Rainbow Vacuums - An Overview


The Rainbow vacuum cleaner has been a staple of the American home for the last seventy years and has a wide variety of functions and features.   Their cleaning systems use water-based filtration to trap dirt and the company uses the catch phrase "Wet dust can't fly" in its marketing materials.  The company does not make a wide range of cleaning systems and instead provides only one at any given time.

Who Is Rainbow?
Rainbow is actually the brand name of the vacuum cleaner that is made by a company that is commonly known as Rexair LLC. Rexair was founded in 1929 in Troy, Michigan. Leslie H Green was the man responsible for the company but was not the individual that designed the first company vacuum cleaner.  Instead, that honour went to John W Newcombe. He actually designed the first ever bagless vacuum cleaner, which was initially marketed by the company but later modified in order to incorporate a unique water filtration system. However, the Rainbow brand still did not hit the market for some years to come.
It was 1955 before the Rainbow brand was introduced and four years later J V Sanders bought and revolutionized the company. The business format he adopted is still in place now and keeps Rainbow popular among the general public. He was actually a salesman by trade and introduced a program of door to door sales. Many people in the industry view this as unsolicited direct marketing, but the company itself claims that the "appointments only" system that they advertise has been in place for some years and continues to provide happy customers.
The Products
There is only one Rainbow product on the market at the moment - the Rainbow cleaning system itself, which is commonly known as the Rainbow vacuum by the public at large. The Rainbow system incorporates the water filtration system that was patented in the 1950s. It is an effective and efficient system that can be used throughout the home and has been proven to effectively get at dirt and grime.  The system itself is rather bulky and also fairly expensive in comparison to other products on the market, but the company justifies the price by indicating that the vacuum can do the kind of job that would require several other vacuums.
The Features
The features of the Rainbow cleaning system are actually unique at the moment because the product offers the total cleaning package for your home. It incorporates air cleaning, carpets, wet floors, bard floors, mattresses, upholstery and cushions so you do not need multiple vacuuming devices.
The system is designed to last for years and is extremely durable and hard-wearing. If you consider the cost out over the years it may be a fraction of the money that you would pay for multiple cleaning systems during the same period of time. However you do have to purchase carpet shampoo to ensure that deep cleaning is at its optimum.




0 # Jean 2016-11-16 19:58
I am not sure which model is being spoke about here, but I own and use a rainbow which I purchased in 1989 and I am very pleased with it. Sure it has tipped over a few times, but no ones fault but mine. It has needed a few repairs and this last one makes me sad. It wouldn't turn on. A friend that works with sweeper repair replaced the armicher (that is not spelled right) or brushes and bent the fins. It now runs loud and vibrates. I have to wear hearing protection. Not sure what to do. I don't want to buy a new model, I am very pleased with the one that I have.
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0 # Count Vacula 2016-09-06 17:28
I have an E2 in very good condition. It is a substandard machine in terms of suction and airflow. Suction at the end of the hose is only 50-52 inches of water lift (the vacuum industry uses water lift as their measure of suction performance). By comparison modern Kenmore Elite canisters and the bagged Panasonic canisters all pull 80 inches or more of water lift. Older 1980s Kenmores and Hoovers generate 65-75 inches of water lift.

In addition, my Rainbow barely pulls a BAIRD meter, a device used to measure airflow, half a unit on a scale of 0 - 10. By comparison 1990s Kenmore Whispertone and several modern Panasonic vacuums pull 5.5 and a Kenmore Elite pulls the BAIRD meter right past 10. All of these are measured with clean filters (filter removed on the Rainbow) and fresh clean cloth HEPA dust bags.

The suction and airflow of a Rainbow is not even close to that of vacuums costing a fraction of what Rainbow charges. Don't waste your money.
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+1 # Kaci 2014-04-10 14:57
I bought my vac 20 years ago. Despite some of the extra care it takes to clean the vac after each use it has been well worth it. At times I have considered the newer styles and went as far as making a purchase. I was very disappointed. You may have to dump the water but that much better then smelling the dirt when you empty or clean the filters on the bagless vacs. I value my nasal passages more then the extra effort to clean and maintain my Rainbow. Pricey yes but you won\'t be buying another for very long time if ever!
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+1 # Will 2014-02-13 14:14
I picked up a Rainbow from a yard sale about a year ago. Had no clue how to use it and placed it in the garage. I finally found a place for the manuals...www.rainvac.com. Now I wish I would have researched earlier so I could have been using this thing. Works great but a bit noisy. It doesn\'t look like it was taken care of but it sure does clean.
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+1 # Betty 2014-01-22 14:19
Best vac I have ever purchased. Had it since 2003 (about ten years) and never had a problem with it. Since I am allergic to dust, this was the best solution.
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+1 # Rubma 2012-12-01 14:50
I will admit that it does pick up a great deal more than conventional vacs, but you do have to deal with double when your using the motor and the bulky base with the water. How is it that this machine is worth $2600 while my friend got hers for $1700 then computers have gone down in price but this goes up? I don\'t have issues with getting ill so I think I am good.
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+1 # Bobbie 2012-11-02 07:27
My husband and I purchased our new rainbow a few weeks ago and I am so happy with it. As mentioned by others, the air quailty in the house is great. We run the machine everyday and I just feel so good about folks coming over. I thought my house was clean, but now I know it is. Waiting for my shampoo attachment to arrive so I can get a realy deep clean. As far as bulky....I grew up using a canister electrolux and I don\'t think this is any bulkier than that machine. Worth every penny. I higly recommend the rainbow to every home ower out there.
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+1 # Crystal 2012-04-13 19:16
Just purchased my first rainbow tonight, absolutely thrilled with it! Yes i have noticed it is bulky, but it put my 3 month old dyson to SHAME! Does anyone know of any homemade scents i can put in the tank?
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+1 # fpiv 2012-10-29 22:05
bought mine in 94 wouldn\'t trade it for anything else on the market today.
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+1 # Steph 2012-04-07 17:47
We have had a rainbow for 18 years, just traded for the new model in December. It is amazing and the house looks brand new after a good rainbow cleaning. We built with a central vacuum system which we use for quick clean ups but the rainbow is the machine of choice - does an amazing job. It is a little more work to use but the results are amazing. Hands down it is the best vacuum on he market. Try one in your home for a week and you will see for yourself what the machine does for your floors and indoor air quality.
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+2 # Hollie 2012-01-19 00:01
I have 4 dogs and wood floors. I swiffer twice a day and currently have a dyson. I can\'t use my dyson on the wood floors, too much suction and the beater bar damages floor. Does anyone know if the rainbow vacuum would work for my situation?
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0 # Travis 2012-01-20 09:21
It works perfectly on wood floors. It has a great attachment that acts as a broom with camel hair brissels that are soft on the wood surfaces! I just bought one and it is magic.
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0 # John 2012-04-08 23:04
They use horse hair.... Not camel hair
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+1 # Warren Grogan 2011-11-28 18:35
We\'ve had a Rainbow for 35 years and yes I do most of the vaccuming. My only complaint is pulling the thing around, but it\'s the best at what it does. I like the look and smell of the carpet once I\'ve used the thing. I wouldn\'t have another brand when it comes to cleaning where I live and where my grandkids come to [*]. I\'m sold on it.
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+1 # Steve 2011-12-01 23:50
The new E2 model is awsome i have one in my home and it is so upgraded its awesome... you should give a distributor a call they might be able to give you something if you trade in your old model.
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0 # Daddy-o 2011-09-10 17:43
We have had a rainbow for 16 years. We moved up to the 2 speed model in 2006 and the power diffence gave noticeable results. We have a central vacuum system that we use for quick cleanups and stairs. Our rainbow does a much better job and we use it for routine cleaning every two weeks. Our house looks great, very little dust and our carrots still look new after 14 years. We do use the shampoo system once a year and people ask us who we get to professionally clean our carpet every time. The rainbow is not for everyone but if you are willing to put effort into maintaining a dust free and clean house you really should consider a rainbow system. The return on eh investment over time reall makes it affordable and a smart purchase. Every quality home should be cleaned with a rainbow.
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+1 # Lori 2011-07-16 12:51
I HATE USING THIS VACUUM. The rainbow does a good job but pulling it around with the hose is maddening. It hits furniture and baseboards. The hose always gets twisted. The cord comes out of the wall with the slightest movement. The cord is so long that it is always being run over and I have to stop what I am doing to pick the cleaner up and move the cords. Yes I want my rooms clean but this does not make my life easier. I am not lazy but I also don\'t want to double my workload. It definitley is not worth the effort. My husband insisted we have one. Well since he doesn\'t vacuum, it is sitting in his closet while I use my Dyson. Total waste of money!!!!!!!!!!!!
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+1 # Rick Rainbow vacuum 2011-08-16 10:48
Hi Lori,
Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with your Rainbow. I have 3 different models of them and have never had a problem. Using any type of canister you always have to be careful of bumping walls and furniture. As far as the cord coming out of the wall plug, you may need to replace the outlet as they do wear out after time. I had to replace all of mine as my house was built in 1954. hope this helps. Try your Rainbow again.
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+2 # Sophie 2011-06-29 18:02
I\'ve had my rainbow for 15 years. We just traded up for the new model which is even easier to use, and better with more power. It is amazing how well it keeps our carpets looking new. Our carpet is 11 years old and still looks new. People ask us often how we keep those areas looking so good. We let them know that regular vacuuming, and annual shampooing with our rainbow is the trick. We have been grateful for the wonderful job the machine does and for the return value on the investment. Plus the filter system keeps dust at a minimal-we only dust our house once a month as a result of the power and filtration with the machine. It may be a little more work to use than a regular vacuum cleaner but the results and clean house is worth it.
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-1 # Lydia 2011-04-23 12:28
My family had a Rainbow when I was a child, and that was 25 years ago. I still remember the demonstration that was done in our home by the sales person. Rainbows are amazing and can do a lot more than vaccuum your floor. While it is not practical for apartment living if I ever buy a home the Rainbow will be purchased shorthly thereafter.

Highly remommended if you can afford it.
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+2 # Mark 2011-04-06 11:45
Great vacuums but not for lazy people. It\'s really not that big of a deal once you get into the groove. I have learned that changing the water is easier if it\'s done more frequently. Say you\'re vacuuming a room.....Watch the water and about 15 min\'s later stop and go dump it down the toilet (BEFORE it gets to the point where you can\'t dump it) If you dump and change the water more frequently then you shouldn\'t have an issue dumping it down the toilet.

I\'ve also noticed that after vacuuming thoroughly a few times, the water doesn\'t get NEAR as dirty as it did when you first start using it. So you have to do this less often.

Another hint. Put a couple of drops of Jetdry or liquid Rinse Aid in the basin (just two or three drops..NO MORE than that) and it will actually make the water \"wetter\" and enhance its ability to capture dirt.
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+1 # Jackie 2011-04-04 09:37
I purchased my 1st Rainbow in 1985 and it finally \"died\" last month March 2011! Yes, it was a little cumbersome, however it sure did clean my home better than any \"bag blower\" ever did. I will be purchasing another as soon as $$$$ permits!
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+1 # Suzshee 2011-03-17 07:45
My Rainbow is now 37 years old, and it still works like a charm. It is the best cleaner on the market, and the air does smell so fresh when I\'m done cleaning the house. My husband says the house feels \"lighter\".
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0 # Bryonsdds 2010-11-28 08:10
I have had a Rainbow for 20 years. It is only one of two vacuum systems on the market that get the dust OUT of the house. One can tell by the air smelling fresh and clean while vacuuming. The only comparable vacuuming system is a central vacuum system which exhausts outside the house.
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0 # Emily 2010-10-24 14:59
I go to clean my granfaher\'s house every two weeks and use an old version of a rainbow vacuum cleaner. I asked my mom how old it was and it has to be at least 20-30 years old.. It still works completely sufficient. I am always shocked at how much dirt it picks up. His house always looks so pistine and clean when I get there. It was expensive at the time, but after use for so long its worth it.
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0 # niki 2010-06-18 10:50
have you heard of a \"mix it yourself\" shampoo that I can use in my rainbow shampooer? something economical please? thanks so much!!!
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0 # j.z. 2010-03-22 10:11
I\'ve had my Rainbow for 17 years. Yes, it is somewhat cumbersome to use, but the results are so worth it. I have a wire strainer used only for the Rainbow. Take the residue straight to the outside trash, because, yes, it will smell. The versatility (water pickup, air cleaning, etc) this unit offers, plus the longevity makes it the only system I will ever buy. I paid full price for mine, but have since seen websites where you can buy for less.
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+1 # Sheryl 2010-02-13 14:36
I have a Rainbow. My husband wanted it. It works great but I HATE it. It is cumbersome and what do I do with the results? I strain it into a plastic colander but it still clogs the drain. You have to empty it frequently while vacuuming because it fills quickly and I can\'t just do the entire house with two dogs without changing the water. My kids sometimes neglect to empty and it reeks. Again...does a great job but not worth all the effort required.
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0 # Susan Staley 2013-04-13 13:14
I HATE my Rainbow vacuum more than I love it. In the cleaning department, it\'s AWE-to-the-SOME but it is quite literally killing my back and neck! I have severe back and neck disorders and diseases and what I could do just 5 years ago, I no longer can. I can not afford a new vacuum so ditching this for new is out of the question. It is bulky, cumbersome and stupidly designed. The attachments are hooked on the front where the hose is and the hose is constantly getting hooked up on it. The wheels are NOT carpet-friendly It\'s like dragging around a huge lead ball with a rope! Carrying the water \"bowl\" before and after is horrible and emptying it is a nightmare. You are SO right about God-Forbid not emptying it, too! Wow! The stench is over-whelming! No pun intended but this vacuum SUCKS. I don\'t know who designed this monstrosity, but it was surely NOT a person who actually uses it!!!!
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0 # Guest 2012-01-03 17:08
You are so right!!!!!
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0 # Guest 2010-12-19 18:58
I always dump the dirty water in the toilet and never use the spout otherwise it gets dirty with time and is difficult to clean, pour the water from the side...
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0 # Andrew 2010-05-19 13:49
First off you really shouldn\'t be putting that down your drain at all. Simply step outside and dump it where dirt goes...plus...you should be able to do the whole house. even when you think its too dirty...it will do more.
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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.