Most helpful positive review
96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
A versatile machine with one drawback.
on November 22, 2012
The Oreck VersaVac makes an excellent vacuum cleaner, but a so-so steam mop.
The VersaVac is almost completely assembled when you take it out of the box. The only thing you have to do is insert the handle, which simply slides into place. The materials and assembly quality is high, and the Oreck feels sturdy in hand. The vacuum has a nice integrated carry handle on the rear, and weighs about as much as a typical stick vacuum. It should be easy for most people to carry.
Using the VersaVac is simple. There are two knobs on the front to control the vacuum. One knob allows you to choose between the vacuum mode, vacuum mode with the beater bar turned on, and steam mode. The knob below that controls the temperature of the steam for different floor surfaces (tile, linoleum, and hardwood). The steam temperature control knob is a nice touch that the steam mop I already own, a Hoover, lacks. There are three indicator lights on the front of the unit that indicate if the steam is on, when the steam is ready, and if the beater bar is running. The lights are large and bright. To use the steam mop you click on the steam base and attach one of the two included (machine washable) pads. The cord is fairly long and, while it might not cover the whole house, you shouldn't have a problem reaching a few rooms from one spot. On the front of the Oreck is the water resevior, and on the back is the vacuum's dust bin. Both are easy to remove, and empty or fill, respectively. There are various filters that are also easy to get to and clean. All of the filters for the vacuum system are washable, while the hard water filter for the steam mop system needs to be replaced yearly.
The vacuum part of the Oreck works well, and was able to clean up dog hair and granola out of the carpet easily. The brush roll is powerful, and cleans deeply. Moreover, a really nice feature is that the brush roll is direct driven, so there are no belts to break or replace. Additionally if anything get wrapped around the brush roll you can remove and clean it without using any tools. The steam mop part of the Oreck clean very well and makes copious amounts of steam. After you turn it on, the steam is ready in about 1 minute, and you simply hold down the trigger in the handle to release the steam. The trigger also has a lock so you don't have to hold it down continually while cleaning a large area (also a nice touch that my Hoover lacks). It easily cleaned salad dressing and sour cream off of my tile floor without much effort. When vacuuming or steaming the Oreck is fairly quiet and you don't need to yell to be heard over it. It's also easy to push and pull in both steam and vacuum modes (except when steaming on linoleum for some reason, where I resorted to pushing it forward with the handle almost on the floor to get more leverage, and then raised the handle for the back stroke).
The Oreck is such a great machine that it pains me to say that when used as a steam mop the head of the machine is simply too large and unwieldy to get into tight spaces. In order to get between my toilet and the wall I had to push the Oreck in sideways, and forget about getting behind the toilet. I guess that's the one drawback of a combination machine like this. Since the head also has to be a vacuum it needs to be wide and square, so it can't fit into tight spaces like the small triangular head of my Hoover steam mop can.
All in all...as combo machines go, you can't go wrong with the Oreck, unless you need to steam in tight quarters.