Oreck XL Element Review
If all you need is on-floor cleaning, the Oreck XL Element is a reasonably-priced option.
The Oreck XL Element ($199.99 MSRP) looks like an old vacuum wearing new clothes. Despite the retro upright setup, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a lighter vacuum that does as good a job on low carpet and solid floors. Its floor cleaning performance was actually competitive with most heavier and pricier vacuums. In addition to its cleaning capabilities, the Element’s lightweight frame makes it easy to carry up stairs and around the house. Unfortunately, you won’t find any cleaning tools that come with the Oreck XL Element, since it doesn’t even have a hose. While you’ll get a vacuum that will do well on low carpet and hardwood, it lacks any and all frills.
Design & Usability
What you see is what you get.
Because of its 11 pound weight and well-built frame, the Oreck XL Element had no problems gliding on hardwood or long carpet. A 32-foot power cord gave plenty of leeway, and the HEPA dirt bag also serves as the machine’s filter. The bag can be easily removed by pulling its cardboard tab forward, lifting it out of the blue plastic holder.
Our biggest gripe was that the Oreck XL Element lacks comprehensive controls or external cleaning tools. This is obviously a trade-off for a light canister, but we'd like to at least be able to turn the powered brushroll off or change between “high” and “low” floor settings.
Oreck's answer to that complaint is the XL Element Vacuum Cleaner Power Team, which sells for a $299.99 MSRP. This package includes the Element vacuum and a handheld vac with a HEPA filter, hose, telescoping extension wand, dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, large floor tool, and a two-setting shoulder strap.
Features & Performance
Doesn't sweat the small stuff...which is a problem for a vacuum cleaner.
While the Oreck XL Element had some issues on high pile carpet, it turned in acceptable performances in almost all of our other tests. Other vacuums have done better, however. One area where it did excel was debris pickup, as well as getting out pet hair. If you've got a real mess on your floor, this Oreck should be able to do a lot of the heavy lifting.
A big knock against the Oreck XL Element is the amount of noise that it creates. In fact, it's among the loudest vacuums we've tested. That said, it does manage to be quite energy efficient.
Light and inexpensive, but not ideal for all uses.
The Oreck XL Element isn’t without its flaws, such as a lack of tools and controls. But if all you’re worried about is on-floor cleaning performance on a variety of surfaces, this vacuum isn’t a bad choice. It performed well above average on short carpet and hardwood, just below on high pile, and did very well in our debris tests. For an extra $100, you have the option of getting a handheld vac and cleaning tools along with the Oreck XL Element.
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