Lightweight vacuums for less

October 6, 2009 There are lots of lightweight vacuums in stores, but Consumer Reports' latest tests show not all do a great job.

Some vacuums can weigh more than 23, 24 or 25 pounds, So an infomercial for the Garry vacuum probably sounds pretty appealing.

The heavily advertised Garry Ultralight, costing almost $200, is one of dozens of upright vacuums rated by Consumer Reports.

"In the past, lighter-weight upright vacuums generally didn't clean carpets very well," said John Galeotafiore of Consumer Reports. "Our latest tests show they've gotten better, although there are still some that aren't so hot."

Garry claims in its infomercial its vacuums can "deep clean and groom your carpets for years to come." To size up claims like this, Consumer Reports puts a measured amount of talcum powder and sand on a carpet and grinds it in. Testers then measure how much the vacuum picks up.

So how did the Garry do?

"The Garry Ultralight actually was the worst at carpet cleaning of about four dozen upright vacuums we tested," Galeotafiore said.

And as for those claims that the Garry Ultralight weighs only nine pounds, it turns out you have to remove all the vacuum tools, the hose, and fully extend the cord to hit that weight.

Despite the Garry Ultralight's disappointment, Consumer Reports found several lightweight uprights can clean up.

The least-expensive that does a very good job on carpets is the $60 Dirt Devil Featherlite Bagless vacuum from Target, weighing just 13 pounds. So this Dirt Devil won't break the bank … or your back.

Consumer Reports says to keep a vacuum working well, be sure to regularly clean and replace the filter, empty the bag frequently, and keep the brush roll unclogged.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2008. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit

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