Our vacuum tests show that some claims need deflating
Three Kenmore uprights lead the pack of the 10 new vacuums just added to Consumer Reports’ Ratings, with fine performance where it matters. But it was the claims made for two other uprights, a Eureka and a Bissell, that most caught our attention. And when we put them to the test, we discovered they were a lot of hot air.
The bagless upright Eureka Suctionseal Pet AS1104A (see photo), $160, continues the assault against Dyson that we’ve reported on before, this time claiming the Suctionseal is “proven to clean carpets better than Dyson DC25 and DC41 for less than half the price.” The Dyson DC25 has been discontinued, but in our tests the Eureka Suctionseal and Dyson DC41 scored identically for deep-cleaning carpets—mediocre.
The Eureka excelled at pet-hair pickup, one important point of distinction. The Suctionseal feature, however, was another matter. According to the manufacturer’s website, “as you move across carpet, hardwood or tile floors the plates raise and lower, creating a seal to maximize airflow for powerful cleaning performance.” But allergy sufferers take note: In our emissions test, which measures particulate matter in the air while a vacuum is running, the Suctionseal got a middling score—meaning it releases more particles into the air than most other vacuums we’ve tested.
Another bagless upright, the Bissell Total Floors Pet 61C5W, $140, claims to be a “powerful, multi-cyclonic vacuum with the odor-elimination power of Febreze!” Apart from the air-freshener component, we’ve seen better performance with other Bissells for less, such as the Bissell CleanView Helix Deluxe 71V9, $100. And the Total Floors was only mediocre at keeping in what it sucked up.
And if you have respiratory issues, you may want to think twice about the odor-elimination feature as well. In our recent report, Is poor indoor air quality making you sick? we warn against using certain products, such as air fresheners, if anyone in the household has serious allergies or asthma.
For people who appreciate it, the Febreze exhaust filter is a chief selling point. But if you decide you don’t like the filter’s scent after using the vacuum, you’ve got options. The exhaust filter for the Bissell CleanView Helix, sans Febreze, fits just right in the compartment of the Total Floors. Need a vacuum now? Check out our Ratings of 106 upright and canister vacuums, along with our buying advice.