on November 19, 2012
This vacuum has many great reviews, as well as many horrible reviews, and I took time to read MANY of both. Everyone seems to agree that it's heavy, and that the footswitch sucks (more on that later) but conversely that it's very powerful. I weighed the pluses and minuses, and decided that this vacuum was the one for me. Now I'll tell you how that worked out. If you wanna skip all my yapping, you can scroll down to the pros and cons.
My main reason for getting it is because it has a hose, and because of the "Sealed HEPA Filtration" designation on the front. We've recently quit smoking at my house, after smoking inside for years. We have cats, AND we have a basement with no windows that open to the outside...so dust has a tendency to settle down there...and stay forever (unless we want to spend an absolute fortune on Swiffers). Also with a family member recently returning from a long stint in the hospital with some respiratory issues, it was important to get a vac that would really clean, rather than blow dust, dirt and mold back into the air. Other vacuums (like the Mighty Mite, which I actually ordered and then cancelled at the last minute) have the ability to snap on HEPA filter, but what they don't tell you is that only "True" or "Sealed" HEPA forces ALL the air from the motor and bag through the HEPA filter. Just saying "HEPA" isn't enough, like in the case of the Mighty Mite again, where there are lots of vents that allow air to escape without passing through the filter, rendering its "TRUE HEPA" designation false.
For You HEPA Cats:
The Eureka Boss has rubber gaskets sealing both the bag compartment and the HEPA filter from the outside world, as well as a large oversized foam filter that is clamped over the motor vent (which then empties into the main bag chamber to be filtered through the HEPA anyway) to provide 3 stages of gunkstoppery goodness to keep your air cleaner. Is it a perfect system to rival Miele or Dyson? I couldn't say, because I'm not a scientist, nor do I get paid like a scientist....so I picked the machine where the manufacturer clearly made the effort to provide top of the line filtration, but at an affordable price. Also a plus is that 3M makes Filtrete bags and HEPA filters that fit, and 3M is pretty much the industry leader when it comes to making stuff that filters out junk you don't want to breathe in.
As many have pointed out, this vac is POWERFUL. This is the first machine I've ever used where the duster brush actually WORKS, rather than just pushing the dust around. Going from a 4 amp Oreck canister vac to this 12 amp monster was a huge surprise. The suction is amazing, and you can easily pick up large items with the nozzle, which saves having to bend over as much while cleaning (think CDs or paperback books). The vac is indeed heavy, and is somewhat of a workout to pull back, but as others have stated, this can be managed somewhat by making sure you have it set to the correct height for your carpet. One drawback is that if your carpet is very dusty, or if you're vacuuming dry dirt, the placement of the HEPA exhaust door can act as a blower that kicks up the dust and dirt before you can get close enough to vacuum it. Not brilliant, but not a big deal if you clean regularly and don't allow that much dust to build up.
Keeping My Hose In Check:
The hose and extension wand have their pros and cons. As other users have cited the fragility of the hose, I bought the Eureka 15' Universal extension hose, which fits perfectly on to the hose, and lets you put the attachments OR the wand on the other end, and makes it so you don't have to contort or stretch the original hose. This brings me to one of my major gripes. NOTHING fits on the wand that comes with the vacuum. You can either put one of the attachments directly on the hose, or you can put the wand on the hose. You CANNOT put any of the attachments on the wand, because they made the opening too big (either that, or I have it turned around backwards? Will try again tonight)...SO, having an extension hose really comes in handy.A great thing is that our Oreck wands (and thus the attachments) also fit on this vacuum, so between the 3 wands and the extension hose, I can pretty much vacuum the Moon. Another thing I like about the extension wand is that there's a divot inside that seems to catch anything large you accidentally suck up (unless that notch is there cos I have it on backwards....looking at the pics, that seems likely), so if you suck up a tissue, it gets stuck on the notch, giving you time to turn around the hose and pull it out.
About The Footswitch:
I've noticed people complaining about having to press too hard on the footswitch, or about accidentally breaking it because you have to put so much pressure on it. I believe the reason people feel they need to press so hard is because there is absolutely no feedback from the pedal. There's no audible or tactile "click" you feel when you've pushed it far enough, which gives you the impression you need to push it harder...when in fact it's already unlocked. I think the best thing to do is put a tiny bit of backward pressure on the handle as you step on the switch, so as soon as the catch releases, you feel the handle start to move backwards, and thus you know it's ok to stop curb stomping the little plastic doodad. It's also important to note that the switch travels downward to the left, rather than straight down or straight back. It's helpful to push down on the switch with your hand the first time, preferably with the vac on a high counter or table, so you can clearly see how the mechanism works.
A couple other neat things I noticed were that there's a little hook on the side of the top handle where you can hook your cord to help keep it out of the way during use (which would probably help the reviewers who keep running over it). Another cool thing is that, unlike the photos, the Power Paw attachment is now mounted on the front of the handle instead of the back, which I imagine would minimize the complaints people were having with accidentally knocking it off. I haven't bumped it once. Another cool thing is the (seemingly) heavy duty ribbed cord, just like our Oreck has. It's also neat that the front edge is clear, allowing you to see the brush roll and belt ('til it gets too dusty in there to see, lol). It also has extra carrying handles on the front and back, which will help you tame the beast while carrying it up and down stairs.
A couple tiny downsides are that the headlight on it is so dim it's practically useless (not to mention that it's only on one side), the fact that you can't hand-thread the screws during assembly, which gives the sensation that you're cross-threading them or might strip the holes during tightening (which I didn't) but it's really not a big deal since it you only have to assemble it once. The final and most minor gripe is that the big green "show room" sticker on the front (talking about allergens) doesn't peel off nicely like the ones on most home electronics (like microwaves, computers, and DVD players), so you end up with a big ugly green sticker (or worse, a big, ugly, ripped up green sticker) on the front of your otherwise snazzy Ferrari-red vacuum.
So here's the list:
Divot inside hose
Power paw on front now
Rubber sealed hepa & bag door/availabilty of Filtrete bags & filters
Clear front edge
Extra handles on front and back
Heavy ribbed cord
Extra hook on handle for hooking cord
Super sucks w/dusting brush
Fits Oreck attachments/wands
Attachments don't fit on extension wand (or I am stupid?*)
Headlight is practically useless
Sticker doesn't come off
Screws don't thread easily
Exhaust is on the front, which can blow dust and dirt that's in front of vacuum
While it's true that I've only had this vacuum for a week or so....and I haven't gone offroad vacuuming with it to see if the wheels fly off, I feel it is an excellent choice for cleaning on a budget, especially if sealed HEPA filtration is of importance to you. Granted, if you have mad loot to burn, there are lighter vacuums with a better pedigree that you can spend your ducats on.
*Edit: I double checked the wand, and you definitely can't fit attachments at either end.
Edit 2: I AM stupid. The wand pops out into 2 pieces, and then you can stick attachments on. As the commenter below stated:
"Did you ever figure out the wand? I just bought mine and I thought the same thing. Until I pulled really hard on the wand and voila another one came out of the first one. So you should have 2 pieces. The tools/attachments do fit that inside wand. Hope you figured it out."