Thread Number: 16509
Vacuums and Floor Tools without rubber bumpers....
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Post# 176155   4/6/2012 at 19:18 (2,922 days old) by pr-21 (Middletown, OH)        

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I would like to start a thread about vacuums that do not have a bumper to protect furniture or a floor tool without a bumper that can nick woodwork etc. This is a real pet peave of mine. Why would vacuum manufacturers cheapen their product so much that they would eliminate the rubber bumpers?

How about some opinions. I have several Miele Canisters with floor tools without rubber bumpers, that I have to be very careful with. I don't have a Dyson for that very reason. I am very careful as I vacuum with either an upright or a canister, but no matter how careful you are, sometimes you hit the edge of a chair leg or end tables. Without a bumper this could cause damage. I do have some antique furniture that I am very fond of and would hate to damage it due to a vacuum or floor tool without a bumper.

Even in the 70's and 80's for example, if you did not buy the top of the line Eureka's, they had a narrow hard like plastic bumper compared to the wider soft bumpers that were standard on the tol vacuums.

A few Uprights and Canisters that have great bumpers are from Sanitaire, Miele, Sebo, Electrolux/Aerus, Hoover, Riccar, Simplicity, and Kirby. Some not so great are Dysons, most but not all department store vacs, Rainbow, and Filter Queen.

A few floor tools that are great in my opinion are from Rainbow and Electrolux/Aerus. Some not so great due to missing bumpers are Filter Queen, Miele, and Sebo.

This is by no means a complete list, but just some that come to mind.

What are your opinions and thoughts on not have bumpers on vacuums and floor tools? Am I in the minority when it comes to this subject?

Thanks for your input.

Bud Mattingly

Post# 176172 , Reply# 1   4/6/2012 at 23:17 (2,922 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
I Think....

....This sort of thing happens for two reasons:

1) Cost reduction, obviously. No need to explain that one, sadly.

2) A new, younger generation of designers who have little or no experience with actual use of competent products. This is something I'm seeing more and more of, and I'm a design writer who deals with this stuff every day. I see products that any housewife could design far better - because the housewife has actually USED such things and knows what is important and how stuff should work. Anyone who has used a vacuum with proper bumpers where they're needed would know that a good vacuum should have them. But there's a whole generation of people now who haven't been around good stuff - they think design is all about striking colors and shapes. The notion that a vacuum should not commit violence upon the legs of fine furniture seems not to occur to them.

Right now, the most horrendously-designed category I can think of is sinkware - all the things that make dishwashing by hand easier. I see ludicrously inadequate dishdrainers, so shallow they can not hold dishes safely upright, I see cheaply chrome-plated sponge caddies that will rust within weeks, I see sink mats made of WOOD, fercryinoutloud. It is as if - no, it must be true that - the people designing this stuff have never washed dishes for a family in their lives, much less done it long enough to see sinkware get old enough that problems with materials are apparent. It seems to be all about putting something glitzy and profitable into stores, and never mind how well it works. Or lasts.

Stove-top tools are the same thing - Ekco used to make Bakelite-handled stainless spatulas and the like that never rusted and protected the hand in use. Today, Giada de Laurentiis's stuff in Target is stainless, but there's nothing to prevent the sleek stainless handle from heating up. If you look for tools with plastic handles that won't heat up, you often find their business ends are cheap chrome-plate that will start leaving rust spots on your kitchen towels within weeks.

It is as if this society is moving backwards - we should have begun with cheap, breakable plastic stuff full of failure-prone electronics, and evolved to the point of having simple, durable metal things with electro-mechanical technology that takes decades to wear out. And we should have moved from nasty, hard-bristled, bumperless vac tools to well-made, well-bumpered, soft-bristled tools like Lux was able to supply forty and fifty years ago.

I'm off my soapbox.

Post# 176181 , Reply# 2   4/7/2012 at 02:00 (2,922 days old) by bimmer740 (Long Island, New York)        

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@pr-21, this is such a small part of a tool and so often over looked, but you and Sandy are absolutely right. I happen to like the rug/bare floor nozzle that comes with the Kirby Generation series machines (I know I'm in the minority on this one) but even though it doesnít have a bumper, its sharp edges sit low enough to the floor that is rarely catches along the bottom of my furniture. My house was built in the 60's with solid oak floors throughout which have all been refinished, however some of the planks do have small gaps between them and using the Kirby floor tool, which seals to the floor, helps remove any dirt that might not normally be removed.

I use my VacuFlo system 95% of the time I vacuum and I have the "Turbo Grip" VacuFlo hose/tool kit. This kit includes the "premium floor brush" with natural bristles with a large notch cut out of the front so it doesn't "snow plow" the dirt. For all the money I spent on the low voltage hose with the attachment kit, I have always thought this so called premium floor brush should have a bumper on it. I know I have made a few marks on furniture over the years, and my housekeeper certainly did too. What drives me crazy is the marks it can make along the stair cases, which have wooden treads and white high gloss backs. Those black marks that only a magic eraser will remove are unsightly. I also have a white base on the shower stall in one of the bathrooms and my housekeeper would always leave black streaks across it from the floor tool. I've used Electrolux canisters for most of my life and I guess I took that nice rubber bumper on the combination floor tool for granted. I know I can use the Lux tool with the central vac any time I want to, but for some reason I havenít made the switch over to using the Lux nozzle full time. However I've always believed you get what you pay for, and the VacuFlo "premium floor brush" costs about 1/3 the price of a new Lux combination nozzle.

