Are Rainbow Vacuums worth the money?

May 26, 2023

Are Rainbow Vacuums worth the money?

Yes! Long story short when you go through the math Rainbow Vacuum Cleaners are totally worth the money invested (and you will be doing the planet a favor by not filling up landfills full of vacuums made in China).

We calculate that if you bought a brand new Rainbow from Rexair ($2500) you would still save $3750 in the next 25 years VS buying your vacuums from Walmart.   Not to mention your floors and air quality will be much cleaner (and you will be saving the planet).   Don't believe us?  Then read on as we go through the math...

It turns out that Rainbow vacuums are highly regarded in the cleaning industry, and there is no mystery as to why. Rexair LLC (the owner of the Rainbow Vacuum brand) has remained at the top of the cleaning industry for almost a century.

In today’s post, I am going to show you why rainbow vacuums are worth the investment. I will also go in-depth and compare rainbow vacuums to other vacuum brands.

So, why don’t we get started?

How are we qualified to write this article?

Hi, my name is Dustin and I am the founder of

We started GreatVacs as a small vacuum store to help regular people be able to afford high-end vacuums that would improve their health.

The idea was so popular that within a few years, we had become the largest vacuum rebuild factory in the US. For some reason word got out that we were really good at rebuilding Rainbow vacuums. Next thing you know, when Rainbow dealers could not figure out a repair they would send them to us.

That was 24 years ago. Since then we have serviced or rebuilt over 40,000 Rainbow vacuums.

Who makes Rainbow Vacuums?

The company behind this cleaning success is Rexair LLC, whose headquarters are in Troy, Michigan. The company was established in 1929 by Leslie H. Green. It was among the first cleaning companies to produce bagless cleaners.

Rexair survived and thrived through the Great Depression and the Second World War, leaving it in a strategic position to become one of the leaders in the cleaning industry. In 1955, Rexair made many improvements to their cleaner and renamed it the Rainbow.

Since then, the Rainbow has been recognized as a luxury cleaning brand whose unique features like its water filtration system made it a worthy investment.

What is the cost of a Rainbow Vacuum cleaner?

As of 2023 (when we wrote this article) the retail price of a Rainbow Vacuum is $3000. After using their trusty negotiation skills, most buyers, on average, could get the distributor to sell it to them at $2500.

Here at GreatVacs we sell that same model of Rainbow for $1500 (rebuilt and in like new condition with our 5 year warranty) and previous models as low as $700. However, we will base our calculations on the price of a new model of Rainbow ($2500) to show you whether it would be a worthy investment.

How long do Rainbow Vacuum's last?

It's pretty crazy actually. Like I mentioned before, here at GreatVacs we have rebuilt or serviced over 40,000 different rainbows, and we noticed that on average they last about 25 years.

rainbow vacuum on a white background

That said, we see 40-year-old Rainbows running perfectly all the time (very common). The biggest thing determining how long a Rainbow lasts is if they stored the vacuum with water in the water bowl. customers did not store water in the water bowl, then the average is more than 25 years.

Also, Consumer Reports did a deep study on the world's most dependable vacuum cleaners and found the Rainbow to provide “the most dependable canister vacuum”. However, for the sake of our math, let's just use 25 years as the average.

You must be thinking, 'Okay, then. It's operational for more than 20 years, but how does that justify paying $2500 upfront when I can just buy a $200 vacuum from Target?'

If you purchase a $2500 Rainbow Vacuum cleaner and it lasts 25, that's about $100 a year from when you bought it. On the other hand, if you buy a $200 typical vacuum from Walmart or Target that lasts an average of 2 years, you will still spend $100 a year.

How do we know that the typical Target vacuum lasts only 2 years?

Well, here at GreatVacs, we rebuild and service a lot of vacuum cleaners other than just Rainbow and below is a picture of our repair room full of these “disposable” vacuums.


Walmart sells 70% of all vacuum cleaners bought in the US. It is difficult to find parts for these “disposable” vacuums. Even the Chinese manufacturing companies have verified to me in person, 'Why should a customer fix their old vacuum when they can just buy a new vacuum every 2 years?'

