General discussion

Anybody use a Rainbow Vacuum?

My wife is lobbying to buy a Rainbow vac. I'm skeptical because it was rated poorly by Consumer Reports and it is VERY expensive.

Any comments from folks who have used one?

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Heard about them.

Ran across some when I worked for Kirby, et al.

Last I knew they filtered through water. And then ya had to deal with scummy, yukky water. They'd be my last choice. I just don't think they could clean above and beyond any other enough to justify that and the price!

I personally have an Oreck, and REALLY like it.


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we dumped the water

in the toilet and rinsed it and dumped again, was really pretty easy to clean, as long as you did it right after using.

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Yep, it's not the big of a deal to dump the waste water...

Plus, if anyone finds that problematic, then they can buy a 4 quart water reservoir so you don't have to empty it as often. It's really a non-issue for me.

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Which model you have?

He's pushing the XL a lot on TV these days and you get a small vac and an iron with it. Comparing the price to other models, it might be worth it if I was going to get an Oreck.

Evie Happy

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The XL Deluxe

When we bought, we got the canister vac iron then.

Both work very well, and they gave us free yearly tune-ups for 3 years and $50 worth of accessories for free.


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I missed this until this thread got exhumed. It is something we are considering. I don't think I would be interested in either the price or the water for that Rainbow!

Evie Happy

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only way to go

If you like to really clean, I don't know how you would do it otherwise. If your dog pees on the carpet you can wash it then suck up the liquid. It does it all, dry and wet. I've had mine since 94 and only had it serviced once. I just don't know how you clean up wet messes without it. It's also the best thing in the world for hard surfaces. Sweeping is so inefficient - it just moves the dirt around and forget corner. The Rainbow gets rid of the dirt, dust and hair and then you flush it away! I love mine. Will always have one.

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I have a Bissel ...

... "little green clean machine" for small wet messes.

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My MIL had one

and it was great! Just try not to tip it over too oftenSad It took more dust out of a room than any vacuum I have ever used! The only problem she had with it was the power broomSad It did cost a pretty penny to fix it! Over all worth the priceHappy

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It's biggest selling point

according to a friend of mine was it didn't spray dust into the air. He could stay in the house when his wife vaccumned because of his allergies.

You can sometimes get them used for about half the price.


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That's what my wife likes ...

What I don't like is the fact that it's so loud I suspect it could cause hearing damage.

I'm serious about that. I believe I've heard jet engines quieter than that vacuum.

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I believe CU once said they [u]do[/u]

spray dust in the air. (Measured but not seen.)

BTW a close look will show the dirty air doesn't go through the water (like a hookah) but over it; not the same thing. Modern HEPA filters guaranteed to take out and hold anything you might want to worry about.

In any case, buying used is usually a good option. Many shops are equipped for ''factory servicing'' at less cost than new.

My wife swore by Rainbow, while I swore at it. Happy She's now satisfied with our mid-level Sears HEPA, and she has allergies.

You're not alone in disliking the noise.

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My 20 year old Rainbow is just as quiet as my much newer

Kenmore HEPA vac. That said, from what I understand the newer Rainbows have brushless motors which are more powerful and maintenance free; but they are louder than the older models.

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If room dust being dispersed is a concern, how about....

.... how about a central vacuum system? Folks I know who have them love them. No noise. No dragging around a machine. No worry if the cord isn't long enough.

For the price of a Rainbow, if I had the choice I would go for a central system.

I just looked at the CR report.

Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

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Yes I owned one for years and it was great...

It was very expensive but did a terrific job. If you like a clean carpet, seat cushions then I would recommend a Rainbow if you can afford one. We now have a Dyson and while good I think the Rainbow did a better job. Dumping the water after was as easy as flushing it down the toilet and rinsing. If you could see floating dust in the air you could run it without the wand/power head for 5-10 minutes and visibly see the reduced dust. I also liked to add clear vanilla to the water and it filled the whole house with the aroma.

