The Bottom Line
The Hoover PortaPower is a unique commercial vacuum. Although its cleaning performance was strong, the design of this vacuum is not the most user friendly we have seen. The shoulder hung design is uncomfortable to use and the unit in general just feels awkward. Nevertheless, suction was good, it has a long cord, and the price isn’t bad either.
- The PortaPower comes with a wide variety of cleaning accessories.
- This Hoover canister vacuum has a good level of cleaning performance.
- The Hoover PortaPower is not the most user friendly vacuum.
- The design of this vacuum is a bit odd, with regard to actually cleaning.
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The Hoover PortaPower offers a bit of an odd design. Unlike most other canister vacuums, this model is designed to be carried by the handle or included shoulder strap. Typically, we see canister vacuums that are pushed or pulled around while the user cleans.
Here are the details:
The body of the PortaPower is built in a square shape and is fairly light. Therefore, making it easier for users to carry while cleaning.
Once you get past the design of the body of the Hoover PortaPower, the rest of the vacuum is more in-line with traditional canister vacuums. The hose attaches into a port located on the body of the unit and allows users to swap tools out with relative ease.
There are two options with regard to cleaning heads:
- a multi-surface cleaning head that can be used on almost all indoor floors
- a hard floor cleaning head that is best suited for harder floor types.
How does it look aesthetically?
Overall, the look of this vacuum is basic. It definitely gives off the look of a commercial vacuum, in my opinion. There are no fancy bells and whistles or modern aesthetics.
How Hoover PortaPower Cleans
The PortaPower cleans through direct suction, but does so in a couple of ways:
- Hard floor cleaning can be completed by the hard floor surface tool, which uses soft bristles to avoid scratching your floor.
- Multi-surface tool cleans through agitation. In other words, it works to agitate and lift dirt or debris that may be trapped inside of carpet fibers, helping allow the vacuum to suck up the mess.
Hard Floor Cleaning Head
Once again, the hard floor cleaning head is best used when cleaning on hard floor surface types. This tool is used to sweep and suck up dirt and debris on these harder floors.
Multi-Surface Cleaning Head
The multi-surface cleaning head cleans by agitating and sucking. This method is much more efficient on carpeted surfaces. The bristles used on this cleaning head are much stiffer, which helps to dig into the fibers of the carpets.
Including both of these cleaning heads is certainly a bonus. Users have the option of swapping these heads for more specific cleaning styles.
How many power modes are there?
This Hoover canister vacuum only has one power mode. While I would have liked to see at least one more power mode option, the single power mode does do well with regard to cleaning performance.
Size & Dimensions
The Hoover PortaPower’s unique shape is noted by the size and dimensions of the vacuum.
This unit is 20.9″ long, 12.5″ tall, and 7.8″ wide. Additionally, the PortaPower weighs 8.3 pounds. This is not the lightest of options we have seen, which is why I believe they include the shoulder strap with this vacuum.
- Length – 20.9″
- Width – 7.8″
- Height – 12.5″
- Weight – 8.3 lbs
This commercial canister vacuum includes an array of accessories. This is certainly beneficial when cleaning in a commercial environment, as well as a home.
The Hoover PortaPower canister vacuum includes the following accessories:
Hard floor cleaning head: A hard floor cleaning head is included with the PortaPower canister vacuum.
Multi-surface head: In addition to the hard floor cleaning head, Hoover included a multi-surface cleaning head. This tool can be used on any floor type but is most effective when used on carpeted surfaces.
Crevice tool: A crevice tool is also included with the Hoover PortaPower. This tool is a great addition for cleaning in those hard to reach corners and crevices.
Dusting brush: The dusting brush is great for vacuuming the dust off of delicate surfaces. The soft bristles on the head of this tool help to avoid scratching those delicate surfaces.
Upholstery tool: An upholstery tool is also included. The upholstery tool can be used to vacuum couches, curtains, and other fabrics.
Shoulder strap: A shoulder strap is included with the Hoover PortaPower so that users can rest the vacuum on their shoulder instead of carrying it with their hand.
Cord wrap: A small cord wrap is included with this vacuum as well. The cord wrap simply helps to store the cord when the PortaPower is not being used.
With Hoover including a good number of accessories, there is no need to purchase much more. The only additional parts you may need would be an extra filter or two. Aside from this, the PortaPower includes virtually everything you need for a commercial canister vacuum.
The following vacuum cleaner tests are designed to show how the Hoover PortaPower vacuum performs on different surfaces, picking up a variety of debris types.
