The obvious high quality model (powerful, excellent air filtration, compact, durable, quiet, and cute!) was the Miele C3 series which comes with staggeringly high price tags. I am financially comfortable enough to afford this extended time off, but I simply could not be convinced to part with such dosh over a vacuum, and started looking for more reasonably priced alternatives. Canister vacuums command quite the premium, it turns out, so I resigned to stick with an upright, but none of what I found really caught my eye.
Since I do have more free time these days, I also put up a bunch of Craigslist searches to check daily, just in case something interesting should pop up. Today, about 4 weeks later, there was exactly the model I was after being offered new in box for about 40% off retail (the owner had won 2 in an auction and was keeping the other for themselves)! WIN! Whenever I find something like this, I'm always afraid it will get sold out from under me or will turn into a bidding war, so I made sure to run out and finalize the deal while not trying to appear over-eager. A quick test to make sure it works, and it was mine.
I spent a good hour playing with my new toy today. I wonder what it says about me that getting a new vacuum cleaner gets me this excited.
Time may certainly change my opinion (I've owned it all of 7 hours now), especially since I just read 2 other tips for adjusting how it works. Right now though, overall, I'm... happy and satisfied with my purchase, but I don't think I would have been if I'd paid full price.