Where vacuum cleaners are concerned there seems to be a great disparity between adverts taken from other companies and used by sellers to boost the appeal of the models they sell and other adverts where frankly you need to know your salt. So here are a few tips to take on board;
The model I want is bagged/bagless but it's not the same picture...
Ask the seller EXACTLY what is being advertised. I've come across a few sellers who don't know what they are selling, particularly if they are a company who deal with debt collections. If a model is advertised as bagless and it's not (or vice versa) and there's no response from the seller, walk away despite the bargain. The last thing you want is a machine which doesn't work and then have the bother of battling with Paypal and eBay over what you saw advertised.
Bagless and Cyclonic types - They Are Not The Same.
Bagless vacuum cleaners are usually models which consist of a fabric filter built into a dust cup design - just like an old Dust buster - if not a fabric filter, then a similar shroud of mesh plastic which looks like fabric. Although dust will happily spin at the bottom, this does not mean that the cleaner is truly cyclonic. A bagless application means that most dirt particles will cling to the filter and come the time to empty, most of the dirt will have to be picked off which isn't a particularly healthy job for people with allergen allergies.
Cyclonic, on Dyson machines spins dust out of cyclones and does not reduce suction whether the bin is empty or not - other cyclonic branded cleaners which don't go by the name of D have filters which trap the dirt and throw most particles outwards to the bottom of the dirt bin - but like the bagless idea, you'll spend more of your time picking and brushing out dirt which has got into the filters. Cyclonic principle should mean less emptying over time, but again if it's not a Dyson, you'll end up emptying more dust to regain suction and general filter maintenance. Hoover's Telios cyclonic and uprights are best to be avoided where their bagless cups are concerned; they are the worst models by general reputation.
The Vax Mach and Zero models have a "new" suction design based on the U.S Hoover Windtunnel cyclone patent that doesn't impede on suction. (HOOVER U.S and Vax are now owned by Chinese company TTI) In theory it copies the similar idea to Dyson's old Dual Cyclone system but with one vital difference - you'll still have to wash out the top filter once in a while if suction starts to weaken. The plastic shroud holes replaces paper/mesh filters but there's a pre motor filter at the bottom which will still need cleaning and eventually replacing.
Why Try with Bagged models?
Paper bags aren't that bad and they are NOT as dusty as Mr Dyson would have you believe, especially over older Dyson models such as the DC01 to DC04 ranges. If the model you choose can take a paper bag, then order paper bags on Ebay or try to seek a vacuum model which has a permanent washable dirt collection bag, where it can save you money in the long run. Consumers with allergic reactions to dust though need to stay clear of permanent bags for the obvious reason; the HEPA filter won't save you when it comes the time to empty out all the dirt, but as a saving grace most permanent washable SMS bags can be washed in a washing machine under a low temperature programme and with the clip removed - they can also be dried in a low temperature electric dryer instead of waiting for the usual 24 hours until the bag is completely dry.
On Board Tools - What does this really mean?
On board tools usually mean that the tools have an integral flush fitted storage insert for tools to be fitted directly onto the main body of the vacuum cleaner. It does NOT mean that tools can be fitted on the main pipes of a cylinder cleaner - so make sure you know the difference - otherwise you'll buy a cleaner which in use may lose the tools over time if they don't have a proper "hidey-hole" to keep the tools safe.
So what Brands should I stay clear of?
Every brand is not perfect when it comes to vacuum cleaners - and if you think Dyson is perfect- then why are there so many parts and reconditioned machines on sale? Check out review companies who dedicate shopping reviews on products to see the best models on offer, or alternatively make your own research on the internet as well as high street shops to sample lightly, the model you are after. What looks like a good idea at the time from a glossy, bright and reasonably professional looking advert may be farther from the truth. Even the German brands have bags which can be difficult to get...as a general rule premium brands which use bags are good such as Miele, Sebo and Karcher although an old Hoover or Electrolux is just as good depending on the condition advertised. Bosch models in the UK are good but their bags can be hard to find.
What is the difference between new and reconditioned?
Reconditioned means that a machine has been sent back either via catalogue returns, debt collection or just for recycling. This isn't bad at all, because in a way its recycling a vacuum which has been used before and putting it back onto the market at a reduced cost. However, all is not rosy;
When a manufacturer receives a recon machine, they will receive the basics in terms of a new motor and internal parts. If the seller for example is a spares and repair servicer primarily, they will build an old machine to make it new with new external parts, but not necessarily the same specification of the vacuum when it first left the factory floor the first time around. This means that whilst a cylinder vacuum cleaner originally came with telescopic tubes, a seller may sell a reconditioned model which comes with steel tubes as opposed to the original specification. Reconditioned also allows consumers to get a 6 month guarantee against any defects, although it is always best to check the terms and conditions first where this guarantee is concerned as it is not the same across the internet, or on Ebay. The 6 month guarantee is a law which has been governed under the process of selling a household appliance in the first instance and branding it as "reconditioned." ALSO some sellers are claiming that vacuums sold will be "cleaned out," but this only means the bag area. Some purchases I have had have been disappointing when finding that the hose has been used to clean up dog mess and inevitably you are either forced to clean the hose yourself or find a replacement. Make sure that whatever you buy it has properly been cleaned out internally as best as it can be.
If a model is advertised as new, check online with the company who makes the machine to see if the specifications are indeed correct. See what the seller is offering before you decide to buy. Lastly, always check to see that the product you are buying has been electrically tested AND check shops other than eBay - some sellers have a notorious reputation for overpricing certain vacuum cleaners when they are cheaper on the high street. Do the research before you buy!
If you need any advice or help then please feel free to send me a message here on EBay.