We test on three different floor types, including:
- Hardwood floors
- Low pile carpet
- High pile carpet
- Hardwood floor 100% 100%
- Low pile carpet 99% 99%
- High pile carpet 96% 96%
For each floor type we test the vacuum cleaner against:
- Rice – 3 ounces
- Dry Cereal – 1 ounce
- Kitty Litter – 3 ounces
- Sugar – 3 ounces
Each of the aforementioned debris types was spread across our testing lane. The base surface of our testing lane is an engineered hardwood floor. For our carpet tests, we slide in a low pile and high pile carpet insert on top of the hardwood floor.
Our vacuum cleaning process strives to be as consistent, fair, and true to real world use as possible. Our tests utilize the following procedure:
- Measure the weight of the testing debris and the weight of the empty vacuum debris container.
- Spread the respective debris type evenly across the central portion of the testing lane.
- Run the vacuum cleaner over the testing lane.
- Measure the weight of the now filled container and take notes on the cleaning performance.
For more, see our full list of canister vacuum tests and reviews here.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning
The hardwood floor cleaning tests were excellent on the Hoover PortaPower. Each of the four debris types was cleaned up to a level of 99% or higher.
Could it do better?
There wasn’t much more we could ask for from this Hoover on hardwood floors. I was a bit surprised that rice was not cleaned up 100% of the way, but with only 1% remaining on the lane we were able to clean it up quickly.
Check out some other great hardwood vacuums we’ve reviewed.
- Hardwood Floor – Rice 99% 99%
- Hardwood Floor – Cereal 100% 100%
- Hardwood Floor – Kitty Litter 100% 100%
- Hardwood Floor – Sugar 100% 100%
Low Pile Carpet Cleaning
The low pile carpet tests didn’t vary much from the hardwood floor tests. Once again, all four debris types were cleaned up at 99% or higher.
Is it easy to switch to cleaning carpets?
As we jumped over to cleaning the low pile carpet, we did have to change the cleaning head to the multi-surface option.
This was easy and quick to complete, which was certainly an added bonus. That said, there were really no flaws when cleaning on the low pile carpet, with regard to the Hoover PortaPower’s performance.
- Low Pile – Rice 99% 99%
- Low Pile – Cereal 100% 100%
- Low Pile – Kitty Litter 99% 99%
- Low Pile – Sugar 99% 99%
High Pile Carpet Cleaning
High pile carpets are where we began to see the PortaPower struggle.
Where and why did it struggle?
Rice, kitty litter, and cereal were all no match for this Hoover canister vacuum. Yet, as we tried to clean up the sugar, we noticed the unit having a much more difficult time.
Sugar has a tendency to sink deeply into the fibers of the high pile carpet, which is where the struggle of the PortaPower came into play. The sheer suction power of this vacuum was not able to lift the sugar completely out of the carpet, leaving 16% left in the fibers.
One side note:
Keep in mind, this vacuum is designed more for commercial use, which typically means hard floor surfaces and low pile carpets. Therefore, the struggle with sugar is not something that should bring down the overall perspective of this unit’s performance.
- High Pile – Rice 100% 100%
- High Pile – Cereal 100% 100%
- High Pile – Kitty Litter 98% 98%
- High Pile – Sugar 84% 84%
The Hoover PortaPower is not difficult to use, but the setup could be a bit confusing for some users.
What makes the setup confusing?
Setting up this vacuum is not a tough task, but can be confusing. There are a lot of moving parts, which may confuse those that do not follow the directions included with the vacuum.
Once you get a grasp on everything, the pieces should just snap together. Simply choose the tool you’d like to use and snap them into place.
Is there a dust bin?
The PortaPower actually uses a dirt bag instead of a dust bin. This can be both beneficial and a bit of a pain. The benefits are:
- Less dirt is circulated back into the air
- Users don’t have to touch any debris
On the other hand, taking the bag out to dump it, and replacing the bag after dumping it, can be a task in itself. The design of the bag is not necessarily the most user friendly.
What makes the bag tough to get out?
Simply opening the latch to find the bag is the initial issue. The flap is tough to open up, and from there it is not entriely clear as to how the bag is removed from the vacuum.
Eventually, we were able to find out and remove the bag, but I do believe there should be more explicit direction on how to do so.
I’m sure you’re wondering how versatile the vacuum is:
As a vacuum that is carried on your shoulder, the PortaPower is fairly versatile. Users have the ability to swap tools with ease, get into smaller spaces, and move quickly with the Hoover PortaPower.
The vacuum is not too heavy, so users can carry it around, via the shoulder strap or handle, and go up stairs, around corners without much effort.
Overall, the design may be odd, but the versatility is quite good.
Maneuverability on of the Hoover PortaPower is solid.
