How to Choose the Right Vacuum Cleaner

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Mark Johnson
Vacuum Cleaner Expert
Last Updated: 15 Sep 2020
(Rated from 4437 reviews)

According to research, most homeowners’ definition of a clean home is visible vacuum lines on carpets – but what if you could have your home clean all the time, plus gleaming, dust-free floors?

Whether you’re passionate about low-pile carpets, a fanatic for hardwood flooring, or perhaps a little bit of both, you need a reliable vacuum to handle the task at hand.

That said, finding your dream vacuum can be near to impossible, especially when you don’t know what to look for and where to buy a vacuum. Lucky for you, after testing more than 150 models and checking out their motoring across 16 miles of carpet and flooring, here are some of the best vacuums in the market.

Choosing the Right Vacuum Cleaner

Whether you love or hate it, vacuuming is the key to maintain a spotless home. It’s no surprise that a great vacuum should feature a front and center place in your cleaning cupboard.

Vacuums allow you to quickly clean up by sucking up dirt and debris in your rooms. They’re also great at removing all the allergens,1  pet hair, and more from your living spaces, thus making them a vital piece of equipment for your home and also think about a fireplace vacuum.

It doesn’t matter if your home has hardwood floors or plush carpeting, vacuums do more than just pushing dirt and dust – they suck up all the debris and pet hair so that you can quickly dispose of it and for good.  They use a motor to create suction power and a reliable cleaning head with a brush to lift all the debris into the nozzle,2  and then the dirt travels to a dust cup or dust collection bin for later disposal. If you want to know how do robot vacuum cleaners work.

Some vacuums also have an onboard filtration system that captures all the tiny particles and keeps them from being released into the air through the exhaust port. With just a few passes with your vacuum, you get cleaner floors that are free of grit and look great! So you can invite whomever you want, and you won’t hide your face in embarrassment. You’ll be the envy of your circle!

What to Look for When Purchasing a Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuums come in all shapes and sizes, with various uses and elements.

Upright vacuums are the most sought-after types, and you can find them in both bagless and bagged assortments. Canister vacuums provide you with better mobility and are also fantastic for your stairs, but they often have smaller dust bags.

Rechargeable handheld vacuum and stick or cordless vacuums, on the other hand, make handy tools for quick touch-ups. And if you’re not a vacuuming fan, you can take the easy way out with the robotic vacuums. With the touch of a button, these devices clean your floors automatically.

The investment you make when you purchase a vacuum cleaner depends on the features and the quality of the sweeper. The most inexpensive models are under $50, but most feature small dirt bins and inadequate suction power and accessories. At the other end of the line are the costly and sophisticated models designed to provide consumers with superior performance and lifelong durability. Nonetheless, they require you to cough up about $500 to $1,000 or more. 

However, even though your budget plays a significant role when purchasing vacuums, it isn’t always a consideration when making a new purchase. You need to consider a myriad of features before pulling the plug. Here are some but a few:

#01. Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuums

Bagged vacuums were the backbone of the cleaning world for more than fifteen years, but thanks to technology, most of the newer models are bagless – meaning you don’t have to replace the bag inside your vacuum cleaner often.

Instead, you’ll just have to empty the dirt bin in your bagless device, and occasionally wash it out. The drawback to owning a bagless vacuum, however, is that you’ll need to keep emptying the dusty cup over a trash can—and that can make allergy sufferers snuffle and sneeze.

Bagged vacuums, on the other hand, capture everything in the easy-to-dispose-of bag that you later toss out in the trash. Nonetheless, as the bag becomes full, you may notice a decrease in the vacuum’s suction power.

#02. Weight

Have you ever pushed around a vacuum cleaner for a prolonged cleaning session or lugged it up and down a flight of stairs? If you have, you know that the weight of a hoover does matter!

It can be stressful trying to push and pull a heavy device in every room in your home. Fortunately, most vacuums today are engineered to weigh less and be more nimble than the unwieldy devices that vacuumed their way into your home cleaning closets decades ago.

So, when you go shopping, try and consider getting a lightweight option. Upright vacuums weight the most, as compared to other models, but they also have broad floor heads, powerful motors, and larger dust cups. So, if weight is a non-issue to you, they might work out.

