Innovation Update: Top-Rated Vacuum Cleaners (cont.)

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SMART VAC. If you’re more in tune with smart-home technologies than you are with the idea of going cordless, the good news is that two manufacturers are launching smart vacuum cleaners in 2017 that make adjustments on the go.

DITCHING THE FILTER. In 2015, Dyson introduced two upright vacuum cleaners: the Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy ($700) and the Cinetic Big Ball Animal ($600), which include no filters to remove and wash or to replace. These models use a finer (metal) screen instead to trap dirt. In September 2016, the company followed that with a canister version of its Cinetic Big Ball Animal, also for $600. No other manufacturers report that they’re working on filterless designs.

DITCHING THE FILTER. In 2015, Dyson introduced two upright vacuum cleaners: the Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy ($700) and the Cinetic Big Ball Animal ($600), which include no filters to remove and wash or to replace. These models use a finer (metal) screen instead to trap dirt. In September 2016, the company followed that with a canister version of its Cinetic Big Ball Animal, also for $600. No other manufacturers report that they’re working on filterless designs.

Dyson

Hoover’s React series of upright bagless vacuum cleaners (starting at $190), which were introduced in April 2017, have a feature that’s dubbed FloorSense, which detects hard floors and carpets via five electronic sensors and automatically adjusts the speed of the brush roll to account for the surface. Based on our hands-on evaluations, we found that the vacuum cleaner accurately detects flooring differences and switches settings within 2 seconds. (Other vacuum cleaners adjust their height automatically to account for different types of flooring, but you still have to adjust the speed of the brush roll yourself.)

Hoover’s React vacuum cleaners also are the first that connect to a free mobile app for Apple iOS or Google Android smartphones. By communicating with the app, the vacuum cleaner alerts you to when you should empty the dustbin and clean your filter or guides you through diagnostic steps in the event of a clog. The app even allows you to program the vacuum cleaner’s brush roll to shut off when it encounters hard floors, so debris isn’t scattered.

At press time, Electrolux said it plan-ned to introduce in late 2017 the UltraOne Deluxe ($1,000), which will include a technology that analyzes floor conditions, so it can adjust brush-roll speed and shift among five levels of suction automatically. That feature adds $300 to the cost of its current EL7085ADX model, which requires you to push a button to make those adjustments. No other manufacturer reports that it’s working on a smart vacuum cleaner.

OPENING UP. While Electrolux and Hoover focus on automation to deliver improved performance, Shark seeks to make vacuum cleaners more effective through less technological means.

Shark’s NV800W upright vacuum cleaner ($300), which was introduced in April 2017, incorporates two brush rolls in tandem—a standard, primary brush roll and a smaller, secondary brush roll. The secondary brush roll is mounted to the front of the brush-roll housing and has no covering. In other words, it’s an open-face vacuum cleaner.

Shark calls the innovation DuoClean, and in our hands-on evaluations, we found it to be extremely effective at picking up debris compared with the capability of vacuum cleaners that have closed faces. For example, we were able to vacuum up 2-by-8-inch piles of cat litter on a single pass when we used the Shark vacuum cleaner. Other vacuum cleaners simply bulldoze the debris before they pick it up on a second or third pass. Shark says it expects to release two additional DuoClean models in fall   2017.

Drew Vass is a regular contributor to Consumers Digest. He has written on a wide variety of home-related topics, ranging from kitchen and bathroom products to portable spas and lighting.

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