Oreck Magnesium Review



Avg. consumer rating = 83/100 

The Oreck Magnesium gets fair reviews.  On average it does not rank as highly with consumers as some of Oreck'’s XL units however.  The Magnesium is well-liked for its extreme light weight, powerful suction and easy maneuverability.  Detractors point out the need for frequent maintenance, noisy operation, and the unit’s inability to get into tight areas.

The Magnesium is available at a large number of online retailers and as such there are quite a few consumer ratings.  Ratings are not entirely consistent across the board however (see table below).  There are outliers such as Costco with a score of 2.5 stars out of 5 and QVC with a score of 4.7 stars out of 5.  The overall average score for the vacuum is 4.15 stars out of 5, or 83 out of 100.  This is a somewhat average score and is not as high as the other Oreck vacuums we have investigated (see the Oreck XL Insight or the Oreck XL 2100RHS).   You can also view all our upright scores here if you wish. 

 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  4.2 stars out of 5  66
 QVC  4.7 stars out of 5  25
 Costco  2.5 stars out of 5  15
 Sears  4.5 stars out of 5  10
 Walmart  4.7 stars out of 5  6
 Target  3.75 stars out of 5  4
 Consumer Reports  3.67 stars out of 5  3
 Home Depot  4.5 stars out of 5  2
 Overstock  5 stars out of 5  1


Owner comments yield the following common vacuum likes and dislikes:

- Powerful suction
- Lightweight
- Easy to maneuver and carry
- Long power cord
- Lays flat so easy to get under furniture
- Large vacuum bag

- Some reports that it requires frequent maintenance
- A number of comments about the need for repairs
- Some comments that it gets noisier over time
- No hose or attachments
- Doesn’t easily get into tight areas

Interesting Note: On May 6 (2013) Oreck Corporation filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.  The company indicated that it planned to continue operations while looking for the right buyer.  The right buyer may have come along.  The founding Oreck family has made a bid for the Corporation.  The son of David Oreck (the founder) was quoted as saying that the family’s goal would be to “get the company back to its roots so it can be run based on family values, with a focus on U.S. manufacturing and a U.S. workforce.”   An interesting comment as Oreck XL vacuums are still made in the USA (Cookeville Tennessee) but the Oreck Magnesium is manufactured in China.  We’ve recently reviewed two Oreck XL machines, the Oreck XL Insight and the Oreck XL 2100RHS.

This is something of a no-frills vacuum and unlike many other uprights on the market today it does not come with a hose and tools.  So if one is looking for a vacuum that will easily do stairs, remove pet hair from upholstery, clean near the ceiling or into tight corners this may not be the best fit.  Oreck have taken this no-frills approach with most of their bagged uprights – indeed it is the approach taken by many commercial vacuums as well.  The Magnesium does include 2 LED headlights however which is a feature only occasionally seen on uprights. 

The Oreck Magnesium is so known as it uses magnesium in the vacuum’s frame construction.  Magnesium is indeed an amazing material.  It is much lighter than both aluminum and titanium and it is very strong – with high resistance to fatigue, buckling or denting.  It also has the highest dampening ability of any structural metal.  Does this create a better vacuum cleaner?  Well, perhaps not but the parts of the vacuum built with magnesium are light and durable.  Consider however that this machine is not constructed with large amounts of magnesium and it still uses a fair bit of plastic. 

The vacuum is marketed as the “the lightest, full-powered upright vacuum cleaner in America”.  At 7.7 lbs (without power cord) it may well be.  It is indeed a very lightweight upright vacuum cleaner and there are many consumer comments highlighting how easy the vacuum is to move and lift.   There is a carry handle on the back of the vacuum.

The Oreck Magnesium is powered by a 3.5 amp motor.  Most full size vacuum motors today are 9 to 12 amps but bear in mind that amps have little do with cleaning power and relate to how much electricity the motor uses.  This upright also has a very direct path between the nozzle and the bag which allows it to rely on the smaller, lighter motor (less distance to travel and fewer corners limit the amount of power needed).  Most owners report that the Magnesium does indeed have more than ample suction power. 

Additionally the vacuum has two power settings – low and high.  Oreck indicates that the low speed can be used for bare surfaces and the likes of Persian or oriental rugs while the high setting is best for carpet.  However we have read that some owners find the low setting still a bit aggressive for area rugs.

The brushbar on this unit is motorized but it has no on/off switch so when the vacuum is ON the brushbar is ON.  The brushbar also spins very quickly and hits speeds of up to 7000 revolutions per minute.  The height of the nozzle itself cannot be manually adjusted but the Magnesium has automatic height adjustment which means that it has a free floating head that moves up or down depending on the surface.  This approach will ensure that the brushbar stays at an optimal cleaning distance from the floor/carpet.  Also, the Magnesium does not appear to have issues with mobility on medium to high pile carpet, a malady that some of their other uprights suffer from.  This may in part be due to the very large wheels – which can be seen in the image below.

Magnesium nozzleNozzle with large wheels

The inner vacuum bag on the Magnesium is HEPA capable.  This means it will remove very small particles from the air – such as pollen, dust, smoke, pet dander, mold spores, etc.  More specifically, the HEPA bag will remove 99.97% of all particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns of more.  This high level of filtration is popular with those suffering from asthma or allergies.   

The vacuum bags are fairly large with a capacity of 8 quarts so frequent changes are generally not necessary.  The bags also sport the Saniseal system which locks the bag opening shut when it is removed thereby minimizing exposure to dust or other debris.
The Oreck Magnesium has received a gold seal of approval from the Carpet and Rug institute (CRI).  We know little about this organization but they claim that approval indicates a superior cleaning vacuum that has passed stringent testing for soil removal, dust containment and carpet appearance retention. You can read about this group here if you wish.

The Magnesium also has a 30 foot power cord.  This is a respectable length and a number of owners report being pleased with the cleaning reach of the unit.  The power cord is manual wrap however and there is no automatic rewind feature. 

The vacuum has overload protection to ensure the motor does not get damaged in the event of a blockage or obstruction.  If the overload protection is tripped the headlights will flash and the motor will shut off.  One should clear the obstruction, wait 5 seconds and then turn the vacuum back on.

Additional vacuum cleaner features include the ability to lay flat which helps tremendously when trying to reach under furniture, a long lasting belt, and a lengthy 5-year limited warranty

Magnesium lays horizontalLays flat allowing easy access under furniture


Vacuum Cleaner Manual
If you want an overview of features, and some maintenance and troubleshooting tips you can check out the Magnesium manual here (it sometimes takes a little time to load).  The manual is a little short however and more detail would have been nice.

Nigel Russco Nigel Russco has been writing for Vacuum Cleaner Advisor for years and has a background in business and engineering, as well as a keen interest in anything related to vacuum cleaners. Connect with Nigel on Google+


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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.