Reviewers: Emily and Robert, Upper West Side, Manhattan
Product: The UltraSilencer Green Canister Vacuum
When Cambria suggested that my Manhattan apartment is an ideal home in which to test the power of Electrolux's new Ultrasilencer Green vacuum… was it a compliment? Either way, I can't disagree. My husband, Robert, and I share: a) a reasonably high standard of cleanliness, and b) a reluctance to compromise our lifestyle in order to prevent dirt, dust, dander, and other Vacuum-Worthy Contaminants ("VWCs") from entering our home...
Now that I'm forced to think about it, an outside observer might think we make choices to maximize the VWCs threatening our living space — but trust me, that's never been the goal.
Manhattan is essentially a VWC ocean, and anyone with experience living in a small space understands the extra challenge of keeping it clean. Our 1-bedroom apartment is not only home to Robert and me, but also to our cat, Maisie, and dog, Dahlia (pictured below). Don't be deceived by our little black cat's sleek coat — she sheds constantly, and is probably single-handedly responsible for about two-thirds of our vacuuming challenge. Ironically, she is the only allergy sufferer in the household. Dahlia sheds very little – but she does love to roll in the sand at the dog run, much of which eventually ends up on our floors, wherever she decides to take a nap.
Our apartment is designed to be low-maintenance, but the aesthetic is far from minimalist. The living room involves 2 layers of rugs: seagrass and wool. The windows have 2 layers of curtains: sheers and panels. (The curtain setup is essential for privacy, because our windows face the sidewalk, and it's a big bonus for Maisie, who loves to hang out on windowsill, watching people walk by, shedding all over the fabric, and making herself sneeze. She does look very charming, though, and has a solid fan base in the neighborhood.) Neither Robert nor I tend to take off our shoes at the door, and we do a lot of cooking and entertaining. We need a good vacuum.
Dahlia, our dog, and Maisie, our cat
Enter the Electrolux Ultrasilencer Green. I like the name — opening the box felt a little like Ralphie unwrapping his Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning. The shell of the vacuum is made of 55% recycled plastic, and it has recycled packaging and a washable HEPA filter. It seems to me that the vacuum lives up to its green title. Why aren't all vacuums put together this way?
As for the "ultrasilencer" part of its name, I think "silent" — and the description of "whisper quiet" written in its materials — is something of an exaggeration. While I don't think vacuuming at midnight would wake up the neighbors, it's likely to wake up anyone sleeping in the same apartment. This vacuum is quieter than most, and that's a good thing, but unless you're VERY sensitive to a few decibels here and there, I wouldn't buy this vacuum solely on the basis of its ultrasilencing claims.
In terms of actual VWC-busting power, this vacuum does the job. Besides sucking up the usual cat hair, the extra crackling suggested this vacuum was inhaling bits of seagrass from within our rugs that had probably been there the rugs' entire lives. The vacuum actually lifted our heavy wool rugs off the ground at the corners, which I think is a good sign. The canister is light, rolled easily across our floors, and has a spring-loaded system that pulls the cord into the canister and winds it up when you press the special cord-winding button — a cool feature that entertained both Maisie and me. The vacuum included a brush and upholstery attachment, both of which attached easily and made curtain and furniture-cleaning pretty simple. All in all, I'm confident that the Electrolux Ultrasilencer Green is an adequate tool to clean our home.
Now for the nit-picky complaints.
First, the broom has a "parking" feature that allows it to attach upright to the canister; given that it probably takes five seconds to fit the broom and canister together, I doubt I'd ever use it. Second, it would be great if there were a way to store the attachments on the vacuum itself (as many vacuums allow). Both attachments got temporarily lost under our sink (causing minor panic) within just the week the vacuum lived with us; in a larger and/or less organized home, they'd be goners.
Finally, there's a fair amount of publicity out there about how this vacuum "reduces energy consumption by 33%." Electrolux has published figures on energy savings from this vacuum that compare this model, which uses 1250W, to an "average" 2000W vacuum. It's true that 1250W is less than 2000W, but there are other high quality 1250W vacuums on the market. Without data on VWC-busting efficiency per watt, I don't buy this particular claim.
Ultimately, this vacuum is too bulky to stay in our home. Despite its strong performance, the broom/hose/canister combination does not fit in the same small space we made for the upright vacuum we actually own. Is it for you? At $300, the model falls somewhere between a bargain and a major investment. It's great that it's green; it's quieter than other vacuums; and it does a solid job. If you're in the market for a new vacuum, and prefer a canister model, I would definitely recommend it.
P.S. If you're an amateur mixologist (or, you just like having a great cocktail every once and a awhile), check out Robert's online cocktail lounge, Tessin Rinpoche.