Finding the Best Vacuum Cleaner For Our Family

Cleaning with children in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos

To say that my kids are capable of making messes would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, they are also a great help around the house and in the kitchen, but the sheer nature of having 7+ people in our home means I have to deal with a lot of dust, little pieces of paper everywhere, and other small items on the floor constantly.

Many days, I feel like I’m losing the battle against this endless pile of little items on the floor, so this popular Pinterest quote sums up my feelings well:

Cleaning with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.

Part of my struggle has been finding a good vacuum that can actually stand up to my kids and their messes. We finally found a great vacuum that works and that is still running after a year of heavy use, and ironically, it was one of the last options I was willing to try.

We have literally tried dozens over the years, including all the popular name brands. I bought vacuums at yard sales, asked for them for Christmas presents, and saved up credit card reward points to buy them online. Some worked well for a while and then died. Others had problems from the beginning or weren’t strong enough to actually keep up with our floors.

Why A Post on Best Vacuum Cleaners?

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a long time because I felt silly chronicling our years-long vacuum saga, but all of the reviews and “best vacuum cleaner” lists and posts that I found while researching only covered the same name brands and none of those ended up working for us. In fact, I doubted that many of the websites actually tested those vacuum cleaners (or at least used them more than once) before reviewing, as they focused on the best features “out of the box” and the manufacturer data.

This post isn’t a review and none of the companies I’ve listed in this post even know I exist, I just hope it might be helpful to other moms who are looking for a good vacuum and who don’t want to over-spend on one that won’t work.

Don’t care about what I thought was the best vacuum cleaner?

I don’t blame you… it isn’t a very exciting topic! Go check out some recipes, or read about how adult coloring books can improve your brain or how tampons may be poisoning you

If you are looking for a vacuum that actually works, this is my attempt at making this mundane topic a little more interesting.

My Vacuum Cleaner Criteria

I wasn’t concerned with how many awards a vacuum had won or how many special features it had. In fact, from my experience over the years, more features just meant more things that could break. After years of trial and error, the only criteria I cared about were (in this order):

  1. Ability to clean
  2. Durability
  3. Weight (if possible, lighter weight was preferable so the kids could use it too)
  4. No expensive upkeep (some vacuums had expensive bags, filters etc.)
  5. Allergen-friendly (if possible, though many allergen and HEPA vacuums weren’t very effective)

Vacuum Cleaners I Tried:

  • Dirt Devils (they eventually broke)
  • Shark vacuums (not heavy duty enough)
  • Dyson Vacuums (they also broke)
  • Roomba Robotic vacuums (It worked well, but the noise drove me nuts and the canister wasn’t big enough so we had to constantly empty it)
  • Miele Vacuums (It worked pretty well but was really expensive and not easy to use for the kids)
  • Quite a few more from yard sales or hand-me-downs. The oldest ones seemed to be the most heavy duty but they eventually all died too!

I finally started looking at commercial vacuums, thinking they would be more durable and that is how we found the one that has actually worked for us.

The Best Vacuum Cleaner I’ve Found

The surprising vacuum that ended up being our best vacuum cleaner and the one we still use is…

An Oreck Commercial

I know, I know. I was surprised too. Especially because it was so inexpensive compared to many other options we’ve tried. It also wasn’t on any of the lists of best vacuum cleaners that I read while researching and I couldn’t find many reviews for it online (other than the 1,000+ on Amazon).

I put off trying this one for a really long time because I remembered the terrible commercials that used to air about “The 8-pound Oreck” and I doubted how well it would actually work. I eventually bought the commercial one on a Black Friday sale without high hopes for it.

It definitely met my criteria for ability to clean well, but I still wondered about its durability. It is lightweight so the kids can easily use it and there is no expensive upkeep (replacement bags are inexpensive). The one downside is that it isn’t specifically HEPA or allergy friendly, but since we use air filters in our home, I was less concerned about this than the vacuum’s actual ability to sweep things up.

Over a year later, and this vacuum is still going strong, despite quite a few bag changes and even a rough tumble down the stairs thanks to a certain 2-year-old (who was using it to vacuum the landing of our stairs).

It wasn’t the vacuum I expected to like. It certainly isn’t pretty and they had terrible commercials, but I do love that we finally found an option that works (and that cost much less than many of the others we tried).

I’d love to hear your opinion… What is the best vacuum you’ve ever owned?

You May Also Enjoy These Posts...

Reader Interactions

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Be Healthy…

Become a Wellness Mama VIP member for free and get access to my handbooks & quick start guides to help you detox your home, become a master of home remedies, make beauty products from scratch, and conquer mealtime madness!

Yes! Let me in!

Wellness Mama widget banner

Reader Comments

  1. My SHOP VAC is, hands down, the best I’ve ever owned.

    Because I’ve ruined regular vacuums when I should have used a shop vac. A shop vac can transition between wet and dry. (Spilt GLASS of milk?!?). It holds gallons, rather than ounces. Some have great air filters. It is made for the workshop, so it can handle drywall dust, saw dust, puddles, nails, shards of glass, Legos (oops! did I really type that!), and any mess that children (big or small) can create. Buy one for Dad and borrow it as needed.

    Seriously. A Shop Vac.

    • We bought our Kirby about 15 yrs. ago, and it is still going strong! I SO love it! True it is heavy, bit I just learned the correct way to carry it up the stairs. We have always had cats and dogs, and for years I also had a lisenced childcare in our home, so I vacumed often and daily! I had it in for a repair a few moths ago, but really havent had any big problems with it all these years. I plan to buy a second hand one of this one ever does go, but this one I purchased brand new. I’m definitely for Kirby!

    • Totally agree with Kathleen. I use a Rigid shop vac. You can’t beat the suction and that is works on wet or dry. Only thing it needs is a beater brush.

