In Which I Finally Learn to Spell “Vacuum”

So get ready, because I’m about to write way too many words about vacuum cleaners.

So for many years I owned a Miele Callisto canister vacuum.

miele callisto

I…did not pay for it myself, let’s just put it that way. If you want to know the actual story I’ll tell you but it’s not that interesting, however I cannot put it on my blog. Let’s just say that it fell off a truck.

Anyway, when we got it, it came without the carpet doohickey, and to buy a carpet power brush nozzle thing for the Miele was some outrageous price I didn’t want to pay so we just used it with the hardwood floor attachment and ran it over our area rugs that way, which sucked but did the job. It got the hardwoods gleaming clean, though.  It was a lovely lovely machine, aside from the fact that vacuuming the rugs with it was a miserable experience.

So the Miele died last week. It was pretty obvious that it was the motor and to replace a Miele motor is something in the neighborhood of $150-$200 dollars so I decided I would just buy a new vacuum cleaner, preferably one that worked better on area rugs.

The first thing I bought was this Shark Upright Professional Lift Away Vacuum, which came highly recommended on Twitter and Amazon and which I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATED with the fire of a thousand suns.


Now, to its credit, it did get the area rugs in my house CLEAN AS HELL, and look how fun it looks in that picture, but other than that? It was not for me.  It was SO LOUD and SO HEAVY, it wouldn’t go under my couch or around my furniture and it made a high pitched whistling noise, it felt plasticky and gimmicky and the part that came with it to clean hard wood floors felt stupid and badly designed. It kept falling over and even though it was supposed to be so cool that you could detach it and carry it around with you, I really didn’t want to…carry a vacuum around with me. I wanted it to roll behind me and not fall over all the damn time.  And I could never get it to go back together when I was done having it fall over all the time and wanted to click it back on. Also, I thought it would be cool not have to buy vacuum cleaner bags all the time, but it turned out that I actually dislike emptying gross canisters full of dust and grime into my trash more than I care about ordering vacuum cleaner bags.  I like the bags, actually! Everything is nice and contained and when I get down to the last one I order more on Amazon Prime and store them in the closet and it’s no big deal and I am not dealing with big piles of dusty dirt clouds and dumping out gross canisters of dirt.

Luckily I bought the stupid Shark at Bed Bath and Beyond and to their credit they took back a week old used twice vacuum cleaner without batting an eye.  I give them mad props for this and I will try to buy whatever I can from them whenever I can because seriously, most places don’t just take back your used crap you don’t want that you don’t like.  MAD PROPS BED BATH AND BEYOND.

So then I started thinking harder about what I wanted and didn’t want in a vacuum cleaner, and I decided that for this house, which is mostly hardwood with two large area rugs, I did not want an upright vacuum. I did not want to clean my carpets with something then clean my hardwoods with a swiffer sweeper. (NO THANK YOU I WANT TO BE DONE IN ONE PASS.) I wanted it to roll behind me, I wanted a retractable cord, I wanted a power head to clean the area rugs, I wanted it to be able to switch to a hardwood mode but I ALSO wanted it to come with a floor brush with dust bristles on it, because a carpet attachment, even set to “bare wood”, does not get hardwoods REALLY dust free clean.  (This is the problem with buying an upright for mostly hardwoods.) I wanted to spend around $200, and I wanted it to take readily available vacuum cleaner bags, I wanted on board attachments, and I wanted to be able to clean area rugs, my car, my couch, and my hardwood floors with it.  So I needed a canister vacuum.

What ended up coming up in this range over and over are the Panasonic vacuums.  Essentially all Eureka, Kenmore, and Panasonic vacuums are made by the same company, but the Kenmores are only sold at Sears.  They’re all basically the same thing, although some people think the Panasonics are better for various reasons regarding branding or something. I don’t know.

I looked for a long time at this Panasonic, but if you look closely at the handle, it had a weird gimmicky looking claw part that matched a Kenmore one at Sears that people complained about as being annoying.  I did not want gimmicks and weird attachments, so I went with this Panasonic Canister Vacuum, which is SO BORING looking but which Eli has named “Rosie” which more than makes up for the lamish color.


I used it today for the first time and so far I am very happy with it.  Observations/Pros and Cons:

I think it’s louder than the Miele.  IF you are burning piles of money in your yard, and you need a vacuum cleaner, I’d still recommend you get a Miele, because they are quiet and they make a lovely vacuum cleaner, but the $300 model doesn’t come with a turbo head,which you need for area rugs. To get a  Miele with a turbo head (which means a head that has rotating electrically powered bristles to clean carpets) you have to spend something in the range of $650, which to me is excessive for a vacuum cleaner.

