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Sunday, 28 April 2013


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I'm sure I won't be the first to ask what the low light performance is like.... Which reminds me that my parents had an old Hoover that had a headlight sort of thing.....

Like you I bought a Dyson after reading similar stories to yours. I never bonded with it though and the professional cleaners I was using complained about the machine as well. They recommended a Nilfisk (Danish) which I tested and subsequently bought. I still have a Dyson in the house and I still don't like it and I hate how much money I spent on it.

[One thing my test gives no data for is whether other vacuum cleaners are as much better than the Dyson as the Dyson is better than my old Hoover. By all means, do the same test I did with your Dyson and your Nilfisk and let us know the results! --Mike]

That was the best test of TOP ever.....thoroughly scientific, and I bought a Dyson 8 years ago, one of the few or should I say 2 British products that work for me and the only one I own (the other being a Jag E-type that I do not own). I used it on carpets and hard floors (a hard floor could be great fun for Lulu, she could practice her power slides all day :-)). And with a hard floor you only have to turn it on, aim it a room and see the dust bunnies disappear into the muzzle (slight exaggeration on my part).

Greets, Ed.

What no link to buy one of these through Amazon??? :)

You need to pull up that carpet, fire the organizer and invite me up for a visit. I saw room for your sequestered mega printer in at least one of the photos in this post. Ummm, errr, unless you've become fond of the organizer.

You should have waited for your wife's birthday or wedding anniversary to buy her a new vacummn cleaner Mike - you get double brownie points, or a spade around the back of the head, funny can't remember which it is now?


The devices (inventions) that Mr Dyson eventually puts out to retail do sometimes look a little strange, but they always do well just what they are supposed to do.
I do like technology when it works.
He also makes a couple of other equally apparently mundane items that are worthy of investigation.
A fan (hot or cold air) with no apparent moving parts....... (No I don’t really understand either) but think.... "That thing is aaawwwesome!" despite being British!
And a Tap with a built in hand dryer that apparently out performs all that went before!
Keep well and remember that Life is good: enjoy it while you can.
I have no association with the company,

Dyson makes hand dryers for what Americans call "Mens' Rooms" too and they are superb. Fast, nothing to touch (if you are are a hygiene fanatic) and unfailing in operation. No paper dumped all over the place and you don't have to dry the last vestige of water on your clothe, as is so often necessary after using the traditional feeble dryers. I'd like one at home.

And they make a fan which is outstanding for design looks, no blades, but I'm not sure how well it works.

I think that Mr Dyson is something of an Edward Land; I'm sure he'd design a great camera if he put his mind to it.

Yep. Agree 100% Mike. We swapped a few years ago to a Dyson (different model, but same ideas). It shifts dirt like a vacuum should.
One of those cases where you get what you pay for perhaps? Well worth it in this case.

I'm wondering why you took advice from salesmen at Best Buy, rather than checking Consumer Reports. C-R currently rates over 100 models. They recommend 7 "canister" vacuum cleaners, 19 "bagged uprights, and 15 "bagless uprights."

There are 8 Best Buy models (based on performance and price): Hoover (3), Bissell (2), Eureka (2), Kenmore (1).

Three models of Dyson were tested, but none were recommended. Is it too late to get your money back?

The Dyson is a great machine. There are also some interesting stories behind it. The Bristish inventor, James Dyson, came up with the idea of a bagless, cyclone vacuum years ago. He tried to sell the idea (licence it) to all the big manufacturers, like Hoover, but none of them were interested. So Dyson managed to get funding to set up his own business making and selling his vacuums. They have been a roaring success, so much so that all the big manufacturers started ripping of his idea and patents. He spent a fortune protecting his patents, with mixed success, as you can see by all the 'similars' for sale by other companies. The analogy to cameras is the impact of a new, disruptive technology. For bagless read mirrorless.

Of course you do realise 'Dyson' is a British machine don't you Mike. I don't know why I felt inclined to tell you that, but I did.

I have a great book called "Brand Failures". According to that, when swedish appliance manufacturer decided that they wanted a new, cool sounding slogan for their vacuum cleaners, they settled on "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux". This was some time in the sixties, well before the Internet and the current level of international understanding and awareness, so they were quite embarassed, when their slogan didn't really work that well outside of Sweden :-)

I was converted to Dyson some years ago. At the time, I had a pretty good vacuum (Miele)and had no complaints, but a friend persuaded me to try out their Dyson. This was one of the original models. Also, at that time, I had a short-haired black cat and mostly dark carpets. I didn't know whether to be amazed or ashamed when I saw how much .... stuff ... that Dyson sucked up. I swear I had enough cat hair to stuff a medium-sized cushion. Assuming I could have separated it from all the other ... stuff... that is!

I'm now on my second Dyson - the first having been passed on to some young friends when they were setting up home - and still delighted with its performance. Doesn't mean I enjoy housework any more, though. Now THAT would truly be miraculous ;-)

Mike, Did you think to go over the area again with the old Hoover - perhaps the same result would have occurred?

