* Prices may differ from that shown
Once upon a time when low power was all the rage I defiantly stood by the Twin Bin models despite other reviewers slating it. But then I didnt buy it at its full price and probably thought I was getting a good deal. After selling the old MCE 4001 model I couldnt wait to find another Panasonic Twin Bin cyclonic upright again; frankly either Panasonic have come to their senses and stopped production or theres a new one around the corner.
Presently at just below £100 (£89-99 to £90 online on average brand new) you may ask yourself why bother with a Panasonic Twin Bin cyclonic upright? Theyre not built like Dyson uprights in the sense that even when the bin is full you can keep going until it is impossible to open the canister let alone release it from the body of the cleaner. And unlike Dyson, you dont have the option of a long, but still bulky hose which detaches itself on the main handle spine. Here we have an updated version of the MCE 4001/4003 model with a few but indiscernible differences.
** Design & Use **
Just like before, and with most uprights these days youll need a crosshead screw driver to screw the handle to the bottom of the cleaner in order to fix it up and get it ready for use. Unfortunately despite Panasonics unwillingness to either admit that a new model is fresh in the wings or that production has stopped indefinitely, there have been little improvements to the crap tools supplied with the MCE 4011. So as before youll find a thinner than thin plastic extension tube, shiny and cheap and another extension crevice tube which fits at the end, and lo and behold the still useless excuse that makes up the upholstery tool that wont turn on a 360º access simply because its cheap and flies off the end of the crevice tool if you want extra reach. Whip it off the crevice tool and if pushed firmly onto the first tube with the hose which is permanent to the rear of this vacuum, then the steadfastness of the upholstery tool is made to stay.
The hose is as useless as before though, with the only option of putting the Panasonic flat and upright against a wall and hope to god the MCE 4011 wont wobble or fall over to the side as you grapple with the hose. We are talking of one, perhaps two steps in which this hose will amount to. After that its your guess or mine as to what other part of your homes skirting board or corner will get badly defaced when the Panasonic falls over.
The hose here is useless which is surprising for any upright vacuum even if it does have a hose built in and I wonder what kind of stretch Panasonic have in mind when it came to fixing a misleading moniker to such a short and horrible hose. I find it bearable for cleaning my work desk but in this respects a hand held battery operated hand vac would probably feel easier. The Panasonics hose is the shortest I have ever experienced on an upright and its a pity Panasonic have given no thought here to include a better coiled hose which isnt so restrictive in use and needs to return back to the rear of the cleaner when it should really have more elasticity and give.
So whats all the fuss about then? If its that crap, why bother writing another review about it?
Well unlike last time, which saw a 1600 watt motor power up a Twin Bin dark blue upright, this model is all in black with a dark grey acrylic tint to the twin bin canisters. And whilst it may look funky with silver writing its harder to tell if there is any dirt in the bin in the first place. But whilst the model may well be coloured differently, it has a higher 1900 watt motor in place of the 1600 watt and picks up better than my older model ever did. Its a pity that with all that power going on, the motor appears to be noisier than before too.
There are reasons to this however, because it seems that Panasonic have maybe cottoned onto the fact that the original twin bin mesh filters had a tendency to over clog. The newer design sees an additional bar at the bottom of the mesh filters which dont allow dirt to stick to the sides, thus reducing the clog factor and allowing more suction to pass through.
Therefore in use, more suction either from the poor, short and unforgiving hose or the beater led drive belt driven brush bar is evident and much needed. The handle to the hose has not been improved either, feeling and looking like a piece of plastic where a handle may once have been drawn in on the design board and when it came to actual building the model, the designer thought the idea of chopping off one quarter of the handle would be a great ergonomic idea. Eh, not in this case, Panasonic! Whilst feeling decidedly cheap made of thin plastic just like the pipes and just like the hose, the handle of the hose is difficult to grab let alone hold because of its stupid design.
But it seems you dont buy a Panasonic Twin Bin bagless upright for the hose.
Gliding has been as good as it has always been; lightweight and easy to steer the MCE 4011 vacuum whisks up dirt very easily even though the same height restrictive dependent motor hinge remains and therefore I need to stoop sometimes to ensure the upright floor head is actually touching the carpet surface to get pesky threads up which dont always get picked up the first time around. At least the side brushes work on either side of the front floor head!
** Filtration **
Like most models before it, the MCE 4011 retains the same washable HEPA exhaust filter cartridge at the back of the cleaner. But this means that unless you like to stand away from your Panasonic in use, youre likely to feel the burn of the hot motor as it passes air to the rear of the machine if standing by it. Needless to say even when cleaning up after pets such as dog or cat hair, the odour of their hair is always retained inside the vacuum and thanks to the HEPA filter in this instance, the air in the room remains undisturbed.
** Emptying it & Filters **
The mesh filters however have had some slight improvements. The B style filters have still been retained which means with a quick release system and the B filter mesh cups removed the bin can be turned upside down to ensure all the dirt falls out.
Thats the easy part because the next part involves removing the entire B section filters and taking them out to clean. So the first filter grid has to be removed before getting to the sponge foam filter which sits underneath at the top of the mesh cups. In this instance Panasonic have made no attempt to improve the design either on the quality of the foam or ease of cleaning. The filters are easy to remove but they can be a dirty business unless you transfer the filter straight into a basin of hot water and detergent. The filters have to be completely dry before they are installed again and Panasonic give you another top B filter grid to use but no extra sponge filter which is pointless if youre in a rush and want the filters to last that extra bit longer never mind use the vacuum again straight after you have washed the filter. Here you cant despite the silly idea of including another top B filter casing.
So briefly heres the quick skip review bit:
1. It has a short hose which is too short and lacks actual stair cleaning stretch before the upright falls over.
2. The smaller cleaning tools havent been improved and still smack of cheap quality.
3. The filter system has been slightly improved which allows the 1900watt motor to power up and give longer suction.
4. It still retains its excellent 4 litre dirt capacity, comparable to bagged uprights on the market and twice the capacity of most other cyclonic uprights.
5. The 1900 watt motor is fixed and therefore quite noisy in use but not unbearable.
6. The 2 part filter section is washable as is the HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter but no further replacements are supplied when bought new other than a hopeless B grid top filter which takes the shortest time to dry but can only be used in conjunction with the other sponge filter.
7. Lightweight at 6.5kg and true its light and easy to glide along the floor, but for 6ft people be prepared to stoop for ground in dirt and thread pick up.
8. Would you pay £100 for a corded large capacity electric powered carpet sweeper? I wouldnt (Mine was £40 plus P&P from Ebay, new and untouched!)
** Conclusion **
And for all that power thats the problem with the Panasonic MCE 4011. Whilst it may convey the cache of quality in which the brand name Panasonic imparts these days, the improved mesh filters may well prolong suction but everything else smacks of cheap quality and still retaining two drive belts, both of which have to be removed before the single drive shaft belt is replaced, it bears the question, that whilst it may well be light to glide across the floor, how foolish do Panasonic think UK consumers really are? Its great as a carpet vacuum but everything else just seems to have taken the road south. Ideas for life, so say Panasonic. What kind of life though?? Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
We had one of these: it was a great little hoover, very mobile, and powerful. It was nice and light too, and easy to maintain. Unfortunately the motor died after we'd only had it a year. Probably would not buy another, as the cost to repair it would have been greater than the cost of buying a new one.
The MCE4111 is a Upright vacuum with 1900 watts power / Short name: Panasonic MCE4111