Price we paid: $230
Date of Consumer Reports full report: March 2009
This new 12-amp, 21-pound Anniversary WindTunnel with HEPA filtration is a relatively inexpensive vacuum that's loaded with features, including manual height adjustment, a full-bag indicator light, and an on/off switch on the handle—all features we recommend. The U6485-900 is the only new self-propelled vacuum we're testing as part of our March 2009 report.
This vacuum is part of the new WindTunnel Anniversary Edition line, the first new models from Hoover since the company was purchased by TTI Floor Care, which also makes Dirt Devil vacuums. Based on replies to the Annual Product Reliability Survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, Hoover canister and upright vacuums tend to be more repair prone, while Dirt Devil uprights have a lower frequency of repair. We have no reliability data for the latest Hoover models, but perhaps these new vacuums will provide similar reliability to that of the Dirt Devils.
In our preliminary tests, the self-propelled feature on the U6485-900 reduces the amount of effort you need to put into vacuuming, whether you're moving the vacuum forward or backward. This vacuum is also equipped with what Hoover calls the DirtFinder, which has an optical sensor that is supposed to notify you when the vacuum is done picking up dirt. This is a bagged vacuum, which reduces your exposure to the allergens produced when you empty the bin of a bagless upright. This model, with HEPA filtration, has produced excellent scores in our emissions tests and exhibited high performance for cleaning on all surfaces and with tools in other testing.
This upright is fairly noisy and, at 21 pounds, slightly heavy.
The simple design and focus on convenience create a user-friendly vacuum that so far has displayed outstanding cleaning performance. Despite its somewhat high noise level, the U6485-900 seems like a good choice, especially if it's more reliable than Hoover vacuums tend to be.
Look for our full report on vacuums in the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports. Watch our vacuum buying guide and visit our vacuum product page for buying advice and, for subscribers, Ratings and model recommendations.