With so many different styles, shapes and sizes of vacuum cleaners available on the market today, it can be a daunting task deciding on, and picking the best one for your specific needs.
You have to choose between many options offering a large array of functions and high-tech features.
This buying guide seeks to help you make sense of all these high-tech features, by taking you through the options available and helping you figure out the right kind of vacuum to suit your home.
Things to Consider First…
To begin with; choosing the right vacuum cleaner requires that you take a couple of the factors stated above into consideration. The type you choose to buy would be dependent on these factors.
Now, let’s take a brief look at some of these factors that’ll help determine the best vacuum for you before delving into the different types available on the market.
Size of your home
Bigger homes may require a larger, more powerful upright vacuum for complete cleaning. Smaller apartments on the other hand, tend to have less space between large items, such as sofas, tables, appliances, etc.
Hence you may want to consider a vacuum that makes it easy to get around these stuffs. In such instances, you may want to go for a cordless vacuum so as not to deal with cords getting hung up on the corners or edges of those big objects, making it difficult for you to turn as quickly as you would like to, thereby slowing you down.
Do you have stairs
If you have a multilevel home and would need to haul the vacuum up and down stairs, then this is something you want to put into consideration before buying a vacuum. A number of upright models weigh over 20 pounds, and trust me; it would be a herculean task hauling it from floor to floor while vacuuming. In this instance, you may want to consider a lightweight vacuum.
Or you could just buy an additional, less expensive model that would be stationed upstairs.
You may also want to consider a vacuum with a long hose and attachments for getting in and around railings.
Your floor surface
The type of flooring in your home is another factor you need to consider before buying a vacuum cleaner. If you have hardwood floors, then you want to be careful not to pick up vacuums with plastic wheels, which can scratch your floors. You’d instead want to go for vacuums that have non marking rubber wheels.
Also, if you prefer an upright and have hardwood floors, you’ll want to choose one that allows you to turn the brush roll off; as the brush roll tends to scatter debris on a bare floor and could even scratch some surfaces.
Additionally, if you have thick carpet flooring, then you’ll want to go for a vacuum that adequately caters for that; bearing in mind that high-pile carpets such as cable, shag, Saxony, frieze, or long plush tend to pose a problem for some vacuums.
And if you have a multi-surface home, you need a vacuum that can adapt to different floor types.
Do you or any member of your family suffer from allergies
Vacuums basically work by drawing air, dust and debris in, and sending exhaust air out. This can pose a problem if you have allergies or sensitivity to dust and mites. Hence, you want to choose a vacuum cleaner with a dedicated HEPA filter. HEPA filters remove particles like dust, dander and allergens from the air.
Many of them are removable and can be cleaned with water until they need to be replaced.
Do you have pets
Basically, any vacuum can clean up pet hair, but they are some vacuums that come with tools that are specifically designed to help with pet hair and dander.
So, if you’ve got pets, you may want to look out for vacuums that offer specific pet hair attachments.
Also, if you have a lot of hairy pets, you might want to avoid bagged vacuums entirely. Pet hair fills the bagged compartment fast, and the cost of having to frequently replace these bags can add up to your costs. So, in this instance, you want to go for bagless vacuum instead.
Having discussed the above factors, let’s now have a look at the different types of vacuum cleaners we have on the market.
Quick overview of all the different types of vacuums
Canister vacuums are quite a popular choice, when compared to other vacuums. They tend to have much stronger suction power, making them more effective in getting rid of dirt hidden away in carpets, tricky corners in-between hard-to-move furniture and other hard-to-reach places. Its augmented flow rate also makes cleaning faster and better.
They are also a bit more versatile than uprights, as they are light and can be easily lifted and taken wherever you want to go. This comes in handy for those who live in a multi-floor house and need to carry a vacuum from one floor to the other.
Canister Vacuums also work very well on stairs, because you can carry the canister and use its long hose to tackle each level with ease.
Generally, canisters do a much better job than uprights when it comes to cleaning drapes and upholstery, bare floors, getting under furniture and cleaning stairs. Some are even as good as uprights at cleaning carpets. Most have a good amount of sound insulation and unlike traditional vacuums; they are virtually silent under normal operating conditions.
They often come with additional fittings such as crevice nozzles, upholstery and mechanized brush, etc that makes them more efficient and by extension, make cleaning easier for you.
Upright vacuum cleaners are the most popular type of vacuum found in homes. They generally work better at deep-cleaning carpets, as they have adjustment settings for carpets of different heights. They are additionally good for area rugs and hard floors (many can transition between carpet and bare floors) and can clean large areas quickly.
They typically weigh more than other models and may not be a good option for you if you live in a multi-floor apartment. They however make up for their heavy weight with some nice features. One of which is the cleaner head height adjustment.
This feature allows you adjust the vacuum cleaner head height as you move through different floor types. Some models even adjust automatically without you having to bend down to change the settings. With some other models, you control the height manually. This feature comes in handy when you have thick carpet flooring, as it can be difficult to maneuver the vacuum when cleaner head is sunk deeply into the carpet.
