Hoover Platinum Lightweight Bagged Upright with Canister (UH30010COM) (3/14/09) Overall, this is a terrific vacuum. The person who will be happiest with this combination is the person who: (1) wants a lightweight vacuum, (2) has mostly carpet in their home, (3) has carpeted stairs, and (4) uses attachments. I liked my old vacuum, so using the LBU has been an eye-opening experience for me: I didn’t realize how much effort I was exerting with my old upright with attachments - not only heavier, but so much bending and stooping to change settings or get tools. At 11 pounds, the LBU is 2 to 3 pounds heavier - but less expensive - than competing models. Bonuses: it has a longer cord and a stair cleaning handle. Competing models –
Hoover LBU, 11 lbs list $400/retail $400 (includes canister), 6 yr warranty
Riccar RSL5; 8 lbs list $710/ retail $500 (without canister), 3 yr warranty
Oreck XL Gold: 9 lbs list $600/ retail $500 (includes canister), 5/10 warranty
Oreck XL Platinum: 9 lbs list $800/ retail $600 (includes canister), 10 yr warranty All are similar to commercial models, but you don’t get the same auto carpet height adjustment, lifetime belt, HEPA filtration, and warranty on commercial models. The supplementary canister has a strap & 25 foot cord. The canister carries the crevice and brush attachments on board, so switching is easy, and the wand is extendable. (I don’t use the floor tool, because I use a stick vac on my hardwoods.) PROS FINGERTIP CONTROLS – Wonderful. Many models have this type of control now, and now that I have used it I wouldn’t buy one that didn’t have it. HEPA SYSTEM – Remarkable. My old vacuum was a HEPA model with HEPA bags, but there is no comparison to this model. The air on this vacuum comes out smelling fabulous. I bought and returned a top rated Kenmore canister that had the exact same amazingly clean exhaust (turns out I don’t like using a canister), so I think this is the new hallmark of quality vacuums. AUTO CARPET HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT - Works beautifully. I used to have to stoop down to change the carpet height adjustment on different rugs, but the LBU self-adjustment really works – no problem pushing vacuum over even the thickest pile. CORD PLACEMENT – Smart! It comes out the behind the top of the bag rather than the bottom. This means I have even more useable cord, because I don’t have to hold part of the cord up to avoid running over it. CLEANING ABILITY - VERY effective carpet cleaner, my 15 year-old carpets look & feel remarkably cleaner & newer. Excellent at removing pet hair from carpet. The upright is 5.5 amps with direct air flow, like the Riccar & Oreck models listed. The canister is 7 amps. (The combined total is listed in the product description – very confusing. I suppose Hoover thought consumers want a 12 amp machine, but amps are like gas mileage; if you get more suction for less amperage it’s like getting better mileage. That’s good, not bad. Plus you won’t blow your fuses!) EASILY MANEUVERABLE – One expects this of a lightweight model, and all the models I tried handled easily, but the Riccar & Orecks I tried had to be kicked or tipped up over the edge of an area rug placed onto another carpet. In my home I have area rugs in several rooms on top of the wall-to-wall carpeting, and the LBU moves seamlessly over the edges (even on my thickest area rug) without needing a kick or an extra hard push. LIFETIME LED HEADLIGHT – Brilliant! (Literally!) It is brighter than any other light I have ever had on a vacuum, and is it actually aimed at the carpet! I think having the LEDs has allowed them to aim the light better than with a standard bulb. I am sure other LED equipped models are comparable, so look for this feature, LIFETIME BELT - YES! I’ve replaced SO many belts over the years and I won’t have to do THAT anymore, thank goodness. STAIR-CLEANING HANDLE – Finally. It is comfortably shaped & works well. To use competitors’ models on stairs, you have to hold them by the back tube, which I’ve tried, and it isn’t nearly as easy as using the handle. However, see cons below. CORD RELEASE – Doesn’t have one. This worked out to be a pro for me, because it caused me to wind up the 35’ cord on my arm and just plop it into the top cord holder. The LBU doesn’t threaten to tip over at all when I do this, so it works just great and saves yet another bend and stoop. CONS STAIR-CLEANING HANDLE – Good grief! I assume it really WAS necessary to vent the motor exhaust toward the stair-cleaning handle (!), so rather than curse the engineers, hold the handle on the right-hand side. It’s big enough to do that, thank goodness. Or vacuum the stairs first, before the motor gets warm. NO BRUSH ROLL ON/OFF – Hmmm. This is in the description (and competitors’ models are the same), so it means that the vacuum is intended ONLY for people with mostly carpet. I have about 80/20 carpet/bare floor, so it works for me. I use a stick vac on my hardwood, and the other person I talked to that has hardwood floors and this vacuum says she doesn’t care because her hardwood floors aren’t new anyway. But if you have brand-spankin’-new hardwood floors, will you really want to use a brush-roll on them? EXPENSIVE BAGS – Really, $5 each? But they are huge, and they are the very high quality type with fabric-like paper, so we’ll see. I used to have to change my old ones ($3) fairly often, so maybe this will work out the same or even cheaper. CORD RELEASE – Doesn’t have one. But see pros above. CARRY-STRAP FOR CANISTER – Not padded. Anyone know where I can buy a pad for a 1 ½ inch strap? Sorry for the length, but since there are so few reviews out there as yet, I wanted to be thorough.