Wednesday, April 2, 2008


This is a shameless product endorsement. I am not being paid any money. Anyway, they would be crazy to pay me money if they checked my reader stats.

You see here a photo of my new vacuum. It is a Bissell EasyVac, a lightweight, bagless vacuum. It weighs less than eight pounds. I got it at a local discount store for $39.98. That's right, for less than $40, less than the cost of one weekly clarinet lesson, I got a vacuum.

"Does it work?" was the question from my daughter Shannon's college friend who was over for the weekend. It undoubtedly runs. It also sucks up dirt, as you can easily see when you look through the clear plastic into the cup that collects the dirt in the absence of a bag. It was full after I vacuumed the whole downstairs. So I dissembled it and cleaned it, which was easy to do, and the instructions that came with the vacuum were clearly written and easy to follow.

A few days later, it was also full (actually over-full) after I vacuumed the boys' bedroom. That's right--there was more dirt in one 12 x 12 bedroom than in our entire 1400 square foot main floor. That gives you a little insight into who usually cleans what, and how thoroughly. But, I digress.

I used to have an Oreck. I don't know if it was a lemon, or if Orecks are generally not much good, but it was always blowing sparks, burning out and needing belts replaced. I also have a Sears canister vacuum for "deep" cleaning, but I like to have a vacuum that is easy to use and not a dread to set up. Well, the Oreck was lightweight and easy, but it cost $350 to begin with and it was always breaking. This new Bissell is easier than the Oreck ever was, and also easier to maintain. Shawn says, "If it's still running at the end of the month, we probably got our money's worth."

No, it probably doesn't suction every dust mite like a Kirby. But you know what? Those big, heavy duty vacuums hurt my back. I dread using them. I avoid using them. If I vacuum (if I get out a vacuum and use it--at all), I am getting more dirt up than if I don't vacuum. Whether or not I might hypothetically suck more crud out of the carpet is immaterial if I'm not running the vacuum at all due to fear of personal injury. I am happy to whisk my Bissell EasyVac around the house and fill it with dirt, dust and dog hair. I know I have done well when I empty the "dust cup" into the trash.

Which brings me to the two drawbacks. They aren't very big drawbacks, but I will mention them.

First, someone developed vacuum bags for a reason. In the absence of a bag, you get stuff in the air when you empty the vacuum. However, I am confident that with practice I will improve in this area, and also, it is worth something not to have to keep buying bags, and to be able to clearly view when the "dust cup" is full and needs to be emptied.

Second, if you look at the photo, you will see that I looped the cord through the upper handle on the vacuum. For some reason, they designed it to come out of the bottom of the vacuum. Of course, this means you are always tripping over it and vacuuming over it. Someone must have mentioned this drawback in product testing, because they installed a flimsy clip on the back of the handle, where you are supposed to insert the cord. Let me just say--it doesn't stay there. But looping it through the handle is a quick, easy and reliable solution, so no problem in the end.

Hey, for under $40, what do you want? It works for me.

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