Hoover's SteamVac with Clean Surge F5914-900 doesn't employ any steam despite its name, but its rotating brushes and powerful suction do an excellent job of lifting dirt and stains from the carpet, putting the SteamVac on par with some commercial upright models. It also leaves carpets relatively dry. That said, we did find occasional complaints about brush durability, and many owners wish for a larger dirty-water tank.
Tough enough for the big leagues. The Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge F5914-900's hefty 133-ounce water tank (just more than a gallon), 11.25-inch cleaning path, dual-speed cleaning brushes and heated drying system make cleaning your carpet quick and easy, owners say. They're thrilled with how thoroughly this machine sucks up dirty water, and report that if you're patient and willing to pretreat the toughest stains, it will clean almost anything. "This carpet cleaner took out oil stains in the back of my Blazer that had been there since I bought it used," writes one woman at Meijer.com. The SteamVac also applies heat to your carpet to help it dry faster. On the downside, it's noisy.
Some assembly required. The Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge F5914-900 requires some assembly; owners say you can expect to spend 10 to 30 minutes putting it together. Make sure you pay close attention to the instructions for activating the Clean Surge trigger, which squirts extra detergent onto tough stains. If you skip this step, the Clean Surge feature will be on continuously and your SteamVac will leak.
Users say the machine's recovery tank is easy to empty -- "No more getting your fingers into the yucky liquid!" writes one owner at Target.com -- but they wish it were larger. The lid comes off for easy cleaning, and the whole thing is a breeze to maneuver.
Packs many conveniences. The Hoover SteamVac comes with a healthy array of features, including brushes that pop out for easy cleaning, a heating mechanism to dry the carpet faster, an 8-foot extension hose plus upholstery tool and spinning hand tool, and a fingertip "Clean Surge" control to dispense extra detergent onto trouble areas. The manufacturer markets the brushroll as triple-speed, but it really has speeds of just high or low; the "third speed" is off. The SteamVac automatically shuts off when the recovery tank is full.
We found a few user complaints about durability, but overall this machine appears more durable than most. It's covered by a limited one-year warranty.
The editors of ConsumerReports.org evaluate nine carpet cleaning machines, including the Hoover F5914-900. Each carpet cleaner is rated on criteria such as coverage, noise level and cleaning.
Review: Carpet Cleaner Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
The Hoover SteamVac receives about 4,200 user reviews at Amazon.com, with an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. It's listed as the No. 1 best-seller in carpet cleaning tools; negative reviews typically mention the machine's plastic construction and the small size of the dirty-water tank.
Review: Hoover SteamVac Carpet Washer with Clean Surge, F5914900, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2013
The Hoover SteamVac is one of the most popular carpet cleaners here, netting a score of 84 out of 100 after more than 150 user reviews. Owners assign it an overall rating plus individual scores for several performance categories; the highest score is an 8.3 out of 10 for suction performance.
Review: Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge Carpet Washer F5914900 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of December 2013
About 40 shoppers review the Hoover Deep Cleaner at HSN.com, giving it an average score of 4 stars out of 5. Most, including some commercial users, say it's a great cleaner; however, a few complain about durability problems.
Review: Hoover Deep Cleaner with Clean Surge, Contributors to HSN.com, As of December 2013
The Hoover SteamVac gets just 3 stars out of 5 after about 100 user reviews at Target.com, but most of them are reposts from Bazaar Voice and Hoover's website. Owners generally love its performance, but quite a few complain about leaks and other durability issues.
Review: Hoover Deep Cleaning SteamVac - F5914-900, Contributors to Target.com, As of December 2013
The Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge gets 4.4 stars out of 5 after about seven user reviews here, a mere handful compared to other retail sites. Still, we found some useful comments.
Review: Hoover SteamVac Deep Cleaner with Clean Surge, Contributors to Meijer.com, As of December 2013