My February 2007 issue doesn't have vacuums at all. I do have the
October 2006 in front of me and it does. They don't rate all vacuums
together but have a division between upright and canister. These are the
top 5 in each category.
Kenmore 35922 Electrolux EL7020A
Electrolux EL5035A Kenmore 25614
Kenmore 36932 Kenmore 25914
Eureka 4870 Kenmore 25512
Hoover U6630-900 Bosch BSG81360UC
My experience w/ about all of CR's ratings -- :(
They and I have a marked disagreement on what appears important on
almost every consumer product I've ever compared their ratings w/ my
OTOH, the compiled repair data is of some value on occasion since it
comes from a wider sample and isn't based solely on their particular
set of inhouse tests that don't seem to be very meaningful often...
imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc., etc., ... :)
You can get a re-built Dysan for $300 at Big Lots.
But, I opt for 3 or 4 inexpensive <rebuilt> vacuums and keep one in
each room. If you're really smart, find out how many belts and what
they cost, and decide based on future grief in replacing that belt.
The Eureka 4870 Smart Vac Boss has been a CR Best Buy for the last
couple of tests. One of the Kenmores was rated a little better, and can
often be found at attractive pricing.
Years ago I bought the step-up model of the Best Buy Sharp upright. It
pretty much performs as tested - a little weak on edges as tested, but
it was well worth the $150 price and is still going strong.
CR criticized the Sharp for lack of tools/attachments, but the extras
from our previous, now junked machines work perfectly with it.
The PU-2 bags are hard to find, but are a very cheap buy on eBay(30-40
at a time).
We have a Dyson. It is by far the best vacuum we have ever owned. We
quit using the Sears upright. We sometimes use the Sears cannister vac,
mostly for cleaning cars. It came with two power nozzles, one standard
rug style and one miniature upholstery nozzle with a handy little beater
brush. He upholstery nozzle could use a more powerful motor, but I
guess they didn't want housewives wrapping the curtains around the
We have an old Rainbow wet-dry vac from the '60s that I call R2D2
because it's a chrome dome. Everybody needs a wet vac around, but it's
about worthless for carpets.
For email, replace firstnamelastinitial
with my first name and last initial.
Take a look at "Vacuum ratings may surprise you" in the following link:
It's not the actual Consumer Reports article, but it points out some of
Hope this helps.
I subscribe to Consumer Reports primarily for its entertainment value.
I think it's primarily useful in alerting people to products they may
not know about, such as my Panasonic low-profile AC ( the best low
profile ever made) which I bought in the early 90's (now
discontinued.) But as a rule I don't trust their ratings. For example
when VCR's first came out, there were several brands that were
obviously identical except for minor cosmetics. Sometimes CR
would give them different ratings. (This was in the days when
products were judged on many more points than they are today.)
I think it is remarkable that nobody has successfully sued them.
That seems to attest to their highly positive (for whatever reason)
reputation. Several have tried including Suzuki (the celebrated
Samurai case) and Bose. In the latter, they downgraded a certain
Bose system because they said the sound appeared to "wander
around the room," clearly an impossibility. That is the kind of
dumb and groundless statement that I have caught them making
on more than one occasion. (Of course now we have the
baby car seat debacle where we find that CR really doesn't do
all their own testing.)
I'm not sure the problem is bad intent as much as limited
resources. They simply couldn't afford to have enough good
techs with specific expertise in each of the areas they cover,
so they obviously need to rely heavily on hacks with general
knowledge (or lack of it.)
I really wish I could get a good discussion going on this
group about CR. I think it would be very interesting to see
what people report. Again, however, just to be fair, they do
get it right on occasion. The Toshiba Regza 32" LCD TV
that I got for my GF at Christmas has turned out to be nothing
short of superb.
I tend to agree with this. A good source of information, but their
specific recommendations can be suspect.
I've seen plenty of spirited discussion about CR on the net over the
years. It commonly goes something like this:
(in a camera group) "CR is way off base on its camera ratings, but
it's a good place to pick a dishwasher"
(in an appliance group) "CR knows nothing about dishwashers, but it's
a great place to pick a car"
(in car groups) "CR knows nothing about cars, but I bought my camera
according to one of their ratings"
It seems the more you know about the products, the less confident you
are about the ratings. Of course, there are lots of people who follow
CR closely and don't have any complaints about it.
My take on them is like this: they're a good place to go for info on a
product if you are not an enthusiast of whatever you're looking for and
don't care to be. e.g. you're just a general, average consumer and you
need a car. Read CR, buy a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. Done. But if
you're a "car guy" you know that there's way better products on the
market for what you look for in a car - but an enthusiast's priorities
are not aligned with those of the average consumer. Me, I'll keep my 20
year old Porsche, thanks, but your average person would be writing angry
letters to CR when they find out that a timing belt service is $1500...
(well, to be honest, I thought about writing a letter to Stuttgart
myself, what the hell were they thinking driving the water pump off a
long ass timing belt like that? And on an interference engine, too?)
