on December 1, 2005
If your new machine LEAKS, see note #2 below. I am just amazed at how many people write that their machine leaked from day one, and they returned it. It will leak if you skip a crucial one-time set-up step.
Paid $170 at Best Buy. This is my first carpet cleaner so I have nothing to compare it to except my own expectations. Even though the name is SteamVac, like all the others in this class of cleaners, there is no Steam to it. That's just false marketing, but all the manufacturers do it, so no particular knock on Hoover.
First, let me say I'm ashamed to admit that our carpet hadn't been cleaned in 4 years, and that we live in the country where lots of dirt gets tracked in from outside. So the carpet was pretty darn dirty. The Hoover F5914-900 did a very nice job the first time I used it - a drastically noticeable difference in the appearance of the carpet. The water in the dirty water receptacle was black. Did it return the carpet to new condition? No, impossible. Did it take another treatment or two to really get it clean? Yes, that is the price I pay for ignoring wet-cleaning the carpet for years. One of this cleaner's best features is the ability to dry the carpet quite thoroughly. Since the front of the machine is made of clear plastic, you can see when you're vacuuming up water. If you want to dry the carpet as much as possible, keep vacuuming until you no longer see water being pulled up. As time has passed, the SteamVac has done an excellent job of maintaining my carpets.
My only gripe is that the dirty water container fills up too quickly and should be a little bigger. Ideally, the dirty water receptacle "should" be full right as you run out of clean water. Then, you shut down, empty the dirty water, refill the clean water and back to work. But this process gets out-of-sync with the dirty water receptacle filling up before you run out of clean water. So this can be a little inconvenient, but not a show-stopper.
The machine is well constructed but it IS plastic, with lots of compartments and latches and hose holders, etc, so one must simply be careful or those things will no doubt break off.
A few other notes:
1. If you are not the type to read manuals, do read this one. Assembly and operation are easy if you sit down and read the manual through before starting. It's not like a vacuum cleaner where you just plug it in and go.
2. My machine leaked badly BUT it was my own fault. There is a one-time only setup procedure where you squeeze the trigger and push the Clean-Surge button to lock a rod into place. Push the Clean-Surge button firmly. There may be a loud SNAP which sounds like you broke something, but you didn't. Until you get that snap, the Clean-Surge (which releases extra water-cleaner solution) is on all the time, hence the leaking. I didn't push the button hard enough initially, so I had the leak problem.
EDIT December 2007
Apparently many people are assuming that without a loud snap, the Clean Surge will not work. All that matters is that your machine doesn't leak. If your SteamVac doesn't leak, it is assembled properly and the Clean Surge will work!!! The only reason I emphasized the "snap" was because so many people were having leak problems, which are easily solved. And it's possible that Hoover has changed the design after getting so many returns from people who didn't read the instructions in the manual. So don't get hung up on the snap. If your machine does leak after assembly, you know what to do.
3. ANY time it seems like there is no suction, the problem is that something is not seated properly. It is easy to snap the lid onto the dirty water container without lining it up properly, which causes a vacuum leak. If there is a vacuum leak, there is no suction at the bottom of the machine, where it is needed to suck up water from the carpet. Plus you'll see that the brushes aren't turning, as they're driven by vacuum. So recheck the dirty water lid. Carefully line up the hinges at the back. The front should snap closed very easily. If you have to force it a little to snap it closed, it means the back is not aligned properly and you'll get no suction.
4. If you have velvet or velvetine furniture, do NOT use the powered tool, use the utility tool. The powered tool is too strong for delicate fabric.
5. Like others have suggested, find a cheap alternative to the Hoover brand carpet detergent. One gallon of water doesn't clean a lot of carpet, and at 5 oz of soap per gallon, you go thru it fast.
6. Always be sure to dry vacuum your carpet with a regular vacuum cleaner first before using this machine to wash it. Be sure to remove and clean the brushes when you're done using this machine. Otherwise hair, thread, and balled up carpet fibers will dry on them and between them. Then the brushes won't turn. These are not "use and put away" machines like vacuum cleaners, they're "use, clean, and put away".
7. Here's something I do which you *might* want to try. For a very dirty carpet, I fill a cheap plastic 2 gallon watering can (or smaller for a smaller carpet) with hot water and a tablespoon or 2 of Oxy Clean. I then sprinkle the carpet heavily, being careful not to soak it. Then use the Hoover normally. Of course, this fills up the waste water receptacle long before the soapy water container is empty, but it still saves trips to the sink to load up on clean, soapy water.
8. Others have suggested using boiling water. Not for me, thanks. Too dangerous to handle and unnecessary, unless you've spilled or tracked in grease.
After reading countless reviews here, I have concluded that the problems people have encountered are from failing to properly set up the machine initially, failing to seat the dirty water lid properly, or failing to clean the machine after use. I recommend this Hoover. It won't perform miracles, but I think if it is not abused it will last a long time and do an excellent job of maintaining a carpet.
on August 8, 2006
The Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge works astonishingly well for a consumer carpet cleaner. There are some limitations and some gotchas; I'll tell you about both.
There's a 2-page "Quick Assembly Guide" and a 40-page manual. If you want your assembly guide with pictures and few words you'll like the QAG. If you prefer verbal instructions, turn to pages 4-6 of the manual; I wish I'd started there first. (It takes me longer to figure out "Store Hose" with four illustrations showing a hand in various steps of the process than to understand the eight sentences that accomplish the same instruction.)
There's no heater in the "SteamVac", so make your gallon of water VERY hot for best cleaning. And prepare your carpet for cleaning before filling the tank with these two steps: (1) vacuum thoroughly; and (2) pre-treat heavily soiled or grease-stained areas. The vacuum in the SteamVac is designed to suck up water (which it does very well), but will only pick up the tiniest bits of solid crud. Hoover recommends buying their PreCleaner, but you can make your own for a lot less money. Just mix 10 parts sudsy ammonia to 1 part Simple Green in a spray bottle. Hit the stains with your spray, and work in with your fingers or a clean cloth.
When cleaning you'll need to go over the carpet quite slowly to clean it well. This is the one area where the Hoover SteamVac is down a peg compared to the pro cleaners. Make two passes (one forward, one back) holding the trigger down; this is what squirts your hot detergent mix into the carpet. Then make two passes without using the trigger to suck up the bulk of the water. I found it really helps to clean your carpets barefoot. Because the "dry" pass greatly cools the carpet while it sucks up the water, it'll be easy to tell with your bare feet if you step on a warm, wet patch that you didn't dry yet. There's also a thumb button -- the "Clean Surge" -- which squirts the hot detergent mix more vigorously than the trigger does. Hold this down while making repeated passes over the really dirty parts of your carpet, then do your dry passes. The machine changes its pitch quite noticeably when the dirty water reservoir fills up, so you don't have to wonder about that; just pop it out, dump the yucky water in the sink, and make sure to clean the carpet fuzz off the fibrous filter.
You use 5 ounces of Hoover's detergent to 1 gallon of water, and I found this was barely adequate for a medium-sized room. You get a 16 ounce bottle with the SteamVac. The manual says not to use other carpet detergents, as they sudse up too much. Amazon sells Hoover's gallon size, which is handy if you want to clean your carpets regularly -- it IS the best way to maintain them.
There are other carpet cleaners, both from Hoover and its competitors. But THIS is the one you want.
on August 17, 2003
The F5914 really cleans carpets well. On my worst carpet area, the cleaner did as well as a commercial carpet cleaner. I recommend the following to make it a successful cleaning:
1) I supplement the hot water with some boiling water to really get the temperature up. By the time the water hits the spray nozzle, it has really cooled off so make it hotter. Bissell uses a heater, but it can't be that powerful without reducing motor power. Best to supplement.
