Pros: It sucks well and does it relatively quietly.
Cons: So many for a $300 vacuum...it should do more than just suck.
I killed my last vacuum, the one that I had a long affair with. It was perfect and I was sad to see it go. It died just before we left on vacation and for some reason my husband INSISTED on replacing it that very day. Who knows how some minds work
.I begged to be given a few days to decided, but he had to have it that minute.
I loved the bagless model wed just parted with and tried to get him to replace it with the exact same model (so well made that they havent changed it in 5-years .that says a lot to me!). Nope hes VERY OLD-FASHIONED, he likes a bag. Oh well, hes the one who went to the store and the one who does most of the vacuuming, so who was I to complain?
What he brought home was an EXPENSIVE purple dinosaur .I cant help it, I love you, you love me . runs through my head every time I use it. I even call it Barneymy husband isnt amused. Sorry, to me it was taking two steps backwardsback to having a bag to change, back to a vacuum that sounded great but one I hate to use.
FROM THE TOP
He brought it home and put it togetherone screw to hold the handle on and it was done. It comes with the standard on-board tools (crevice tool and dusting brush) and a much-hyped HandiMate Jr. power nozzle (flimsyany pressure at all stops the agitator brush since its only air-powered), a HEPA media filtration for clean air, and 1-year Warranty (be warned though, it is only covered if used in private households--those running daycares, adult homes, or home offices may want to reconsider this model).
We got the 31913 model with the 35ft cord for the same price as model 31912 which only has a 30ft cordwhoopee but my husband thought it was a big deal. This is the only difference between the two models.
WHY HE BOUGHT ITaka Salespersons Successful Pitch
It is a conventional upright vacuum which features triple filtration with HEPA exhaust filter (I insisted on a closed filtration systemfor info on why, visit my review on my old Eureka vacuum for info: (Click here for a great vacuum!).
It has a Beltless Direct Drive System that makes it feel like it is self-propelled (you have to yank it back as it's great at running from you) and therefore it doesnt use belts. (To me it's just one more thing to go wrong--a simple inexpensive belt or a entire drive system that needs to be replace...hmmm.)
It does run rather quietly, I'll give it that. It uses two rows of spiral agitators which are supposed to help brush your carpet (I don't notice any improvement over the old one-spiral agitator it replaced). It has edge cleaning on both sides so you dont have to think ahead when vacuuming against baseboards (the edge cleaning works well).
It boasts a 1-speed 12-amp motor, a 14-wide cleaning path, a 35 cord, a typical foot-activated handle release, and a manual pile height adjuster (to use it you have to turn off the cleaner, tip it back and slide the lever to adjust it for bare floors or carpet).
WHATS BAGGING ME?
Sorry, I hate bagsI love the instant gratification from dumping a cup knowing that the vacuum is going to perform better empty than full of dirt. It also took care of the worry about when the bag was changed last.
It took me forever to find the bags on the Sears sitelong story, but heres the info:
Kenmore 3M Filtrete Upright Vacuum Bags the current price for 2 bags is $7.99 (plus tax).
WHAT DOESNT WORK FOR ME?
The cord is incredibly stiffhard to coil, hard to keep throwing out of the way and a danger to tiny tikes and fine chinalike a stale piece of licorice.
The dirt indicator light is a jokemeant to tell you when the carpet is clean; it rarely signals the carpet is dirty all the while Im sucking up small animals. Even my husband (who LOVES this vacuum) agrees that this is a worthless feature.
If you push the handle to far into the upright position while vacuuming, the beater brush shuts off thus youre no longer vacuuming and the light switches off to tell you soon off on off like a Nun with a ruler slapping you for being naughty.
The on/off switch (the only complaint on my old model) is in what I think is the PERFECT locationright on the handle. Too bad it takes two hands to turn it on and off! Please, does it have to be so hard??? The switch is flat to the handle with ridges to help you grip it but its so tight I have had to resort to getting a screw driver wedged into one of the ridges to force it into the on position.
Theres no bag lightheck, if you have to have a bag, itd be nice to know when its full! ****CORRECTION--oops, there is a bag light--boy, do I feel dumb!****
To use the attachments you must remove the hose from the agitatornot an easy fetetrying to get it back onto the agitator is harder. Theres a tiny nubbin that must be matched up and then turned and pushed in. This is in an area that is hard to reach, dark, and it is metal on metalno color cues to help in the matching process. My old Eureka just needed a tug and a push to use the attachments, not a contortionist act.
The attachments are fastened to the vacuum in the same mannertoo much work to get them off and back to their onboard storage area. There are easier ways!
Its made of formed plastic with no bumper in sitemy walls are going to pay!
Nowhere in the pages and pages of information Sears/Kenmore provided with this vacuum does it tell you when you should change the filters, what the approximate lifespan is, or how to tell if they need to be replaced. Major flaw which leaves me to believe Ill find out after Ive ruined the machine.
WHAT DOES WORK?
PARTS & COST
Not listed anywhere on the Kenmore or Sears site, so if you loose your instruction book youll have no idea which parts to buy! A simple link to these accessories would have been nice. Instead, I did extensive searches (the part numbers on the site don't match the numbers in the book) and heres what I found:
20-50690 Dust Bag See above
20-5240 Headlight Bulb I cant look up the price as its not on the Sears website (goodness only knows what it costs!)
20-86889 Exhaust Filter This one isnt there either, hope I dont need one soon!
20-86884 Motor Safety Filter - 2 filters, $9.99 (plus tax)
It does its main purposeit sucks and does it well. It is just a bunch of little things that make me long for my old Eureka, and the purple really is awful. I LOVE purple, but this is Barney-purple (the pictures are much nicer than the vacuum you receive). Its expensivemy old one is still just about $100 this was much more and hardly worth the expense. There are just too many parts that need to be ordered and no easy way to do it.
I rated this middle-of-the-road because he loves it, I hate it. Do yourself a favorsave a two hundred or so and buy the Eureka. Think of all the fun things you can do with the extra money.
Oops, as noted above, it does have a bag light.
One flaw in the design we've found is that to remove an item accidently sucked up (in this case a backpack strap), you must remove 7 screws and take apart nearly the entire vacuum. Also, the powerhead blows it's fuse to stop it from becoming damaged--you'll have to look for the switch to turn it back on.
My husband still loves it and so far we haven't had to change the bag. I still want my old one back.