Kenmore Progressive 21614 Vacuum Cleaner Review
A vacuum designed with pet owners in mind.
The Kenmore 21614 Progressive (MSRP $259.99) is a blueberry-colored canister vacuum. The unusual shade may be eye-catching, but we were pleased to find the 21614 is skilled at catching dirt as well. The vacuum's power is unmistakable, allowing it to pick up debris and clean high-pile carpets without pause. In fact, it cleans almost as well as the Miele S7, and can be yours for a fraction of the cost. Just watch out for its clunky swiveling power brush, which is as apt to bump into furniture as it is to suck away dust.
Vacuum seeking cat lady
The 21614 comes with multiple attachments for dealing with animal hair. For big jobs, you'll probably want to stick to the Pet PowerMate, which picked up most of the cat hair set out during testing. A pet hair catcher tool is another handy option that can attach right in front of the dusting brush, allowing you to clean your pet's fur from the drapes without the risk of clogging the vacuum's hose.
Beyond that, the 21614's accessories are pretty standard: a crevice tool, a telescopic wand, and a bare floor brush. All of these tools can be stored in compartments on the vacuum itself.
Strong suction, but difficult to move.
The Kenmore 21614 has a catch on the bottom that keeps it from rolling down the stairs, and at nearly 22 pounds you'll have to tug pretty hard to move it forward. Additionally, the vacuum's strong suction gave some resistance when we tried to pull the head backwards during testing, and the stubbornly wide turning radius on the whole vacuum proved mediocre at best. All this is workable, but users should definitely come prepared with some elbow grease.
We also found it difficult to pull the telescopic wand from its shell in the power brush. You'll need to push a lever, press a button, and pull upward to get it out. In summary, the 21614 and its accessories stayed in place, whether you wanted them to or not.
Top of the High-Pile
The power brush tool on the 21614 is height-adjustable, which means it has an easier time dealing with high-pile carpets like shag. The vacuum picked up dirt and debris from deep carpets better than other models at twice the price.
On normal carpet and bare floors, this vacuum's scores were rather average. Its higher profile prevented it from cleaning fine dirt on normal carpets, even though we chose the manufacturer-recommended height setting. On bare floors, the vacuum struggled to collect food particles such as uncooked rice, even while using the bare floor brush.
However, with the use of proper tools, not even cat hair could hide from the 21614. Whether the dirt and hair were located in the middle of the room or near the walls, the vacuum sucked them right up. Its suction power was just as strong at the edges of the brush as it was at the center.
This kind of power does come at a price: The 21614 is one of the loudest machines we've ever tested. When you use it, the whole house will know.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Blueberries may go out of season, but this vacuum can clean your house anytime.
The Kenmore 21614 Progressive is a stalwart device. The design isn't fancy, but it has many features that combine to create a positive user experience. All the accessories can be stored onboard, and there's a hook on the bottom of the canister to keep it from rolling down the stairs.
When it comes to cleaning, the Progressive shows Kenmore hasn't lost its touch over the years. This canister picks up dirt on both high-pile carpet and bare floor, earning scores almost as high as the much more expensive Miele S7. With its focus on both good household design and cleaning performance, the Kenmore 21614 is a vacuum we'd recommend to anyone.
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