Introducing… Our New Vacuum!

Something people don’t tell you about pets: if you love animals, and you love a clean house, you’ll learn to love your vacuum.

Oddly, though we vacuum at least 3 times a week, the dog is still afraid. Go figure.

Here he is, hiding in the bedroom while we assemble... our new vacuum!
Here he is, hiding in the bedroom while we assemble… our new vacuum!

Last month, our trusty Dirt Devil became unusable. That was the little vacuum that could; it was great, and did a lot of lifting for us. We used it for years, even taking it to the shop for repairs, but we hadn’t put a lot of thought into the initial purchase (eg. good for stairs?). Now that it was time for a new vacuum, we wanted to choose something that would go the distance.

But, where to start?

Me (to Q): “Is it time for us to buck up for a Consumer Reports subscription?” (We decided not quite yet, but if we ever need to buy a stove, we’re going in.)

I mentioned our plight to colleagues, friends. I found myself saying things like: “Well, I grew up with an Electrolux”, “Yes, but is a Dyson really worth the money?” and reading articles (in Good Housekeeping !) that began: “It’s practically another member of your household.”

Now, I was partial to the Electrolux. My grandmother, now departed, bought one about 30 years ago, and we are still using it. That’s a motor that goes: 30 years of pets and high foot traffic on wall-to-wall carpeting. Take that, throw-away society!

But I couldn’t find one. Though I’d seen some good reviews, on their website, there were no vacuums. (I didn’t even know they made other appliances).

Do you see a vacuum? Me neither.
Do you see a vacuum? Me neither.

Months before, my colleague had mentioned doing some research and settling on a Shark, so I looked at that – specifically the Shark Navigator Professional Lift Away. Sure enough, while the price-point wasn’t stratospheric, the reviews were great. And I mean GREAT:

  • “this graceful, agile, white stallion has been a dream”
  • “I own a cleaning company and have been using this”
  • “you will not believe how dirty your carpets are until you use this vacuum”

Of course, there were a couple of negative reviews. It’s still a budget vacuum. One guy who complained had four big dogs. I thought: “Man, if you’ve got more than 2 big dogs, you need an industrial vacuum.” Like one of those backpack ones they use to clean conference centres.

4 golden retrievers? You’ve got to take that seriously.

The C|Net review of the Shark¬†was also good: “It offers the best value of any of the models and its multitude of accessories will delight the more thorough cleaners among you.”

Yes, at last: something for both Q and I! For me, “best value”; for Q, attachments to facilitate a thorough clean.

The clincher? I knew where to find it. We could buy one at the Canadian Tire I pass on my way home. (And also, at our local Costco). Done.


In the above photo, you can’t tell how dirty our rug is (it’s not an accident that our carpet is the same colour as the dog). Here’s a close-up:


After the first vacuum:

man vacuuming
A little blurry, but I don’t want to gross you out too much – you get the gist. (This was the first time I’ve followed Q around to take photos while he’s vacuuming. Q: “What are you doing?” Me: “For my blog!”.)

Q wasn’t entirely sold, but I was. We’re going to keep testing it out. He says he’d prefer a retractable cord (fair point), and that the wand is a little stiff. I think this puppy has a motor on it that will run for years, so I’m willing to coil the cord myself.

We shall see… It’s my hope this will be with us for a LONG time.

ps. Guys, it really pays to shop at Costco. They had the same vacuum as at Canadian Tire, but for $70 less!

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