Reviews You Can Rely On

Hoover WindTunnel Max Review

This upright vacuum does not match the current technology available in other models and exhibited a disappointing performance overall
Hoover WindTunnel Max
Credit: Hoover
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $170 List | $199.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Bagged vacuum for the hypersensitive, long cord
Cons:  Flings and plows debris, no swivel
Manufacturer:   Hoover
By Benjamin Hickok and Jessica Riconscente  ⋅  Jul 26, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
46
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Carpet Cleaning - 35% 4.2
  • Ease of Use - 25% 5.4
  • Handling - 20% 3.8
  • Hard Surface - 10% 2.0
  • Pet Hair - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

While the Hoover WindTunnel Max isn't the worst model we tested, it wasn't far off from being the worst either. This model managed to plow and displace debris better than it lifted debris from carpets, regardless of the size of the material used in our tests. It repeated the same disappointing performance on hard surfaces, proving to be less useful than a broom and dustpan, creating a bigger mess. It is not the easiest model to use either due to an inability to operate effectively at edges and is even worse to maneuver with the lack of a swiveling head. We recommend looking at some of the better-performing uprights in our other reviews.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Hoover WindTunnel Max
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $170 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$200 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$200 List$88 List
$87.99 at Amazon
$73 List
$69.98 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
46
74
74
53
44
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Bagged vacuum for the hypersensitive, long cordGood price, cleans carpet well, picks up pet hair with easeEasy to push and pull, lift away featureInexpensive, great for pet hair, solid carpet cleaningLight, cheap, simple
Cons Flings and plows debris, no swivelNot impressive at cleaning hard floorsStruggles with cracksInsufficient on hard floors, so-so ease of usHorrible cleaning, creates larger mess, poor suction
Bottom Line This upright vacuum does not match the current technology available in other models and exhibited a disappointing performance overallIf you are searching for a new vacuum on a budget, then this is a great betThe ease of this machine makes you feel like you can vacuum for hoursIf you are shopping on a particularly tight budget for a new vacuum, this is a good optionThis model does a better job of making a bigger mess out of basic cleaning tasks and is more burdensome than useful
Rating Categories Hoover WindTunnel Max Shark Navigator Lif... Shark Navigator Lif... Eureka PowerSpeed Dirt Devil Endura R...
Carpet Cleaning (35%)
4.2
8.0
6.9
4.5
3.0
Ease of Use (25%)
5.4
7.4
6.7
5.9
4.0
Handling (20%)
3.8
5.7
8.4
5.0
6.0
Hard Surface (10%)
2.0
7.0
6.8
3.8
3.0
Pet Hair (10%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Hoover WindTunnel Max Shark Navigator Lif... Shark Navigator Lif... Eureka PowerSpeed Dirt Devil Endura R...
Water Suction Guage (inches of water) 64" 72" 72" 48" 49"
Model Number NV356E S2 NV352 NEU182A
Dirt Collection Bag Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless
Vacuum Head Width 15" 11.25" 11.25" 13.25" 11"
Measured Brush Width 10.25" 9" 9" 10.5" 8.5"
Measured Weight 16.7 lbs 14.8 lbs 13.6 lbs 10.5 lbs 10.2 lbs
Variable Suction Control No Yes Yes No No
Brush On/Off Switch Yes Yes Yes No No
Measured Power Cord Length 29.00' 26.00' 24.75' 23.75' 19.50'
Measured Noise 73 dBa 73 dBa 73 dBa 76 dBa 77 dBa
Swivel Head No Yes Yes No No
Carry Handle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soft Bumper Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hoover WindTunnel Max was one of the worst-performing models our team tested and was not a tool our testers enjoyed using.

Performance Comparison


Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - the windtunnel max is not the best upright vacuum we tested.
The WindTunnel Max is not the best upright vacuum we tested.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Carpet Cleaning


Carpet cleaning is the primary use for most upright vacuum users and, therefore, the most heavily weighted test metric in our set of tests. That being said, the Hoover WindTunnel Max did not perform well in any of our carpet cleaning tests.