However, the Panasonic cleaned as well or better than the Miele ever did.  The carpets are easy to clean with the power head.  It does veer to the right a bit on one of my rugs (which people complain about it in the reviews on Amazon), but not so much as that I’d return it.  I love that you can turn it on and off on the handle (this is an improvement over the Miele.) The actual wand is a little short, is probably my main criticism. I am 5’2″ and even I think it’s a little short.  Not sure what that’s about, but it might be worth it to test out some Kenmores in a Sears store to see if they come with longer wands.

It has a 360 degree rotating swivel for the vacuum tube, which I LOVE.  That’s also an improvement over the Miele.  No more uncoiling the wand!

People have complained about the latching for door for the on board tools. I can see this complaint, but you pretty much just have to pry it open and slam it shut, and I had this exact problem with the Miele so I can’t complaint too much about that.

I LOVE the easy release for the turbo head. To get the head off the Miele I had to stand on it and yank with my entire body weight. I love that the actual tube is made of metal, and not plastic, even though it does not telescope.

I also think it’s a bit larger than the Miele, but it’s lighter.  It doesn’t really matter to me how big it is because as long as it fits in the closet, I don’t care.  But it is not compact, let’s be clear about that.

Also, it rolls VERY easily, I think more easily than the Miele.

The one thing I will say is that the on board floor brush is nothing special.  Instead I used the parquet brush that came with my Miele, but I am planning on ordering this large floor brush for $8.95 and I’ll just use that.  The upholstery brush worked great on the couch though.

Overall, I’m very happy with this vacuum cleaner.  It fit my $200 budget and for a house that’s mostly hardwood, it’s basically perfect.  I shall report back if it lights itself on fire in three months.  Otherwise, I’d recommend.

{I hope it’s obvious but no one bought me this vacuum cleaner or gave me this vacuum cleaner or gave me money to write this post about this vacuum cleaner. I paid for it with my own money, bought it on Amazon because they didn’t sell it at Bed Bath and Beyond. Those aren’t even affiliate links because I don’t know how to do those. Just so you know.}


9 Responses

  1. Ha, that is the color of my beloved Miele! I support the color AND the name Rosie. Awesome.

  2. This is why I love you. You can write about VACUUMS and despite the fact that I’m not even in the market for a vacuum, it’s still interesting. AND because I didn’t feel duped by a sponsored disclaimer at the end. Thank you for writing about a product that you weren’t paid to write about. Very refreshing. 🙂

  3. I was no-kidding riveted reading about your vacuums. I may be a *little* too into housewifery. But it’s kind of fun.

  4. I read this. Even though it was about vacuums. That is love.

  5. dude, you should have called me last week and compared notes, because last week my vacuum broke too. Mine was a Kenmore I’ve had 12 years, so I think its kind of on its last legs, but I got the broken part (well, one of the broken parts) fixed at the vacuum store for $50, even though I know this may only last me a few months, because also everything else I owned broke last week. (LITERALLY, said with a Parks and Rec Rob Lowe inflection.)

    I was actually really quite happy with my Kenmore, but I am on a Sears strike, and I am extremely reluctant to give them anymore of my money. They are really the same model as the Panasonic? Because that might get me the same vacuum cleaner but without me giving money to Sears.

    • Hello, Lisa C,

      My name is Liz and I am with the Sears Cares Team. We are so sorry to hear of the frustrations you have encountered with your vacuum. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your experience and help any way we can to address any concerns you may have. At your earliest convenience please send the following information – contact #, the name and phone # used at time of purchase, as well as the screen name that I have assigned to reference your post (Lisa C), to Again, we apologize for the inconvenience we have caused you and look forward to speaking with you.

      Thank you,

      Liz R
      Social Media Moderator
      Sears Social Media Support

  6. I just bought a vacuum, too! I wanted a bagless (I always forget if I have bags and where to get them!), lightweight, cordless vacuum. Mostly because I know that I’ll vacuum more often if it’s easy to grab and just do it. I loooove it. I never vacuumed before and now I love doing it!

    Also, I misspelled vacuum every time in this paragraph.

  7. I am wondering if your Miele procurement story is similar to my Stokke Xplory story and how we came to own a $1400 stroller.

  8. Hmm, that is a good arguement for vacuums with bags. Mine is bagless and I kind of hate that emptying it gets dust everywhere, but somehow I kept assuming I needed a better bagless vac, not a vac that uses bags. Point to consider. (I am not so smart, it seems.)

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