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Eureka SuctionSeal Pet AS1104A vacuum cleaner review: As many floor options as you have floor types

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Upon unboxing the Eureka SuctionSeal Pet AS1104A, it is hard to ignore the vacuum cleaner's size, which is enormous. This Eureka is not just statuesque, however, but also thoughtfully designed and a strong performer. At $199.99, the Eureka is a reasonably priced vacuum, especially given its performance and accessories. Because of its SuctionSeal technology, this model excelled with fine particulates, but it also performed acceptably on all floor types due, in large part, to a dial that adjusts the height of the brushroll. This dial offers a variety of choices, ranging from bare floors to high-pile carpet, giving you the option to customize the vacuum to ensure the best performance based on debris and flooring type.

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7.8

Eureka SuctionSeal Pet AS1104A vacuum cleaner

The Good

You can customize the Eureka SuctionSeal Pet AS1104A vacuum cleaner to meet your flooring needs. Also, features like a retractable cord and easy-to-use controls make this Eureka stand out from the herd.

The Bad

Despite its name, the Eureka wasn't a showstopper with pet hair.

The Bottom Line

If the price feels right, you like options, and you don't have a pet, the Eureka could be a great option.

The Eureka wasn't a top performer with pet hair. I'd expected more in these tests, especially given the product's name, but with furry cleanup, other vacuums performed better. The Eureka does, however, include a turbo-driven Pet Power Paw attachment, which collects pet hair with ease from furniture or other upholstered surfaces.

If you're looking for a lightweight model or a vacuum that's a knockout with pet hair, there are better options, like the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away. If weight is not so much an issue, the Oreck Touch Bagless was dynamite with pet hair on a variety of surfaces.

If, however, you want a vacuum that gives you lots of options and like the idea of total control of your vacuum's performance, or have several floor types in your home, the Eureka AS1104A would be a good, budget-friendly addition to your cleaning lineup.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Design and features

Weighing 20.7 pounds, the Eureka is anything but lightweight, especially when compared with the 15.5-pound Shark, the 11.6-pound Dyson DC50 Animal, or the 14.6-pound Dyson DC40 Origin. It's comparable in weight to the 18-pound Oreck. Those 5 or 6 extra pounds might not seem like much to everyone, but it will matter to those with less arm strength, or to anyone who lives in a multistory home. If you worry about a vacuum being too heavy, this is probably not the model for you.

That said, I personally didn't mind the weight. Though it reminded me of the dinosaur of a vacuum cleaner my family had when I was growing up, the Eureka didn't feel heavy when I used it, only when I carried it. I also found that this heftiness made the vacuum feel sturdy.

Like all of these bagless vacuums we've tested, the Eureka uses a plastic dustbin that empties via a hatch on the bottom. The latch that closes the bin is really responsive and the bin feels well-constructed. The bin features a washable dust filter but the vacuum itself comes with a replaceable HEPA filter for those who have allergy concerns.

This dial allows you to customize the vacuum's performance based on your flooring, ranging from bare floors to high-pile carpet. Colin West McDonald/CNET

This vacuum boasts a dial with which you control the height of the rollerbrush to suit your floor type. Your choices range from bare floors to high-pile carpet, with seven options total. The Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean offers similar adjustment options, though the range is more limited.

The Eureka's controls are convenient and make using this appliance truly hassle-free. With a touch of your left foot, you can access the lever that reclines the vacuum, the power on/off lever, and the brushroll on/off lever. You'll find these controls easy to reach and responsive. Vacuums like the Oreck put controls on the handle, but I thought the Eureka's controls were even easier to use and appreciated nearly everything being in one place.

The brushroll lever is easy to control, making it simple to turn it off or on, depending on your floors. Colin West McDonald/CNET

One control you won't find with your foot is the dial that activates either the floor vacuum or the extension hose for use with tools. This dial is on the side of the vacuum, at the base of the handle, but you can reach it without trouble. The extension hose is easy to use and, including the wand, reaches 9 feet away from the vacuum's body. The extra hose length is welcome since the Eureka is not a convertible vacuum like the Bissell PowerGlide Deluxe or the Shark. Because of the Eureka's weight, you won't want to cart it to different places on your stairs in order to vacuum them.

