Thread Number: 37029  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Are there still retail stores that let you try out vacuums?
[Down to Last]

Vacuumland's exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 395719   7/28/2018 at 15:02 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
Are there any retail stores other than specialty vacuums shops that still let you plug in and try vacuums?

I don't know of many here in the US. I do wonder if Best Buy will let you, because they seem to have a more high end display environment, though I've never been to one.

I have tried vacuums at Sears but not any time recently. I was just at Sears recently and saw two uprights sitting on the carpeted floor plugged in (a Kenmore Elite and I think the other was a Kenmore Crossover Elite) and no one was around but I suspected someone had tried them out. But it's been a few years since I actually saw anyone trying a vacuum at Sears. Part of me wanted to turn them on and see how they do, but I felt awkward about just going over and switching them on, even if someone else had with permission.

I see no way you could try vacuums at Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond seeing there's no outlets nearby.

Post# 395724 , Reply# 1   7/28/2018 at 18:28 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
A lot of the store displays now have the cords cut off to prevent theft. There's videos on YouTube of kids trying vacuums in places like Sears, but Sears has gone under now and all their stores are being shut down, so that's no longer.

I think it just depends if you ask an employee. You can't get a good test anyway on linoleum. Walmart always has outlets around if you know where to look, but a lot of them are 220v indicated, for running the floor buffers and such.

A lot of people today "rent" vacuums. They buy it, use it for a week, then return it to the store and say it doesn't work, then do the same with the next vacuum.

Hell, even my Goodwill lets you return a vacuum within 24 hours of purchase.

Post# 395738 , Reply# 2   7/28/2018 at 20:45 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I've seen vacuums "used" in our local

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
"Boscov's Dept Store.

Post# 395739 , Reply# 3   7/28/2018 at 20:45 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I've seen vacuums "used" in our local

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
"Boscov's Dept Store.

Post# 395745 , Reply# 4   7/28/2018 at 21:14 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
I've heard of Boscov's but never been to one.

Yeah, my Goodwill has a testing station bench area (with GFCI outlets on timers) for testing, but I've so far avoided buying a vacuum there. My Habitat also has a testing station (basically a cart with outlets on the side) where I tested my Kenmore Progressive.

With Walmart's return policy, I can imagine them getting a lot of returned vacuums there. I've even bought pants there to try on at home instead of in the store, because the store is remodeling, and I didn't want to try to mess with finding the men's fitting room.

I hadn't noticed if the cords are cut off vacuums at places like Walmart or home centers. The ones at Walmart are pretty high off the floor so trying to take one down would almost require a ladder anyway. I guess you could have them take it down at least to examine it more closely, if you could find an employee to do it.

Post# 395749 , Reply# 5   7/28/2018 at 22:05 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
Oh, and the Sears here has strips with plugs running the perimeter of the department about 3 feet off the floor so you can plug them in. Another store where I got my Progressive canister had outlets in the floor they plugged it into. I haven't seen such outlets anywhere else and most big box stores have the typical concrete or vinyl tiles in the vacuum aisle like any other department so you couldn't do much of a test anyway.

Post# 395755 , Reply# 6   7/28/2018 at 23:32 by tylerawells (-)        
Wal-Mart Display Machines

For the past couple of years now, Wal-Mart now sends the stores a full size mockup machine but it has no motor or cord and that is what is put out on display, so even if you did get it down, you couldn't plug it in or run it anywhere. When the model is dropped the display is shipped back to the returns center and recycled. 

Post# 395761 , Reply# 7   7/29/2018 at 01:09 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Greenville Sew&Vac is GLAD to let you try out a vacuum or sewing machine.They will plug in the vacuum and hand it to you to try it.The sewing machines are all set up and you are welcome to sit down and try them.Years ago tried out a vacuum at the Sears place.The old Vacuum Cleaner Hospital would let you try out a vacuum before you buy it.At both shops-same with used machines in the trade in piles.The vacuum Hospital didn't have sewing machines-just vacuums.

Post# 395766 , Reply# 8   7/29/2018 at 07:00 by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Walmart display machines

Hey Tyler.

I actually have one of those.
Someone was selling a couple that were still new in the box, never having been displayed.
Mine is a Dirt Devil Vac & Dust cordless stick vac.
I thought it would be neat to have, just as sort of a novelty.


Post# 395784 , Reply# 9   7/29/2018 at 12:50 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I'm amazed at hearing this.

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
I've seen cords cut off of irons before, but.......
A full sized "mock up". Wow.