The Hoover PortaPower maneuvers well, mainly because it goes wherever you go. In other words, there is no pushing or pulling an entire vacuum with the PortaPower. The main frame of this vacuum sits on your shoulder or in your hand, while the hose / cleaning head is used to clean.
Does it feel awkward?
In my opinion, yes. I am not a fan of the shoulder strap method that Hoover adopted with this particular vacuum. It just does not feel natural when trying to clean the floors.
Yet, while I may not be a fan of the overall feel of carrying this Hoover canister vacuum, the ability to quickly swap between tools makes it a versatile unit.
The following table indicates the frequency at which you will likely want to replace the various parts and components of the vacuum.
However, your individual experiences may vary
|Accessory / Part||Replacement Frequency||Replacement Cost|
|Filter||Every few months||Check Price|
|Bag||As needed||Check Price|
Maintenance on the PortaPower is fairly simple; keep an eye on the filters as well as the dust / dirt bag and you’ll be just fine.
- Replace the post-motor filter – Replacing the filter is probably the most crucial maintenance task that needs to be completed. By ignoring this, the motor may struggle to filter the air properly, which could result in poor motor functions.
- Brush off secondary filter – The secondary filter needs to be brushed off every now and then. This helps to maintain proper function of the unit as a whole.
- Change out bag – The bag is pretty easy to maintain. When it’s full, dump it out. SImple as that.
Annual maintenance costs for the Hoover PortaPower vacuum should be around $10-20 / year, which would include replacing the filter twice per year and the bag a few times a year.
How loud is the Hoover PortaPower?
All vacuum cleaner reviews on Modern Castle are put through our standard noise test. For this test, we use a sound meter to measure noise in terms of decibel level approximately 3′ away from the vacuum.
The Hoover PortaPower vacuum hit the 72 db mark on our scale.
The Hoover PortaPower offers a decent value, priced in the $ category. For the price you pay, overall performance is above average.
Was the cleaning good or bad?
During our cleaning tests, we saw a strong outing from the Hoover PortaPower. The only issue that came up during our tests was the sugar test on high pile carpet.
Aside from sugar on the high pile, our 11 other cleaning tests all received a score of 98% or higher. Although a commercial vacuum, its ability to clean on multiple surface types was solid.
How about maintenance?
Maintenance costs are low, which definitely earns this vacuum some bonus points (especially in commercial environments). As a whole, this vacuum is easy and inexpensive to maintain.
With regard to warranty and returns, Hoover offers a 1-year limited warranty and a 30-day return policy (varied by retailer).
Below is a complete list of important specifications and features included on the Hoover PortaPower canister vacuum:
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Dust Bag Capacity||NA|
|Cordless||No - 33' cord|
|Returns||Varies by retailer|
The Hoover PortaPower is the right choice for a unique users.
It is not necessarily designed to act as your everyday vacuum around the home, but it could certainly serve as that if needed. That said, those who clean in a commercial environment will find the Hoover PortaPower to be a good option due to the long cord, low maintenance costs, and simple design.
I would recommend the Hoover PortaPower if you’re looking for the following features in a vacuum:
- Want a commercial canister vacuum – The PortaPower is a commercial vacuum, there’s no doubt about it. Users can carry this vacuum on their shoulder for more convenient cleaning sessions, there is a 33′ cord, and a dust / dirt bag instead of a canister. This style is typically best suited for those who are vacuuming in a commercial environment.
- Want a strong performer – This Hoover vacuum performed quite well throughout our cleaning tests. Although we were not fans of the user experience, the overall cleaning performance was excellent.
- Don’t mind more of an odd-ball design – Although this is a commercially designed vacuum, the build is still a bit odd. Most vacuums are pushed or pulled, but this one requires users to carry it. The shoulder strap design isn’t’ for everyone, but for the right user it can be a good fit.
For more information on the Hoover PortaPower see here.
Odd Design, Strong Performance
The Hoover PortaPower is a canister vacuum designed to make commercial cleanings easier. The lightweight build, extra accessories, and solid cleaning performance all combine for a vacuum that could be beneficial for mostly commercial usage. The commercially designed elements make this less than ideal for home use, but for the right user it’s a great value.
Why did the Hoover PortaPower score the way it did?
- Design – Overall design was less than impressive. The feel of this vacuum is a bit awkward and requires users to carry it while in use.
- Performance – Performance was excellent. The only issue came with sugar on high pile carpet.
- Quality – The build quality does not feel as strong as I’d like. It seems cheaply made in some areas. Granted, it’s also not very expensive.
- Usability – Multiple tools and attachments are included with this vacuum, giving it a good degree of versatility.
- Value – Inexpensive, good performance, awkward design all combine for a decent value.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, son, and poodle, Tibbers.