vacuum cleaner redux

Sort of apropos of the recent vacuum cleaner thread, I'm also in the market for a vacuum cleaner...
requirements are:
-quiet (this is a must; I was just vacuuming the living room and SWMBO retreated to the deck complaining about the noise. Of course, she bought the darn thing, but still.) - high quality (I'm remembering my mom's old vacuums here, which came with heavy, sturdy-feeling hoses, and wands that were made of real chrome plated steel instead of molded plastic, and had little nubs like a socket extension to hold the pieces together... does anyone make something like that anymore?) - HEPA filtration would be nice, but not a 100% requirement.
I saw the recommend about electrolux in the previous thread, does that meet my requirements? Or am I looking for something higher end than that? What would that be? Only vacuum I've actually *liked* is the ancient Kirby that I bought (well-used) years ago when I first got my own place, and I actually still use that in the garage loft, but I don't like the lack of a filter bag, nor am I particularly partial to uprights.) Unfortunately modern Kirbys seem to be ludicrously overpriced, and also junked up with all sorts of gadgets that make them bulky and heavy for no good reason.
Or should I be looking on fleaBay for an *old* Electrolux like my mom and grandma both used to have? I just want to buy something that both SWMBO and I will use without annoyance or feeling like we got something crappy and cheap.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

If you want quiet install a central vac. Depending on your homes construction they aren't terrible to install because you may only need a couple inlets. Also HEPA filters aren't necessary because the discharge is outside.
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George wrote:

Second this. Central vac is the only way to go if you want quiet, and the remote exhaust also takes care of filtration issues. Installation can be quite simple to only moderately difficult in most cases.
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Pete C. wrote:

I don't think that's happening due to construction of my house... there's really only one wall that the piping could be run in, and I actually met the guy that ran some piping up that wall years ago for a solar water heater installation - now demo'd, but the piping is still there. He claimed it was "the most difficult installation he'd ever done.")
I just remembered a name I hadn't heard in years, my mom bought a Filter Queen maybe 15 years ago and is still using it, quick check of eBay shows that they are still around, I remember it being a quality product and fairly effective (albeit ludicrously expensive if bought at list price) is my memory correct?
I think the main thing I'm trying to do here is to get her away from uprights and into a canister vac, I suspect that a lot of the noise she finds objectionable is the beater bar and most of our floors are hardwood anyway, so with a canister there'd be no need to use it...
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

You usually run the piping in the basement and only need to pop up into the walls 18" for the connection point. The hoses are normally quite long so you don't need many connection points if they're properly placed. About the only time installation would be difficult would be if the place didn't have a basement of crawl space, and even then it can still be done. Realize also that you don't necessarily have to be in a wall, you can come up into a closet and have the receptacle in there, as well as pass up through the closet to the second floor.
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Pete C. wrote:

Right... I guess you'd have to see my house to see why this wouldn't work. Outside walls are block w/ brick facing all the way up to the second floor, so those can't be used. There is only one interior wall which is next to a stairwell. My house is really small in dimensions but has basement and two floors above, so piping would have to go all the way up to the 2nd floor. There are no closets that line up with each other all the way up, so that doesn't work for me... I suppose it could be done, but likely at great cost due to having to knock holes in stuff, replaster, etc... there is one corner of the house that appears to have a "chase" going all the way up but I have not investigated it yet to see if there are any inaccessable firestops. That is something that I will actually be doing soon as I need to pull some wires up to the 2nd floor. unfortunately that is in the finished part of the basement so that would be problematic, a lot of the basement ceiling space that could be used to run piping is already taken up with HVAC ducting... (yes I have a drop ceiling, it's ugly but practical dammit.)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

If the floorplan is indeed really small and two story, then you probably only need one connection point on each floor. The central vac hoses are like 25' or better, so if there is one connection near a central point on each floor that may be enough to reach everywhere. Usually where the plumbing chase is for bathrooms is a good place to sneak the 2" or so central vac line.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Forgot to mention, the uprights are much easier to deal with than dragging a canister around and having it crash into furniture. I've used central, upright and canister units and that's the order I'd rank them in for desirability too.
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IMO:
1. Go commercial, not residential. 2. Central Vac system. Most noise ends up outdoors though, so have to give consideration to that. Installs within most people's abilities, STICK TO THE INSTRUCTIONS!. If you don't RTFM you'll never get a good all round system.

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Nate Nagel wrote:

It has a power nozzle for carpet and doesn't have the strength to do a perfect job. But, then, neither do I :o) Have hubby's ancient Kirby for the rare occasions that I care whether there might be a little sand down in the pile of the oriental rug. o/w, it is just fine.
My 45 y/o Singer sewing machine sat in a damp basement for about 10 years during my non-sewing phase. When I finally took a look at it, I couldn't budge the wheel. Thought it must be a mass of solid rust. When I looked at the innards I could see with the throat plate open, I saw no rust. It sat a while longer until my son took it to the shop and got it going again. Works perfectly. AFAIK, it is the last made with steel gears. I was at the fabric shop the other day and glanced at super machines priced around $3500 and up.........don't know what they can do, but it must be something special.
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Yes, they not only clean your carpet, they clean out your checking account.
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You won't find quiet. The laws of physics of the motor and blower assembly needed to do any cleaning just don't allow for it.
We have an Electrolux downstairs and a Hoover upstairs. Both do a decent job and have a HEPA filter and good plated steel tubes. Both are over 10 years old so I don't know if the new ones would be comparable.
I do know that a good vacuum cleaner shop will carry better quality brands and models than available at the big discount stores.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

"quiet" being relative, of course. Current vacuum is a Hoover wind tunnel upright thingy, and it is ludicrously loud. Also clogs up quickly and at over $30 for a replacement filter, it kind of defeats the purpose of a cyclonic... just looking for something better.
nate
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Maybe look for "energy efficient" models that use less than 12 amps. And read reviews, search the pages for "quiet" or "noisy!!!" or "loud!!!"

Coincidentally. Apparently there are two different vacuum heads on the Electrolux Twin Clean bagless canister model (EL7055). Some reviews complain about it being very noisy. Then I noticed a difference between models and then found this press release about a new style head. I think the quiet style head is sold at JCPenney and maybe Costco. It has "quietclean" stamped on it.
http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Style/209322/print/

Gone are the days of going to a store just to see what they have. Let your fingers do the walking. Do some window shopping and arrange by price. I'm not saying don't ask on USENET, but the difference between having to go to a store and window shopping on the Internet is truly amazing.
I'm looking for well designed cyclonic/windtunnel/bagless. A long attachment hose. A brush roller on/off switch. I couldn't care less about how fancy it looks, that's just wasted plastic IMO. I've read lots of complaints about emptying the canister, an anti-static dirt cup (Panasonic, maybe others) probably would help with that.
I've read hundreds of reviews so far. The most monotonous expression is "It picked up so much dirt!!!" over and over and over again. Apparently many modern vacuums are considered too heavy (maybe because much plastic is required to encase the bagless system). So far, the only website I have been to that asks how long the reviewer has owned the unit is Wal-Mart. I need to know whether it's reliable, so of course I need to know how long the reviewer has used the product.
Miscellaneous. Apparently Eureka purchased Electrolux (their website is fishy). Apparently Consumer Reports doesn't speak very highly of Dyson. Apparently Consumer Reports likes Sears vacuums. Bagless systems can be messy. Since vacuum cleaners are massively mechanical, might make sense to buy locally after shopping online.
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http://www.appliancist.com/vacuum_cleaners/?start 
Some cool looking vacuum cleaners.
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