Post# 395801 , Reply# 10   7/29/2018 at 18:58 by myles_v (Fredericksburg, VA)        

myles_v's profile picture
The Bed Bath and Beyond near me always has the vacuums full of dirt, so clearly my store lets people try them out. Even their Miele machines have dirty bags in them.

Post# 395803 , Reply# 11   7/29/2018 at 20:14 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
My Bed Bath and Beyond mostly just has Shark, Dyson and Bissell. No Mieles here, you must have a fancier store than I do. I haven't noticed if any bins had dust but now you say so I do think some did. I know I've seen dusty bins at Sears.

Post# 395839 , Reply# 12   7/30/2018 at 20:40 by man114 (Buffalo NY)        

Sears is the only place around here I ever even see people testing vacs at. Our Sears recently put up a lighted display wall for the vacs. Usually the appliance people let people test out the machines. Oddly a large part of this seems to be because they carry canister vacs.

Post# 395906 , Reply# 13   8/1/2018 at 00:39 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

vacuumdevil's profile picture
Go to a local vacuum store will be happy to let you try out most of their vacuums.
You can also look for an Oreck store.

Post# 395951 , Reply# 14   8/1/2018 at 21:06 by weltron (Michigan)        

The Sears I was in earlier had power strips mounted to the wall, in full view of the customer. Wide display of canisters and uprights. They also had floor models of some Kenmore's that were ready to be demonstrated.

Post# 396089 , Reply# 15   8/2/2018 at 23:32 by completenutt (West Hollywood, California)        
Miele stores

completenutt's profile picture

Walked in today to finally take a look at the Blizzard.


They had a whole set up displaying three variants of that model on top of a really cool looking 10'x10' dark red shag carpet.  The saleslady encouraged me to dive in, but I didn't have time to play.  I'll probably get back there in a month or two. 


I want to check out the performance and feel as well as what they claim is a self-cleaning permanent filter... Didn't work too well on the Hoover Z, so I'm a bit skeptical, as the filter over time gets stinky and smells during use.  It's within a casing that inserts into the machine like a cartridge, so I'm not sure why they wouldn't just call it a 3 or 5 year filter.

Post# 396097 , Reply# 16   8/3/2018 at 06:20 by HonestJoe68 (Mansfield, Ohio)        

Hi Guys,

Here in Mansfield, we have a few stores that allow you to try out the vacuum cleaners before you buy. The Royal Touch is a small mom and pop that sells Fuller Brush, older but brand new Shark vacuums, a few Panasonic and then a mixture of older, used but refurbed that heís taken in on trade, etc. I tried out my three Fuller Brush vacuums there and was very impressed, they have full nap area rugs, runners and low nap commercial carpeting for you to test vacuums on. BUT if the older, mean woman is working when youíre there she will only let you vacuum a few seconds (Literally) then she rudely yells you MUST immediately turn it off as ďthey sell the displays as NEWĒ and they cannot allow you to muck it up! lol She is totally annoyed by me as the owner guy really likes me and gives me price breaks, but she cannot get mad at me as I did buy all the ones I tried out.

Then there is my absolute favorite store in town, Vacuum World. A husband and wife sell Riccar, Sebo, Royal, Cirrus, Carpet Pro and a few others taken in on trade, etc. They have nice carpeting areas to try them on: Frieze, Medium Plush, Thick Berber, Commercial and a very soft, plush carpet. It makes it really nice to try the different carpet types as there is a huge difference in those different naps. Randy and Laura Eichar (owners) are SO nice to me that I have bought probably 8 or 10 vacuum cleaners from them so far. They offer gold star service above and beyond the manufacturer and give you full demonstrations of each vacuum, allowing you to use it like you would at home and explain all the features of each vacuum. VERY nice people and Iíve added a link to their store website. That is my only criticism, they cannot find someone to update and improve their somewhat outdated website.. they had companies offer but they would have charged a fortune to update and maintain and they are living on nothing but the store sales. I always buy everything I can from them to help out, including bags, belts, etc every chance I can to help out. Thatís another great thing about Vacuum World, they keep all then needed parts in stock at all times and you can even buy most Kirby parts from them too.

We also have a Kohlís store and you are allowed and encouraged to try out the vacuum cleaners right there, but they only have low nap commercial carpeting and tile.. so itís harder to get a feel for how it will clean and ease of use.

Our Sears is still open, as of today, but they have NO clue if you have questions and you basically have to lift the vacuums off high shelves and try them out yourself.. you will get no help from the staff there and they look at you like youíre annoying them when you try the vacuums out. They must know our store is soon to be closed?