    • At age 56, I have owned two Electrolux canisters and Electrolux central vac system The first Electrolux was still going strong after 10 years when we got an Electrolux central vac. I did bring it into a repair shop to do a routine It continued to work even after my teenage daughter vacuumed up a jar of jelly with it! We moved so I’m not sure how long it lasted. I so miss central vac. It had a big tank (larger than any regular vac) that was easy to change. And it was very light because you don’t have to roll around a canister, etc. In 1800 sq. foot home I only had three places to plug it in-one for each floor. The hose was long enough to reach every part of each floor and had plenty of power. I have to say, vacuums will last longer if you maintain them regularly and clean the beater brush every time you use it. My current $450 Electrolux canister 11 years old and still going strong with no problems! That said, my pre-school granddaughters love to use the Black and Decker cordless handheld vacuum clean their crumbly messes and run to get it with excitement when they have the opportunity to do so. No problems with weight or motivation here!

  2. My husband works with mold and also carpet cleaning on a daily basis. He says you need a HEPA filter. So this would not work for us. ?

    • We run HEPA filters in our home as air filters, but I’ve never found a vacuum with a HEPA that actually works and holds up to long-term use… we’ve tried quite a few…

      • Oreck vacuums are HEPA filtrated. The outer back is HEPA and you can purchase HEPA inner bags (they are the grey cloth bags as opposed to the green or blue paper bags).

        • Thank you for that important info Stephanie!

      • Our Kirby has done well for 4 years with a hepa filter. They are about $12 for 3 to replace and they last us a while. We vacuum hardwoods and carpets about 3 times a week or more. 4 year old use it easily on hard floors and carpet. It is heave but drives itself when on. Just up the stairs is when you really lift it. It even has a stair carpet attachment for the hose. And it works really well as a carpet shampoo cleaner.
        It was definitely money up front but I got tired of spending $100 a year and sill not having a great tool.

  3. I have 2 Orecks- one upstairs and one downstairs. One is a regular Oreck and the other is a commercial. They both take the same bags so it works. I love it. I tried different vacuums as well, and love this one. Good choice!

    • Which do you like better, or the same….regular/commercial?

  4. Kirby! The door salesman doesnt lie. It is the best vacuum EVER! I believe it uses 1 horsepower which is very powerful.

    • I found the Kirby to not have enough suction power to clean throughly…

      • I found the Kirby to be too heavy and bulky…the maneuvering of it…….

    • Katie, we have had our Kirby for two years now and I love it! when my fiance bought it I wasn’t happy because I thought it was ugly,,,and gee its heavy and bulky but the one we have has the best suction, in my option but I don’t know what kind of carpeting you own. we have a rug in our living room and one bedroom has medium shag carpet and the other is what I would consider regular carpet appropriate for a child’s room. I have come to love it despite its looks. Interesting article!

  5. We’ve used nothing but Oreck’s for probably the last 25 years. They hold up well and are lightweight. Also, we have a retail Oreck store within a few miles of us, and they give excellent service, often while we wait. My husband took ours up there just last week for a minor problem with a bag, and home again in 30 minutes after they showed him what was wrong (user error) and how to avoid it in the future.

  6. I bought a “Big Vac” –I think it’s by Hoover– back in 2001 from The Clean Team online. I had a house cleaning business for a short period of time. It’s a cannister vac , loooong hose, loooong cord, a carpet attachment that’s powered by the very good suction, a crevice tool, upholstery brush and a bare floor/rug attachment. It uses bags that are not expensive but not cheap either. I really like it, it’s a good’un 🙂

    • Ellen, I need a canister Vac and would REALLY appreciate if you could tell me the exact one you got. Is there a name or a number you could pass on to me??

  7. I have a Rainbow E series that I’ve had for 12 years and it’s still going strong. The only thing I’ve ever had to replace were the hepa filters and tho they are a bit expensive, this last time, I bought ones I can rinse out and reuse, and they last a very long time. New the machine was $1200, but it cleans EVERYTHING from floors, carpets, furniture, drapes, walls, and anything else you can think of. It has a water basin so NO DUST or dirt EVER pass thru into the air. You can even use this machine to filter the air in a room and take the dust out of the air. I have always loved my Rainbow and have never regretted getting it. and after 12 years +, I feel I’ve gotten my monies worth out of it. It also has a floor squeegee and a carpet steam cleaner. I mean, this machine does EVERYTHING! and it does it all very well too.

    • Anyone commenting here should have a Rainbow demonstration in your home! They will educate you about what your vacuum is spewing into your indoor environment and you will never want to turn on a dry vacuum again. Rainbow user all the way! Have one on each level of my house. It is a shop vac. It is an air purifier. It does not weigh a ton.

    • You’re not kidding, rainbows are the best. Mine was a hand me down from a relative. I recently had to replace it, but it got over 20 years of use!!!!! They are amazing machines for the money. I always say if you’re not using a rainbow, you’re working twice as hard for half the clean 😉

    • I’ve had my Rainbow for over 20 years. I wouldn’t trade it for any brand. I’m not sure what HEPA filters you refer to, mine doesn’t use them. I love that I can put a few drops of thyme or other essential oil into the water to refresh and disinfect the air while I vacuum. I also use it without the hose attached for major air cleaning, like when the dog ripped a hole in our down comforter and I had the filling flying everywhere. It was amazing to see the down and feathers swirl in the air and then flow into the vacuum.

  8. My family bought an Electrolux canister vaccuum over 22 years later and it’s still working well. 🙂 One hose replacement so far, but Electrolux makes parts that still work with their vaccuums from years ago. If I ever invest in a good vacuum (married with my own home now), Electrolux is what I would consider first.

    • My ELECTROLUX bit the dust after 35 years of faithful service. I just purchased a 13 year old model for 300. which is excellent! I expect it to last as long.

