Hoover WindTunnel Air Price: $199.99 Rating Weak Recommend* Hoover released the WindTunnel Air and I was surprised at how much it resembled the Dyson DC25. It's small, compact and uses a similar technology; both are bag-less, upright models with telescopic handle and attachments for cleaning hard to reach spaces and stairs. I already own a Dyson DC25, so I put the Hoover up against what I already use in my household to see if this more affordable unit could hold up against the Dyson.
When I first received the Hoover Wind Tunnel Air Vacuum in the mail, I was really excited. I had recently purchased a Dyson DC25 for $500 and was curious to see how a somewhat comparable vacuum would stand up to it. As noted before, at first glance the two are very similar. However, I was a little disappointed to see that the red fabric from one of the attachments had fallen off before I had even gotten it out of the plastic. Not that it's a huge deal, but if I would have actually purchased this from the store — this wouldn't have made the best first impression.
Assembly was a breeze — there wasn't anything to assemble except removing the unit out of the box, unwrapping the cord, adding the attachments and extra long hose and then I was ready to clean! In comparison, the Dyson took about 15 minutes to put together and I actually had to reference their instruction manual, so score Hoover as winner in this category.
The Hoover WindTunnel Air has a detachable reach arm for reaching high places and for vacuuming stairs. I have grown to really love this feature on my existing vacuum because it makes cleaning so much easier with the vertical reach. However, the Hoover is a bit harder to use for vertical tasks. I had to unhook the hose from the base, remove the handle from the top and attach the two together. If I wanted to use the extended hose, that's another item I had to detach and re-attach in the correct places. I decided to vacuum the base of our carpeted stairs with the extended reach and brush attachment, but was surprised at how little suction was available in this configuration. I have to admit that I had not vacuumed in a few weeks anticipating this review and was actually underwhelmed by how much effort I would have to put into vacuuming our stairs just to get them clean. I also wish that the brush attachment was wider. In comparison, the Dyson brush attachment is wider than it is tall — making it much easier to vacuum stairs (especially with pet hair). After the stairs, I decided to take on the challenge of hardwood floors with the Hoover. While pushing the vacuum towards a plug the lightweight construction became evident, making it easy to move around. It doesn't feel like it weighs 12 pounds, it feels like much less. Upon plugging the unit in and pushing the brush on/off switch (assuming it would automatically come on, it didn't) I was greeted with a non-operational whimper. I pushed it again and the brush finally came on, and I immediately turned it back off because I was vacuuming hard flooring. I pushed several times and picked up some pieces of dirt and the vacuum began to make a loud whistling sound. Even after pressing firmly on the canister to make sure it was securely in place, the loud whistling persisted throughout the experience. Aside from the whistling, the vacuum was rather loud on its own.
The handle is easily adjustable for height, it can actually be modified to a pretty tall height. The cord is well made, it's thick and can easily be wrapped on the back of the vacuum. The plug securely fastens itself to the cord and stays tightly in place. While I was vacuuming under a hutch, I did appreciate the fact that the vacuum can become completely horizontal, allowing me to reach under the hutch without having to move it or go through the labor of utilizing the extended reach arm. However, the canister does stick up when the vacuum is horizontal, so you can only reach as far under furniture before the canister bangs against it.
I continued onto vacuum the downstairs living room and kitchen and was surprised at how little the canister was filled. When I picked up the vacuum to look at the brushes, debris fell out onto the floor as if it had sucked it into the brushes, but not actually up into the canister. I had to immediately snatch it up because our cat was eying the debris as his next snack. The canister itself was easy to remove and the dirt was discarded in the trash. The HEPA filter is the same type as the one in the Dyson. It's easily removable and can be washed every few months under water and dried completely before reuse. Although the Hoover WindTunnel is not in direct competition with the Dyson we already use in our household, after testing the two units side-by-side, it became evident the extra investment goes a long way in performance and utility. For this reason, we can't strongly recommend this model. Pros: Light weight for easy mobility up and down stairs — won't cause a muscle strain while vacuuming. The $199.99 price tag is notably more affordable than the higher-end competition. The ability to use the extended reach arm is a great feature for vacuuming stairs and reaching cobwebs. Cons: Doesn't have the suction of the leading competition, didn't fully suck debris into canister. Too complicated and too many steps to put together the extended reach arm. The brush attachment is too wide/stiff to pick up hair from carpet, with unsatisfactory suction while using arm attachment. The features don't work well enough to justify spending $199.99. Our Ratings: Strong Recommend Recommend Weak Recommend* Don't Recommend Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes. [Images: Kristen Lubbe]