Welcome to the world of sucky vacuums Mike!

I've got one of those Dyson Animals too (a DC39 if you must know). I don't actually have a pet per se, but my girlfriend sheds enough hair all over the carpet that she qualifies.

I did a similar test to yours, after my carpet was "professionally" cleaned. I got similar results. Needless to say, I didn't pay the professional cleaners...

I definitely love my Dyson too. I think it's perhaps the cleaning equivalent of the Canon AE-1 in that it has brought a certain design sensibility and capable accessibility to the masses.

Don't forget to clean the filters periodically! I noticed my vacuum seemed less and less powerful over time but cleaning the filters (as recommended by the manual) fixed it right up.

We also bought the Dyson "Animal", and also the extra attachments set (which is well worth it, so go buy one, Mike...). I too am impressed with the suck, and some other things, including never having to buy another bag. I also think that the brush is well implemented, and much better for oriental carpets(although we also use a sweeper at the recommendation of a rug expert). I also like that the brush can be removed and cleaned without screwdrivers and is beltless, although I wish I didn't have to keep a coin with me to undo the latch.That said, though, there are issues for us: we have to empty the canister more than once during a vacuum because our dog's hair easily catches into a wad in the vortex canister, and emptying could be a bit cleaner, which you'll discover. Also, I really wish that they could have implemented an on/off switch at the handle, and the thing rolls over pretty easily as you drag it around. I've got some other niggles. So, I guess this engineered product is sort of like a modern camera---really fine in many ways, aggro inducing in a few. Sometimes I wonder if these designers ever really use stuff in real world situations, or if it all just happens in the wonderful world of CAD for them.

PS: Mike---did you get my email?

Whenever I see such a test, I always want to try it in reverse. That is, do the initial vacuuming with the new vacuum, and then revacuum with the old, and see what you get. The results may well be similar. The nature of carpet is that there's almost always more to suck up out of it.

Back around the time your old vacuum was new, I was trained to sell expensive vacuums door to door, and we were taught a variation on this trick, using a piece of gauze between the pipe and tool-head (it was a canister vacuum) as a mini-bag. The trick always worked, because there was always something more to pull up. See what your old vacuum leaves behind? Wouldn't you like our shiny new vacuum that can get that dirt out? In the end, I never sold a vacuum, because I quit before that due to my perceived deception of the pitch.

I should add that, the cynicism of my previous comment notwithstanding, that your new vacuum may well be a much better cleaner than your old. I don't mean to rain on your happiness at the new tool. I imagine the better suction and beater bars do pull up more dirt on the first pass, and modern seals and filtration mean that lest dust and other stuff is being recirculated in the air in the process. So, enjoy the new vacuum, and be comforted that it is very likely a huge upgrade.

No, actually all us British are groaning with a mixture of embarassment and anger, along iwth some sympathy......

James Dyson fancied himself as a top British innovator and inventor and talked much about his cleverness and his 'blue-chipped' British company with it's state of the art methodolgy......Then he was one of the first greedy f***ers to lay off his entire 'blue chip' work force and move everythng to China!

Basically, he conned everybody,..workers and cusotmers alike...just as he has now conned you, Mike. Here in the UK EVERYONE has had a Dyson....EVERYONE has had a failed/broken Dyson.....EVERYONE has tried gettign bits to fix a Dyson,...and nearly everyone now uses a real vacuum cleaner....

How can you hoover the caroet without a Hoover? In the UK you must hoover instead of vacumn.

The UK audience will be well aware of James Dyson's company. Bought one in 1999, and was pleasantly surprised by its suction, cleaning powers, and ease of use. My ex took that with her. Replaced it with an "animal" one in 2001. That had even better suction, but is a bit loud, so I wear ear plugs when using it.

Just be wary of the power of that suction, less you lose anything to it. Put the hose thingy under my arm whilst I bent to pick something from the bathroom floor. The motor noise became strained. Had never heard that before. Looked around to discover the toilet roll spinning at high speed as its contents were vanishing into that hose. Lost a good third of a roll!

Twelve years on, and it still working fine, though admittedly with, er, light usage...

How can you hoover the carpet without a Hoover. In the UK you must hoover the carpet, not vacumn.

Ahhh, the old Kirby vacuum cleaner closing pitch. I sold quite a few units with that little act of legerdemain.

How it worked was I would have the harried and hassled Welfare mother get out her piece-of-junk vacuum cleaner and go over the same area of carpet 40 or 50 times. Then I'd take my Kirby demo unit and insert a piece of white cloth in the demonstration attachment that secured the cloth under a panel of glass. Then I'd run the Kirby over the same area just once. Voila! Seemingly tons of nasty dirt and dander would show up on the cloth.

