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We’ve all seen tons of reviews about Dyson, Miele, Shark, and Bissell. But today, we’re looking at a lesser known brand – but don’t let that fool you. Our review of Riccar vacuum cleaners may surprise you once you see how awesome these machines actually are.
What is Riccar anyway?
Riccar is a premium, USA-based vacuum brand that makes their models exclusively in the United States. Riccar is owned by a company called the Tacony Corporation, and they actually make a whole host of household machines.
To maintain exclusivity, Riccar vacuums are not found at big box retailers and Amazon. To buy a Riccar, you’ll have to go to a specialty retailer exclusively licensed and chosen by Riccar.
In a way, this is a good thing – the exclusivity helps them maintain a standard of quality, which you will not always find at big box retailers, especially those who allow third party merchants. While the retailers do indeed impose a level of quality adherence to their merchants, it’s not like the standard smaller companies like Riccar can manage.
These guys really mean business and they’re dedicated to their craft. Riccar vacuums are world class, robust, long lasting, and innovative. They’re some of the best vacuums that you can find, period, but they come with a costly price tag.
The company started all the way back in 1988 and they’ve been innovating ever since. The unique thing about Riccar vacuums is that they utilize both clean air and direct air technology and use them in conjunction for a really powerful suction and cleaning.
If you’re not familiar with clean air or direct air technology, we’ll get to that shortly. The combination is called tandem air by Riccar, which is quite aptly named if you ask me!
Additionally, the warranties on some Riccar vacuums are just insane at 8 years. I don’t think you will find any other manufacturer willing to stand behind their products for such a long time!
Even though there is a warranty, don’t expect to need to use the warranty anytime soon: Riccar vacuums don’t use any cheap plastic. Instead, they’re built with strong components that can withstand constant use and wear.
Clean air and direct air vacuums
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty (hue hue) of what makes Riccar vacuums so special. Normally, vacuums will use either a clean air or a direct air motor. Depending on the purpose and application of a particular vacuum, it will utilize either of the two motors.
Clean air motors suck air in through a filter, and dirt and dust is pulled up along with the air. Clean air motors are the motors you’ll find most vacuums that are popular today. This includes Shark, Dyson, Hoover, Bissell, and the like. You may also see clean air motors referred to as suction motors.
Because of the filtration, they’re really suited for cleaning with tools and attachments. One downside to clean air motors is that they don’t have as much suction power as direct air motors. As a result, you may not be able to clean hairy rugs and thick carpets quite as well with a clean air motor as you would with a direct air motor.
Direct air motors on the other hand works by agitating the fibers, and as such is very much ideal for cleaning carpets and rugs. Some vacuums like Kirby, Sanitaire, and certain Eureka models use this technology.
Direct air motors use a fan to funnel air and dirt into a bag. The bag acts as a filter, which cleans the air as it exits through the pores in the bag, leaving the dust and dirt trapped inside.
If you’re not sure if a vacuum is direct air or not, if it’s got a bag on the outside that inflates when you turn the vacuum on, it’s direct air.
Due to the increased agitation capacity and when used in conjunction with a good brush, these motors can really clean a carpet well.
The downside to these vacuums are
- they can’t be used with tools or attachments
- The bag is not as effective a filter as the built in filter of the clean air motor
Tandem Air Vacuums by Riccar
Riccar combines the two technologies we talked about above to give you the best of both worlds. They call the combination Tandem Air – this system is patented by Riccar and combines the benefits of both:
- You can deep clean carpets using the properties of the direct air mechanism
- The vacuum exhaust only produces very clean air thanks to the HEPA filters in the clean air motor
- The clean air motor also enables you to use attachments and tools
Riccar Vacuum Reviews
Riccar actually makes a wide variety of vacuum cleaners. For home and most office uses, you’ll be looking at one of four kinds of vacuums:
- Upright vacuums
- Canister vacuums
- Lightweight vacuums
- Central vacuums
If you browse through their website, you’ll see a lot of models listed. We’ve chosen our favorites from what we’ve tried and what we’ve researched and listed them for you here. You can also feel free to head over to Riccar and check out their list of models yourself.
Since there are so many different models, you can actually go to their site and they have an option to filter by living space where you can really tailor a vacuum recommendation to what you’re personally looking for, whether it’s mainly for hardwood or carpeted flooring, or both.
You can also look for models suited to relieve you from allergens, or clean up effectively after pets.
The models are similar but have really nuanced differences that actually make a huge difference, like power output, filtration, and cord length(which is often overlooked).
More slight differences include the material of the bottom plate, the brush, wheels, and handle.
There is a trade institute in the USA for carpet and rug manufacturers called the CRI or Carpet and Rug Institute who have rated Riccar’s vacuums with a Gold Seal. These guys are pretty rigorous with their ratings so you can indeed trust them.
