October 2008
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Safety Alert
Two Dirt Devil Kone models Not Acceptable

Dirt Devil Kone
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Dirt Devil calls its best-selling, handheld Kone M0213, $45, and similar M0212, $43, “an elegant, sculptural form that can be left on display.” Our tests suggest some Kone owners should do precisely that.

Four of the M0213 and two of the M0212 models threw some of the sand they picked up out of their exhaust ports at testers’ faces and eyes, something we didn’t find with other hand vacs. We used fine, uniform silica sand as we do with all vacuums to test carpet and floor cleaning. To better assess the models’ real-world risks, we also used sand found in many backyards and glass from broken lightbulbs—common cleaning messes. Both models released small particles of each in the same way.

We notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission and TTI Floor Care, which owns the Dirt Devil brand. TTI confirmed that both models share the same design and subsequently did its own tests with silica sand. The company then told us its tests showed “blow-by” in certain units and linked it to an undersized filter adapter on some Kones with an “L” on the unit and box (see photos). The M0213 models with a “J” are from a different plant and have a better-sealing adapter; the part fits all “L” versions, including the M0212, TTI said. The company told us it had received no injury reports and believes the “blow-by” does not pose an issue but would send the newer part free of cost to owners who asked for it.

Dirt Devil Kone vacuum with 'L' markings
Our tests show that newer, “J” units and older, “L” versions we retrofitted with the newer filter adapter kept fine silica sand contained. But our earlier findings remain troubling given that roughly 1 million Kones were produced and that L-code units were still in stores as of August 2008. Because using a handheld vac typically puts your face and eyes near the machine, we believe the L-code Dirt Devil Kone M0213 and all M0212 models pose a safety risk and we have judged them Not Acceptable.

We believe owners of L-code models should get the improved adapter without having to ask, and that TTI should publicize its fix and send it to all registered owners. We’ve asked the CPSC to open an investigation. If you own an L-code M0213 or any M0212, don’t use it until you install the improved adapter. Contact TTI or call 800-321-1134 for the part.

Posted: September 2008 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: October 2008