2) Patience. Go slow and go over really bad areas. You will HAVE to pretreat and hand wash heavy stains, but so do the pros. Don't expect a diamond out of coal. You still have to do the work.
3) Clean often. I have one carpet that I waited way too long and it just won't come clean. The pros can't and I can't. BIG lesson learned there.
Have fun with this. I can't believe how much dirt there was in my "clean" areas, so it will be great to have this around to clean when I desire to. I saved more than the price of the cleaner this weekend.
on April 16, 2006
I have been generally happy with my last two Hoover carpet cleaners and they have been durable for me. I used both TONS -- the 1st one was a very early model that was still going strong after 5 or 6 years of hard use, and I replaced it with one that had rotating brushes. It also got years of use but I accidentally damaged it thru my negligence. (Used it in an unheated cabin, left it overnight, and it got well below freezing - I broke the spray trigger when I impatiently tried to use it.) My last one still worked if you pushed the surge button and then pried it up again, but I decided to get a new one.
I purchased this model, but it leaked before even starting to use it, so I returned it and bought a Bissell Proheat 2x. I liked that it seemed easier to clean the machine than the Hoovers, and that it had a rinse option, although not conveniently located. I noticed immediately with first use that it wasn't as good as even my old (trigger broken) Hoover. The Bissell didn't extract water well at all, even though I went over and over an area trying to get the water up. It was obvious by looking that it also didn't clean as well (probably as a result of leaving dirty water still in the carpets.) If it'd been my first carpet cleaner I might have thought it great since it did get dirt out, but I knew they didn't look as clean as in the past and mostly they were WET. The next day, before returning it I bought ANOTHER Hoover 914-900 thinking the first leaky one was an anomaly. The 2nd one leaked initially also, but once I used it for a minute, pressed and released the trigger a few times and the seals got wet, it stopped leaking. Thus I had two new cleaners to try side-by-side. Where I used the Bissell after the Hoover, there was no difference, the Bissell didn't get the carpet any cleaner. Where I used the Hoover on where I'd cleaned with the Bissell the night before -- a BIG difference. The carpet was visibly cleaner; (it's a very light carpet so it's easy to see that) the dirty water collected confirms that it picked up dirt the Bissell left behind; and the carpet was drier. This was a return to what I expected based on my last 2 Hoovers -- damp carpet, not WET carpet, and I think it's why the Hoover cleaned better. The Hoover isn't perfect -- the tanks need to be bigger for fewer trips to the sink (if too heavy for some people, they wouldn't have to fill as full), and there is no good way to clean it! I did like the idea behind the Bissell of having clean water with which to either mix with the detergent and spray, or to rinse with, and it would be a plus if Hoover would find a way to do that. (Especially if the "rinse" button was on the handle and easily accessible.) But Bissell's technique of inserting a plastic bladder for clean water inside the dirty water tank means neither holds much water which makes for extremely frequent trips to the sink. Also, having to stop, bend over, and switch a dial on the base to "rinse" and the same to switch back to cleaning mode was highly inconvenient. Last, Bissell's on-board water heater didn't seem to make a difference. Leaving behind too much dirty water was its downfall, it didn't matter that the water went in "heated." I used the hottest tap water I could in the Hoover and it worked just fine. The "proheat" seems to me to be just another unneeded gizmo that can break. Overall, I guess it depends on what's most important to you. For me, clean carpets that dry in a couple of hours trumped ease of cleaning the machine.
on January 30, 2010
I got this machine after the very basic $90ish Bissell I had for 4 or 5 years starting stinking (Similar to this but older: Bissell PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Steam Carpet Cleaner). It still worked, but it must have cleaned up one too many chocolate milk spills. We took it apart and cleaned as much as we could, but to no avail - those things are not designed to be cleaned, and we could not get the stink out.
I chose this Hoover model because it was so well reviewed and relatively inexpensive. I used my bissell probably every 2-4 weeks on my 14 year old offwhite carpet that we (husband, me, 4 year old twin boys and 2 cats ) eat and play on daily.
