Panasonic MC-UL915 Review
This is a customizable upright with easy to use attachments and decent performance.
The Panasonic MC-UL915 Jetspin is a full-size upright vacuum with a variety of cleaning tools. Though it excels at pet hair cleanup and short pile carpet, this vac balks at cleaning high pile carpets. It also has a maddening dirt holder design that makes us reminisce about driving to the supermarket to buy packages of vacuum bags. Still, for such a relatively inexpensive vacuum, it might be an ideal choice for an office, school, or any other location with a mix of low pile carpet and bare floors.
Design & Usability
This bulky vac can be a bit unwieldy, especially on carpet.
The Panasonic MC-UL915 Jetspin is a bagless, upright vacuum with a removable hose. There's no denying that it's a large, bulky cleaner that feels every one of its 20.66 lbs. While some uprights are light on their wheels and maneuverable, users of the MC-UL915 can skip a trip to the gym after some heavy-duty vacuuming. Despite its heft, it glides smoothly on bare floors, though deep pile carpets counteract the forward propulsion of the power brush.
A single power switch mounted on the body (not the handle) of the vacuum controls the machine. There aren't any options for different speeds or cleaning powers. A foot pedal allows easy, if limited, switching between bare floor and carpet, and the power brush automatically shuts off when the vacuum is stored in the upright position. Panasonic claims the vacuum automatically adjusts for different carpet heights, but we saw no evidence of the vacuum raising or lowering itself. Also, on the base of the vacuum is an overload reset protector button; that button is connected to a clutch that stops the brush motor from trying to spin when it's got a curtain or throw rug caught in it, therefore preventing the brush motor from overheating. Anyone with a fringe-trimmed carpet will appreciate this feature.
There's a black lever that opens the base of the dirt cup, but it's extremely finicky and often hard to push. The two-piece design also comes apart in the middle, which means you'll have to upend the dirt cup to empty it. The hinges on the base of the Panasonic MC-UL915 Jetspin's dirt holder are flimsy plastic, and a single vigorous shake of the contraption is enough to dislodge the base from the rest of the receptacle. Putting the dirt holder back can be a challenge too, as it sits on a small tab that can be difficult to find by feel. If it's not aligned, the dirt holder won't snap back into place. It has a hand-washable HEPA filter that Panasonic recommends you clean every three months, which is pretty standard.
Features & Performance
Works well for hardwood floors and short pile carpets, but struggles with deep pile carpets
Aside from poor performance lifting fine dirt from long carpet, the Panasonic MC-UL915 Jetspin vacuumed up an acceptable amount of dirt from short carpet and hardwood floors. It had no problem with pet hair and also did well with debris. It doesn't quite measure up to the best models on the market today, but it does a perfectly acceptable job for the price. The dirt holder has a roughly average capacity—about 0.37 gallons worth of dust and debris—which means you'll probably have to empty it once you've done a full house cleaning.
This Panasonic also comes with four tools that can be used with the extension wand, a device the marketers labeled the "Quick Draw" (Obviously, they've been watching too many Gary Cooper movies). All the tools can be stored on the vacuum itself except the wide floor brush. In addition to the wide nozzle (which is nine inches wide), you get a regular four-inch nozzle, well suited to upholstery, a nine-inch crevice tool, and the pet hair turbine—a portable, miniature version of the cleaning brush.
Since the 35-foot power cord is mounted halfway up the rear of the vacuum, it often trails along right where you just cleaned. That means you might need to bend over and pick up the cord fairly often to keep from running it over. The Panasonic "Quick Draw" hose doubles as an extendable handle and therefore tucks neatly into the top of the cleaner. It'll undoubtedly get a lot of use, since this is such a heavy vac to move around. Released, the wand added 3.5 feet worth of reach for cleaning ceilings and curtains, with the hose sporting a reach of 10.5 feet from the base—about average for an upright.
A decent buy
Found online for less than $150, the Panasonic MC-UL915 Jetspin is an inexpensive vacuum cleaner with acceptable all-around performance, though it does a poor job lifting fine dirt from high pile carpets.
With many attachments, it's highly customizable for an upright, but an inelegant design could prove frustrating for many users. This Panasonic might be ideal for an office, but if your home is covered in lush, luxuriant deep pile carpets, a vac with better cleaning performance may be a better choice.
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