Our Volunteers of America and Goodwill do NOT allow you to try the vacuums and you will get yelled at and threatened to be thrown out of the store if you try to plug in a vacuum before you buy it.. THEN they all have NO returns policies on vacuum cleaners. Basically they tell you.. As IS and Absolutely NO returns on vacuum cleaners... even if they are non-working. Itís sad but the employees at our stores donít give a crap and are mean... they also mark the vacuums WAY over what they should which is why not many sell. $55 bucks for an old, very worn Kenmore is ridiculous! But when I find one that looks like I can fix it to almost new, I sneak over and plug it in and try it out.. LOL Iíve been yelled at but Iím not about to buy a used vacuum without seeing if it at least has a working motor and brushroll. Then I clean them up and give them away or donate them back to a different store than I bough it at... Usually to a nice Mom and Pop type Flea Market, Junk store that has nice stuff and they keep it clean.

Mansfield has a place called ABC Warehouse and you can demo their vacuum cleaners too, but again, they only have flat commercial carpet. Their selection isnít that great either and most are cheaper, low end vacuums like TTI stuff.

Now our Walmart, Samís Club, Meijers, Bed Bath and Beyond No longer have working vacuums on the shelves and you cannot try any of their vacuums out before you buy. They have either fake, non working models or vacuums with the cords cut off and everything that is removable is screwed or wire tied onto the body of each vacuum. You basically can see what it looks like and maybe feel the brushroll bristles.. but that is it and all but Walmart give you a big hassel returning any vacuums as they donít want to ďdeal with the returns with the manufacturer or vendorĒ... Some of the employees at BB&Beyond know I buy vacuums as a collector and are happy to get them down and let me try them out.. but Iíve been in there before when I was Not looking at the vacuums myself and heard them say NO to other customers who wanted to try them out. But thankfully they are very nice to me since I bought about 5 or 6 vacuums in that store so far.

Any other vacuumland members who cringe and find it horribly wasteful to see vacuums destroyed by screws driven in to hold all the parts on and cords (Gasp) Chopped off at the base! Itís offensive to me as I think, even the cheaper vacuums IF LEFT INTACT could be donated or sold at a modest discount instead of ending up in the dumpster!

Other than that, you have to drive about an hour to Columbus (our state capital and largest city) and then you have lots of choices. We have Oreck stores, Miele, Simplicity, Riccar, Sebo and many more. The folks at the two Oreck stores were VERY nice and had about 4 types of carpet and tile, wood and vinyl floor to test the vacuum over. I am upset though as when I went a few weeks after the Oreck POD was released and everyone here mentioned seeing them in stores... ours did NOT have them yet. Now thatís been months but Iíve not been back since then cause summers been very busy. Oh and they have a very nice Costco you USED TO be able to try the vacuums out, but now they, Like Samís Clubs have the vacuums Wire Tied and secured to the wire racks above and you are Not permitted to take them down, etc.


Post# 396153 , Reply# 17   8/3/2018 at 21:50 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
I went in Walmart this afternoon and thought I'd have a look at the vacuums. Our Walmart is being remodeled and the new setup has all of the vacuums along one side of an aisle. I preferred when they were back to back.

Anyway, some people were looking at some Bissells and a Walmart employee was there. They were picking up the boxes to see how heavy they were.

But when they asked the employee said you always want a bagless vacuum, you never want a bag.

I wanted to go up to them and say, I beg to differ unless you light cleaning those nasty filters you probably don't even know it has. You don't even know what a REAL vacuum is.

But I was humble and held my peace about it. Sometimes I can think some mean things. :(

Post# 396156 , Reply# 18   8/3/2018 at 22:09 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
I can relate!

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
I once bought a 1960s Royal 801 upright at a local independent thrift store called Red, White and Blue. The long portion of the cord (the part that comes out of the switch and is wrapped around the cord hooks) was gone, leaving just the shorter part between the handle and the motor unit; thus there was no way I could test it anyway.

I feel ashamed for taking this one apart back then! Had I known better and bought a complete new long cord for it, it might have worked again!


Post# 396160 , Reply# 19   8/3/2018 at 22:47 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
That's crazy those thrift stores won't let you try vacuums. It would be partly understandable if they let you return it if it doesn't work but to not even let you test it with no returns is just dumb. If they hassled me about testing something, I'd say "well then you should let me return it if it doesn't work".

I don't know of any thrift store here that doesn't allow testing of items, some even give a short warranty for a few days.

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

Woops, Time to Check the Bag!!!
Either you need to change your vacuum bag or you forgot to LOG-IN?

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy