* Prices may differ from that shown
I have had this cleaner for several years. (More than 15, but cannot remember exactly.... possibly 18). Apart from ease of use, it's very easy to maintain. I do like the idea of a bagless machine as noted by others, but my experience is that the use of a bag is not only far more hygienic it means less cleaning of the machine itself. The bags do hold a great deal, so the cost is relatively nominal. The other point worthy of note is that it's not called "extended life" for nothing, as this machine has outlived others I've had in the past. Most machines seem to last anywhere between two and seven years..... so this has proved, for me at least, to be a very sound investment. I now seek a new one as my own came to grief owing to rough handling (not mine). This hastened the end of its days. Had that not occurred, who knows how long my machine might have last. As with all things a la mechanical, no matter how good the make, items made today are inferior in quality. How a new one today will match up to my original machine is anyone's guess.... but.... if it is of the same standard, the chances are that my new machine will outlive me. :)
I purchased this vacuum 4 months ago. It is definitely very light and easy to maneuver. Its very powerful vacuum and it picks up all the dirt on the first sweep.
At the time I was buying this I was contemplating buying a Roomba but decided that I wanted to stick with a conventional vacuum. I also received the smaller portable vacuum with extension which is great for cleaning stairs, ceilings cars etc.
The vacuum handles well and can reach below furniture. It also picks up dirt from the sides which is great I guess. I was not pleased that it still uses vacuum bags which is a big headache and will be a recurring cost in the future.
The pricing is too high for what the product delivers. I would suggest that if you are willing to spend the money, go for a higher dyson or roomba model. The smaller portable vacuum may come in a bundle with the Oreck XL, its worth paying a little more there.
Ah the folly that is the Oreck XL! We had one for several years after my Dyson collection series (DC01 to DC03) broke down and my dad was fed up having to use uprights which were too heavy to push around. Enter Orecks XL upright.
The Oreck XL has quite a lengthy marketing skill behind it; build a vacuum which has the same power ratio as Hoovers old Junior, fit a high filtration bag to it and build lightweight plastic around it and...Well thats it. Oh and then put it on sale in the commercial market selling it to hotels and hospitals as a lightweight no nonsense upright; that way like Numatics Henry it will get noticed as well as build a good reputation behind it.
This review appeared originally on Ciao but has been shortened and updated.
** Quick Skip Product Review Spec **
350 to 400 watt motor power: noisy & loud.
Helping handle with on button.
High filtration CELOC self sealing paper bags; deep 9/10 litre capacity. 2 choices of paper bags & prices.
Soft zipped outer bag with handy cleaning pouch and air freshener pocket.
15lbs weight, or in kg, approximately 4kg total weight.
Auto adjusting floorhead.
Spare drive belt holder.
Soft bristle brush bar with no beater bars.
Edge cleaning facility but the brushes have to be replaced eventually.
Low flat to the floor cleaning ability - not quite.
Price new: £200 to £250.
If there is one reason alone to consider the Oreck XL it is simply because of its low weight and what would appear to be an excellent brushing action from the main floor head. My parents bought their Oreck XL however because of the fact that it is a very lightweight model and were literally sucked in by the great advertising campaign that the model itself is efficient and very good at its job. Or is it?
In reality the Oreck XL offers nothing more than a high filtration bag compared to many uprights in the vacuum cleaner sector. 10 years ago when manufacturers were beginning to launch cheap vacuum cleaners on the market however, HEPA and high filtration bags were unheard of, so Oreck were one of the very few makers who had one up on the mass produced companies here in the UK who were happy to make vacuums with little filtration offers.
At the time Oreck were also one of very few companies who could promise lightweight cleaners against other vacuums which are heavy by nature and heavy to plough. One of the very few redeeming factors of the Oreck is its lightweight plastic build quality, although the bodies of the cleaner themselves are very well made, the XL suffers from using a soft zipped outer bag which makes the smell of dust all that more obvious if a non high filtration bag is used. Opt for the three layer high filtration CELOC bags however and the smell of obvious dust smells is trapped.
Over the years Oreck XL models have been launched in a myriad of designs; mine was dark grey whilst others are light grey with white rubber bumpers, cream with contrasting brown and at one point a pink model to build on the success of Breast cancer as Dyson has done. There are some models which have headlights fitted too, but it is this original XL model which has nothing.
** Setting Up **
One of the advantages of the Oreck XL is the simple fact that it is very easy to put together. Out of the flat box comes the motor and the bottom dust channel which is permanently fitted. All you need to do is fix two parts of the main spine of the cleaner which look like two long black extension pipes. But these also reveal the main dust channel connections to where the dust goes before it gets to the bag and from the main floor head itself. Then the soft bag can be pulled and snapped onto the back of the Oreck before the final metal spine of the Helping handle can be screwed to the back of the main neck. It is a simple, yet easy principle of putting together; the last part is the power cord itself which reveals a small 2 pin plug which fits at the bottom of the Helping handle and connects power through the cleaner once the plug is pushed and switched on.