  9. Rainbow vacuum is the one for us! It is a bit heavy to lug up and down the stairs, but I’m not sure it’s easy to transverse floors with any vacuum. I’ve also borrow my mother-in-law’s Electrolux and like it, but the filters and bags and expensive. We love the Rainbow because all the waste is caught in the water basin and flushed away down the toilet! No bags, no dust. And it has a powerful cleaning head to suck up all those nasty disease-spreading dust mites. We use it on our mattresses every once in a while, too.

    • I didn’t like it because of the water, which always seemed to make a bigger mess…but that could just be me 😉

      • Thanks for your research! I go thru vacuums every year! I’ll take your advice. Thanks again!

      • I agree with the comments on the Rainbows. Best vacuum I’ve ever tried as far as cleaning, suction and durability. It is however a big upfront investment. I was lucky enough to find one used for a steal. For the price I paid I love it, but had I paid the retail price of $1200 or so I would’ve been disappointed. Although I can vacuum an entire floor of my house from one outlet cause of the long cord and hoses it is heavy to lug up and down stairs. Also while the water basin is the whole concept of the vacuum and keeping dust trapped it is a pain in the butt to be emptying and cleaning it everyday.

      • Katie, did you and your husband watch a demonstration in your home and purchase a Rainbow, or did you use a borrowed one?

        • We have seen a demonstration but did not purchase one. I have used borrowed ones before as well.

          • Gotcha. My husband sells Rainbows so I have often wondered what vacuum you use haha! Maybe y’all just need to see a better demo to be convinced of its superiority… 😉 If only you lived in North Carolina 😉 🙂

      • I would also be concerned about the mold factor with the water.

        • Are you referring to mold caused by the rainbow? If so you don’t have to worry about about that because the water stays in a canister that all of the dust and anything else you vacuum gets sucked into. My mom and gma had a rainbow when I was little and now I have one! We made the investment because I believe it really makes our home healthier.

        • You can dump and refill your Rainbow after each use…..or leave all the dirt and nastiness in a bag or canister vac to ferment. You know that, “Vacuum smell,” when you turn on your vac? That is bacteria spewing into the air you breath folks. Yikes. I will take the fresh smell of water any day…or the nice smell of my essential oils I drop in the water to freshen up any area I am vacuuming. In between cleaning, the Rainbow sits on low cleaning your air and preventing the room from needing to be dusted as often. The water does not sit stagnant for mold to grow. You empty it after vacuuming, put in fresh water and leave it on low.

  10. I love this post! Even though I’m not currently in the market for a vacuum, I love your honest, unbiased, and unsponsored review. I’d love to see more posts like this in the future!

    FWIW, I have a Dyson Animal vacuum and have had it for about 7 years with no problems whatsoever. I think a lot of it is just luck of the draw sometimes. I’ve heard bad things about Dysons but I’ve been very happy with mine.

    • We have had our Dyson Animal for 10 years and I love that it still has the same powerful suction that it had when new!

      • Same here. We’ve had a dyson animal for 10 years and I love it. It’s still going strong.

  11. I’m shopping for a new vacuum. I have many of the same criteria as you, but am using the Carpet and Rug Institute certifications ( ) as my short list. There are many Oreck’s on the list (though not the Oreck Commercial). I’m holding off on a buying as I’m in a point of transition and expect to be moving soon (so my vacuum needs might change).

    Dreaming of a new vacuum….

  12. I am obsessed with my Simplicity. Made in the USA. Much cheaper to repair than the Miele. An investment, surely, but one I have not once regretted.

    • My friend cleans for a living. She swears by Simplicity, at least 20-30 of her clients over the years have purchased them based on her recommendation. Haven’t heard any complaints yet!

    • That is what I have. It’s at least 15 years old and still going strong!

  13. We have the Oreck XL Classic, and while it works fine, the noise is unbearable! It’s by far the loudest vacuum I’ve ever heard (not that I’ve heard that many…)
    Since we have no carpeting in our house, I don’t really see the point of having something so loud. How do you stand the noise? I can never vacuum with my kids in the house unless they’re wearing ear-protection! No way they would use it.

    • I read a study years ago that vacuum cleaners can easily be designed to be quiet. The problem is, people perceive quiet vacuums as not doing the job. So manufacturers make them loud, because people won’t buy them otherwise.

  14. I have a house keeping business. I haven’t tried the professional version of Oreck, but I’m not impressed with the regular Oreck. The Shark Navigator Professional, is my pick and I’ve used several different types. I’m guessing it is still much less expensive than the Oreck.

  15. I am always concerned about the noise level as well as the cleaning. I have an Electrolux upright and love it. had it for hummm 20 years! It’s lite and easy to use and has a nozzle to get in the crevices. All it takes is bags which I buy online. I’ve owned two. Gave my daughter the old one (which still works) and its probably 30 + years old. It is also self propelled.

  16. I have an Oreck 8 pound and I love it! it’s so light and does a fine job!

  17. Katie,
    Have you ever used a kirby diamond or any of the newer editions? They use HEPA filtration and although they do have replacement bags and can be quite heavy, they’ll last an extremely long time and are really strong vaccume cleaners. We’ve had one of the kirby ultimate G diamond edition vaccumes since about 2003 and it’s still going strong, it works very well and has been a pretty great investment, and will be around a while for when kids are old enough to be able to use it.

  18. Electrolux! My mom gave me the one she bought when I was a child because she has a central vac now. We have a canister not an upright, and it’s the best vacuum hand down.

  19. So glad to see this! I have nine children and so have many vacuum needs too 😉
    We go through two or more Hoovers per year. My mom has an Oreck she’s had for years , and I love how light it is. I’d been thinking about getting one and now this confirms it! Glad you did a review on boring vacuum cleaners!

  20. Katie have you looked into Rainbow vacuum cleaners? My mom had one when I was little and as soon as I got my own house I made the investment. They are not cheap but they clean the carpet so well and have an option for purifying the air. They work by putting the dirt extracted into a water reservoir so you can see everything it sucks out!