Canister vacuums vary widely in terms of weight. Some models are featherweight, they barely tip the scale to 8 pounds, while others that provide you with excellent performance and elements that rival upright vacuums, but they can weigh as much as 18 or 20 pounds.

You have to remember, though, that even the most cumbersome canister vacuums may not seem as hefty since they don’t need you to push and pull them around your rooms as much. Equipped with an extended nozzle hose, canister vacs can stay stationary while you vacuum in the spaces that require immediate attention before rolling them along to your next dirt-busting destination.

Nevertheless, it’s still vital to pay attention to the weight of a canister vacuum or any other vacuum model, especially if you’ll have to carry it up and down the stairs.

Cordless vacuums are generally the most lightweight hoovers available. Designed to handle lighter cleaning, these hoovers are meant to be easy to pick up for spot cleaning or light duty vacuuming.

#03. Brush Roll

Having a vacuum cleaner with a brush roll3  determines what type of flooring its best suited for.

Vacuums that don’t have a brush roll, according to experts, are perfect for your hardwood floors or tile flooring since the rigid fibers of the brush roll can scratch the finish on your flooring or send the dust in all directions. Then again, some models and brands, those that feature a brush roll, provide you with the choice of turning the rotation of the brush off—making it secure for use on your polished hardwood floors and more effective on any type of hard surface flooring.

When it comes to carpets, especially when you have soft rugs, the brush roll or beater bar slightly agitates the carpet fibers to lift surface level dirt at deeper layers—as well as debris, pollen, dander, and pet hair that may have found their way to your carpet. Moreover, while most brush roll designs may not have issues completing this task on low-pile carpets, medium-to-high pile rugs may need an adjustable pile height setting. An adjustable height setting ensures that the fibers don’t get tangled in the brush roll or stifle the suction coming from the nozzle.

So, if you have multi-surface flooring in your home, hardwood floors or wall to wall carpeting, a vacuum cleaner with an adjustable brush roll that you can quickly turn on and off is your ideal option.

If your carpeting is quite plush, you may also want to look for a floor head with that you can adjust for pile height. If you, however, only have tile or hardwood floors, you can skip the brush roll altogether!

#04. Filter

Most vacuums feature a filtration system that’s intended to capture fine specks of dust and pet dander that the vacuum might otherwise release with its exhaust port.  
There are washable filters that are an inexpensive and easy-to-maintain option. They’re also mostly made of a sponge-like material that rinses off easily, and air dries swiftly.

Other filter types are more paper-like in appearance, and you have to replace them on a schedule (mostly every six months or so) to maintain effectiveness and the suction power of your vacuum cleaner, some filters can remove smoke from the house.

The gold standard in vacuum filtration is, however, the popular HEPA filter, which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. The ultra-fine filter traps the tiniest of particles—as small as 0.3 microns in the case of true HEPA filters. If you suffer from allergies and asthma, this filter comes in handy since it eliminates all the dust, pet dander, and pollen in your home.

The HEPA filter also needs replacement on schedule to maintain its filtration capabilities, but a few newer versions provide you with the advantage of being washable.

#05. The Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Your home situation, your pet, and kids will be the best determinants of what vacuum works best for your lifestyle and needs. Nonetheless, here are some of the vacuum types in the market.

Upright

Upright vacs are the workhorses of the vacuum family. Most people recognize them for their powerful suction and broad floor heads that allow you to clean up to 10 inches or more with a single pass.

Accessible in both bagless and bagged varieties, the upright part of these hoovers holds the motor and dirt collection system. It makes these vacuums heftier than some of their counterparts, and their design requires you to push and pull the machine across the floor as you clean.

What makes the upright vacuums worth the effort is that they’re great at penetrating deep into carpet fibers to remove the embedded dirt, pet dander, and debris. Nonetheless, the upright vac can it difficult to into those low, tight spaces—like under your couches or beds. Most vacuums come with attachments to solve this and other cleaning conundrums. Typically, you can store these attachments onboard for easy access during your cleaning sessions.

When it comes to storing the upright vacuum design, this device is always closet-ready. Unlike its counterparts, this device takes up minimal floor space while leaving enough room for your cleaning supplies, shoes, and other items.

When shopping for an upright vac, you can always expect to cough up as little as $50 for the light-duty version or $500 or more for the robust design. Most quality options, however, vary from $100 to $300. 

