Pros: Cleans like your last vacuum never did! Self-Propelled and Bagless!
Cons: May be too heavy for some to carry up stairs, questionable ability on hard floors?
The Hoover U66XX series are all virtually the same. I believe there are accessory and perhaps warranty differences (see www.hoover.com) as well as certain model numbers being shipped exclusively to certain vendors (Costco has the U6655-900 in my case).
Ive had this vacuum for nearly two months and its been a treat to use so far. Overall were very pleased with this vacuum. Our last vacuum was a Hoover WindTunnel 7000 canister and was not performing well in a few areas. The plastic fitting which attaches the head of that vacuum to the metal round stub was not doing its job, thus the head would come separated from the handle/pole frequently. It was seemingly cheap construction and jaded me somewhat on Hoover. I ended up deciding that the vacuum was several years old and had served its time and most things end up wearing out and breaking, thus the second chance for Hoover.
I provide the above background because I quickly realized with this cleaner that there are certain things one can do to prevent damage and prolong the cleaners life. Ive read other reviews whereby the reviewer noted components and switches breaking, etc. After my first few uses I experienced moments where I understood exactly what those reviewers were referring to. See the cleaning tips section below for some helpful hints to avoid some of those problems.
This unit does a great job on carpets. The first time I used this cleaner I realized I effectively didnt have a vacuum cleaner before! The bagless feature allows you to monitor how much dirt is being picked up .just peek into the clear chamber to see whats doing. I was amazed at how much this vacuum recovered from our home. Were a relatively neat family with two small children and no pets, so I was somewhat pleasantly surprised at this vacuums ability to pick the dirt up. We nearly filled the chamber in one cleaning!
There is a dirt pickup indicator using two lights; one green indicating lack of heavy dirt pickup and the other red meaning it is picking up heavier particles/more dirt. There are two settings for this feature, low and high. I recommend using high for two reasons. If you see the red light come on it motivates you to keep on the area until you see green. The second reason is that I feel the low option would tend to under use this feature as it doesnt seem to be activated nearly as much. The first time through (using high sensitivity) with this cleaner and the red light was on a fair amount. Second and subsequent times through it doesnt come on too much at all. Amazingly it does come on where I know weve had a bit of heavy traffic and where I can see larger particles, food etc. so it is an amazing and fun feature.
If there is one weak area for this cleaner I feel it is in the cleaning of hard floor surfaces. Cleaning lighter items such as hair doesnt seem to be a problem. Picking up larger particles, such as some of the food your three year old drops under the kitchen table, seems to be a bit difficult for this cleaner. If you go over the item a few times it usually ends up getting it but for how well it seems to do on carpet Im a bit surprised at the lack of performance on the hard floors.
The self propel feature is outstanding!!! It makes this somewhat heavy unit light when cleaning. This is our first unit which has this and it seems to cut time off the chore of vacuuming. Also, it is fun to drive this cleaner. It seems to have variable speed depending on how hard you push on the handle. There is self-propulsion in both directions, forward and reverse.
The attachments are quite handy too. There are two hoses that come with the unit for extra length (although I havent found the need to use the second one yet) as well as a crevice tool neatly tucked inside one of the extension hoses (this unit has two of those too). There is also a rolling brush attachment which is great for stairs. Be careful placing this unit on the stairs .see tips below.
Cleaning out the chamber is a bit messy as others have pointed out. I just go to the side of the house and empty it directly into our trash bin. Think about it its better that it is messy .if it was clean in there your house would still be dirty! This unit has a HEPA filter which traps dust, 99 44/100% of all dust mites (maybe thats the statistic for some type of soap or something .) etc. This seems to work because one of the first things youll notice is dust flying up into the air. Its pretty light stuff because I notice it going up and up and up in the air. The heavy stuff falls right out and there are two sides to the chamber, one filtered and the other not. This filter (its not the HEPA, thats on the side of the cleaner) is a long round deal. Youll need to take this out and spin it to clean it. There is a rubber fitting which is designed to hit each fold of the filter and knock the dirt and dust out. Im amazed each time I clean this thing its full of dirt. I believe that part of the reason this cleaner does a good job each time is because I clean the chamber and this filter out after each cleaning. I believe an empty chamber and clean filter contribute to maximizing the suction power not an engineer so I could be wrong. Its also fun to see how much dirt you are getting out of the house!
Cleaning Tips with this unit
The switches for carpet height as well as carpet vs. hard floor seem cheap. Lets remember, I paid $330 for the unit. Although its a fair amount of money, $300+ bucks isnt what it used to be. When using those switches, be sure to have the unit in its full an upright position (and keep your seatbacks in their upright and locked position during takeoffs and landings too!!). Gently move the unit, by the handle, forward as you are making your setting selections, youll notice little or no resistance by the switch.
When cleaning throw rugs, etc. with very long pile/lengthy pieces of yarn (or whatever its made of) be sure to use the hard floor setting. Using the carpet setting activates the beater brush (which is not belt driven on this unit, rather it is powered by the force of the suction). The beater brush will wrap up the longer stuff and cause the carpet to get stuck in the brush. Using the hard floor setting avoids this.
This unit is great for cleaning stairs with the rolling brush attachment. When using this vacuum on the stairs I recommend you have your spouse, child, etc. keep an eye on the vacuum and even hold it. When you are cleaning the stairs with this attachment and you get near the end of the hoses range, the cleaner tends to get unsteady on the stair case. Its obvious for most but I point it out nonetheless .makes the stair cleaning deal easier not having to manage keeping the cleaner steady at the same time as cleaning.