Finding the best vacuum cleaner for your needs can be somewhat frustrating. With so many brands and with some costing hundreds of dollars it’s difficult to decide on which is best. The secret is to sit down and decide what you want it to have. Here’s a check list on what you should be thinking about.
First decide on the type of vacuum cleaner you want. There are two main types – uprights and canisters – and these can be further broken down into subtypes. Let’s first take a look and the pros and cons of both.
Uprights are a very popular choice for those with wall-to-wall, fitted carpets. The brushroll on virtually all uprights is mechanically rotated and is an excellent tool for getting dirt out of even the deepest pile. They stand up making them easy to store. Many now come with onboard tools and attachments. Many find using one easier than a canister; you tend to bend over less and you don’t have to drag it around.
However, they are heavier than canisters and some can find carrying them up and down stairs difficult. Although you can fit onboard tools, the suction power isn’t usually as good as canisters. Not all models allow you to turn off the brushroll, so cleaning hardwood or tiled floors is a real hassle as dirt is blown away rather than sucked up. Not all uprights have onboard tools.
Canister vacuum cleaners are lighter than uprights and many like their ease of use. It’s also easier to clean under furniture with a canister as you just have the head and wand to maneuver. Canisters are usually preferred by those with non-carpeted floors. Many now also come with powered brush rolls and offer a cleaning performance on fitted carpets similar to that of uprights. Just about all canisters have onboard tools.
Canisters don’t stand up and storing them can be a hassle. Most don’t come with powered brush rolls and don’t clean carpets as well as uprights.
Both uprights and canisters can be subcategorized. Both can be either be bagged or bagless. Many like bagless vacuums because you don’t have the ongoing expense of buying bags; they’re more environmentally friendly (trees don’t have to die in order to make bags); and most bagless models come with clear dust cups so you can easily see if you’ve accidentally sucked up something you shouldn’t have.
However, many don’t like bagless. Many complain that emptying the dust cup is messy – large plumes of dust are released when emptying the cup. Not everyone appreciates seeing the dirt they’ve just sucked up in a clear dust cup. And, some people aren’t tree huggers.
Both types of vacuum can be fitted with HEPA filters. You should decide how important filtering is. If it’s not your top concern you can save money by electing to buy a vacuum with a standard charcoal filter. If you’re more concerned then buying a HEPA filter is a better option; and if you really want the best filtering money can buy, you should consider a 100% sealed HEPA filter – this type of filter will remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 micron from the air. Not sure how big a micron is exactly, but it’s small. Having to buy replacement filters can be an expensive ongoing expense, so you might want to consider buying a vacuum that comes with either washable or self cleaning filters.
Also, some uprights allow you to wash your carpet as well as vacuum it. Again, they’re more expensive but can save you money on hiring a firm to do it for you.
Some vacuums (both canister and upright) have special cleaning heads for removing and sucking up pet hair – the Eureka Altima vacuum cleaner being an example. Again, these are expensive but are often indispensible for pet owners.
Once you’ve made a list of what features you require it becomes a lot easier to find the best vacuum cleaner for your needs. You can quickly eliminate models that aren’t suitable and can start to quickly compare models that offer what you want.