That all changed when my Mom came to visit and brought her Rainbow vacuum with her. After feeling those carpets, I am a convert and picked up a used Rainbow vacuum on eBay. Now our prior vacuum was a pretty decent model and we paid about $120 for it. It did well for a while, but never really excelled. It was also a pain to vacuum near the cat's litter box as my feet were constantly being sand-blasted by the litter that was tracked outside the box.
When I went searching online for a Rainbow, I knew I didn't need or want the shampooing attachments (which by the way, it does an excellent job with shampooing carpets, too) and I didn't need a top-of-the-line version of the Rainbow vacuum. New Rainbows sell anywhere from $2000 to $5000. No way was I going to spend that much on a vacuum!
This is my vacuum above! :-) I got if off eBay for $150 with free shipping. It was a sweet deal. This model is from around the mid-1980s and works great. If you're not familiar with Rainbows, the way they work is they suck all the junk out of your carpets and dump it into water held in the lower section of the canister.
Be prepared for some kind of gross pictures ahead. As a testament to how well this 1980s vacuum still works, the water I started out with in the canister was perfectly clean and you could see through it. The photos below are of the water after vacuuming my living room floor. There are little bits of wood floating in the water since we've been tracking it in a bit with using the fireplace lately.
As you can see, there's definitely a lot of "JUNK" in that water.
And you definitely can't see through it anymore!
The great thing (at least in my opinion) about Rainbow vacuums is that they just don't die. The reason people get rid of them on eBay and Craig's List is because they simply stop wanting to deal with the canister and the dirty water. My Mom's vacuum is from the 1970s and she uses it a ton. She usually vacuums once a week and for the first 10-15 years she had it, there were 6 kids in the house as well as a long-haired dog. Her vacuum is still running just as well as the day she bought it (she also got hers used).
So if you have carpets and are thinking of getting a new vacuum, try out on of these from eBay or some other used facility. For the right price, its definitely worth taking the gamble on something sight-unseen.
By the way, these vacuums are one of the best for people with allergies. Because the dust, dirt and pollen are trapped in water, its much better for people who have allergies. Its actually one of the few vacuums that are recommended by allergists because they are such good vacuums.
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations