Review of Rainbow Canister Vacuum
Rainbow vacuum cleaners are made by a company called Rexair, which has been in business for about 70 years.
If you’ve never heard of Rainbow vacuums before, it’s probably because they are not sold in retail stores.
You can only purchase one from an authorized Rainbow distributor. These vacuums are sold the old-fashioned way - through in-home demonstrations.
The latest model is the Rainbow E2 Wet/Dry Canister Vacuum. The company actually calls it the Rainbow E2 Cleaning System, but the first name is more descriptive for the purposes of this review.
The E2 sells for $1500-$2000. No, that’s not a typo. They really do cost that much! As you’ll see, however, sometimes the old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ isn’t accurate.
Rainbow Vacuum Features
First, here is a breakdown of the E2’s features:
- Computer-controlled “Hurricane” motor (rated at 12+ amps)
- 2-speed power control
- Adjustable nozzle height
- Trigger on/off control
- Air/water filtration + HEPA Filtering
- Full complement of tools: crevice tool, floor and wall brush, upholstery tool, dusting brush
- Inflator tool
- Attachment caddy
- Brush power switch
- Multi-purpose cleaner
- 32 lbs.
- Price: $1500-$2000
Air/Water HEPA Filtering
The Rainbow E2’s big claim to fame is the combination air/water filtration system. It works by first passing the air and debris sucked into the vacuum through a separator that filters out the particles and deposits them in the churning water in the reservoir. The company claims that this step alone removes 99.7% of the dirt, dust, and other debris sucked up from the floor or air. After passing through the water filter, the air then exits the canister and out into the room through the HEPA filter. This removes any stray particles that escaped the first filter. This produces exhaust that is as close to 100% clean as possible.
Another interesting feature of the E2 is the powerful motor. Called the “Hurricane,” this motor rates 12+ amps, making it among the strongest on the market. Rainbow has added two speed settings (low and high) to allow users to determine the level of suction power they prefer at any given time. The company recommends the low setting for room air filtering and for bare floors, while suggesting the high setting for deep and heavily soiled carpets.
Height & Controls
The nozzle’s height can also be adjusted (manually) to accommodate different types of carpet and bare flooring.
There is an on/off trigger control on the handle of this Rainbow vacuum cleaner, which is a thoughtful design feature. The motor can be killed simply by clicking the trigger at your fingertips, allowing users to answer phone calls or attend to children without delay.
The E2 comes with a full complement of handy cleaning tools and an inflator tool for blowing up air mattresses, inflatable toys, or pool flotation devices. An accompanying tool caddy is also provided.
The Rainbow E2 is truly a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner. In addition to cleaning floors, you can tackle the stairs, furniture upholstery, drapes, baseboards, hard to reach areas under furniture, and even tight spots like refrigerator coils. Use the E2 on the low power setting and it makes an excellent air purifier. You can even use an optional bag enclosure to remove stale dust and dirt from pillows.
Is the Rainbow E2 Wet/Dry Canister Vacuum Worth the Price?
In a word, no. Not even close. To begin with, the world’s leading independent consumer product testing organization tested the E2 and gave it only a rating of ‘good' in reviews. There are two higher ratings – ‘very good’ and ‘excellent,’ and two lower ratings – ‘fair’ and ‘poor.’ So, a ‘good’ rating is really just another way of calling a product ‘average.’ Many lower priced canister vacuums they tested scored significantly higher.
There were three main problems discovered during reviews. First, it was among the worst they tested at cleaning bare floors. This is surprising, given the adjustable height on the nozzle and the company’s lofty claims of being an excellent bare floor cleaner.
Second, this Rainbow vacuum cleaner was rated one of the noisiest canister vacuums tested. This may be due to the unique water filtration system and the extraordinarily powerful motor.
Third, this is one heavy vacuum! At 32 lbs., this was the heaviest canister vacuum tested (by far). The water is the reason. Therefore, you have to be willing to trade several extra pounds of weight for just slightly better cleaning of the air.
Moreover, one of the top consumer survey websites has compiled over 100 reviews by former and current Rainbow E2 owners. Overall, the E2 scored 4 stars (out of a possible 5). That’s not bad, but a vacuum cleaner that costs $1500-$2000 should get the highest ratings possible.
Common complaints included the high price, ‘hard sell’ tactics by the in-home distributor giving the demonstration, the weight, the lack of a retractable power cord, and the inconvenience of having to clean out the water reservoir after every use. Many owners wrote that the E2 didn’t clean their floors any better than vacuums costing under $200!
Rainbow Vacuum Recommendations:
Overall, the Rainbow E2 Wet/Dry Canister Vacuum is not recommended in our review. While it does offer some interesting and unique innovations, and it does get high ratings for cleaning carpets, there are simply far too many drawbacks to even consider spending this kind of money. A vacuum cleaner would need to get an ‘excellent’ rating from the most respected testing organizations and get universally rave reviews by its owners to justify such a hefty price tag. This Rainbow vacuum cleaner doesn’t even come close to being worth the asking price.