice selection of on-board attachments. Included is a nice on board hose, an extra wand for above the floor cleaning, a nice long crevice tool for those hard to reach nooks and crannies, a dusting brush, as well as an upholstery tool. The "power paw" (as standard attachment on the 4870HZ) attachment leaves a lot to be desired, as most of the time the rotating brush driven by suction stops as soon as you put it on upholstery, or stairs.

The electrical cord on this vacuum is a nice long 30 foot cord, allowing you to be able to clean more square footage without having to go and unplug the machine from room to room. This feature will actually save you substantial time on vacuuming.

The vacuum bag is a "top fill" bag. This means that the hole where the dirt goes into fills from the very top of the bag, allowing you to really jam pack the dirt in the bag, and filling the entire bag before there's any suction loss. A lot of other vacuums have the hold on the side of the bag, which is really pointless, as you have to throw away the bag before it's completely full.

The price is probably the best feature on this vacuum. For right around $150, the machine is very affordable, and feature packed for this price. You do get what you pay for in terms of quality.

Cons:
Weighing in at 25 pounds, this machine is VERY heavy. If you have multiple floors, and you have to take the vacuum up and down the stairs, you will surely hate this vacuum after the first few times of carrying it up and down stairs. The carrying handle is not very conveniently placed either, causing the customer to have to pick up the machine by the handle which makes it seem even more heavy.

The Eureka R belt "Extended Life Belt". The belt on this machine was a new design by Eureka. The belt is actually not made of rubber like most belts. It is actually a plastic belt. Eureka claims that this belt is "Extended life" however some of my customers are replacing this belt 3-4 times a year. If you vacuum anything that gets stuck in the roller brush while vacuuming, the belt usually stretches to a point where the brush will not spin, or if it does spin, it will spin very slowly, and sometimes even stop as soon as you put it on the carpet.

The roller brush itself. A typical Eureka roller brush, this roller brush (sometimes referred to as a "beater bar") has two PLASTIC bearing caps on each side. If something is vacuumed up into the brush while it's spinning, a lot of the times, the brush bearing caps will actually melt! Eureka does not sell these caps separately either, and you'll have to purchase the entire roller brush assembly if this happens. Do not expect to get any more the 1 year out of the roller brush before some melting happens. The plastic bearing caps are not sealed either. If you have pets in the house, or females (some males are also included) that have very long hair, this hair will get inside the bearing of the roller brush shortening the life even more. One way to prevent this from happening is take the roller brush out, taking the bearing caps off, and remove the hair, thread, etc that has wrapped itself around the bearings. You should do this every 2 weeks for best results.

The dreaded Carpet/Floor switch. Out of all the problems this machine has, this is by far the most common. Not only is the most common, it can also be the most expensive, as the amount of time and labor that it takes to replace the switch is very difficult, and you will have to take it in to a local repair shop to fix it. If you talk to any independent vacuum store, and ask them about this repair, 9 times out of 10 you they will tell you how difficult of a repair it really is. This is my least favorite repair to do out of ANY VACUUM CLEANER. You basically have to take the entire roller brush housing apart, and fight with a spring to fix it. The design on this switch is the problem. If a customer does decide to purchase this vacuum from me (I certainly don't recommend it) I always open the machine, assemble it, and I always test the machine before the customer leaves my store. I have opened probably 10-15 of these machines brand new out of the box, only to test it, and find that the Carpet/Floor switch is broken. Brand new out of the box there should never be any problems.

The last issue on this vacuum is the filtration. Eureka claims that this machine is "True HEPA filtration" vacuum. I have found this to be more like a "False HEPA filtration" vacuum. One of the many cool gadgets we have to diagnose and test vacuum cleaners is what's called a Particle Scanner. This very expensive machine will actually measure with lasers how many fine dust particles are leaking from a vacuum per minute of use. I measured the Eureka 4870 like I do all vacuums I sell. This machine registered 25,000+ fine dust particles per minute of use being leaked out of this machine. Now this number is definitely lower then any bagless machine on the market, however for Eureka to claim that this machine will help allergy and asthma sufferers is just false. If you own this vacuum try vacuuming in the sunlight, and you can actually see some of the larger micron dust exhausting from the machine. This is only the larger particles you can see. The most damaging particles to humans are the ones that are not visible to the naked eye. If you or your family has any breathing issues such as Asthma, Emphysema, or allergies, please beware of this vacuum.

You can kind of tell the quality of a vacuum cleaner by the warranty the manufacturer will give you. The Eureka 4870 has a 1 year parts and labor (required by the government, I'm sure they would give less if they could). Consumer Reports loves this vacuum, but as a vacuum repairman, I would tell anyone that asked me to STAY AWAY FROM THIS VACUUM CLEANER.
3636 comments314 of 325 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 24, 2010
Eureka 4870PZ Boss SmartVac Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner
This is a competent and price friendly vacuum. I have owned the vacuum for just over two months.

