Kenmore 31913 Progressive Upright Cleaner

5 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Kenmore Progressive Upright: An old style vacuum that works.

Jan 20, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Ease of Cleaning:
  • Style:

Pros:Good suction, easy to use, tools are very secure.

Cons:Not as good as a Dyson, some features are useless.

The Bottom Line: A good vacuum if you want something reliable.


As I have mentioned in my Dyson review, my mother-in-law also owned the Hoover wind tunnel vacuum. She was as dissatisfied as I was with the vacuum and she was a little upset at the money she spent for it. In addition she hated the effort it took to clean out the filter in the canister every time she had to use it, and she uses her vacuum almost every day which means she got frustrated a lot. Around last March she told me she went ahead and bought a bagged upright from sears. I was not surprised that she went ahead and bought a cheap, bagged upright instead of going the bagless route again. But once I looked up the price online, I realized that this was not a cheap upright. But after 10 months of use she is very happy with her purchase.

How it works.
It is a simple upright vacuum that uses a disposable bag for dirt collection. The on switch is on the handle itself. There is also a hose with the basic accessories so you can clean in hard to reach places. This unit has the hyped direct drive system that does not use belts. The direct drive did not give me the feeling that it self-propelled itself, at least not in the same way my old Hoover did. Both the handle release lever and the height adjustment are manual.

Suction
I had very low expectations of this vacuum before I tried it. I expected the suction to be very poor but I was pleasantly surprised. I estimated the suction at 80% of my Dyson, and 110% the power of my old Hoover (200% of the Hoover if the filter was clogged or the bin was partially filled). You will never get down to the bottom of the carpet but it will clean well enough for most households. Also, if you have area rugs then this vacuum works better on those types of rugs than the Dyson. The Dyson has a much greater tendency to pick up the carpet instead of just the dirt. There were no problems with vacuuming the one area rug my mother-in-law had.

Noise
Noise was normal for a vacuum. You will disturb people is you use this while they are watching television or conversing but it will not blow out your ear drums away either.

Accessories
This only came with the typical accessories; the crevice tool, brush tool, upholstery cleaner, and the telescopic wand. All the accessories were made out of plastic and felt cheap. This is not a problem because you would have to do something really stupid to break one of these, but since I am used to the Dyson I was a little turned off. You should also expect to get a 15-foot range with the telescopic wand and the hose combined.
I loved the way the accessories were mounted to the vacuum. All of the pieces were securely mounted and I had to apply a bit of pressure to dislodge them (and that is a good thing.) The pieces never fell off for me and I do not think they ever would. They were located on the back of the unit and were slightly recessed in the body so you should not have to worry about kicking them.

Features
Dual edge cleaning
Infrared dirt sensor
Full bag sensor
Headlamp
Manual height adjustment
Lower profile for vacuuming under some furniture.

Ergonomics
Nothing special in this department. I found it easy to use and move. The ergonomics are fine for home use and most people will not find it a problem. I would give it a 3 out of 5 in this department.

Filters
There are two filters on this machine. The first one is located inside of a panel on the front of the vacuum. It is a HEPA filter and it is designed to filter the air that is expelled out of the vacuum itself. This captures particles that would otherwise go into the air in your house. There is also another smaller filter underneath the bag that you may have to replace from time to time.

The plumbing and cleaning
After cleaning out my car, I went ahead and inspected the pipes for clogs or particulate matter. I found that there was nothing to clog. The intake pipe goes straight from the roller bar to the bag a couple of feet away. This is a great design because maximizes the suction power buy eliminating the distance the air has to go. I was very impressed.
If it does clog it should only clog at the round intake pipe just after the brush. You have to unscrew a few screws to get that area like you would with any other vacuum like this.
Cleaning the unit is the same as any other vacuum. You need to clean out the brush periodically and use a wet rag to wipe down the inside and outside of this model.

Materials and construction
The main material is a cheap plastic. Yes I know, most vacuums are made out of this plastic. So if you are fine with that then it this should not be a problem but if you are hard on you gear then you will break part of this vacuum. The construction is very simple and seems sturdy. My mother-in-law uses this vacuum almost every day and has not encountered any problems with any of the parts, buttons or levers.

Problems
So far my mother-in-law has had no problems with her vacuum. She loves it, almost as much as I love my Dyson (I am a Dyson freak if you haven’t noticed). So far none of the problems are performance related but here is my list of dislikes.
-Dirt sensor is useless.
-Too many gimmicks that really do not add to the functionality of the vacuum.
-Suction is not as good as the Dyson.
-Suction stops flowing through the brush area if the handle is raised too high (seems to have a wider range than other vacuums I have tried.)

What I like
-Does not lose suction like a Hoover Windtunnel.
-Tools are securely attached (DC 04 tools are not)
-Easy to use.
-Simple design.
-Good suction.
-Telescopic wand
-On/off button is on the top of the handle, right where it should be.

Who do I recommend this to?
Some of you are probably sick of hearing this but I love my Dyson and I highly recommend that vacuum to everybody. But this is still a good vacuum and I recommend this to people that either only have $300 to spend or people that want a good vacuum that uses bags. If you are as frustrated with the Windtunnel as my family and I are then this is a vacuum to check out.

Summary
I actually recommend this vacuum if you want to buy something that has proven to work. My mother-in-law vacuums her house every day, about 3x more than the rest of us, and it is still going strong with no apparent problems. She is very picky about how clean her house is, which is why she got rid of her Hoover.
This is a simple bagged upright vacuum with the normal attachments and accessories. The things that set this vacuum apart is that it has a good suction and well made parts. It is a simple design that works. My two major grips are the plastic feels cheap and the suction is not as good as a Dyson.

Other reviews you might be interested in.
Dyson, full gear.
Hoover self- propelled Windtunnel
Eureka Steam Cleaner


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 300


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