The trick was that just about any vacuum cleaner would have picked up more dirt with an additional single swipe, and with the appearance of dramatic filth if the unit was equipped with a patch of virginal white cloth.

The Welfare mom would just stand there, mouth agape, ready to pull out her checkbook.

I always loved the part when the customer realized that she just bought my demo unit instead of a brand new fresh Kirby in a sealed box.

As an Englishman I must say that we have a Dyson and it really is jolly spiffing!

I bought my DC41 six years ago. I ran the same test when I brought it home, with the exact same results. I love the thing; our cat does not.

My brother's black lab is a shedding machine. I thought I was giving him a good tip when I told him about the Dyson. Turns out he already had one.

As the old joke goes, if Microsoft sold vacuum cleaners it would be the first thing they made that didn't suck. The power fall-off wth Dysons means you have to empty the chamber when the dirt reaches the line.

A note from England.

Good to see that we are exporting our stunning postmodern domestic tech to y'all in the USA.

We are on our second Dyson. Your Dyson won't last for 25 years. Small parts will fall off, springs will disappear, plastic bearings will wobble.

There is a parallel with cameras. The old ones were properly built and lasted for ever. Current equipment looks wonderful, produces amazing results, and has a half like of a year or so.


Actually, all us British people are quite happy to be from Britain, Home of the Best Vacuum Cleaner Company in the World.


Have you not come across James Dyson before?

He really is real engineer running a real engineering company. Yest vacuum cleaner is awesome.

Now check out the Airblade dryer. Have you ever attempted to dry your hands under a washroonm drier, given up and dried them on your trousers. Thats history with the airblade - it reallly works.

And then of course theres the DYSON fan. If you like gadgets you wont be able to resist - a fan with no fan blades ? WTF?
Go on - have a look!

I was just talking about going the Dyson route today, after looking at the dust storm covering my last 6x6 negs. Same model. What happens if you run the old one over it again?

Oh I don't know, I'd say those of us who are British are saying 'Ahhh, splendid: the man bought a British Vacuum Cleaner and it's better than his old American one. Jolly good'...


For what it's worth, we USED to have a Dyson a bit like the model about which you've written here, but we recently replaced it with a similarly sized VAX - even better.


Greets, Ed.

Mr Dyson came up with a great redesign of the vacuum cleaner. Rather disconcerting when you see how effective it is. I've had one for a long time now. Would not stray from the brand when it retires.

I believe that Dyson is a British company.

So, did they try to do the same test with Dyson only?
We have Dyson, I like how it works, but do not like at all its flimsy plastic design and lack of retractable cord system.

Well, given Dysons are British, perhaps the phrase "adequate" is more appropriate. :-)

It is certainly remarkable, but I would hardly invest it with awe.

"Admit it, those of you who are British are just wishing you were American right now, so you could respond appropriately by going "That thing is aaawwwesome!""

Those of us who are British are very pleased that you decided to buy a British prouct.

James Dyson's story is quite interesting - he tried to sell his idea way back when but none of the major manufacturers wanted to know because they were making so much money selling dust bags, so he made it himself....

Awesome? Not really, we British have had Dysons for years so are therefore quite blase about having clean houses.

Looks like I better buy a new vacuum, instead of a new lens.
Never trusted a vacuum cleaner salesman before.
Thanks, Mike.

Give the Hoover picture a vintage filter and you could fool people it's from the 50's :-)

Seriously, I've been considering a Dyson, but worry about the noise. I hate noise (no pun intended) and Dysons seem to have a reputation for noisiness. Can you comment on that?

Photographically speaking, the first dust picture didn't give a clue of the size of the dust, but the second one with the hand did. The dust looked a lot smaller in the first without anything familiar to give a sense of scale.

I have a good news story about Dyson. I purchased the exact same vacuum about a year ago. Last month the front main unit stopped spinning. I couldn't get it to work again so I called customer service.

Before connecting with the person I was asked if I would take a 2 minute survey. I usually say no but this day I said yes. Almost immediately after I was connected with a person.

She asked me if I was registered. No. She registered me in less than a minute, asking for my name and the serial number on the machine. Next she asked me the problem. One simple test (double click the white button next to the start button) and when that didn't correct the problem she told me they would ship me the new part....for free!

Wow, they got a 5 star rating on the survey. Replacement part arrived 7 days later.

I wonder how much of the stuff the Dyson collected was fibers from the carpet itself--not to imply this is a bad thing; just curious.

Dysons are designed the way Subarus are; not pretty or multifaceted, but brutally effective at their intended task. I've used a Dyson for 5 years now, and aside from a "too-thin-not-to-break" connector clamp, it's been a workhorse. The washable HEPA filter is particularly nice!

However, when it comes to the "test" of a new vacuum against your 25-year old, it isn't exactly unbelievable. Really, you should vacuum regularly with the Dyson for a month (or more, if that's less than 2 cycles; no judgement here), and then repeat the experiment after cleaning the dirt catcher bin. I've found that while my Dyson sucks more than previous vacuums, it isn't immune to leaving bits behind (particularly when the bin is close to half full).


