Customer Reviews: Panasonic MC-CG917 "OptiFlow" Bag Canister Vacuum Cleaner - Corded
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on July 22, 2012
My wife and I test drove this Panasonic canister vacuum along side a couple of different Electrolux cansisters, and while we ended up going with one of the Electrolux models based on some preferred features, it was really a tough choice against this Panasonic! In fact, when I eventually returned the Optiflow, it was not without some hesitation as to whether or not I was making the right choice -- the decision was that close.

However, from our time testing the Optiflow out, I made some observations that may help others decide if it's right for them.

-Excellent price, in my opinion, for all the included features and accessories.
-Large, high quality dust bag. I haven't been able to find exactly what the capacity is, but it seemed twice as large as the Electrolux canister models we were comparing it to. And on top of that, the bag seems to be made of a cloth-like material.
-Great suction. We actually received and tested one of the Electrolux vacuums (the Jetmaxx) first, but after hitting up a lot of the same spots with the Optiflow, it already seemed to have quite a bit more dirt and pet hairs in the bag.
-Optimal selection of tools included and storabable onboard: Air turbine pet hair brush, upholstery tool, crevice tool, hard floor tool, and dusting brush.
-Overall pretty quiet operation compared to the Eureka Boss upright we were getting rid of. Of course, it's louder with the power nozzle turned on, but still overall fairly quiet. Dogs being less frightened of a vacuum is a good thing.
-HEPA filtration.
-24' retractable power cord.
-Canister has parking slot to store power nozzle. We found this to be a very convenient feature.
-6' hose is sturdy and very flexible. The Optiflow has what's known as a wire-reinforced type hose and it's way more flexible than the "crush-proof" type hoses most higher end vacuums have. "Crush-proof" sounds like a nice way to market your vacuum parts, but seriously, how many times have you had to worry about your vacuum hose being crushed? I would say I have average adult male strength and the Optiflow's hose is extremely rigid when you try to apply pressure directly down on one of the wire rings, yet at the same time more flexible when maneuvering through standard vacuum motions.
-In addition to a flexible hose design, the wand handle is well-placed above, not in-line, with the wand and hose connection. We found this made pushing the power nozzle around way easier on the wrist and just plain more nimble.
-Canister has a rubber bumper strip around the whole unit.
-Air turbine brush can be opened to clean out the insides. Also has a geared belt to reduce slippage you might experience with a flat belt.

-The Optiflow has HEPA filtration, but it is not a sealed unit. There are already several layers of filtration on this vacuum and being sealed just means the HEPA filter and the lid would have rubber gaskets, so that added layer of sealing may not be a big deal to you.
-No bag full indicator.
-The height indicator on the power nozzle is difficult to see.
-Warranty is only 1 year.
-The included air turbine brush is less efficient that a similar motorized brush, which just means you'll need to do an extra swipe or two. And yes, this brush is air-driven, meaning it will stop if you apply too much pressure to it on your stairs or furniture. I can confirm this brush DOES work when applying it to a surface with a light enough touch to keep the brush roll spinning. It's not necessary to muscle the brush firmly against a surface...let it glide over the surface lightly and it'll get that pet hair!

If you're like me, researching a good vacuum cleaner online is kind of a nightmare, as you have so many conflicting reviews for a given product. It'll drive you mad when you look through reviews and read "Best vacuum ever!" immediately followed by "Worst vacuum ever!".

If we hadn't decided that we preferred a sealed HEPA vacuum cleaner and a motorized pet hair brush, we would have gone with this Panasonic Optiflow. If those two factors aren't a concern to you AND you prefer to spend less money, I would go with this unit in a second. There was one hitch, however. At one point the power nozzle height adjustment pedal seemed broken. Before I was ready to pack it up and send it back, I opened up the power nozzle per the instructions for changing the belt so I could take a closer look. I discovered nothing was actually broken, but one of the parts related to the height adjustment had somehow slipped out of alignment and I was able to put it back with a screw driver. I reassembled the power nozzle and it never happened again while I still had the vacuum.

You can see more comparison details between this vacuum and an Electrolux model by looking up "Panasonic Optiflow Canister Vacuum Vs. Electrolux Ultrasilencer Delux Canister Vacuum" on my YouTube video.
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on March 31, 2012
I've only had the vacuum for a week and there are some things I like and some things I don't.

Pros - It has very good suction and picks up a lot of dirt. I love the cord rewind too. Its pretty easy to change to the mini power brush. And having the ability to switch from carpet to floor right on the handle is awesome.

