Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide – A ultimate step-by-step guide
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Hi I’m John Wesley, founder of Vacuum Cleaner Adviser and Thank you for reading our ultimate step-by-step vacuum cleaner buying guide. Here at Vacuum Cleaner Adviser, we dedicated to providing you the quality Vacuums Reviews. Whether you are looking for your next best vacuum for pet hair, or cordless handheld vacuums – we’ve reviewed them all!
The purpose of the Reviews that we do, is to help you find the right vacuums for you – in a sea of different brands, types and high-tech functions.
More and more people are shopping online, but that does come with its own risks. One, you cannot try on the vacuum, and 2. You don’t fully know what you’re getting most of the time.
We are changing that. With our reviews, we have picked the top best vacuums, as recommended by previous buyers/current owners. We have spent a ton of time and researched the varieties of vacuums, and believe we have the best individual options for everyone, based on their budget, requirements, and activity in question.
Our goal at Vacuum Cleaner Adviser to give you the best information possible that help you to clarify all your doubts and make you determined decision on your next best vacuum rather than buying something because of the brand name.
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Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide Basic Criteria
Buying a new vacuum cleaner is not something you do every day, so it’s worth investing in a quality product that will clean your home well and will last a long time.
Here are some basic things you need to consider before choosing a vacuum,
Room and Home Size: To choose the right vacuum cleaner, start by looking at the basic components of your home. First, consider the size of your home. Bigger homes may require a larger, more powerful upright vacuum for complete cleaning.
Next, think about stairs, if you have a multilevel home, consider a stick vacuum — it will be easier to move from floor to floor. Then, think about floor surface. Homes with a variety of floor surfaces need a vacuum that can adapt to different floor types
Multiple Levels: Consider keeping a full-size vacuum on your main floor and using a stick vacuum for regular, light cleaning on other levels, reducing trips up and down the stairs with the larger vacuum.
Floor Types: Make sure the vacuum you choose can easily and effectively handle all the flooring types in your home.
Cleaning Schedule: A stick vacuum or robotic vacuum handles daily cleaning with little effort. If you don’t have time to vacuum regularly, consider a more powerful upright or canister vacuum to make the most of your efforts.
Furniture: Consider a model designed to simplify steering and maneuvering around obstacles.
Pets: Look for tools and features designed to collect pet hair without clogging the vacuum. Vacuums designed to deal with pet hair and dander can make cleaning a lot easier.
READ NEXT: The Top-Rated Best Pet Hair Vacuums of 2020
Allergies: Look for vacuums designed to better contain dust, pollen, pet dander and other allergens.
You may consider water filtration based vacuum if you’re concerned about allergic and asthma.
Types of Vacuums
Now, you may have a better sense of what you may want your new vacuum cleaner to accomplish. Here are different types of vacuums with their key features, usability, and price ranges,
Upright Vacuums Type
The Upright vacuums are the most popular type of vacuum and can be found in many homes and apartments today. Upright vacuums are full-size models with wide cleaning paths — up to 15 inches — and corded power.
The cleaning head is directly attached to the housing for the motor and dustbin. They are usually the best vacuum type for removing dust and dirt from carpeting and can clean large areas of carpet quickly. They are also good for area rugs and hard floors.
Upright vacuums are more compact than most canister models and, since they store upright, they take up less floor space.
There are two types of upright vacuums: single-motor and dual-motor. On a single-motor upright vacuum, the brush and the vacuum are driven by one motor.
With a dual-motor upright, the vacuum and the brush are driven by separate motors, giving you more power and suction to clean carpets better.
But as a general rule, these full-sized vacuums perform better than their smaller counterparts, so uprights are a good fit if you’re particular about cleanliness.
Average price: $40-$800
Average weight: 14-20 pounds
Key features: Upright position, bins or bags collect debris, typically comes with accessories, including a wand for corners or stairs. Many can transition between carpet and bare floors.
- Easy to store due to own stand-up design
- Cost less than a canister vacuum and fits better for carpets deep-cleaning
- Foot lever to change the angle of the machine
- The vacuum cleaners are quite heavy up to 20 pounds
- Pushing and pulling the weight is difficult but height adjustment might be helpful
- Upright vacuum cleaner is little noisier than canister
Takeaway: Best if you have the space to store something tall and if you want a deep clean of your carpets. They typically weigh more than other models, so an upright stick vacuum might be a good lighter-weight alternative.
