Thread Number: 13177
Best Decade for Vacuums
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Post# 140305   6/20/2011 at 10:45 (4,632 days old) by bagintheback (Flagstaff, Arizona)        

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What do you think was the best decade for vacuum cleaners so far? I've always thought the 80s had the best machines. Hoover and Eureka had powerful enough motors to clean all types of carpet with top-fill bags. They were not annoyingly heavy but still very durable. I know many people think 80s Kirbys, such as the Heritage series, were one of their best cleaners. What do you think?

Post# 140306 , Reply# 1   6/20/2011 at 11:43 (4,632 days old) by thevacuumman (Borger, TX)        

I can agree with the 80s being the best decade for vacuums

Post# 140307 , Reply# 2   6/20/2011 at 11:51 (4,632 days old) by thevacuumguy96 (Pocatello, ID)        

I agree. The 80's had some great vacuums! The 90's had some okay vacuums too!

Post# 140308 , Reply# 3   6/20/2011 at 12:01 (4,632 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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I think it depends on what one looks for in a machine. Power, looks, durability? 80s and 90s did bring some whoop ass machines.Some of us older folks may still be hooked on the dream ones of our youth or parents models.

Post# 140309 , Reply# 4   6/20/2011 at 12:31 (4,632 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

I would say the 50's, maybe 60's. Looks, durability, and power! I just love the tacky late-'60's look and the '50s space-age look.


Post# 140312 , Reply# 5   6/20/2011 at 13:29 (4,632 days old) by vacman117 (Chicago, IL)        

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I'd definitely say the 1980's. Especially for Hoover. Some of their best machines came out back then, at least that's my opinion..

Post# 140317 , Reply# 6   6/20/2011 at 15:33 (4,632 days old) by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

oreck_xl's profile picture
Well, that depends. Do you mean in terms of performance, or design aesthetics? If so, I would have to argue the 1930's were the best decade. Some of the most beautiful machines of all time came out of that era - like the Kenmore Imperial, Eureka Model M, Hoover 150, AirWay DirtMasteR, and the Lux XXX to name a few.

- Hershel

Post# 140322 , Reply# 7   6/20/2011 at 16:33 (4,632 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
And there you are! Or the neat colors of the 50s and 60s, so much to take into account

Post# 140324 , Reply# 8   6/20/2011 at 16:41 (4,632 days old) by beerad (Beautiful Vancouver BC)        
I would say

sities and 70's

Post# 140325 , Reply# 9   6/20/2011 at 16:44 (4,632 days old) by beerad (Beautiful Vancouver BC)        


Post# 140332 , Reply# 10   6/20/2011 at 17:19 (4,631 days old) by kirbykid63 (Wilmington Delaware)        
70's and 80's

I like the construction of the machines built in the 70's and 80's.Most of those machines are fixable and the parts are still available.I believe a movement is forming in this country that people are trying to hang on to their older more reliable vacuums.I get many comments from customers all the time that they are sick of spending money on vacuums that are constantly breaking and if I could get and rebuild an older kirby or electrolux for them.

Post# 140334 , Reply# 11   6/20/2011 at 17:28 (4,631 days old) by pinkge (Indianapolis,Indiana)        
the best...

were from the 40's thru the 70's.The color schemes and the design's were all well designed.Some good and some not so good.

Post# 140370 , Reply# 12   6/20/2011 at 19:33 (4,631 days old) by kenkart ()        

Or 60s, Still metal and still unique!

Post# 140379 , Reply# 13   6/20/2011 at 20:26 (4,631 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
Here's how I look at this:

Rainbow - 1974 to 1st quarter 1981
Kirby - 1934 to 1990
Hoover and Eureka - F. D. Roosevelt presidency (1933-45) to Reagan presidency (1981-89)
Royal - 1946 to 1st or 2nd quarter 1995

So, in summary, I'd start as far back as the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency of 1933-45 and end at the Reagan presidency of 1981-89. That's how I describe good vacuum cleaners.


Post# 140391 , Reply# 14   6/20/2011 at 21:22 (4,631 days old) by Real1 ()        

I always defect back to the G in turquoise..... I'm a sucker for other models with LOTS of chrome....but something about Jetson turquoise and things made during the 'race for space'. I'm stunned by the 1205 too, mainly because of its transition status but still metal. Seems like all other LUX's stayed with that basic canister design for many yrs...except they went to plastic. Except for color, the differences were minor.


Post# 140396 , Reply# 15   6/20/2011 at 21:35 (4,631 days old) by luxg ()        

My  vote goes for the 50-60's as well, such style, durability and color!!

Post# 140411 , Reply# 16   6/20/2011 at 22:46 (4,631 days old) by Sablekid ()        

Kirbys from the 40's to the late 60's.