Cons - The edge cleaning on the power nozzle sucks! I have to pull the dirt from the wall edge to the line of the vacuum to get it picked up. Otherwise, it skips right over it. Also, the wand will not stand up on its own. It keeps falling down which is really annoying. The mini power brush is nice but because its air-driven and not power-driven, its not really powerful.

Since I've only had it for a short time, I haven't used the other tools but all-in-all, its OK but not great.
66 comments| 170 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 3, 2013
This is a nice vacuum except for one glaring flaw: it emits a powerful, room-filling plastic chemical smell when it is used. I thought that the smell would wear off, but it has been a few months now and the smell is as strong as ever. I wish now I had returned the unit while I had the chance.

The smell is so strong and so unpleasant, I have to open doors and windows to bring in fresh air after using this vacuum, and as a result I don't use it as much as I'd like to. It is not just the ordinary 'new' plastic smell that other new plastic products often have. This is a really strong eye-watering stench.

Its really too bad, because except for the smell, this is a nice vacuum. It is powerful, comfortable to use, and the HEPA filter does a great job preventing dust from escaping.

Another minor flaw is that the "optiflow" feature reduces the capacity of the bag-containing area considerably, so that the vacuum bag has to be changed when it is less than halfway filled. I could live with this, though, if the vacuum didn't smell so strongly.

I don't know whether all units smell this bad or whether I got one that was made from a bad batch of plastic, but I would not recommend this vacuum unless you don't mind breathing strong plastic fumes or have no sense of smell.
88 comments| 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 25, 2014
The vacuum itself is good, I have no complaints. But less than 6 months after purchase, the telescoping mechanism on the floor cleaning attachment just broke.It wasn't dropped or treated roughly at all, I was just pushing it over a wood floor (no resistance whatsoever) and it just snapped, and now it only telescopes. This renders the device useless- as soon as you move it, it just slides up and down.
I emailed Panasonic, and they wrote back and told me to call parts. I called parts, and they told me to go to Kentucky or Illinois (I live in Indiana). I said that was not acceptable, it is a portable vacuum cleaner, there must be someplace I can take it locally, and they said they'd arrange that, and call me back within 24 -48 hours. They did not call back. I called again, and they said I'd never called, although they knew the model and serial number I was calling about (I only gave that to them in my phone call). Then they told me I have to send it to Illinois at my expense, not just the attachment BUT THE ENTIRE VACUUM CLEANER. This machine was used for less than 4 months, since I ordered it for a house I hadn't moved into yet, and it broke with very little wear. Essentially none. To ship the entire thing to Illinois will cost me as much as I paid for the vacuum. My experience sounds almost identical to Eric's in June. The call center people clearly don't know the difference between Indiana and Illinois or Kentucky- although they told me there was a place in Kentucky (different from Eric). That's hundreds of miles from here. The machine probably needs an entirely new wand, which is a major part, but it will probably cost less than shipping the entire vacuum to Illinois. Maybe that's Panasonic's stategy.
I would agree with Eric, don't buy this machine if you are not in a MAJOR metropolitan area (really- Indianapolis isn't really Mayberry). The warranty only matters when it does. The part that broke on my machine is plastic.Vacuum cleaners are tools. I would expect it to withstand way more use (*not abuse) than it got here, and it's not usable now.
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on April 29, 2014
The suction and cleaning ability of this vacuum is good. However when the dust bag gets half full cleaning performance goes down considerably, even with the so touted Panasonic Optiflow. This problem is especially true when using the Panasonic Hepa Dust Bag. Additional problems with the Panasonic Optiflow, it will pull on dust bag causing hole to miss align at the canister hose opening causing dirt dust and debris to enter throughout the vacuum eventually destroying the motor. This is what happened to me, after two months of ownership of MC-CG917, about four hrs. use per week the vacuum would start to overheat, shut down and eventually not start at all. So I removed the hose from the canister and noticed the dust bag hole was no longer aligned the way I installed it. So I opened the canister hood, the whole vacuum dust bag area was loaded with crud plastered to the walls and both dust filters were in-cased. So I cleaned out the dust bag canister area replaced the filters, dust bag, and the vacuum would still not start. So then I went through the Panasonic warranty process and they refused to repair or replace this defective product saying I caused water damage when I cleaned it. I asked how much it would cost if I payed for repair. The Panasonic repair outlet told me they don't do component repairs and I should buy another one. Another one! I only had this Panasonic vac for two months and you want me to buy another one because you won't honor the service warranty contract.
l previously had ownership of two other non-Panasonic vacs in my lifetime, both lasted more than ten years with out any major repairs.
I will say if you buy this vac be ready for repairs and a possible negative response from Panasonic to be able correct any problems. After this experience I would not recommend Panasonic to my worst enemy!
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on December 7, 2013
