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Oreck, you're a heck of a vacuum by Carolyn Donovan

Be careful, you might get into a tussle over who gets to clean the house with this...whoever wins, cleans!

I have to do to WHAT for the rest of my life?

I liked it better when I was little: I lived in a little house with a Mommy and a Daddy and a big sister, and the house was always clean, and the yard was always tidy. That's just the way the world was where I grew up: clean.

My first inclination that the adult world wasn't going to be as magical was when my just-after-college roommate Betsy once mused "I can't believe I'm going to have to buy toilet paper for the rest of my life." Her comment foretold a life of picking up after myself and cleaning parts of my habitable space that I didn't even use. Just why are they called "dust bunnies" and why are they always in corners that I don't even know I have?

My crystal ball tells me...you have five vacuum cleaners

Oh yes, I have five vacuum cleaners: a hand vac, a vacuum upstairs, a vacuum downstairs (I hate dragging vacuums between floors), an electric broom, and a shop vac in the basement. Okay, so maybe the shop vac doesn't count, but still, I had all these vacuums and I was not satisfied with what I had. The cord was too short on one, the wheels on another had no swivel and forced you to sweep exactly forth and back, and none picked up everything (and I'm not going to bend over and pick up the offending item; I am going to vacuum it and vacuum it and vacuum it, and by golly I am going to vacuum up this thing if it takes the rest of the day!).

Honestly, the Oreck will change your life

When the Oreck XL21 upright vacuum cleaner arrived at Rainy Day Magazine, I was assigned the, uh, reviewment, of it. "Whatever," quoth I. After a quick assembly, I found myself surprisingly intrigued. That Mr. Oreck, is he telling the truth in his television ads?

You know what? He is.

It comes in this color; since when does a vacuum cleaner have to match the decor?

Technology that really does make my life easier

I am a modern woman with modern sensibilities: I have a profession, I own my own car, I don't believe that I need a man (although I have a very nice one, thank you). That being said, I also want a clean house. That being said, I am not willing to pay someone to come and clean my house. I am a technologist - I believe that technology should make my life better. And my house cleaner.

Whatever technology the Oreck XL21 uses, it uses it really well. The motor is three inches off the floor. The unit is self-propelling (if you let go of it in the upright position with the power on, it keeps vacuuming!). The cord is 30 feet long and takes me from the front of the house to the back without the plug getting wrenched out of the socket. The ergonomic handle makes it, what’s the word, easier, to vacuum.The powerhead is thinner and wider than other brands and fits under almost any piece of furniture. The handle can fold down almost to the floor to get the powerhead under the furniture.

Nice long cord, nice curvey handle

Oreck spent its money on the technology, not so much on the looks; the Oreck XL21 being lifted with just a pinky

All those things make the Oreck XL21 an amazing product.

That is one mighty headlight

These are the things I like about the Oreck XL21:

  1. It is lightweight.
  2. It is flexible so it fits under most pieces of furniture.
  3. It has a lamp to light the surface being cleaned.
  4. The detritus is sucked up through the body and deposited into a bag, which you can then just throw away.
  5. It has a space for an included air freshener that I forget about until I vacuum, and releases a nice Vanilla-y smell.
  6. It picks up everything it goes over in one pass.
  7. It goes from carpet to floor just by, well, going from a carpet to a floor.

There's no escape for you now, my little dirty villans!

(The, stuff, is vacuumed up the tube in the handle and blows through this opening and into the bag.)

Let me find something else to vacuum

The Oreck XL21 is pretty quiet, which is a really nice feature (I can even hear the doorbell ring). It has a powerful light which reminds me of high beams on a car. The two-speed on/off switch on the handle creates a smooth up- or down-shift: it doesn't go off-high-off-low, it goes off-low-high, which is not always the case on vacuum cleaners. It has a HEPA filter, which captures everything. The engineers did a good job of thinking about how people want to vacuum, and created a vacuum that goes from carpet to floor by, well, going from carpet to floor. No changing heads, no switching from “carpet” to “floor” modes, just vacuum whatever you need to vacuum.

Fluffy: It's not just a name for poodles anymore

The Oreck XL21 is: an eight-pound vacuum cleaner that makes my carpets fluffier. It may be other things as well, but the Oreck XL21 is an eight-pound vacuum cleaner that makes my carpets fluffier. I did not know I had nice fluffy rugs. Mine were always kind of damped down, you know? The carpet in my office, the oriental in the cellar, the little square rug in the downstairs bathroom, the "wipe your shoes here " rugs at the front door, all of them are thicker and higher after being vacuumed by the Oreck XL21. Even the cat looks impressed; she keeps doing that cat thing of kneading her paws/claws in the rugs and purring "Oo, this is nice."

I need a bigger house - so I'll have more to vacuum

The Oreck XL21 actually picks up everything it runs over the first time. Really. Cat hair, dirt, little pieces of string that magically appear, light stuff, dark stuff, all of it. All of it.

Oreck: 1, Nast Dirt: 0

(Can you see the single-pass vacuumed area on the left, and the dirty, dusty, cat-hairy area on the right?)

Hey, can I come over and vacuum?

I won’t lie, this is a high-end, expensive piece of home care. However, this vacuum has a 21-year warranty. Twenty-one years! It’ll remain in your home longer than your kids will. Oreck offers free yearly tune-ups each of those 21 years (a $600+ value). It has double-helix, high-speed, pile-lifting roller brushes (I don’t know what that means either), is 33% more efficient because of it 7-blade Metaxalloy fan, and built right into the filtration systems is Microban antimicrobial protection that inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.

All this and a fragrance pad, too!

If you have a lot of carpets, or a lot of kids, or a lot of dirt, or are just tired of lugging an unwieldy vacuum room to room, the Oreck XL21 is definitely a sound investment. It will reduce the, uh, chore-yness of vacuuming, and if you see company coming up the front walk, you can pull this out, run over everything just once, put it back, and still have time to check yourself in the mirror before they ring the doorbell.

Contribute to rebuilding the lives devastated by Katrina - buy an Oreck XL21

New Orleans and it surroundings were decimated by Katrina, we all know that. But many companies that are headquartered there or have a manufacturing base there quietly dug in their heels, reviewed their situation, and got their people back to work. The Oreck company is one of those companies. Its employees in Long Beach, MS, are living on the factory premises in portable housing until the housing situation is sorted out. Oreck has provided food, healthcare, and counseling to its employees in need. Oreck is back in business, and while delivery schedules may still be a bit delayed, the quality of its products has not diminished.

Goodness, you'd never've thought buying a vacuum cleaner would make you proud to be an American, eh?


Oreck XL21 Vacuum Cleaner - $699 (I told you it was an investment...)



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Photography by Wan Chi Lau