My grandmother was famous for owning two Hoovers and not using either of them. One machine lived upstairs in a cupboard while the other resided in the pantry. I must confess that I share my grandmother’s general distaste for housework (I kid myself that my talents lie elsewhere). So when I was asked to review the Oreck Magnesium RS vacuum cleaner, I wasn’t sure if I was the best person for the job. However, I did my research and actually spent a very happy half-hour motoring around the house with this nippy, upright cleaner.
Weighing only 4 kilos, the Magnesium RS is very easy to manoeuvre and carry about (ideal for someone with a bad back or limited strength). I particularly liked its swivel-head, which allowed me to negotiate chair legs and narrow passageways with some panache. Cleaning under my sofa was a cinch as this supple machine lay down flat to reach the back wall. The cleaner’s central cavity, which houses a 10 litre bag, is made out of zipped-up fabric rather than hard plastic – a design innovation that helps reduce the overall weight of the machine and gives it a softer, more malleable feel.
The vacuum cleaner also boasts some nice attention to detail, like the cord-holder that can be rotated into a downward position to quickly release the bundles of cord (before noticing this feature, I had laboriously unwound it myself). As well as this, the handle felt very ergonomic and I liked the positioning of the switches under my thumb – it made it easy to switch on and off.
Eager to call in an expert opinion, however, I showed the Magnesium RS to my own cleaner (who comes in once a week to restore order). Very quickly, she spotted a couple of flaws, including the lack of a hose to vacuum skirting boards and dust in tight corners. She also pointed out that it was hard to clean the stairs without an attachment or a cylindrical model that sat securely on each step. For this reason, she remains a fan of cylinder vacuum cleaners, though she did concede that the Magnesium RS was lighter than my normal machine.
My biggest gripe was the noise. On its highest setting, the Magnesium RS made quite a racket – useful perhaps for a mum trying to drive her teenagers out of bed in the morning, but not so conducive for anyone who is sound-sensitive. I also found it a palaver to re-attach the “hardfloor adaptor” each time I wanted to vacuum the kitchen flagstones.
On balance, my own cylinder vacuum cleaner, with its hose and attachments, is a better all-rounder, but I was impressed by the performance of the Oreck. It was a joy to carry about, quick to set-up-and-go, plus it provided powerful suction at the highest setting. For certain jobs, like ridding the floor of excess dog hair 10 minutes before a guest is due, or smartening up the lounge carpet, I would definitely choose it over my heavier, cylinder cleaner.
The Oreck Magnesium RS currently retails at £249.99. Oreck is a US manufacturer, which made its name designing upright vacuum cleaners for the hotel industry. The Magnesium RS is one of its premium models.