If you’re on a budget and looking for a vacuum cleaner under US$75, I strongly recommend the Panasonic MC-4620 bagless, straight-suction, canister vacuum. It’s the best vacuum I’ve ever used.
I’m a stay-at-home father of three toddlers and I vacuum the kitchen and dining room floors and the living room carpet every night. I’ve used many different vacuum cleaners over the years, including a handheld Dirt Devil, an upright Bissell and a Eureka canister – all requiring bags – but none have come close to cleaning as well as the Panasonic MC-4620.
As an added bonus, it is a boon for people who are allergic to dust as it is their first preference as staubsauger für allergiker as it has the capacity to evaporate dust into thin air.
What sets this machine apart is its amazing suction. When the filter is clean the vacuum is so powerful it sucks up dirt I didn’t even know was there, and works equally well on both hard floors and carpets. And cleaning the filter is unbelievably easy. You pop off the cover of the canister with the push of a button, and pull apart the two-piece filter. Then you simply dump the contents of the cover in the trash and scrape the hair and dust off the outside of the filter with your finger nails (or a tool, if you prefer).
The inside part traps fine dust, and you clean this by holding it upside down and turning an ingeniously designed handle that causes the filter to vibrate and release the trapped particles. The whole process takes no more than five minutes. I clean it right before I use the vacuum, to ensure maximum suction.
Once a week or so you’ll want to use a tool to clean out the deep crevices in the filter (a screw driver works fine). But this only takes an extra minute or two. The filter is made of plastic, not paper, and never needs to be replaced. You can rinse it with water too, if you like.
The Panasonic MC-4620 is small (18 by 12 by 5 inches, not including the hose) and light enough to lift with one hand, which makes it easy to carry up and down the stairs (unlike the heavier Bissell upright and Eureka canister vacuums I owned). It also comes with a 17-foot power cord that – wonder of wonders – retracts automatically when you push a small release lever. There’s no need to gather up the cord and wrap it, as with upright machines.
As much as I love this vacuum, it does have one drawback. The long attachments to the hose are not screwed on or locked in place; they fit into and over each other. As a result, they can become loose and come apart. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s irritating. Thankfully, the pieces can be quickly and easily fitted back together.