This steam vac had the best overall reviews I saw, with no discern able trends on the negative reviews. I had no problem putting it together, although you do need to look in the screw holes and pull up on the lower plastic part before you can put in the 2 long screws that hold it together. It initially appears to be of questionable build quality, but it has worked great. I have cleaned every carpet in my house once, and the stairs and landings twice. The result was as good as the professionals I had come out, and the cost of the machine was less than it would have cost to get the cleaners to come once! In other words, if you get one good cleaning out of this machine, you're already ahead money-wise. Fortunately, it seems like it will hold up for a while, but again, I'm money ahead after only one cleaning.


I did have an issue the second time I went to use it, in that when I set the cleaning solution/water tank into the machine, the water/solution mix started pouring out through the bottom. The fix was to plug the machine in and start it. The seals reseated themselves, and it didn't leak again. My advise would be to have it plugged in and on the surface you're going to clean before you set the tank into it, just in case you get a bad seal like I did that one time. If you do, just start it up and it will work fine again.

Also, if you're working on stairs, the handheld scrubber works very well. However, if working on the landings, and you're having to manhandle the vac around, the dirty water tank is sitting on the front, and if you lift the vac too high to reset it on the little landing, the bottom part of it could drop vertically, causing a spill out of the dirty water. Not a problem, just something to be careful of.

The water that the machine sucked up was absolutely filthy, even on parts of the carpet that appeared reasonably clean, and that I had vacuumed diligently before using the steam vac. This tells me the machine is getting out a lot of filth I'm not even aware of. With two dogs and a yard that had some bare spots when we moved in, the carpet had some muddy brown places where the dogs would settle down to lick off the dirt from their paws that I didn't see. The vacuum cleaned those places out completely without breaking a sweat.

Sorry for the ramble, but reader's digest version: Steam Vac costs less than one professional carpet cleaning, but holds up well for the long run, so if you're thinking about getting your carpets cleaned, why not just get this machine and do it yourself for less money? Then every time it cleans your carpets again you can split the cost down until you're paying less than $10 for a whole house cleaning!
Hoover SteamVac PROS:
 
Cleans better with hot water
Collects fur and hair in recovery tank (no filters)
Comparable price ($140 at retailer)
Easy to assemble
Easy to clean
Holds a gallon of cleaning solution
No leaks (a few drips)
No unnecessary bells & whistle
Powerful suction
Simple design (easy filling and emptying)
Suction stops when recovery tank fills-up
Three wet strokes and one dry stroke is sufficient
Works with other (non solvent) solutions

Hoover SteamVac CONS:
Bulky
Can’t center on spots
Heavy
Flimsy handle on solution tank (hold at bottom)
I did not use the attachments so I can't comment
Loud
Recovery tank is slightly less than 1 gallon
The “clean surge” feature is unimpressive
Unattractive but functional

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