Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal AS3401A review: Large and in charge: Eureka's bulky vac cleans like a champ
The Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal must have missed the day on modern vacuum maneuverability. Foregoing amenities like the ball on Dyson's vacs or the easily pivoting head of recent Shark and Oreck models, Eureka's vac will make your chore feel like a chore. It moves like a brick and lacks any self propulsion. It felt like the heaviest vac I've used in some time. It's actually not, but other vacs hide their weight better when you use them.
Once you get it moving, it's a good cleaner, especially on carpet, for a more than reasonable $200 price. It even includes a few appealing features like a self-cleaning brushroll. The Shark Rotator vacs, both the $200 Rotator Pro and $350 Rotator Powered, clean almost as well as this Eureka model, and both are significantly more versatile and easier to use. Nevertheless, Eureka's machine deserves your consideration as a highly competent cleaner at a budget friendly price.
I ain't afraid of no vacuum
I've always wanted to be a ghostbuster, and the busy back of the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal has a circular disc containing the self-winding cord, a hose wrapped over the top and various attachments stuck into it, reminding me strongly of a proton pack. I really wanted to strap it to my back, grab the hose from over my shoulder and chase after Slimer.
The front of the vac is much simpler with the vacuum head colored an appealing dark orange. The long cylindrical dust bin sits on top of it, the clear plastic adorned only by the Eureka name and a line letting you know when it's full.
Available now exclusively at Walmart for $200, the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal looks pretty appealing at first glance, and again, the clunkiness of the back didn't bother me. It's also nice that all of the various attachments have a spot where you can stick them so you can take them with you as you work. They fall off a little too easily, but you can quickly put them back in place.
The package includes a crevice tool, a dusting brush, an extension wand and a stair and upholstery turbo nozzle. The last item has a mini powered brushroll so you can get pet hair off of your furniture. It's not a particularly unique item, but it's a nice perk especially in a $200 package.
The machine itself weighs a reasonable 15.8 pounds and sports a 27-foot-long cord along with a 12-foot hose.
|Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal||Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Allergy||Dyson Ball Allergy||Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean||Dirt Devil Lift & Go||Oreck Touch Bagless||Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away||Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away|
|Weight||15.8 lbs||19.2 lbs||17.3 lbs||17.2 lbs||13 lbs||18 lbs||15.8 lbs||16 lbs|
|Cord Length||27 ft||35 ft||30 ft||25 ft||30 ft||30 ft||30 ft||30 ft|
|Hose Length||12 ft||15 ft||15 ft||12 ft||6 ft||10 ft||9.5 ft||9.5 ft|
|Included Attachments||Stair & upholstery nozzle, crevice tool, dusting brush, extension wand||9 including a turbine tool, and multi-angle brush||Soft dusting brush, reach under tool, mattress tool, combination tool, stair tool||Dusting brush and crevice tool||Extension wand, Air-Powered Turbo Tool, 2-in-1 Combo Tool||Crevice tool, upholstery/ dusting brush, stair tool||Crevice tool, multipurpose tool, floor nozzle, power brush, upholstery tool||8 including a mini motorized brush, a dusting brush, and a crevice tool|
|Notable Extras||Retractable cord, self-cleaning brushroll||No filter to maintain||N/A||Self-cleaning brushroll||Vac-Dust Floor Tool with Swipes||N/A||Includes a cannister caddy and can switch between an upright and a canister||Includes a canister caddy and converts to a powered canister or powered handheld|
Comparatively, Eureka's specs blend in nicely with pricey competition, and the 12-foot hose is pretty generous. I was surprised to learn it's actually lighter than the field, though. In practice, it feels bulky and before I looked up the numbers, I would have guessed it outweighed the rest by a couple of pounds.
Turns out, maneuverability makes a big difference when it comes to making your chore easier. Especially on carpet, I felt all of this vac's 15 pounds on every push during the testing process. It consistently felt like it was dragging.
Lots of modern vacs have features to distribute their weight better. Dyson's ball makes it possible to turn on a dime, and other recent vacuums add a pivoting joint between the vacuum head and the handle. Shark's and Oreck's vacs use that joint to great effect and equal Dyson's pivoting prowess. Self propulsion helps too, as vacs with it can glide across carpets with seemingly no effort on your part.
Maybe I've just been spoiled by the vacs I've reviewed recently. My grandmother's vacuum certainly never had any self-propulsion or easy maneuverability. You had to work hard to lug that thing across the floors you wanted to clean, and I think that added a character-building aspect to the process.
If you want a workout, Eureka's lack of maneuverability might even be a good thing, it's just behind the times when it comes to modern amenities to ease the burden of cleaning.
I also like the way Dyson and Shark handle height on their vacs more than the five-tier dial on top of Eureka's vacuum head. With Dyson's machines, you don't have to worry about height at all; a flexible plastic plate adjusts up and down to create a seal on any surface.
Eureka has something similar, touting the vac's "All-surface suction plates" on its website, but it doesn't go all the way around the opening like Dyson's, just across the front, so Eureka still needed to include manual height controls.
Shark strikes a balance between being fully hands off like Dyson while still giving you some control. It's most recent Rotator Powered Lift-Away vac puts a slider on the vacuum's handle. It has three positions, one for hardwood, one for normal carpet, and one for particularly thick carpet and area rugs. On Eureka's vac, the bare floor setting is obvious, but I had trouble determining which of the four carpet notches to use on my mid-pile test carpet.
I also like Shark's efforts to let you control the vac's settings by hand. With the Eureka, you'll manipulate almost everything with a pedal. You turn the vac and the brushroll on or off with a pedal, you lower the handle with a pedal, and you activate the brushroll clean with the pedal. The power pedal proved a little finicky, you need to press it with some force to get the vac to stay on, otherwise it'll whir to life briefly only to shut down again. It's also awkwardly positioned too close to the dustbin, making it tricky to reach with the handle lowered. All the other pedals work as promised, but having so many of them confused me when I started testing the vac.
