Still Got the Suction, Baby

It’s been about a year since the acquisition of the new vacuum, so I figure it’s high time for a followup post. For those just tuning in on the Great Vacuum Saga, last year my beloved Hoover finally bit the dust, and I dithered and dallied for rather a long time about what to replace it with; it seemed like all my options were either cheap and useless, or overpriced and of questionable value. I ended up settling on a Dyson[1. Which some people might argue is pretty overpriced, as vacuums go.] and decided that, in the interests of benefiting vacuum consumers everywhere, I’d do a series of followups to see not just how I felt about the vacuum initially, but how I felt about it after months and years of use.

The true test of a vacuum isn’t whether it sucks right out of the box. Unless it’s a really bad vacuum, it should have decent suction and it should function ok. The question is whether it keeps sucking, which is an entirely different kettle of fish. Dyson claims that its vacuums never lose suction, and I’m out to find out if that claim is true.

The short version of the update is that I still really like my vacuum. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the purchase and I think I made a good choice, given the available options. I’d also still recommend Dysons to other people, if you’re pondering a vacuum purchase and not sure about whether you want to take the plunge. Dyson builds a quality product and it feels like someone actually took the time to engineer a good vacuum; it fits together in a fairly logical way (with a few exceptions) and considering how much of it is plastic, it’s pretty solid, all things considered.

I’ve been using the assorted vacuum attachments a lot more, and really liking them. I like the mattress attachment, which I don’t actually use on my mattress, but under the bed, where it’s hard to fit the whole vacuum. Keeping the hair/dust factors down under the bed has also really improved my asthma, an unexpected side benefit. Yay! I’m also a huge fan of the…I don’t know what it’s called, but there’s a little sideways nozzle attachment that is perfect for getting under the fridge and under the bookcases. Why would one want to vacuum under the fridge? Well, if one had a cat who tosses kibble under the fridge…

I’m still kind of irked about the arrangement of the power cord and the hose attachment—it’s kind of ridiculous that I have to uncoil the whole power cord just to pull out the hose. Sometimes I just want to blast something quickly with the vacuum, you know? I don’t want to have to deal with the cord every time I want to do a quick vacuum of cat kibble or a litter mess or whatever. I’m hoping this is something they change on future designs, because it seems easy to move the power cord so it’s not attached directly to the vacuum hose, thereby solving this problem.

The filter! Some of you may recall the great filter escapade, where I washed the filter and it took over a week to dry and it was very unhappy making. I washed the filter recently, picking a bright sunny day to do it, and it dried in a couple of hours. So, lesson learned: If you have a Dyson, wash the filter when it’s warm and there’s a good breeze, and hang that baby in a window or on the porch or whatever. I’m glad that the second washing of the filter wasn’t such an ordeal, because that was a pretty major weak point if you asked me, the whole filter issue.

Suction still seems strong. I haven’t noticed a notable decline in performance. Running the vacuum over floors still gets them superclean. The beater bar does tend to get hair/bits of carpet wrapped around it, which is an occupational hazard in my house, and I’d definitely recommend cleaning the beater bar on a regular basis to keep the vacuum in tip-top shape. If you do that, it seems to work more efficiently, and it doesn’t wear the motor out. Which is something we would not want, since there are few things in this world as sad, or as smelly, as a worn out vacuum motor.

Dysons catch a lot of shit for being very expensive, and to be honest, I think that the price is a little more than strictly necessary. Not least because I don’t think that there should be a class divide in vacuum quality; everyone is entitled to clean floors, and not everyone can afford a $500 vacuum. Especially for people with asthma and other respiratory issues, having a good vacuum can make a huge difference, but you might not be able to shell out for a super expensive vacuum with good filtration. I’d really like to see Dyson working on their price point a little more; I know they release smaller, cheaper models but those don’t seem to be designed to be workhorses the way the basic models are.

Basically, if you want a vacuum that will suck really, really well, get a Dyson. They’re expensive, but I think it’s worth it if you can afford that kind of expense, and you may be able to pick up a used or refurbished model at a lower price. Given that my vacuum is still going strong in a high mess environment after a year, I think I’d be pretty confident about buying used/refurbished myself. Or, if you have cool neighbours, perhaps a vacuum-sharing agreement is in order.