Canister Vacuums Type
Canister vacuums are more popular in Europe and China. They are a bit more versatile than uprights, because you can lift the canister and take it wherever you want to go.
Canister, or cylinder, vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuverability. The canister is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose.
Canister vacuums are ideal for working well on stairs, bare floors and under furniture because you can carry the canister and use the long wand extender to tackle each level with ease.
Average price: $50-$800
Average weight: 8-13 pounds
Key features: Most offer the same or similar cleaning options as uprights, but with increased mobility.
- Better for stairs and under furniture and attachments are handy for cleaning drapes and upholstery
- Comes with less noise and separate power heads
- Increased mobility than upright vacuum cleaners
- A little bulkier than upright vacuum cleaners
- Hose and wand make it hard to store
- Long wands and cords get tangled
Takeaway: They are lighter than uprights, but you still have to be comfortable lifting at least 8 pounds. The long wands and cords get tangled more easily and might be more difficult to store because the hose and wand don’t always snap to the canister.
Robot Vacuums Type
If the housecleaning job is boring and not pleasant for you, a robot vacuum might be right device for you. A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any of the work.
You just set the schedule and it does the rest. It uses sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs and can easily clean underneath furniture. They can keep small living spaces tidy and complement manual vacuuming, lessening your reliance on full-scale cleaning with larger models.
You can find robotic vacuums designed for hard floors as well as models that have a rotating brush or agitator to clean carpets. Some robot vacuums can even handle mopping.
Most robot vacs are cordless and small enough to clean under furniture, with features that allow the devices to dodge obstacles.
There are models that can avoid drop-offs (such as stairs) and even map your home or automatically return to its recharging dock. Many self-charging models can resume cleaning after a recharge.
With programmable models, you can create a cleaning schedule; some come with a remote control and have Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you activate or program them from a mobile device. Accessories included with some robotic vacuums let you block off areas or access adjoining rooms.
If the thought of housecleaning makes you cringe, a robot vacuum might be right for you. A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any of the work.
You just set the schedule and it does the rest. It uses sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs and can easily clean underneath furniture.
Program the robot to start and stop wherever you want it to go. Most will even travel from carpet to hard surfaces and back again.
There are also robot mops for hard floors and other automated devices that can clean your windows, swimming pool and gutters. These cleaners make life a little easier, allowing you to spend less time on your chores and more time with your family.
Average price: $100-$1,000
Average weight: Typically, under 10 pounds
Key features: Battery-powered with docking station, cordless, sensor-controlled, automated via scheduling feature, various cleaning modes, many can clean both carpets and bare floors, some even have apps.
- Ideal for daily cleaning hard-to-reach and tight spots and time saving
- Cleans without any manual intervention
- Self-propelled models may also be a good option for anyone unable to push an upright vacuum.
- Not fit for cleaning stairs and not better for deep cleaning compare to uprights
- Often short battery life but rechargeable
- Not the ideal choice for shag carpeting or area rugs
Takeaway: Ideal for busy people, you can simply program the robot vacuum and then spend your time with family and friends. Robot vacuums are also good for homes with a lot of dust where a quick clean might be necessary every day.
Handheld Vacuums Type
As the name says, these handheld vacuums are small, carriable, lightweight and highly portable. Most are cordless, giving you the freedom to quickly handle spot-cleaning jobs.
Handheld vacuums can tackle tasks, such as cleaning up dry spills on a countertop, vents, pet hair on upholstery, dust on blinds or dirt on vehicle floor mats. You can also find some that connect to a vehicle accessory power outlet.
Certain models can handle wet vacuuming, and others have a motorized brush to give you extra-cleaning capability.
Corded models are also available, giving you long-running power. It’s also a great supplement if your main vacuum doesn’t offer many attachments or if you’d rather not pull out your whole vacuum every time you spot a mess.
Average price: $20-$200
Average weight: About 5 pounds
Key features: Lightweight and incredibly easy to store. Some are cordless.
- The vacuum cleaners are handy and lightweight
- Good companion for cleaning pet hairs and Ideal for cleaning short-pile carpets, above floors area
- Very easy for carrying and Ideal for small areas cleaning like interiors of cars
- Lack of power and capacity as compared to full-sized upright or canister models
- The hand-held vacuum cleaners are also bulky and cumbersome
Takeaway: The smallest and lightest handheld stick vacuums are often cordless and Great option for small spaces and easy lifting. Cordless models can also clean your car, boat and around house.
