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Following the poor experience I had with my Dyson DC26 "City Vac," and having to use it in a small holiday chalet, I initially thought living with the Dyson would be plain sailing. However, the constant noise of its tiny high pitched motor, the bulky hose and thick tubing doesn't half take the workout of cleaning and upon recently pushed me to leave the home dirty until the very last minute before friends or family arrive. This is a new idea that I have never done before, having to live with dust and constantly polishing and cleaning my computer and audio equipment because of the build up of dust, where I'd normally just whip out a machine to do it all for me whilst all the time because of its small dust bin, the Dyson DC26 needs to be constantly emptied - or dust clogs around the filter shroud which means having to constantly tap the bin off the refuse bin - or removing it all by hand when the first and last couple of taps don't dislodge anything. Yes you have to buy bags if you "go traditional," but then you don't have to go through the rigmarole of tapping or removing dust manually.
The Panasonic MC-CG383 takes the place of the Dyson City Vac and in stark contrast rewinds back to the days of sucking up dirt and depositing it all in a bag that you'd have to buy from a set of 4. Happy to sell the Dyson off second hand (and about the only benefit of having the Dyson name meant I recouped a good price) meant that all I needed was a basic cylinder vacuum just to pickup dust and- thanks to the Dyson's bag-less design, the whole bag-less procedure has turned me off the idea of this more modern method not just by its function, but also by the Dyson's tiny 1.5 litre dust capacity. I could have taken the best quality vacuum in the form of the SEBO K, but on the basis that I rent a time-share, I'd prefer installing the property with something cheap and cheerful. Where cleaning efficiency, design and power is concerned, the Panasonic MC-CG383 has all that I need, wrapped in a design that is modern, yet functional and robust - and should be a warning to all brands that Panasonic are here to do serious business - without paying through the nose for. I bought my model from Scottish Hydro at a cost of £47-99 although prices online do vary a lot for this little pull along vacuum cleaner and it can be hard to find, even though it does come with a 3 year registration warranty.
Dressed in a curvaceous bright red plastic and black contrasting body of thick PVC rubber, the little Panasonic is well built for small flats, chalets and caravans. It measures 35cm by 24cm and 25cm with two park positions for the suction pipe and attached 32cm/3.2mm floor head, making it super easy to store away if space is limiting, whilst its compact size and ease of use with traditionally smaller hose and tubes compared to the more modern Dyson makes cleaning up a pleasure as well as fast thanks to its 1800 watt suction motor that doesn't scream too much. For those with environmental issues, although it says "1800" on the bin cover at the front, the rating plate tells the true story and has a minimum of 1500 watts and a maximum of 1800 watts - and against what other reviews may well report - the performance from this little vacuum is startling - with the bonus of being exceptionally lightweight at just under 4kg and 370 air watts, for those who still believe air watts leads the way (but only really applicable for "no loss" Dyson machines).
Our holiday home has a main hallway of laminate flooring plus a carpeted staircase, two medium sized carpeted bedrooms and a large carpeted living room with very hardwearing carpet that attracts all manner of fluff and threads including pet hair. Because the flat is located on the ground level and set in gardens, there's a constant line up of insects coming into the home and with a few Yankee Candles burning away, insects tend to die instead of thrive! I knew instantly that without a turbo brush, the performance of the Panasonic would be much lower than that of a vacuum cleaner that either comes with a turbo brush with a revolving brush or a bulkier upright.
The main control "button" for the Panasonic is located on the top of the vacuum just below the main carry handle and is actually a twist dial that activates the motor and can be similarly twisted clockwise for more power all the way to 1800 watts. Compared to the Dyson, the Panasonic isn't as noisy but it is fairly easy to use and very quick to pick up dust off hard floors with ease, whilst being fairly well built to accept knocks because of the "half mast" body in red plastic reserved for the top, whilst the black on the perimeter and underside acts as a uniform bumper.
