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"I have a little confession," she said on the phone, "I managed to break your Hoover..." and waited for my anger to rise, before she interrupted me with "but I've bought you another Hoover to replace it," she said gleefully. So the Electrolux Powerlite has finally hit the dust, barely three years old and turfed in a refuse bin. At least she bought me a replacement. Still, I rubbed my hands with delight at the prospect of another Electrolux Powerlite on my door step and for one of the first times in my life as my friend remarked, I was awfully silent and lost for words at the black box before me. It is a Hoover Purepower, not an Electrolux Powerlite.
Apparently the Electrolux Powerlite was constantly out of stock at Argos, so £89-99 paid by Miss X came away with this Hoover Purepower PU2120, a model name I'm not entirely unknown to. Hoover have had the Purepower in production since the 1990s and for those who don't know the "Purepower" name but have owned a bagless Hoover Dustmanager model, the Purepower is the model that lent its basic mechanicals and body shape.
Out of the box I had to put the handle on via one crosshead screw and I was very relieved to find that the hose on the back of the Purepower carries the same trait as standard Hoover hoses; feels well made and able to stretch out to a certain degree. Three cleaning tools are also supplied such as long crevice pipe; a secondary straight plastic tube for more reach, dusting brush and a T shaped upholstery brush with lint pickers on them. They all hide easily on the back of the Purepower without fuss and are made of good durable speckled plastics. Around the back lower down I found the HEPA filter cartridge and whilst it is good at the back lower down, once it is unlocked it simply falls off the back because of a poor ill fitting plastic lock. The HEPA cartridge is at least washable but has to be dried completely before it can be installed. No surprise that Hoover give anything free; no other filter is included, no spare drive belts and you only get one spare dust bag to get you started. At least the dust bag has a large capacity of around 4 litres and can fit in easily at the front even though the bin lid is a thin plastic affair that took me a couple of tries to get it back on! The user manual is made up of pictures rather than anything else and has been produced to include every model in the Hoover Purepower range rather than the PU2120 so you need to know what you have purchased as there are optional features not shown. Over the Powerlite that is cheaper on price, the tools and general plastics are better thought from the rear of the vacuum.
Performance wise, this upright vacuum can really suck out the dust out of carpets and there is roughly 7 metres of power cord on offer, which means better travel without changing plugs as often. Hoover certainly came up with the right name where actual power is concerned. I was really surprised at the amount of pull that this Hoover has on carpets but it isn't without its problems. It doesn't have a loud motor - it has a siren like howl that screams the moment the 2100 watt motor is switched on and there's no let up thanks to no variable suction control either! At the front there is a manual height adjustment that allows for four types of flooring thickness including a hard floor cleaning setting that simply pulls the floor head and beater bar away from the floor. The slider will not move unless the upright is in the upright position which can be a pain in the ass whilst on hard floors, crumbs tend to bounce off the beater bar and aren't sucked up. Unhelpfully this is when the Hoover becomes light as a feather to glide! On carpets slow and laborious is the key to cleaning progress. The Purepower picks up first time but I found it far too heavy to push and pull quickly unlike the lighter Electrolux Powerlite or the electronic floaty head of a SEBO X model. The latter models also have a far more comfortable handle too and Hoover hasn't improved the handle, which feels too plasticky and thick to steer properly. Edge cleaning is possible and not just because of the slow speeds! If that wasn't bad enough because of the strength and loudness of the motor, the fan at the front blows out a lot of hot air which is bad news for papers on low lying tables. All the shifting of the control height button has also rendered the actual plastic nib next to useless. A crack on the back of it has already appeared which really doesn't say much for the build quality of this vacuum.
The "13 step" stair hose as Hoover puts it has more problems. It comes out at the right hand side of the Purepower easily enough but it has to be untwisted so that actual use of it can be made. Using it with tools is no hardship until the vacuum falls over despite the low release design. I found the hose only stretches up to 6 steps and then crashing to the floor. 13 steps my foot, Hoover! At most this Hoover upright has about 2 metres stretch maximum and that's if the upright is made to stand behind the bottom stair to an angle. The weight issue is a further problem; when carrying upstairs the total weight of 8kg is all that more apparent and in haste when the upright knocked to the side wall one at one point, tools came flying off their holders.
By the second week of ownership I went one day to demonstrate how heavy this vacuum is to my next door neighbour who couldn't believe how noisy the Hoover actually is when I was cleaning out the car. Upon pressing the button for the handle release, there was a large crack noise and lo and behold the pedal release for the handle decided to break. This isn't an uncommon fault of Purepower models but a new model less than a month old shouldn't have this problem. Then when I came to wheeling the Purepower back to the cupboard where it hides, one of the back wheels came off. That, for me was the last straw.
A quick call to Hoover's premium rate customer services had me reeling at the attitude of the sales staff, which quickly escalated to an hour with various team leaders and later to Hoover's UK head office where customer services had pleaded not to contact. Why I wonder would the customer services not want me to contact Hoover HQ? Hoover tried to fob off excuses about the handle release, saying that it shouldn't be pressed so heavily whilst the rear wheel is a "consumable." Now a consumable to me is a filter or a paper dust bag- something that needs to be replaced. But a wheel? "Pure bullshi*" seems to explain the concept of my experience with Hoover. As a result Ms X took the Purepower back to Argos armed with the guarantee and Argos have since given me a gift voucher.
Sadly my experience with Hoover's products means an end to purchasing their products full stop. The Purepower PU2120 isn't a particularly worthwhile effort despite the power. Made of flimsy plastics, loud and drafty motor not to mention the heavy action, the Purepower should be better made. Ultimately its about time Hoover addressed the fact that this model should be put out to pasture. Perhaps it will do something for their customer services too. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010 P.S It won't be a vacuum I'll be buying with my gift voucher!
Short name: Hoover PU2120