Thread Number: 34396  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
How Hard Is It To Push A Vacuum
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Post# 372325   5/18/2017 at 15:54 by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        

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These tests were very difficult to get as the forces required to push a vacuum "bounce" all over the place and I had to run them as many as 20 times to obtain a reasonable average figure.

The Premise:

I wanted to measure (as accurately as possible) two primary forces on the human hand. Static handle weight with the cord removed (easy to get) and the pushing effort required to get the machine moving at medium speed on my new medium pile Mowhawk carpet with a breathable backing.

With those two figures (expressed in pounds), I would then be able to obtain a composite figure that should give the user a good idea for how a vacuum will "feel" when going forward. I did not test pulling forces and they could easily be vastly different than pushing forces.

NOTE: THESE TESTS ARE ONLY VALID FOR MY CARPET! With different carpet, I would expect them to scale up or down as the case may be. You can use these results to see relative differences in vacuums and it is my hope that they can assist when purchasing and/or using one.

Vector Forces Pic #1:
This represents a sample of how to view and calculate what my big chart will denote in my next post. Handle weight requires mostly a lifting force with the exception of Kirbys with empty bags. Pushing forces are always forward of course and that leads to getting a composite number for a total force required to move the vacuum. This force is calculated by:

Composite Force = Square Root of (Handle Weight Squared + Pushing Force Squared)

In my sample pic, that would be square root of (2*2)+(3*3). The square root of 13 is 3.61 to three digits of accuracy.

Post# 372326 , Reply# 1   5/18/2017 at 16:04 by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        
And Now For The BIG Chart

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I have classified all my machines by color codes as to pushing effort:

GREEN: Light effort. I can vacuum 1500 square feet of medium pile carpet with no problem

BLUE: Typical effort. While not bothersome, these machines fall into the average effort category. Some effort expended to clean large areas, but no real complaints.

YELLOW: Higher effort. Some will definitely be bothered by the additional effort required if using this machine for extended periods. Requires extra muscle.

RED: Extreme effort. If you really want a workout, pick these vacuums or in the case of the Hoover U4007, the normal or low setting.

I'll address the best, worst and weird in the next post, enjoy!


Post# 372327 , Reply# 2   5/18/2017 at 16:26 by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        
Comments on the winners and losers

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The easiest to push was a surprise: The Panasonic MC-UG589! It actually beat the older G series Kirbys by a tiny bit but be warned, it only has 65 CFM of nozzle airflow, so there is a price to be paid.

No surprises with the older G series Kirbys as one can maneuver them with just a thumb and forefinger.

Special mention must go to the Simplicity Symmetry scoring a perfect ZERO for forward push effort. Now if Tacony could spring load the handle like Kirbys, you'd have a machine that would require almost no effort to use. BUT, there is a huge price to be paid for its handling, only 42 CFM measured at the nozzle.

Out of my three Dysons, the newest one, a DC65 is by far the easiest to push. The U4007 when set to "high" was very reasonable to use but the "normal" setting will wear you out probably due to my HEPA bag giving me 107 nozzle CFM.

The Olympia One with a new vinyl hose (adding about 15 more CFM to the nozzle) will require some extra muscle along with the Riccar 8850 as they both suck down to the carpet quite readily.

To have some fun, I set the U4407 to normal and low and on low it was barely movable on medium pile. Obviously not the correct setting but I was also surprised that "normal" was far to difficult to use for any period of time. I had to keep switching hands to avoid muscle ache. I'm sure a paper bag, especially a single layer one, will lose so much airflow that the Convertible will be much easier to use as the bag fills, but using a "Q" HEPA bag that maintains airflow forced me to set it to "high" for any appreciable period of vacuuming.


Post# 372337 , Reply# 3   5/18/2017 at 19:57 by kenkart (Mocksville, NC)        
I will say

I don't know much about anything newer than 1970, but..Hoovers such as DialAMatics, Convertibles and the 60 ,61, 62, 63 and 64, are harder to push than the comparable Eureka.D-272.250,255, 260 and newer,and the easiest vacuum of all to handle is my 801 favorite upright, the 880 and newer are much more awkward to me.The early Eureka power nozzle machines are terrible...they clean great but grab the carpet talking 1970s machines, Electrolux and Hoover power nozzles are much easier.

Post# 372338 , Reply# 4   5/18/2017 at 19:58 by kenkart (Mocksville, NC)        
Your chart reminds me

Of the old power steering tests of the 1950s...GM and Ford cars required between 3 and 5 pounds of effort to turn the wheel, Chrysler and Packard..16.OUNCES of pressure!

Post# 372732 , Reply# 5   5/26/2017 at 21:39 by wyaple (Pickerington, OH)        
So no one was surprised that a Panasonic

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beat the early G series Kirbys for forward effort? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Post# 372743 , Reply# 6   5/27/2017 at 05:59 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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The Kirby with its tech drive is easy to push but the Dyson DC41 or DC65 in the US is easier to manoeuvre around obstacles as is the Shark powered lift away as they both have swivel steering.

The Sebo Felix is another that's easy to push and manoeuvre.

Post# 372744 , Reply# 7   5/27/2017 at 06:02 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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But I know prefer my central vac to portable vacs.

I couldn't be more pleased with my MD Flo master 😀

Post# 372745 , Reply# 8   5/27/2017 at 06:03 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Now *

Post# 372775 , Reply# 9   5/27/2017 at 15:31 by pinkge (Indianapolis,Indiana)        
it is...

very,very hard!

Post# 372808 , Reply# 10   5/28/2017 at 02:01 by mixman (Central NJ)        

Wish you had more uprights like the Sebo X4, Miele U1 and Felix Sebo to test. Would like to see how they fall in with the rest of the pack.

Post# 372809 , Reply# 11   5/28/2017 at 04:19 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Yes would be interesting. Having owned all 3 I'd say the Felix and the X series are quite easy to push, the Felix is the easiest to manoeuvre with its swivel steering the Miele U1 does feel rather heavy weighing around 20 lbs.

I do find the bagless cleaners I've owned to be the easiest to push and manoeuvre. The Dyson DC41 the Shark powered lift away and the Vax air. All of these bagless cleaners have some sort of suction release which make them very easy to push but whilst reducing air flow and cleaning ability.

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