Although a full-function vacuum cleaner didn’t make my list of 10 cleaning tools everyone should own, that’s only because some homes can get by with a good stick vacuum and microfiber cloths to pick up day-to-day messes.
Mine is not one of them. Living with two cats, a new puppy, a messy teenager, and my messes, owning a full-fledged vacuum isn’t an option: it’s a must.
Not surprisingly, I’ve gone through several vacuums over the years, from the shockingly high-priced Dyson (which worked very well for four years) to an even higher-priced Kirby that was one of the most foolish purchases I’ve ever made.
My mother owned a Kirby when I was growing up, so nostalgia convinced me that I needed one, too. A week later, I remembered hating our Kirby when I was a kid due to its impractical attachments but, after paying through the nose for it, I continued to use it until the thing died six years later.
When it came time to replace the Kirby, I knew there a few things my next vacuum needed to have:
1. On-board attachments so I would use them;
2. The ability to handle both carpet and hard flooring;
3. HEPA filtration since my son and I have horrible indoor allergies;
4. A dust canister rather than bags to make it easier to empty after each use; and
5. A price that reflects the 4 to 5-year average life expectancy of modern vacuum cleaners.
After quite a bit of research, I bought the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus Bagless Upright (Amazon $129) and it’s one of the best vacuum cleaners I’ve used. And, no, I’m not getting paid to say any of this.
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus Bagless Upright
On Board Attachments
I use my vacuum on a variety of surfaces: floors, of course, but also soft furnishings. The Hoover’s on board attachments mean that, unlike the Kirby, I don’t have to swap the vacuum head for the hose just to use the attachments. I can pause in the middle of vacuuming the living room, for instance, and pop the dust brush on to give the curtains their weekly cleaning. Once done, it’s easy to swap to the upholstery attachment and get pet hair off the sofa.
The attachments are air-powered, too. That means the upholstery attachment has its own roller bar in there which spins to get the pet hair up. The combination of convenient use and high power means I get dust, dirt, and hair up faster and more thoroughly, so my rooms stay much cleaner.
Cleans Both Carpet and Hard Floors
I have carpeting in every room but the kitchen and bathrooms. While I’d expect every vacuum cleaner to handle carpeting well, it’s a rare one that can do hard flooring without tossing little bits of dirt all over the place. The Hoover didn’t disappoint me in this area: I’ve used it to clean up a spilled box of quinoa from the kitchen floor, and it did the job admirably without spreading the mess.
One of the reasons for this is the adjustable brush head, a feature both the Kirby and Dyson offered in their own clunky ways. On the Kirby, a foot lever adjusts the brush height while you listen for the vacuum’s sound to change to indicate when the brush meets the floor. With the Dyson, you get the option of carpet or hard floor, no in-between. If you’ve got a low-pile carpet, the vacuum head remains too high to get your carpet fully clean, but switching it to the hard floor option disengages the roller bar.
The Hoover offers several settings to adjust the vacuum head’s height correctly for your floors. I’m fully convinced that finer adjustment is why I got two full canisters of dirt and pet hair out of my living room carpet the first time I vacuumed with the Hoover, even though I’d cleaned using the Kirby just two days before!
My son and I both have indoor dust allergies, so one of my vacuum-purchasing criteria requires HEPA filtration. Also, I hate having to dust more often due to a poorly-designed vacuum, something I often encountered with the Kirby but not as much with the Dyson.
The Hoover combines a rinse-clean filter with a HEPA filter to trap dust within the machine rather than spreading fine particles back into your home’s air as you clean. Although it’s not a sealed HEPA system (and few home vacuum cleaners are), the dual filtration does an excellent job of getting the dust out of the house. The washable filter can be rinsed in the sink after every few uses to keep the machine’s suction functioning properly and protect the permanent HEPA filter, which only needs replacement every couple of years.
Bagless! Bagless! Bagless!
The Kirby required bags. I hate vacuum cleaner bags. For one thing, they’re an ongoing cost that adds more waste to the landfill. For another, there’s no way to change a vacuum bag without getting your face right next to it, and that always led to a 10-minute sneezing bout. A bagless system can create dust when you empty it, but if you hold the trash bag around the base of the canister as you do so you can avoid breathing the stuff in.
Then there’s the fact that whatever you’ve vacuumed up (e.g., food crumbs, dust mites, mold spores, etc.) are growing in the bag until you swap it for a new one. Combine that with a vacuum that doesn’t filter properly, and you’re filling your home with yuck every time you use the thing.
A Reasonable Price
Dysons run around $600. The Kirby cost nearly twice that! Even so, most vacuums last only 4 to 5 years, so the price is something not to be ignored. At $129, the Hoover was well within my budget and, at that price, I won’t feel sick if it only lasts a couple of years.
Weight: At 16.5 lbs. I find the Hoover easy enough to carry up and downstairs as needed, something I couldn’t say about the behemoth Kirby, which weighed 24 lbs. even without attachments!
Easy brush roll access: Keeping the brush free of threads and hairs is easier on the Hoover than any other vacuum I’ve owned. Just flip two levers, remove the roller brush, and pull the threads off. I give my roller a quick wipe down while I’ve got it free, too.
Self-retracting cord(!): I have to admit, this is one of my favorite non-essential features. When I’m done vacuuming, I want to be done vacuuming, not standing there for another couple of minutes winding the cord just so while sweat is dripping down my face. With the Hoover, I push a button and — ZIP — the cord rolls itself up in the machine. Sweet!
Full-container indicator: This is always a nice feature to have, especially if you have kids like mine who’d rather spend an hour watching paint dry than take the 2 minutes necessary to dump the dust container. I solved this by using a permanent marker to draw a line on the canister about 3 inches from the bottom, then told my son to empty the canister when the contents reach that point even if he’s not done vacuuming his room.
Suction control: None of the vacuums I’ve owned have offered this feature, but it would be nice to have. Suction control lets you adjust the strength of the hose’s suction, so it pulls less when vacuuming things like curtains. I get around this by holding the bottom hem of the curtain taut with one hand while wielding the vacuum hose with the dust brush in the other.
All in all, I have to say I love my Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Bagless Upright and would heartily recommend it to anyone whether they’re buying their first vacuum or replacing an old one.
Of course, you shouldn’t just take my word before making your purchase decision: do some research to find out which vacuum works best for your home and purposes. Consumer Reports has an excellent guide to help you, but you should also ask friends and family for their recommendations, too.
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