Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

5 things Hoover wishes you knew about vacuums

Cheap, easy fixes that help you dodge service calls

Published: July 09, 2014 01:45 PM

Find Ratings

Hoover has been working on improving the reliability of its vacuum cleaners since the line became part of TTI Floor Care, the owners of Dirt Devil, and currently our top vacuum picks include Hoover. Still, there’s always room for improvement, so we asked Hoover about avoidable service calls—problems customers could remedy themselves if they were more in tune with their vacuums. Here’s what Hoover told us.

Vacuums need maintenance. It’s not just cars and outdoor power gear that need routine attention. To make your vacuum run best, perform a full system check every other month. Start with your filters; if they’re dirty, rinse and dry them. (If there’s a HEPA filter, replace it when it’s noticeably dirty.) Replace the bag or bin if full. Next, check the brush roll for wrapped-up hair and fibers and remove what you find. While getting at the belt to check for damage isn’t easy, keeping a spare belt around will help you avoid problems if your vacuum fails when you need it most.

Belts break for a reason. Vacuums typically use a belt that’s meant to break to protect the motor. One common reason is when the brush roll jams from pulling in items such as shoelaces, socks, and even rugs. In some vacuums, there’s a circuit breaker, which shuts the motor down if it meets significant resistance. Some vacuums also have a thermal overload protector that prevents the motor from overheating because of a clog. Most can be reset afterward by unplugging the vacuum and letting it cool down.  While you wait, check for whatever blocked the airflow.

Many broken vacuums can be fixed. If your vacuum’s motor still runs, your vacuum can probably be fixed. And most issues can be resolved at home for little or no cost. Checking hoses for clogs, washing or replacing your filter, cleaning excess hair off your brush roll, or replacing a belt is often all it takes to get your vacuum back up and running.
Vacuuming is more than just suction. Effective vacuuming of all your surfaces requires both agitation—from the brush roll—and good airflow throughout the system caused by suction. And, of course, you have to push the vacuum back and forth. Problems can occur from issues with any of these factors, but they’re resolvable.

Making multiple passes is normal. Cleaning pros recommend that you make at least seven passes over a carpet, the most challenging job for a vacuum, in order to pick up not just surface dirt but also fine debris that can get trapped deep in the carpet’s fibers. All vacuum manufacturers test their machines using many passes. If your vacuum isn’t  picking up at least the surface litter, it’s time to check for brush-roll and airflow issues.

Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind

Top vacuums from our tests
When it is time for a new vacuum, a careful check of available features can help you match a model you’re considering to the type of surfaces you need to clean. Our vacuum buying guide can help you sort out the lingo. Then see our vacuum Ratings of more than 125 upright, canister, hand, stick, and robotic vacuums.

Our top bagless canister is the LG Kompressor LcV900B, $400, but we also recommend the bagless Hoover Platinum S3865, also $400. In our tests of uprights, the Hoover WindTunnel Max UH30600, $180, is a CR Best Buy, combining performance and value. Four other Hoover bagged uprights made our list of top vacuum picks, as did the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Bagless UH70120, $130, our top bagless upright.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

Find Ratings

Vacuum Cleaners Ratings

View and compare all Vacuum Cleaners ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Appliances News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more