I am really losing my fondness for wall to wall carpeting. We have a carpet shampoo machine that comes out about once a year and the water it pulls back from the carpet looks like it got dipped straight out of the Missouri and we vacuum all the time. Yuck!
Last year we had a pipe break and it flooded the basement which had carpet in it. I took the insurance money and replaced the ruined carpet with a wood laminate "click" floor. This is one of the easiest DIY projects I have ever taken on.
If on the other hand there is already a nice oak floor under the carpet just write a floor sanding guy a check which is even sweeter.

[I've always assumed that wood floors covered by fine rugs are the luxury, prestige option, and that wall-to-wall carpeting is an economy choice, being potentially about the cheapest way to cover the plywood subfloor that modern building technology has come up with yet. That is, I assume they're not ideal except as regards cost. —Mike]

So the only gotcha is that if you re-vacuumed with *any* device, you might get more stuff. Re-vacuum the spot again with the bissel and see what comes up.

You need to repeat the test more than once.

(But given my own results, the Dyson's are fine vacuums, and yes, it's OK to replace things that are 20 years old.)

It's schmutzy dust. :)

Have to agree Mike. Just replaced my "only" 15 year old Nilfisk with a Dyson. They are truly remarkable.

Oh, and by the way, I hope that Lulu will get something superior to a 1960's futon as bed in the upcoming remodel!

Although your daily post is as far removed from topic as possible, readers should know there is a bridge between photography and today's subject: Panasonic makes vacuum cleaners. My mother used to have one and it positively sucked. Unfortunately, it was not of the 'Lumix' variant, but you can't have it all. And no - the hoses aren't made by Leica either.

I am glad in our tropical climate we do not have to use a carpet. But, unfortunately, we have more dust than US and Europe. So we need to swab the whole place every day. Yes every day. It is no fun. Vacuum cleaners do not nearly as well as swabbing. But swabbing is real chore. Ranjit Grover India

How much dirt would a second run of the Hoover pull up?
How much dirt would a third run of the Dyson reveal?
Just ditch the carpet and Swifer a wood floor.

[I mentioned I have a dog. They don't get along with wood floors...either way: dogs don't like moving around on wood floors, and their claws are not good for the floors (my neighbor put in solid walnut floors, which are now covered with faint claw-marks from her dog Stella, a portrait of whom graced these pages during the NEX-6 trials). --Mike]

Kudos Tom Sawyer.

Vacuum debates....don't go there...oops you did.

Just to show how far salesmen will go, check out this Dyson ad...


All very good to know. The problem here is finding an area of floor that's clear enough to run a vacuum. I could benefit from an organizer myself.

Interesting to note in your credits that Connie's last name is Eastman. Seems very fitting for a photography blog.

Carpet beaters, of various manufacture all
in theory pull most of the nasty bits from the carpet fibers.
In the early post 1900 new homes strip wood floors in homes was common. The post WWII rage was cover everything in carpet as it was the new fashion. Over time
we the homeowner found carpets collected even after numerous and regular washing and cleaning various nasty germs (for lack of a better description).

Current rage is remove all carpets, sand the strip wood floors, coat in polyurethane as opposed to numerous coats of varnish and use a Swiffer to do your floors. Sort of what goes around comes around; most new homes have wood floors; not the original strip wood rather manufactured floors delivered in a box
and installed over a suitable underpad.

BTW a relative sold Electrolux vacuums door to door. My mother purchased one of the devices; amazing for the time. Now the company Electrolux has returned, by purchasing assets of most of the familiar to us appliance companies. The product is manufactured in many places, the name is now Electrolux, on the door or the vacuum.

And the old joke "Nothing sux (sic) like Electrolux" is so true, the motors were
amazing with unbelievable suction. Thing is, the brushed beater bar with the bristles do
the real work, all the suction simply collects
the material the beater bar "beats" from the material it rolls across.

Best save your money, install wood floors (or
have the floor underneath sanded and refinished) than spend your hard-earned money
on the latest Dyson or whatever machine that
sucks even more.

Are vacuums really that different from one another? Do some really suck harder than others?

I doubt it. Remember - the most any vacuum can suck is one atmosphere of pressure. A perfect vacuum - removing all air completely means that you have topped out the theoretical performance of the appliance.

Do you really believe that the different designs, motor sizes, etc, have any kind of statistically significant spread in performance?

I find that really doubtful. If your Dyson, did, in fact, outperform your Hoover on that occasion it is likely to have done so only because it was new and not in need of routine maintenance.

Had you put a brand new filter bag in the Hoover? Had you cleaned all of its internal filters? Had you oiled what needs to be oiled occasionally on time? Was the beater bar worn out or restricted by thread; were its bearing surfaces cleaned recently? You get the idea.

