For the worst product ever… I nominate my vacuum cleaner, Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940.
Now my Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner and I didn’t start out with this strained relationship. Obviously, I chose to invite the thing into my home.
With most products, you try to avoid the one that sucks. That’s not the case with a vacuum cleaner. I want the suckiest vacuum cleaner on the market. I want it to set its sucky little sights on the dust bunnies around the corner, the invisible sand ground in to the depths of my carpet fibers, and those hundreds of miniscule scraps of paper left over from a mystery craft project (you know, the one no one in the house had anything to do with). When I propel my vacuum cleaner over popcorn seeds and rice grains, I do not want to find those same popcorn seeds and rice grains sneering up at me from the carpet after the vacuum cleaner has passed. Whoosh! I want those nasty little annoyances removed from my life. That’s why I bought this vacuum cleaner. I would even risk the potential loss of a few of my daughters’ precious Polly Pocket outfits or plastic beads in my quest for a vacuum that seriously sucks!
My former vacuum sucked royally. Unfortunately, it sucked some hard foreign object right into its motor and expired. So began my quest for a vacuum cleaner that sucks but not one that sucks directly into the motor. What I ended up with was my Hoover Fold-Away Model U5163-940.
So what features convinced me to buy the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner?
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has 12 amps of sucking power and an alleged cleaning performance rating of 20.0. Ah, power. But, from day one, this power was a joke. The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner vacuumed okay, but not great. Deep down dirt stayed in place unless I vacuumed over it multiple times and with great force. It’s tiring to vacuum that way. Without using a special attachment for the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner, it doesn’t clean corners or edges. About those Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner attachments, keep reading…
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner comes with a detachable hose that lifts out of the base and fits a variety of cleaning tools. The hose is supposed to stay put, unless you’re using vacuum attachments. Nifty concept. Bad design. The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner hose clicks into place down near the front of the vacuum. For normal use the dirt is sucked into a hole in the vacuum cleaner bottom and goes through the hose into the canister. When you need to use an attachment for the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner, you twist the hose off its base, hook up your attachment, and the attachment has all the suction power.
Ha! At least that’s what the Hoover folks claim. The reality is that the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner hose slides out of place repeatedly during vacuuming, diverting the suction away from the vacuum bottom and into the hose dangling several inches above the floor, where it accomplishes nothing. The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner hose requires five or six reconnections during a single course of vacuuming. This aggravation has caused my vocabulary to deteriorate – #(!@*(*@^ amp;!^)(_$U$(@!.
Self-Storing Cleaning Tools
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has plastic clips on its back to hold the cleaning tools. Always there, always convenient, the theory goes. “Where the heck are those cleaning tools?” They drop like flies when someone vacuums, ad nauseum, until the vacuum user throws them out the window in frustration… or puts them away somewhere and forgets where…. or stomps off in disgust, leaving them in the out of reach location they happened to fall in. How many times, I need those Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner tools and wonder where they’ve run off to. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think they were capable of self-propulsion. But I know from the way this vacuum works that our friendly engineers at Hoover aren’t capable of designing anything so sophisticated.
The curse words are getting louder. We’re not finished yet. But before getting to the remaining design flaws, I need to say something good about the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner.
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner is a relatively lightweight vacuum cleaner and I have remained pleased with that. Unlike so much of the rest of the United States population, my vacuum cleaner has managed to avoid weight gain during the years of our acquaintance. When I have to move it from place to place or lift it to clean stairs, I am grateful for its trim figure.
This Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has a stair handle to help lift it when vacuuming stairs. It works. And the vacuum is light enough, I can actually do this okay. The problem is that I can’t vacuum the back or side edges of the stairs without an attachment. Assuming I can find the damned attachment, picture this. I am holding the vacuum cleaner with two hands, one holding the weight of the machine and the other guiding it with the stair handle. Just where is this third hand that is needed to manipulate the hose with the attachment on it? Did the maker of this confound contraption design it for an octopus?
