Culture & Criticism Since 2003
In these dicey economic times, with the prices for fuel and basic necessities rising by the week, it has become necessary for consumers to get the most value out of every purchase. And in terms of vacuum cleaners, the best ‘bang for your buck’ still comes from Dirt Devil.
Royal Vacuum Cleaners (which eventually morphed into Dirt Devil) were first manufactured in 1905 by the P.A. Geier Company. Geier initially started producing his metal cleaners one-by-one in a backyard garage in Cleveland, Ohio. Led by Geier’s hands-on attention, Royal Cleaners continued production through the World Wars and the Great Depression, as various advancements in technology revolutionized the way that people kept their homes.
Finally, in 1981, a handful of investors sporting a big vision purchased the company and promptly introduced a new attack on the vacuum cleaner business. Aligning aggressive marketing with revolutionary technology, the idea of the Dirt Devil brand was born.
This fresh perspective resulted in the company inflating 5 million-dollar in sales (as of 1981) into well over 400 million dollars of revenue by the year 2000 (while also implementing an item called the Dirt Devil Hand Vac that literally changed the way we clean up after ourselves).
Today, Dirt Devil shows no sign of checking the impulse of its innovative spirit; simply, the company’s product lines continue to grow in myriad ways that look to lessen the burdens of life for the consumer.
Another of its soon-to-be crown jewels comes in the form of the Dirt Devil i: this latest upright that combines all of the famed manufacturer’s cleaning power with a simpler design that less taxing on the back. The “i” blends a sleek and contemporary frame with real sucking ability – the point here is to have a powerful vacuum cleaner that people of average strength and mobility can use without undue strain.
Basically, the i is about ergonomics: Dirt Devil has built this machine to be comfortable to use – the assembly of the controls is in line with the user’s hands, which means less bending and stretching – and less over-all strain on the back (a feature which makes this a good choice for the elderly trying to retain a bit of their independence).
However, the i’s sleek spine sacrifices none of the signature Dirt Devil power, as a cyclonic whirlwind of suction cleans with deep and sustained purpose (believe it or not, the i can actually carry up to one full pound of dirt and debris before it requires emptying). In addition, the lifetime HEPA filter and the belt never need replacing (making this machine truly cost-effective, since mangled belts and blackened filters are an expensive ‘constant’ with so many other bagless versions).
Simply, the i marks a significant moment in terms of home cleaning systems – a vacuum that looks to keep pace with the changing focus of the times. Like P.A. Geier’s first Royal, the Dirt Devil i is an example of technology making our collective life easier – and then going a step further, and doing it with style.
In years to come, this one will likely come to be known as the ‘Cadillac of vacuum cleaners.’
Availability: It is widely available across the United States, including at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and amazon.com.
Warranty: Five-year limited warranty.
Weight: About 22 lbs.
Perfect for the holiday season, Dirt Devil’s cordless hand-vac called the KONE is a great gift-idea that won’t break the bank. The KONE furthers the company’s long-standing tradition of hand-vac innovation, as this version offers a true minimalist conical shape that lets you get its ‘mouth’ into tight quarters. As the KONE hums to life (the on-off switch is activated with a quick nudge of a fingertip), consumers are vaulted into the best of the 21st century: Technology has indeed come a long way, and these cordless cleaners are all about versatility and convenience. The bagless design features a dirt cup that is easily emptied, while the soft-carved-tip serves as a perfect cushion to protect chair legs, cupboards or the finish on your car’s under-dash. At $39.99, this hand-vac carries a bargain price with good suction and a streamlined contour. In sum, it’s the best version of this product we’ve seen in the under $50-dollar category.
Availability: It is available across the United States, including Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, K-Mart, Sears, Best Buy.
Warranty: Three-year warranty.
Weight: 4 lbs total (cleaning unit weighs under 2 lbs).
And going a step further into the future, Dirt Devil’s Kruz once again shows the company’s dedication to keeping step with the changing times. In the last decade, the concept of flooring has changed dramatically, with laminate composites now standing side-by-side with the glossy-cool hardwoods of yester-year. However, even though floor materials have changed and evolved, floor-care products have lagged a bit behind – in truth, there really hasn’t been a vacuum cleaner or an electric broom that work well on these traditional hard-coated foundations. Until the birth of the Kruz, that is. The Kruz is a real break-through in hard-floor care, as this stick-vacuum serves as a stylish and practical tool built to keep your newly-laid floors spic-and-span. Dirt Devil has designed the Kruz to pivot on a dime, as 360-degree “free form motion” allows you to dance from room-to-room most effortlessly. But ease of use is not this product’s best feature. Instead, its free-form maneuverability literally enables the Kruz to glide across the surface and clean without gouging into the delicate finish of either hardwood or laminate. In addition, the Kruz comes equipped with a soft-touch “bumper” that provides a cushion and protects the finish of both furniture and baseboards (thus providing a means to protect every aspect of the investment that is your home). Bagless; with 12-volt rechargeable battery.
Availability:. It can be found at Target and Best Buy.
Warranty:. Two-year warranty.
Weight:. Around 7 lbs.