* Prices may differ from that shown
When Hoover stopped production of their Turbo Power series in the UK, one thing remained certain; despite the popularity of lighter plastics and higher watts of motors built into their new Purepower range, Hoover decided to stay with the masses and offer their low power bagged upright vacuum cleaner in the form of the Hoover Junior Turbopower U1650 as their "starter," level upright vacuum. Even after the original Turbo Power Series 1, 2 and 3 were replaced, as far back as 2005; Hoover still sold the U1650 through catalogues such as Argos, Index/Littlewoods and on the high street. Dressed in different colours such as dark grey, dark blue and finally the "pillar box," red as shown here on Dooyoo, it is little wonder that even these days in stores like Cash Converter and Cash Generator, you can still find the little red soft-bagged upright vacuum cleaner at reduced costs. Basically to why this is, it is because the Hoover Junior U1650 is one of the most basic vacuums around that is cheap to fix should anything go wrong with it whilst paper dust bags (as low as £2 - £4 for genuine bags if you know where to shop, like Comet) and drive belts costs are relatively low and are always available. This is an aspect that can't be relied upon for all brands these days.
The model number has a surprise in the sense that it actually has 650 watts maximum power, which in its day was quite high for a basic range and basic priced upright vacuum cleaner with no tools or hose. An additional tool kit is available priced between £40 and £60 but these days most Hoover Junior U1650 models have only been used for carpet care. The other price-beating feature is that it can use Hoover's 5 litre dust bags both from the Turbopower 2 and 3 series, or use the open ended, twice-reuseable (with a plastic clip) 6 litre paper dust bags from Hoover themselves. The "twice-reuseable" idea works only twice - once the paper dust bag has been used the first time, Hoover marketed the bags as being able to be used again if they were emptied. It's an idea that goes as far back with the original Hoover Junior metal bodied vacuums and the 1983 U1104 models. At cost, as far back as 2005, the Hoover U1650 cost £99-00 from Co op before being reduced to prices such as £59-99 at Argos and Index before Hoover ceased making the model altogether. Since then, there hasn't been a better bagged upright vacuum from Hoover to beat it and on EBAY most models go for the £60 price because the Junior U1650 is basic but better than most.
For a start the weight of the Hoover Junior U1650 is roughly 5.5kg and this is because most of the body is built around thick plastics with a metal handle spine and a plastic easy to grip handle. If this vacuum cleaner is stored in a cold area however the handle is liable to snap off, an early problem that forever blunted the original Turbopower Junior model with a soft bag and of course with a soft material outer dust bag, despite being washable, the roughest tug on the zipper could break the stitching and the outer bag would have to be replaced. Most owners I know however have taken care of their Junior U1650 models because on the face of it, despite the lack of tools and a hose, this "carpet only" upright vacuum cleaner does a pretty good basic job of keeping carpets clean. I had my Junior U1650 when I purchased it in 2004 until 2008 before the handle broke off and it sat alongside my Hoover Telios cylinder model. Before that I owned a similar bagged Turbopower Junior like the U1650 on design, (the U1100) but it only had 450 watts - the difference was much better with the U1650 as the extra suction power was always needed on the U1100 which kept clogging on dust and had an ability of not filling up the dust bags.
Performance comes down to Hoover's infamous "beats-as-it-sweeps-as-it-cleans," motto only this time, the brush roll has plastic tufts set into the roller with the brushes as opposed to metal bars which had met complaints from owners over the years because of the damage left on hard floors. Hoover's all plastic roller bar is therefore easier to keep clean whilst on carpets the Junior U1650 has a heavy ploughing action if the 4 height adjustment slider hasn't been adjusted properly for a lighter glide and its bulkier, squarish head can sometimes get stuck between kitchen table legs and such like. When it is adjusted properly, the Junior U1650 is excellent at pet hair pick up and deep down trodden dirt often leaving a lovely groomed appearance behind helped along by large wheels at the back and smaller ones underneath. Edge cleaning on both sides of the floor head also clean well right up to the skirting board - something that mirrors the performance of the original Turbopower series. But, thanks to that 650-watt motor, the Junior U1650 is quite noisy despite the high suction available although compared to a premium priced Oreck XL, a heck of a lot quieter!
