Michael started his career in vacuums when he was just twenty-three years of age selling Kirbys door-to-door until he bought his store-front.
It is evident when talking to Michael that he is passionate about vacuums and eager to educate consumers!
We suggested an interview and Michael agreed and as you'll see below offers a ton of great advice when it comes to buying a new vacuum cleaner.
Changing The Way We Think About Our Vacuums
Over the years, big box stores have forced manufacturers to offer vacuums at rock bottom prices in order to have their product carried in the store. It sounds great, until you realize that to lower prices this substantially, manufacturers have had to sacrifice quality.
This means that parts, which were once metal, are now plastic and wear out much quicker. Also, when vacuums don't last as long, you are back in the market for a new vacuum every few years which allows them to sell more vacuums.
According to Michael, vacuums purchased at big box stores aren't designed to last more than two to four years and inevitably end up in a landfill after breaking. Michael feels that a new generation of consumers is emerging that desires a quality product that also leaves little impact on the environment.
One way we can do this is to carefully research a product before we buy it and spend a little more money to get a quality vacuum that will last fifteen to twenty years. Even something as simple as changing the way we purchase our vacuums will lead to more sustainable living.
For many buyers, we desire a product that is affordable, easy to use and does it all. Therefore, when we go to purchase a vacuum we want something that will do bare-floors, stairs, cars, carpets and pet hair. Basically, we want it to meet every cleaning need conceivable.
The problem with this, according to Michael, is that one vacuum won't do well at doing it all. He explains that we need to consider the idea that we are better off purchasing two or three reliable machines that each excel in different areas and will last us fifteen to twenty years rather than one machine that promises to do it all and falls short.
Why Buy From A Vacuum Store?
The difference between buying from a vacuum store versus buying at a big box store, according to Michael, is the knowledge and service
that an experienced vacuum dealer can bring. For instance, if you come to Michael's store you not only get to try out the vacuum before buying it, but they can also help you select a vacuum that is right for your personal needs.
If you get a vacuum home and realize that it wasn't all you thought it would be, you can take it back and speak to the person who sold it to you directly. Michael says that he feels a responsibility to find the best vacuum for each customer. Every vacuum they sell is handpicked based on quality and usability.
If a customer were to come back into his store a few months down the road and were unhappy with the vacuum, he would feel responsible. Therefore, he makes it his personal goal to make sure that he finds the best vacuum possible for every customer. All machines in their store are hand-picked
because of high customer satisfaction as well as the staff thinking they are great vacuums!
What to Look for in a Vacuum
According to Mr. Bailey, the most important thing to consider when deciding on a vacuum is what you desire to clean
. If you want to clean hardwood floors, a canister vacuum does the best job. For above the floor cleaning, he recommends a small canister. For carpets, he suggests an upright.
Once you have decided on which type of vacuum will meet your needs, try to find a vacuum with a metal roll brush, plates, and bearings
. These will not wear out as quickly as plastic parts. Michael emphasized that metal rollers are the most important feature when using a vacuum to suck up pet hair as the hair can wrap up in the ends of plastic rollers and melt them.
Bags versus Dirt Containers
Michael feels bagless vacuums don't last as long as those with bags. Bagless vacuums use filters, where in bagged vacuums, the bag works as the filter. Most people don't change their filters as often as they should because they can be expensive.
However, in a bagged vacuum you change the filtration every time you change the bag. While some people think buying bags is a more expensive option, they are actually much cheaper than filters.
Michael states that many people feel that bagless vacuums are cleaner and better for allergies. This is not true, very few vacuums have true sealed HEPA filters.
Air traveling through the exhaust system leaks out before reaching the filter because the system lacks seals. Because the bagged vacuums are better sealed and have filters that are changed more frequently, they are rated better for those suffering with allergies Michael point out.
But what about all of the dirt that your bagless picks up compared to a bagged vacuum? Michael said that dirt containers spin the dust around like cotton candy making it appear to be more dirt than there actually is. Also, you will need to dump your dirt container more often resulting in frequent dirt spills which releases many allergens back into the air.
Canister vs. Uprights
It is important to have a vacuum with good suction, especially for carpets. You want something that will get what's down in the carpet not just on top. Debris left in your carpet will cut and break down the fibers of your carpet and wear it out.
Suction for most upright vacuums is created in either the dirt container or the bag and brought down a hose that is on just one side. The vacuum then relies on the roller brush to extract the dirt from the carpet and push it over to the hose to be sucked up.
When you have the option to shut off the brush roll for bare floors, you are only getting suction on one side with nothing to push the dirt towards it. This is an example of why he thinks most machines don't stretch to do more than one thing well.
Michael recommends a canister vacuum designed for doing bare floors for customers with more than fifty percent hard surface flooring in their home. The mobility of a canister vacuum is better than an upright vacuum. They can lay almost flat on the floor for reaching under furniture.
If you haven't used a canister before, it can feel like a ball and chain in the beginning with the canister trailing along behind you. However, Michael suggests that you stick with it for a thorough clean on your hard surface flooring. A great thing about a canister vacuum is that air intake is located in the center of the power nozzle so you don't have to rely on the brush roll to sweep the dust to the side.
Michael feels that upright vacuums will never clean bare-floors well. They are better for carpets.
He likes vacuums with direct air systems where the suction is created at the roller or head of the vacuum. Because the suction is not being created in the bag or dirt container and brought down a hose to head of the vacuum, the suction power is much strong on direct air systems.
