Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide – Finding the perfect vacuum for your home
Nowadays vacuum cleaners can come in all types of shapes and sizes, along with dozens of dizzying features that may or may not come in handy. When you’re dealing with an industry that has a thousand different ways to write “suck up dust”, it can be hard to figure out which product is better to buy.
That’s why we’ve done all the hard work for you. This vacuum cleaner buying guide contains a brief description of the different types of vacuum cleaners out there and provides you with everything you need to know about shopping for a new vacuum.
Types of Vacuum Cleaners
Upright vacuums are perfect for homes with lots of carpeted areas. They are usually considered the most powerful style of vacuum – the attached rotating brush scoops up dirt from carpet and is usually especially good at picking up pet hair.
Although they come in bagged, bagless, corded and cordless versions, upright vacuums are not as versatile as canister models due to their bigger build – their bulkiness means they aren’t great for getting in tight spots, and they’re generally too heavy to be comfortably used on stairs. But if you have a large house with big open areas or an open plan flat, this is the vacuum for you.
Canister vacuums generally consist of a main tank and a wand attached via a hose. These vacuums are lighter than upright models and are also easier to maneuver in tight spaces and carry up the stairs. They’re recommended for homes and offices with mostly bare floors and light carpeting. In addition, their flexible suction hoses make it easier to clean stairs, upholstery, and drapes as well as under furniture.
However, note that canister vacuums may need more storage space as the tank and hose require more room. The large tank may also mean that it’s less energy efficient.
Stick vacuums are lightweight, streamlined and often have a removable handheld vacuum for smaller spots, meaning they’re perfect for quickly cleaning up a mess. They’re most suited to small flats that are mainly carpet-free.
Although they’re good in a hurry, the power doesn’t match up to an upright or canister model and cordless versions don’t tend to hold much battery. In addition, their dirt bin is typically small and needs to be cleaned out frequently.
Hand held vacuums aren’t meant to replace the more powerful upright or canister vacuums, but are instead used as a handy accessory to clean up all those hard to reach spots. They’re great for light, quick surface cleaning on short-pile carpets, bare floors, and sofas. They’re also useful for cleaning up your car’s interior.
One of the newer options to hit the market, robotic vacuums are nevertheless growing in popularity. These handy devices can do all the dirty work, using in-built cameras and smart sensor technology to work their way through your home while you’re relaxing or out of the house. The beauty is they require minimal effort – depending on what type you get, it can be as easy as simply programming it with the right commands. Some of the newer models can even be controlled via a smartphone app!
While they’re not as powerful as a standard upright or canister vacuum, robotic vacuums are great for maintaining the room’s cleanliness between deep cleaning sessions. However, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them the first few times to make sure that they don’t get stuck somewhere.
Bagged or Bagless?
Once you’ve picked what type of vacuum cleaner is best for you, you’ll need to decide if you want a bagged or bagless version. Both have their pros and cons, so think carefully before making a decision.
Bagged vacuums have a dirt bag which stores all the dust, dirt, hair, etc. that the vacuum sucks up. Whenever the bag is full, you simply take it out and replace it with a new one. This is generally cleaner and more hygienic, especially for those who suffer from asthma or allergies.
However, bear in mind that if you’re using a lot of bags the cost can add up. In addition, as the bag fills up the vacuum’s suction efficiency can suffer a bit. You can fix this by replacing the bag before it gets filled up entirely, though once again the costs will add up over time.
Bagless vacuums tend to operate either by having a filter within the dust canister to trap any dirt, dust and hair, or by using “cyclonic action” to separate the dust from the air and trap it inside the canister. This can save you money since you don’t need to keep buying new bags. Apart from that, bagless vacuums tend to have a transparent canister exterior so you can see exactly when you need to clean it out.
On the other hand, while bagless vacuums don’t require you to buy new bags all the time, if the filter is ever damaged it can cost a lot to repair. Cleaning up can also be a bit messy since there is nothing to protect you from the dust, which can make things difficult for those with asthma or allergies.
Try it out
Even if you decide to order it online, make sure you go to a store first to see what it’s like in person. Test it out and see how comfortably it can be pushed, pulled, carried around, and so on. Ask about the different the controls and features. Finally, don’t forget to ask for a demonstration of how to clean out the canister or replace the bag.
Notice the Noise
While no vacuum cleaner is loud enough to require ear protection, some can be a bit uncomfortable to work with. A loud vacuum cleaner may not be suitable if you’re living in a small apartment or if you have young children or pets in the house.
Try operating the vacuum cleaner for a bit and test out how loud it gets. Bear in mind that a room with a lot of echo (e.g. a small room with tiled floors) can make the noise seem even louder then usual.
Features and add ons
Don’t let yourself get dazzled by additional gadgets and gizmos. Most vacuum cleaners come with everything they need: a narrow tool for corners, a small upholstery brush and a round brush for dusting.
Canister vacuums may have a powered intake that cleans carpets more thoroughly than a simple suction intake. Edge cleaners are an optional tool that picks up debris under the entire area of the cleaning head. That’s useful when cleaning rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting because it lets the vacuum clean right up to where the carpet meets the wall.
Now that you’ve worked out exactly what kind of vacuum cleaner you’d like, check out 100Comment’s Housekeeping Home Appliances section to have a look at some of the products recommended up other consumers. Don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Best Vacuum Cleaners as well.