Unlike Turbopower 2,3 and Turbomaster models made by Hoover, this model relies on passing the dirt through the fan. This means that wear and tear on the fan itself will not allow it to last that long if constantly picking up small stones like cement or DIY work, but this is an issue that is always present with dirty fan systems that have dust going through the fan rather than bypassing it like most modern upright vacuums (known as "clean air," systems). Oreck upright vacuums for example have the same principle of dirty fan systems even though the company may never tell you. Another issue is filtration - it is only applicable to the bag since Hoover never kept the Junior U1650 in production long enough to accept other micro filters or HEPA. Thus, the Junior U1650 isn't particularly good at keeping back the smell of old dust or pet hair very well unless of course you talcum powder your carpets with bicarbonate of soda once in a while for the sterilizing effect to take place in the deep three layer filter paper dust bag. Generally I found that the dust bags could last up to four months before needing to be replaced but I never found the reuseable dust bags any good when used for a second time making the whole idea of purchasing them a waste of money against Hoover's claims.
Because of its market position, the Hoover Junior U1650 didn't come with many features, but because of its soft bag, it makes the model better to get under low furniture as the bag pushes itself in on its rear when the machine is made to lie flat. Other models I have tried which have all been hard box versions just can't seem to lie flat properly. This is because those machines have a heavy plastic hinge that tips up the cleaner floor head in the air, and when it comes to lying flat the hinge doesn't go all the way allowing the brushes to hit the floor.
In terms of maintenance, Hoover's U1650 is average on what to do when it goes wrong. In terms of fitting a bag for example it isn't as simple as the older style Hoover Junior U1104 with the bag down the side. This is because the central dust channel for the U1650 is mounted centrally at the back and once the zip has been opened on the outer soft bag there is precious space inside to take the dust bag out as well as fitting one onto the main dust channel collar. The Turbopower 2 and 3 series bags have rubber seals around them and it is relatively simple to install or take out the bags. Using the original reuseable Turbopower 1 bags however takes a little more time since the cardboard fixing has to be folded over before the bag gets a chance to slip onto the dust channel. Another aspect is where the cord wrap points are - at the bottom of the cleaner on the back there is a pop out cord wrap that can often be broken off in use, only using the top cord wrap as the only means of where to put the cord once you manually lasso it up.
Another advantage of this more modern soft bag model is the changing of the drive belt. Flip the machine over and undo 4 screws in the base plate. This comes off to reveal the roller brush, which can be slid out at an angle, and the drive belt, which sits to the right hand side of the machine. Once the new drive belt is fitted (which is a lot easier and not as stiff as it is to change the belt on the older Junior models) back goes the roller brush, base plate, screws back in and tightened and away you can go again.
The Hoover Junior U1650 does have an old feel charm about it however. From the moment it is switched on (the 1980's rocker style switch is handily located just below the handle) and flares up into action, the soft bag inflates and you know you're ready to go. With a 6 metre equipped power cord that is relatively easy to lasso up and down after or before use, the Junior U1650 should be considered if all you need is a vacuum cleaner to pick up threads, dirt and pet hair from carpet. Considered by many as a good second vacuum cleaner to those who have cylinder/drag along machines with suction only floor heads, the Junior U1650 is well worth looking out, if only for its large dust capacity and beater bar function. If you keep it going by looking after it, the Hoover Junior U1650 will last. Ignore the maintenance and general care however and it won't last that long. Over the older and more popular Junior U1104 which had less power, the lighter Junior U1650 is the very last of the classic "without a filter," Hoover vacuums and given the choice I'd settle for the U1104 model which is even cheaper to maintain. Having said that if I was given the option of keeping a Junior U1650 over a bagged Purepower, the Junior U1650 is a lot less bother despite it being as less well made as the older Junior models and doesn't come with a hose. The Junior U1650 is better made than Hoover's current line up of upright vacuums and doesn't feel as heavy either to lift or to push and pull. It's about time Hoover started to rethink the idea of low powered bagged upright vacuums again. If it can work for Electrolux and Sebo, it can work for Hoover too! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
Short name: Hoover U1650