To compare the two just on the actual cleaning, to my eyes, they are equivocal. The Hoover was able to get the stuff out that the Bissell had been able to get out. The water from the Hoover was no dirtier than it had been in the Bissell. I will say that the cleaning solution they send with the Hovoer is not as good as the Woolite OxyDeep steam cleaning solution you can buy at Walmart. I used the Hoover stuff initially and was very disappointed, but the second time switched back to the Woolite cleaner with much better results.
The Hoover is, however, significantly better at extracting the cleaning solution. The waste water container filled up everytime before the solution tank was empty. With the Bissell, I would fill the tank with solution and only get about half of what I put on the carpet back up. This left the carpet very wet; I'd turn on the ceiling fan and place 3 box fans in our great room and 6 hours later the floor would be dry. With the Hoover, the carpets were slightly damp after cleaning, and were dry within an hour with celing fan and 1 box fan. In the end, this probably translates to cleaner carpets since more cleaning solution is being extracted.
The only major complaint I have with this machine is the noise it generates. It is ridiculously loud! I have used it twice and my ears rang and ached afterwards. I will actually need to buy some hearing protection for when I use this machine. I have worked on flight lines around multiengine jet airplanes and was less concerned about by hearing then than I am with this carpet cleaner. It is really, really bad.
Other small things that I've noticed:
1. The Hoover steamvac is MUCH easier to clean. The waste water container completely opens and you can thoroughly clean it before putting it away. The front can be unscrewed and the brushes can be removed to be cleaned. The Bissell's all-in-one tank was not designed to be cleaned, and that is ultimately why I had to replace mine.
2. Hoover's cleaning solution tank is oddly shaped, so if you have a standard kitchen sink and faucet, it is impossible to easily fill it up there. I had to start filling in the bathtub, which is not a huge deal, but not as comfortable to have to hunch over on my knees and try to get the water hot enough without making a huge mess in the tub.
So, I'm not planning on sending it back (although I was actually comtemplating it for a bit). It does what it needs to do and is a better cleaning machine than the Bissell, although it is certainly not a perfect steam cleaner. I won't be terribly sad when it's time to buy another steam cleaner.
on September 8, 2003
I'm very pleased with the Hoover F5914-900 Steam Vac. This is my first home steam cleaner. I delayed purchasing one because I never thought a home cleaner could do as good of a job as the pros. But this Hoover made me a believer. I used it to clean up pet stains and the smell and stains are long gone. The suction and scrubbing are an A+.
on October 13, 2009
The Hoover F5914-900 replaced a Bissell 9400 Proheat 2x cleaner that we purchased in 2006. The Bissell was initially purchased because my wife really wanted hardwood floors, but all I could give her was a cleaner carpet. And it did a good job, especially in 2007 when we got our first dog. Since then I have used the Bissell on a monthly basis.
Unfortunately over the last 2 months the Bissell has been having difficulty sucking water back out of the carpet. Cleaning out clumps of hair and even taking apart the unit couldn't solve this problem so I picked up the Hoover SteamVac to replace it. This review is meant primarily to compare and contrast the two devices.
First off, the Hoover is significantly lighter than the Bissell Proheat. Unfortunately this is mainly because the Hoover is a whole lot flimsier. The plastic is thinner and the unit feels much less polished. The Bissell is also more maneuverable. Where I could bend the Bissell under a table, the Hoover just doesn't have the clearance to get in those hard to reach spots.
However, the old fashioned almost industrial shape of the Hoover offers several advantages over the Bissell. Whereas the Proheat 2x uses one container to house both clean and dirty water, the SteamVac uses two separate bins. This allows you to see how much clean water is left. With the Bissell I would sometimes work for several minutes on an empty bladder because there was no easy way to tell how much clean water was left while vacuuming. Emptying the dirty water is also easier without having to deal with a 2-in-1 solution.