READ NEXT: The Top-Rated Best Handheld Vacuums of 2020
Stick Vacuums Type
The stick vacuums is perfect companion if your cleaning job is small and wanted to do it daily. Stick vacuum is designed to look similar to that of uprights but comes without any added attachments or accessories.
A good choice if you don’t want to handle a heavier, full-size vacuum, they’re best for small houses, apartments and dorms, or as a quick cleaning option for an upstairs or downstairs. Some stick vacuums use suction alone to clean, making them well-suited for hard floors, and others include a motorized brush for cleaning carpets.
All stick vacuums come with a hygienic release button that effortlessly deposits all dust and debris into your chosen receptacle They don’t have the power or capacity of full-size vacuums, but their compact design makes them easier to handle and store. Most stick vacuums are cordless, but corded models are available, giving you unlimited run time.
Average price: $25-$600
Average weight: Typically, under 10 pounds
Key features: Lightweight, easy to store, bagless, often cordless and battery-powered, can transition from carpet to hardwood.
- Stick vacuum models are lightweight and smaller.
- Ideal for hard floors and narrower cleaning paths
- Battery-powered which makes them convenient to use
- The vacuum cleaners are not ideal for carpet and full-size vacuum
- Short battery life ranges between up to 20 to 40 minutes
- stick vacuums are bagless so will have less filtration because of limited space
Takeaway: Consider stick vacuums for small homes and for large homes, choose a canister or an upright vacuum. Great if you want something that can handle light debris. A good lightweight option for those with limited arm strength.
Wet-Dry or Commercial Vacuums Type
Wet and Dry vacuums also called Shop-Vacs. Wet-Dry vacuum cleaners are more durable than an ordinary canister vacuum cleaner. If you are in the commercial cleaning or janitorial business, then a commercial vacuum cleaner is the right choice for you.
If you are cleaning large hallways, ballrooms, hotels, offices, or restaurants, commercial vacuum cleaner or backpack vacuum is right for you.
Often commercial vacuum cleaners that come with or without cleaning tools and commercial vacuums come with HEPA filters that are 99.97% efficient at removing particles 0.3 microns and larger from escaping back into the air.
Clean up sawdust in the basement, dirt and water in the garage or any other mess, wet or dry.
Capacities range from mini one-gallon models to greater than 10 gallons. Smaller models will be easier to store and move around, but they won’t be able to handle the biggest messes.
Average price: $40-$300
Average weight: Typically, under 20 pounds
Key features: Powerful suction and flexible cleaning options, Efficient filtration, backpack vacuum cleaners, possible to reverse the airflow to blow garbage and dust instead of sucking it and it helps to gather all the dirt into a corner and get it out easy.
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor and Ideal for removing dust from places where brushes cannot reach
- This cleaner is superb for both wet and dry surfaces.
- Wet-Dry vacuums comes with easy ‘pull & push’ locking system.
- Wet-Dry cleaner is not the lightest, but it is certainly easy to wheel around.
- Not ideal for areas with too many obstacles sch as crowded furniture
- Not efficient in narrow paths cleaning
Takeaway: Perfect choice for cleaning both wet and dry surfaces, Wet-Dry vacuums offer extra power for professional-sized messes. Looking for garage cleaning, wet-dry is perfect companion.
Central Vacuums Type
Central vacuum cleaner is built-in cleaner system which installed into a building as a semi-permanent fixture. Central vacuum systems are designed to remove dirt and debris from homes and buildings, sending dirt particles through tubing installed inside the walls to a collection container in a remote utility space.
The power unit is a permanent fixture, usually installed in a basement, garage, or storage room, along with the collection container
Central vacuums are last much longer than any other type of vacuum cleaner, and they have the ability to move briskly around from room to room.
With central vacuum systems that exhaust completely out of the home, no dust or allergens can be recirculated through the interior air, as is the case with a traditional vacuum.
Central vacuums come with very high suction power, because the vacuum cleaner motor and dirt collection system need not be portable, the weight and size of the unit are not as severely limited compared to a portable system.