However, your average consumer does not care so much about handling,
acceleration only a little, and above all they want reliability, low
maintenance cost and a good dealership experience. They also probably
won't bother keeping a car more than 10 years (or even 5) so ultimate
durability is of little concern to them. So a Camry or Accord is good
for them, but maybe not for me. The short-term thing is *my* biggest
reason for not reading CR, I prefer to make long term commitments to my
vehicles and CR takes a very short-term, JD Power-esque view of rating
"quality." Vehicles that have proven very durable, like many German
makes, get abysmal ratings from CR because that seems to go hand in hand
with niggling little initial quality issues (more emphasis on design
than build quality?)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
My gripe with them is that they usually do a good job of describing
what features what models have (which is useful), but they often don't
explain the advantage/disadvantage of having/lacking a certain
For example, they will rate lawnmowers and they will tell you which
ones have big rear wheels. But they won't tell you why you would want
to have big rear wheels (why would you?).
Or they will rate refrigerators and tell you which have humidity
controls on the drawers. They won't tell you how well they actually
control humidity, nor will they tell you whether this really makes
much difference. (much difference in what, besides humidity, I don't
Now I just made up those examples and they may not be true, but they
illustrate the idea.
It reminds me a lot of the help files for most software. If you know
what you want to do, and what it's called, they will usually tell you
how to do it. But if you just know what you want to accomplish, you
are often on your own figuring out what feature or combination of
features to use. If you just read through the help file, you get the
same deal as with CR. You will learn how to apply dithering to your
photos, for example, but get no explanation as to when you would want
to do this and what to expect.
Often I find the personal reviews of items on Amazon more helpful.
But it's a pain wading through all the obvious crap and noise to find
the helpful, informed comments. (Kind of like reading Usenet!)
Still, I guess I get just enough useful info from CR to keep my
Although you point out a few examples where they give extra prefernce to
some features that *maybe most* I suspect *might* find "lesser benefit"
from, I say take most data with at most a grain (or a few) of salt
unless the data is verifiably withstanding some tests of truth, such as
being stated/claimed by both CR and a source of hotrod cars, source of
high performance cars that are such from the factory, or by both CR and a
source of SUVs!
<SNIP mainly to edit for space>
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
My question to all the people who dismiss CR's ratings is. How do you
decide what product to choose if you don't know much about them? Ask
I've been a photographer all my life and the CR ratings of cameras are
MUCH better than looking at the ads, and in general are good choices
for someone who isn't into photography. An involved photographer
wants features and abilities the novice will never use and will likely
confuse them making the camera more difficult to use.
Several times I've heard "professional" painters badmouth their top
rated paints and praise their bottom rated ones. They actually run
fairly extensive tests of durability on paints. I simply don't
believe their worst performing paint is better than their best
performing, but I see the equivalent of these comments on CR ratings
all the time.
The statement that CR is only good for 'brand new' cars simply isn't
true. They have more than a hundred thousand subscribers' experiences
with cars listed for the last 8 years. A car isn't likely to have bad
reliability for 8 years and become better than average after that.
They have these subscribers'/users repair experiences for almost every
major product - TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, and on and on.
I've bought many products based on CRs, and the disappointments are
much fewer than products I had to decide without their advice.
So, for you folks who think CR's a joke, just keep asking your
brother-in-law. I'll ask the people who have actually tested many
brands of refrigerators (not just the two they've owned), and the
100,000 plus people how well all the different brands they've owned
That's a fair and somewhat interesting question -- how do I decide
since I find I disagree w/ CR's ratings so frequently? In considering
it, I've come to two conclusions --
First, I really buy very little that I don't already have strong
opinions upon and likes/dislikes so that I rarely have a quandry in
selecting a product -- I already know what I want so just go get it.
On the second where there is some uncertainty, in thinking about what
I've done over the last several years, I find I have made a final
selection between competing products somewhat like the other poster
noted by comparing online user comments at Amazon or similar forums.
Products w/ quite a number of DOA's or other comments are avoided and
otherwise I simply select based on what I want/see in the literature I
I will agree that the one place where CR still does have some
credibility w/ me is in the long-term repair histories -- but again,
in many instances they're either so generic as to be meaningless or my
personal experience doesn't seem to match the overall data. So, I
might avoid a particular model from a particular manufacturer, but if
I have used that manufacurer's products for quite some time w/
satisfaction, I'm not likely to switch until I have a personal
On one specific issue, paint testing -- the problem there is that
while CR's tests may be perfect and there of some value, in the real
world it's similar to real estate's mantra of "location,
location, ..." -- it's all in the "preparation, preparation,
preparation." The best paint poorly applied on an improperly prepared
surface will peform more poorly than almost the worst paint well-
applied on a good surface. Hence, the anecdotal stories...
In general, I've come to the conclusion that CR is, for the most part,
more interested in selling CR than anything else...anybody else
getting the stupid "testing results as news" on their local news
casts? Talk about a waste of air time and lazy reporting...I've
wondered but never bothered to ask--are these sponsored? :(
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