The Eureka 5400 Sucks - A Vacum Review
Pros and Cons of the Eureka 5400
© 2013 Express10
After my little purple Dirt Devil bit the dust, I knew I had to get a new and possibly even better vacuum cleaner. Instead of hardwood floors, most of my home is carpeted. However, I am quite the allergic neat freak. I feel compelled to vacuum at least every other day and actually feel like a slacker if there are times when I don't do so every other day. While at Wally World I found a Eureka vacuum that I liked. I read the packaging a couple of times but it didn't say whether or not it could be used for cleaning under furniture. I decided to take a chance...and I lost big time. But instead of diving right in, I'd first like to present a few pro's and cons from my adventure of a personal experience.
Pro: The Eureka 5400 is pretty powerful, powerful enough to have a bit of self propulsion making forward cleaning passes easier. There are also onboard tools such as a brush and power paw attachment to help get lint, dust, and hair off of upholstery, drapes, etc. In addition, there are extension wands to help you reach further without teetering on a chair or other piece of furniture to get to hard to reach or high places.
Con: The Eureka 5400 tilts off the floor when you get to approximately an 80° or 90° angle when attempting to go under furniture. This forces the user to move heavy furniture if they are serious about the level of clean they want in their homes. This is sometimes a pain for me but not so bad to make me totally dislike the unit. For others it may make them choose another vacuum, either way it's nice to know this before buying it.
Pro: The dust bin on this Eureka is quite capable of holding a lot of dirt and debris making it easier to move from room to room without emptying it as frequently as you would with other models. If you vacuum very infrequently however, this feature will likely be of little to no use for you.
Con: My last issue with this unit is that the debris release is on the bottom and this usually works out to be more messy for me than units where you can tilt and empty from the top of a dust cup/bin. The dust and debris gets caught around the edges of the moving portion of the dust cup and you either have to shake it (re-releasing the stuff you just vacuumed into the air), wipe with a wet paper towel (if you remembered to get one ready), or close it up and hope it all comes out on the next attempt at emptying which in my experience doesn't happen. The design was a nice idea in theory but I found I prefer emptying from the top without the extra flange where debris can cling.
- Do not throw away your receipt, no matter how confident you are with a purchase.
- Read reviews and ask friends and family or even colleagues about their experiences with purchases such as these.
- Don't assume that spending more equals better quality, I knew this but let it fly out the window in part because I wanted a vacuum then and there because mine had died on me.
Now To The Nitty Gritty...
I got the Eureka 5400 to keep my home clean but this soon became an exercise in futility. Less than a month after buying the unit, the on switch would not stay on. The on switch is foot operated and no matter how many times I tried the crappy red power switch wouldn't stay on. I immediately called Eureka to authorize service and took it in. On the first (insert omen here) repair attempt I believe the local repair shop had it ready the next day, definitely no more than 48 hours. I was able to vacuum one level of my home and after turning it off to go to another area, it would not start and stay on. This occurred within a day or two of picking it up from being repaired for the same reason. I used tape to hold the foot pedal/on switch in the on position because I was going to get my home clean no matter what.
Damned be my intentions because the thing turned off possibly due to it's thermal shutoff control. I guess that the Eureka 5400 turned off because I was forcing it to do it's job! I know that the small piece of tape I used to hold the on swich in the on position did not block any air vents or negatively impact air flow. If you are unlucky enough to have one of these units you can see what I mean by taking a peek at yours. Nevertheless, my floors would remain dirty...grrrr.
I called Eureka again to set up a 2nd service appointment at my local authorized dealer. It ticked me off that I hadn't owned the unit for a full two months by this point and it was already going in for a second service. Thank GOD I have an SUV and didn't have to have this thing all over the seats in my car. Prior to calling Eureka for a second service repair, I read reviews and felt very upset with myself that I had not done so before buying it. Instead while in the store, I figured that the name and the price of $80 (double what I'd paid for a reliable and long lasting workhorse) pretty much assured me that I would be getting a quality product. I erroneously thought that the Eureka 5400 would at least work as well as and longer than my $40 Dirt Devil which actually lasted me a couple years and worked very well till it died.