The on button on older Oreck XL models have been relegated to the main floor head whereas newer models had the power on switch located at the top of the main handle. Whilst I have used two models from the Oreck stable there are very few differences which I will come to later in this review.
** Bag Types **
Both bag types (Oreck produce two types according to whatever filtration level you choose now although there used to be three types) are distinguished by colour; the basic paper bag by Oreck (and the cheapest to buy) are blue in colour, the next upgrade is Orecks green filtration bag which is triple layered and sometimes come with CELOC branded labels both of which offer the HEPA identifiable filtration for complete dust sealage. All of the bags have the same kind of dust hole and have a self sealing pull on them so to ensure no dust escapes.
I have used all types of bags; the blue bags trap all means of dirt but can be smelt into the room once an Oreck has been used. The green bags however do a better job at keeping allergen retained.
** Fitting a Bag **
Now Oreck may well pride himself of designing a new kind of bag but as far as I know self sealing bags have been produced and made for vacuums since the 1960s so there is nothing new here. On later Oreck models however there is a new slide in bag holder which is as easy as it suggests; slide the bag in from the cardboard slide, lock and then zip up the outer bag. On my model however, the bag has to be pushed manually as far as it will go until it locks into place over the hook which provides the main dust channel to the bag. Oreck call these models non docking, bags on the models which dont have the hinge slider.
Sometimes the bag is pesky and wont push on properly which results in a bag which comes loose in use and the soft bag inside become peppered with dust! Thankfully Oreck have obviously improved the bag design by adding in the bag slider hinge. What a pity however that if the inevitable happens, i.e. the paper bag comes loose, the soft bag can only be zipped half way down to clean out the dust which has escaped and if the bag has been forgotten about, sometimes the zip becomes clogged with dust, it is impossible to open.
** In Use **
One of the beauties of the Oreck XL is that it has been simply made and simply designed, and from the very beginning you simply stand on the floorhead to swing and unlock the handle down, just like Dyson and countless other companies who have copied the design in lieu of a more expensive pedal. This means that the Oreck handle is now free and easy and swings all the way down to the floor making the Oreck ideal to lie flat and clean under low furniture. In this example, the XL is excellent at cleaning under low furniture, although close up, the floor head doesnt actually touch the floor surface when the handle and the bag touch the floor so it doesn't quite allow the brushes to hit the floor in this respect.
Whilst the hinge doesnt counteract itself based on how high the owner is in terms of height, the Oreck is slightly taller anyway than standard uprights and gives good steering from the Helping hand which by itself is a well designed item able to steer any direction you want to go with the Oreck.
In normal use the Oreck XL has a wonderful gliding action, helped along by the fact that it has no manual dials to adjust the height of the floorhead; the science of the vacuum principle means that the brush always rolls on any type of carpet and cleans any kind of surface including hard flooring. Whilst it does not have beater bars, Ive found the Oreck is good on hard flooring but some crumbs can run away the first time due to the fact that Oreck has made the floorhead universally flat and sealed. The only partition on the floor head is an oval flush hole which allows owners to store a spare drive belt to ensure the spare doesnt get lost.
Over carpeting the Oreck XL does a very fine job helped along by edge brushes on either side of the floorhead. These however end up being bent in use and loose their strength and often have to be replaced; Oreck charge £5-38 and P&P for a replacement pair of brushes and they can be easily screwed into the floorhead if the old ones are removed by the same design.
** The Motor **
What a pity then that the Oreck XL is extremely noisy. My parents soon discovered the joys of the Oreck and then realised the noise of the motor was normal as opposed to thinking something was definitely wrong. Whilst the noise of the brushes hitting the floor is normal, the whine of the motor is something which Oreck havent insulated terribly well and with use, the task of cleaning was dreaded anytime the house needed vacuumed and the Oreck XL was the model at hand. It really does have a very loud motor and with prolonged use the XL can become very annoying.
The Oreck XL is also what manufacturers term as having a dirty fan system. This means that any dirt which is taken from carpets is put through the fan and then into the bag. For wear and tear worries, this is never good news as the fan impeller will not stand up to abuse of stones and hard grit, and often you can hear dust being bounced off the fan impellers before it is deposited into the paper bag. On domestic versions of the XL the fan is made of plastic.
The commercial version of the Oreck XL (usually red in colour) has a metal fan which to an extent lessens fan breakage, but interestingly the plastic fan on most Oreck XL models is one of the many spares you can buy from Oreck if the fan on your XL goes.
