Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner Review: Water Filtration

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Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner Review

In the early history of the vacuum cleaner, Jim Kirby was one of the first inventors that used water as a filtration system to capture dirt.

While it was efficient, it wasn’t easy to dispose water. So he used a cloth system to capture dirt.

That brought in the era of the bagged vacuum cleaner until the early 80’s when James Dyson unveiled the first bagless vacuum.

Most vacuums I feature in this blog over the past few years come with a bag or rely on filters and a dirt cup.

Rainbow brings back old school by re-introducing water filtration to the market.

While it is effective at picking up dirt on carpet or mattresses, it is bulky and very heavy. But before you disregard Rainbow, you may want to consider this if you have issues with allergies and bed bugs.

Features at a glance

  • One of the very few vacuum cleaners in the market that use water filtration
  • Along with the water filtration it also has a HEPA neutralizer filtration system that captures nearly 100% of dirt/contaminants
  • Dolly has caster wheels that work well in terms of maneuverability
  • Powerful hurricane motor products around 1.5 horsepower – strong enough to deep clean carpet and mattresses
  • Comes with attachments to clean bare floors, upholstery and other nooks and crannies
  • This also doubles as an air purifier because it sucks air along with the contaminants inside a bowl of water leaving a fresher smelling clean environment


  • Uses water to capture dirt – there are no bags to replace or filters to clean.
  • Doubles as an air purifying system that sucks in allergens
  • Caster wheels make this somewhat maneuverable despite its weight
  • Main cleaning tool has bright LED lights to help with visibility particularly when tracking dust bunnies
  • Strong suction make this a very good deep cleaner on plush carpet and mattresses (more on that later)


  • Crazy expensive – this is well over $1,000
  • Very heavy for a canister vacuum – if you add the water to the total weight, it’s over 20 pounds.
  • There are complaints about poor quality materials used in consumeraffairs.com

What to expect from the Rainbow Vacuum?

When you get this machine, it comes in a huge box that weighs like 30 to 40 pounds because of all the attachments that come along with it.

This machine is huge for a canister vacuum. The good thing though is that the dolly that has caster wheels underneath that help with maneuverability.

No swivel

Unfortunately the main cleaning head does not swivel.

One of the biggest benefits you get from the machine is the water filtration that it utilizes to trap dirt, allergens, hair, dust bunnies and all other nasty stuff that hides under carpets.

And since there are no filters that can possibly clog up. This machine will not lose suction no matter how fine the dirt is.


Models prior to the E-series that I’m featuring here did not come with the HEPA filter so really fine dust such as drywall dust or firewood ash won’t be stay inside the water but the E-series solves this because it has a HEPA filter inside.

One thing I like about the Rainbow would be it’s versatility.

You can use this on floors, upholstery and even mattresses…

If you think your mattress is clean, think again.

We’ve had our mattress professionally cleaned by a company that used Rainbow vacuums and the amount of gunk it picked up was really disgusting.

Out of the box, you’ll get a myriad of tools.

Aside from the main cleaning tool that you use to clean floors and mattresses, it also comes with a hard floor tool, a crevice tool, an upholstery tool and a dusting brush.

Yes it even comes with a tool that can clean your refrigerator’s coils.

How cool is that?

Using a machine that has water filtration, maintenance will be a little different.

Instead of cleaning filters, you have to clean the water separate at least 2 to 3 times a year…

Since this is such an expensive purchase make sure to buy this from an authorized distributor like an Amazon so you will not have problems in terms of warranty claims down the road.

Bare Floor Performance

Between the main floor tool and the bare floor attachment (along with the strong suction from the 1.5hp motor), this machine is fully capable of cleaning bare floors.

The great thing about water filtration is that dust bunnies will stay inside the water container until you throw it out.

Carpet Performance

This is where this product shines.

When you combine water filtration, strong suction (80 cubic feet per minute) and a well-designed floor tool with its own motorized brush.

You’ve got a potent deep cleaning machine capable of cleaning even the finest particles off plush carpet without losing suction.

Let’s compare how it performs versus the Kirby upright…

Now the Kirby used in the video is has very strong suction but cleaning up fine dust negated it because the sand clogged up the filters inside so when the Rainbow was used to clean the same area, it was able to pick up a good amount of sand.

Another demo on a very dirty carpet…

Upholstery Performance

One of the unique characteristics of a rainbow is its ability to clean mattresses.

And if you think your mattress is clean, you’re wrong.

Despite looking clean, our mattresses collect a lot dirt, particularly dead skin and bed bugs.

If your child suffers from sort of skin condition like eczema, cleaning your bed with a machine like Rainbow will go a long way in preventing this condition from getting much worst.