I liked it ok for the first month or so. It was fairly quiet and seemed to have great suction, but it was very difficult to maneuver. It did not pull in a straight line, and I had to constantly turn around and move it off of my furniture or pick things up that it bumped into. That would have been tolerable, but after two months, the button that you use to adjust the hose length just popped off. I didn't hit it or anything, but when it came off, a small piece of the side cracked, and it would not go back on. It was still under warranty, so I called the company, and they informed me that I would have to take it to the nearest service center THREE HOURS AWAY. I said there was no way I could do that, so my only option was to ship the entire vacuum to them- at my expense! I asked if I could just ship the piece that broke, and the CR said no. She was very rude and was in no way interested in helping at all. So now I am stuck with a vacuum that is duct taped together because it is unusable without that little button. I normally don't write negative reviews, but I hated for anyone else to have the problems I have had especially since custumer service was no help at all.
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on April 22, 2014
I received this vacuum and it did not work. It was defective. The company I purchased it from will not return it and Amazon will not do anything about it either. So I am out almost $300 with a vacuum that doesn't work. This experience has been a nightmare and I feel cheated. Antonline, Amazon and Panasonic have not been helpful at all. Steer clear.
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on April 25, 2015
So far I'm very happy with this purchase. It arrived intact and assembly was easy! I like the extension pole and the long, retractable cord. At first I was disappointed with the results on my carpet, that is, until I discovered the floor/carpet button - what a difference. My carpet looks new again! and it works equally well on my floors, so I'm thrilled. It's a little larger and heavier than I had anticipated but that's due to my own lack of consideration to this-mainly the size since my closet space is scarce. It is exactly how described, however, and I've made room for it, standing it up and flattening out the sweeper to stand next to it. The main sweeper is much wider than I'm used to though it's not a complaint, just will take some getting used to. I love having all of the attachments in one convenient place! The last time I spent this much on a vacuum cleaner, it lasted 16 years, with a few minor repairs in between. This one is a sturdy, powerful machine and I expect it will last for at least that long,
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on August 18, 2014
Bought this vacuum several months ago. It had good cleaning power and liked the unit except for 1 thing. It emitted a smell from the exhaust that lingered in the room you used it. Called Panasonic and they requested that I send the unit to them because they could find no service for the unit within 100 miles of the Cincinnati area. They paid for shipping to them. Waited a few days and called the Panasonic rep who was handling my problem. She told me they were running test to see what was causing the issue and they would get right back with me. 3 days later I called them again, this time telling them I bought the vac to use for our home, not for them to keep testing it. For god sake send me a replacement if you're going to keep the vac. I got irate with the rep because she talked down to me like I was taking up her time. She finally offered to refund me what I paid for the unit from Amazon, but I had to sign a form releasing them from having to tell me what they found wrong. I accepted the refund and swore I would never buy anything made by Panasonic again. Their customer service is non existent and before you buy one, check and see if there is a service department somewhere close if you have a problem.
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on January 10, 2015
This vacuum cleaner will not blow your mind with design or technology. This is essentially the same vacuum as my old Kenmore. They use the same Kenmore C-style bag, they have the same levers in the same places. I even switched hoses from my dying Kenmore to verify that they are interchangeable. The overall impression, however, is of higher quality and better performance.

The motor and turbine noise is lower than the noise of air rushing through the hose and nozzle. Not exactly silent, but reasonably quiet. Much better than the old Kenmore. Suction is good, extendable wand is great - I no longer need to bend during vacuuming. Power cord rewind is strong and reliable. The best thing is the wheels. Finally a vacuum that rolls easily and follows me without pulling back and hitting all walls and corners. This vacuum is heavy. Not an issue until you need to carry it.

During the after-holidays cleanup this vacuum picked up all dust, tree needles, glitter, dog hair, and even small debris like pistachio shells. It pulled dog hair out of rugs. Generally did a great job.

The things I do not like: the accessory cover is meant to pop when you press the release buton. It does not, you have to lift it which requires both hands. The power cord is shorter than in other vacuums I used. This make it necessary for me to switch outlets more frequently. The hole in the standard nozzle is not straight but at an angle. Very annoying when cleaning stairs. I had to drill another hole right in the center.

I do not get the dust bag basket. It does nothing for me. Neither good nor bad.

Some reviews here complain about damaged hardwood floors. Guys, the power brush is for carpets and rugs, not for hardwood or linoleum. Also, the power head has adjustable height. Use XLO for bare floors to maximize dirt pickup. Use MED for low or medium pile rugs and carpets.
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