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Well, our family had always firmly been in the Dyson camp since its invention, and were the proud owners of DC01 for many months, however, a few months ago this situation began to change somewhat. The seemingly indestructible Dyson had adopted the nasty habit of vandalising itself. It started out as a once a day, refusing to start thing, but the habit quickly grew, and moved onto a full 20-a-day picket type refusal to work. At first it fundamentally refused to do its job - i.e. actually collect dust and dirt, and then progressed on to not starting, until one day it packed in all together. And as we live in such a throw away society these days, we decided to ditch the Dyson, and go for something different.
The Panasonic MCE8013 was it. At first sight, it doesn't sound that interesting or technologically advanced. It would appear some chap in a large white coat who had a collection of pens in his top pocket couldn't really think of a decent name, and so fiddled around with a postcode instead. The result is a vacuum cleaner that sounds like an iron.
Although it has to be said, not metaphorically. This little Panasonic is equipped with all sorts of features you'd expect to find on much higher priced models. One of which is the variable power dial. This little twisty knob allows you to vary the suction force applied at the head, so when you want to quietly whizz round a room with minimal fuss or effort, you can turn the power right down. Or, however, you may wish to whack it up to the hilt and summon all 1900Watts of power, aside from making an awful lot of noise not too far akin from a jet fighter, it will provide enough suction force to pull your face off. Well, maybe that's pushing it a bit, but when you set the power to the max, it really does become quite difficult to push the extendable and adjustable head along, that said, it will manage to pick up anything this side of a house brick! Cobwebs simply don't stand a chance. This dial also has the advantage, that for car nuts like me, it's actually quite enjoyable to 'rev' the vacuum up - deeply sad I know, but it keeps me entertained!
The Panasonic is a triumph of packaging, and a veritable smorgasbord of little hideaways and compact sensibilities. The MCE8013 comes with 3 head attachments. - The thin tip - for getting in and around those skirting boards, and place where the large flat head proves too big - The circular stair tip, this features a circular nozzle, with brushes round the edges - The large flat head used for everyday cleaning of floors, that features a rocker switch on the actual head, that raises a small strip of bushes from the bottom of the head, allowing you to clean carpet of flat surfaces with equal ease and precision.
This head also features what in my opinion is the best bit of the vacuum (sad I know) its a kind of swivel head, that is far to complex for me to understand, although in a nut shell, it allows the user to simply twist the extendable arm either clockwise or counter-clockwise, and the cleaning head will swivel left or right. While this may sound pathetic, in practice it's brilliant. Those never before reachable places can be given a thorough blasting. One problem with the old Dyson, was its inability to get into small paces, the chunky head was nearly a foot high, and, for example, around my bed legs, which have a beam running across from them, meaning that you couldn't get the head underneath it in order to clean anything beyond it or around the legs, this meant you had to use the thin head adaptor and remove the wieldy extension arm that looked like a prop from Doctor Who. Both annoying and unpractical. With the Panasonic, you just slip it under the bar and give the arm a twist. The head then gets right into the corner - something that was simply unachievable with Dyson's design.
More packing genius is to be found with the extension cord storage method, the Dyson's old method of winding the cord round 2 points, leaving the cord exposed on the back of the vac, seems positively archaic in a world where every millimetre of space costs money. The little Panasonic has a great system, you just pull the plug out of the back of the unit, and the flex winds out to however much you need, and then stays there, so if you need more flex, you wont find yourself going back to the cleaner to unhook a couple of extra loops of wiring! Just go about the clean, and the MCE8013 will silently meter out exactly how much cord is needed but never more. When you are done with the chores, or simply want to get rid of some of the slack cable lying about, you press the second of the 2 buttons on the top of the unit (the other being the combined power button and dial) and the cable retracts back into the vacuum. It's a simple idea, and something that I am sure is on many other cleaners, but it works really well, and leaves a clean lined vac for storage.
All this storage trickery leaves more than enough space for the actual dust collection compartment. The MCE8013 is bag-less, with a clear plastic tub allowing you to see just how dirty your house was! It isn't huge, but its deep, so you can go for quite a few cleans without having to empty it.
The only thing left to talk about is the extendable arm, which seems to be the Achilles heel of the MCE8013. Don't get me wrong, it does its job fine, it can extend to quite a length and is sturdy enough, but this is where the whole clever packing concept seems to go out the window. At least the doctor who Dyson arm stowed into the back of the unit. On the Panasonic however, there's nowhere for it to go, so as a sort of token gesture, a small male and female connector is used. One on the vacuum head and one on the rear of the machine. This at least allows for the whole thing to be stored as one, but it is extremely cumbersome, and on our model anyway, the plastic connector on the rear of the machine deformed itself after roughly 1 week. Alright it didn't do it on its own, but if all it takes is for someone to attempt to dock the head on a slightly iffy angle and the whole thing deforms, then you have to raise the question of quality. So far at least (after a few months of ownership) nothing else has gone wrong, and everything is in working order, leaving everything in its wake spick and span!
If you're after a replacement vac, or just want something a bit smaller, but that still packs a heady punch, you can do far worse than the Panasonic MCE8013.
Its relatively cheap, it's full of features, its small, and it's got the suction power of a jet ski. A very handy bit of kit then!
Very well written and researched. I have a Pan upright bagless system much the same in design to your cylinder model without the handy features though. One word though is to check the twin filters as they can clog up very easily - the advantage of the cylinder and the uporight using the Twin Bin format is that the twin filter catridges are very easy to clean - and the inner parts are washable by hand. The filter is a mesh like substance (similar to plastric mesh tea strainers) and this unit must never be washed - it can however be brushed using a paint brush or if your vacuum has it, an upholstery brush. Happy vacuuming! I adore my Sebo at the end of the day but the Panasonic has been kept because of its twin bin double capacity of dirt - another thing is, suction does get restricted only when the filters start to clog up which means you can still vacuum with a full bin. Bonus useless info - Panasonic make Dyson tools! Nar
morgjgriff 28.06.2005 21:44
A very well written and enjoyable read, including all the details about this vacuum cleaner I could want to know. Well done you! Never been a fan of Dyson vacuums, much prefering the German engineering of Miele. Excellent review! J