HAAN SI-70

As you may or may not know I have hard floors in addition to carpet, both in my house and in my testing areas. These hard floors get dirty just like the carpets and also need a thorough cleaning like everything else. I previously used a Bissell machine to clean my hardwood, tile and linoleum until my hard water broke the steam release valve and steam started shooting out the side and the unit died. After an autopsy was conducted and the machine was buried I went on the hunt for a new one.

Hard Floor Performance

The HAAN SI-70 has a pretty good trick up its sleeve compared to many other machines on the market in that the steam unit can be pulled out and used as a handheld unit. This is great (and I have a whole section talking about it later) but most people are buying this machine for its performance on the floor. This machine does a good job on the floor, using 212 degree steam to clean the floors and microfiber pads to scrub the floor and absorb the water left behind. This steam dries very quickly and does a very good job at cleaning, although some stubborn spots persisted and I had to take out the hand unit to blast them away. This machine had a few troubles getting coffee spots off of hardwood, but outside of that did a very good job.

Carpet Performance

The HAAN SI-70 also has a carpet attachment that can be put on the unit for steaming your carpets and area rugs. This is nice for sanitation purposes and to get even more dirt out of the carpet. When I tried the carpet steamer I was able to remove more dirt after I steamed than after I just vacuumed. In addition the steamer was able to remove a large amount of smell in the carpet. The steamer also snaps on easily and can be ready to use in just a few minutes.

Attachment Performance

One of the coolest features of the machine, and something that isn’t available with other machines is the unique ability to use attachments. This feature is quite easy to use as you just have to squeeze two buttons and the steam unit detaches from the main body. After the steam unit is detached it can be used to steam off stubborn spots on your floor, or an attachment put on. In the box there are attachments for a small cleaning head, a grout cleaning brush and a 90 degree elbow. All of these attachments just slide onto the steam unit and are ready to use instantly. All of these attachments work pretty well at cleaning, with the steam unit generating a very powerful stream of steam.

Overall

With the average price of the unit being $129.99 the machine is a good buy, with sales being able to drop the price down to $99.99 a wallet friendly price. Although this machine isn’t the cheapest in the steam mop field, it does a great job and has AMAZING build quality compared to its competitors. While most other machines creak and flex the HAAN stays solid. I feel the machine does a great job on my hardwood and tile, getting most of the dirt. On linoleum the machine also cleans quite well getting everything I put down and let dry. To say it bluntly, this machine works. This is a machine where you don’t work for a good clean, a good clean works for you.

Score 8/10

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Kirby Vacuum Review

This machine is tough to write a review of, on one hand it is one of the few models made mostly of metal and will last you a long time, but on the other hand being metal means it is quite heavy and hard to carry. This machine is not like any other machine on the market, and in many ways has some great advantages, but in other ways it has some big drawbacks.

Floor Cleaning

In one word, Wow. This machine has a LOT of power and does not hold itself back when put to cleaning. This machine employs a dirty fan system, with the fan being less than three inches from the floor, causing the airflow on this machine to be tremendous at the point of floor contact. The motor is also VERY powerful, and at times this can be a bit of a problem (think sucking up a smaller rug). The machine is raised and lowered manually through two pedals on the front wheels. This must be done to set the height every time you wish to vacuum your floors. Although the brushroll on this machine is a softer one (a stiffer version is available for those with pet hair) the airflow at the floor head more than makes up for it, creating amazing cleaning power. This brushroll is connected to the main motor shaft (that also runs the fan and transmission) through a belt and the BeltLifter. The BeltLifter is a bit complicated for those who haven’t used a Kirby vacuum before, but it is a great feature as it will properly load the belt and twist it for you as needed.

Filtration

This machine is a bagged machine, and has a variety of bags that can be used in it for varying levels of filtration. The lowest level of filtration is a paper bag that restricts airflow quickly and leaks some dust but will get the job done and is pretty cheap. The middle level of filtration is a cloth aftermarket bag made by EnviroCare, this bag is pretty good at keeping in the dirt and dust but misses some fine particles. The top bag is the genuine Kirby Allergen Reduction Filter, this HEPA filter bag will capture an amazing amount of dirt, dust, allergens and more from the air being filtered through it. This bag is expensive, but does a great job at keeping the dirt in the bag and out of the air.