Canister

If you need a device that has a floor head that can reach those high counters and uncharted territory under your furniture, then you should consider a canister vacuum. It features a canister body that houses the motor and dust collection system (either a bag or dustbin) that’s attached by a hose to a floor nozzle.

Canister vacuums are worth every dollar since they offer you convenience – they can sit stationary while you vacuum your room around it. When it’s time to move on, all you have to do is to bring the canister along—either through wheeling it (most canister vacuums have wheels), or you can pick it up by the handle and place it in the room you need to clean.

Canister hoovers are also very popular in homes, especially when it comes to stairs. By setting the vacuum on a step and using the long hose to vacuum your stairs around the canister, it can be effortless to clean your staircases then if you’re trying to balance the job with a cumbersome upright vacuum.

Storing the canister vacuum design can be tricky—the long hose plus the canister body require more space inside your cleaning cupboard. It seems counterintuitive that this compact vacuum cleaner needs more storage space then the upright version, but the lack of a merged footprint can causes challenges in tight spaces.

Canister vacuums feature a full-size and powerful motor that keeps pace with those inside larger upright models, but lightweight canisters do exist. They also range, in price, from about $50 to $150, but the more full-featured and high-powered options cost between $500 and $1,200.

Cordless

If you hate how cords coil up around you, then it’s time to ditch them and take your vacuum cleaner wherever the trail of crumbs leads you! Cordless or stick vacuums are slimmed down upright options that run on battery power. These sweepers are ideal for quick clean-ups in high traffic areas, but most lack the strong suction power, dirt bin capacity, or battery life to handle prolonged cleaning sessions.

Of course, there are high-end options that feature lithium-ion batteries that give you around 40 minutes of runtime and turbo modes to increase the suction power of this lightweight device. You just have to remember that more suction can drain the battery more rapidly—so it’s often a trade-off between runtime and cleaning power.

Unlike the canister versions, these vacuums make a great addition to your cleaning closet, and most people keep one handy for those quick clean-ups. A cordless vac is always ready whenever and wherever with minimal time to get it out or put it in your cleaning closet.

As is true of any vacuum cleaner design, the more power and features you have in a specific model, the more the price creeps. You can spend about $100 for a standard cordless device. However, models with more powerful suction and lithium-ion batteries that provide you with expanded runtime can cost you $175 or more. 

Robotic

If you don’t have enough time to chase dust bunnies and vacuum up debris, a robotic vac is your best bet. It can effortlessly automate this routine chore. The futuristic-looking vacuums are larger in diameter than your average plate, but they’re up to the task.

Robotic hoovers feature the onboard technology that allows them automatically undock themselves, scurry around your rooms, lifting all the dust and dirt, then return to their charging station until the next programmed run time. However, how advanced the robotic vacuum technology is, depends on the model of the robotic device you choose.

When shopping for a robotic vacuum cleaner, you need to consider:

  • the type of room mapping the hoover is capable of
  • how massive the dustbin is
  • whether the engine is powerful enough to handle your medium-to-high pile carpeting
  • if it can maneuver around all the obstacles

Purchasing a robotic machine is an incredible way to keep your hardwood floors and carpets in between deep cleanings. Still, it can’t fully replace a regular, more in-depth vacuuming session.

Robotic vacuums’ price range varies greatly depending on how smart the system is. However, an entry-level design can cost you about $150, while the leaders in robotic vacuum technology mostly cost about $300 to $700.

Handheld

If you want to effortlessly tackle the small tasks, spot cleanings, and a vacuum with enough suction power to go, then a handheld vacuum cleaner is a perfect option. The small and compact device is battery-powered and features a dustbin that amasses the grains, dirt, and pet hair that has been hiding in your couch cushions or car upholstery.

The vacuum’s suction power is excellent for the small tasks, and you can’t use it for the extended cleaning projects due to its short battery life. Nevertheless, almost all handheld vacuums provide you with plenty of power for cleaning your furniture, detailing your car, or expunging a pile of dirt you tracked in with muddy shoes.

Most handheld versions also come with different attachments that augment their proficiency in managing these and other small-scale cleaning assignments. A handheld vacuum cleaner can cost you between $25 and $100.

Wet/Dry

Wet/Dry vacuums are perfect for cleaning up the messes in your garages, workshops, and other commercial spaces. Their impressive design allows them to suck up wet or dry debris in your office or additional spaces. They are also worth the while when you’re doing home improvement projects or when you’re sprucing up your garage.

