Vacuum cleaners and I go way back.
When I was a child my parents had a television store and a carpet store, often referred to nowadays as a flooring store. In addition to the regular household duties, I also had to clean the show rooms (there were three stores). Fortunately, I was able to console myself with the knowledge I could dust and vacuum while watching TV, lots of them, in fact, all at the same time and even on different stations, if I so desired. The only thing, they all had to be muted, business decorum and all that.
We lived in a small town in Louisiana and, next to the Dollar Store and Ben Franklin's, the major places to shop were straight out of the Sears & Roebuck or Montgomery Wards catalogs. We also had a Piggly Wiggly, which was known to honor customer loyalty with Corning Ware and S & H Green Stamps! We were big time because we had a S & H Green Stamp store, too.
Despite the variety of offerings available, my mother shopped primarily through Sears. What clothes she did not sew for us were purchased through the catalog. Kenmore was the brand of choice with Whirlpool a distant second. In fact, I think the only two non-Kenmore items were the refrigerator or "ice box" as everyone called it and the dishwasher. The dishwasher was a late-in-life acquisition. I think I was thirteen when we were blessed to receive it. Prior to that the dishwasher went by the name of "Christina" or "Beth" (my sister's name is Elizabeth). My mother's washer and dryer were always (and still are) Kenmore.
The first year of our marriage, the husband and I made a monumental decision. The hand-me-down, mis-matched washer and dryer we had finally died. Unlike children who remain in the home for about eighteen years, washers and dryers lasted for almost ever. Thus, we had to choose very wisely. We did what a lot of young newlyweds did, we went to Sears and brought our Kenmores home.
Actually, I am almost surprised Kenmore was not the name of our first child, but that is another story entirely.
That set of Kenmores lasted us until July 4, 2006 when the house was unceremoniously struck by lightning and burned to the ground, otherwise, I think we would still have them.
In any event, somewhere along the way, I strayed from my roots and began buying other, seemingly fancier brands because, really, who shops at Sears anymore?
When we rebuilt, we put in a five-burner Viking cook top, bought the higher end side of the Kitchen Aid line for the other kitchen appliances, acquired some Hoshizaki full-sized ice maker, and went with the fancy, schmancy front-load washer and dryer with all the bells and whistles. For the record, except for the Viking, every single appliance has had to be repaired since we re-built and moved back into this house in January, 2007. Most of those repairs were in the first eighteen months of ownership.
These days even vacuum cleaners can be major purchases, costing upwards of $800. While that is small potatoes when one is thinking about buying a moving vehicle, no one actually rides a vacuum, do they?
I have been through the usual suspects: Dirt Devil, Hoover, and Eureka. I have studied Dysons in depth and longed for a Miele, but my current research has taken me by the hand and led me straight to my past. This morning, I placed an order at Sears for a Kenmore canister (I am so over the upright, can I tell you?) vacuum with (are you ready for this?) bags. I know, it is something straight out of the 1950's and I was not even born until 1967..
Based on the reviews and customer satisfaction reports, even against the Dyson models, the Kenmore ranked higher in quality, durability, and function. The Miele vacuums are, apparently, in a class by themselves. For the price of the one I wanted, I would fully expect it to come equipped with a strapping hunk of a man who was ready to serve on demand. Something told me a) that was not going to happen; and b) the husband might not approve, deliriously happy wife not-withstanding, after all, what of the children?
Carpal tunnel, actually. I spend the majority of my work day typing and a good part of my non-day-job day knitting (or sewing). As a result, my hands, wrists, and fingers take a lot of repetitive abuse. The Eureka Boss I have now (that died yesterday, may it rest in peace....good riddance), is 27 pounds to push and pull with one hand. A canister allows me to hold the extremely light-weight hollow rod part to vacuum in one hand and pull the flexible hose attached to the canister with the other. Also, it is easier to get under things with the canister vac.
Why bagged, rather than bagless?
There were two major selling points to the bagless system when I leaned that way a decade or more ago: 1) not spending money on bags; and 2) being able to actually see when the holding canister was full.
What I learned after owning different bagless vacuums for the last decade or more: 1) bags are cheaper than any of the two or more filters (HEPA or otherwise) required to keep the vacuum performing well; and 2) those see-through canisters do a crap job of containing the dust, etc., they contain and after I empty one, I usually feel the need to go around vacuuming again.
The bags, at the very least, do a superb job of containing the dust, pet hair, and other fun stuff and are easy to remove and toss without having to clean up the vacuum cleaner itself and around the vacuum cleaner.
So, without further adieu, meet Kenny, my new best friend: