Pros: Cleans parallel to the ground. Easy to fix. Cost of Trade Show Models is low.
Cons: Oreck sleezy franchise salespeople. Will not work well with long pile carpets.
The Oreck has a beater standard brush and runs via a rubber belt (attached to an engine) turning it. If you go over high pile carpet, the rubber belt will most likely break. This is indicative of models from the 1970s and early 1980s. However, the pure simplicity is what makes this a well-built machine. There is nothing complicated with running this machine or fixing this vacuum.
The system is comprised of an outer bag and an inner bag. The outer bag will not let dust escape into the air. This is far better than bag less vacuums where the dust flies everywhere while vacuuming. The inner bag is easy to change and dirt does not fly all over the place during the bag change process. I cannot say the same of my Hoover Wind Tunnel Vacuum.
What about allergies? The Oreck XL Ultra and XL Ultra 2 marketing materials claim Oreck has a 7-layer hypoallergenic outer bag that filters to three microns. The Oreck's outer bag is connected to the vacuum with an airtight rubber seal.
The inner bag is layered to trap dust and particles according to marketing materials. This seems to work very well. I have bad allergies and never sneeze when using this vacuum.
The power cord is long enough to reach far places without changing outlets every few seconds.
The dual on-off switch is well-positioned and easy to reach. One setting operates the brush and one setting operates the Oreck without a brush. This works fine for bare or wood floors.
The Oreck has two bulbs to illuminate the path ahead. They burn-out a lot so ask your salesperson for six extra bulbs when you purchase. They are easy to change with a simple Phillips head screwdriver. Also ask for extra belts as these often break as mentioned above. Ask the salesperson how to change the parts. This person will often balk at answering the question, but this is just to bring you back to the store to sell you more product. That is what they are trained to do sell more (See Confessions below).
The vacuum is very light and easy to carry. I would estimate seven pounds at most and I do not believer Oreck's claim of any other number. I can lift this with one finger. On my home doctor's scale it weighs seven pounds.
There are consumer reports of the Oreck bursting into flames. These reports list the brand new vacuums - not the refurbished models. The refurbished are truly that. They go through many inspections before being sold.
Many would argue the Oreck retail price is too high. I agree with this. Did you know that Oreck sells this same vacuum at half price? Yes, that's right.
You can buy a model used in a trade show. Oreck refurbishes the trade show models and sells them for half price. In fact, mine was $179.99 with free bags and a light that simulates daylight. By refurbishing I mean they change the motor and all parts; therefore, you have a new vacuum.
The long warranty does not apply -- they only give you one year.
The parts are easy to change as this is no engineering marvel. The people in the stores make you think it is, but I can change an Oreck belt, light bulb or beater brush in two minutes of less without an instruction book.
Confessions of an Oreck Retired Salesman:
A long-time salesman was leaving the store for retirement. He told me Oreck tries to make you reliant on the store for "tune-ups." They keep the vacuums for weeks when the total amount of work may be 5 minutes at the most. There is nothing hard in fixing these vacuums other than swapping an engine for a new one.
The salesman showed me the store invoice before he left. Oreck pays under $15.00 to have each vacuum made. Most stores are franchises who buy from Oreck for $25.00 each plus shipping. These are brand new and are not trade show models. The sales price is pure profit ($400 at retail - $25 at cost = 375 profit/each minus shipping). The freebees they give away are junk. The iron and the car vacuum are worthless, but that is a different review.
The same engine is used in all models so a cheaper model without the dual speed will do the trick as well as a more expensive model. You just cannot use it on a non-carpeted floor. One person mentioned you can not use the vacuum on newer, long shagged carpet. This is right on the money. Why don't they show you this demonstration in the stores? Uh huh?
They want you to come back for service and then sell you more. A local franchise in Washington, DC owns 12+ stores and I interviewed over six employees. They all confirmed this.
Another point not mentioned in the other reviews is that you can use these under beds and other furniture. The vacuum works parallel to the floor in order to vacuum under a bed. Amazing. If you only buy American, then this is for you. Most Orecks are made in Louisiana. When the state was hit with rain/floods last year, the CEO of Oreck made sure his employees were paid even thought their assembly line was flooded. He also found them housing. Now this is ethical behavior and nice to see.
Buy the trade show models and save yourself a lot of money and worry over fire.
Oreck franchises like to scare people into the eight (8) year warranty, but you really do not need it. In eight (8) years something new and better will be out anyway. You can also buy an Oreck from QVC for a cheaper price then in the stores. The stores will sell you until you drop and are more expensive than QVC. Do not purchase this for new long shagged (pile) carpets as it will not work well.