After much deliberation I've decided to buy a Hoover Windtunnel Bagless Canister at an online store from whom I purchased my last machine 10 years ago. I researched all of the ones you suggested. Like Lizzie, we have mostly hardwood and I decided I wanted a light weight mid-priced canister. The search did turn up a very interesting site-- Consumer Guide on howstuffworks.com. Check them out if you're considering investing in any type of appliance or tool.
As for my little contest--after removing my own name and my mom's (don't worry, she got an entire bottle for Christmas!) my three assistants pulled the following three names out of the bag:
1. Eureka (I don't have your email and need your mailing address.)
So you folks are technically the "lucky" winners. However, in God's providential oversight, I have enough Ken's Railroad Chili Seasoning samples that I'm sending each and every one of you a packet! So Molly, Rebecca, Lizzie, and Monica, one is coming your way, too.
Thanks again for all your help!