Post# 140419 , Reply# 17   6/20/2011 at 23:21 (4,631 days old) by automatic-shift ()        
The '60's

I for the most part only collect Hoover, and I feel that Hoover has achieved an advancement in every decade. For me, the 1960's is my favorite decade of Hoover, but my favorites span the '50's-'90's. Model 69 is my favorite Convertible. But, I love most of them. Innovation was/is the Hoover namesake. However, I am not a fan of anything not made in North Canton. So, I stop with 2008. Ron

Post# 140421 , Reply# 18   6/20/2011 at 23:34 (4,631 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        

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We're on the same page.  I have 3 69s.  The 70's were prob the best for HOOVER.  If I had to "group", I'd say 60s to 80s.Clearly HOOVER's finest hour.Smile

Post# 140424 , Reply# 19   6/20/2011 at 23:55 (4,631 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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This was a great question to pose!

Post# 140432 , Reply# 20   6/21/2011 at 02:24 (4,631 days old) by Ralph (Morgan Hill)        

I think Sablekid said it best, 40ís to 60ís Kirbys! They work great and look awesome.

Post# 140445 , Reply# 21   6/21/2011 at 06:37 (4,631 days old) by pr-21 (Middletown, OH)        

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I like the 50's and 60's and 70's the best for Hoover and Eureka and I like the 90's through now for Kirby and Rainbow.



Bud Mattingly

Post# 140447 , Reply# 22   6/21/2011 at 06:59 (4,631 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        
80's were great indeed for Kirby,

but they were really just an improvement from the same design of the 70s (when I compare my Classic Omega and Tradition to Heritage and HII). I have no experience with pre-Classic Kirby so I can't make an opinion on that. I do like having paper bags, so once I get my H84 running with the new fill tube I think that I will like using it much more than the Classic Omega. The G5 is great as any Kirby, it's just different (the quality isn't there when you consider the age difference- wish it had more solid aluminum like the oldies!)

Post# 140448 , Reply# 23   6/21/2011 at 08:04 (4,631 days old) by sireluxomatic ()        

I'm strictly an Electrolux man, so I can only comment on those. Since the basic design of "Electroli" has never changed that much, its hard to pin down a "best decade". My personal favorite period is that of the 80 series and the various Model Gs (say, 1957-1973), but there are many machines after that that I like, and many innovations such as the Sidekick, the flexible vinyl hose and L-shaped power nozzles that came in the 80s and 90s. When you put the newer innovations together with the earlier machines, its an unbeatable combination.

Post# 140450 , Reply# 24   6/21/2011 at 09:24 (4,631 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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I would have to vote for the 50s and 60s as well. Good solid, easily repaired machines that worked well yet also were very aesthetically pleasing. There was a real flair to some of the designs.

Post# 140452 , Reply# 25   6/21/2011 at 09:34 (4,631 days old) by Real1 ()        

I certainly agree sireluxomatic....that's why I dispense with the original hoses on the earlier models and just use new hoses. I like how the original hoses match their colored machines, but they all leak eventually with lots of use. The new hoses are tanks. True the Sidekick is pretty cool. I bought a Diamond Jubilee new around '84 with The Sidekick and the L shaped PN. However, that machine bit the dirt, while the G's and the 1205's are still going.

I think a lot of older LUX's were traded for newer, just over the leaking/frayed hose issue alone.


Post# 140484 , Reply# 26   6/21/2011 at 16:35 (4,631 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        
Best decade

My fav:

1. Kirby before 1980
2. Hoover from 1908-1980 (though I prefer before 1970)
3. Electrolux until 1994
4. Filter Queen (even the Majestic 360)
5. Rainbow from 1936-1980
6. Royal from 1930s-1960s
7. Sears Craftsman shop vacs (early-mid 1980s)

Post# 140493 , Reply# 27   6/21/2011 at 18:37 (4,630 days old) by whirlsonicmore (South US)        

A person into Sears stuff like myself would probably tell you the Whirlpool-made/ designed machines were the best, and were still decent even during the early Panasonic days. By the late 90's though, Kenmore stuff just wasn't as rugged anymore.

As for the Panasonic's, I refer the mid 90's as the end of the good uprights, when they discontinued the 6300's. After that, only a a few commercial models kept the older designs, like the 6602. Around this time they also did away with the handheld handheld cleaners. The canisters kinda followed suit along with the Kenmore models. We saw the end of the Whirlpool-designed cans in the early 2000's, when the 9644 and 9647 were laid to rest.

Post# 140497 , Reply# 28   6/21/2011 at 19:30 (4,630 days old) by hamiltonbeachbo (Milwaukee )        

I agree with Beerad (plus I love his sauna pic)

No, but really, I think the quality was still good in the 60s.

The 70's and early 80s saw some changes in technology, design and power but I think the quality of components began to suffer.

The late 50s on through the 60's are by far my favorite machines.

Just my preference and thought.


Post# 140499 , Reply# 29   6/21/2011 at 19:41 (4,630 days old) by vacuumalex ()        
Best Decade for Vacuums

My first thought was the 80's too!