If you can't tell me the answer do those questions you may have just done the equivalent of trading in a car because the ashtray was full. You just fulfilled your role as faithful American conspicuous consumer.

Not that I haven't done the same! But I hate - really hate! - buyer's remorse.

We bought a Dyson Animal 3 years ago for our 5 pet household (two big dogs and three cats). It's a great vacuum. I vacuum our house 2 or 3 times a week and the Dyson has held up well. We did have to pay for a minor repair to the stand up mechanism, but I think that was my fault for operating the vacuum at strange angles while cleaning our sectional couch.

Part of the design genius Dyson is the transparent canister. There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing that canister fill up and then dumping it in the trash. After vacuuming I often brag to my wife about how many canisters worth of dirt and fur I disposed of. Seeing the dirt leave the house somehow makes everything feel cleaner. I think the people who designed the Swiffer picked up on this psychology. Nothing makes your floor feel cleaner than seeing all that dirt clinging to the bright white swiffer cloth.

Rip out that carpet and put in a real, 5/8 inch thick, tongue and groove hardwood flooring. A few nice area rugs, and problem solved. Oh, and get a Windsor Sensor vacuum, the 12inch model. Not cheap but rugged and reliable and easy to maintain.

My Hoover stopped working about two months ago, and I couldn't work out how to get to the motor. I googled TurboPower 2 and found to my surprise a website for people that collect vacumn cleaners!

It never occurred to me that people collected such things, but their forum told me how, and it lives again. The fault was minor; two casing screws had disappeared and the motor was free to turn in the case, and so a wire had pulled off.

By the way, I got this machine secondhand and paid for it by lending the man's son a load of photos for him to scan and use on his website. A dozen years later, I think I got a good deal. I think he did too.

I bought a new vacuum too! It's called the Donald Trump and it sucks hard. It'll suck the toupee off of a man at 30 paces and it's made of pink marble with 18 karat gold trim. Puts that Dyson to shame I hate to tell you.

Daaaaannnggg!!! While I was trying to refresh the damn IMPOSSIBLE to read CAPTCHA code for the FOURTH time, my whole post was wiped!

I REALLY wanted to comment and had a really funny (I thought) and ironic post all set to go and now it's lost! I understand you need to have this for spam, but I'm sure looking forward to your site getting back to the way it was!

Just to be clear - I'm not griping at you about this Mike, just the cold hard world and GD spammers who make these kind of measures a necessity....

Carpeting is disgusting and unhealthy, particularly if you have a pet shedding all over the place. Lulu will adapt to wood floors and the "damage" from her claws can be repaired with a single waxing, if you care enough to do so. The health benefits of living in a house that doesn't unleash an invisible cloud of filth every time you take a step will be worth it--for you and the dog. You'll also find your house smells better. Well, you probably won't notice, since it will take a while to air out, but infrequent visitors will. The less polite, but more honest, ones may even comment on it.

Ross Chambers wonders how well the Dyson blade-less fans work.
Well enough to keep me comfortably alive in a non-air-conditioned attic throughout the summer. (I tend to collapse at temperatures above 25°C, so the Dyson is in constant operation. Quiet and efficient. And a pleasure to behold.)

The vacuum cleaners are a different story. When I had a lung patient to take care of at home, I had to vacuum several times a day. Even small differences in performance added up critically. So I took the most efficient Dyson available at the time and a comparable Miele Medical (with HEPA filter) for a week-long test.
In theory, the Dyson should have won hands down. But never underestimate solid, well-iterated conventional engineering: even with the bag almost full, the Miele consistently outperformed the Dyson. (In Automatic mode, it just revved up.) Not just macroscopically: when sampling surfaces for dust and allergenic spore residues with sticky tape ("police tape method") and counting them under the microscope, I found that the Miele always outperformed the Dyson by a significant margin. It is still working as on day one. I've yet to see a Dyson with the same mileage. Now I consider Miele the Zeiss of appliances.

The durability record though belongs to a 1948 Nilfisk that looked like a device from Forbidden Planet. I got it for free in 1978, used it constantly until 2002, when it was relegated to basement floor duties, replacing a Kärcher industrial vacuumer. After another decade of harsh service, it joined a collection of industrial design — in perfect working condition.

I'm a skeptical sort.

Not to knock Dyson, but once "cleaned" with the Dyson, have you tried cleaning the same spot again with the Hoover?

You could engineer a dust trap of some sort for the Hoover or use a new bag.

Also, you should try cleaning AGAIN with the Dyson and check the trapped results.

Methinks that clean is relative, there is no absolute.

Could be the Dyson will just eat your carpet sooner than the old Hoover.

Be skeptical of tests by sellers.

Thanks for blogging,


...based on the color of the dirt, and the color of your rug, at least in the jpegs, are you sure the Dyson isn't just grinding up your old rug?

Once upon a time... lent my new vacuum to a buddy who had two dogs. Afterwards, used on my carpet, it made the whole place smell like dog. I threw the vacuum away. There's a lot to be said for tile floors.

