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A Greener Vacuum: Eureka’s EnviroVac

envirovac

Editor’s Note: This was a joint effort between Managing Editor Clayton Cornell and Editorial Intern Orion Kubow. Apparently it takes two editors to screw in a lightbulb, er vacuum…

Earlier this month, Eureka was kind enough to send us a review sample of their “green” vacuum: the EnviroVac. Vacuuming isn’t something you’d think of as a real energy efficient, but Eureka’s model does a good job of making the domestic cleaning process a little bit greener.

EnviroVac: GreenWashing or Real Deal?

Here are the major talking points that Eureka says qualifies it as a “green” vacuum:

  1. The vacuum’s 8-amp motor uses 33% less energy than the 12-amp motor used in most upright vacuums. (That’s 960 watts per hour on an 8-amp motor, compared to 1,440 watts per hour on a 12 amp motor).
  2. If 1/4 of US homes switched to the EviroVac, it would save 6.25 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, which, in terms of CO2 emissions is roughly equivalent to removing 855 cars off the road.
  3. The EnviroVac uses no bags, just a washable HEPA filter, which decreases waste, and the hassle   associated with Vacuum bags
  4. The HEPA filter captures 99.97% of dust and allergen particles.
  5. It comes in 100% recycled packaging.

How Well Does the EnviroVac Work?

I wouldn’t call myself a vacuum connoisseur, but this is probably the nicest little vacuum I’ve ever used (which could be related to it being the newest vacuums I’ve ever used). It seems to clean the carpet just as well as any standard vacuum, but with a cool new feature: since the vacuum has no bags, it uses a central plastic cylinder that collects dirt, lint, and dust. As you vacuum, it creates a vortex in the cylinder that spins all this stuff around. It’s a cool effect, and I’m all for anything that makes the vacuuming process a bit more exciting.

It’s incredibly easy to remove and empty the collection cylinder, which this is probably the biggest single advantage that the EnviroVac has to offer. No more dusty vacuum bags to deal with. The vacuum has the expected standard additional adapters and vacuum heads and they all work very well, despite clinging to the vacuum in a somewhat emotionally unhealthy way. (You know those insecure extra little vacuum bits.)

What We Didn’t Like about the EnviroVac:

100% recycled packaging is great, but what about the vacuum itself? Seems like it should also be made from recycled products or one of the newer plant-based plastics we’ve been hearing about. The green branding of the vacuum may be a little excessive when an Energy Star rating for energy efficiency might be more appropriate.

But all in all, we like the EnviroVac. At $72 (+tax) it’s not going to break your budget, and it does have enough benefits to make it a serious contender for your next home cleaning purchase.

16 comments
  1. Codesuidae

    “The vacuum’s 8-amp motor uses 33% less energy than the 12-amp motor used in most upright vacuums. (That’s 90 watts per hour on an 8-amp motor, compared to 1,440 watts per hour on a 12 amp motor).”

    Wow, it suspends both the laws of physics and math! I gotta admit, that’s pretty green! Do you suppose that if they reduce the motor power another 33% to 4 amps that it will actually start generating 1,260 watts back into the grid? :*)

    I suspect that rather than “90 watts per hour” you meant to write “960 watts per hour”.

    Even if that is what you said though, it would still be wrong. The watt is a measure of rate, like miles per hour. It is ‘joules per second’. You wouldn’t say ‘watts per hour’ any more than you would say ‘miles per hour per hour’ (well, ok, there are circumstances where you’d say that, but you’d probably be talking about an acceleration rather than a rate).

    Strictly speaking, you should also say that it is lower power, not that it uses less energy. Obviously if you use it twice as long to get the job done you’ll use more energy, although it’ll still be lower power.

    So, just say “The vacuum’s 8-amp motor uses 33% less power than the 12-amp motor used in most upright vacuums. (That’s 960 watts on an 8-amp motor, compared to 1,440 watts on a 12 amp motor).”

    Maybe three editors next time? 🙂

  2. Codesuidae

    Oh, the dropped ‘6’ affects your power savings calculations.

    According to 2000 census data there are about 105 million households in the US. A quarter of them would be 26 million households. If they vacuum an average of an hour a week (I have no data for this, it’s a W.A.G. based on my own habits), that would be about 1.4 billion hours of vacuuming per year.

    The 12 amp motor would consume a total of about 2 billion kilowatt-hours. Saving 33% of that would be about 640 million kilowatt-hours, or approximately 88,000 cars-worth of CO2 (assuming 7310 kilowatt hours-worth of CO2 per car, from your calculation above).