In other words, it is WAY more profitable for these companies to sell you a disposable vacuum every 2 years vs. making long lasting vacuums like Rainbow does. So here at GreatVacs, when we sell a rebuilt Rainbow for ⅓ less than new and it lasts for decades we must really be the stupid ones :)

That is fine. We get a lot of satisfaction knowing we are saving people a lot of money who normally could not afford a Rainbow.We have reached a stalemate of sorts. At this point, both a typical convenience store vacuum and a Rainbow Vacuum cost $100 a year. However, what about inflation?  How much well those disposable vacuums cost in 10 or 20 years?  What is the cost to pollute the planet and fill up landfills with disposable vacuums?  I know that is uncomfortable to think about so let's move on to other burning questions :)

What about the cost of bags?

Rainbow Vacuums are bagless, and even the models that use them are washable. So if you bought one of those disposable vacuums from Walmart (like in the picture above), you would spend a small fortune on bags and filters.

Even if you say, 'But my Walmart vacuum is bagless.' OK, we have studied this, and you are not actually saving any money buying a bagless vacuum vs. bagged.


Because in those cheap bagless vacuums (even a Dyson is this way) the filters fill up fast and those filters need replacement at least once a year. So if you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, we see an average of $35 per year required in buying bags or filters.

Over a 25-year period, that is an extra $875 you will spend.

The Rainbow vacuum cleaner is different because it uses clean water to filter with and so hardly any dust even reaches the HEPA filter. Therefore, those washable HEPA filters in a Rainbow last for years. So in that same time period, you might be looking at $100 in filters from a Rainbow.

If you decided on a Rainbow Vacuum cleaner, you will have spent $775 less than someone who consistently bought the $200 vacuum over the 25-year period. $2500 does not seem like a high price now, does it?

What about carpet shapooing?

How much a year are you spending having your carpets shampooed? How would you like to own your own professional-grade carpet shampooer?

According to research, the average American household spends $180 per year cleaning their carpets. Also, if you have more than 3 bedrooms in your home it will be more.

Let's say owning your own professional carpet cleaner (like for your Rainbow) you spend $30 on shampoo solution and maintenance, so you save $150 per year.

In a 25-year period, that is $3750 you would save. That does not even consider inflation (imagine what it will cost to have your carpet done in 25 years?).

The Rainbow's Hurricane motor makes it the perfect machine to deep clean your carpets. After a shampooing session, connect the machine to the hose attachment and leave the jet stream powered by the Hurricane motor to do the rest.

The brush roll is also quite effective in cleaning your carpet. However, you should be careful because the brush roll may damage certain rugs. So with the Rainbow vacuum cleaner you have a couple of options with buying a professional shampooer for it.

Different Rainbow Vacuum  Models

The models Rainbow SRX and E2 Black use the model shown below from Rainbow.

Rainbow SRX

However, the older model of Rainbows had a Rainbow shampooer that did not work that great (they were terrible and we don’t suggest them).

However, we are an authorized dealer for Prolux and Prolux makes a great shampooer and tile cleaner that fits all models of Rainbow (as well as most wet dry vacuums).

If you own a D4 canister vacuum or SE or SE PN2 model of Rainbow then click below to see.

D4 canister vacuum, SE, or SE PN2

If you own an E Series 1 spee, E2 Gold 2 speed, or E2 Blue 2 speed canister vacuum, then click below to see.

E Series 1 spee, E2 Gold 2 speed

If you own a E2 Black 2 speed them click below.

E2 Black

OK so in this exercise we have shown even buying a Rainbow vacuum new from Rainbow could save you up to $4525.

Buying a rebuilt one at the link below could save you even more. 

Rainbow Vacuum

What is so special about a Rainbow Vacuum cleaner?

We have gone over the math behind a Rainbow Vacuum investment and proven that the numbers do add up. 

So, what makes Rainbow Vacuum such a popular choice?

You can use it as an air purifier

As mentioned earlier, the Rainbow machine does not use a bag and instead, it has a water filtration system. The Rainbow Vacuum maintains its 99.9% dirt and allergen removal because of its cleaning system powered by a strong motor.

Any other vacuum that does not use water filtration systems can claim about 99% dirt removal. Unfortunately, when they trap dirt, it eventually blocks their cleaning system, making replacement inevitable.

