Pros: Excellent suction
Cons: I don't care for the accessory tools
My wife and I have owned a few different brand vacuums over our 32 years of married life. I use the machine as much as she does in our household so I feel I am qualified to review it. As my first "real job" at age 17 I worked for Sears and successfully sold them.
My wife made the purchase and I was honored to take it out, put it together and give any instruction that may be unique to this particular vacuum system. This is very much like six or seven others we have owned over the years. It is a canister with tools enclosed in the top. It has a hose that attaches to wands that in turn can be attached to what they call a Power-mate nozzle. This piece is good for carpeting. A separate hardwood floor attachment can also be used as well as a few of the usual attachments and, in this case, one new one we never had before.
The first thing I did feel was a lighter weight than our previous Kenmore vacuums. In just doing a side by side with a 2721 Kenmore we purchased some seven years ago the new one feels much lighter.
On the box is print telling us of some features.
360 degree hose swivel
14" Power-mate Nozzle
Tools on Board
Handi-Mate Jr. Turbine Driven Brush attachment.
There a little highlight saying the vacuum is Bare Floor Friendly.
We are also reminded that the vacuum is assembled in the USA of domestic and imported components.
The canister's top is not quite as dark as a navy blue colour. The bottom is black and the rubber protective band that surround the machines circumference is gray. It has large over sized rear wheels that are both black and gray. It's attractive as vacuums go. The front has a small swivel type caster that is underneath and out of sight.
For those who like specs the canister
60 Hz 120VAC
9.0AMPS 12 Amps with Power-mate
Bag number 5055
On the bottom of the canister is also the phone number for Sears service 1 800 4-MY-HOME
There is a change on this vacuum from every other Kenmore canister I have ever owned. The electric cord is retractable but in a different way. No longer does a quick tug on the cord send it flying back inside the canister. Now you have to go to the canister and press down on a large very oversized button. When its pressed down, the cord goes flying in. I'm still not sure if I like this or not.
Changing the bag on these vacuums has been the same for years. The top opens via a large clip underneath. The top stays in an open position. The old bag slides out of a casing and a new one takes its place.
Bags are purchased at Sears and their service centers. There are other non brand companies that sell them too. It is a very popular shape that has been around for years, thus easy to find.
This vacuum has a Performance Indicator Light. This will light when the bag is full and/or when the filters are clogged.
While you have the top open look at the filter. Its a one piece item with two filters, one for very fine dusts and the other gives it a little body and a bit more filtering action. It's a good idea to slide this out on occasion and run it under tap water to clean it. Be sure it is totally dry before you re-insert it. This will help the suction of the machine.
One more filter is in this vacuum that bears the words Advanced Allergen Filtration.
This is an additional filter that can be cleaned and replaced from the top of the machine. This filter is placed after the first filter and works to keep out even more dust particles and allergens. We don't have a problem in our home with allergic reactions to anything, however, the less of these things we breath, the better for us. This filter is much like the other. It is very easy to get to and easily cleaned.
Vacuums over the years have been judged by Horse Power, Amps, and other manufacturer guided measurements. Leaving all that aside, I can tell you that this particular canister has EXCELLENT suction. I was very surprised and impressed by it!
The overall form of the canister part of the system is a sort of bullet shape. This is helpful when pulling the vacuum through openings like doorways. There are times when pulling a vac I have not had it follow me right through the opening. With this bullet front I know that I can just gently tug on the hose and the front that is protruding in the room will easily be followed by the rest of the machine. The rubber all around the machine keeps the walls and furniture from being chipped or scratched.
FEATURES and BENEFITS
I'll go over some of the box top features first.
The 360 degree hose swivel does its job at the point where the hose meets the canister. This means you can move the hose around without it getting twisted or feeling the extra weight of the canister in some situations. I find this especially helpful when doing overhead vacuuming like ceiling and wall corners or ceiling fans.
The 14" Power-Mate Nozzle is the work horse when cleaning carpeting. It has four carpet height adjustments
I have found that keeping these power-mates at the lower pile settings I get deeper cleaning. These are easily adjusted by foot. There is a small window that shows the settings.
