Thread Number: 17339
Red Kenmore Progressive canister
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Post# 186690   6/21/2012 at 18:38 (2,849 days old) by fan-of-fans (USA)        

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Some of you may remember when I saw a white Kenmore Progressive canister on clearance at Sears for $149. Well, it sold soon after. However, a few weeks back I saw they had a used TOL red Kenmore Progressive for $191. Well, last week I happened to see it was reduced to $95! I waited a few days and it was still listed, so I went to the store and they had it still. I asked if I could try it out and the salesperson plugged it in for me. I really liked it so decided to buy it. She said I was getting a great deal and I agreed as it is a $399 vacuum.

Comparing this to my 1999 Kenmore Whispertone, the suction on this model seems higher. The suction motor seems a bit louder than on my Whispertone which is surprising as this is the TOL model. However on the low speed setting it's pretty quiet.

The hose on this model is eight feet long, which is longer than I've ever had on a canister. I think I prefer a shorter hose, but it can be nice when cleaning far away areas. The handle includes a switch for the vacuum and Powermate, and a variable speed control for the suction. I found the lowest speed setting to actually be adequate for much of the vacuuming I have done.

The Powermate is a bit smaller than I expected. It's shaped a bit differently than the one that comes with the other Progressives and basic models. The Swivel+ steering is a nice feature, and I notice the PN is quieter than my 1999 PN, even when I lift it off the floor it's not very loud.

Another feature I really like is the LED headlight on the wand, as it helps when doing the bare floors with the floor brush. The wand also telescopes with various increments, but I actually find that the shortest setting is fine for me to use. I do think the end of the wand where the LED light is could have been better if it was smaller, as it is hard to fit into tight spaces.

As for the small attachments:
The brush that stores on the handle isn't bad. The bristles to seem to be horsehair, but it would be better if they were longer in length. It's kind of hard to remove the brush from the handle and put it back on. The crevice tool stores on the bottom of the hose handle, and is shorter than earlier versions. One odd thing I noticed is there are vents on each side of the crevice tool. I'm thinking this might be to keep the motor from overheating when using the tool? If the dusting brush part is removed, another rubber tool with slots called the pet hair remover can fit on in place of the dusting brush. It's mainly for upholstered furniture, and I find the suction is very concentrated with that tool.

I really like the floor brush. It stores in the front canister compartment with the pet hair remover. The bristles are positioned just like other Kenmore/Panasonic floor brushes, but the new swivel can swivel forward and back as well as side to side which helps to lay the wands flat to get under furniture.
I haven't tried the Petpowermate yet, so can't comment on that. It stores in the rear compartment on the canister.

The only things I found that I dislike have to do with the bag chamber. When I opened the bag lid, I find it very hard to get closed again. The premotor filter was also a bit of a drawback to me. My older canisters had a washable foam filter with a plastic frame. This model has a foam filter with an electrostatic material attached that must be replaced when dirty. It also does not have a plastic frame, but simply slides into slots, so doesn't seem to seal as well.

As for the bag, this model seems to be sold with a cloth HEPA bag, which makes it TrueHepa and is certified as Asthma and Allergy Friendly, however a type C/5055 bag fits as well. Mine came with a yellow type C bag installed, not sure if it is original or replaced.

In reviews I read of this model people were complaining how cheap the plastic is. Really I don't find it to be any cheaper in quality than my 1999 Whispertone, however they did use thick plastic in place of metal where the wand connects to the hose and Powermate. Also, it seems to me that Sears should include more than a one year warranty on their higher end machines such as this.

I may post pics later. Here is the link showing this model:

Post# 186692 , Reply# 1   6/21/2012 at 18:48 (2,849 days old) by vacman117 (Valparaiso, IN)        

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That is a fantastic price! I have been wanting that model ever since it was introduced. It uses the same style of power nozzle as the Glide, which in my opinion, is Kenmore's best power nozzle. Congrats!

Post# 186719 , Reply# 2   6/22/2012 at 02:12 (2,848 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        
I LOVE Progressive Canisters & that's a great price.

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I've owned three, but I stopped buying them because the same thing happened to me on all of them after about 2 to 3 years, the connections short out (even if I made sure to always turn the PN power off before disconnecting the wand) this would still happen. I also noticed that the cord that runs up the neck of the PN would fray as well, I guess from the bending of the PN when vacuuming.

I agree that they should warranty their higher end vacuums more than one year. Notice that all the critical parts seem to be just as cheap as their BOL canisters. I think in this case you're paying for features instead of quality when it comes to their TOL canisters.

Post# 186720 , Reply# 3   6/22/2012 at 02:20 (2,848 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        
Oh forgot to mention

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Why doesn't Kenmore or Panasonic OR TTI (whoever makes Kenmore) "seal" their vacuums?

On all three of mine, You could feel a stream of air coming out the cord area, not just out of the hepa filter. Not sure what the point is in having a hepa filter if air is going to pour out other areas of the vacuum? Perhaps they've changed this, not sure.

I will say that the suction and ease of use is better than any vacuum I've ever used. Definitely a very user friendly vacuum.

Post# 186780 , Reply# 4   6/22/2012 at 17:24 (2,848 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        

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I loved my Kenmore Progressive that I had (picture attached). It is the 2nd one I owned. I had the previous one (smaller wheels, clunkier on/off controls, etc.) for 6 years. They seem to have a few weaknesses, as previously mentioned. Also, the tool storage compartment door is STILL being made flimsily, unfortunately. It bends and creaks, and you're sure it is going to break right off.