Average price: $800-$3000
Average weight: Typically, under 22 pounds
Key features: Powerful suction and filtration, Exhaust can be pumped outdoors, bags are optional, often comes with easy-storage products such as tool caddies and hose hangers
- Low acoustic noise and Easier to handle when cleaning stairs as not required to move heavy parts
- Better than uprights at cleaning bare floors, drapes, upholstery, and under furniture
- Perfect companion for carpeting and hard-floors area
- Central vacuums are expensive and required professional installation
- Not ideal for easy to store
- Long hose can scrape furniture or walls and can get caught on obstacles
Takeaway: Central vacuum is ideal for building owners who wants to have permanent fixture of the building where it is installed. Furthermore, central vacs have a very large dirt capacity, are quiet, and have been proven to alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms.
Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide: Important Features to consider when buying a Vacuum Cleaner
In additional to the different types of vacuums, with so many choices and available technology today, it may be overwhelming to find one with the best features and specifications for the needs of your home. Here are a few important features to look for before making a final decision.
Bag or Bagless
If you are buying a canister vacuum cleaner, you must choose for disposable bags or a reusable bin. Bags hold more dust, however, it becomes difficult to tell whether the bag is full or not without removing it from the vacuum.
Bags release less dust into the air during the disposal, however, you need to buy replacements quite frequently.
Whereas in case of bagless vacuum cleaners, the bins are transparent making it easy to tell if the bag is full. You also have the option to clean the bag and reuse it countless time.
In general, both bag or bagless vacuum designs have been proven to do the job very well. However, here are some differences to note down,
- Bagged vacuums tend to hold more dirt and dust compare to bagless
- Bagless vacuums collect debris in a bin or cup, relying on filters to clean dust from the exhaust.
- Bagless vacuums offer more accessibility by simply detaching the container unit and disposing of dirt and dust without pulling out a separate bag.
- Compare to bagged vacuums, the bagless vacuums will save you money on buying bags but required more filers for periodic cleaning.
- Bagless vacuums with cyclonic action force air into a cylindrical or cone-shaped chamber into spin dirt and dust particles into the collection bin. The process helps maintain suction by reducing the debris that clog the filters.
- Bag designs can sometimes keep dust contained better since the bag itself seals the dust away.
If you’re looking for convenience, a bagless vacuum is probably right choice for you. But if asthma or dust allergies are a concern, check out an option with a bag to prevent dust.
The level of noise a vacuum cleaner makes depends on the way the engine of the machines is designed. When it comes to a cyclonic vacuum cleaner, the centrifugal force separates the dust which is the reason why the air is violently set in motion.
Noise level is nothing to do with efficiency as a quiet vacuum cleaner can have a better suction power if it has been designed efficiently.
But in general, most of vacuum cleaners will make a little noise but these days many of them come with hearing protection, but any vacuum will seem louder in a room with a lot of echo, such as a tiled bathroom or room with poor acoustic. Consider Robot or Canister vacuums tend to be quieter.
Cordless or Corded
Cordless vacuums let you move from room to room without stopping to change electrical outlets. Models with higher volt (V) specifications are more powerful and tend to run longer before needing a recharge. Fast-charging options reduce downtime.
Though, cordless vacuums may not be the right choice if you’re looking for large room or bigger area as it has limited battery run time and you may have to recharge it.
Cordless vacuum cleaners are easy to operate and allowed to easy storage.
Other end, corded vacuums give you endless run time. While they don’t have the full portability of cordless models, they tend to offer more cleaning power. Extended cord length lets you clean more floor space without moving the plug. A retractable cord winds into the vacuum at the press of a button.
Sometimes the cords may get tangled and corded cleaners are also difficult to store considering the length of the cords.
Filters in vacuum cleaner is standard part these days and many vacuums come with a dedicated HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. These filters help to removes harmful allergens like mold, smoke or dust from the air.
All filters do that to some extent, but the more expensive HEPA variety must trap at least 99.97 percent of particles to be considered – all particles with 0.3 microns in diameter and higher are filtered.
These filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, or allergic to pollen. Some models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly. A good rule of thumb is to replace your filter every six months.
However, some models now feature reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary.
With wide variety of model availability, a vacuum’s cleaning ability can vary wildly. You can find effective cheap models with moderate performance and you’ll also find models with great suction power that don’t do as well.
Cleaning power comes from a strange alchemy of suction power, the shape of the vacuum head and the design of the brushroll.
