Top positive review
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First Use Impressions
on July 7, 2012
After my Bissell Spotbot brokedown (after A LOT of use, so it nothing negative to say about it), I wanted to upgrade to a full upright cleaner. I typically of the mind that you get what you pay for so price is usually not an issue. So the question with this model was, "Will I get all the functionality I want without paying twice as much on higher end models?" I mulled getting the Bissell Lift-Off instead for $100 more. In the end, I think I made the right choice in this Hoover SteamVac and saved my wallet too.
The quick start guide was very useful and made it easy. The handle and the bottom of the machine are separated behind the clean water tank. So you put the handle on top of the base, push two long bolts through from front to back, and then comes the tricky part. don't push the bolts all the way through because you still have to attach the tool holder onto the back using the end of those bolts and a couple nuts. Do this: take a nut an put it into the nut-shaped hole in the tool holder. Line up the holes on the tool holder with the end of the screws. Hold the nut in place with your finger on your left hand and then screw the bolt into the nut (using a phillips head driver) with your right hand. Otherwise, the bolt just pushes the nut out when you try to screw it in. The bolt will eventually grab the nut, pull it back in as your screw, and tighten to the machine. OK, that sounds like a lot, but its really easy. all you have to do after that is screw on the bottom tool holder and wrap the tube and power cord around the back.
Follow the instructions all the way through before use. The important one is to squeeze the trigger on the handle to put a rod in place. If the rod isn't in place, then it apparently dumps water everywhere (per other reviews). Mine did not "snap" as other people described, but it worked anyway. So I assume Hoover made a modification to remove the "snap" from this step (I can see how a "snap" sound could make people think its broken).
-The clean water tank is easy to use it right. The tank has a fill line, and the cap also doubles as a measuring cup. Its easy to pull out and snap back into place. One full tank was able to clean an area about the size of a normal bedroom. I'd say about 300 sq.ft.
-The dirty water tank is easy to clean since the top comes all the way off. It is easy to get in and out of place, although, you have you put the upright in a lay-down position to get it from and into its spot on the machine since the top tank blocks you from pulling it straight up. Its just a little cumbersome, but I am being picky here.
To use it, you just squeeze the trigger, and push forward and back to put down the cleaning solution, then let go of the trigger and go back over your line to dry. A great feature here is that the vacuum is always on, so basically, you can go back and forth over an area multiple time to get it super dry. In my experience, once was enough though. So it doesn't get the carpets super wet and it uses the heat from the machine to add drying power. I also used hot tap water as instructed. I was able to clean and put all the furniture back into place less than an hour later. If Hoover's "Max Extract" feature on its more expensive model does any better, then I'm not sure I see the point. I mean, less then an hour is good enough I would think. So keep your money.
The "Clean Surge" feature is nice. You get to pour on the solution in those areas that aren't looking so good. I definitely used it and it did the job. Its easy to use, you just squeeze the other trigger with your thumb along with the main trigger.
One thing I also liked was a clear window on the front that lets you see that the brushes are spinning. Otherwise, you really wouldn't know what's going on down there.
A great feature of this device was the ability to snap off the brushes from the bottom. You just squeeze the tabs and it comes right off. Then you're free to wash them off in the sink. Super nice! I also wiped down the bottom with a paper towel. The dirty water gets sucked up through the front, so I wanted to get the clear plastic piece off the front. That was easy too. Just one phillips head screw on the top and two on the bottom on either side of where the brushes are. I was able to unscrew it, wash off the plastic front, take the rubber lining out and wash it off as well, then replace everything with ease.
So overall this vacuum mixes ease of use, has all the features you need, and saves you money when compared to higher end models. It was the right move to buy this and not get excited about its more expensive competitors. For spot jobs, I'll use the hose which attaches to the dirty water tank on the front. I haven't used it yet, but that feature made the Bissell Lift-Off not worth the extra money.