Vacuum Cleaner Review

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This reviews specific cleaners. For other information on Vacs see Vacuum Cleaners

Canister Vacs

Earlex WD1000 Combi Vac

Earlex WD1000

Earlex website


  • cheap
  • blows as well as sucks (useful sometimes)
  • wet and dry


  • really needs the wet+dry filter (£10 from Wickes)
  • filter needs cleaning: sometimes tapping or brushing off dust will do, from time to time washing and drying it, especially after sucking up lots of fine dust
  • mixing wet with fine dust quickly blocks the filter: it is better to empty the canister and remove the filter to sucking up mainly water (flooded floors etc)
  • when sucking up lots of water it can spit out (often filthy) water from around the motor housing as well as the blow orifice: workarounds are to station the machine outdoors, or putting a dustsheet over it to catch the spray
  • the filter just pushes onto its housing and can slide down, especially if the cleaner is bumped on the floor, resulting in clouds of dust being blown out of the machine
  • the filter has a tinplate body which eventually rusts through requiring replacement even if the filter material is still serviceable
  • no carrying handle
  • tends to tip over if pulled by the hose
  • hose just pushes into orifices and can get blown out when fitted to the blow orifice
  • short mains cable
  • no cable, hose or tool storage

Available from Screwfix, Wickes and others.

Earlex WD1200P Power Vac

Earlex website

As WD1000 (above) but:


  • power take-out
  • handle
  • more stable than WD1000


  • more expensive than WD1000

See also discussion on uk.d-i-y


  • Durable & tough
  • Copes with building dust
  • Popular for commercial premises
  • Cleaning performance so-so
  • Turbo brush review



Upright model ---

  • Satisfactory performance
  • Lightweight
  • Paper bags
  • No hose or tools
  • Very high price
  • Unusually low power consumption of 160w
  • Handle position relatively good for people with joint problems
  • Popular in hotels: the light weight minimises user fatigue, and the machine is capable of long reliable service life

Dyson Cyclones

Dyson cyclone uprights have improved steadily through the model numbers. The early DC01 being very good on carpets, but it did not have particularly good suction for use with the tools. Some areas of the design, whilst innovative, were a little klunky. Later models have generally corrected these problems.

Upright Models

  • Hose & tools too
  • Excellent suction on DC04 onwards
  • Some people experience a high failure rate - often resulting from lack of maintenance clearing blockages etc. Later models are designed to allow blockages to be cleared far more easily.
  • Relatively heavy
  • High price
  • Filters need washing from time to time. HEPA filters (some models) need periodic replacement.

Cylinder models

Both types can make very effective dust collectors for power tools and DIY in general.

Sharp Cyclone

Model EC-12S81

  • Hose & tools mode as well
  • Onboard tool storage
  • Excellent performance in upright mode
  • Excellent performance in hose mode
  • Copes fine with building dust & debris
  • Brush drive belts dont last long, which rather spoils the show.

Hoover 1960s & 70s models

All models

  • Cloth bags
  • Many have beater bars which wear carpets out prematurely. Check the rotary brush drum to see if it has them.
  • No hose & tools
  • Long lived
  • Bag zips can jam on occasion
  • Often the tie at the bottom of the bag needs replacing. Wire or cable tie can be used.
  • Some of the later ones have a built in light, an idea that never made much sense.
  • They do the job, but performance does not compare to modern vacs
  • The heavier metal bodied cleaners with horizontal motors are especially durable, and were made for commercial use.


  • Very high suction
  • Very noisy
  • Heavy
  • Very expensive

Hand held vacs

Black & Decker hand held mains vac

  • rotating brush
  • good performance while it lasts
  • poor longevity due to no-good design.
  • Useless performance once the brush drive spindle breaks

Hoover Dustette

  • Introduced in 1930
  • old ones cost next to nothing
  • good performance for a hand held, once cleaned
  • exceptional longevity
  • Don't hoover up hard lumps of metal, glass, ceramic or stone, these things have a cast metal impellor in the dirty airstream.
  • On post-1955 models with tools, tools are changed by squeezing the sides of the metal ring while pulling the tool out
  • Some standard vac hoses will fit, and can be used with whatever tools you have with them.
  • Old machines typically need a clean out to restore performance. Remove the machine's handle & snout to enable clearing the space between motor and external housing, using a wire.
  • Thoroughly cleaning the cloth filter bag improves performance considerably, they are typically rather clogged
  • Apparently these machines also have that extra something

Oreck hand held

  • good all round.
  • Ugly.
  • Paper bags


Sebo vacs

Car Vacs

12v vacs are all poor performers. See Vacuum Cleaners#Car Vacs

See Also