Like every other vacuum we've tested, the Eureka includes attachments to use with the extension hose and wand, such as the crevice tool, dusting brush, or Pet Power Paw. The crevice tool will help you vacuum baseboards, car seats, stairs, or other hard-to-reach places and the dusting brush is designed to help you dust furniture and drapes. The most interesting of the attachments, however, is the Power Paw. Many models we've looked at have a similar attachment, such as the Bissell's Pet TurboEraser or Dyson's Tangle-Free Turbine tool. The Power Paw will help you remove stubborn pet hair from upholstery or carpets. It uses bristles similar to those on the brushroll to agitate pet hair up into the vacuum and works extremely well.

The brushroll lever is easy to control, making it simple to turn it off or on, depending on your floors. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Finally, Eureka offers the convenience of a retractable cord. I didn't realize what a pain it was to wind the cord until I didn't have to. With the touch of a button on the vacuum's side, the cord retracts, winding around a hub inside the vacuum's body. It can be a little bit fussy sometimes and you may need to hold the cord taut toward the end of the rewinding, but even this interaction required less time than if I'd manually wrapped the cord. In addition to the ease of rewinding, I also appreciated the fact that I only had to pull the length of cord I needed, without worrying about tripping over or running into the entire 27-foot-long cord.

Usability

You'll find the Eureka AS1104A exceptionally intuitive to use. This is due, in large part, to the proximal location of the primary controls, operated with the touch of your left foot.

Before you turn it on, you should adjust the dial to match the floor type you plan to vacuum. This may prove to be a process of trial and error, the first time, anyway, especially where low- and high-pile carpet are concerned. Selecting low-pile may lower the rollerbrush too much, while, conversely, selecting the highest-pile setting may prevent the bristles from agitating deeply enough in your carpet. Once you determine which setting is right for your carpet, however, it's smooth sailing. This is the hardest aspect of the controls, but once established, you'll never have to guess again.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

The Eureka reclines easily when you press the gray lever with your foot. It's responsive and doesn't require any force like the Dysons, which require a rocking gesture to recline. Once reclined, the Eureka moves without much effort, which surprised me given how heavy it is.

The dustbin detaches from the vacuum without any hassle and you empty it easily by simply pushing a lever near the bottom hatch. If you have children and worry about them accidentally emptying the bin, a dial directly above the bin locks it so that it can't be removed without turning the dial into the unlocked position.

Though the Eureka doesn't pivot like the Dyson DC 41 Animal Complete, Oreck, Shark, or Bissell, it maneuvers fairly easily. You won't be able to turn it on a dime or steer 45 degrees to hug the edge of a sofa in one gesture, but if you don't mind the traditional motion of vacuuming back and forth, the Eureka maneuvers well enough.

The brushroll is fairly simple to clean. The plate that covers it has a wide enough opening that removing any tangled hair or debris shouldn't give you too much trouble. For a total cleaning of the rollerbrush, however, you'll need to use a screwdriver to remove the plate.

Performance

We put each of the vacuums mentioned above through a series of rigorous tests to assess how they would do with debris types you may encounter in your home. Our tests included Fruity Cheerios, a sand and sawdust mixture (to mimic fine particulate debris), pet hair, and human hair, collected from a hair extension kit. We performed every test three times each on three different surface types: low-pile carpet, midpile carpet, and hardwood/laminate floors. We also conducted a torture test, scattering nearly 3 ounces of bobby pins, washers, and nuts on the low-pile carpet.

Fruity Cheerios, 2 oz.

Eureka AS1104A SuctionSeal Pet 100 93 72Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away 97 88 73Bissell PowerGlide Deluxe 98 100 83Dyson DC41 Animal Complete 93 97 92Oreck Touch Bagless 95 97 92Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean 92 88 93Dyson DC40 Origin 83 80 0Dyson DC50 Animal 83 80 0
  • Low-pile
  • Midpile
  • Hardwood
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

The Eureka had a lot to live up to in terms of performance, especially considering the records of other, more expensive vacuums we tested. That said, it held its own, coming out on top in some tests.

On low-pile carpet, the Eureka collected 100 percent of the Fruity Cheerios, 77 percent of the sand-sawdust mix, and 100 percent of the pet hair. This made it the top performer with Cheerios, outpacing more expensive models.

Sand/sawdust, 2.5 oz.

Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away 59 86 92Dyson DC41 Animal Complete 60 68 98Oreck Touch Bagless 67 61 97Dyson DC40 Origin 77 68 90Eureka AS1104A SuctionSeal Pet 77 91 99Dyson DC50 Animal 77 68 98Bissell PowerGlide Deluxe 79 83 99Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean 91 80 97
  • Low-pile
  • Midpile
  • Hardwood
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

On midpile carpet, the Eureka picked up 93 percent of the Fruity Cheerios, 91 percent of the sand-sawdust mix, and 92 percent of the pet hair. To put it in perspective, it picked up the most sand-sawdust mix out of any vacuum we've tested so far on midpile carpet. It was, however, the worst with pet hair on midpile carpet, so if you have both of those variables in your home, this is probably not the vacuum for you.