Uh oh!!
After all the enthusiastic praise for the Dyson, I'm afraid I have to be a wet blanket!
First Mike, I don't think it was entirely fair to pit your 25 year old Hoover against any new machine! And secondly, for almost $400 large ones, the Dyson should make dinner too!
Dyson products probably are great, though I don't have personal experience (I absolutely love the hand dryers that you find in some office washrooms) but they are expensive.
We bought a new vacuum not long ago, a 130 dollar bare bones Hoover that was check rated a best buy in Consumer's Report. While Dyson's did well, other machines scored as well or better for less money.

Instead of buying a Dyson, I bought a new Hoover. And now I'm sold on my good ol' Shop Vac.


I have a Hoover that's old enough to sport "Made in USA" on it. A couple of weeks ago I bought a new bagless model, which has a filtration system that's similar to the Dyson. Whoa, loads of suction! And I did the same test, and got a similar result. And then I did some more vacuuming.

Here's the thing about bagless vacuum cleaners: There's no bag to contain the dust! So with my old vacuum cleaner, I simple pulled the bag and tossed it. All of the dust and debris stayed inside the bag. Not so with bagless! You now have a load of the same dust and debris right in your face when you empty it. Another thing about the Hoover is the directions state to tap out the stuff that's lodged in the filter. Guess what happens? More dust in your face! Yes! (I bang out the dust so I'm upwind of the cloud. Ech!)

I have a Shop Vac. Ugly, noisy, but it takes drywall bags which filter out very fine dust particles. Monster suction, and I can get a carpet beater attachment for it.

And much cheaper than Dyson.

We have 2 Dysons and 1 Dirt Devil. The DD we purchased new in Portland, OR 1998. We thought it worked well enough and it traveled with us from Portland, to Austin, TX and finally Knoxville, TN.

This was probably 2006 and we decided to update the vacuum and with coupons from Bed, Bath & Beyond got a DC41 Animal.

We ran the same test. New bag in the DD and vacuumed the house. We then revac'd the house with the Dyson. The amount of dirt and dust the Dyson picked up is amazing and we have hardware floors here.

So our money is on the Dyson products at this time.

Mike as others have mentioned.

"Mike, Did you think to go over the area again with the old Hoover - perhaps the same result would have occurred?"

Almost any Vacuum can pass this test. No Vac get all the dirt!. This test has been used for years to upsell vacs.

Where I balk is the price. You paid what?
Just as a lark I did some basic research on the web. A Good Housekeeping review found a Eureka Boss SmartVac Pet Lover 4870SZ Vacuum higher rated for $160.00. You could own three. I used to sell vacuums and I would never pay that kind of money-no way. I'm sure there are others that would compare at a lesser price.

Why didn't you ask us before you trusted those guys at the big box store. Just saying.....


Regarding wood floors and dogs - we have them, and we have a mix of bare, area rugs, wall to wall, and vinyl sheet (non-linoleum, yet linoleum looking). We've also pulled up wall-to-wall over hardwood. After two dogs and two cats we've learned a few things. Linoleum is for dogs. Great for mopping up mud, scratch resistant. Bare hardwood is beautiful, but muddy boots, paws, and compulsive doggie digging (plus accidents & illness) has caused the polyurethane coat to wear off. It would probably have been okay if we'd re-coated it with clear polyurethane every 5-8 years. Bare hardwood in the bedroom is fantastic, since the roomba keeps it super clean and the dog doesn't get up there. (Also, cat vomit cleans up nicely.) Cool in the summer, too, which is nice here in Baltimore.

Our best luck has been with area rugs. We went to a regular wall-to wall carpet store and asked for carpet with a finished edge, of a certain size. They came out with pieces cut to fit, and machine stitched on a finished edge in place. So far we've only had them cleaned in place, but they can be rolled up and taken to a carpet cleaner to be thoroughly washed and dried. Invaluable in the living room and family room. What is particularly nice is that since it doesn't extend under the sofas, or to the edge of the room, the dirt that would collect in the previous wall to wall can easily be sucked or swept up. (To a degree our roomba can cope with this, but it's an early model with a weak battery, so we don't tax it.)

As for wall-to-wall, we have some bedrooms with legacy carpet we can't afford to replace yet, and an irregular hallway that really needs it for the safety factor. Having pulled up old wall-to-wall I can testify to the bizarre swamp of stains that can be found underneath even the cleanest looking carpet, and the dirt that carpet cleaners and traditional vacuums leave in the 3 inches closest to each wall.

If I had any advice for you, it would be to consider an area rug in the living room, sized so that it doesn't lie underneath the bookshelves or the other heavy furniture at the perimeter. But you know how you live, and what your needs are, so please take this with an enormous block of NaCl.


p.s. There's an open italics tag up there somewhere.

Now that the dog mat is cleaner, does the dog appreciate it?

