The Kenmore 81614 has some nice features, including a lot of onboard tool storage, but when we compared it with other vacuum cleaners for home use, the general cleaning capability was not all that strong. This vacuum canister removed all of our test messes, but it took more passes than others to accomplish that, in most cases. For a unit with more suction, consider the Oreck Venture.
We spread the same amount of flour, kitty litter and sawdust on different types of flooring, including medium- and low-pile carpeting, to see how easily and quickly each of our small canister vacuum cleaners could clean. This Kenmore model really struggled on hardwood flooring and wasn’t that great on carpeting either. Eventually it got rid of every mess except for the flour on the hardwood. There were traces of the flour even after going over it many different times with this unit.
This vacuum was relatively easy to use, though others were even easier. We liked that the power switch is on the wand instead of on the body of the vacuum. The onboard tool storage is nice because you can switch out attachments on the fly, but the body of this vacuum is pretty big so it is not as easy to maneuver, generally, as some of the others.
This one tied for second loudest so if you are sensitive to that, or have a house full of folks that would mind the sound of your vacuum, beware. The cord is one of the longest in our canister vacuum cleaner reviews, which is a selling point if you have a large space to clean and do not want to fiddle with finding an outlet in every room.
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The warranty is an underwhelming one year, which is fine though some competitors offer a full five years of coverage. Kenmore customer support for this vacuum is good but not great. Other manufacturers responded to our questions more quickly.
Having all of the attachments onboard and the power switch within easy reach is convenient, but this vacuum does not compare favorably in most ways to the rest. It can help you clean your floors but just isn’t as speedy as the others.