Post# 176191 , Reply# 3   4/7/2012 at 06:26 (2,922 days old) by pr-21 (Middletown, OH)        
Sandy and Steven....

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You both make very good points. I have had my condo for about 5 years now and I was looking for new dish drainers and dish soap trays. I ended up keeping my old rubber maid dish drainer and settled for a stainless still soap dish. Not fond on the soap dish at all, but at least it is not rusting.

As for the Central vacuums, I did have one in my home before the condo and for the expense, it was a beam with a rugmaster. That part was great, but talk about cheap dusting brush, crevous tool and floor brush. I just used my lux combo tools ....

With all this cheapness it does sadden me to think that Aerus/Lux is in trouble, as was said in another thread, but I think it is true...I think I will make sure I stock up on an extra floor brush and metal well as a couple of combo dusting brushes.


Bud Mattingly

Post# 176262 , Reply# 4   4/7/2012 at 20:31 (2,921 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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It all has to do with cost - mostly all manufacturers these days use the same tools as other brands and try to cleverly disguise it by fitting a different hood.

Post# 176287 , Reply# 5   4/8/2012 at 02:22 (2,921 days old) by d-jones ()        
Hey Sandy

I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate(and agree with)your rant about the loss of quality in modern consumer goods and products in general. I've been watching this descent into mediocrity for most of my adult life and had the same thought you had. It would seem like a natural thing for quality to improve over time, not deteriorate. Instead, it looks as though we're all doomed to live out the rest of our days trapped in a perpetual Nickelodeon opposites sketch where conventional wisdom is turned on its head. Quality can usually still be found if you look for it, but it seems like the search gets harder every day. That's one of the main reasons I've turned to vintage products. They're not high tech but they work, they last a long time, and more often than not when they do fail, they're repairable by any competent do-it-yourself-er. A few summers back my wife and I bought a couple of Hampton Bay fans for the house, a reputable brand with a long history. We used them all summer and then put them away for the winter months. When the next summer came along, one of the fans fried itself the first time I tried to use it. I replaced that fan with a 1930's GE Vortalex that's been working like a champ ever since. And as for Hampton Bay, I have not since, nor will I ever so much as glance at their current products again. I guess the bottom line is that there's a limit to how much profit manufacturers can squeeze out of any product, and when that extra profit is obtained at the expense of quality it's just a matter of time before that manufacturers reputation is shot and no one wants to buy their products. There's actually an excellent movie from 1954 with William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck, called Executive Suite, that deals directly with this very subject. It should be required viewing for anyone attending business and accounting schools.

Post# 245250 , Reply# 6   8/11/2013 at 17:45 (2,430 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

Does anyone notice the "cheapo" Lux floor brush? It has horsehair bristles, but no bumper at all; & the swivel elbow is plastic. Even the mid-range floor brush & deluxe flip combo tool have plastic swivel elbows & hard plastic bristles, but at least the higher-end Lux floor tools have rubber bumpers.

The "cheapo" floor brush is the one on the left; mid-range one in center & deluxe one on the right.

However, the "cheapo" floor brush picks up larger debris more efficiently & the bristles get closer to the edges.

This post was last edited 08/11/2013 at 23:26
Post# 245265 , Reply# 7   8/11/2013 at 19:17 (2,430 days old) by parwaz786 ( )        

In the UK people like to rip the bumpers off their DC01's!

Post# 245269 , Reply# 8   8/11/2013 at 19:42 (2,430 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        
Um, spare a thought for the owner...

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Once upon a time when manufacturers were beginning to realise the potential of something called PLASTIC due to the availability of OIL, brands no longer had to fit bumpers with metal inserts. Previously where most older vacuums used metal to ensure durability, the weight of such things began to get too heavy for the "house wife." Instead, plastics were added to make the weight of vacuums and their tools that are far lighter to use.

This isn't taken from any book by the way -- this is my opinion. As much as I would love to have a metal bumper on everything I use on my vacuum - I'd rather not. Scuffs and scrapes can be cleaned easily from a plastic floor head whilst markings on the home such as corners and surrounds can easily be repainted or wiped over. A metal based bumper takes chunks out of wood corners - no thank you!

It can be difficult as a vacuum cleaner collector to use a vacuum cleaner in a normal way - we all probably take our cherished machines awfully slowly to protect them from general wear and tear - but to the average consumer, this household appliance is such that it is made to bounce off walls and scrapes are made to happen to the plastic tubes, tools etc.

Years ago when I first owned my own SEBO K1, I moaned to the UK company branch that the 2 way suction floor head wasn't protective enough and that a metal sole plate should never be fitted incase the owner forgets to put the pedals down - result? SEBO addressed it with a Wessel Werk originated new floor head with a plastic sole plate to ensure no damage. They still have that floor head for sale today and all the base line K1's come with it as standard.

As for kitchen soap in a dish - sorry I've moved on with the times - its liquid hand wash soap for me.

Post# 245285 , Reply# 9   8/11/2013 at 21:58 (2,430 days old) by chris (WV)        

It really doesn't matter to me if my rainbow had a bumper or not. I have all white base boards and doors in my house that I am anal about, they can't have on scratch or black mark on them or I will go nuts. Its very easy for me to be careful because I don't want my $2600 rainbow to have any scratches or paint marks on it, plus I don't want to have to repaint the miles of base boards and the 26, 6 panel doors front and back.

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