While the effectiveness of the different brush styles (rolling versus spinning) is similar, their ability to deal with pet hair appears to differ. With the Bissell hair and carpet fibers tended to wrap around the rollers, whereas the Hoover collects hair around the outside of the brushes. In addition the SteamVac's brushes can be removed which allows for easier maintenance.
Overall both devices performed their duties well. On paper the Hoover appears to clean better, as evidenced by the amount of dirty water I pulled from a regularly cleaned carpet. However, the Bissell was aging poorly so those last few months didn't properly reflect it's cleaning ability. In the end I'd suggest the SteamVac over the Proheat 2x if you're cleaning up after pets. Otherwise the extra $50 for the Bissell will get you more features, better handtools, and a more refined machine.
on December 27, 2004
This steam vac had the best overall reviews I saw, with no discernable trends on the negative reviews. I had no problem putting it together, although you do need to look in the screw holes and pull up on the lower plastic part before you can put in the 2 long screws that hold it together. It initially appears to be of questionable build quality, but it has worked great. I have cleaned every carpet in my house once, and the stairs and landings twice. The result was as good as the professionals I had come out, and the cost of the machine was less than it would have cost to get the cleaners to come once! In other words, if you get one good cleaning out of this machine, you're already ahead money-wise. Fortunately, it seems like it will hold up for a while, but again, I'm money ahead after only one cleaning.
I did have an issue the second time I went to use it, in that when I set the cleaning solution/water tank into the machine, the water/solution mix started pouring out through the bottom. The fix was to plug the machine in and start it. The seals reseated themselves, and it didn't leak again. My advise would be to have it plugged in and on the surface you're going to clean before you set the tank into it, just in case you get a bad seal like I did that one time. If you do, just start it up and it will work fine again.
Also, if your'e working on stairs, the handheld scrubber works very well. However, if working on the landings, and you're having to manhandle the vac around, the dirty water tank is sitting on the front, and if you lift the vac too high to reset it on the little landing, the bottom part of it could drop vertically, causing a spillout of the dirty water. Not a problem, just something to be careful of.
The water that the machine sucked up was absolutely filthy, even on parts of the carpet that appeared reasonably clean, and that I had vacuumed dilligently before using the steam vac. This tells me the machine is getting out a lot of filth I'm not even aware of. With two dogs and a yard that had some bare spots when we moved in, the carpet had some muddy brown places where the dogs would settle down to lick off the dirt from their paws that I didn't see. The vacuum cleaned those places out completely without breaking a sweat.
Sorry for the ramble, but reader's digest version: Steam Vac costs less than one professional carpet cleaning, but holds up well for the long run, so if you're thinking about getting your carpets cleaned, why not just get this machine and do it yourself for less money? Then every time it cleans your carpets again you can split the cost down until you're paying less than $10 for a whole house cleaning!
Living in a one-bedroom apartment, I had real qualms about having purchased this. However, after several cleanings, I can say it's absolutely been worth it.
I have a short-haired cat who was home one time during a professional cleaning. The cleaner had let himself in when I wasn't home. I came home later to beautiful carpet, but I couldn't find the cat. No, he hadn't been sucked up by the steamer, but he was a terrified lump under the covers of the bed. He stayed there for a long time, huddled and shivering as I petted him through the covers.
With time, my carpets started getting grungy again. Like most felines, mine goes through his shed-and-barf episodes a few times a year. I used to spot clean, but it always grossed me out, and I was never convinced I was getting deep enough. Considering I now had several spots and didn't want to put the beast through another traumatic professional cleaning, I sprung for the Hoover SteamVac.
It's a hefty, heavy thing with minimal prep required to set it up for the first time. After shutting the cat in the bedroom, I was ready to go. I steamed the living room using the recommended amount of Hoover cleaner, adding my own boiling water from an electric kettle (the directions just say hot, but I had read other reviews here!). The stuff that came out of the carpet was amazing and disgusting. I had swept already, and still the water turned a filthy brown. It lifted the spots from the carpet like a pro. The Clean Surge feature is great for particularly difficult, set-in stains. One stain that had been there for a long time lightened, but could not be completely removed. Still, I was satisfied. The vacuum of the water worked great and left the carpet just slightly damp. It dried quite fast.
