Eureka SC 684 ... When Less Is Just Misunderstood
Top Notch Cleaning
Plastic Shroud, 7 Amp Motor
The Bottom Line:
The Eureka / Sanitaire SC 684 is a solid performer used in commercial and environments. Look into the 11 amp models if you looking for a commercial machine.
Marketed as the Eureka / Sanitaire SC 684 the renowned parent company marketed the SC 684 to consumers in an attempt to broaden the market appeal of the Eureka line to compete head to head with the onslaught of offerings from companies like Dyson and Orek to name a few. Offering a commercial model from its commercial division, Sanitaire, while a good idea, fell short on the model offered. The SC 684 was a poor choice to prop up lagging consumer sales for a number of reasons. The SC 684 offers most of the convenient features one comes to expect from a good commercial machine, like a 50 ft. power cord, commercial fan, modular construction, easily replaceable parts and its patented 12" disturbulator (read brush roll assembly) brush bar, it fell short, however, on a number of key points that, while, favorable features for a commercial machine, prove fatal errors for a consumer vacuum.
The Eureka / Sanitaire SC 684 is a cheaper alternative to the other commercial models available in the Eureka / Sanitaire line by $40.00 street price ringing the register bell at $130.00. The SC 684 comes packaged from the factory with minimal assembly required, usually just a matter of attaching the wand and shakeout bag. Aside from the gray plastic shroud/cover it is indistinguishable from the rest of the commercial line. I have seen two versions of this model, one with screwed in covers, and the other with the traditional spring fastened shroud, though both facilitate easy change out of the internal components for quick repair. The chassis is hard plastic that is protected by a chrome skid/bottom plate, offering solid protection for the heavy duty plastic fan that is built to give under inadvertent obstructions saving the motor spindle. Change out of the fan is a simple matter of loosening one bolt and a little prying. The patented rubber rive belt has been reproduced by cheap imitators but longer life is the dividend of OEM parts and serve the user well in the long run.
Where the SC 684 falls short is in the choice of non vented 6.5 and 7 amp motors compared to the 11 amp offerings in much of the commercial line. While a 7 amp motor is an appropriate choice one for consumer use, it falls short on the commercial front and doesn't measure up with a lot of the consumer competitors, like Electrolux. The SC 684 was always the red headed stepchild of the commercial division in that most savvy contractors opted for more durable endurance by simply shelling out about $40.00 extra bucks for a SC 886 for a steel shroud and larger motor. While the plastic shroud would never suffer the indignities of commercial abuse, it can only sustain minimal consumer neglect as well. Though not vented like the other commercial models, it will last years before replacement is necessary in the home but needed replacing almost semi- annually under constant daily use, sometimes up to 6-8 hours a shift commercially.
The non HEPA shake out bag is another issue in the home and more so commercial environments these days. We have become more intolerant of anything that disturbs our environment especially agitating dust into it. Easily emptied, they should be replaced annually in the home but need frequent replacement commercially due to tearing and mustiness, as they do not clean well.
A positive point has always been the 50 foot, spring relieved, heavy gauge power cord. Fifty feet gets you deep into home and commercial environments, saving constant outlet hunting. A negative in the home is the twin plastic cord retainers. They break constantly and are more of a nuisance to find, often requiring ordering. Contractors usually buy these in bulk facilitating easy replacement. In fact most contractors can easily replace any part in a matter of 10-15 minutes at the most including changing out motors, a point that should not be lost on those consumers who are handy with light electrical background.
Cutting The Rug
The Eureka / Sanitaire SC 684 is a good unit in spite of its weaker specifications. A 7 amp motor is ample for consumer use. Keep in mind this is a commercial 7 amp motor, and in spite of its commercial limitations, it is hands above those 11 amp offerings from most consumer models. The 684 raises the nap of all the carpets I have seen it tackle. It is not uncommon to expect to lift up carpet that has been cleaned with a Eureka / Sanitaire and see minimal amounts of dust and sediment on a pad; the suction is that good.
Weight is the primary issue I have with the Eureka / Sanitaire SC 684. While the 16 lbs. the 684 tips the scales at, is great for making quick work of commercial projects, it takes its toll on most consumers. In addition the lack of a hose and extensions to tackle high dusting are also minuses. Commercially, backpack models are the best way to avoid the hassle of carrying around hoses, wands and attachments. Getting a good workout has always been a byproduct of running a Eureka / Sanitaire, though it is not as bad as it sounds.
Replacing the disturbulator belt is another issue that may not fall in the good graces of consumers. The retainer clips on the skid/bottom plate are very snug as is the disturbulator. While a simple process, the fit of the closures on the parts that need removing for installation of simple replacement parts can be cumbersome and difficult for a consumer.
The Eureka / Sanitaire SC 684 is a good machine that never really found a good place for itself. Too light for solid commercial duty, too heavy for consumer use; the conundrum is evident. Yes, it is a good machine for a consumer environment if you understand this machine will take care of your carpets as well as the wood floors underneath. You have to be prepared to have a second machine for high dusting and upholstery cleaning. We generally keep one of each, relegating one machine a floor in our home, and are quite satisfied with that arrangement.
At $130.00, you would be hard pressed to find a better machine for the home. Commercially, it would be a good buy for those who are just getting into business and disposable funds are an issue. The one consideration that is common to all Eureka / Sanitaire models, not to be confused with Eureka consumer models, is that they are workhorses, take a beating and merit your consideration.