  21. I LOVE my Dyson Animal! 14 dirty feet on 3200 sq ft of 100 year old wood floors with deep cracks and I am super pleased. Love all the attachments for under bed and over doors and fans.

  22. We have four kids so we are constantly vacuuming. We went to our local vacuum shop and he recommend the Riccar (which I had never heard of). We’ve had it for 2 years now and it still works great, running 1-2 times every day. It was a bit pricey, but so far has proved to be a good investment. We had looked at the Oreck but it didn’t have a hose.

  23. My Orek lasted 10 years. Then my husband ordered parts and fixed it. We have a large family, kids, grandkids and critters. I will try a commercial one next time. It always amazes me how light it is. When it starts getting heavy, I realize, duh, change the bag..

  24. The best vacuum for my family of nine was the Kirby. I wasn’t happy with how heavy it was , but it was certainly heavy duty when it came to suction and longevity. I was younger then, so the weight wasn’t an issue. Now in my older , empty nest years , I have a Dyson. Not too bad. , it does the job.

  25. I’ve killed many vacuums in my adult life but I now have a Shark Lift Away (purple one) that I absolutely love! It very rarely clogs, never loses suction and I fee like it’s pretty powerful. I almost cried last week when it started making a terrible noise and the motor got hot! Turned out the little hose at the bottom that connects the head to the canister was super clogged! It was still sucking up stuff, not as well as usual but still never stopped working!

  26. I used an Orek professional fairly frequently at an old job and was not impressed. I have also used my sister in law’s Dyson(the older model pet one), many times and it is so complicated, very heavy, unwieldy, and mediocre performance wise. I had a Roomba that was cool but my son spilled hot tea on it! I had a Kirby for one day before I decided that there were way too many parts to assemble and reassemble on a regular basis. We had a dirt devil for 8 years, it was okay, but very heavy, and that was before we had a big dog. We finally bought a top of the line Royal cannister, not realizing thst they had been bought out by a company in China, who also now owns Hoover, Dirt Devil, and others. It was great at first. It had silicone wheels which were great for hard floors, and it used bags, which I really prefer. However, it kept breaking and the warranty process was such a pain. At one point the vacuum guy had it for 4 months, and when we got it back, the part in question was actually for a Hoover, so my $600 vacuum now looked like it had been thrown together from spare parts. When it broke the last time, I still had time on my warranty but didn’t bother. I keep it in the garage for vacuuming out the car, because it was the brush area that broke and it still works well with all the other attachments. My husband wanted to wait and do some research before we bought another vaccum. Did I mention that we have a cat, three boys, a German Shepherd, and like 2000 SF of carpet? I waited a week during which time he did zero research while the pet hair piled up in drifts. I shudder just thinking about it. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore, and I knew that ALL vacuum cleaners have some kind of issues. I knew my husband would end up picking something overpriced that I would hate, and that it might be another two months before he made up his suggestion(not an option!). So I went to the nearest store that sold vaccums and got a $79 Eureka pet vacuum. It doesn’t work on hard surfaces, but I use microfiber for those areas anyway. I was just expecting to use it until we got something better, and then I was going to keep it for the two top floors of the house that get vacuumed less(townhouse with so many stairs!), but I absolutely love it. It is light enough to carry anywhere (I’m very petite), and I’ve used it pretty much daily. It uses rewashable filters that have to be cleaned once a month, but it really picks up pet hair like a champ. It’s the first vacuum I’ve used that I actually ENJOYED using! It feels a little flimsy, has to be emptied after every room or two, and has very few bells and whistles but it still has all its suction after a year and picks up pet hair like a champ! Way better than my sister in law’s Dyson. I really don’t see the point of spending money on vaccums at this point, when I feel like the simple cheepies work just as well if not better!

  27. Thoughts on the Kenmore…..?!
    Its what we use and love so far.

    • I have a Kenmore that my parents passed on to me. It’s got to be 30 or more years old and still runs like a champ. The hose developed a crack, which I duct-taped over. It ain’t so pretty anymore, but it’s not like I use it for decoration anyway.

      • No one has mentioned the VitaStar vacuum! Over 15 years old now and still going strong…used almost daily. Aeronautical small canister is light-weight and the suction is still great. Love it??

  28. I love my Dyson. We’ve had it for over 5 years, and have had one part replacement (the hose got stretched too much and ripped.) Great suction, no bags to buy or deal with, detachable hose option is wonderful.

  29. I have my grandmother’s Oreck which is probably 15 or 20 years old. Only 1 child, but lots of dirt!

  30. I used to have an Oreck and loved it until I traded it in for a Riccar. I went to get another Oreck and the salesman talked me into the American made Riccar. It’s the same make as the Oreck and just as light. I totally recommend it, next time you are in the market for a vacuum. You’ll love it!!

  31. Same vacuum I bought a little over a year ago. It is a great vacuum. I wish it had a light on it but that’s just minor for me. The only thing I truly miss is the attachments. The hose came in handy. But yes it is a great vacuum that’s holding up really well

  32. Bought my Oreck 9 years ago. Works as well as the day I purchased it. No repairs to date. Prior to that bought a new vacuum every year or two.

  33. I love your info! I had to laugh when I read this post because this is the vacuum many hotels use for housekeeping when I worked in the hotel business. Question, how does work on hard wood floors vs. carpeting? Also, these don’t have a wand to suck up dirt against the wall or baseboards. What do you do in that case? Congrats on the birth of your beautiful baby, by the way! 🙂

    • I occasionally just use a hand vacuum around the baseboards if needed but this vacuum does pretty well to get close to baseboards…

      • What hand vacuum do you use? I’ve owned a dirt devil and a black and decker and was not happy with either one of them.

          • Katie, You just said in the comment above that “I occasionally just use a hand vacuum around the baseboards if needed but this vacuum does pretty well to get close to baseboards…” [So what did you mean “We don’t use a hand vacuum…” here?]

