A Review of a TriStar Vacuum Cleaner

In the summer of 2005, while splitting firewood (with an axe) in our side yard on a warm day and perspiring quite profusely, I was interrupted by a TriStar vacuum salesman. After a brief aggravating discussion, we went into the house to allow his vacuum demonstration to proceed.

Unfortunately, the demonstration was very convincing. The principle and performance of the vacuum impressed me. The warranty described to us by the salesman was also very convincing, being total warranty coverage for life and transferable to any of our children and at any time in the future.

After more than an hour of one-sided discussion, the salesman offered us a deal in which he would allow us $800 for our old vacuum (not a very old upright and working well). That brought the price down to an even $2000 including tax. I am embarrassed to say that we paid this much for the vacuum.

During the following eight+ years, the vacuum worked very well, being a relatively quiet model as well as powerful. The vacuum seemed very solid and had very good filtration for the exhaust air. The HEPA filtration was also used as a selling point by the salesman. The paper filter bags were reasonably priced and the suction did not reduce even with a full bag.

In March of 2014, the power carpet brush stopped working and after testing a few of the wand electrical connections, I found that the problem was within the main body of the vacuum. At this point, I found my manual and read every word of the warranty. I discovered that only the unbreakable metal body of the machine was lifetime warranteed. I was disappointed in myself for not reading the details of the warranty at purchase time and disappointed that such an expensive machine has essentially no useful warranty.

I took the vacuum to a local authorized repair shop and ordered the part required, which was a reasonable price and cost me about $30 including shipping. I received the part from Tri-Star in short order (a few days). After the repair shop replaced the part and got the machine going, it was the shop’s standard practice to run the vacuum for 10 minutes to test the operation before having the customer (me in this case) pick up the machine. A few minutes into the test, the vacuum motor electrical windings burned and rendered the vacuum unusable.

At this point, from the warranty, I was faced with possibly an additional $150 for the motor replacement plus the repair shop’s time to replace it, on top of the accumulated costs for the earlier work done. In total, these repairs could have cost me about $300 which was unacceptable to me when new vacuums with warrantees cost only a bit more. I traded the useful parts of the Tri-Star in on a Simplicity Verve purchase. We will see how well this one does in the next several years.

All in all, even though the TriStar is an excellent machine when new, the poor (almost non-existent) warranty and small overworked motor do not justify the ridiculous initial price. I do not recommend TriStar for anyone requiring good value in a vacuum cleaner.


My Ratings (out of 5)

Performance – 5

Noise – 4

Cost – 1

Warranty – 1



About 12stringman

Retired but not expired
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7 Responses to A Review of a TriStar Vacuum Cleaner

  1. allen says:

    Tri-Stars ( been buying them for 35 yrs ) use a standard motor – same as in almost everything else – they are not small or underpowered. Never heard of windings burning out – maybe the service was the problem…
    Great, sturdy machines. Fix em yourself and and it costs way less. This guy’s complaint was only about over expectation.

    • 12stringman says:

      Do you think C$2800 for a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t warranty the motor is a fair price? For that much, I could buy five excellent other brands.

      • SS says:

        Why buy new? I just bought a used Tristar CS A101S for $160 in PRISTINE condition. Even if my motor, hose, or other parts break I can get it fixed for much less than purchasing a brand new Tristar. I would certainly not pay $2800 for a new vacuum, that’s ludicrous.

  2. Anni says:

    In 1991 I bought my tristar vacuum and to today it runs well and is still by far the best I have used for cleaning my house. I have never had to replace any parts. My husband did buy a couple of the less bulky well known brands over the years to save the lugging of the canister up and down and we discovered that this Tristar vacuum is still the best We actually tested it we vacuumed a part of the carpet with the other standing well know brand and then we used the Tristar over the area . There was so much fluff and dirt pulled up after and we have a cat so you can imagine! Bulky or not I paid 1800.00 but it has more than paid for itself

    • 12stringman says:

      I never had a problem with the performance. I was very impressed with it and the design which is why I originally bought the vacuum. But for $2800, I expected a warranty on the whole machine not just the case. Thanks for your comment Annie.

  3. Lafayette Hubbard says:

    Makes me wonder if the vacuum shop hood winked you. Lots of incentive to overload the motor in order to sell you a vacuum or overpriced repair… Just sayin’.

    • Rob says:

      I am inclined to believe 12stringman. The parent company of Tristar was bought by Aerus Electrolux in 1998, & the quality of both brands has steadily declined since.

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