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner is a bagless vacuum. Bagless is a mixed bag. It is convenient not having to buy bags. And it’s cost effective not having to buy them. But it’s also extremely messy. When you dump out the canister, a fine particulate wafts up into the air, and all over the person doing the dumping, then settles onto the floor around the waste basket. Somewhat messier than detaching a bag and being hit with a bit of backflow. But most aggravating of all is that some of the vacuumed refuse inevitably clumps together and clings to the screen at the bottom of the canister, making it necessary to reach in and dig it out. Not a pleasant job.
I still love the idea of a bagless and would likely buy another, only I would hope to find one whose design minimized the mess. The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner bagless canister design does not do the trick.
Foldover Handle for Storage
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has a foldover handle for easy storage. Yup good feature. No complaints. It is as convenient as it sounds- the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner scrunches into half the space it would otherwise need.
Amusingly enough, I was most suspicious of this feature when buying the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner. Figured with all the folding up and down it would be prone to breakage. But this feature is about the only thing not wrong with this vacuum cleaner after a couple years of owning it.
Allergen Filter and Regular Filter
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has two filters, a regular filter and a special allergen attracting filter.
I suspect that the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner allergen filter is a publicity ploy. Hardly anything ever collects on it. In a house with 2 adults, 3 kids, a cat, a guinea pig, the occasional bunny, two turtles, 6 fish, and a forced air heating and cooling system spewing particles throughout the house, this filter can’t locate an allergen? Gee that’s odd, because when the kids’ friends with allergies come over, they start sniffling right away.
The regular filter for the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner is the real disaster, though. It’s a paper accordion filter on an oval plastic frame which is so amazingly consumer friendly that you can’t buy replacements in stores. Got that? It is not sold in any retail store I can find, not even vacuum cleaner stores. Nope, gotta write to the manufacturer and have it mailed. Now I guess if you are some sort of uber organizer who calculates the life of your vacuum cleaner filter and buys extras months in advance, this may not bother you as much as it bothers me. I worry about changing my vacuum cleaner filter exactly when it stops working because gunk is stuck all over it like a blooming fungus. And at that point in time, I ‘m in no mood to dig through volumes of paper to find out where the manufacturer has his hideaway so I can write to that cretin for a new filter. What am I supposed to do- leave the floor half vacuumed for a week ’til my new filter arrives? This is beyond my tolerance. Not consumer friendly? Consumer hostile is more like it.
Overall Performance Features
And still I am not done. No the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has another very unique feature. Constipation. You read that right. I am not sure what the cause is, but this vacuum cleaner gets clogged more than any I have ever owned. I’ll forgive it the pine needles at Christmas time, but hey, this thing clogs year round.
The Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner has the ultimate case of vacuum cleaner snobbery. It “doesn’t do” popcorn. Unfortunately, my kids do do popcorn and lots of it. The vacuum cleaner “doesn’t do” paper scraps. My kids do lots of those too. The vacuum cleaner doesn’t even like raisins. Now what is wrong with that vacuum cleaner anyway?
Maybe the problem here is me. You see, I don’t respect my Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner’s preferences. I expect my Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner to vacuum up everything that doesn’t belong the floor. And so, despite its aversion to popcorn and paper and raisins and numerous other unwanted floor coverings, I drag that vacuum over those things. And it responds with a vengeance. Constipation sets in so badly that (1) any further use of the vacuum is counterproductive. It stops sucking and just pushes floor refuse back and forth; and (2) the vacuum needs to be unclogged by hand. This requires unscrewing the hose from the back of the vacuum cleaner- how well I know just where those five screws are- taking the hose off, shaking it out and usually pulling wads of whatever out of it, then screwing it back in place.
Now if this happened once a year, say with those pine needles from the Christmas tree, my Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner and I- well we could be friends. But no this uppity little machine clogs itself at least once a week. In fact there seems to be a direct correlation between my level of need in getting the place vacuumed and that blasted machine’s constipation. Among the things I don’t care to deal with in life, constipated vacuum cleaners top the list.
Did I mention that the plastic plate on the bottom of the Hoover Fold Away Model U5163-940 vacuum cleaner with the wheels attached drops off at random? Yeah, that too.
The undesirable features of this vacuum are legion; the positive traits few. And the positives don’t get the floor cleaned.