Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Introduction to the Oreck Vacuum and This Buyer's Guide

Hello everyone, my name is Matthew and I am a former store manager of an Oreck Vacuum Home Care Center. In my time as a store manager I learned the details of every Oreck product (the good and the bad) including all four brands of upright vacuum: the Oreck Classic, Oreck Deluxe, Oreck Ultra and the Oreck xl21. I also serviced enough vacuums to clean every rug in Persia.

My goal with this blogspot is to cut through all of the confusing "sales pitches" to give you an honest, no-nonsense, pitch-free examination of the entire Oreck product line, starting with the 8lb Vacuums, to help you choose the right vacuum cleaner for your needs...and more importantly, to help you avoid the products that either won't meet your needs or don't live up to what they'll tell you online or in a local store.

Before we begin, I would like to make two things clear: 1) I no longer work for the Oreck Corporation, so I have nothing to gain by trying to convince you to buy the most expensive vacuum; and 2) I have no ill will towards David Oreck or the his corporation. I have met Mr. Oreck, his wife and his brother. They are all very classy and respectful people. I wish them and their company only the best. I simply want to dispel the myths and tell the truth about the Oreck Vacuums and eventually the entire product line.

If you have any question, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

Should you take the Oreck Challenge with the xl21?

The Oreck Challenge, as seen on TV with David Oreck promoting his 8lb. vacuum cleaner sweepers, is a promotion for a customer to get an Oreck XL21 to try in their home with a money back guarantee. Is it worth the money? Do they stand behind the guarantee and give you a full refund if you don't like it? Most importantly, are the tune-ups worth it?

I answer all of these questions in greater detail in other portions of this blog. But to briefly answer the questions:

Yes, they WILL pay to have the Oreck XL21 titanium vacuum cleaner mailed back to their factory or if you bought it in a store, you can take it back to that local store.

Do the filter bags, Oreck Iron, and 21 annual tune-ups justify the $749 price tag? That is a complicated question that is handled in more detail in other posts on this blogspot. I will say here that the iron is well worth the money, sold outright. It is a quality iron. The filter bags are a $30 value, so not that big of a deal. The tune-ups are not worth the money. However, the 21 year warranty is nice.

Is the Titanium XL21 Oreck Vacuum cleaner sweeper worth the money or should you go with a less expensive model? Well, to determine that, read the blog post below that compares all four of their model, so that you can decide for yourself.

If you have any questions after reading the posts below, feel free to ask them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

Monday, September 24, 2007

8lb Upright Oreck Vacuum Cleaner Review and Buyer’s Guide


Let’s take a look at the Oreck Upright 8lb vacuums. There are four different models that vary greatly in price and features. All of this can get confusing when the only person you can talk to is a commission salesman who wants to sell you the most expensive product. So let’s cut through the bull and get to the facts:


All of the upright Oreck vacuums weigh within one pound of each other (8lb or 9lbs). The genius of having such a light vacuum is obvious, but what makes them so special is that there are so few parts to an Oreck. I have serviced nearly every make and model and most of them don’t last because they have more than one hundred little parts, all made of cheap materials. The Oreck Vacuum has less than 30 parts in all. They are made of the same plastic materials that other vacuums are made of, but put simply, they have less parts to break, so they do last longer. This is not to say the Oreck product line is not without its flaws. We will cover those in detail later on.


The bagless vacuum is the latest fad in the vacuum industry. But it is a fad that is dying as quick as it started, because the bagless vacuums require you to handle all of the dust and muck that you collected in your vacuum bags. Cleaning out the dust and grime is no fun. The Oreck vacuum bags system is great because when you go to remove the bag it seals itself off. I will warn you however, that the bags are not cheap. A pack of eight bags is over $20, but they are very big bags that last a long time and that pack of eight will last a small family around a year. So all in all, it is worth it, not to have all of the dust mites you collect re-exposed to the air, each time you have to clean out the bagless canister.


Many vacuum manufacturers try to hype the power of their vacuums by displaying how much wattage they use. This is merely a ploy by the vacuum industry and has nothing to do with a vacuum’s performance. So many companies will purposefully up the wattage that a vacuum motor takes from the wall, just to make theirs' seem more powerful. The problem with that is the extra energy just gets trapped in the motor, makes it run too hot and burns out motors fast. David Oreck was wise in avoiding this sales trap. David Oreck's vacuums are actually more energy efficient because of Oreck's decision not to worry about wattage. In fact, Mr. Oreck 's most powerful motor takes less watts to run than his smaller motor.


