Vacuum cleaners suck, but some suck more than others

Not strictly a technology post, I know, but hey! The world needs more vacuum cleaner buying advice!

I’ve got a thing about vacuum cleaners – not in a Nicky Wire “Hoover obsession” kind of way, but in a “I’ve got a black dog, light carpets, doing the stairs is my job and it makes me swear like a bastard” way. As I’ve mentioned before, a single labrador can shed 400Kg of black hair in a single day, and most of it then welds itself to furniture, carpets and anything else nearby.

Because of this, I’ve gone through a whole bunch of vacuum cleaners. Bagged cleaners tried and failed to stem the tide of dog fluff; the bagless Vax sounded like World War Three and blew birthday cards off window sills from 20 feet away; the Panasonic exploded. The bagless Hoover seemed promising when accessorised with a £20 turbo tool, but its dust container is so small you need to empty it every three seconds.

And then I borrowed a Dyson.

*angelic choir*

Now, when a vacuum cleaner costs roughly the same as a BMW M5 it needs to be pretty special. And it is. But it’s not that, compared to rival bagless cleaners, it’s whisper-quiet. It’s not that the ball it’s mounted on makes it a doddle to clean under furniture. It’s not the easy emptying mechanism. And it’s not that the suction is so good, you could stand in your back garden and suck pigeons out of the sky. All of these things are true, but they’re the reasons you give your partner for buying one. The real reason the Dyson is brilliant is this.

The hose attachment looks like a laser gun.

It really does. In fact, if you were to strap the cylinder to your back and adopt an unfeasibly gravelly American accent, you’d easily pass for the hero of any recent sci-fi action game. Although I suspect that a game where you were tasked with removing dog hair from the stairs of a suburban semi wouldn’t be particularly brilliant.

Still, it’d probably be more exciting than F.E.A.R. Files.





0 responses to “Vacuum cleaners suck, but some suck more than others”

  1. We got through about a hoover a year till recently: they’d just give up the ghost under the severe strain of, er, sucking up dust. Not the sort of punishment they’re designed to take, it seems. Then we got a Dyson, and, yes, they are utterly fantastic. It’s not just hype. Ours is an upright, but still has the sci-fi weaponry attachment. And, you know, it’s not expensive when compared to buying another hoover every bloody year.

    We also have an upright Vax carpet-washer, which is bloody brilliant when you have carpets and dogs, especially if one of the dogs has a penchant for wiping his arse on soft furnishings.

  2. Gary

    > it’s not expensive when compared to buying another hoover every bloody year.

    Indeed. Particularly if you shop around. The RRP for one of ’em is nearly £400 but a couple of online retailers are doing it for a lot less, around £250. Still loads of cash for a vacuum, of course, but that’s what credit cards were invented for.

    There’s also the whole “how valuable is your time?” argument…

  3. Ben

    >> especially if one of the dogs has a penchant for wiping his arse on soft furnishings.

    Utterly childish, but this just made me giggle.

    I watched a dog today nick a wart on the head, and run the blood all across a white leather sofa. Not Pretty.

  4. I think we paid in the region of £120 for our Dyson. There are always special offers on.

  5. tm

    I belive the discount on ours was something like 150 to 200 quid.

  6. tm

    I believe the discount on ours was something like 150 to 200 quid.

  7. tm

    hmmmm, not sure what happened there… sorry.

  8. Gary

    The database has been a bit funny this morning. I think my hosting package is being upgraded this week but I can’t remember when. Might be that.

  9. Gary

    On discounts: yeah, same here.

  10. Callum

    Dyson & Dogs don’t mix, I’ve had a Dyson and personally I think thy are crap. After about 6 months of hovering dog hair & the toys of three kids, thy seam to lose all the suction power, Servicing and part replacement cost a fortune, and the Price, it’s made in China for about a tenner.

    Mine went in the skip and has been replaced with a Vax pet, sure it’s loud, but at lease the dog stays well clear, the mere sight of it and she runs to her bed. All I’ve got to do now is train the kids to do the hovering.

  11. > it’s made in China for about a tenner.

    It is a popular fallacy that price is based directly on manufacturing cost.

    And are they designed for hoovering toys? We usually move the toys off the floor before hoovering it.

    Ours isn’t six months old yet. If it loses all its suction at that age, I’ll be sure to report back.

  12. mupwangle

    >>it’s made in China for about a tenner.

    You know that’s not true. McKechnies used to make bits for it in Beith. :-)

    We had a couple of electrolux bagless (a couple cos the first one died under warranty) which cost about £80. Incredible suction, but tended to go on fire. Dyson (DC14) cost about £150 and seems OK so far.

    Callum, yours has probably been damaged when you’re not looking by small children with toy tools. :-D

  13. callum

    >>small children with toy tools

    Probably true, moving toys off the floor is an easy job for a 32 year old, as the toys tend to be more expensive, unless it’s lego. my kids have a habit of making a mess 1/10th of a second after its tidy.

    Dyson’s may well not be manufactured for a tenner but at least 2/3’s of the price tag is for profit.

  14. > at least 2/3’s of the price tag is for profit.

    What you mean is that at least two-thirds of the price tag is not to cover manufacturing costs. That doesn’t mean it’s all profit. (Not that I’d care if it did.) Manufacturing is rarely the expensive bit of a product’s creation, unless you’re making it out of rubies.