Job changes, family, wife hating it all contributed to me not replacing it. I will say the Rainbow lasted over 10 years and since we got ride of it we are on our 3rd vacuum that my wife picked out. Rainbow in 88 = $1200, 3 other vacuums in 6 years = $900. If the Dyson does not last at least 4 more years then the Rainbow was a better buy.

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If the 'dust free' argument is...

her strongest concern you might consider looking at the Filter Queen (looks similar to the Rainbow but there is no water involved) as it is every bit as dust free and although expensive it does an excellent job and if you go for the whole system you even end up with an air "purifier".

I was a "happy camper" with the Filter Queen until I allowed my daughter-in-law to borrow mine to clean up an apartment they were moving into and she loaned it to her mother who thought it could be used as a wet vac and ruined it.

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I think she's going to get the Rainbow regardless ...

I knew I should have stayed home during the sales demo so I could pelt the salesman with tomatoes.

Oh well.

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(NT) (NT) Waste of tomatoes ;-)
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(NT) (NT) The one who vacuums gets to choose ;-)
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Sorry, I missed this thread eariler.

I received a Rainbow as a hand-me-down from my mother. My only complaint was that it was slightly difficult to maneuver. i.e. you're dragging it around by the hose, as opposed to a solid handle, and given that there's some pretty icky water inside, it's best not to jostle or tilt it. Also, once a little wear and tear occurs, when you pick it up by the handle, the wheeled base falls off.

But if the dirtiness of the water was any indication, it sure cleaned well.

And/or I'm a slob - Mark

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''any indication''

That's why I use Consumer Reports: Anecdotes and personal observations are no substitute for technology. (IMO, after a lifetime of making a living at technology.) CU found dust getting past the 'water filter;' invisible but real.

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What Consumer Reports didn't tell you...

Consumer reports didn't tell you that the dust that gets past the water bath is talcum powder (and other body powders), fireplace ash, sheetrock and plaster dust and other masonry dusts..

The reason.. these are not affected by water in the same was as regular "dust". Try it yourself.. Rainbow even says that the water bath does not catch these dusts and that is why the new E-series models have a true HEPA filter built into the air output as well as the water bath..

I personally own a 1986 model D-4C.. I dont pick up the above materials, because you shouldn't be doing so with a, then $995 vacuum. And today with the $1500 ones you shouldn't be picking up those materials.. That is what a shop vac with a proper dense material filter is for.

And if you spill talc powder in the bathroom, pick it up with a dustbuster or a slightly damp cloth and rinse it out. Do not use your Rainbow to do this.

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Meh. You'd be wise to consider other sources than just CU.

I speak from personal experience.

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Get a Dyson.It's cleverly designed, seems to never go wrong,

and maintains very high levels of suction no matter how full the container is. It has been the dominant brand in Britain and in parts of Europe for nearly 25 years now and is just beginning to break into the American market. We had one in Britain and damn near brought it back with us to run using a 220 transformer. Soon as we find one in Canada we'll buy it. Its moderately pricey.

Don't know how it rates with Consumer Reports but the British equivalent gave it top marks for years.


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YES! and you should listen to your wife!