            When we bought our first Oreck [by catalogue, YEARS ago] it came with a small canister vac called the Buster B. When Oreck put a retail store in our town, we finally got a new Oreck XL (which has a HEPA filter too) back in 2002. It came with another Buster B and has a 21 year warranty and we take it in for a free yearly “checkup” to keep the warranty in effect. While dh and I were away for our 39th anniversary last month (August 2016) the “loop handle” (that’s used to lift the vac up and down stairs and is part of what the cord wraps around during storage) broke. [Not sure how the adult kids living at home managed to break it, but at least someone was actually vacuuming while we were away! 😉 ] Will be taking it into the Oreck store soon for repair, but it still vacuums great. I love my Oreck and the Buster B handles the little stuff like baseboards when I bother to use it. I must say we don’t use the big one as much now that we have Pergo flooring throughout the house, but I still use it on a couple of heavy floor mats at the doors (and hubby will use it instead of the SwifferVac on the kitchen floor before he steam cleans it for me). ~ All’s grace, Grandma Kay

          • Opps! I apparently responded to the wrong comment there, it’s now corrected and linked to the one we have. Thanks for the heads up!

  34. I’ve tried them all, Kirby, Rainbow, Filter Queen, Oreck, Shark, Kenmore, Dirt Devil, Dyson and now a Sebo. Of them all I loved the commercial Oreck for its light weight, but having serious allergies I needed a vacuum with a HEPA filter. The Sebo is hospital commercial grade and it makes your carpet look brand new. Heavier than an Oreck but not by too much, its motor pulls the vacuum forward with suction and it automayically adjusts like a Range Rover’s suspension to lower on floors and higher on carpets. Hands down best vacuum ever. Worth the investment and not as expensive as you would think considering all it’s features.

  35. Did you look at the royal metal at all? I was considering this one recently.

  36. We had our Oreck for 8 years before it died. Works great. The only downside for me is that it doesn’t have attachments!

  37. I love my Miele.
    We got a Dyson because they were supposed to be the “best,” but I hated emptying that bagless chamber. It’s probably great when you are only vacuuming confetti & Lego people, like on their commercial. Otherwise, that bagless chamber is just dusty & gross. And you’re supposed to wash the filters & air dry. That’s fine in theory until your filter is air drying & someone makes a mess, for which you need the vacuum!
    The Miele is too heavy for the kids (we got the upright, so it’s even heavier than the canister, but also a little less expensive), but I don’t mind doing the vacuuming, and there are so many other ways for the kids to help out around the house.

  38. We had a Kirby but an injury made it too hard for me to use it. We bought an Orek for its light weight and did a test run on the carpet my husband had just vacuumed with the Kirby. We were amazed at what the Orek picked up that the Kirby had missed! We have a Roomba now but agree about not liking the noise of it and its small dust cup. But I don’t have to push it so it will stay around until we break down and buy another Orek.

  39. We have been married for 35 years, we have 6 kids, mostly grown. I have used only the commercial Orek for 25 of those years.

  40. FilterQueen. It’s like a small shop-vac. We’ve had ours for 20 years and it’s still going strong! Love it!

    • FilterQueen is my choice too. I couldn’t believe how much more it vacuumed up then my Kirby!! I have a solid flooring, i.e. hardwood, tile, heated tile that looks like wood. 🙂 we only have 1 set of stairs that I despise that has carpeting. My kids and I have horrible allergies including, our almost 12 yr old blue tabby Persian with heart disease who has lived way past what any vet thought; our house looks like something from the old west with dust bunnies tumbling across our floors. Our Kirby that was still in great shape but was so heavy, clunky, and I always had to have the hose on which was short & would cause it to topple over, getting caught on walls and changing from the hose to that heavy nasty head for an area rug was a pain in the tush! The simplicity, and Royal before that, did a good job but heavy, comber some and would cause my back issues. I LOVE our FilterQueen. It rolls so nicely, no expensive bags, has very nice head attachment with beater brush for my 1 area rug that pops on or off just like the other attachments, all attachments are on the top of it in a holder but can easily be removed if you don’t want it. It does everything including my feather/poly couch cushions (stuck in garbage bag, suck till flat the reinflate with air cycled through the hepa, repeat 2-3 times. I liked the premise of the Rainbow but didn’t like the clean up or having to essentially clean the toilet & scoop out all the mounds of cat hair b4 I could flush it. Our old septic system is not fond of hair.
      I have sucked up sheetrock pieces & dust, screws, Legos (they never really go away) charging cords- oops! No worries though, I popped the top off and had it out before Kid 2 found out his PSP charger was even gone and no damage. This works like a shop vac but does a better job, although I wouldn’t try it with water it’s not made for that- I think. When I feel it’s time to dump it out I just remove the cone shaped paper filter that keeps things from going into the next filter & eventually the hepa filter. I just take off the hose & go dump it in the trash outside or in. Put the new paper filter cone on & of course since I’m a freak I disinfect the inside with vinegar. It’s nice to know I can not only sanitize my vacuum which kicks more air into my home then any other object; esp. when the Kid cleans up the kitty litter mess with it. I also use it to cycle & clean the air through the hepa too! It’s not cheap, but if I never have to buy another vacuum as long as I live I’m very happy. Good luck to everyone searching.

  41. I’ve been using an Orek for 10 years and absolutely love it! It has been great for cat litter and cat hair from two long hair cats. I would have never tried an Orek, but my mom decided to try one and told me how much she loved it when she knew how frustrated I was with all of the ones I had tried that couldn’t handle my kitties. Yes, it’s ugly, but it’s not heavy and it works great!!! Love it!!! It came with a free little canister vac that I use for the places the upright can’t reach, and it also has an attachment to vacuum furniture. I love their little canister as well. It has a strap so I just carry it on my shoulder as I go through the house. Orek is the best!