** Other Downsides **
Another downside and one which is more important to the ownership of any Oreck XL is clogging. Clogging is by far one of the worst aspects of the Oreck XL and this is simply because of poor access to the main dust channel connection between the floor head and the paper bag. Unless you strip everything down, i.e. take off the bag, to take off the connecting pipes, unscrew the cord mounts, unravel the long 10metre power cord, there is no other way to remove a clog which has got itself stuck down the main neck of the Oreck, unless there is someone in your household who knits and here a wire bending knitting needle comes into its own as we found it to be most ideal of trying to pull or push clogged dust back into the main opening where the suction air can catch it and push it into the open bag.
Remember the flush fitting floorhead and swing down handle? Well unlike most uprights on the market, the Oreck XL suffers from the fact that the model cant be pivoted or lifted from the handle over things like, the power cord should it get in the way, or over carpet surfaces. In this respect the Oreck has to go to the upright position where the vacuum must be lifted over surfaces like cords or things which get in the way. It has no trouble however going from one floor surface to another as the auto adjusting head allows for this and the flush fitting wheels on the underside are smoothly protected in hard rubber so not to damage hard flooring.
However this also presents another problem. When it is time to clear away the top and bottom points of the cord wraps are easy enough to manually wind all of that cord away but try and pivot the cleaner on its rear wheels to wheel the machine back to its hiding cupboard and you wont be able to do it. Sadly thanks to the flush fitting wheels, the Oreck XL has to be lifted back to its place of stay; one of the aspects of its light weightness and being lifted by a finger will no doubt be forgotten here as the only way of carrying the Oreck back is by its main handle at the top.
** Any other Considerations? **
Against the CELOC high filtration bags which give you HEPA identifiable emissions controls, there are no filters on the Oreck XL which will give you extra peace of mind. However for all round cleaning, Oreck havent forgotten their commercial origins and have retained the handy outside pocket flap located at the back of the outer soft bag; this means you can store air freshener or cloths into the back of the bag and it is quite a small opening to store whatever you want in there; I used to fold up a spare dust bag and hide it in the pocket since we didnt use it for anything else.
There is also a pocket located inside the Oreck soft bag for Orecks patented air freshener tabs. I never used any when I had my Oreck to save any dulling of the original grey bag material colour although some friends of mine who still have their Oreck use the tabs and report that whilst they do give a nice sweet smell, the air freshener pods at their local pound shop do a better job if they have actually been placed inside the paper bag as opposed to outside it within the soft bag.
The soft bag however can be put into a washing machine but it is a pity that Oreck dont enclose a spare outer spare bag to use in the mean time, or that a fabric cloth bag could be used in lieu of the multi optional filtration bags.
The drive belt is thankfully easy to replace. There is a handy slide out door on the left hand side of the Oreck which allows owners to undo one Phillips/Crosshead screw which reveals the drive belt wheel to the brush roll. Changing a belt in this instance is easy but if anything gets trapped between the brush and the dust channel, then you have to undo 5 screws on the flush fitting soleplate to gain entire access to the brush assembly.
And what of the user manual? Well on recollection it is a large manual of very useful information; large diagrams and a full length list of product codes are also given but Oreck have also changed the codes over time and it is best to check the website. If received without the motor being built up, be warned as this model has thousands of little parts which have to be made up and you may need around 20 different screwdrivers. Most Oreck XL models are flat packed with the motor already made up though.
** Cost Options of Extra Consumables **
From Oreck the basic blue bag pack of bags costs around £9-95 for a pack of 9.
The green pack of bags, 9 in quantity cost around £11-95. Bags for the Oreck are a lot cheaper to buy online but you need to be wary that they are actual Oreck branded bags and not copy items as the copy items sometimes dont have the same amount of filtration layers added.
Drive belts. Over a year we went through a total of 8 belts due to the sensitivity of the brush roll although this was on old carpeting which was fraying and not entirely the fault of the Oreck. Initially the price from Oreck was hard hitting at £10 for a pack of two drive belts. Nowadays you can purchase a pack of 3 belts from Oreck for £4-95 and P&P charges. Obviously the prices have fallen due to demand and the fact that online you can also buy the belts for a cheaper price not from Oreck themselves.
** Conclusion **
Apart from the lack of hose and before anyone says ah but there is the canister which can lift the 10lb bowling ball, yes there is that little extra gift of which you would only pay £70 on its own if you were to buy the canister all on its own, there is no hose or small tools which the Oreck could offer cleaning tasks above the floor line. Yes whilst for £200 you get both machines, well take your pick on the budget cylinders you can buy which have the same attachments below £50 and tie it with any upright cleaner with similar spec to an Oreck XL and youll still have a massive saving over Orecks products brand new.