Also, many vacuums recycle the air from the bag or dirt container to cool the motor, Michael prefers the cool, fresh air sucked in directly from the outside that is circulated around the motor exhibited in the direct air systems.
Michael's Vacuum Picks
In his home, Michael primarily uses a lightweight Riccar upright. At only eight pounds, he says it is effortless to use on the stairs and works well on carpets. He also uses a Miele canister on his bare floors.
$99 and under - Hoover Tempo
(bagged vacuum, on-board tools, will clean carpet, won't last you ten years, but for $100 or less, that is the best bet)
$100-$299 - Riccar vacuums
. American built with a 60 year history. Almost all of their vacuums have bags and metal parts and will last for 15-20 years. You can't find them at Target or Walmart because they would need to drop their prices to the point of not being able to use quality parts.
Sharp vacuums were rated #1 four years running and tried to sell to Target and Walmart. Because they were required to compromise the quality to meet the needed price-point to sell at those stores, they ended up getting out of the vacuum business all together.
Starting at around $249 you will begin to find metal rollers in vacuums, which is highly recommended by Michael.
$300-$499 - Cirrus brand
. They come with metal rollers. Some models are machined exclusively for pet-hair with carbon filters to eliminate pet odor.
Riccar upper-end vacuums are also a good option in this price range.
$500+ - Miele uprights
. These are pivoting vacuums with completely sealed true HEPA filtration systems that put off no particle emissions.
These German built machines are quiet and received the Good Housekeeping recommendation.
Michael says that he doesn't recommend spending over $1,000 for a vacuum. Rainbows and Kirbys are great vacuums, but starting at $2,000, they are overpriced!
Vacuums Michael Dislikes
We asked Michael what his least favorite brand of vacuum is his answer, the Shark. "It's a joke, a toy," he said, "it is made very poorly." He also dislikes the Garry and laughed at their promise of a lifetime supply of bags for $9.95 shipping and handling.
He also sees many Dyson owners that were misinformed about the product and didn't turn out to work as well as they thought it would. In fact, Michael no longer carries Dysons in his store.
Michael's Favorite Vacuums
Miele canister vacuums are by far Michael's favorite. He says that 100% of people who own one love it!
They have the highest customer satisfaction he has ever seen. Michael feels that the Miele Callisto
is the most reliable machine.
His second choice is a Riccar
. This is one upright he feels will actually do a good job on hardwood floors.
You can't shut the roller off, but all of the suction is created in the head so it doesn't throw dirt behind it as many uprights do when used on hard surface flooring.
Vacuums that Need the Most Repairs
On average, Michael and his family service seventy vacuums a week. Here are the models that come in for repair most often and why:
- not built that great, people don't change the filters, the rollers lock up because it is all plastic. Expensive repairs!!! Lifetime filters still get dirty and need to be replaced.
Hoover Wind Tunnel
- roller related issues. Plastic rollers are a problem, they burn up! Burn belts faster. Highly rated in consumer reports so a lot of people bought them and were disappointed.
- Sanitaire and Electrolux vacuums are both made by Eureka. Its not the same vacuum that your grandmother used to own. They no longer use high quality parts.
- lacking in high quality parts.
"I have been repairing vacuums for 30 years and I know what works and what doesn't," Michael said.
The most common repair at Michael's vacuum store is caused by users not changing their air filters
. When filters become dirty, airflow is limited and the motor overheats.
The store also sees a lot of belts that break and rollers that burn out or jam because they get clogged. These problems can be avoided by cutting hair and threads off of your roller and changing your belt every three to six months.
Michael recommends that you at least change your belt every time you change your clock. Vacuum belts heat and stretch, compromising the effectiveness of your brush-roll. In three months they lose 20% efficiency, by six months 40% of efficiency is lost.
Michael sees that a popular new trend in home cleaning is central vacuums. Sixty percent of homes in Canada and a growing twenty percent of homes in the United States have central vacuums systems.
With central vacuums, a large canister is located in the basement, garage or utility room with piping run throughout the home to various hook-ups. You access the suction by attaching a hose and your tools to the hook-up in the wall.
The canisters are larger than what you find on a portable vacuum, therefore more suction is created and the suction is able to remain powerful while traveling through the piping and hose.
Michael also feels that they have very good filtration systems and because most canisters are located outside the home and won't have to be emptied inside, a central vacuum is one-hundred percent dust and allergen free.
Central vacuums come with bags or dirt cups. An inverted bag is Michael's personal favorite. If you are building a new home, Michael recommends adding a central vacuum system
. Forty-percent of new construction homes have central vacuums.
New Vacuums Online has found a unique way to give back to the community while benefiting the environment. Starting January 1st, 2011, they are collecting used vacuums, working or not.
Michael and his talented staff will fix up the vacuums and donate them to families
in need who would not be able to afford to purchase a vacuum on their own. Michael feels that the ability to clean your home directly effects your quality of life and for many, having a vacuum is essential to being able to keep things clean.
They will try to work through organization, such as Habitat for Humanity, to select families to receive vacuums. Additionally, they will try to recycle as many parts that need replaced as possible. By recycling vacuums, they are also keeping them out of landfills.
New Vacuums Online has found a creative way to help keep the United States clean. They will be accepting donations from anywhere. If you would like to donate a vacuum please contact Michael at newvacuumsonline.com.
We would like to thank Michael Bailey from NewVacuumsOnline.com
for this interview. You can contact Michael at:
New Vacuums Online
80 West 78th Street
Chanhassen, MN 55317