But on the other side of the coin, the Eureka Whirlwind Plus is afflicted with what has become a common issue amongst many modestly priced upright vacuums: an overly plastic finish. The red and yellow upright is clad top to bottom with plastic everywhere. And although we have no issue with the 2-Stage Cyclonic Technology's ability to suck up a fair amount of dust, dirt and pet fur (HEPA rated), the vacuum's finish prevented us from falling in love with it completely. We couldn't but help wonder how long the plastic would last under the duress of carrying, cleaning and bumping into things all vacuums endure in their lifetime (thus, we have a metal and rubber clad canister model).
There's also the issue of the industrial design itself, which exudes too much of a toy parts gone amuck design than we'd prefer. That is not to say the Whirlwind Plus is difficult to use, but it's certainly the type of appliance that is ideally kept hidden away not in use. We're unsure why the domestic market has failed to follow both the European and Asian manufacturers example in vacuum design in streamlined forms, but perhaps this is a case of where consumers think more is better.
Performance: with the handle and heft noticeably aided by the motorized locomotion; the upright cleaned both our thick shag rug, and with the switch of a dial, our low pile FLOR tiles, in equally easy fashion. The clear window of Whirlwind Plus made it clear the vac was doing a good job of suctioning up both large and minute debris from all surface (except hard smooth surfaces, which the Whirlwind Plus was not designed to work upon). Its bulky character became more evident while carrying the upright around to clean the stairway or angle around a corner, the handling revealing itself to be more SUV than sports car nimble.
Here's what we did like, and liked very much. The Power Paw Brush extension, an animal claw shaped hose attachment, was designed for upholstery cleanup duties and completes the task extremely well. Perhaps better than any vacuum we've tested, this little handy device made cleaning up our pet hair laden couch and FLOR tiles an utter joy. We suspect the Pet Lover 3684F can do this in equal measure with less heft, but we're left impressed with this specific feature and are considering purchasing the 3684F as a secondary vac.
Emptying and cleaning the canister is fairly simple, but as messy as we remember from previous ownership/use of a non-bag model. For normal users this press-and-drop canister system is fine, but for allergy sufferers, a bag-equipped model is highly recommended due to the dust unleashed we experienced even with careful precautions opening a 1/4 filled dust cup. Operational noise volume is about average, but we've noted canister vacuums tend to be a little louder than their bagged counterparts, perhaps because of the plastic construction.
Overall, for an upright model and at the price range ($129 MSRP) the 12 amp Eureka Whirlwind Plus is a suitably able machine. We only wished its budget category characteristics weren't so evident in the design, because features and performance wise, the machine does certain tasks quite well. Personally, we're smitten with the Pet Lover 3684F model since testing the Power Paw Brush and how pet hair free it left our upholstery. But different strokes for different folks!