  3. emmer

    math calcs aside,for would be greenies who aren’t buying a new vac: vac bags can be reused. there are some good reasons for this practice, which is done by carefully pealing open the bag bottom, emptying it, folding it back together, and then stapling the end shut. first, the nasty little things are pricey–better a greenie’s money is in her/his pocket than in the vac co’s. second, sometimes one finds lost objects in the bag, such as that missing earring–which saves buying new or doing without. and third, one learns what is really on/in that carpet. often the contents can go into the compost bin rather than the trash bin–no waste.
    blessings,
    emmer

  4. Bobby B.

    “If 1/4 of US homes switched to the EviroVac…”

    That one phrase in all that you have written is the entire reason this vacuum exists. Given the variety of vacuum cleaners available, it is doubtful that any one model (or brand for that matter) could ever dominate 1/4 of the market. You have just stumbled upon another fine example of greenwash advertising. Eureka has created a vacuum that will only provide marginal benefits to the individual owner in the form of slightly lower operating costs. However, the company is using the “if we all do just a little something, we can make a big difference to save the planet” campaign to sell its goods.

    Now, I personally have no problem with such efforts. If using collectivist marketing and fear (i.e. dying planet) result in more sales for Eureka, good for them.

  5. Clayton B. Cornell

    @Codesuidae: Good point about “90” – that was a typo. But as far as the numbers go, you’re going to have to ask Eureka, since those claims come directly from their product website (and have nothing to do with our editing team :)).

  6. Carl McKinney

    Great post! I’ll definitely be placing one of these on order once my old Eureka starts to give me issues. It has all the sustainable elements of production, and use I’m looking for in a new vacuum. And can you beat the price?

  7. Kathryn

    I have the enviro vac… that being said here are a few things i love about it… first i had another brand of vacuum ( i’m not a brand basher so i wont mention the name) it would take me 3-5 passes to get up little things you would expect it to pick up on the first pass… This enviro vac i can get the stuff on the first pass and my carpets look a heck of a lot cleaner not to mention i vacuumed the day before i got it and then just to see how well it worked took it out of the box and you should’ve seen what was still left in my carpet from the other vacuum… so yes for me it works better and in 1/4 of the time! also as a little note if it looses suction just rinse the little foam thing and let it dry COMPLETELY, put it back in and walah works like new again… it does say on the back of the “dump” container to do every week i probably went two so as long as you keep up the instructions its a great vacuum!

  8. Britney

    I just bought this vacuum and I cannot even believe how much cat fur it pulled up out of my carpet. It’s decently priced too. So far I am in love with it.

  9. lelia

    Enjoyed the post. I am in wallyworld(gasp!) But hey needed a better affordable vac and this little greenie gets my vote. Let’s see it in action! Thanks for the info!

  10. Patrick

    Wait a momet. This who thing has forgotten the most important part of this Envirovac cleaner. It is 100% RoHS compliant! Says so right on the box and the offical web site.
    RoHS compliant, makes for a much more greener future!

  11. J

    We bought one of these vacuums when our old one died. We liked it at first, until the belt slid off the brush roll and we had to pay through the nose to replace it. Worked fine for a couple more months until the belt slipped again, ruining yet another brush roll. This vacuum is going to be recycled. Not impressed with the ‘Green’ part of it all when parts end up in the trash.

  12. WarpKat

    My wife and I just bought this vacuum today at Wal-Mart for $59, plus tax, plus the replacement warranty for $5.88. I almost didn’t because of the 8-amp thing and also because the wife had said, “you rate its suck power by amperage!” She wasn’t completely sold by the advertising, to say the least. Additionally, I had seen a lot of personal reviews that were negative.

    I have to disagree with the wife. The 8-amps on this vacuum was MORE than enough to pull out the stuff we had in our rugs. The kicker for me was the pet hair attachment, which was loud, but worked surprisingly well for an 8-amp motor. Our couches almost looked new after we took it to the cat hair.

    I also have to disagree with the number of negative reviews about this vacuum – the device itself has worked superbly thus far and I’m normally not excited about something like this. The vacuum cleaned up in one pass on our carpet and made it cleaner than our older one.

    I do have to mention that this is replacing an aging vacuum, which may have something to do with it, however, I’m quite happy with this purchase.

    The handle is very ergonomic to my wrists and my wife has pretty much stated the same, so it came as no surprise when she commandeered it away from me. It now belongs to her… :

    As for the less energy thing…I’m not a green advocate by any stretch and I’m not about to correct anybody’s math, however, I look at it this way: Eureka has proved that an 8-amp motor is strong enough to clean a carpet, even mine.

    We’re very happy with this purchase.

  13. Jenny

    This is the most horrible vacuum I have ever ever ever had. It does not work and is so messy!!! If I had the box I would bring it back but got rid of it right after we opened it.

  14. vic

    I purchased this vacuum 7 months ago and at first it worked great. Then the problems started… After about 5 months of normal use the suction began to get worse so I cleaned it thoroughly. After I spent and hour cleaning the sweeper it stopped picking up stuff and just started throwing around the dirt. I replaced it with a dirt devil cyclone upright and I have to say that its twice the sweeper of what the eureka was. Don’t waste your money on this one its only good for about 6 months!

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