PROS: Strong suction, almost feels like a self-propelled vacuum when it takes off. Price. Filtration. I do not like bagless vacuums. Works well on carpet, hardwood and laminate. Bag and filter easy to replace. On off switch is not a foot switch. Carpet-Hose control is changed while standing. The PowerPaw is my favorite accessory. I have a number of Hand woven rugs from Teotitlan Del Valle in Oaxaca. Using an upright vacuum required two people to easily clean the rugs. The PowerPaw allows me to vacuum them on my own without the material being pulled into the vacuum and jamming the brush.

CONS: Heavy, but not unreasonable. I am a plus 25o male so it is not a problem. If I was under 150 I may feel differently. I consistently knock the accesories off their perch mostly the powerpaw. I will probably just leave them in a box. Foot pedal to release handle may be hard for some to use.

I cannot comment on life span of belt. So far no problem came with an extra and replacements are readily available.

My use correlates with the Consumer Reports findings, great suction, filtration and price point and noisy, heavy and somewhat unwieldy. Overall works very well for me.
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on April 11, 2008
I bought this vacuum 14 mos ago. I share many of the previous reviewers statements. It is VERY heavy and I did not like carrying it up and down the steps. It did clean very well though and the tools were also very useful. The handle release was a problem for me, too. But could overlook these issues for the performance. One day, though, I started to use the vacuum and it began making a very loud noise and smelled very bad. I changed the belt and various filters and it still did the same thing. Called the place I bought it from and found out it was just outside of the warranty (go figure). Took it to get repaired and found out the motor itself was shot and would cost me around the same price as buying a new one. I have never bought a Eureka before and probably won't again. Going back to Hoover....
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on December 31, 2011
I owned and operated the Eureka 4870 for ten years before I needed to replace it. The old 4870 still runs, but the motor shifted inside of the unit after it fell down the stairs. This knocked the motor shaft out of alignment with the beater bar and it now eats belts. This happened once before, and I was able to repair the unit, but this time I couldn't get the unit back into alignment. Time for a new vac. We're currently looking for another 4870 vac, and keeping the old unit for spare parts. This is why:

PROS

Suction power - it will suck up anything in its path. It's important to really watch what is in the path of this cleaner, because sucking up stray metallic objects can jam the rollers and cause damage. Some of the negative reviews have to do with belts and beater bars. These can get trashed if you suck up some object that gets stuck up in the the unit, and this unit does have A LOT of suction power.

Noise - Any vac is going to make noise. I can hear my neighbor's vac from inside my house when they run it inside of their house. This vac is not as loud, and I can still hear the phone ring or other noises in the house when using it.

Tools - Comes with a decent selection of tools.

Ease of use - My whole family uses the vacuum cleaner and I have not heard any complaints from them like "...this vacuum cleaner sucks..." The power head is easy to open by removing three screws so that the owner can perform some basic preventive maintenance like removing all the crap that builds up around the ends of the beater bar.

Price - This is an inexpensive vacuum cleaner that lasted me ten years before we wrecked it. We paid something like $140 for it. This translates into value. I don't see the logic in paying $600 for some wonderous miracle cleaner that will also break down. These days, few vacuum cleaners are built like the 63-year old Electrolux we're using as a back-up vacuum cleaner until we get another 4870.

CONS

Belts - This is really a non-issue for me. The vacuum cleaner belt is an expendable part. Something gets sucked up into the beater bar and it trashes the belts. So what...be more careful next time. We'd go through maybe one or two belts per year. They are cheap and easy to replace.

Weight - It is a heavy vacuum cleaner. Again, a non-issue for our family, but I mention this aspect because not everyone is the same when it comes to lugging a 25-pound vacuum cleaner up the stairs.

Home-repair - If you are mechanically-inclined and a fearless do-it-yourself kind of person, this unit was a real PITA to tear down. You can figure it out, and it's easier the second or third time around, but it's still hard to do without thinking that you are going to break something.

NON-ISSUES

The carpet/floor switch always worked and never broke.

I am still amazed that this thing is 100% plastic (except for the motor). My first impression was like, "...what a plastic piece of crap did I buy!?" I was wrong. It served us well.

SUMMARY

Overall, this vacuum cleaner is a good deal for the money spent. Anyone buying this vac is going to have to regularly perform preventive maintenance on it, just like most other vacuum cleaners. I can troubleshoot or fix just about any appliance, so maybe it's just me, but it wasn't like I was sweating it out keeping this thing running all the time. I hardly ever had to think about it. My wife wants another 4870, and she is overall very happy with its performance. That sort of says a lot to me right there.