With all that out of the way, let’s finally get to business and talk about vacuum models!
Upright Vacuums by Riccar
Riccar makes some of the most versatile upright vacuums you can buy. Carpet? Use a Riccar. Do you need to reach nooks and crannies? Use a Riccar. Do you need to remove pet hair? Use a Riccar.
As we noted above, there are a wide variety of models available, and the upright category is no exception to this rule:
- Tandem Air uprights: These vacuums have Riccar’s patented dual motors, and are quite pricey, starting from $1000.
- Lightweight uprights: These vacuums are very light, with most coming in at less than 10 pounds. Don’t let the light weight fool you, as they’re still super powerful. These are much more budget friendly and start at around $300.
- Clean Air Uprights: These have just the clean air motors coupled with powerful filtering so the air remains as pure as possible. They also work with a variety of attachments. These vacuums start at around $400.
- Commercial uprights: For heavy use situations, the commercial line of vacuums by Riccar are durable and meant for offices and public places. They start at around $300.
Tandem Air Upright Vacuums
Riccar currently makes 5 Tandem air upright vacuums. If you want the best of the best and budget is no issue, then a Tandem Air upright is the way to go.
At an initial glance, all 5 of these vacuums are quite similar: they have a power ratings of 12 amps, a 4o foot power cord, weigh around 22-23 pounds, and have warranties from 6 to 8 years. Their filters contain HEPA media and charcoal.
The differences in price are then justified thanks to the smaller additions that the premium vacuums have.
The Radiance Premium is the top of the line when it comes to upright, tandem air vacuums. Though you may double back when you see the $1600 price tag!
This vacuum is built to last. The components are mostly metal: this includes the handle tube, brushroll, bottom plate, foot pedal and telescopic wand.
The Radiance Premium also has the highest warranty amongst its brothers and sisters but also amongst most vacuum manufacturers. You can rely on the warranty for 8 years.
A dirt sensor helps you find any dirt you may have missed as you were vacuuming, and other sensors inform you when the bag is full or when the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced.
The bag is self sealing which means you never have to open the bag and expose yourself to all the dust you just spent so much effort on removing.
Both the filter and the bag contain HEPA filters, and the filter has an additional layer of protection with granulated charcoal.
Finally, there are a host of tools and attachments that you can use.
Riccar Lightweight Uprights
At this point you may be wondering if it is possible to have a lightweight vacuum that can still provide great agitation on your carpet.
Most of these vacuums share some common traits, such as a 5.5 amp power rating. The power cord is 40 feet on the higher end models, and 30 and 35 feet in the two lower end models.
Additionally, it is worth noting that out of the whole line of lightweight uprights, all except the lowest level of vacuum have a HEPA filters. The SupraLite Entry version has a non-HEPA. They weigh between 8 to 11 pounds and the warranties are between 3 to 5 years.
Riccar SupraLite Cordless Vacuum
Since we’re talking about lightweight vacuums, it’s only logical to list a cordless vacuum as our favorite. After all, lightweight plus cordless is a winning combination.
This bad boy is powered by a 44 volt Li-On battery(that’s a lot of volts, the motor will spin really fast!) and you can run it for about 50 minutes on a single charge. The runtime may vary depending on the power setting of the vacuum and how old the battery is.
You won’t find as many tools with the SupraLite cordless as you will with other cordless vacuums like the Dyson V10 or Shark IonFlex, unfortunately. The one very useful tool the SupraLite comes with is a squeegee that you use for bare floors.
There is a LED headlight so you can see exactly where you’re vacuuming, and the vacuum uses a self sealing vacuum bag that keeps dust and dirt out of the air.
As far as cordless vacuums go, I feel like there is more value in the Shark or Dyson models, even though those models are expensive in their own right. Still, they’re just around half as costly as the Riccar Lightweight.
Canister vacuums by Riccar
The canister models made by Riccar are – like the Uprights we saw earlier – some of the best that money can buy. There are 5 main models, starting from just $180 for a very basic device all the way up to $1,400 for the top of the line.
Riccar Prima Power Team Canister
The Prima Power Team Canister models offered by this company have Tandem air tech so if you want something thats more versatile. The combination of the two different motors makes for powerful suction and agitation. Additionally, there are a wide variety of tools that ship with the vacuum.
As you can see, Riccar makes some really superb vacuums that are really unmatched in terms of quality. Does that justify the very high price tag? Maybe, if you’re looking to support US manufacturing, or intend to take up the company on their warranty, that would make sense for you.
There’s no doubt that the quality and level of cleaning is very high. However, the only way to get one of these vacuums is through a Riccar-certified retailer, which may or may not be near you.
Once you buy a Riccar, if you use it well, it can easily last you for 10 or more years.