What does its water filtration system have to do with air purification? (The answer to that is, everything).

When vacuuming, dust and allergens on your carpets are sucked up, and some are blown into the air, it’s a no-brainer.

The Rainbow, however, uses its water filtration system to trap dirt, preventing it from rising into the air. It uses a motorized brush to remove dirt on its cleaning path. The microscopic particles trapped on the power nozzle are sucked into the vacuum, past a screen and into the water basin within the filtration system unit.

Larger particles do not make it past the fine screen and are therefore not released back into the air. The high and low-speed settings allow you to clean the air without disturbing your home.

So does a Rainbow canister vacuum act as an air purifier as it is? Well, yes and no. On its own, it does keep your air cleaner than most vacuums, but there are a couple of steps you should follow to make it work as an air purifier.

These steps are:

  1. Attach a hose to the Rainbow brush.
  2. Connect the Rainbow unit to the hose.
  3. Flip the power switch to turn it on.
  4. Turn the dial and settle on the "Wet" option.
  5. Plugin the machine unit and switch it on.
  6. Let the unit run until there is no more water in the tank.
  7. Fix the Rainbow Vacuum fragrance pack to the tube at the front of the machine and switch on the vacuum cleaner.
In addition, Rainbow's range of scent packs leaves your home smelling fresh after a vacuum cleaning session.


The Rainbow Vacuum has amazing suction

It can be quite frustrating when your new vacuum cleaner loses suction after a few cleaning sessions. Most times, the issue lies in blocked filters, knotted dusting brush bars or clogged airways.

Unlike most bagless vacuums, the Rainbow machine has strong suction that leaves you with clean floors. It does not lose its suction over time, regardless of how dirty the water gets, thanks to its powerful motor.

The filtration unit traps the dirt and allows the air through the exhaust.

Some of the latest models, however, can lose suction. An example is the E-series. They have HEPA filters that trap debris passing through the water.

This often includes dust from plaster, baby powder or concrete dust. Such particles do not mix well with water and can therefore blow out of the exhaust into the air.

Luckily, these substances are not that common in most homes.However, if you encounter such an issue, add a spoonful of vinegar to the water basin. This decreases the water's surface tension, mixing the dust with the water. Problem solved.

It has an assortment of accessories and attachments

Who said a vacuum cleaner could not have accessories? Definitely not Rainbow, that's who. The Rainbow Vacuum boasts a range of accessories, making it a popular choice for different cleaning functions.

When purchasing the Rainbow canister vacuums, several customers opt to buy all the attachments so they can make the most of this cleaning machine.

Here is a list of its best ones:

Accessory  Use
RainbowMate Clean limited areas like mattresses, carpeted stairs and upholstered furniture.
JetPad Clean tiles and bare floors.
AquaMate Is an intensive carpet cleaner and drier.
Power nozzle Good for different surfaces, especially when removing stubborn stains.
RainJet Soaks and scrubs embedded dirt on hard surfaces.
RainMate Uses clean water and fragrances to give your home a clean and fresh scent.
MiniJet Shampoos and scrubs smaller surfaces like small rugs, sofas and chairs.


Summary about Rainbow Vacuum 

Rainbow Vacuum

Price = $2500    

Average lifetime = 25 years

Filters cost = $100 within 25 years

Walmat Vacuum 

Price = $200    

Average lifetime = 2 years

Filters cost = $875 within 25 years

So, ask me again, is Rainbow Vacuum worth it?

HECK, YEAH! (sorry GreatVacs is based in Utah and we always produce family friendly content LOL). In 25 years, you will spend $775 less buying a $2500 Rainbow Vacuum than Walmart Vacuum that last only 2 years while also spending $875 in maintenance within 25 years.

These Rainbow Attachments makes your work easier

The Rainbow also sports a number of useful attachments, which include the:

Dusting brush

This attachment thoroughly cleans your furniture, blinds, windowsills and curtains. It has soft bristles that ensure your surfaces remain scratch-free even after an intense cleaning session.

Floor and wall brush

As the name suggests, the floor and wall brush is perfect for cleaning bare floors and removing any dirt that collects on your surfaces.