I loved the mid-wand headlight feature, as was mentioned. Great for when you are vacuuming with the bare floor tool, or another tool attached to the wand. It throws much-needed light. All in all, a pretty good machine, compared to other available canisters on the market.

Post# 186792 , Reply# 5   6/22/2012 at 22:59 (2,847 days old) by chan55 (Green Bay, WI)        

I have the white version, and I love it. I had one that is 11 years old, and the power nozzle went to heck.Kept it for the garage.

I don't like the tools on the wand set up. I wish they were back on the canister with the floor tool. The cord seems longer, and the motor quieter. Great vac.

Post# 186793 , Reply# 6   6/22/2012 at 23:30 (2,847 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

At $95, you got a good deal on that Kenmore canister. I sell slightly older models used for $55 to $75 and they go fast.

I agree with what mark40511 re. sealing the exhaust stream on Kenmore canisters (code 116, Panasonic). The air leakage gives the lie to the HEPA filter designation. The models that have the exhaust blowing out the back give better filtration than the ones having the exhaust blowing out the top rear.

Here's another exhaust design feature than I've not liked for some time and it also applies to some Hoover canisters. The pre-HEPA filter models (like the rectangular Kenmores) have exhaust that flows right through the cord retractor. Not only does this get fine dirt on the cord, it contaminates the spring.

Post# 186819 , Reply# 7   6/23/2012 at 06:54 (2,847 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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To be fair: These do use cloth bags and have the electrostatic motor filter before the hepa, so that's still pretty good filtration, even though it's not sealed, as long as the bag doesn't slip off the collar without knowledge, because I've had that happen three times in the past and it was a mess.

Post# 186835 , Reply# 8   6/23/2012 at 09:34 (2,847 days old) by Kenmore81 (Warwick, RI)        

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That is an awesome deal. I almost got one that was 300 used at Sears but i figured I'd wait and it would come down, but it was gone in a week. I have the orange progressive like above but the motor is shot it also has the electrostatic pre filter as goes my 2005 blue Kenmore. I usually wash it once or twice before replacing and so far so good. Both Vacs are over 5 years old and the orange one is the only one that had an issue with the motor. My friend had the blue progressive and she chained her filters every 4-5 bag changes and hers still burned out. I think its just those motors

Post# 189286 , Reply# 9   7/9/2012 at 18:48 (2,831 days old) by Durango159 (State College, PA)        
Filtration and general Kenmore Progressive

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This is more or less a reply to Mark40511 but also offers my input of these.

My filtration gripe on these is that by design and if you study the outside of the unit there is no actual air exhaust preferation made. There is a HEPA filter on the back and the door over that is completely solid so once the air passes through the filter, the air is forced to escape through the tight sides of the door or out through the cord reel. This does mean that much of the air may be escaping the rear exhaust filter and just going out the cord reel area. Haven't seen a manufacturer where the cord reel is completely sealed away from the exhaust so that none of that area comes out where the cord is. As much as I like the Hoover PowerMax series, this is a major gripe of mine in that there exhaust duct is directly across the cord reel area, the post motor filter catches a lot of carbon from the motor, but if you've ever serviced a Hoover Futura/ PowerMax, Windtunnel/ or Spectrum canister of that style suction unit, they're fairly dirty back in there behind the motor and those cases despite the thick furniture guard type wrap around gasket are not sealed and have a few leaks- bag hinge, tool door hinge, under gaskets, etc. Companies need to seal machines better.

Furthermore on Kenmores, these are indeed manufactured by Panasonic. If you try out a Panasonic MC-CG902 or other canister you'll notice the motors sound exactly the same. Panasonic uses Cen-Tec Systems power nozzles. Go to the electric brushes tab they have all of the Panasonic and Kenmore powerheads. The Progressive swivel head that you have is not on the CenTec page, however the agitator design and motor are the exact same of the other CenTec nozzles.

Here is one I used to know. Model 25513 bought in 2007. We didn't like it very much. Suction was great. The CenTec power heads don't have suction duct extending to the opposite side across the belt area and dirt and this causes dirt in that area to go airorne. Also we didn't like the bare floor brush. It scratched our floors. Needs some more bristles along the sides to glide along being more level to sweep floor better rather than scraping in front and back.


Post# 189287 , Reply# 10   7/9/2012 at 18:54 (2,831 days old) by Durango159 (State College, PA)        
CenTec power nozzle

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Here's the typical Centec powerbrush design. All of the Kenmores and Panasonics have this. Yes it is edge cleaning with agitator up to both sides of nozzle. But dirt swept up on one side does not get into suction stream and gets caught in nozzle or airborn. Inefficient. Also these powerheads lift off floor when wand is dropped all the way down to floor, makes it inefficient for cleaning under beds, etc. I really wish someone at CenTec would improve on this or Panasonic and Kenmore would use a different power nozzle!! I like the vacuums otherwise but attachments and power nozzle are poorly designed. Lots of user complaints of wheels popping off powerheads, and the motor protection sensors need to react quicker. These vacuums do get stuck on area rugs and belts break or stretch. I always get the machine shut off before the sensor ever turns it off. What good is a sensor in that case.

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