Consumer Reports: Breaking away from belted vacuums

Consumer Reports: Breaking away from belted vacuums »Play Video

CONSUMER REPORTS -- Sal Galasso has been repairing vacuums for 34 years and says belts can be an annoying problem.

"We call them rubber bands," Galasso says."They stretch, and after two, three months, they stretch out and everything starts vibrating."

Consumer Reports just tested a beltless vacuum from Kenmore for $350. It's what's known as a direct-drive vacuum.

"With direct-drive vacuums, a motor drives the brush directly without a belt," says Bob Markovich.

Consumer Reports put Kenmore's beltless vacuum through its standard tests. Technicians sprinkle sand onto bare floors, embed sand and talcum powder into carpets - they even use pet hair to challenge the vacuums.

The Kenmore Elite 31150 cleaned up - outscoring every other vacuum. It did an excellent job on bare floors and was impressive on carpets and has strong suction.

But, most vacuums still come with belts.

If yours breaks, Consumer Reports says it isn't hard to replace.

"There are basically two ways to access the belt and brush to change in the vacuum cleaner," says Dave Trezza. "One requires a screwdriver. And the other one just requires releasing a couple clips on the cover."

You just undo the clips and slide off the cover. Slide the brush off the belt and then slide off the belt. Now you can install a new one.

Of course, if you aren't that handy, there's always your local vacuum repairman like Sal to get the job done.