Crevice tool

The cracks and crevices in your home are no match for Rainbow's crevice tool. It can clean in narrow spaces, leaving your baseboards and bare floor edges dirt-free.

Pet grooming tool

This tool makes grooming a fun activity. Its gentle strokes clear the dirt and debris in your pet's fur.

Upholstery tool

Keep your upholstered furniture clean and fresh using this attachment. It removes embedded dirt, maintaining your furniture's vibrant colors.

Refrigerator coil cleaner

Dirt and crumbs often collect on a refrigerator's cooling coil. This cleaner rids your refrigerator coils of muck and grime which can reduce your refrigerator's efficiency.

You can also use it to clean tight spots like under your dryer.

Aerofresh bag

This is a plastic bag that sucks the dusty air from your cushions. Its large size can fit even your biggest pillows.

Wet pick-up and extractor head

You can use this attachment to clear the most persistent spills and stains from your bare floor.

Attachment caddy

The attachment caddy helps you connect the upholstery tool, crevice tool and dusting brush to your machine before you start cleaning.

Inflator tool

This handy attachment helps you keep your inflatables (air mattresses and toys) full of air.

8-foot hose

The power nozzle on the hose creates the perfect pressurized water stream to rinse off all the dirt from your carpets.

Rainbow Vacuums vs. Dysons

We all like to witness a good showdown every once in a while. What could be more entertaining than seeing two of the top vacuum picks going head to head?

So let's compare the Dyson and the Rainbow to see which vacuum takes the day.

Cleaning performance

The Dyson is a powerful machine with a strong motor and a high-performance rate. It has several models you can choose from based on your budget and preferences.

However, it has a durability problem. Several customers complain that within five years, the stick vacuums develop issues. Luckily, this does not seem to be the case with the upright models.

On the other hand, the Rainbow cleaning system uses water filtration that not only deep cleans different surfaces but also leaves your home smelling fresh after a vacuuming session. The Rainbow is also quite popular because of its longevity.

Most customers report that it can last for more than 20 years! (It’s true because here at GreatVacs, we’ve spent years rebuilding these buddies). It also sports a powerful motor and low maintenance costs.

Suction power

A vacuum's suction power is an important aspect to consider, seeing as it affects whether you will have pet hair or other particles to contend with after cleaning. The Dyson boasts a powerful suction system that leaves little to no particles on your surfaces.

It has a suction power of up to 185 air watts, which is one of the highest in the cleaning industry. Although Rainbow Vacuum cleaners have exceptional suction systems, they fall behind the Dyson with a slightly weaker suction power of up to 165 air watts.

It also leaves your bare floors clean but may struggle with particularly stubborn pet hairs.

Head to head on accessories and attachments

Accessories and attachments allow you to switch between different cleaning applications with little adjustment. The Dyson has a number of accessories specific to its stick and upright vacuum models.

For instance, the stick varieties have vacuum stands, dusting brushes, low-reach adapters and crevice tools. On the other hand, the upright vacuum models have mattress tools, pet-groom attachments and flexible crevice tools.

Rainbow Vacuums surpass Dyson vacuum cleaners in this feat with accessories that allow it to alternate between shampooing carpets and scrubbing hard surface floors.

Some of these accessories include:

  • RainJet attachment
  • MiniJet upholstery brush
  • AquaMate carpet cleaner
  • Motor-powered RainbowMate brush
  • Power nozzle incorporating LED lights
  • JetPad


Rainbow Vacuum vs Dyson: Who saves you money?

Both the Dyson and the Rainbow are considered high-end vacuum cleaners. This makes absolute sense considering both brands strive to offer the best cleaning features known to the vacuum industry.

The Dyson in this case is the cheaper option. Its latest and most expensive model goes for about $1000 at retail price.

Most customers would argue that this is not a high price to pay considering it sports a laser beam that illuminates the dust particles in your cleaning path; a feat most brands have failed to replicate.

The Rainbow surpasses the Dyson by a relatively large margin with a retail price of about $3000 for one of its latest models.

After breaking down Rainbow's price earlier in the article, it is easy to see why its loyal customers are willing to accommodate its hefty price tag (an average lifespan of 25 years is worth the price).