I’ve already shown you a video of the Rainbow cleaning a new mattress earlier, here’s another one.

Pretty gross isn’t it?

You can even use it on other types of upholstery like these bar stools…

I did mention earlier that it comes equipped with an upholstery and dusting tool to clean other types of upholstery around your home.

Attachments and Accessories

Out of the box this machine comes with six…

  1. Floor & Wall Brush
  2. Dusting Brush
  3. Upholstery Tool
  4. Crevice Tool
  5. Confined Space Cleaner & Inflator Tool
  6. Refrigerator Coil Tool. It also has a caddy where you can store these tools on


Along with all of these goodies, it has an Aerofresh bag where you can put pillows or cushions in that Rainbow claims to be capable of removing odor.

Aside from those tools included in the package, Rainbow also sells other accessories should you need it like the Aquamate which transforms it to a carpet cleaner, the RainJet, the MiniJet (this looks like a tool for cleaning carpeted stairs), SuperMop and RainbowMate.

So with all these tools at your disposal, it pretty much does everything you need to keep your carpet flooring clean.

Cord Length

Rainbow does not specify exactly how long the power cord is.

Maintenance Tips

Since this machine uses water filtration and not the standard cloth or paper filter commonly found in most vacuums in the market right now, there will be some nuances on how you will maintain this product.

If you follow these basic guidelines, expect your Rainbow to last some 20 to 30 years because it is a very robust machine.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Here are some basic maintenance tips from what to do after you throw water away to cleaning the brush roll…

The latest E-series Rainbow vacuum uses a HEPA filter to trap really fine dust. There are two types available, the washable and the disposable.

Here’s a video on how to maintain these filters and a tip on prolonging the life of a disposable HEPA filter…

To put it all together, here’s a video guide from Rainbow themselves on how to use this machine…


Based on the information on their website, it says that it comes with a 4 year warranty for the cleaning system and accessories and 8 years for the vacuum cleaner motor/electric controller.

Product Specifications

AttachmentsFloor & Wall Brush

Dusting Brush

Upholstery Tool

Crevice Tool

Confined Space Cleaner & Inflator Tool

Refrigerator Coil Cleaner

Attachment Caddy

Aerofresh Bag
Cord LengthN/A
Auto Cord Rewind
Motorized brush
Brush on/off switch
Filter clogged indicator

* Uses water filtration
Full bin indicator

* Uses water filtration
Self propelled
Net weight19 pounds
Shipping weight35 pounds
Hose lengthN/A
Cleaning PathN/A
Dirt capacityN/A
Filter typeWater + HEPA filter
Power1.542 HP (high speed)

.067 HP (low speed)
Voltage120 volts
Manufactured inChina
WarrantyCheck out the warranty information directly from Rainbow themselves.

Customer Reviews

Based on customer reviews people either love it or absolutely hate this machine because this machine is totally different from any other vacuum you’ll see in the market.

Since it uses water filtration, caring for this will be different from a traditional vacuum that uses a bag or a dirt cup.

Basics of cleaning this product

One consumer in particular narrated the basics of caring for this product. First, you’ll need to throw away the water before it becomes totally full or crud.

Second, clean the water separator periodically (I’ve shared the video above).

Third, don’t store this with a damp water basin because the moisture will ruin the motor.

All of these are pretty basic and will go a long way in maximizing the lifespan of this machine.

Some issues

There are complaints about poor aftersales service and poor quality control (broken accessories, etc.). So make sure to buy from an Authorized dealer to avoid problems with warranties.

In terms of performance, this machine really performs well without question.  It doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning plush carpet or a mattress, it will pick up dirt.

Again, I can’t stress enough that in order for this machine to run in peak condition make sure to follow the maintenance tips I shared above.

Where can I buy this?

If you want the best price then hands down would be in GreatVacs.com where prices range between $700 and $1,000 depending on the model.

You can also buy this in Amazon where the price goes up to around $1,800 for a brand new E2 series.

Rainbow also lists the official distributors worldwide in this page just in case you would want to have a demo first before buying it (which is understandable considering how expensive this is).

To wrap up

This vacuum would be great for folks who suffer from allergies or children that have skin allergies like Eczema. The multi-functional capabilities of this machine will rid your home of allergies, bed bugs and gunk that cause allergies.

Powerful suction

As you’ve seen in the videos above the Rainbow is capable of picking up sand under strands of plush carpet even after it’s been cleaned by a strong upright vacuum.

Great for mattresses

On a pretty clean looking mattress, you’ve seen the amount of gunk it was able to get out. This includes dead skin cells, bed bugs and the latter should be a concern if your child has a skin condition like Eczema.