  42. I grew up with Miele vacuums, and my mom has had hers for 15+ years. I’ve had mine for 6 years and can’t imagine life without it. It’s light weight, easy to maneuver, has never broken, and stores so compactly in our tiny closet. They are an initial investment but well worth it in my opinion! I vacuum about 4 times a week esp bc we have carpet in the dining room of our rental house. We do have a small house but have a toddler and baby so much vacuuming is needed!

  43. I love my Dyson! Same one 9 years. The auction is great. It’s not light but it’s fine. We only replaced the long hide twice and mostly it’s because I over stretch it!

  44. My husband bought a refurbished Oreck XL 23 years ago (before we knew each other), and it’s still our vacuum. He’s rebuilt it a few times (it’s nice having something that can be repaired when it breaks). It’s had lots of long hair around the beater bar. (mine’s long & we have girls).

  45. I live on a ranch, had five kids, now have 8 grandkids who come frequently, and I’ve used lots of different vacuum cleaners. I have the Orek Commercial XL and I love it. Light, sucks well, easy to use for me and for kids. I have another vacuum downstairs, a canister, called ProLux Stealth. It does a very good job and I can get underneath beds, chairs and use the hose for corner cleaner and upholstery.

    My mom has a Kenmore canister vac that she’s had for 30+ years that she loves. I hope I might inherit it one day!

  46. I’ve used a Hoover wind tunnel for the past 8 years and have always loved it. It was $78 when I bought it, very affordable on a scraping-to-get-by salary. It’s survived 3 kids and a woodsy husband and has been easy to change bags, replace belts, and troubleshoot. Of course, I vacuum every single day, as my husband does outdoors stuff and kids are constantly in and out, dragging in mud, dirt, sand and various critters, not to mention firewood from a wood burning stove. I know nothing much about vacuums and filters, and I’m sure the filter quality is substandard compared to yours, Katie! But the suction is still strong, and that makes me happy! By the way, congrats on new baby! I’m looking forward to reading about his/her birth!

  47. My Miele is 13 years old, and it is still the best vacuum I’ve ever used. It has a small footprint, easy to clean onboard tools, HEPA filter, and best of all–it’s quiet! My ex thought a loud vacuum meant it was powerful. When we split, I bought this Miele, and I’d buy another in a heartbeat–except that you can’t kill them!

    When I remarried, my husband had a Dyson. We did a month trial of which one worked better, was easiest to use; the Miele won. I hear people say they’re expensive, but for something we use every other day, this is worth every penny. You get what you pay for.

  48. Hi Katie. Thank you big time. This has been an eternal problem for me…I’ve been using vacuums for 60+ years.

    I won’t go into all the vacuums I’ve had, but some were seriously expensive, and sadly, I’ve hated most of them except the cheapie “electric brooms” and “stick vacuums” that worked wonderfully for as long as they lasted and had simple (but tiny) filters. Their lack of longevity was the problem.

    I’m going to check out the amazon reviews (which I find excellent, especially the one-star ones that point out things many other don’t cover) and if it looks good to reviewers, I’ll try the Oreck Commercial.

    I’m glad Stephanie’s comment mentioned HEPA filters available; so helpful.

  49. I have been an Oreck user and destroyer for years. I can’t agree with you more. The oreck hands down is the lightest, heaviest duty and easiest to use vacuum around.

    I have been wanting to develop a bullet proof Oreck for years. I have worn out so many Orecks I know their weekneses in an out. I won’t go into detail but with the improvements that the Oreck needs it still out performs any type of vacuum out there wether for dollar for dollar or outright.

    It is true, you can upgrade to HEPA bags if that is what you want to do. I also agree that the Oreck models are basically the same. It’s window dressing and you will pay for it. Save your money and just buy the commercial XL online.


  50. Love my rainbow. It can be a pain to put water in and empty each time but then I realize how lucky I am to be able to clean up the dirt off the floors instead of living with dirt floors.

  51. For allergen reduction, as well as for good performance and excellent durability, the best vacuum we’ve ever had is a whole-house vacuum. It’s the only vacuum we’ve had that lasted for more than a year (almost 20 years and still going strong). It vents directly outside, so no allergens are blown back into the house, and because there is no canister attached to the vacuum head, it’s very kid-friendly and easy to use due to its light weight and portability. The higher up-front cost is well worth it in the long-term, and we’ve had no regrets. We’ll never go back to a regular vacuum again!

    The other vacuum we’ve had that’s good for apartment living where a whole-house vacuum isn’t feasible is the Karcher Mediclean DS 6000 – it’s certified by the UK allergy foundation for not only dust mites and pet dander, but also for pollen and mold/fungi. It’s suprisingly effective and outperforms any other regular vacuum we’ve tried, even though it’s only 900W – the dirt actually runs to meet it! It uses a HEPA13 filter in addition to a water filter and is very easy to use.

  52. I love my Rainbow. It is a heavy beast, but it gets my carpet and hard floors really clean. Hard to use a bag vacuum once you use a Rainbow.

  53. I’ve had a Rainbow and a Kirby, both powerful vacuums, but they are are big and cumbersome for my current tight quarters. My Dyson is also powerful, but its attachment set-up is too difficult to get put together quickly and easily. I’d buy an Orek in a heartbeat if they offered on board crevice and brush attachments. I just got a Shark Rotator Pro Performance Lightweight Lift-Away 3in1 Upright Vacuum (from QVC) and it is just perfect for my family: light weight, quick and easy access to on board attachments (how I do most of my vacuuming), and has a canister set up which my son prefers (like he rally vacuums all that much!). I have far more floor than wall to wall carpet in my home so the most intense suction isn’t as important to me as it might be to others, and I do think it’s a small amount less powerful than my Rainbow, Kirby, and Dyson were on the carpet.

  54. Regardless of which hoover is best, I just don’t understand the appeal of an upright hoover. I cannot bear them. They are always more heavy, bulky and awkward. I clean a neighbours house once a week and she owns an upright. Her house is large (by UK standards and I SWEAR I could be done 10-20 minutes earlier with a pull along type hoover instead. It also makes my back ache terribly.