On carpets, performance isn't ever going to be on par with a revolving brush because the Panasonic doesn't have one. Pet hair and threads involve a little more time such as employing a couple of sweeps to ensure threads and hair pick up is sucked up. Against the Dyson and a lot of other vacuums I've used including Henry, the Panasonic's shape and lightweight hose, handle and tubes compensate with an equally lightweight floor head that is reasonably well made and super efficient when it comes to fitting under low furniture or cleaning up to edges. Despite the Panasonic only having a 2 way pedal floor head with stiff brushes activated for hard floors and retracted for carpets, I find pick up to be eager and effortless when set half way or at full power, able to be used for cleaning stairs with just the handle pushed into the floor head or using the crevice multi purpose slide-down brush for removing dust out of tricky corners. The boon of the Panasonic's older, more traditional bagged vacuum design here also means robust but extremely lightweight telescopic height adjustable suction tubes that makes cleaning cob webs and dust off the ceilings easier than the Dyson ever was - without being a struggle to affect muscle joints too!
The "L" shape of the handle is also very comfortable to rest my hand on. Being 6ft means however that my hand rests at the top of the handle rather than in the middle to prevent stooping. But, cleaning under beds is so much faster as well as everything else being a darn sight easier to get around rooms thanks to the more traditional thinner hose, suction tubes and the main body of the Panasonic even though it has 2 large fixed wheels at the back and a central castor for twirling around.
I've since purchased a cheap turbo brush floor head from EBay at a cost of £19-99 intended for Hoover, Electrolux and Numatic Henry vacuums. When fitted to the suction tubes, the speed of the brush is ferocious though largely dependent on the amount of power you feed from the control dial. There are reasons to why the Panasonic is able to produce so much power, not just from its built in high-powered motor though and if it was to come with a larger turbo brush floor head, you'd probably have to spend £90 or more just for this extra tool if it came as standard. Despite the extra floor head, I find using the standard floor tool better in terms of light gliding and easier to control around corners.
The secret to the Panasonic's power is that the dust bags are synthetic material based. Paper dust bags used in this vacuum cleaner are liable to burst or tear open because of the force of power supplied from the bigger motor. This is why Miele and other brands who sell high-powered suction only vacuums use the synthetic dust bags that also keep the dust in with little leakage, whilst still maintaining good power. There is no technological secret here, other than that of electrostatic layers built into the fabric that allow for the dust to fill up in the material bags, but not clog as much as traditional paper.
Because of a lack of storage in our holiday home however, it is impossible to put any vacuum cleaner away, so whatever took the place of the Dyson would need to be slim enough to either slide under beds or left out in the open in a corner with coats above hung up. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the Panasonic slides under beds with ease because of the small height and its rear handle means it is easy to pull out whenever it is required. I could never do that with the Dyson DC26!
When the Panasonic is switched on, there's a gentle breeze of air that comes out the back of the vacuum and a lot of suction power coming out of the floor head. Bar the main ribbed hose, which is about 1.5 metres in length, the handle to the hose to the suction tubes and floor head all fit by friction fit only. However, thanks to the thick plastics and metal mix involved, removing the handle from the main suction tubes or floor head is very easy to do, without worry that they will fly off in mid use. Thanks to its budget origins, the rear vent doesn't have a removable cover, so for owners looking for a low maintenance vacuum, the Panasonic is fantastic just by that very omission!
The body of the vacuum has a fixed rear handle that spreads over the top of the vacuum and although initially I thought this was poorly placed, there's another grab handle on the underside just behind the front wheel. This makes carrying the Panasonic easier and is far more manageable than the Dyson, even if you are limited by the 5 metre power cord, I have not found any limitation of the vacuum in use and the Panasonic's angular but narrow shape is perfect for stair cleaning thanks to the rear vent being mounted at an angle with the park position nib at the back that prevents it from burning steps - Electrolux please take note!
Infact, what comes across here is that the more simpler you make a machine like Panasonic have done here and then add features that are more commonplace these days like helpful variable suction control that lowers noise value as well as being able to clean delicate fabrics without ripping, clear of dust, then the more practical and versatile this vacuum cleaner becomes.