This model started out poorly on our first carpet cleaning test, rice. On a low pile carpet, it had a plowing effect, displacing rice and debris before it was able to catch back up after three passes. Rice on higher pile carpet proved to be more challenging. It picked up 99% of the rice in five passes but struggled to pick up smaller broken pieces afterward. It seemed to be pushing down those smaller pieces rather than lifting them away.

Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - the plowing effect of the windtunnel max on rice.
The plowing effect of the WindTunnel Max on rice.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

The Max continued to perform poorly in our oatmeal tests, repeating a plowing effect on a short pile carpet. It successfully removed larger pieces but struggled with oatmeal dust, requiring an additional seven passes. High pile performance was even worse, again repeating a plowing effect, requiring five passes to pick up large crumbs, and was not able to collect finer crumbs, even with an additional 12 passes.

Performance on cereal tests continued on a trajectory of poor performance. In short, it was a more effective plow than a vacuum, shooting cereal to the right side of the head, and it provided our testers with a horrible and challenging experience.

This model also did a sub-standard job vacuuming flour. It left distinct lines at the side of the vacuum path, meaning it was able to pick up a lot of flour in the first pass but never made improvements. More than a dozen passes later, there was still flour left behind that was distinctly visible.

Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - the max could not lift all the debris in our test, leaving lots of...
The Max could not lift all the debris in our test, leaving lots of finer debris behind.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Ease of Use


Unfortunately, the Hoover WindTunnel Max isn't the most user-friendly upright vacuum we've ever tested. In fact, it is one of the worst. When it came down to how well the Max handled edges and corners, it seemed to have more of a plowing effect, displacing and pushing debris as much or more than it picked it up. It required additional passes to clean messes at the edges of its head.

A 29-foot cable, which is a length that is on par with much better models, gives users the flexibility to reach places far and away from an outlet. The under furniture reach of this model was average for the entire test group at 8 inches.

The only real user-friendly thing this model has going for it is the ability to adjust the height. To adjust the height requires bending down to manipulate a knob, and while it could be easier, we were pleased it had the ability.

Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - the lack of a swiveling head is a detrimental limitation to the...
The lack of a swiveling head is a detrimental limitation to the WindTunnel Max.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Handling


The Hoover WindTunnel Max is a terrible handling vacuum. With the lack of a swivel, our testers had a horrendous time navigating corners, turns, and furniture in all of our tests. The height adjustments for different carpet pile was inaccurate, applying too much pressure to the brush, making the head difficult to move. The pulling and pushing effort required to move this model is nearly guaranteed to give you a workout.

Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - this was one of the worst handling models our team tested.
This was one of the worst handling models our team tested.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Hard Surface Cleaning


With no option to turn off the brush, the Hoover WindTunnel Max did poorly across all of our hard surface sub-metrics. Rice became projectiles, violently spraying everywhere, and left no hope of ever being able to clean hard flooring.

The Max did not do any better handling oatmeal, cereal, or flour. It proved to be completely ineffective at cleaning hard surfaces, even after 30 passes. Instead of picking anything up, all it did was fling debris and make a bigger mess. Its hard surface performance was horrible, to say the least.

Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - the windtunnel max did a poor job of lifting flour from a hard...
The WindTunnel Max did a poor job of lifting flour from a hard surface.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Pet Hair


Our pet hair test was the only test where this model didn't completely disappoint our testers. That's not to say it is exceptional either, but it did manage to pick up 93.2% of hair in our tests.

Hoover WindTunnel Max upright vacuum - the max did well when it came to pet hair, but not the best.
The Max did well when it came to pet hair, but not the best.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Should You Buy the Hoover WindTunnel Max?


This Hoover WindTunnel Max is not the worst upright vacuum we have ever tested, but it isn't a whole lot better than the worst-ranked uprights we've tested either. Across the board, we weren't impressed and doubt you will be either. We cannot recommend this model over other more capable vacuums.

What Other Upright Vacuums Should You Consider?


If you expect a vacuum to be a useful cleaning tool, forget the Hoover WindTunnel Max, and plan to increase your budget. For a similarly affordable model but superior performance, consider the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional. Budget permitting, for truly premium performance, take a look at either the Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M or the Shark Vertex.

Benjamin Hickok and Jessica Riconscente
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More