Most wet/dry vacuums are mounted on wheels for easy maneuverability, but that isn’t always the case. The canister of these sweepers is made of tough, durable housing to weather the rigidities of shop life.

If you’re shopping around for a wet/dry machine, you should be ready to cough up between $30 and $80, depending on the size and features of the model you need.

#06. Leading Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers

Selecting a particular vacuum with all the characteristics and functionality you require is essential, but you also need to consider the reputation of the manufacturers. Some of the most popular vacuum cleaner brands include:

Shark

Shark vacuums are famous for being weightless, giving you plenty of suction power, and featuring a variety of onboard elements and tools. Some Shark models feature lift-away canisters for multipurpose cleaning or anti-allergy seals that help in preventing allergens from escaping. Shark vacuums also provide consumers with a lot of bang for your buck, and they often land at the top of bestseller lists.

Hoover

Hoover has been there for decades, and with the broadest product line-up and features like the incredible Wind Tunnel technology that delivers powerful suction, there’s always a Hoover vacuum cleaner to fit your budget and cleaning needs.

Bissell

Another early name in the vacuum manufacturing industry, Bissell, makes small handheld vacuums, stick and cordless vacs, canister vacuums, and full-featured upright vacuums. They provide you with a wide range of prices, features, and numerous models that unswervingly pop up on lists of top-selling vacuum cleaners.

Dyson

Dyson is best known for paving the way in cyclonic root suction and bagless vacuums. The best Dyson vacuum cleaner brand, unlike its competitors, marks the entry into higher dollar vacuum cleaners, with most of its devices priced above $200.

Miele

It’s recognized for its impressive build quality and powerful suction machines. Most people purchase the Miele vacuums and keep it for years because of its durability. These vacuums are worth the investment, and most range from $400 and $1,000. While canister vacuums are their claim to fame, you can also get several upright vacuum cleaners.

Eureka

Eureka offers its consumers a variety of vacuums in all shapes and sizes—from small handhelds to uprights. The most common characteristic when it comes to Eureka vacuums is their affordability. Most of its vacuums come in under $100, and some of its most budget-friendly hoovers are bestsellers for their category.

IRobot

Accountable for making robotic vacuums a household name instead of a domestic daydream, iRobot manufactured the popular Roomba vacuum designs in the early 2000s, and the company now has dozens of models at various price points.

The robotic vacuum cleaner industry is now jam-packed with lots of competitors. Still, the technology and AI on the Roomba devices set it apart—and so does its incredible price tag.

Nonetheless, more standard designs are accessible – they provide you with the reliability and quality build of iRobot vacuums for just under $300.

#07. Vacuum Cleaner Accessories and Warranties

When you choose the perfect vacuum for your household requirements, you have to ensure that it’s armed with the right accessories to complete your cleaning package.

Most extra tools and devices are accessible to make most of your vacuum’s suction power, and most are included with the purchase of your vacuum cleaner. Still, other times you may have to buy them separately. Items like crevice tools, extension wands, upholstery brushes, among others, come in handy when deep cleaning.

The most popular cleaning accoutrements for vacuums are pet cleaning devices. They include items like nozzle attachments with grippy surfaces, fine-tooth combs, or firm brushes to help extract pet hair from your furniture upholstery, curtains, and more.

Another factor to consider when shopping for a hoover is the manufacturer’s warranty. Most vacuums are covered by a 1 to 5-year warranty, depending on the make and brand. Warranties help cover defects in materials and artistry, but they don’t include items subject to normal wear and tear—like filters or brushes.

Companies that are popularly known for their exceptional warranties and customer service include firms like Dyson and Miele, among others. However, you need to remember that with most warranty services, there’s always a freight charge to ship the device, and it can cost up to $20 or more, depending on the company.

A vacuum cleaner is a necessity for keeping your floors tidy, so you have to figure out what you need it for and then choose the best one for the job. So, next time you go shopping, be sure to consider all the above, and you’ll get yourself the best one for your situation. It’s that simple!

Common Questions

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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark advises business, individuals, and organizations on how to use and get the best purifiers so as to maintain their offices and homes. For a fresher and cleaner environment, he is the man for you. He loves ideas and concepts and uses his skills to make them a reality.

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