Next to that window is an Overload Protector Reset. What the overload protector does is shut down the power-mate's motor if it is suddenly being overworked. This could happen if you vacuumed part of a drape and it jammed the power brush. The motor would automatically shut off. You then disengage the drape, and then when the power-mate is back on the floor push the Overload Protector Reset.
In tuning over this power-mate you will see the brush bar. There is no "Beater Bar" here as in some other Kenmore's. Instead this has two sets of brushes. I like that better. I always felt that the vibration of these machines would loosen settled material from deep in the carpet. I also did not like the wear the beater bar could give carpeting once it ages a bit and collected ridges and sharp nicks that could pull carpet fabric. The beater bar could also scuff floors at times. I never liked the over sold feature.
As with all these rotating brushes they need to be cleaned of string, fiber, and hair that can build up on them. Be sure to unplug the machine when doing so.
At times the belt inside may break or fall off. With this power-mate there are no screws or bolts to loosen. A screw driver at a particular spot will pry open the bottom. It seems pretty well made and simple to do. I like that there are no longer pieces of hardware that can be lost.
The power-mate attaches to the hose via two wands. There is a quick release that can be activated by simply pushing down with your left foot and then pulling up on the wands with your hand. It works well now. This feature has been a weak point on our previous vac. It cracked off and we now have tape holding it together.
There is a light on the front of the power-mate that makes it a little easier to see in darkened areas. I always wonder how many people really bend over and look deep under the beds to see what is there?
Noted on the front edge of the power-mate are the words Brush Edge Cleaner. It is this side where the brush goes all the way to the end. The other side has the drive belt.
Tools on Board means that most of the usual compliment of tools fit inside a covered storage area. In this case the top flips open easily and four attachments can fit inside, well three. I'll explain in a moment.
The floor tool is about ten inches wide. It is wood floor friendly. It has a swivel on it that makes reaching under low items like beds easier to do. This is made of a rigid plastic and does NOT have any rubber protection on its edges. None of the Sears floor brushes do.
The crevice tool is shorter than the ones I have always seen in Kenmore products before. This one is about seven inches long with only four and a half inches of tapered nose. I suppose it will reach most tough areas but I always felt better with a few extra inches. Ha, maybe its a male ego thing.
The other two tools I mentioned were really just one that converts into two.
The dusting brush is what you see, it is about four and a half inches wide by one and a half inches. This is a rectangle rather than the round dusting brush Sears always offered. I don't know if this is a change in all their vacs or just on this model. I felt this new shape was not as good on dusting items that are irregularly shaped. The brushes on the new one are short.
Now this same dusting brush converts into the upholstery tool. The brush simply slides off and the tool is ready to use. I don't like that we have to deal with a part that may get lost.
The Handi-mate Jr
This is something I never saw nor used before. It is an attachment that goes onto the end of the hose or wands being use as an extension. This piece is stated as being good for upholstery and carpeted stairs.
The rotating brushes get its power from the suction of the machine. It really does get spinning quickly and fast. One thing you cannot do is lean on it. It must be resting on the surface to be cleaned and gently moved over the surface. If you press to hard the brush stops rotating. This piece works well on cat hairs that occasionally get on our sofas and chairs. Its a nice additional piece. What I do not like is the fact that it does not have a home in or on the vacuum. We have to store it separately.
OTHER THINGS TO TALK ABOUT
The hose now has a start/stop switch for the whole machine at the fingertip area. It used to be this switch only shut down the power-mate. Now both motors are shut down with the flick of this nicely placed switch. I like not having to go to the canister to start the vacuum. I suppose this will also increase the price of a replacement hose. That has always been the weakest link on our vacuums. Somehow somebody steps on the hose leaving it to get clogs inside at that point.
The wands attach to the hose by sliding on. They stay in place with little spring action buttons. On this vacuum they put a little plastic piece where you press to release the spring. It doesn't work well for me. The plain button was just fine.
The wands have a swivel action in them. This also helps when reaching under furniture.
The handle on the hose is comfortable and molded to the human hand. Hey, its so comfortable I think I'll go and start vacuuming and cleaning right now.
(Update Oct 2006) We now have this vac in the shop for repair. It's been running very well for us however the cord return has lost its "zing" and won't pull it all back inside. We should have it back in a couple of days. I'll let you know how it all went.
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