To the "soon to be the proud owner of a Rainbow vacuum",
I remember 17 years ago when my mother allowed a Rainbow sales lady to enter our small condo to demonstrate a vacuum. I was almost ten then and she NEVER let anyone into the house. I clearly remember the rep pouring one cup of salt all over the carpet, and then she ran the new RB all over the carpet and then opened it and re-measured the salt she had just vacuumed up. There was exactly what she poured in and of course a bunch of other stuff we didn't know was in our carpet. We were sold. Mom (being the smart woman she is) found a used one (to save some money) and she has been using it ever since!! She has major allergy issues and after using this vacuum for a month, she had improved. She swore, and still swares by this machine. And let me add (because I called her about it yesterday) she has never had to repair the vaccum!
I recently got married and just last week our stupid Panasonic upright broke for the second time; it?s not sucking. So, like most women out there that shop at BB&B, I had to have the new Bryson Animal. Well, we went and demoed it and quite frankly it is a piece of crap. I used to work for a great private company called NexSystems - visit their website and that will tell you how picky I am about a vacuum.
All my life I have known, if I ever grew up and had a house of my own; I would own a Rainbow vacuum because my mom has proven how great it is. It has never lost suction and is so powerful it sucks up dirt from the bottom of the carpet (as you probably know, most if not all vacuums don?t do this). It always leaves the house smelling clean (we all know how dirt smells) and it will last a very long time. It is a lot of money to drop all at once...but mom paid $500.00 and over 17 years, that has ended up costing her 0.08 a day. I say, well worth it!
I am thinking of buying mine (I was online looking around tonight because we are buying a Rainbow) at or Know of a better place?
Good luck...and BUY A will thank your wife!

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If your wife bought it, you'll enjoy it..

Rainbow is quite simply the best there is. Yes it is a little annoying with having to empty the basin and clean the seperator each time.. There is a machine out there called Hyla that is pretty much the only direct competitor to Rainbow.. They claim to have a ''maintenance free'' seperator. Choose your pick, they both work in the same way, though I cannot speak for how well a Hyla works. But they have a cute little frog as their trademark.. Silly

Anyway, dont pick up talcum powder, fireplace ash, and sheetrock/plaster/masonry dust with a Rainbow.. There are other machines that are suited to this, or a damp cloth for talcum powder.

Also in reference to my other post, I meant to say that those dusts dont react the same way, not same was.. I wish cnet had an edit your post thing Happy

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And a little more for everyone else..

If you aren't interested in a water bath vacuum.. The Dyson does actually do a good job at seperating the dust from the air.. The trouble is you do have to empty that bagless canister, and there is nothing to trap the dust while you empty it. It WILL go flying everywhere..

Oreck is also a great choice if you have trouble lifting heavy objects, they do make great machines and have showrooms nationwide just like Rainbow. Though their machines do not do as good a job as Rainbow at filtering while vacuuming, they do have the self sealing bag and that can be important if you have allergies. If weight isn't an object, stick to Rainbow.

I would avoid Kirby.. simply because they weigh too much, the bag fits in a very silly manner making it all to easy to spill out all the stuff in the bag. Even the new models that are aluminum, still have the chrome motor base, making a very heavy vacuum. Also, I question their maintenance costs, their salesman also tend to trashtalk Rainbow very harshly. That just isn't a kosher way of selling a product in my opinion.. (This is from a personal doorstep visit by a Kirby firm in Wichita, KS).. I would have let him demonstrate his product if he had not of said bad things about the machine that has never done me wrong (Rainbow).

Ok off the soap box, this is getting too long.

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For the love of Pete, don't take Consumer Reports testing as

the gospel. I subscribe to their magazine, and my ownership results based on their recommendations for a microwave oven and vacuum cleaner have been less than stellar. In fact, CU has flunked my independent testing thus far. Wink

Anyway, based on their testing, I bought a Kenmore True HEPA vac a couple of years ago. It's a pile of junk compared to older vacs I've owned. Yes, the HEPA filtration is nice, but recently the power nozzle broke near the hose attachment base and the accessory lids on the canister portion are difficult to close. The vacuum does a reasonably good job of cleaning the floor, but the bag fills up too quickly; and the quicker the bag fills up, the quicker you lose suction power.

I just bought a Rainbow D4 SE used for $100 and won't be looking back. It cleans as well or better than the much newer Kenmore (it's a 20 year old vacuum cleaner). You won't incur the same expense replacing filters as bagged vacs either. Plus, replacement parts are very reasonably priced (unlike the Kenmore). So, don't listen to the naysayers. And BTW, even with my older model they included a foam filter for use if picking up substances like sheet rock dust. Still, it's probably not ideal to use it for that. That's what my ShopVac is for. Wink

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