I bought a Dyson 40 about six months ago, and find it a huge improvement over my now retired Hoover Wind Tunnel. Dysons are the Leicas of the vacuum world.

We had cyclone air filters on a walnut shaker (grabs trees and shakes them) and a walnut sweeper (think street sweeper used on loose dirt) and I was amazed how it would extract a coffee can full of dust from the engine air intake in a half hour or so. Always thought it would make a good vacuum cleaner.

Apparently until recently the vacuum cleaner biz was like the razor and inkjet printer biz. Sell the cleaner, razor, or printer at a loss and clean up on the supplies. Thus a bagless cleaner was a non starter at an established vacuum cleaner company.

How they work here in all their mathematical glory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclonic_separation

The price in USA for the DC41 - $480. Price in Australia - avg. A$780 - A$800. Same machine. And they both come from the UK. (Current exchange rate US$1 = A$0.97

I need a new CPAP machine (for sleep apnea). For a Resmed S9 Autoset, price in USA $1,050 approx. Price in Australia for the same machine - $2,200. And Resmed is an Australian company!

So why don't I order from a US supplier? No, they will only ship to US citizens and require a prescription from a US doctor to accompany the order. You can guess who imposes those rules.

Price for Photoshop avg. A$1,100 here. Price in USA $628.

There is an Australian Senate committee inquiring into software pricing at the moment - specifically Adobe, Apple and Microsoft's. You should hear the squirming, prevaricating, slimy excuses they're giving for charging us double. Even for downloads, when no physical product is involved! Basically, the reason is because they can.

Obviously, software is not the only area where double price is being charged.

One thing where it isn't is photographic equipment, surprisingly. We're possibly a bit cheaper than the US. I think it's because we can order directly from US suppliers, bypassing the local distributors. Adobe, Apple and Microsoft have website blockages installed so that you can't buy from the US from here. We are being encouraged to bypass these blockages.

PS: I owned both a Dyson DC-04 (2001 vintage) and a Miele Cat & Dog (about 2009). The Dyson cost around $850 and the beater bar stopped turning about 2 years ago, so it sat unused for a long time.

The Miele is good, but nothing special for dog hair. I realised I'd been misled - the name refers to odour suppression by the bag - it's nothing to do with pick-up efficiency.

I eventually got around to dismantling the Dyson and concluded it was a clutch failure. I gave it away in a box - not worth continuing. I won't buy another one. Far too much money for nothing special. See www.choice.com.au for alternatives that do just as well.

The "die soon" comment is interesting, since we have a Dyson (looks like a DC14 model, but I am not sure,) for many years and it is not only still living, but doing a swell job. And it was purchased as a refurb, to boot; my wife is fanatical about finding bargains. Maybe we just got lucky.

Regarding comments that all vacuums can't have more than one atmosphere of pressure differential.

That's absolutely true and absolutely irrelevant. It's not the vacuum that does the work, it's the velocity of the airflow. In fact if you had an actual vacuum, then the cleaner is doing nothing since no air is moving.

The Dyson and it's clones do a wonderful job of moving a lot of air and controlling the air speed and direction rather than getting a filter in the way.

I would care as much about how clean the air coming out of the machine is. The last thing I want is for the dust to go back into the air and get inside the cameras, computers, lenses, and lungs.

The bag and filter cleaners are inferior to the bagless type in this respect.

Had a dyson vacuume for about ten years now and can say that it still works like new. The they also have a fantastic service program. For a fixed cost they will service the machine and replace any parts that are damaged of faulty. On the last service of our machine. Part of the handle and the dust cylinder were broken after a fall down the stairs. These were just swapped out with a new ones as partif the service. I also talked with the engineer, as the service is an 'at home' service. From memory he said dyson still hold parts for all machines and no machine was unrepairable no matter what age. This in an age of planned obsolescence is reassuring.

I saw part of first picture with a red toenail, mind raced and then after a little unfortunate speculation I scrolled down and saw the rest of Connie

I think the Dyson actually has a built in container of super-compressed dirt that it is gradually uncompresses into the chamber.

Just don't get a steam cleaner. I borrowed one to hit a couple places and I COULD NOT STOP STEAM CLEANING STUFF. It was insane.

Had a home demo of some brand of "super-vac" some time ago. Shocking sticker price. Thought about it for a few days, did some basic arithmetic, went out and bought a bunch of bags for existing vac. The simple act of replacing the bag after each use kept it working at peak, and eliminated that characteristic nasty vacuum cleaner smell. And saved some big bucks.

Moved, and now have a whole-house vac, central canister in the basement, vents to the outside. Works like a charm. Quiet too.

To follow up on Player's comments about selling Kirby's: my favorite part of the Kirby sales pitch was when doing the clean white cloth test on the bed. I always made sure to do the test on the side of the bed that the prospect's spouse slept on. You knew the prospect would be thinking about spending the night on their side of the mattress that still had all of that "filth" in it. "Did you know a mattress doubles its weight over ten years?" I would ask as I demonstrated how "dirty" their mattress was.