Maintenance made easy
Cleaning with the Eureka Brushroll Clean isn't overly difficult, it's just not the seamless experience offered by top tier competition. It does help you ease the maintenance process, though. You'll work hard when vacuuming with the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal, but getting ready for the next run is a snap.
I got a kick out of the automatically winding cord. It's not a new or unique feature, but I enjoyed it every time I pressed the button and watched the cord whip off the floor and into a coil. Winding a cord manually isn't a big inconvenience, by any means, but a self-winding one does make moving from room to room easier since you don't have to pick between wrapping it yourself every time or wrangling all that cord as you cart your vacuum through the house.
You will want to be careful when winding the cord, though. It moves into place quickly, and the plug caught my ankle a couple of times while it snapped past. You'll want to be mindful of kids and pets if you're using the automatic winder to pull your cord across a room.
The other advanced amenity, the brushroll clean feature that gives this vac it's name, is more unique, doesn't need any cautionary device, and is just an awesome add on, through and through. This Eureka vac is the second we've seen with this functionality. The Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean was the first. Electrolux is Eureka's parent company, so we've yet to see it outside of the Electrolux umbrella.
Basically, the Brushroll Clean is a blade that lowers onto the bristles. If you get pet hair tangled in your vac, turn the machine on, get the brushroll spinning, then step on a button to lower the blade and it'll slice off the clumps of pet hair, allowing the vac's suction to pull them into the dust bin.
It consistently works quite well. This Eureka vac does an admirable job avoiding tangles in the first place, and the brushroll clean knocked off the vast majority of clumps that did get stuck. If thin hair manages to wrap around the axle itself, the blade won't quite drop low enough to clean it, but that didn't happen often.
This vac makes the rest of normal vacuum maintenance easy as well. You can empty the dustbin by pushing a button to pull it free, then another when it's over your trash can. You can readily remove and wash the filter too for longer term maintenance. So between the brushroll clean, the self-winding cord, the easy to empty dustbin, and the washable filter, the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal puts itself ahead of the pack when it comes to vacuum upkeep.
Busting through dirt
You might have to work hard to use this vac, but the lack of maneuverability is easy to forgive for $200, especially since the upkeep is so easy, and because you can rest assured that your hard work will result in clean floors. The Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal performs on par with vacuums that cost two or three times as much.
We test all of our vacuums on low and medium pile carpets as well as hardwood floors. On each surface, we spread pet hair, Fruity Cheerios and then sand. Pet hair shows us how well the vac deals with tangles. Cheerios show its ability to clean up large particles and big messes. Sand provides a difficult suction test that shows how well it deep cleans.
With the Brushroll Clean feature in tow, tangles were no trouble at all for this Eureka. It not only aced the pet hair test on carpets, picking up everything in sight, but went above and beyond since I never had to manually untangle a thing between tests. Combining the performance and the brushroll clean, this Eureka stands tall as one of the best machines you can find for cleaning pet hair off of your carpet.
Unfortunately, its overall results were hurt quite a bit by its struggles on hardwood. The instructions recommend turning off the brushroll when you move off of your carpet to avoid scratching your floor with the spinning bristles. The Eureka Brushroll Clean still had plenty of suction to snag the pet hair without the brushroll, but it couldn't maneuver the clumps past the axle and into the dustbin.
As a result, when I finished a pet hair run, it usually looked like the floor was clean, but when I turned off the vac, the vast majority of the pet hair came tumbling out.
This vac had a similar problem with Cheerios on hardwood. It got over the top of the particles -- something other full-sized uprights struggle with off of carpeting -- and again had enough suction to grab the cereal, but couldn't get the particles past the brushroll. It didn't spread them or fling them, but it didn't do a great job of getting them into the dust bin either.
As with pet hair, the Eureka Brushroll Clean had no trouble at all picking up Cheerios off of carpet. Again, it didn't fling any, though it would occasionally leave a couple stragglers under the brush after I turned it off, even on carpet. It did fine on this test, but lots of vacs do, especially on carpets. This test tends to separate the studs from the duds. The Eureka vac lands on the positive side, but it's success isn't as special as it is on pet hair.
The sand test helped Eureka Brushroll Clean distinguish itself, as it averaged out to a third-place finish behind only the $700 Dyson Cinetic and the $400 Oreck Touch, even ahead of older Dysons like the $500 Dyson Ball Allergy (called the DC65 Animal when we reviewed it).
This time, the Eureka vac aced the test on hardwood floors along with its nice results on carpet. Neither recent Shark model finished far behind, but by edging it out, Eureka gives a solid reason to consider its budget model over the more well rounded competition.
Despite the fact that it reminds me of the vacuum I used to use at my grandmother's, the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal would not be the right machine for her today. Lots of modern machines have features to help them hide their weight while you work. This Eureka vac won't do anything to make vacuuming itself easier, but it will get your carpets nice and clean for your efforts. It's not as good on hardwood, but for the money you'll save buying this $200 machine instead of a $700 Dyson , you can buy a truck full of brooms and dustpans.
Since it can wind its cord automatically and the Brushroll Clean feature untangles the bristles automatically, Eureka's vac isn't entirely old-fashioned. If you want a workout while you vacuum, and don't mind breaking out the broom for noncarpeted surfaces, it's hard to ignore the appealing bargain offered by the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal. It even edges out the $200 Shark Rotator Pro at cleaning, but just barely, and Shark is a better machine overall for the same price. Still, if you're shopping for a vac on a budget, the Eureka Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal belongs near the top of your list.