Attachments

When it comes to attachments there is no machine like the Kirby, bar none. The standards like a turbo brush, crevice tool and wand are done quite well, but if that’s where you stop you will miss so much of the value of the machine. This machine also has attachments for sanding/grinding, shampooing your carpets, buffing hard floors and even spraying (yep, the machine can paint your house)! Most of these are not included with the base price of the machine but they can be purchased separately, or bargained for at the time of purchase. One downside to these attachments is the amount of steps required to take off the floor head and attach the tool you want to use. This requires a bit of work to do and you have to attach the floor head when you are done using the tools.

 Ease of use

This machine is quite unique when it comes to usability, as it is a very heavy machine which makes it hard to use if you have more than one story, but also has features like a transmission to make it quite light to push. The machine will automatically apply forward or reverse motion to the back wheels when pushed forward or backward, lightening the amount of force needed to push. This really helps when the machine is sealed to the floor as it can get very hard to push when the transmission is not enabled. In addition the attachment system is somewhat hard to use and people that are new to the Kirby are often confused by it.

Conclusion

This machine is a great machine, combining durability, strength and an amazing array of attachments with a few negatives such as steps to use a tool, weight and the high cost of the machine. This machine is a great fit for those with messy environments, but no so much for those with more than one floor. Overall this machine has won the review team over, and we love the power of this machine enough to give it an almost perfect score.

 

See a video review:

Score 9/10

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Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro Review

The Shark Rotator Lift-Away Pro is Shark’s latest vacuum cleaner, and in our tests the best one from shark to date. The original Shark Navigator was a smashing success, not in cleaning power (It was good but a bit lacking compared to the competition) but in performance to price ratio. The next versions of the navigator always found places to improve or innovate on the original but none like this. This was clearly a redesign from the ground up, and the fact that the name “Navigator” is not on the machine demonstrates that clearly. The engineers at Shark really pushed the limits of what they could do with the old ideas of the navigator, and this is a whole new paradigm. They took the best from the old series and combined it with new innovation to create an amazing machine for most users.

One thing that was a huge innovation on the old machines was the lift-away function, and it comes back better than ever on this machine. The new design is not without flaws though, with the base occasionally sticking to the motor unit when the lift-away mechanism is activated. This is a rare problem, but unfortunately must be mentioned, as in our tests (as well as everyday use) the machine will fail to lift away, and must be shaken to detach properly. When this bug does not appear (about 85% of the time) the lift-away function works wonderfully. The machine is quite easy to carry in lift-away mode, and the many attachments work quite well. In addition the lift-away caddy is another great new feature, allowing the machine to be pulled behind you as you clean. The attachments on this model are also quite robust, comprising of a: wand, crevice tool, dusting brush, turbo brush, and a bare floor tool. These all are easy to use and have a storage place, either on the machine or on the caddy.

The cleaning power on the floor is also improved over previous models, with a new extra-large floor head compared to previous models. This new floor head has the signature strong shark brushroll, and a new feature to the shark brand, Headlights! This floor head is also quite large and features the swivel steering controls like previous lift-away vacuums. The swivel steering makes it easy to move around and keep control of the vacuum, while allowing you to still get into tight places. The strong suction provided by the motor unit also allows the vacuum to keep up with the brushrolls ability to dislodge dirt from the carpet fibers. This new floor head also seals to the floor like the Dyson DC41, which allows for very strong pickup performance on carpet. Like older shark brushrolls this machine still has overload protection, and the brushroll will stop when jammed before damage is caused to the floor, the machine or the item caught in the brush.

Overall this vacuum is a strong upgrade from previous Shark Navigators, and a very strong machine on its own. This machine has been redesigned to be more user friendly while having greater performance in all areas.

See our video review here:

Score: 9/10

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