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VACS OF EVERY STRIPE GET AN AIRING AT THE HOUSEWARES SHOW.

CHICAGO-The "other guys" at the International Housewares Show had a few novelties of their own to promote in floor care.

As noted, the market leaders tended to feature recent introductions here. But several vendors got out messages about their special places in the market.

Panasonic has updated two series. The Dual-Sweep, named for its pairs of counter-rotating agitators and suction paths, has improved features and styling on more models. Aggressive price points open at $149 and step up to $169 and $179 with bags, and bagless models coming in April will hit $169 and $199, said Mark Mertes, national marketing manager.

All have HEPA filtration, accessible tool caddies, nozzles 14 inches across, ergonomic handles, easy switching between carpets and bare floors, and quick-release power cords. Various models have telescopic handles, long-life filter systems, electronic dirt sensors and performance indicators to warn of clogs.

The basic Power-Wave uprights will open with straight suction at $79.95, he noted. And another canister, with on-board tools, 10-amp motor and 1,200 watts in 8.6 pounds, will ship in March with a suggested price of $99.95.

Sharp has two Light N Powerful cyclonic uprights with the one-touch pedal for switching between carpeting and hard surfaces. Both have automatic adjustment for the nozzle height and the Library Quiet technology.

The EC-S5170, with a single fan, will come at a suggested $249.95. The EC-T5180 adds the two-fan Twin Energy suction, a variable-speed lever, HEPA filtration and 35-foot power cord for $299.95. Shipments will begin this month, and infomercials underscoring Sharp's commitment to vacuum cleaners will follow in April, said J.P. Collins, associate director of sales for floor care.

Select Brands displayed second-generation Sunbeam uprights and canisters with HEPA filtration. Restyled uprights have controls in handles for adjustable speeds, said Bill Endres, president. Canisters include electronics, foot controls and premium stretch hoses.

Sanyo's sole public addition was a lightweight bagless upright, tentatively with HEPA-type filtration, for the second half, said Richard Miller, national marketing manager for home appliances. Likely products include a lightweight bagless with more tapered design, power, and edge cleaning and on-board tools.

BSH has assigned Bosch floor care to its Small Appliances division, created last month. First up are two series in canisters and one in uprights specifically designed for American tastes. Shipments should begin in July, said Andreas Meier, the German parent's head of product marketing for floor care.

The two upright models are nearly identical, but one is bagless and the other uses bags. The HEPA machines are rated at 1,450 watts.

Other claimed features include a foot pedal for automatic cord rewinding and a storage handle. The Turbo Jet bag model, in burgundy and gray, has a suggested retail of $349, and the Cyclone Jet, in black and gray, will be $399.

Bosch Compact Plus canisters, 1,200 watts and 11 amps, employ switchable roller nozzles and electronic suction-power controls. The basic model comes with a steel tube; the step-up uses a telescopic tube; and the top machine adds a turbo brush. Suggested price for the latter is $349.

In the Ultra series of four canisters, Meier called the high-end silver "our flagship." It's tagged at $1,249, with features to match: 1,450 watts; HEPA and charcoal filtration; electronic nozzle control from the handle with digital power readout on the can; patents for a four-in-one tool in the handle; and electronic cord rewinder the moment the machine is unplugged.

DeLonghi's offerings included one Sani-Steam handheld cleaner. The machine doesn't use detergents, with all their harsh effects, yet kills many bacteria, said Marco Beghin, the product manager.

Sani-Steam takes about 45 seconds to warm up and is simple to operate, he added. The tank is easily removed for filling and the trigger and handle are ergonomic. Accessory nozzles adapt to clean varied surfaces. Available this month, Sani-Steam carries a suggested retail of $79.99.

Samsung showed advanced technology on two uprights and four canisters. Quiet Jet uprights in red and black provide HEPA filtration, edge cleaning, seven carpet heights and six built-in accessories. A Digimax Platinum Edition silvery canister with blue LED window has an electric power brush, HEPA and seven carpet heights.

A dark blue Ultra Quiet Jet with Wet 'n Wipe power nozzle has a suction slot for vacuuming and two rotating pads for wet or dry wiping on hard surfaces, a likely price tag approaching $400, and second-half availability.

Another Ultra Quiet Jet comes with a two-roll Powerful Brush. And a squarish canister is a Smart Brush bagless unit with automated technology for a possible second-half introduction.

Karcher, another German supplier at the show, featured its water-filter canister and rechargeable electric broom. Mark Haley, Karcher USA's vice president of operations, explained the canister has a bucket like a humidifier, a HEPA filter and two other filters. Mixing vacuumed dirt with water reportedly captures 99.99 percent of particles exceeding 0.3 microns -- the HEPA standard is 99.97. The suggested retail is $349; with a power nozzle, it's $449.

Karcher's broom with a nickel-cadmium battery picks up dry spills on hard surfaces and low-grade pile, and can be hung up for overnight charging. It's about 4.5 pounds and has a suggested retail of $59.99.
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Comment:VACS OF EVERY STRIPE GET AN AIRING AT THE HOUSEWARES SHOW.
Author:Beatty, Gerry
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 4, 2002
Words:874
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