When I could no longer get a spare hose, and duct tape patch repairs were a nuisance; I was faced with replacing my much loved and trusted Hoover wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner purchased before our Aliyah in 1989. I researched the vacuum cleaner arena thoroughly, as I usually do — my family joke and say I don’t need to do a thesis for every significant purchase I make. So, I am sharing my experience with other olim.
As I got older and bending down became more of a mission, the idea of an upright vacuum cleaner was very appealing. Lo-and-behold, I discovered, that significant technological advances in the upright vacuum cleaner commercial space had taken place since I last purchased a vacuum; they no longer weigh a ton, have bags – paper or otherwise that collect the ‘dust-bunnies,’ they are portable, light-weight, cordless, and do not look like the work-horses of yesteryear.
Like most of us in Israel, I work full-time, and housework does not appeal to me, so after looking into state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners, I discovered the robot vacuum, or iRobot, as it is often referred to. The iRobot is ‘smart,’ and there is an option to control it remotely via an app. Even if I was willing to settle on a ‘not-so-smart’ model that I controlled manually, the idea of sitting on the couch drinking coffee and not having to walk behind a vacuum cleaner appeals to me.
I read and watched every vacuum review online, and posted my questions on tens of Anglo-Aliyah Facebook groups and even on a few Hebrew groups.
So, what are the advantages of an upright vacuum cleaner?
- It’s upright
- It’s portable
- It’s light
- Not too noisy
- It has a small ‘dust-bunny drum,’ an advantage, as it means you must empty the drum regularly.
- The drum is transparent, so you can easily see if you have sucked up an earring or precious object.
- The flexible hose has been replaced by an extendable rigid pipe.
- It can be used as a hand vacuum, so you can vacuum countertops, the car, or any small, less accessible areas
- Price point – from 700 shekels to 3,000 for a top-of-the-range Dyson
Disadvantages of an upright vacuum cleaner
- It’s rechargeable – if you do not keep it connected to a power supply, an emergency will arise, and you will discover that the device has no power.
- The vacuums are intended to be wall-mounted so they can be connected to a power supply nearby. The mount is just another thing that needs to be fitted and drilled into the wall. If you are not drill-handy, you’ll need a handyperson to attach the bracket to the wall. That could set you back 150 shekels or even more for the call-out fee.
Now, the iRobot
- Do not think of an iRobot as a powerful vacuum cleaner – it is a sweeper. I made this mistake. It is a time and labor-saving device, and you can do something else or even be out of the house while the iRobot is working – a huge advantage.
- You cannot use it in small, less accessible places.
- It isn’t quiet, and takes a fair amount of time to sweep the entire house. Being subjected to the noise while the iRobot completes its cycle (your entire home), is annoying.
- The dust-bunny-drum is very small and needs to be emptied each time.
- Original iRobot parts are expensive; the brushes and filters are, but AliExpress is cheaper, and I have not had any quality-related issues from my ‘Ali’ purchase.
- It needs to be constantly connected to a power supply. The wall plug mine is attached to, is in the living room, which is not exactly decoratively appealing.
- Price point: 500 shekels upwards
Could I manage with only one of these appliances?
Yes, I could only manage with the upright vacuum, but my life is easier with the iRobot.
I bought an iRobot Roomba. It was expensive, and in retrospect, I could have bought a cheaper brand. Even if the more affordable brand was inferior quality, I could replace it four times compared to the cost of the iRobot.
I make it a rule; whichever appliance I buy, I never buy a top-of-the-range model. I had experience with this once, and I was forever having to replace the digital panel and the sensitive electronics. A simple on/off switch and essential features are my go-to criteria.
I hope this article is helpful. Do a price check on Zap or Zabilo before you buy. There is no shame in purchasing last year’s model to save your hard-earned money.