After this, I was bitten by the cleaning bug and wanted to steam EVERYTHING. My car was several years old, having been purchased as a used vehicle. The seats had always bothered me because the driver's looked dingy and darker than the passenger side, and the passenger side was darker than the back seats. Even though the Hoover cord is quite long, I attached a couple extension cords together in order to reach from my apartment to the car outside.
Setting the steamer up for cleaning upholstery is a more complicated process than steaming your carpets. I read the directions and remembered thinking I'd better not lose them because there's no way I'd remember what went where later. I went to work and steamed those seats. The results were nothing short of amazing. I could see muddy-colored water being sucked back into the Hoover. The cleaning using the upholstery attachments, including rotating, scrubbing brushes, worked wonders in cleaning out years of dirt and turning the seats much lighter.
Months later, I've cleaned my carpets repeatedly. Each time I'm thrilled with the results. I don't always use as much cleaner as Hoover recommends because I've read the other reviews about cleaner possibly attracting dirt. I haven't noticed any difference in using half the amount of cleaner after the initial cleaning with full strength.
After a cleaning, the cat barf spots are gone. Despite having vacuumed before cleaning, the cleaner still picks up cat hair and spits it out as wet little clumps that need to be picked up later when the floor has dried. It's just confirmation to me that the steamer is really getting in deep and pulling up ground-in dirt and hair.
And you know what? This even works on linoleum! Granted, you may not want to pull it out as your primary method for washing floors, but it's great for a periodic steam cleaning. You have the option to turn the rotation of the brushes off if you're concerned about them on your floors. The cleaning solution also does a fantastic job and leaves the linoleum gleaming and shiny.
My carpets always look great. They always have that "just cleaned" look about them. I've had people comment on them as they enter my home and insist on removing their shoes. I'm very satisfied with the performance of the Hoover. If you have carpet, and especially if you have an indoor pet, you'll get lots of use out of the SteamVac.
on November 14, 2005
First the great...I got mine from amazon for 125 with 30 off the kitchenware sale, plus free shipping. AMAZING! I looked around and could not find a deal that good.
For the even greater..how well it cleaned. I just cleaned our dining room (which is rug and I can't stand but a story for another day). ANyway, it has been through 2 kids learning to eat, paint, play doh, you name it..it has been on this rug. This rug had stains everwhere. I did NOT have pre-cleaner, so I followed their recommendation of using not 5 ounces of cleaner but 10 ounces...worked like a charm. ANd the rug was not cleaned in over a year (yes we vacuum but not deep clean as I always had to borrow one).
The actual machine assembles in about 10 minutes following the instructions in the manual. 2 sets of assembly instructions come with the manual - I followed the more detailed ones in the book.
As for the rest of the instructions - well there is a lot on the page and if you are like me and just want to get through it..well, let's just say it's worth a quick read to get the jist. After cleaning, do a detailed reading.
The attachments stay in place very well and are easy to put on and off their holders. The attachments for cleaning the furniture take a litle time to switch over but it's not a horrible task.
The trigger is not that hard to squeeze which is always nice when you have to do that over and over again.
My only wish was that it held a little more water in both the solution tank and the resevoir tank. I had to fill and empty more times than I cared to BUT the water each time was so gross that I am glad I did not rush it. It really cleans awesome so if that's my only beef - oh well.
I have used a Hoover like this before and loved it. Then I used a Bissle that heats the water - and it DESTROYED my carpet. Not sure why..but it untwisted all my fibers. And that carpet was only 2 months old. This Hoover is great and I am glad I switched back. Incidentally, I own a Bissel vacuum and hate that too. Maybe it's just the Bissel products - oh well. YOu cant go wrong with this Hoover.