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3 years ago, after a very poor performance from my quite young Electrolux upright cleaner, I decided to go for a Panasonic as I seemed to remember my mum having one many moons ago that was really quite reliable and lasted her for quite a number of years.
Luckily at the time of purchase Comet had an offer on this one and I purchased same plus a good supply of bags
This cleaner has been fantastic value for money. Its still going very strong and is so reliable and efficient. I would recommend it to anyone. We have a family of 4 (2 small children included) and it keeps the place spick and span. I also find that the paper bags last much longer than the bags I used on the Electrolux which were always splitting and bursting.
A very well made and reliable product that will last for years.
At an amazing price!
Whenever consumers are looking through endless online searches for a vacuum cleaner the inevitable brand that often comes up seems to be Hoover or Electrolux. Most consumers are now trying to go for the cheaper bagless option but there is still a manufacturer out there who is making both bagless and bagged uprights at little cost price hoping to extend the same parts and spares division for a little longer.
Panasonic as a brand should therefore impart good quality and design and in a way whilst their audio equipment and kitchen appliances are good, Ive often questioned the principles of their floor care range, partly because the U.S of A has a better range of machines on offer whilst the European division make do with machines which have been less well thought out. However Miele must have recognised Panasonic for something as the U.S have the same range of uprights we know as Panasonic here in the UK and they know them as Miele.
In the case of bagged uprights, Panasonic have created a market which many other companies have tried to copy. Panasonic for example were one of the first companies to offer uprights which have a clean fan system which means less wear and tear on the fan as well as maintaining a cleaner quality of air which enters their vacuum cleaners and enters back into the room. But before you preach to me the effects of bagless and Dyson, the cost price on a brand new upright by Panasonic which takes a bag is a great incentive; usually their basic white MCE 3001 model comes in at the cheap cost of around £40 to £50 and for that, you get a machine which has tried and tested technology which uses the same belts and bags as most of their uprights from other years, which means less shopping about when the parts are universal.
All sounds like plain sailing doesnt it? Well its not. Whilst LG no longer make their super budget Slimax model anymore (and by far was one of the best budget upright vacuum cleaners for many years also recognised by Which? Consumer magazine) Panasonic are still churning out bagged upright cleaners in the hope that the consumer still has a choice to go for bagged or bagless options. One of the best advantages it does have is the fact that the paper bags can take 6 litres of dust which puts the model into commercial dirt bag territory and also suggests longevity where average household dirt is concerned.
Ive had many Panasonic cleaners before; the last model I had was a Twin Bin upright which a family friend has now bought off me, but in use the MCE 4001 was lightweight and able, if only beset by filter clogging problems and a silly two drive belt drive design which becomes irksome the moment you snap a belt.
The MCE3001 is nothing short but a bagged version of any upright cleaner Panasonic sells in the UK. Its features may look competitive but once again the actual ownership is far from its features may suggest:
** Nars Quick Skip Product Spec **
6.7 kg overall weight - lighter when actually used.
1700 watt fixed motor.
Carry handle incorporates 7 metre power cord wrap with quick release top hook.
6.1 litre large reusable paper bag (can only be reused twice)
5 stage multi pleated micro filtration - unwashable and cost part around £9-99 for extra filters.
Motor filter, carbon type - washable.
Mechanical bag full indicator - very small window located just before bin door.
3 extra tools supplied; long extension tube, long crevice tool with upholstery brush option which can be fitted on all tubes or main hose.
Low designed floorhead with flat floor lying ability.
User manual supplied one extra paper bag but no extra drive belt.
** In Use **
One of the disadvantages of this model by Panasonic is the most obvious fact that its white. So against the greys and funny colours on other vacuums, the MCE 3001s worst attribute as far as its design goes is the fact that scrapes, bumps and scratches make themselves apparent on the body all over the MCE 3001 and if you dont care or mind about general abuse, then the plastics on the Panasonic will do you fine. That aside, it isnt the most modern looking of upright vacuums but it does have a thin side profile which means storing it should be easy. Putting it together only requires the owner to screw the handle to the top of the body, fit a bag, switch on and away you go.
Suction through the hose is really good but its a pity Panasonic have angled the back of the hose at the rear of the machine and doesnt have a hose long enough to clean anymore than 3 stairs at a time. Being located at the bottom and half top of the rear means the MCE 3001 will also fall over if the hose is pulled roughly and due to the all white design (apart from a thin black bumper at the front) it means that the MCE 3001 will suffer wear and tear if the model falls back when the hose is pulled. Taking out the hose means that not only do you have to bend down to the floor to take the hose out but the top part of the hose which goes directly into the bag is at an angle which restricts versatility when it comes to cleaning.