    Pull along hoovers are much easier to use, to swap from the main head to pipe and are far quicker to maneuver. Upright hoovers actually put me in a bad mood, they are so damn awkward and it takes three or four manouvers to get them going in the direction you want them to – who has time for that?!

    Since carpet will never be a first choice of flooring and I don’t have children, I just need a hoover that works. I don’t care how good or much of a bargain an upright hoover is, I will NEVER buy one.

  55. I tried the Shark vacuum and it didn’t really work, the dust and stuff would be thrown back out in to the air, plus the filters, etc., had to be washed…every single day. A royal pain in the neck.

    I finally purchased, tried and liked the Kenmore Elite Canister, which I got on sale, and like it a great deal. Since I have a Congo African Grey Parrot, which produces a somewhat oily, sticky and fine white powder, which becomes airborne overtime the bird preens or ruffles her feathers, flaps her wings, or shakes her body, it, along with the necessary Austin HEPA Airfilter that I have going 24/7 2 feet from Aziza’s cage, has proven a god-send, if one gets the drift.

  56. Frankly, I hate them all! We have a whole-house vac, but the suction over the years has declined. And I’ve never had a free-standing one that didn’t smell bad and kick back so much dust that I end up with an asthma attack as a reward for trying to clean. I’ve tried a bunch of them – high end, low end, HEPA, you name it. And now reading this I’m even more confused. A few names I’ve not heard have come up in this discussion – time to hit the research and check them out. Thanks for starting the conversation!

  57. I have had an Orek for years and love it…but also have a Shark, now that we have all solid floors and I thinks it does a terrific job too ! I like the weight and maneuverability of the Orek though.

  58. Thank you so much for posting about this! It is quite a timely post for me as I’ve been fretting over getting a new one for a while. Ours has no hoses and it has expensive bags, so I have been searching for a more user friendly vacuum. I will look into the Oreck. Thanks again!

  59. I read through most of the comments and I’m surprised no one mentioned Riccar vacuums, which are American made. They are very similar to Miele vacuums and are available in upright and canister form with different levels of HEPA bags. I’ve owned mine for about 7 years and I’ve only had to service it once. I chose it for several reasons, but mostly because it has a higher filtration level than Miele (tested at the vacuum store with a micron dust detector placed in front of the exhaust port). My whole family has dust allergies and we happen to live in the desert so high HEPA filtration is a requirement.

    I think one important factor when choosing a vacuum that was not discussed was the type of flooring in your house. If you have mostly wood floors or tile you need a canister because of where the exhaust ports are located on most uprights. What will happen with uprights is that the exhaust air will push the dust away before you can even vacuum it up and it will end up in corners or under furniture. With mostly carpeted floors you can go with whatever you prefer. Great topic Wellness Mama I’m glad you decided to write about it because the air we breath is important to our health.

  60. We bought a Kenmore cannister vaccum going on 6 years ago. Friends of mine owned several, which they used for their home cleaning service. We bought one of the better ones in the line, I believe it was between $300-$400. It is very light and not very loud, and easy to handle; even my 1 1/2 year old likes to help with it. The hose and cord are very long, so that I can vaccum a complete level in our home without having to move the plug. Bags and filters are easy to find at Sears, and reasonably priced.

  61. We have a miele with hepa filter for about 6/7 years now, very happy with it tho have to buy bags but can get online. Live in europe tho so its not as expensive as it would be in usa

  62. So interesting everyone does not say Meile, as this is known as the “best”. I have to buy one soon (getting my dyson repaired under warranty – they do have good customer service), but will get something different after is breaks again. Hmmm… this helps me!

  63. I have had Kirbys, shark, Hoover and Electrolux. Dyson wins hands down!!!! It lasts, it has good suction, it is easy to operate and it is light. I have been married for 38 years and it is by far the best vacuum I have used.

  64. Wertheim Vacuum Cleaner with a powerhead – hands-down the best vacuum cleaner I have ever owned!

    I’d never heard of Wertheim until I went into a privately owned vacuum cleaner shop and ask the owner what vacuum cleaner his wife uses at home (I thought this would be a good strategy to determine the best buy).

    It cost around $850 (ten years ago) and is still going strong!

  65. Rainbow vacuums are the best! They don’t spew the dust and debris everywhere like a normal vacuum. Like Katie I have a big family and we have broken and/or outlasted every vacuum, including 2 Orecks. Rainbow is the only vacuum I’ll ever use again. They are expensive but, not as expensive as replacing a vacuum every few months to few years.

  66. Thanks, Katie! Super helpful. And congratulations on the new baby!! It is wonderful that you do all you do and also have a large family; great wittness! Would you mind listing the vac’s you have tried? Just bullet points, with a few words about how each one did? The comments have so many enthusiastic suggestions! But my criteria are like yours.

  67. I just bought a Riccar. I looked st Orek right before. The Ricarr was expensive but I bought the floor model for about half price. It really has great suction. She demonstrated it next to a Dyson and it picked up what the Dyson left behind

  68. I have an Oreck that I’ve had probably 16 years that we use in finished basement and a Simplicity for upstairs that I’ve had for about 10 years. What I love about the simplicity is its suction while the long hose is attached for the wood and ceramic floors. I take it in yearly or so for new belt and servicing and really have not had any problems with it. I would not say it’s kid friendly however. Bulky and heavy when cleaning the carpets and pulling around with attachments. But it has served our family well! Both have.

  69. We bought a Miele canister and we love it. Compact enough to not be a pain, has all the attachments on board. We Bought it new in 2001 and it is still going strong. It has a true Hepa filter. We had. a Rainbow growing up in our house when I was young and although it cleaned well, I despised how cumbersome it was to pull around and did not like emptying. For true allergy sufferers I think a rainbow is the way to go.

