Thread Number: 32179  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Handle Weight Tests
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Post# 354109   6/20/2016 at 09:13 (397 days old) by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        

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After I completed the Rug Plate Pressure tests with a fish weight gauge, I was intrigued with the idea of measuring handle weight. Have you ever felt that in addition to pushing an upright or canister nozzle back and forth, you were also getting the added benefit of an upper body workout? All test were performed as if I was actually ready for vacuuming and when using canisters, the hose was attached, since youd need it for cleaning anyway. I noticed that I was holding the handles at an approximate 45 degree angle, but I understand that this will be different for people significantly taller or shorter than my average 59 height. Also of note is that all uprights had empty dirt bags and when these are full, the handle weight will probably increase by 1 pound depending on the final weight of a full bag.

Handle Lift Results (lower is better):

1980 Electrolux 1401-B = 3.0 lbs.
1987 Kirby Heritage 2 Legend = 0.5 lbs.
1996 Kirby G4 = -0.625 lbs.
1997 Rainbow D4C SE PE = 2.0 lbs.
2001 Kirby G6 = -0.375 lbs.
2003 Hoover TurboPower 5000 = 2.25 lbs.
2004 Dyson DC14 Animal = 3.25 lbs.
2005 Riccar 8850 = 2.25 lbs.
2012 Hoover Tempo Widepath = 1.75 lbs.
2013 Hoover Windtunnel 2 = 2.875 lbs.


The winner of the heaviest to hold handle is the 2004 Dyson DC14. I knew it was heavy, but not that heavy. In second place for heaviest is my oldest vac, the Lux. My wife pretty much never uses the Lux with a power nozzle because it wears her out far too fast. The lightest canister handle I have is the 1997 Rainbow. While 2 pounds isnt that bad, I think shaving off 1 more pound would be better.

Not too surprisingly, the Kirbys are the winners here. The 1987 Heritage does have a very slight downforce, but at one-half a pound, most wouldnt notice it until the bag was fairly full. Starting with the G series, Kirby really cranked up the handle spring tension and with empty bags, the G4 and Gsix, have negative pressures, which may feel weird to some. When Im using either one and let go of the handle, it usually flies up somewhat, which may catch a few people off guard. Since my Gs actually give my hand a slight lift, both my wife and I find these the easiest to use for long periods and with the addition of the power drive, I even feel guilty using them sometimes. I can vacuum well over 2000 square feet of various flooring with little to no exertion at all.


Post# 354112 , Reply# 1   6/20/2016 at 09:32 (397 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Very interesting. What power nozzle were you using with your Electrolux? If your 1401 is a brown "Olympia," it would have shipped with a PN4 or 4A. If it's a gold "Super J," it would have shipped with either a PN2 or PN4. Of course, the power nozzles are completely interchangeable. It is surprising that a power nozzle on the end of a plastic and metal wand would rate that much heavier than an upright vacuum. I've never used a PN4 but my PN1 and PN2 are both very easy to push around. My Filter Queen Majestic on the other hand is a real bear.

I agree with you regarding the G-series Kirby vacuums. The Tech Drive makes my G5 and G6 vacs surprisingly easy to push and pull. I actually bought one of my two Gsixes at a thrift shop moments after a lady gave it a test push (turned off and with the Tech Drive pedal engaged) and rejected it, telling her husband it was just too heavy.

Post# 354125 , Reply# 2   6/20/2016 at 11:37 (397 days old) by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        
My Lux 1401-B

wyaple's profile picture
Has the PN4, which is (relatively) quite a beast. With this latest round of tests, I wasn't actually claiming that any of these vacs are hard to push forward and pull backward, just that after a time, one can be expending significant energy just "holding" them up. The weight of the original Lux braided hose is quite significant and combine that with the wand assembly, you find yourself vertically holding up 3 extra pounds.

BTW, great story about the "G" with the drive pedal essentially in the "no push while off" position!


Post# 370991 , Reply# 3   4/18/2017 at 21:10 by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        
Updated Handle Weight Tests

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Adding 9 more machines. Notice that the Dysons are the heaviest just to hold up, not including pushing forward and backward. The Kirbys have the lightest handle to hold due to the spring loaded tension.



Post# 371108 , Reply# 4   4/20/2017 at 07:10 by Tseg (World Traveller)        

Interestingly (to me) I recently replaced my old Dyson DC14 with a Miele C3 Alize. The Alize has an AirTeQ suction head and then I also bought a turbo nozzle. My 3 story house is mostly wood flooring with low pile area rugs and some Berber carpet. There is an allure towards having a powered head but I read so many user reviews that a powered hose/handle/wand/head adds sooo much weight relative to the suction only machine. Specific to Miele, which gets great durability ratings, the main cause of malfunction is related to the electrical function of the hose/wand/powered head. Walking my Alize up and down steps is very easy, using on steps is very easy, and now that I also added the dusting brush which can attach to either the wand, the handle or directly to the hose I have also replaced the use of dust rags/swifter cloths. Maybe it is me but it seems dusting with a vacuum keeps dust off items longer than when I just used a dust cloth. I also can access so many more places easily than I could with the Dyson. The DC14 was heavy, but the kicker about transitioning to a bagged system was when I 'deep cleaned' my Dyson... scouring the caked on crud, rinsing the nasty foam filter, etc... a truly disgusting task. I'm feeling very good about the cleaning ability of the Alize... and its quiet motor... what a bonus. Throw is the system's light weight and it is an ideal combination for me.

Post# 371114 , Reply# 5   4/20/2017 at 08:46 by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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My Miele with the stainless extension wands I would think would come in Very Heavy, I think I could break down a wall with it

Post# 371231 , Reply# 6   4/22/2017 at 02:53 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

At the vac shop WOMEN were the ones that complained most about handle weights-Dyson was high on their list.So the vac shop fellow was glad to show them a Meile,Sebo canister-or a Sebo upright.

Post# 371246 , Reply# 7   4/22/2017 at 14:18 by rvarley (Oregon)        

Kirby may have a light handle, but the older ones without tech drive are beasts to push. When adjusted so the just start 'locking down' on the run, they are hard to push. Couple that with the high height of the light and it makes me only want to use it when I want deep cleaning or just a change of pace. I'll trade that light handle and super suction for maneuverability and easy of use any day.

Post# 371302 , Reply# 8   4/24/2017 at 10:42 by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        

wyaple's profile picture
Yes, the non-tech drive Kirbys can be difficult to push. Actually when I want a workout, I use my Heritage II Legend and when I want to be completely wiped out, I use my Rainbow D4C SE PE.


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