Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Quick Navigation: Getting Started - Types - Features - Brands

Getting Started

Having a dirty floor or carpet can make the entire room look messy and unclean. Walking areas can take a beating from high traffic, pets, and ground in dirt. In order to clean the dirt and grime left on floors from normal use, a good vacuum cleaner is a necessity. Vacuum cleaners can be an expensive cleaning tool, so it is important to be informed on the types and brands available. The following suggestions may help when shopping for a new vacuum:

Types of Vacuums

  • Upright vacuums are the most economical and come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. This traditional design is used for deep cleaning carpets. Upright vacuums take up little storage space, but can be noisy and awkward to maneuver due to their weight.
  • Canister vacuums are more expensive than upright vacuums, canister vacuums also clean bare floors, upholstery, curtains/drapes, stairs and under furniture. They are excellent for picking up pet hair. While the vacuum is heavy, only the hose and power head needs to be used.
  • Central vacuums must be professionally installed. Only the 30-foot hose and power head are used. Even though they are expensive, central vacuums are quiet and dust bins can hold plenty of debris.
  • Small vacuums are light and powerful, may be rechargeable or come with or without a power cord. They are best used for quick cleanups.
  • Robotic vacuums are the latest novelty item! They are quite expensive and fill in between deep-clean vacuuming. Useful in uncluttered rooms, robotic vacuums may miss corners and edges, run over extension cords, and get trapped behind doors.
  • Stick vacuums are convenient, easy to handle and lightweight. Designed similar to upright vacuums, these battery powered, bagless vacuums have a small bin that needs frequent emptying.

Features

Vacuums come with several basic attachments. The more costly models have features and gadgets that may or may not help the cleaning process. Here are some of those features:

  • Carpet pile-height adjustment: Adjusts to the height of the carpet
  • Bag vacuum: Contains dirt and debris in a bag for dustless disposal
  • Bagless vacuum: Dirt is collected in a plastic bin; emptying can be messy and is not recommended for those with allergies or asthma
  • Extra cleaning tools: Power nozzles, wall brushes, and bare floor tools assist in cleaning
  • Extension hoses and wands: For hard-to-reach areas
  • Rolling brush: Found underneath the machine with bristles that force out dirt from the carpet; on/off switch to keep debris from scattering and to protect bare floors
  • HEPA Filters: Provide the highest level of filtration of dust and allergens
  • Self-propelled: Uses a transmission and drive system to effortlessly push and pull the vacuum

Brands

While some well-known brands are preferred, there are other brands that perform well and are within varied price ranges:

  • Dirt Devil, Bissell ($40 - $270)
  • Eureka, Hoover ($50 - $300)
  • Kenmore, Panasonic ($80 - $600)
  • Dyson, Miele ($300 - $1,000)

Before purchasing a vacuum, try it out by lifting, pushing and pulling to make sure it has the features to accommodate cleaning needs.