Eureka AirExcel 990A Canister Vacuum



Avg. consumer rating = 81/100 

If you want an inexpensive lightweight canister vacuum for bare floors then the Eureka AirExcel may fit your needs.  But if you have lots of carpet to clean this machine is probably not the best choice.  Owners like the unit’'s powerful suction, relatively quiet operation and retractable power cord but lament the lack of a brushbar in the nozzle which impairs its performance on carpet..

Most poor ratings are the result of consumers buying this vacuum to clean carpet.  It performs remarkably well on bare floors but does not clean or move well on carpet.  As a result the score (81) has suffered some.

 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Best Buy  3.5 stars out of 5  20
 Amazon  4.4 stars out of 5  31
 Home Depot  4.3 stars out of 5  3


A review of consumer comments has provided the following common 990A likes and dislikes. 

- Not too loud
- Lightweight
- Retractable power cord
- Good on bare floors
- Easy-to-empty dust canister
- Strong suction
- Good for removing pet hair from bare floors
- Long hose

- Not very effective at cleaning carpet
- Nozzle head doesn’t move well on carpet
- Short power cord
- Has no brushbar
- Attachments don’t store on-board
- Filter cover and filter have a tendency to fall off
- Long hose makes it a bit awkward to store

Eureka 990A canister body
Eureka 990A cyclonic technology

A couple of things stand out in the consumer comments related to this canister vacuum.  First and foremost is the fact that the machine has very powerful suction.  Most people laud the vacuum for its strong suction but there are a few that indicate cleaning throw rugs is made more difficult because it tends to want to suck them up.  You can’t dial down the suction on this unit.  Also, owners almost universally describe the AirExcel as working wonderfully on bare floors but not so wonderfully on carpet.  There are a number of reports of owners returning the vacuum after trying to vacuum large carpeted areas.

The AirExcel is a bagless canister vacuum and it is very lightweight at only 8 lbs. It also uses cyclonic technology which involves generating rapidly spinning air to “throw” the particles out of the airpath and into the dust canister.  This approach helps keep the filters clean and also ensures no loss of suction while you vacuum.  The 990A is powered by a 9 amp motor which is not all that common as far as full size vacuums go - most use a 12 amp motor.  The smaller motor does help to keep the weight of the machine down however and clearly it does not limit suction, judging by the comments related to the unit’s power.

As mentioned, the biggest issue with the vacuum is its lack of performance on carpet.  Vacuum marketing literature states that the vacuum is designed for bare floors and carpet but there are many complaints from owners who bought the vacuum with carpet cleaning in mind.  Moving the vacuum nozzle on carpet is said to be difficult and ultimately the machine does an average job.  One of the reasons for its limited effectiveness is the lack of a brushbar in the nozzle.  A spinning brushbar helps lift dust and debris out of carpet fibers and while it can be an issue when cleaning bare floors it is very helpful when cleaning carpet.

Where the 990A excels is hard surfaces.  It moves easily on these surfaces and the powerful suction allows it to pull up most debris.  A bare floor brush can also be extended via a foot switch on the nozzle and is usually retracted when attempting to clean carpet.

Several tools are provided with this canister including:
- a telescopic wand
- a crevice tool
- a dusting brush
- carpet and bare floor brush (this is the main nozzle)

Eureka AirExcel Tools
Eureka AirExcel Tools

The tools attach to the end of the 6 foot vacuum hose but they do not store on-board the vacuum, an issue with a number of owners.  Tools that don’t store on-board require the vacuumer to retrieve them in order to use them – it’s not a big deal but it is inconvenient.

HEPA filtration is standard with this vacuum and that means that it will reduce particulate matter in the air – a popular feature with individuals suffering from asthma or allergies..  HEPA filtration removes 99.97% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns or more which includes the likes of pollen, ragweed, dust mite feces, etc.  Bear in mind that truly effective filtering requires that all the air entering the vacuum passes through the filter – this is generally referred to as sealed system technology (or some similar terminology).  Most vacuums do not have this and those that do usually state it. The 990A does not. 

The HEPA filter is located behind the wheel cover and there are reports that the cover occasionally falls off and the filter falls out.  The HEPA filter is not washable and must be replaced about every 6 months.  There is also a dust canister filter – this one can be washed and reused.

The power cord on this unit is really very short.  It is 16.5 feet in length and while most canister vacuums have shorter power cords than uprights, 16.5 feet is still short for a canister.  We usually see canister power cords in the 20+ foot range.  However, with the long 6 foot hose the AirExcel reach isn’t that bad.  The power cord also has the ever popular auto-retract feature (activated via a foot switch).

The nozzle has a cleaning path width of only 10 inches which is quite narrow - about the same as most stick vacs.  This means one will have to do more passes of the vacuum to clean an area.  But a narrow nozzle has the advantage of getting into tighter areas and it also often increases nozzle manueverability.  The nozzle features a foot controlled, two-setting height adjustment switch, and the vacuum carries a 1-year parts and labor warranty.

Vacuum Cleaner Manual
You can view the Eureka 990A AirExcel manual here if you wish. 

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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.