Oreck: The Axis of Evil?
Apr 17, 2013
Review by Helen Pogomom
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Powerful, lightweight and easy to maneuver
Cons:Dry rotted cord; no protective shield over or around brush roll; dangerous design flaws.
The Bottom Line: Products from a respected manufacturer should not have so many flaws. It should not have shipped with dry rot. Children's hands could get mangled in the brush roll.
Always on the lookout for the next great vacuum cleaner, I truly believed buying an Oreck would be the answer to my housekeeping prayers. It seemed like a no-brainer to purchase a cleaning appliance manufactured by a concern with a great long-time reputation for solid products featuring the latest proven innovations. Word of mouth from neighbors and friends had us leaning toward Oreck over Dyson and most other popular brands. This is one instance when we should not have paid attention to consumer opinions and reviews; Oreck pulled a “gotcha” on us all.
Recommend this product?
You Don’t Always Get What You Want…
Our household consists of two adults and one very large Black Russian Terrier. Dali tends to shed twelve months out of the year and never seems to give us a break from keeping up with her ever-falling piles of fur and whiskers. Sharing our home with a furry-girl is a joy with the exception of having to watch out for fur balls on every surface. We just happen to be dog people and this struggle is not new to us; we simply hoped that modern conveniences and technology would have given us a bit more to work with as far as vacuum cleaners and steam cleaners. Thus far, we have not been the luckiest but things appeared to look up when I decided to give Oreck’s lightweight Axis upright vacuum cleaner a shot at the title.
Our vacuum cleaner wish list consisted of a few line items that should have made life easier:
· Brand name
· Sealed bag or bagless system
· Ergonomic handle and general design
· 30-foot cord
· Narrow cleaning path
· Hard wood floor and carpet cleaning without adjustments
· HEPA Filtration system
· Dual sided edge cleaning
· Easy access to tools and accessories
· Easy cord release and cord storage
· Good Warranty
Comparatively ticking off the items on our list, the Oreck seemed ideal. Nearly every feature we wanted was available to us on this model. Yes, the Oreck Axis utilizes HEPA filter bags at a premium cost of $36.00 for eight, to have something so useful and simple to operate made that something that required little consideration.
It Came and Went…
There is much to be said about what one may accomplish during a bout of insomnia. I managed to order my shiny new Oreck Axis from QVC and garner a couple of hours sleep once that transaction cleared my display screen. For $199.00, a real savings from Oreck’s advertised web site price of $399.00, my new and powerful vacuum cleaner was going to be delivered in three to five business days. As promised, it arrived beautifully packaged and ready for assembly sans tools or elbow grease.
Simple set up required nothing more than sliding the bagged body post into the roller base and twisting a rubbery cap until a click resounded, letting me know that the connection was secure. Sliding the ergonomic handle/wand into the unit until a second click announced another secure connection left only plugging in the cord and winding it up on two adjustable pegs for storage between uses. A beautiful, lightweight vacuum cleaner looked like our ideal and could have been had we not flipped the two-speed switch and given it a trial run.
Our floor surfaces consist of hard wood and carpet with downstairs covered with dense carpet and the main level and upstairs mostly hard wood with area rugs. I plugged in the Axis, slid the handle mounted switch to “Low” for solid surfaces, placed my foot over the little “footie” icon on the base while sliding the handle into position and voila – I vacuumed the floor with a swivel and a slide in record time. Making the transition between wood flooring to rug and carpet required only a quick slide of my thumb from “Low” to “High” on the sliding switch. Bringing it back to solid surface (turning off the beater bar) required nothing more than bringing the switch back to “Low” setting.
I adored so much about the Axis and felt as if I had more than gotten my money’s worth. The maneuverability of the lightweight machine made vacuuming enjoyable, something I never recall saying before this experience. The power of the vacuum goes without question, not only could we see the paths of clean carpet but the hard wood flooring seemed to shine after being well cleaned in a single pass. I was happy, my floors seemed happy and my husband was anxious to try it out in his media room and rec room downstairs.
Equal Half is rough on appliances and does not seem to understand that a light touch is sometimes best. He happily toted our new Axis downstairs and began his test, a very short test at that. Within minutes, the muted sound of the motor’s whirr stopped altogether. The wonderfully rubbery, round cord became embedded in the brush roll as chunks of black rubber were strewn over the carpeting. The wires within the black rubber casing were exposed and Equal Half busily began the process of taping over the holes in the cord.
By then, I was downstairs inspecting the no longer new machine. Three year limited warranty or not, there was no way the Oreck’s cord should have decomposed so easily in less than a day’s usage. Turning over the Axis, we noticed that the brush roll base was wide open, there was no guard for the brush roller and no protection for the cord. If you run over the cord, the roller grips it, rips it and pulls the insulation off in one quick move.
Wanting to save a return shipment fee, we packed up the cleaner and drove to the next town where Oreck maintained a service outlet. The representative handling our case first mentioned that he had never seen an “Axis model” before and that it must be a new offering. He mentioned that all Oreck vacuum cleaners had a protective metal base that would have kept the cord from being sucked into the roller apparatus. Even worse, he declared that the cord had dry rot and that a simple flick of a fingernail could dislodge a chunk of insulation.
One phone call to QVC resulted in a prepaid return receipt and an apology from the customer service representative. Had the cord issue been an isolated problem and had there been a protective cover over the brush roller, there is no question that we would have kept the Axis. It really is a powerful, lightweight, ergonomically designed cleaning tool and one that is actually fun to use. Sadly, too many design flaws left us with a bad taste for Oreck products. It may have been a lemon and we may have been the one consumer couple in a million to receive a damaged model but we don’t think so.
We looked elsewhere and did find a vacuum cleaner that may not have met all our requirements but filled our needs. Look for my review of Shark’s NV501 Bagless Rotator Vacuum coming soon to a display near you.
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