Lastly, if there is a simplistic design element visible from this vacuum, it is that of the only additional accessory you get in the form of the crevice tool with a slide up and lock dusting brush tagged onto the end. It's quite an ingenious tool on its own accord because it has open vents located on top of the tool. Despite being noisy in use when added to the tubes or handle, the brush locks down to enable a natural dusting brush position. When it is flipped upwards and snaps back in to fit flush with the crevice tool, the open vents on the crevice tool suck in any dust that sticks to the bristles before the tool is taken off - what a handy idea - though it is a pity that the tool is located on the underside of the machine but snap locks in with enough accessibility from the plastic design to gain access.
Thanks to its budget origins and where downsides are concerned, the Panasonic does suffer from having no bag indicator, so you'll have to guess when the dust bag needs changing and usually the best indication is just feeling for suction at the handle end or open the bin door and feel the weight of the bag.
Secondly, the cost of the dust bags are quite expensive ranging from £9-99 to £12-99 for 4 dust bags, but then again you're getting a synthetic disposable dust bag that can last up to 2 months at the most and 1.5 months at the least and mirrored on the same disposable fabric like Miele and Numatic's HEPA Flo dust bags, the same peace of mind is offered on the basis that the bags won't smell over time. It is a pity though that Panasonic have not offered a pull seal to seal up the bag once it is taken out of the machine or for allergy sufferers, there is no option to upgrade to HEPA/High Efficiency Particulate Air filters.
However like so many other machines on the market including Dyson, the exhaust filter is located at the back not at the top, so whenever you are reaching for the suction control or activation, you won't ever be hit in the face with motor air.
Access to the dust bag can be a little tricky, even though the bin door just pulls up from the logically placed finger pull just above the twist-to-lock/unlock hose and unlike other vacuums, you won't ever need to take off the hose to replace the dust bag. The dust bag locks in via a spring mechanism that holds the cardboard tabs in place. Whilst fitting or taking out a bag is easy enough, access is tight to get to the main slide out filter at the back, but at least it is a foam sponge that can be washed and placed back into the slide out holder easily enough - but make sure it is completely dry beforehand.
Made of thick PVC and not looking very cheap with a few exceptions, the Panasonic MC-CG383 is very well thought out & simplistic to use. The biggest key to its success though is its powerful suction, excellent compactability and generally well designed to the point that you'll never need to fish out the A4 3 page user manual that comes with it. Its shorter hose and lack of allergy/pet care accessories however means it is left wanting for optional upgrades later on but for the cost price of £50, it is a far better effort design wise than many other compact vacs on the market plus the dust bags are better on strength and longevity before they need replacing. Thanks for reading my 600th review! ©Nar2 2011
this is an absolutely awful product ! i do not know where to start. i had to buy this vaccume because i was strapped for cash when my dyson broke. i did not want to buy one on finance so i thought i would opt for this cheap but not cheapest vaccume in the hope that it would pick up the worst of the dirt. i did not think for a second that it would be anywhere as near as gd as a dyson nor did i think it would be as bad as it was. the suction power was absolutely terrible i picked up barely any dirt at all because after many times over my carpets the cylinder did not seem to be getting any dirt inside.
i regret deeply buying this appliance because i wasted good money that could have been saved up for a new dyson while i went without a hoover. and i mayswell have gone without because this one did not clean anyway.
i would strongly recommend u steer away from this vaccume if you want clean carpets and if you can not afford a hoover at the moment take my advice and save until you can afford to buy a decent one.
im afraid this product was the worst hoover ive ever bought i was very disapointed with the outcome. i would not recommend anyone to buy this product unless they do not want clean carpets after hoovering.
the good thing is you will never have to empty it, because it does not pick up any dirt. i could have swore the place was dirtier after hoovering.
there is not much suction power in the hoover and after 20 minutes of flatout hoovering it cuts out completely for a while.
on the plus side its cheap and lightweight and very robust . all my attempts at breaking it failed.
it also has a very long lead for dragging it long ways i.e up and down flights of stairs.
i would recommend u buy any other vaccume other than this i was very disapointed that i wasted my money on this dreadful piece of machinery.
Short name: Panasonic MCCG383