Pros: Very convenient. Long cord and hose. Powerful
Cons: A few design flaws that may affect performance
I have to admit that this has been one of the most useful purchases I have made as a new home owner. I am amazed at how many uses this has given me. Like other reviewers, my basement flooded during the recent weather events. I consider it a little welcome to the neighborhood gift from nature considering it happened 2 months after I moved in. Early in the morning, I went to Sears looking for a portable pump and of course they were all sold out. The person there recommended this because he did not think pumps would be easy to come by over the next few days.
This is a good size with a 16 gallon bucket. However, you cannot fill the bucket past a certain line with liquid, so I am not sure if this actually will hold 16 gallons when the top is on ... or if the bucket itself is 16 gallons. The hose is very long and flexible, which is good because this machine is not very portible when it becomes full of water. The 7 foot hose will allow you to go far enough away from the machine where you don't have to move it around.
The bucket size is a good and bad thing ... the bucket will hold a lot of water or whatever you are vaccuming. The bad thing is that the bucket will get extremely heavy. I am 6'3, 230 lbs. and work out every day and I must admit, after carrying 8 or 9 buckets out of the basement I was pretty sore. The bucket is definately not designed for carrying even though it has side handles. The handles are awkward and too small and it is very hard to carry a full bucket of water up a flight of stairs in order to empty. I had a very big bruise on my chest from where the side of the bucket rubbed up against my chest and stomach while lifting it up the stairs. On the upside though, I didn't have to keep taking the top off and emptying it after a few gallons.
The wheels on the bottom are a complete joke. They are detachable, pop off and are completely useless. I found that one would always pop out and make it tip and there was no real way to keep them all on and move the bucket when it was full. After the first or second time this happened, I stopped using the wheels. I think there should be a model where the wheels are attached to the bucket. I realize it might make it more awkward for some to use, but the wheel pegs simply do not click into place. They were designed very badly.
I finally did get a pump and because the water level was spread over 1500 square feet in the basement, it came to a point where I had about a half inch left, which the pump would not pick up. This is where the wet vac came in very handy. I was able to suck water up with the wet vac, pop off the top and then submerge the pump to suck the water into a hose and out the window.
I also have been rennovating a bathroom and this has come in very handy for that. The 6 hp was more than enough to suck up smaller pieces of dry wall and broken tile. This was a lot easier than sweeping, especially given that the sub floor had sort of a grid pattern and dust and dirt would get into the grid. This machine was able to suck it out easily at first. Also, some of the pieces of drywall would fall between the wall and the hose was able to fit down far enough to suck them up. This would have been hard to do by hand.
The problem I had with this machine is that even with the filter on, when I was doing something that involved particle board the small pieces of broken particle board would still get lodged in the mesh around the filter and stop the machine from getting as powerful suction. Even though I cleaned some of those pieces out, it still only is about 75% as powerful as when I first started using it. Sometimes less. Currently, the machine will not suck up screws or metal pieces, whereas at the beginning it easily did. I think some of these wood pieces caught in the vaccume section are the problem but have no way to fix it. The design of the filter should have prevented this.
This comes with 5 hose attachments. The extention hose attachment with the rounded top was best for sucking up water, whereas the flat attachment was perfect for sucking water out of the carpet or floor. The hose clicks into the machine well but I do notice that there is a lot of issue with making sure the top locks into place. If you don't lock the top into place making an airtight seal, the machine has an incredibly annoying feature. It will literally shoot whatever is being sucked up all over the room. This includes water or worse yet, dust. This happened a few times where I turned on the machine and it made a very high pitch sound and then shot dust in a 15 foot stream all over the bathroom. This design flaw is amazing. I feel like the top should lock on better somehow so this doesn't happen.
The machine is fairly loud. In a small roof, you can almost consider it painfully loud. I guess when it comes to a 6 hp motor you can't really fault it for being loud.
All in all, this has some pretty big flaws but in terms of how convenient it is and all the functions, I guess it was worth the $100 I paid for it. The filters are pretty expensive to replace but they are available at Sears. A lot of people say Craftsman products last a long time and judging by how many of them I've seen at yard sales being sold as working when they are obviously 10 or more years old, I'd say they have a good track record. I'd buy another one. Hopefully whatever pieces are lodged in the vaccume unit will eventually unlodge themselves which will return the sucking power back to what it once was.
In terms of a tool that every home owner should buy ... I'd recommend this. Especially for someone who lives in an area that floods or does home improvement projects. It also works well to clean and detail your car.