Post# 140501 , Reply# 30   6/21/2011 at 19:43 (4,630 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        
For Eurekas.....

eurekaprince's profile picture
I'd have to say that the most beautiful Eurekas were designed from 1965 to 1985....from the arrival of the Empress Canister to the arrival of the Express Canister. Even the uprights of these 2 decades were designed so beautifully - from the early Vanguards up to the Ultra and the Self-Propelled Precision. They are also some of the best performing Eurekas in their history.

Post# 140521 , Reply# 31   6/21/2011 at 21:43 (4,630 days old) by sireluxomatic ()        
Re: Electrolux hoses

On rare occasions, I'll bust out an old, still somewhat usable woven hose, just to transport myself back to the 60's, but for practical, everyday cleaning, they're unsuitable, especially the electric ones.


Then there's the noise factor. If you put all the 80 series and Model Gs together and turned them on simultaneously, they'd probably still be more bearable to listen to than a newer Electrolux.

Post# 140524 , Reply# 32   6/21/2011 at 22:10 (4,630 days old) by Real1 ()        

If I had to display 'a collection'.....and one that was correct, I'd be inclined to get the right color hose for the correct LUX. But that's not happening for me at the moment, as I'm still very much into form AND function. I might have even thrown some old OE hoses away, come to think of it. Yeah I know...that was probably stupid, because when and if there is ever a fix that preserves the color/pattern and makes those original hoses like new again, I'll be up the creek.;-)


Post# 140531 , Reply# 33   6/21/2011 at 22:48 (4,630 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Do you think that the period between 1974 and 1981 was the best period of time for Rainbow vacuums?


Post# 140571 , Reply# 34   6/22/2011 at 10:51 (4,630 days old) by KirbyUltimateG (Troy Ohio 45373 USA)        


Post# 140573 , Reply# 35   6/22/2011 at 10:55 (4,630 days old) by bagintheback (Flagstaff, Arizona)        

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What happened the those two years? 2002 still had some great vacuums.

Post# 140576 , Reply# 36   6/22/2011 at 11:33 (4,630 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
Has anyone noticed, some of the older guys, me included like ones more the age when they were young and the younger ones same thing? it really only makes sense.

Post# 140592 , Reply# 37   6/22/2011 at 16:36 (4,630 days old) by whirlsonicmore (South US)        

As far as Rainbow, considering all attributes, only the D4's to pre-2005 E series are worth any time to me. The older metal 'Bows were tough machines and ran a long while, but motor rebuild time is a bear.

I would agree with you on that.

Post# 140660 , Reply# 38   6/22/2011 at 22:52 (4,629 days old) by Real1 ()        

I think for the most part, there were plenty of technological advances to let vacuums peak even well into 2000. But, manufacturers used technology to give big sound, poor construction & components the nod in their high dollar, top-end models.

If there's not enough profit in your bottom line, make your vacuums cheaper, but use graphics, color or advertised 'ergonomics' to convince folks that their products are better than ever. There's still that mentality out there; that if you go to Shopco (or wherever) and pay $300-500 for a vacuum, it HAS to be good.

And I agree about the generational thing. Whatever turned your crank as a boy vacuum-wise, will undoubtedly be you collector's passion as an adult. Look what Baby Boomers did to the motorcycle industry-although they had the very fortunate luxury to be blessed with better and better motorcycles. It's a sad story that new vacuums have declined so far from their roots.:-(


Post# 140748 , Reply# 39   6/23/2011 at 20:17 (4,628 days old) by mercuryman ()        
1960s and 1970s

I think the best decade for vacuums was the 1960s and the 1970s. Many machines made during those two decades were not only innovative, but also very attractive and sturdily built.

To quote Kevin: I think a lot of older LUX's were traded for newer, just over the leaking/frayed hose issue alone...I agree with this statement. Two of my Luxes I acquired because the hoses leaked and the previous owners said that the machines had "lousy suction"...which was definitely not the case!

Post# 140753 , Reply# 40   6/23/2011 at 20:47 (4,628 days old) by Red_October ()        

My US$0.02 is for the 60s through the 80s. By the 60s most modern things we take for granted were widely available (powered brushrolls on canisters and uprights, paper bags, etc.) and innovation continued in force. Build quality probably peaked at that point, too. While a lot of older machines were very sturdy physically, the attachments were often crap or there were little things where the quality of plastics or rubber available at the time made the overall build quality of the whole package lower. By the 80s lots of designs had matured, and build quality was probably for the last time a high priority. There was a real shift in the 1990s away from well-built consumer goods towards cheaply made, low-priced goods. This happened in all fields, including appliances and consumer electronics. Sure there are great machines that came from the 90s or are even still made today, but they are things like Kirbys and Royals that are either an outright continuation of a much older design that continues to sell, or a basic concept that is the vacuums own selling point (Kirby's immense durability and long life are basically completely at odds with modern consumer goods design).

Post# 140757 , Reply# 41   6/23/2011 at 21:03 (4,628 days old) by Real1 ()        

That's it in a nutshell really; any thing great in the 90's was a carryover from a previous time tested design. Deviate too far form a good design and the line was doomed. I can just hear the marketing execs telling their sales people, "Tell them it's completely new and better."


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