If considering a second hand purchase make sure that the Oreck XL has at least a new fan because you may end up with a machine which is less helpful when buying second hand.
The major advantage 10 years ago of an Oreck XL upright was the light weightness of the whole product and true to form it would be easy to say that I havent ever tried an upright cleaner which is just as light, but that would be a lie.
And what does 15lbs equate to in terms of kilograms? Roughly around the 4kg mark (Oreck state 3.8 kg) and to my knowledge there are only two rivals which reminds me of the Oreck XL; the Vax Quicklite 046 which has the same design principle of the Oreck and yet appears smaller and does without the Helping Hand is a hell of a saving brand new at £40 compared to £200 for a dirty fan fitted upright which does little than offer a light weight factor and a paper bag. The Vax uses a clean air system and yet whilst it has a HEPA washable filter and uses no bag, it is more powerful but no less noisier than the Oreck XL. The second rival is the little known Light n Easy upright from Hometek, retailing at £60 and offers the similar spec as Oreck with identical weight characteristic but it loses out on the lack of HEPA emission control bags or filters.
For the moment then it seems that the Oreck XL has very few rivals who can offer a HEPA filter bag and with such a large dust bag at nearly 10 litres with the lightweightness Oreck can still achieve consideration - for speedy clean ups on carpets the Oreck is a great little vacuum cleaner. Shop elsewhere other than Oreck for good deals as there are some to be had.
Time however is catching up with the Oreck XL and the rival companies are cottoning on as a result. Just avoid the £200 price it simply isnt worth that for any Oreck regardless of the free canister; owners of the XL can't get rid of the canister fast enough; most can be seen on sale at eBay! But the upright is useful to keep hold of if all you need is dust retention and good carpet pick up. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
You must have seen the cheesy TV adverts for the Oreck XL where David Oreck sits under a bowling ball being suspended by one of his vacuum cleaners. If so, you'll probably know that they offer a no obligation 15 day home trial of their cleaner. We decided to take them up on their offer when our trusty Dyson committed suicide by throwing itself down the stairs (hint to Dyson owners: never carry your Dyson upstairs by the detachable handle!) We have a particularly tricky set of stairs and four stair loving cats and to be honest, the Dyson was a bit awkward to use, which is why we decided to give the lightweight Oreck a go. The big selling point of the XL is that it weighs just 8.5lbs, much less than the Dyson, which we hoped would help with the stairs. Before ordering, we wanted to check how the machine performed with pet hairs, so we emailed the helpdesk and asked them. This triggered their marketing department into action and before long we were contacted by a sales rep. We asked more about the free trial; basically they deliver it free with a couple of bags and you can try it for 15 days. If you're not happy they will arrange for it to be collected, again free. According to the saleswoman, only 2% get returned (and these are not reused in trials) so their marketing method seems to work! When you order the XL you get: The upright Oreck XL vacuum cleaner. Note that this does not have any attachments or hoses so it is only suitable for flat surfaces. The XL canister (cylinder) vacuum. This is a lightweight cylinder machine that you carry over your shoulder for curtains, upholstery, stairs, etc. It comes with a standard range of attachments; brushes, crevice tool, etc. The 12V car vacuum. This looks a bit like a DustBuster affair but comes with a 12V car cigarette lighter attachment for power. 2 bags and 2 air freshener tablets. After some minor self-assembly, you're ready to plug in and go. First imp
ressions are that the upright cleaner performs at least as well as the Dyson, coping admirably with cat hairs and dust from our open fire as well as normal household grime. It's perhaps a bit alarming at first because the machine makes a quite loud high pitched whining noise while running. However, the noise is typical of high speed, lightweight motors and is quite normal. Both the upright and canister cleaners run pretty hot, though, which suggests that perhaps the motor is being operated close to its limits in order to keep the weight down. As the Oreck website says, they prefer to talk in terms of RPM than horsepower - presumably because they have a low power, high RPM motor! For the physicists this equates to a low torque, which is why the motor seems to whinge at every bump and ripple in the carpet. The canister cleaner takes a bit of getting used to, but it has plenty of suction power for stairs and upholstery. I haven't tried lifting bowling balls with it yet, but judging by the suction I'm sure it'd be capable of doing it - although I don't know for how long before the motor exploded! At a shade over 300 quid for the hypo-allergenic version, it's perhaps a bit expensive for what you get, but remember although lightweight it's a very capable machine, performing equally as well as the Dyson. Dust bags cost GBP 11.00 for 8 bags, so the ongoing costs aren't going to break the bank because the bags are pretty big. The bags have a sealing system which makes changing them more pleasant - one big disadvantage of a bagless cleaner is that emptying it involves tipping dust about, which is bound to make a mess. Well, after our trial we've become one of the 98% of people who don't send it back, so I guess that counts as a recommendation!