The four Oreck upright vacuums are as follows:

CLASSIC Model - Sells for $299
DELUXE Model - Sells for $399
ULTRA Model - Sells for $549
XL21 (Also sometimes called the Titanium Series) - Sells for $749


Let me start off my dispelling a myth. There is functionally NO REAL DIFFERENCE between having one speed or two speeds on your Oreck Vacuum. I don’t care what they tell you, I have used both types on all surfaces and the speeds don’t make a lick of difference! None of the Oreck Vacuums adjust for different carpet types, but unless you have the really long shag style of carpet you don’t need adjustments to your vacuum. They are merely extra parts that will break in time.


Let me also reveal something they won’t tell you: The Classic, Deluxe, and Ultra models all use THE EXACT SAME MOTOR! Only the XL21 uses a different motor. So let’s first focus on the three models that use the same motor.

The three Oreck vacuums that use the “armatek 3-in-1” motor range in price from $299-$549! So surely there are differences, right? Well, yes and no. There are differences, but when you compare them to the prices, you have to assess whether the differences are worth the extra money.

Since they use the same motor and the speeds don’t matter, you might be tempted just to buy the cheapest model. I would advise against that in this case. The reason is simple, THERE IS NO FILTRATION ON THE CLASSIC MODEL. This is important. With no filtration, you’ll get some nasty odors when you vacuum and the vacuum won’t trap the dust mites and bacteria. Plus, the handle on the classic model isn’t very comfortable. So for the $100 difference, it is worth moving up to the Deluxe model.

The differences between the Deluxe and Ultra model aren’t worth the extra investment. Yes, you get a 10 year warranty. The tune-ups are really a waste of time. They change a few seals, put a new belt on and polish the armature of the motor, but nothing all that important. However, the Oreck vacuum like all vacuums will break. So if warranty is important to you (and it should be, since Oreck does stand behind it’s vacuums), then read the next section comparing the Deluxe to the XL21.


Functionally and value for the dollar, we’ve already established that the Deluxe model is the best model to go with between the lower three vacuums, if money is your greatest concern in buying an Oreck. So is the XL21 really worth the extra cost??? Well, let me tell you the differences between the models and you can decide; based on your needs and your pocketbook.

Oreck came out with his first vacuum over 40 years ago. It is the same design that he has been using all these years. The three models we previously discussed all use the same basic design. The XL21 is the first major redesign in over 40 years. So, what did they redesign:

1) The original (or let’s call it the deluxe) model of Oreck vacuum has a metal tube running from the base to the handle. These handles break over time. They keep a good supply on hand in the back, because they know they will have to repair them pretty often. The new XL21 has a redesigned round tube that doesn’t break.

2) The Deluxe model uses the standard motor. The XL21 uses a new motor that is far more powerful. The XL21 also has a larger fan and intake tube. So it sucks with far more power. Plus, the new motor is more energy effecient, so it takes less money to run.

3) The rollerbrush on the XL21 is also redesigned with shorter and firmer bristles. This makes the XL21 MORE EFFICIENT IN PICKING UP PET HAIR!

4) All of these improvements add up to the biggest improvement: self-propelling. The XL21 is a self-propelled model. Vacuums that have self-propelling all have a second motor in them to propel them. That causes them to be around 30lbs. Yuck! The XL21 mimics the same propelling by utilizing the more powerful motor and firmer roller brush. I actually like the way Oreck’s “self-assisting” feature works, compared to the actual self-propelling vacuums, because the self-assisting feel doesn’t fight you like the other vacuums do. However, to maintain the self-assistance of the Oreck XL21, you need to keep a tight, fresh belt on your vacuum, which means you should change the belt on it every six months. This sounds expensive and difficult, but actually, the XL21 comes with 21 annual tune-ups. So they change the belt on the vacuum once a year and they are supposed to put a new belt on the bottom holder for you to change out the other six month period.

5) The Deluxe model has a five year warranty and costs $400. So roughly, you are paying $80 per year for vacuuming peace. The XL21 costs $750 for 21 years of warranty and service. So that is only $35 per year. No vacuum will last 21 years and the motors on these vacuums certainly wont last that long. But I can tell you from personal experience, Oreck DOES back up its warranties. The local stores have no problem putting new parts on your warranted vacuums because they get fully reimbursed by the Corporation. So if you can afford the initial investment, I do believe that in the long run, you are saving money by buying a vacuum that also performs much better. But not everyone can afford that much for a vacuum, I know I can’t, so if the XL21 is out of your budget, then the Deluxe model is the best value for the price.


The three lower priced Oreck models are very similar in design. The cheapest classic model is missing some necessary features, so the Deluxe model is the best value of the three.

The XL21 is the first major redesign of the Oreck concept in 40 years and it is a major improvement from the other models. The 21 year warranty makes the cost of the xl21 a worthy investment, especially since the performance is significantly better--especially on pet hair.

However, either 8lb. upright Oreck sweeper vacuum will work well for most homes and having personally worked on almost every model of vacuum on the market, I do recommend the Oreck vacuum as a very good vacuum.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.