To some extent, at least, the hard-floor tests proved challenging for nearly all of the vacuums we tested. Eureka recommends disabling the vacuum's rollerbrush when cleaning hard floors, which is not uncommon. On hard floors, the Eureka collected 72 percent of the Fruity Cheerios, 99 percent of the sand-sawdust mixture, and a negligible amount of pet hair. With sand/sawdust, the Eureka tied for first place with the Bissell and DC40.

Pet hair, 0.2 oz.

Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away 100 100 0Dyson DC40 Origin 100 100 0Bissell PowerGlide Deluxe 100 100 0Eureka AS1104A SuctionSeal Pet 100 92 0Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean 100 100 75Oreck Touch Bagless 100 100 92Dyson DC41 Animal Complete 100 100 100Dyson DC50 Animal 100 100 100
  • Low-pile
  • Midpile
  • Hardwood
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

The pet hair results didn't surprise me. After all, with pet hair, the rollerbrush seems to be a necessary component for success. Without the use of that brush, the Eureka, like other models, merely pushed the hair around.

Admittedly, the hard-surface tests are somewhat unrealistic, both in terms of debris type and volume. After all, if you spilled Cheerios on your kitchen floor, you would likely find the broom and dustpan more convenient. Many manufacturers make claims about their vacuums' hard-floor performance though, so we wanted to test those claims with the same methods we used to test carpet performance.

Human hair, regardless of the flooring surface, was a stumbling block for a couple of the vacuums. The Eureka struggled with this test on carpet, though it didn't fail miserably. In both carpet tests, at least half of the hair made it into the bin. The rest caught around the brushroll, but didn't tangle as badly as it did with the Bissell. On hardwood, the Eureka picked up the vast majority of the hair in its bin, with only a few stragglers clinging to the brush.

The extension hose and wand reach 9 feet from the body of the vacuum. Colin West McDonald/CNET

None of the vacuums "passed" our torture test. Every one left behind at least some of the debris and many experienced jams in the brushwells or pipes. The torture test isn't intended to determine how much heavy or difficult debris a vacuum could handle, but rather, how rugged each vacuum is. In other words, we wanted to know if your vacuum would break if you accidentally ran over a bobby pin or penny. Fortunately, the Eureka did not break, but it only picked up the smallest items. Everything else remained in the brushwell or on the floor. Other vacuums did better, but given the fact that the Eureka completed the run without breaking, I'll still call it an acceptable result.

Maintenance and support

The Eureka AS1104A comes with a three-year limited warranty. This is not as generous as the warranties on other models, especially when you consider that the $179.99 Bissell comes with a five-year limited warranty. Eureka does, however, devote a considerable amount of the manual to troubleshooting and diagrams depicting how to maintain, clean, and care for the vacuum and its attachments. If this fails, the Eureka Web site includes a page for finding a service center to have the vacuum repaired. The product page also includes a section for ordering replacement parts in case you want to fix it yourself, should something go wrong.

Getting to know the Eureka AS1104A SuctionSeal Pet Vacuum (pictures)

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Conclusion

With an MSRP of $199.99, I wouldn't call the Eureka SuctionSeal Pet AS1104A vacuum cleaner cheap, but compared with $649.99 models like the Dyson DC41 Animal Complete, I wouldn't call it overly expensive either. Price doesn't always equate to performance, and in many tests the Eureka proved its worth, outperforming more expensive models.

That said, this vacuum isn't for everyone. It performed well with large debris on carpet, but not so well with large debris on hard floors. Pet hair also proved challenging on hard floors, but the Eureka excelled with pet hair on low-pile carpet. It comes down to flooring, common debris, and aesthetics. If you have a pet and mid- to high-pile carpet, the Bissell PowerGlide Deluxe Pet Vacuum would be a better choice. If you want a similarly priced model with comparable performance and maneuverability in spades, we recommend the $199.80 Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away.

If, however, you have mostly low-pile carpet in your home and want a vacuum cleaner that can handle both pet hair and small debris, you might appreciate the customizable convenience of the Eureka AS1104A.

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7.8

Eureka SuctionSeal Pet AS1104A vacuum cleaner

Score Breakdown

Performance 7Features 9Design 8Usability 8