They also have the suction control feature which is useful when using tools to clean draperies and upholstery and typically have a foot lever you press to change the angle of the machine for increased maneuverability.
Steam vacuums offer a fast and effective way to clean hard floors instead of having to scrub with a traditional mop. They generally use steam and a detergent solution to clean and sterilize carpets and work by heating water to a very high temperature so it turns into steam, and then the steam is released through the mop head.
The steam that is released from the mop head does the hard work for you; gently and effectively removing ground-in dirt and stains. The high temperature of the steam also kills bacteria, thereby sanitizing your floors as it cleans. They generally fight heavy soil and grease on your carpets and can be used on a number of hard floor surfaces, including ceramic tiles, linoleum and wood.
Some features of steam vacuums are:
Steam control: As different cleaning tasks would require different amount of steam, this feature allows you to control the level of steam that’s produced.
Reservoir: Instead of a bag like Upright Vacuums, Steam Vacuums come with reservoirs to hold vacuumed cleaning fluid and dirt. Generally, a bigger reserve allows steam flow much longer, so you won’t have to refill as often.
Mop head: Most steam vacuums have multiple rotating heads that get dirt out of the ground. You want to make sure to get one with a mop head that’s perfect for your cleaning needs.
You may also want to purchase the ones that come with extra attachments that can be used on stairs, curtains, or other hard to reach areas.
If you’re ready to do away with your traditional mop and bucket, then you might want to consider trying a steam mop.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaners
Self-powered, self-navigating, and self-timing; robotic vacuum cleaners are your best bet if the thought of housecleaning makes you cringe. Bear in mind however, that robotic vacuums are quite pricey.
They are self-propelled and programmable, and they work via an automated scheduling feature and various cleaning modes. Many
are designed to clean both carpets and bare floors. They are battery-powered, cordless, and sensor-controlled. Most have a bagless system that makes emptying out the collection area easy.
All you need to do is simply program the robot vacuum by setting the schedule and it does the rest. It’s however important you note that they won’t replace your regular vacuuming. They are basically supplemental and allow you can wait longer between each full-scale vacuum session; especially in homes with a lot of dust where a quick clean might be necessary every day.
They are also not the ideal choice if you have shag carpeting or area rugs.
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
Ideal for smaller cleanup jobs; Handheld Vacuum Cleaners are the lightest vacuum cleaning options available and they’re great for upholstery, car interiors, closets, blinds etc.
They most come equipped with a dirt cup instead of a bag. And generally come in handy if you’d rather not pull out your whole vacuum every time you spot a mess; making them extremely useful for getting rid of cobwebs, cleaning up small spills, or vacuuming dirt from windowsills.
Stick vacuums have the same design as an upright, but are much lighter in weight and usually don’t come with attachments. Some feature a detachable hand-held vacuum, which comes in handy should you decide to vacuum your stairs, upholstery, cars and other small areas.
They come in handy when you’re looking to buy an additional, less expensive vacuum model that would be stationed upstairs if you live in a multi-floor apartment. They are a great option for small spaces and easy lifting
They however lack the power and capacity of full-sized upright or canister models.
Pet hair vacuums
Generally, any vacuum can clean up pet hair. But there are some models that claim to be specifically designed for this.
When you see such models, it basically means that it comes with a tool that makes it easier to clean pet hair off of upholstery. These types come with a bunch of tools that pull almost every bit of pet debris from those hard to reach spaces like your furniture and floors.
Bagged or Bagless model
Well, there you have it; a basic overview of the most popular vacuum cleaners out there. As can be seen, features can vary a lot, but one decision you will definitely have to make with a number of them is deciding whether to get a Bagged or Bagless model. And here’s my thought…
One option is not necessarily superior to the other as tests show that both clean equally well. Choosing to go for either of them is going to be a matter of personal preference and maybe some little considerations based on overall costs.
The first consideration would be if you or a family member is asthmatic or have allergies. If that’s the case, you would most definitely want to go for a bagged vacuum, instead of a bagless one simply because bagged vacuums are better at holding dirt intact than bagless vacuums. Bagless canister vacuums can be messy to empty; thereby exposing you to allergens and irritants.
Also, in such situations, you would want to choose a vacuum that’s both sealed and has a HEPA filter, which traps 99.97% of dust, dander, pollen, and mold spores in the machine. If you choose one with poor filtration, it’ll end up scattering irritants that make you sneeze.
The second consideration has to do with overall costs. Bagged canister vacuums require frequent replacement of dirt bags and the costs could add up pretty quickly, while bagless vacuums only requires emptying and cleaning of the dirt cup/canister. So, if for instance, you have a lot of hairy pets, you might want to avoid bagged vacuums entirely because pet hair fills the bagged compartment fast, and the cost of having to frequently replace these bags can add up to your overall purchase costs…
As you can see, it’s a balancing act based on your peculiar situation as well as your personal preferences.