I'd also leave those pads laying about so the prospect was seeing, constantly, how much dirt/dust was in their carpets.

I found very quickly that I couldn't stomach the hard sell. I did learn an awful lot about selling though.

Now my wife and I use a Miele.

I hate Dysons. They start off like yours then go steadily downhill. They feel like something from the cheap section at Toys R Us. They look like they were designed by the Aussie responsible for the hideous Pentax K-01. They're so targeted at women that men feel they can only use them if they have matching shoes. In short, I'll never buy another and as soon as the one I have stops limping along and does the decent thing by falling on its sword, I'll be giving it a Viking funeral in the garden and to hang with the dioxins!

You could've gone totally DxO with a comparison of amounts sucked-up by multiple makes side-by-side, radially and sagitally...

I've been quite a fan of Dyson ever since I saw what one made of my old apartment; we've had the same model as yours for a couple of years now and it works wonders. Don't worry too much about the `die-soon' comment above, either: ours broke, around the top-left of the red foot-pedal arrangement, so it wouldn't snap-up properly, but they collected and repaired it all for free, even a couple of years old. Quite impressed with the service as well as the performance.

The major question to me is Where does that addiction you anglos have to carpeting come from?
You build excellent frame houses out of wood, then cover their floors with that horrible thing. It's almost always dirty, moist or raspy, almost impossible to clean, great for all kinds of little beasts, parasites, acarus...
We here (Spain) suffered a short period where carpeting was sort of the fashion of the day, thank God the fad is gone. We use mostly wooden floorings, whether the real thing -pine, teal- or one of a number of popular imitations/variations: pergo, laminated plywood, swedish floors, etc. They are nicer, easier to clean and to live with...
Wall to wall carpeting is used only on some offices with technical floors, posh hotel rooms (don't ask me why) and that's it.
I even removed all carpets from my home. Can't imagine the advantages of having them. Yes, some are beautiful, but they are invariably dirty, you have to call the cleaners or even worse, roll them up and take them to the cleaners... find a place to store it in summer. etc.
On the other hand, I wish we did have frame houses here, they make a lot of sense, and are so beautiful...

Forgive me if someone else has already suggested this as I didn't have time to read each resopnse but have you checked to see what is under your carpet yet?

[Two layers of plywood, alas. --Mike]

Up until about 25 years ago I believe the VA and FHA rquired wood floors on any house on which they wrote a loan.
We have mostly hardwood floors in our home and also have a maniac rat terrier. I just have his claws clipped each time he goes to the vet for his shots and he and the floors have reached an accord although the fragile peace is occasionaly broken by a sliding dog trying to make a tight corner at flank speed.

Regarding marc's excellent comment above, I think you could do a whole column of people writing in asking about/complimenting the odd living practices of Americans. My former Anthropology prof, an Italian, was boggled at the notion that Americans (and to some extent her British husband) thought it perfectly normal to have decorative, non-functional shutters and still not close the drapes for privacy. (As an American, I still don't understand why houses don't come with working shutters. They seem so practical.)


[I suppose, but I don't really like American-bashing on this site. I don't really like bashing of anybody, at least not according to stereotype--I don't even allow scornful comments about dentists and Leicas.

I do agree with you about shutters. I think of that every time I see video of people hammering plywood over their windows in advance of a hurricane. We had the proper technology to deal with that in Colonial times; you'd think we'd have learned.

Then again, I'm critical about almost every current fashion in home design. The only reason I don't write about it is...well, because everybody's living in just the sort of house I'd be bashing. --Mike]

"[Two layers of plywood, alas. --Mike]"
Bummer. You could fill the basement with LEDs and do glass brick. Too high concept?
Anyway, good luck on your remodel.
We are in the middle of re-siding our place so I feel for you. I have been looking at exposed Celotex Black Jack for a week and it's starting to grow on me, not a good sign.

I've always liked the fact that you don't like stereotypes and you don't like people being bashed. One of the reasons I load up your site every morning over breakfast is that you have a really pleasant, humane, approach to things. In other words, I'm glad to have your writing in my personal space every morning. (I can't say that about any number of other sites that I often read during the day. Some require a good gulp of air and a reminder to myself that "reading this might make me feel bad.")

I brought up the idea because I'm always curious about how people see us, and how we see people, about why people live the way they do, and how those folkways work for people, even when they seem to work against them. It's the reason I find historical photography, particularly candids and interiors so fascinating. I also find my country really amusing, the same way I find my own quirks and foibles amusing, the way I gain joy from being around the people I love.

As for shutters, I did some poking around, and in Florida, at least, they do sell functional shutters of traditional design - made out of steel! You can get them painted any color you want.

I wouldn't mind your critique of how houses are made. I think they lend themselves to that for the same reason cameras do.


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