The Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association has decided to implement a hang-tag system on vacuums, which would describe the various features of each product and then assign a rating to those features.
At its annual meeting, attended by a record number of vendors, one of the chief topics was the controversial standardized power level ratings.
Hoover, Eureka, Royal, Regina, Kirby, Electrolux and other companies attended the meeting, and provided input on the tagging issue. Finalization of the system should be completed by next year.
Earlier this year, Hoover implemented its own rating system for its uprights. President Brian Girdlestone said the company has not yet decided about implementing the VCMA tags. “We’re trying to stay on top of our own system,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll start using the VCMA tags.”
According to Dave Evans, a member of the executive committee of the association and senior vice president of sales and marketing at Hoover, the VCMA has been struggling for quite some time to devise a method of standardizing the cleaning power of a vacuum. Right now, there is no “product format” for comparing different products, Evans said.
“Some manufacturers rely on amps to describe the power of a unit, others use horsepower, and those measurements really have nothing to do with the cleanability of the product,” Evans explained. “Every manufacturer is running off in different directions, and consumers are confused.”
To settle the dispute, manufacturers at the VCMA meeting decided to develop a uniform tagging system for the vacuums, which would list the various features of competing products in the same language. best upright vacuum reviews
Evans said the finer details have not been settled, but the tag will list the various features of each vacuum, with a rating system for each features. The ratings will range from one to ten points.
“This is something we’ve been working on for about a year,” said Regina president and VCMA president David Jones, “it’s not completely settled yet, but it’s going to be a good step for the industry.”
The VCMA has included a variety of cleaning issues, including the weight of the cleaner, the bag capacity, maximum cleaning distance from the outlet, sound level, and other features. Carpet cleaning ability on embedded dirt and surface litter, ease of moving the nozzle back and forth, ability to clean bare floors, and the durability of the motors.
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The ratings will be assigned from members of the VCMA, and outside consumer interest groups, such as the Good Housekeeping Institute and others. Although use of the tag will be voluntary, no substitutions, deletions, or additions are allowed on the tag, and no company logos will be permitted, the group agreed.
Cliff Wood, executive secretary of the association, said the tagging system will be a great improvement in the industry, because consumers will have a “common measuring system” when purchasing a vacuum.
“We’ve been working on it a long time. I think a unified fact tag is rather advanced for such a small industry,” he said.
The tags should be ready early next year. Although implementation is voluntary, and Wood thinks the program will start out gradually, he said he expects it will eventually become successful. “Once a major company starts to use the tags, the other vendors will also.”
Retailer response has been somewhat mixed. Ron Pastore of Alladin Vacs in Long Island, said specialty stores will probably not have much use for the tagging system. “I don’t think this will be beneficial to any independent vac dealer,” he said, “Customers in a small store want a lot of sales help. They want to actually use the product before they buy it.”
“Also, I don’t think you can generalize across the board with vacuum cleaners” he added. “And if you do, I think you’ll end up confusing customers.”