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Hands-on Gear Review
Oreck Commercial XL ReviewPrice: $200 List
Pros: Good at cleaning up pet hair, light
Cons: Mediocre at cleaning hard floors and carpet
Bottom line: Feeling a little let down by the infomercials, the Oreck Xl didn't do very well in our tests at all
This run-of-the-mill, upright vacuum of infomercial fame performed quite poorly in our test, finishing towards the bottom of the pack. On top of that, we felt the Oreck XL was disproportionately priced for its performance, with a comparable list price to much more accomplished vacuums.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Oreck XL scored below average in both of our floor cleaning metrics, only really doing well at collecting pet hair. This model lacks many of the features and functions of other models and is about as bare bones as you can get. However, this is not really reflected in a reduction in the price.
To see which vacuums are actually worth buying, we conducted extensive research, then purchased the top models available on the market today. We tested them side-by-side, with our tests grouped among five weighted rating metrics. Our results are detailed in the following sections, with more detail on how the Oreck stacked up, where it did well, and where it fell a little short.
For our Carpet Cleaning metric, worth 35% of the total score, we used rice, oats, cereal, and flour to compare and assess the performance of each vacuum cleaner, testing each model on both low-pile and medium-pile carpet. The Oreck delivered an unimpressive performance, earning it a 4 out of 10.
The Oreck did a terrible job at collecting rice on the shallow carpet, taking over six passes and still leaving a ton of residual debris behind. This model tended to suck in the rice, crush it up, then leave it on the carpet, rather than actually collecting it. This model did even worse on the fluffy carpet, taking over 10 passes to do a barely passable job, performing on par with the Bissell 9595A and the Hoover WindTunnel.
This model did even worse at collecting flour, doing poorly on the flat carpet, tying for the worst score of the entire group with the Bissell 9595A and the Eureka Mighty Mite. The Oreck didn't improve on the fluffy carpet, doing the worst job of the entire group.
For the cereal test, the Oreck delivered a subpar performance. It did poorly on the first pass, once again crushing up the debris and spitting it out, rather than collecting it. It did about the same on the fluffy carpet, still leaving some residual debris after 14 passes.
This model did about the same in our final oatmeal collection challenge, performing a relatively subpar job overall. It took over five passes on both flat and fluffy carpet to get somewhat clean, with plenty of debris left over.
Ease of Use
Our Ease of Use metric takes credit for 25% of the total score. The Oreck XL did an alright job in this set of tests, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its slightly above average ranking. We compared how easy it was for each model to transition between hard and soft floors, cleaning in close to edges and under a sofa, its maximum reach, and its noise level.
The Oreck XL doesn't have any option to adjust for a hard floor, low-pile, or medium-pile carpet, so it lost some points. This model did alright at cleaning in close to edges, but faltered in the tight corners. It also didn't do the best at getting debris right in front of it.
This model did quite well at cleaning under our simulated sofa, reaching 11"-12" in our test.
This model also has a decently long reach, comparing favorably well to the others, as shown in the chart below.
Unfortunately, the Oreck is a little on the loud side. Measuring in at 79.5 dBa on the meter.
The Oreck XL did a decent job in our handling test, which made up 20% of the total score. For this metric, we compared the effort required to push or pull each vacuum, as well, its maneuverability, and how much work it was to clean a flight of stairs. Overall, the Oreck earned a 6 out of 10 in this set of tests.
This model doesn't have an accessory hose, making it exceptionally difficult to clean a flight of stairs. This model was on the lighter side — as shown in the chart below — earning it a few points.
When it came to maneuvering, this model was quite mediocre, It's light enough to easily push or pull with minimal effort, but doesn't swivel like the higher end models.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The Oreck XL delivered a somewhat disappointing performance in our Hard Surface Cleaning metric, earning a 4 out of 10. We again tested with flour, oats, cereal, and rice, but this time used a section of laminate wood flooring at the test surface. This metric accounts for 10% of the total score.
The Oreck did alright collecting rice, getting the vast majority of it with only two passes. However, it did filing a little bit of rice, creating an additional mess, but not nearly as much as the Bissell 9595A or the Hoover WindTunnel. It did do a little bit better in the flour test, collecting all of the debris on the surface, as well as some of the flour deep in the cracks, as long as it was running parallel to the crack.
This vacuum failed our Cheerio collection challenge, only pushing them around and piling the cereal up, rather than actually collecting it. This model also fared poorly with oats, creating a small disaster by flinging the oats around haphazardly. We felt you probably would be better served by a broom.
For the final metric of this test, we compared the proficiency of each vacuum at collecting pet hair, donated from a local pet groomer. This metric accounted for the final 10% of the overall score remaining and only consisted of a single task: Collect 5 grams of hair pressed into a section of medium-pile carpet. The Oreck actually did quite well, earning an 8 out of 10 for collecting 89% of the hair laid out. This wasn't too far behind the top scoring model, the Shark Navigator Deluxe's performance. This top vacuum collected 96% of the total hair.
This model isn't a great value, as it's an oddly pricey vacuum that delivered a lackluster performance.
This bare bones model didn't really excel in our tests and costs the same or more than models that performed significantly better. This makes it hard to recommend the Oreck XL.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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