You can also use this machine as an air purifier.

Remove the hose and it will suck in invisible allergens than can trigger an asthma attack. If you live in a dusty environment, give this a serious look.

If you’re concerned about the high price, consider it an investment for your family’s health. Remember that if you know how to take care of this machine, it will last some 20 or 30 years easy.

16 thoughts on “Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner Review: Water Filtration”

  1. We have had our Rainbow for about 22 years now. We’ve replaced some accessories over the years but the motor is still fine. We are considering purchasing a new one and passing the old one along to our son. Rainbow’s are a bit of a pain to drag out, fill with water, use and dump the dirty water so for someone who needs to vacuum daily this might be a factor. We no longer have kids at home so a thorough vacuuming once a week works for us. It’s truly been worth every dime we paid for it. One of the best features which you didn’t mention is that you can use it to suck up water. This is a huge plus if a toilet overflows or a/c drainage backs up and saturates carpeting.

  2. Regarding your comparison videoing rainbow vs Kirby demonstration. Did you know you were using the Kirby incorrectly in your video? And that might be why there was sand left over for the rainbow to pick up.
    The Kirby was leaving visible streaks in the carpet as you made your passes. That was because you had the nozzle set too low which mats down the carpet. A vacuum can’t pick up effectively if it’s matting down the carpet. That would also be true of a Rainbow.
    Set your Kirby’s nozzle about 4 clicks from the bottom and you will have different results. Or, start with nozzle at the highest level and click down until the pitch of the suction changes. Then you won’t be matting down the carpet.
    With an empty bag a Kirby’s airflow is 115 CFM and half full its reduced to 60 CFM whereas a Rainbow is a constant 80 CFM. So, your comment about the sand clogging the Kirby just does not fly.

  3. This machine is bulky, heavy non retractable plug, no where to hold attachments. It started smelling really badly about 2months in so bad it took me awhile to figure out where it was coming from. Over priced, over $3000. Claims of it being a miracle for purification of your air. Having to be a handyman to clean. DISAPPOINTED IN THIS PRODUCT ?

    • We are currently being suckered into buying one, and have very mixed feelings…. We are regretting it already…. anyone ho has one have similar feelings?

      • Completely agree love the machine but company is dishonest

    • Can you tell me what the reason was for the bad smell and what you did to correct it? Can you also clarify what you mean by having to be a handyman to clean it.

  4. How much is it for rainbow vacuum cleaner?

    • Were you interested in looking at the latest one?

  5. The rainbows they are selling on Amazon are not real rainbows! The true rainbow vacuum is manufactured in usa. Here is the link for the real vacuum if you are still interested! http://rainbowsystem.com/

  6. have had mine for 10 years now… it’s indeed very powerful and cleans well, but a total pain to use. i personally don’t use it unless i have a domestic helper or my husband to do it. it’s heavy and cumbersome. but it does last for quite a while. the motor recently died and i wonder if i should just get rid of it since it’s so bulky.

  7. good evening .
    i need your number
    i have problem with raimbo vacuum

  8. I have owned a Rainbow since 1999, I’ve Neve experienced any undesirable smell that another reviewer has stated they smelled. It can only mean, that they didn’t use it as it was intended or how it is recommended to be stored/cleaned by Repair. So, most likely its a ‘user’ related issue. If you use it, then dump the dirty water, dry it the water basin out OR leave the motor head off the water basin till it dries ( which is what I do), there’s never a reason for it to smell. I’ve had 3 rainbows…none have smelled in the slightest. conclusion ? : user error.

    I have several vacuums, as I collect them, and this one is unique and highly effective, even though I bought my E2 Black in 2012 brand new, and bought my 4dc SE used….then both perform w/o issue and I”d highly recommend them….used or new.

    • Do you have the current rainbow SRX?

  9. We regret our purchase immensely. Read the fine print before you buy one. Theres alot of things that the salesman want mention. It doesnt come with the attachments that are listed above. We were expecting the attachments that were demonstrated during the sales pitch came with the machine. Found out after we signed that those were xtra. We just bought ours a few months ago. Worse decision we have made. We feel like we were very mislead during the entire process.

  10. I’ve had mine for 50 years, yes you read that correctly and I absolutely love it. It has never given me a second of problems and I always dump the water after using as well as clean the filter. Good maintenance is the key to long life with anything even a machine.

  11. My mother purchased her Rainbow in 1990 and still uses it today; that’s 30 yrs of vacuuming a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, large living room, dining room and kitchen. She hasn’t had any problems with it. I hope it’ll be passed on to me one day.

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