Tristar EXL vacuum cleaner, $65.

When you hear the term 'overpriced door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman,' the TriStar brand certainly isn't the first one that comes to mind. But Tri Star vacuum cleaners have been sold door-to-door for many years, with their salesmen normally trying to get around two thousand bucks apiece.

Although Tristar vacuums are great vacuum cleaners, they certainly aren't 'great at any price.' When you consider how much these vacuums cost new, and how well they work, it's can't be any wonder that there will be loads of people scouring eBay in search of better deals! 

Whenever you notice any item - vacuum cleaner or not - selling for an amount of money that seems way out of line, you should pay careful attention. In such cases, there are often many people who have either been through the salesman's routine (if one exists) and didn't buy, or have wanted to buy the item in question, but just didn't have the money. These are your buyers on eBay!

The TriStar EXL was in production from 1999 through 2003, and is the successor to the TriStar DXL, which I cover in another Gallery entry.

There are a few important points I'd like to make here about the TriStar vacuum. If you take a few minutes to check out the different eBay listings for Tristar vacuums, you'll notice that the older models of Tristar vacuums have the same general shape as the newer models. So, you should be very careful not to mistake the older models for the newer models. Although these older Tristars can indeed sell well on eBay, they'll never bring near what the newer models will.

Whenever you're considering the purchase of a used vacuum, the two most important factors are accessories and condition. Unlike stand-up vacuums, canister vacuums require a hose, a couple of rigid pipes, and some sort of floor attachment. There should ideally also be several other assorted tools. But! you should absolutely, positively make sure that the 'power head' (the powered brush used on carpeted floors) is included, or you'll suffer at selling time. As a matter of fact, you can sell these power heads alone for over $50 in many cases!

Always ensure that your vacuum is in good shape. These things get dragged around the house, and will often accumulate smudges of paint from the walls, door jambs and furniture they bump into. This sort of thing can be easily removed with a little denatured alcohol.

You may want to avoid the machines that have been abused and exhibit numerous scrapes, dents or signs of really heavy use. You can often gauge a machine's use by the wear on the attachments, especially the bottom of the power head, where it runs across the floor. The power head on a well-used vacuum will show much more wear and scrapes than a vacuum that has not been used that much.

Now, just how important is it for you to develop your 'profiling' skills I'm always hammering away at here at Auctionbandits? The sale where I found this vacuum was one of those where the people were selling literally everything inside and outside of the house. When I first spotted this find, the only thing I could see was the handle sticking out from behind a sofa in the living room. But since I know the profile of the Tristar vacuum, the black handle with the blue buttons on it were all I needed to know that there was money over there in the corner!

Alas, when I ran over to scoop up my find, to discover that just the power head was there! I grabbed the power head and ran out into the garage, and asked the seller if she even had the rest of the vacuum. 'Sure,' she said - and this is no lie - and she went over into a corner of the garage and started rooting through a pile of old clothes, finally unearthing the missing canister part of the vacuum!

I searched the entire premises for the rest of the attachments for this unit, but I could find nothing else to go with it. And the seller couldn't help me out, either. But your bidders out there on eBay know these vacuums cost a fortune, and won't mind paying you good money for one even without any attachments, as long as the power head is there!

This Tristar EXL sold on eBay for $225

Photo of Tristar EXL vacuum cleaner