  70. I grew up with a Rainbow and have my own now. It is simply the best vacuum. Before I purchased my Rainbow I used a Dirt Devil and then a Simplicity both upright. They both picked up dirt but blew awful dust into the air and had nasty dusty bags to change. A Rainbow is so much more earth friendly! I love to put essential oils in the basin when vacuuming. It makes the house smell so clean! I also love to see everything it’s picked up in the basin knowing that dirt is no longer on my floors. I personally feel like anyone who doesn’t like to empty the basin is just lazy. It’s not fun but neither is cleaning. Ask your kids or husband to help!

    PS I have two boys (3rd on the way) and our home is less than 1000 SF. I don’t feel the vacuum is a pain to lug around at all and I am a very small person.

  71. I have 2 vacuum cleaners: a Dyson vacuum that I’ve had for about 10 years and it’s still going strong and a Roomba. With 2 kids and 2 dogs, I really want to vacuum every day, but I just don’t have the time. I set the Roomba to vacuum every day when no one is home and I’ve found that it’s all we need to keep up. The canister is full every day (which I’m still amazed at), so all I have to do is empty it and my floors are clean.

  72. I have a Ridgid shop vac I use for the garage, vacuuming vehicles, spills and cleaning up after the boys’ haircuts. Their hair grows so fast, that the hair would fill up the bag too fast. For upstairs, kitchen, living room and bedrooms, I use a Miele with the beater brush. Quiet dependable and extremely light weight, it is a pleasure to use. It has a hepa filter, so I am not dumping all the dust back into the air. My husband does the maintenance on cleaning the beater bar, it is amazing how much hair I shed. He trims my hair for me, but there is way more on the beater bar than on the floor after a trim. He throws it outside for the birds. I have heard people have killed vacuums with shed hair, but if you keep up on cleaning the beater bar, it shouldn’t cause any damage. I like the Miele better than any vacuum I have used.

  73. I’ve always been partial to Hoover Wind Tunnel vacs. They tested well in my home and have always had good reviews on Consumer Reports.

  74. Fantastic post! I disagree that this is a boring topic though! I love learning about vacuum cleaners, partly because I write about them, but I also grew up working in my Dad’s vac shop so that’s where it all began I guess! You offer a good insight into the problem with vacuum reviews on the net and I will certainly be looking into the Oreck and other brands (Kirby, Rainbow, Werteim, Riccar) that are noted in the comments here on one of my next posts! Miele is probably top of my list as the best brand cleaner at the moment. You can’t beat German quality engineering. Keep up the good work!

  75. Don’t get a vacuum get a Rainbow! They are very expensive but well worth their value in longevity and health benefits. Plus, if you are able to get one of the programs, you practically get it for free. I will never own another vacuum 🙂

  76. Hi , I have six kids, one husband and one dog that sheds….. I have tried Rainbow, Dyson, Hoover, Shark ,Kirby,and a few others in the 32 years I have been vacuuming my house. Ouch …. that’s a lot of vacuuming. The vacuum that I totally LOVE and have used for the last five years is…..SIMPLICITY ! I am so thrilled that it is made right here in the USA !!! Yeah , I got to support OUR OWN economy !!! They have at least 6 different models to fit different budgets….very HAPPY with it !!!

  77. I love my Dyson!

  78. I’ve been waiting to find a post like this for years. Four kids and counting and at least as many vacuums. Thanks!

  79. Love this topic- not boring to me.

    Just bought a Shark (Navigator Pro Lift-Away… the white one that looks like it’s made of PVC pipes) and I LOVE it. However, my last vacuum was 15 years old, so maybe I would have loved any vacuum. My parents had an Oreck and we all really liked it.

  80. I have a Dirt Devil Envision I bought at Wal-Mart for about $30 almost 10 years ago still works great. Only problem I have is if a toy to big gets sucked up. I was vacuuming under a bed and a olaf figure ended up in tube. no problem just shook it out and kept cleaning. Will be replacing because I can no longer find filters and belts in stores. I have to order online but its still great vaccum. And I have 4 kids 4 dogs ( 1 is a long hair that I call dust mop)

  81. I have the Gtech but it is wrecking my loop carpets with the brushes. Is there a cordless upright that doesn’t have brushes please? My Miele corded head doesn’t have brushes (just a push down edge for hard floors).

  82. We have the Kenmore Elite that we got on sale at Sears a couple years ago.
    I love it. It’s kinda heavy, but it does a fantastic job.
    It has a HEPA filter and Amazon carries some cheaper generic HEPA bags that work just as well as the Kenmore brand ones. Afterall… what sense is there to have a vacuum that throws the very same dust it just picked up, all up into the air?!

  83. I’ve been through dozens of vacuums in the 40 years I’ve been married, and have tried many. My latest Kirby is the best. Yes, it’s expensive, but the ones now are self propelled, so no problem being heavy, and it came with a life time guarantee. I bought it with tax return money, and don’t plan to have to buy another vacuum ever again, with the life time guarantee. I also do own a shop vac as well, for things that it is better suited for, like when our washer broke and leaked water everywhere. It sucked it all up very efficiently!

  84. I personally like Dyson product, what about you say Dyson new release 360eye?

  85. Because of my age and size, need light weight, good cleaning and dependable vacuum in moderate price range. Seriously looking at Oreck which was highly recommended, but was told original owner sold company and quality was no longer there. Oreck no longer made in US. What do more recent owners of Oreck say about them?

  86. Thank you! I read this post a few months ago and kept it in mind since I knew our vacuum cleaner would soon bite the dust (ha!). My husband and I were at Bed Bath and Beyond tonight looking at vacuum cleaners and looking up reviews on our phones at the same time, then I remembered reading this post recently and told him about it. I have been following you for years and know I can trust you so we didn’t have to do much research, but like you said there are mostly very positive reviews on Amazon. AND, the price has gone down almost $50 since I last looked at it. I ordered one this evening so I hope you get an afiliate marketing credit for my purchase. Again thanks for making our purchase decision easier!