While on the line with the Eureka rep for the 2nd repair attmpt, I told my beau that it was 72 degrees inside. He had checked the weather report and mentioned that it was only in the low 60's outside. We had all the windows open and it was fairly comfortable but I told him if it got any warmer, I'd turn on the A/C. The Eureka rep had been typing at that point but after hearing this he told me "that's why the vacuum turned off." I took offense to this for three reasons. The first reason being that if a vacuum is not meant to operate in 72 degree temperatures, it should not be made or sold, it is garbage. Many people keep their homes around the 70 degree range and if a vacuum is not going to be able to handle this, there is no reason for it to be made or sold without a disclaimer. The second reason this perturbed me was that his reasoning made no sense in light of the fact that the unit was less than 2 months old and even the "pros" hadn't fixed the original problem which now accompanied a complete shutdown. The third reason was simply that this was the second time I was having the same problem, the operating switch would not stay on, for a new unit.
Each time I took the unit to the authorized service center, they did not explain what the issue was, they only said what they did to "fix" it. This gave me the impression that they were addressing what they thought the problem(s) was but were not necessarily sure of despite me explaining. However, I don't rule out the possibility that I just got a lemon...until I heard and read of other issues. I told them the problems each time I brought the unit in and told them about using a piece of tape to keep the dang thing on. They "fixed" the same problem twice.
But wait...there's more!
On the second go round at "repair," I had no vacum for a few days. Immediately after I got it back for the exact same repair, the thing did it's same routine of not staying on. The second I removed my foot from the power switch, it turned off and wouldn't stay on. And off I went on a third trip to the repair shop. After about a week, the repair shop told me they were waiting for a part to come in, a position I feel I should not have been in being that this was a new unit, and because of this the repair that wasn't took a couple of weeks.
I was forced into lugging the Eureka back to a crime ridden area for a third attempt at repair. At this point I am not happy because every time I've gone to this repair shop (the only one within 90 miles) I am stared down and made to feel like a sheep being hunted by wolves. The people staring are groups of male loiterers at a barber shop in the same shopping center just a couple doors down. On one trip to the repair shop there was a guy drinking alcohol while loitering there. Across the street someone was shot to death and in the neighborhood right behind the authorized service center, there are many problems for which cops are called such as assaults, thefts, and what not. But Eureka doesn't care that I have to go through hell and high water for an $80 vacuum. They don't care that the only authorized service center is located in an undesirable and unsafe area. I have told them about these problems the last two times I called to get authorization for repair and I am not going there again. I played nice and patient for long enough and all that's out the window now.
As soon as it was "repaired" I picked it up and went home. I immediately began to vacuum but the second I turned it off to move to another area to clean, I got that sinking feeling. My intuition is usually right and was again this time. It would not turn on again. I immediately called Eureka and told them I want a new unit...no excuses. The rep told me that she needed to take down some information and that if (I cannot emphasize enough) they would give me a new one it would take two weeks to get it to me after a week or two of hemming and hawing over whether or not they would even give me a new one.
With all these repair attempts you know they're losing money on this unit just as I'm losing peace of mind because I can't clean my home because I made the mistake of buying one of their lemons. A person would logically think they'd just give me another unit but they are saying it will take a week or two to get a decision and are using jargon such as escalation and dealer updates. I was told when I asked on the 2nd and 3rd calls to their customer service center that getting a replacement was a possibility but they don't seem willing at all when I bring it up. They tell me I must take it back to the service center and the service center seems unwilling to do so. It's like pulling teeth to get what you purchased, a working vacuum.
Thank GOD for Wal-Mart. They allowed me to bring the unit back for an exchange without my receipt although I would imagine this is not their normal practice so please keep your receipts. I have to admit, I've been a Wally World shopper for quite sometime and this is only the 2nd time I've had an issue...and they've resolved both. UPDATE: As for Eureka,the "lovely" people at Eureka never called me back to say whether or not I was getting a new vac, probably because they've read this :)
Consider yourself warned about the Eureka 5400. If I have any issues with my new Dirt Devil I will take that back and get a Shark or ante up two arms and one leg for a Dyson. Happy cleaning!