Top positive review
151 people found this helpful
Sucked up a bunch of baking soda left behind by a $1350 vacuum
on November 12, 2012
I purchased the Eureka SuctionSeal Pet vacuum (AS1104A) in November 2012, after spending more than a month poring over the Consumer Reports vacuum research and hundreds of online reviews of various top-performing models on Amazon, ConsumerReports.org, and various other stores' websites. At a few points I was pretty much set on buying the Hoover UH70120 or UH70210. But after looking at those and more than a dozen other bagless vacuums in stores, I finally settled on this Eureka because it seemed very similar to the highly-rated AirSpeed Gold (AS1001A), but with a few design improvements that seem to address most of the complaints I've seen in negative reviews of that model. The AS1104A also seems much better built than most competing models, which is evident in everything from the length and quality of the accessory hose, to little things like the quality of the wheels on the machine (actual rubber wheels instead of cheap plastic rollers).
The first time we used it, my wife noticed that it was picking up a LOT of white powder in one area of the living room. It didn't take us long to realize this was the same area where a Kirby vacuum salesman had done his demo several months prior. For the uninitiated, this is how a door-to-door salesman demos a $1350 vacuum to you (you can also find videos on YouTube):
1. Dump a bag of baking soda on your floor (more than a box; perhaps about 2 boxes' worth)
2. Rub it in until most of it is deeply embedded in the carpet, or even beneath the carpet
3. Run your current vacuum back and forth over the area at various angles, counting the number of passes the vacuum makes over the spot in each direction (I think it was 18 passes total)
4. Run the latest-model Kirby vacuum over the same spot for just a few passes, using a special collection chamber instead of the standard bag so you can see everything it pulls up. Then keep running a few passes at a time, changing the filter media every few passes.
5. Offer to discount your Kirby purchase by $300 if you give them your old vacuum, since it clearly cannot pick up as much dirt as the Kirby can.
There are several flaws in this demo, but those are beyond the scope of this review. The demo is convincing enough that many people do buy the Kirby vacuum for $800 or more, and those who don't immediately suffer from buyer's remorse feel pretty good about the purchase. Suffice it to say, I was a little surprised when our new $135 Eureka vacuum sucked up almost half a box of baking soda that was still left in the carpet from the Kirby salesman's demo several months prior. Because of the flaws in the Kirby demo, I cannot say this vacuum is a better product than the Kirby (which Consumer Reports rated "Excellent" in several performance categories), but I do think the Eureka is an excellent (and affordable!) alternative for someone who can't quite justify spending $800+ on the Cadillac of vacuums.
What I like:
* Very good suction
* Seems to do a good job picking up fur
* Room doesn't smell like dust after vacuuming
* Hose is longer and higher-quality than on many other vacuums
* Easy to see blockages in the see-thru hose and its connecting elbow
* Easy to see when the brushroll is dirty
* All controls are easy to use with your foot
* Easy-to-clean dirt canister
* Washable top filter in dirt canister
* Brushroll can be turned off for vacuuming hard (uncarpeted) floors
What I don't like:
* A few plastic parts seem likely to break (in particular, the connecting elbow between the vacuum body and the hose, as well as some of the hinges and clips on the dirt canister)
* Noisy! About as loud as a Shop-Vac (you'll probably want to wear hearing protection)
* Cord slmost never fully rewinds on its own (see updates below for more details)
* A bit heavier than competing models
* Some of the plastic parts are a little difficult to properly align and snap together during the initial assembly
* The washable filter and one part of the dirt canister are very difficult to dry after washing
If you get poor suction, DON'T throw it out or take it back to the store! There are two things you can check:
* Make sure the air path selector is set to the appropriate mode (Tool or Floor)
* Check the air paths for blockage. Perhaps the least obvious trouble spot (except in hindsight) is the short hose at the bottom rear on the right side. It disconnects easily, so you might as well check it once every couple of months (more often if you vacuum a lot). Check for blockage both in that hose and in the tube it connects to. I found almost an entire cat in mine.
After using it a few times and completely washing the dirt canister, I noticed that most of the canister's interior has already been permanently etched by the swirling sand and grit picked up by the vacuum. I suppose this will happen to any bagless vacuum, but it was something I didn't really think of up front, and I suspect the "fogging" of the plastic will only get worse over time. The vacuum still functions fine; it just doesn't look as pretty.
Although the dirt canister was easy to clean, the long inner cylinder and the washable upper filter are very difficult to get dry, so you probably won't want to wash them very often. You'll have to dry all the parts as best you can, then let those two pieces finish air drying for at least a day or two before reassembling the vacuum.
I've also noticed that after only a couple more vacuuming sessions, the cord rewinder already seems to have a lot more trouble than it did the first couple times, which is annoying.
After a few more uses, including vacuuming the linoleum floors in the kitchen and foyer, still hasn't disappointed in terms of performance. I know part of any bagless vacuum's perceived performance is psychological (Gross! You can SEE all the nastiness that was in your carpet!); so in a way, I wish my old bagged vacuum could be easily retrofitted with a cyclone canister so I could visually compare how much it picked up in comparison to my new Eureka.
This weekend when I was vacuuming the linoleum with the brushroll turned off, it turned back on by itself one time, which was a bit startling. Maybe I just didn't have the brushroll on/off lever firmly in the off position, but it seems that raising and lowering the handle of the vacuum (like when you push the vacuum away from you, then pull it back toward you during normal use) wiggles the on/off lever a little--maybe enough to switch it back on after a while. I'll have to see if this happens again in the future.
I did forget to switch the mode selector to "Tool" one time, and it took me a while to figure out why the attachments weren't working very well. Once I did switch it, the crevice tool did a great job sucking the dust from the corners between the baseboard trim and carpet, and around the edges where the linoleum meets up with the kitchen cabinets. I've also used the (non-powered) brush several times and it worked great on dust and sawdust.
The inconsistent performance of the cord rewinder still baffles me. A couple times I've used it, it has rewound the cord all the way without much trouble. You almost always have to rewind it until it stops, then pull it out a couple feet and rewind it again a couple more times. Even then, you often have to hold the cord rewind button with one hand (which is awkward since the button was intended to be pressed by someone mashing their foot on it) and help the rewind mechanism by pushing the last couple feet in. Sometimes it requires a lot of messing around to get it fully rewound.
For the time being, I'm still happy with the purchase and would still recommend this vacuum over most others. I don't expect that any of the other bagless vacuums in the same or lower price range would have fared any better, but I suspect that I'll have to get something on it repaired or replaced before the 3-year warranty is up.
Today my wife was vacuuming the living room when the vacuum started to rumble, then suddenly it started making a horrible high-pitched grinding or fluttering sound. After removing the brushroll cover and brushroll, it looked like the toothed belt for the brushroll was fine. I then removed the top of the vacuum (the top side of the floor "head", where the pile height adjustment is) and found lots of really tough threads of material wrapped around a couple parts, a few inches long each. I think it used to be a belt with embedded reinforcement threads. Looking at the diagram for replacing the S-belt, I see no other sign of the belt that is supposed to link the two parts that were wrapped in the threads. I had thought about contacting Eureka since the vacuum is still under warranty for a few more months, but since the belt is considered a consumable I guess I'll just need to buy one.