I didn't rate this vacuum cleaner 5 stars because I still think this vac and others like it are plastic pieces of junk. But that's all one can buy these days without spending the big bucks, and for the money, this thing worked out well enough for us.
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on January 11, 2010
Our Kenmore Progressive broke after many years of use and I wanted another Kenmore. But since it broke the week after Christmas, our budget was tight and I didn't want to spend $300. This vacuum got almost exactly the same review as the Kenmore in Consumer Reports but at half the price--so we thought we'd give this one a try. We've had it for one month now and here's what I like and dislike:

Pros:
*Very good suction (I think better than my Kenmore)!
*Extra long cord
*Good suction in the hose

Cons:
*Hose is WAY too short (I can't even do my short staircase (only 12 steps) without having to drag this up halfway with me. Kenmore has a 17 ft hose compared to 9 ft on the Eureka)
*I hate having to turn a very cumbersome knob each time I want to use the hose (on the Kenmore, you just pull the hose out to use it, then put it in and continue vacuuming)
*Same gripe with the bare floor setting knob. It is so hard to push the switch to the bare floor setting that I have to stop what I am doing and use full force to switch it over. Big pain.
*Doesn't do very well on bare floors (despite what consumer reports says). I have to go over the same spot multiple times.
*Very heavy
*Very Noisy

In short, this is a vacuum with very good suction but it is so difficult to handle that vacuuming is a pain.
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on March 28, 2012
Ordered this Vacuum March 22 and the item arrived on March 28 and I am not even sure where to begin! We received, what we THOUGHT, was a new vacuum, as per our order. The item arrived via UPS, it arrived in aweful condition, the box was beat up and half open. I thought ok, no problem just as long as the item inside was in good condition. My husband opened the box, pulled out the contents and put the item together, which we were fairly happy with..so we thought. We proceeded to use the vacuum only to find that it was broken! The vacuum started to smell like burning rubber, my huband inspected the product and noticed that the bristles weren't rotating, upon further inspection we found that the product arrived with a broken belt. When we started to look further at the item, we found out that we were sent a reconditioned/ refurbished vacuum!...REALLY???!!!! I contatced Amazon to let them know that we had ordered this product new and were charged for a new vacuum, but received a reconditoned, broken product. In speaking with them they had told me that the the stock of NEW vacuum's was out! So instead of e-mailing me to inform me of this "out of stock" status they send a broken, reconditioned product instead...WOW! thumbs down Amazon, extreemly disappointed!
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Well this is stupid. There are reviews here from 2007 for a product that wasn't out then. I know because in 2007 the Eureka vac was a different color (blue, I think). I had one from two years before that and it was turquoise. I bought a new one in December of last year and it was this yellow one.

Soooo what you've got here are reviews for multiple years of similiar but not identical vacuum cleaners. Not terribly helpful for purchasers.

In any case, I'm reviewing the current 2010/2011 yellow model. We bought it in December and haven't used it much but the ON/OFF switch is already broken. (I know, must go and find sales slip.)

The other thing that I will note is that while this vacuum has good suction, like it's ancient predecessor, which we had for quite a few years; it suffers from being incredibly loud. Leaf blower loud. 110db, painfully loud. I actually use ear plugs loud!

THE SKINNY:::
This Yellow Eureka vac works but the manufacturer has let quality slide a bit. I'm willing to write off the switch as being a fluke -- it broke in the ON position by the way. However the noise problem is inexcusable, particularly as I am sure it's loud enough to damage hearing with prolonged use.

Pam T~
mom/blogger/vacuumer
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on January 1, 2008
I only wish I had read the prior review before buying this vacuum. It is the heaviest vacuum I have ever operated. And as stated, the floor switch is broken right out of the box. I have already scratched my hardwood floors before I discovered that it was not working correctly. I got this for Xmas and will try to return it to the store. I no longer have the box, but do have the receipt. Wish me luck.
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on April 29, 2010
I have owned this vacuum for about a year. It's great for picking up pet hair. Yes, it's HEAVY! But it's the best vacuum I've ever owned. My only real complaint is the handle release switch fell off and now I have to prop the vacuum up against a wall or else it falls over. For the money, it's a great buy.
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on July 8, 2010
I bought this item at Costco several years ago for 137.00.
Pros: Very powerful, does a great job. Accessories are on board which is convenient. Bag is large, but I don't recommend waiting until its chock full to change. I change it at about half full.There is a lot of crap in there that I don't want around the house for any period of time. Convenient long cord. I occassionally vac out the HEPA filter to keep it clean.(with our garage vac). Bag is easy to change. Also, you get plenty of exercise pushing this thing around.
Cons: Very heavy to push around. Rug/Floor switch is very hard to use. My wife cannot use the vac because of its weight & she cannot use the rug/floor switch because it is too hard to push. I don't recommend this vac for seniors & people with bad backs. Motor filter is very flimsy foam. Cannot see how it does any filtering at all.
Improvements we sould like to see:
1. Self propelled
2. Cord winder storage
3. A better designed rug/floor switch so that it doesn't feel like you are going to break a thumb pushing it.
4. Quieter Motor.
5. Better designed retainers for the vac hose, which always seems to come loose during vacuuming.

Buyers remorse: I think I would have bought the Consumer Reports recommended model(Sears self-propelled) If I had it to do over again, but it, of course, was twice as much. Thanks.
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