The tools are not any better either; my LG upright tools are much better and have a more accessible design to them. The MCE 3001 consists of the basic formulaic crevice tool which feels plasticky and cheap, there is a snap on upholstery brush which does exactly what it suggests; snaps on and can be screwed in tightly to the extension pipe which can be added to the hose. The problem with the upholstery brush is just like the MCE 4003 bagless upright; it cant turn on a 360° access so you need to take the pipe down each time and fit the direction of the brush before you attack any part of the home with it. The size of the bristles are reasonably okay if not a little short which can scratch wood work for example when the bristles move out away and the dirt channel is revealed made of thick plastic. Try to use it as a small floor brush on hard floor and the brush protests as it doesnt have a flat principle added to the design. In short the smaller tools are too old fashioned and Panasonic need to take a look at this against rivals.
In general use the MCE 3001 flounders badly. It is supposed to have an auto adjusting head and aside from good edge cleaning facility, dust particles can escape the moving beater bar and brushes which means one clean sweep sometimes isnt enough.
The motor noise is extremely loud and thanks to the power of the fixed 1700 or 1800 watt motor (depending on what edition Panasonic have sold the MCE 3001 in) it also means a lot of hot air being passed through the filter at the bottom of the cleaner; this is not down to price reflection but simply all uprights which have an exhaust at the front will always pump out a lot of hot air through the super clean filter.
The only redeeming factor which the MCE3001 has is a light weight feel when used as a normal vacuum cleaner; the handle pivots via a pedal which feels cheap but the gliding ability is very light and easy but if it doesnt pick up in one sweep on multi-surfaces, the lightness here suddenly begins to look redundant because it struggles on basic pick up action.
** Changing the Drive Belt **
Time for fun and games. I have to admit that whilst the Panasonic may well look modern enough to pass itself off with a new model number, Panasonic have left the underside without any plusses. Take the drive belt change principle; it is about the same with most uprights on the market; youll need to undo 4 cross head screws to loosen the floor plate before it can be taken off and heres where you will find the next obstacle; taking off the belt itself.
This is of course no problem if the belt has actually snapped, but putting on a new one mirrors the same nonsense as my Twin Bin upright; the Panasonic uses TWO drive belts; one for the motor pulley and another drive belt from the motor pulley to the beater bar. Why Panasonic have done this is beyond me; my Aunt's old Panasonic never had a motor pulley and she's had her upright for the last sixteen years! Once the drive belt is put on, then you have to do a reverse procedure and struggle like hell to put the small ring belt on for the motor pulley. Then its back on with the sole plate and screwing those screws back in.
** Any considerations? **
The MCE3001 makes sense if you're a landlord and have a few properties to fill with the basics or if you own a small B&B. Why? Because bags and belts (they are all the same for bagged uprights made by Panasonic) are universal fit and Panasonic's reliability record seems to do well even with this model's lack of versatile performance. The hose and cheap tools suggest that it isn't really designed for a home in the Millenium years; certainly Panasonic would do well to upgrade its design and fit some decent protection around the sides and back of the cleaner.
Models from 2006 onwards also no longer feature a stop beater roll button which was at least one of the better features on most Panasonic uprights and quite why Panasonic have stopped it is beyond me. Now, with the fact that the brush bar has harsh beaters in them and despite the excellent edge cleaning facilities on both sides and a flat to the floor element, the beater bar doesn't touch carpet properly when laid flat and the beaters means a no go area if you try it on hard floors - well unless you want to mark floors intentionally!
** Dirt Bag Capacity **
The MCE3001 uses a universal paper bag made by Panasonic which can hold a maximum of 6.1 litres of dirt. It also has one open end with the more old fashioned tradition of applying a plastic grey clip at the bottom of the bag to seal it and installing a bag is made easier by a plastic tongue which locks the bag into place at the top of the dirt channel. This means that the bag is reusable but as the manual suggests, the paper bag can only be reused twice. Bags can be bought, 5 in a pack at the cost of between £5-99 to £7-99 depending on where you go to such as Comet, Currys, John Lewis or Argos but overall at 6.1 litres this is a very large dust bag capacity which is handy for consumers after big capacity; as such in use I found it filled to the top after continual use for three months.
** Conclusion **
In my mind, despite the light gliding factor, auto adjusting head, huge dirt bag capacity and acres of power, the Panasonic MCE3001 just isn't worth £70 brand new and I wouldn't consider it either from EBay from some suppliers who are charging £29-99 either. There are just too many faults in every day use that the user has to put up with, particularly if using the poor quality tools and god forbid, if the drive belt breaks.
General loud noise and too much hot air from the main filter exhaust also adds stress to the user whilst the lack of body protection means the general shininess of the product brand new will lessen too quickly with use. There are better rivals out there and in this instance not everything made by Panasonic has the best quality, design or engineering. Thank you for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
The MCE3001 is a Upright vacuum with 1700 watts power / Short name: Panasonic MCE3001