Pros and cons of Rainbow and Dyson

The Dyson and the Rainbow are both exceptional specimens when it comes to the battle against household muck. Like all things, however, they have their drawbacks and fall short of achieving household cleaning perfection.

Dyson's pros

  • Readily available and can be bought online or at vacuum stores.
  • Have strong suction.
  • Lightweight, making them easy to transport.
  • Are more affordable than the Rainbow.

Dysons cons

  • Less durable than the Rainbow.
  • Do not possess as many accessories than the Rainbow.
  • Do not use water filtration (it uses the HEPA filter).

Rainbow Vacuum pros

  • Are incredibly durable with a lifespan exceeding 20 years.
  • Use water filtration technology that deep clean surfaces while leaving little to no particles in the air after a vacuuming session.
  • Have several accessories and attachments that make them adept at various cleaning applications.

Rainbow's cons

  • Expensive compared to other vacuum brands.
  • Not readily available as you have to purchase it from authorized distributors.

Are Rainbow Vacuum cleaners guaranteed for life?

Long story short, NO. Rexair LLC, the company behind the brand, offer a 4-year warranty on the Rainbow SRX cleaning system and attachments to their authorized distributors.

They also provide a 10-year warranty on the vacuum motor controller.Note that this warranty only applies if you purchased the Rainbow from an authorized distributor. The warranties, however, do not cover issues arising from normal wear and tear.

Is it safe to use bleach on my Rainbow vacuum cleaner?

Though it may be tempting to add some bleach to your Rainbow and give your surfaces that squeaky-clean shine, we advise you not to. Bleach can corrode and damage your vacuum dirt cup. Also, it could be harmful to your health when inhaled in large quantities.

Can I use softener in my Rainbow vacuum cleaner?

Yes, you can use fabric softener in your Rainbow to leave your home smelling fresh. However, it may not be the healthiest option. Fabric softeners that foam could also clog your vacuum, which may cause performance issues.

Rainbow manufactures their own line of scents that are safe to inhale and non-staining. Their warranty does not, therefore, cover issues arising from using alternative scents on the Rainbow.

Can I take apart my Rainbow Vacuum to clean it?

Yes. This is actually a necessity. After a steamy cleaning session, make sure to disassemble your Rainbow Vacuum to clean it. On occasion, you can go as far as removing the HEPA filter to clean it.

The process may seem daunting but it's actually pretty easy as long as you follow the correct procedure.

What can I do with an old Rainbow vacuum cleaner?

There are several ways you can dispose of an old Rainbow Vacuum cleaner.

They include:

  • Selling it online or to a vacuum store
  • Selling it back to Rainbow (Yes, they buy back older models)
  • Donating it to a charity
  • Reusing the parts (especially the motor) to make something new (This can be an exciting DIY project!)
  • Swapping it for something you need

If you decide to sell your old Rainbow, consider its age and working condition to estimate your selling price. Also, compare offers from different buyers before settling on one.

Can you use a Rainbow Vacuum without water?

Yes, it is possible to use a Rainbow vacuum without water. However, it is not advisable to do so. And what if I use my Rainbow Vacuum without water?

Understand that Water is part of the Rainbow's filtration system. Its main function is to trap dirt and debris sucked by the vacuum. Without water, the dust particles in the vacuum are released into the air.

Also, the dirt will probably block the vacuum's filter, damaging the vacuum.

So, do I think a Rainbow vacuum is worth it?

Yes, I know my answer is biased, but after rebuilding thousands of Rainbow vacuums AND disposable vacuums as well… Yes, I do think Rainbow vacuums are worth it despite the hefty price tag.

I hope you got some value out of this article.

One of the questions we get asked a lot is 'What is the best model of Rainbow vacuum made.' In fact one thing we notice among our Rainbow customers is that sometimes a previous model is even more popular than the new model.

We got asked this question so much that we did detailed tests between the different models in our lab. If you would like us to email you the results of our tests on what the best Rainbow model is just drop your email in the form below and we will email it to you.

As an extra bonus we will also email you our free guide “The 5 things you never knew a Rainbow vacuum could do."

While we tried making this guide comprehensive if you still have any questions about Rainbow vacuums feel free to reach out to us at or visit us at