Before buying you a vacuum cleaner, you to need to consider the type of flooring in your home. Check whether you have carpeting, hard floors, or combination of both before choosing a vacuum cleaner.
Look for a multi-floor or multi-surface vacuums like an upright vacuum cleaner that allows you to turn the brushroll on and off. That way you won’t scratch your hard floors.
Cannister vacuum cleaners are ideal for tile or hard flooring. The specialized floor brushes are easy to maneuver, which makes them ideal for tile flooring.
With too many types of vacuums, you may want to have more than one model to fit your needs. A full-sized vacuum — either an upright or canister — fits a thorough, seasonal cleaning the best. The smaller, more convenient models — robot vacuums, sticks and handhelds — could serve as a perfect tool for regular spot cleaning in the meantime.
You also might find a convertible model that takes care of all your needs in one diverse package. Such as uprights, which can function as canister vacuums and stick vacuums, which can operate as handhelds — let you transform the vacuum to fit the tight cleaning task.
The price is one of the most deciding and important factors choosing your next vacuum cleaner. I wanted to let you know that you can buy a vacuum cleaner for any budget between $25 to $4000.
You can either buy a basic model cheap product that will work for next a couple of years, or you could invest in a vacuum cleaner that can last the decades. Both approaches are perfectly fine and thoughtful.
Wanted to buy premium vacuum? You will get many pleasing features, Extended warranty, bunch of accessories, perfect filtration, long durability, etc.
Wanted to buy medium built and best in class, you may go for an upright vacuum around the cost of $150 – $200. If you are looking for cheap vacuum between $30 -$70, you may choose the handled vacuums.
Wet and Dry surface
If you are looking for all-in-one vacuum to clean both dry dust and dirt and wet spills, you may choose Wet-Dry or Commercial vacuums. Whether you need to clean up broken glasses, or any drink spilled on the ground, these vacuum cleaners will serve both the purposes.
These vacuum cleaners are ideal for cleaning up bathroom floors in case your bathtub overflows. This also saves a lot of time mopping and drying a wet area.
If you have asthma or allergies or are just generally concerned with air quality, a vacuum with a HEPA filter might be worth your consideration. Many of them are removable and can be cleaned with water until they need to be replaced.
This might all sound really good, but some non-HEPA models can do just as well as their High Efficiency Particulate Air counterparts. So do your research — emission reduction can vary a lot which will making the inside environment free of contaminants.
Decide you vacuum cleaner based on your usage, type of cleaning area and frequency.
The one-size-fits-all method does not apply for vacuum cleaners. You need to consider a lot of factors such as the filters, suction capacity, durability, portability, and storage capacity before making the final decision. A vacuum cleaner that is ideal for commercial use may not be ideal for cleaning the pet hair or sofa.
The frequency of maintenance depends a lot on the usage. Bagless vacuum cleaners come with dust collection bins that need to be emptied and washed regularly, especially if you have allergy sufferers at home. The HEPA filters of the vacuum cleaners need to be changed on a regular basis for proper cleaning.
Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide – Other Considerations
Brush Agitator also known as roller brush, it’s found on the underside of the vacuum. A roller brush on/off feature lets you disengage the motorized brush on hard floors to prevent scattering the dirt and dust.
This feature can also help prevent rugs from getting tangled in the vacuum. Some models have a switch to turn the roller brush off for cleaning bare floors.
Variable suction lets you adjust the vacuum to clean more delicate furnishings, such as upholstery and window treatments.
Self-propelled feature uses a transmission and drive system to assist the pushing and pulling of the vacuum, thereby requiring little effort by the user. The downside: It adds weight that can make some vacuums difficult to carry.
Tools and attachments, such as dusting brushes, handheld roller brushes, crevice tools and extension pieces, let you take on a variety of cleaning tasks.
Pet hair specific attachment specifically one with a powered brushroll — can make it easier to pick up after your furry friend.
Mop attachment helps to cleaning hardwood floors easier
Additional accessories are often available, such as special attachments, filters and replacement bags, but many only work with their respective model or brand.
A headlight illuminates the area you’re vacuuming — helpful for cleaning under a couch, in a dark corner or in a hallway.
Edge-cleaning features help you get rid of dirt and dust in the hard-to-reach areas along walls. Self-propelled models reduce the effort of vacuuming.
Indicator lights let you know when it’s time to empty the vacuum.
Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide Conclusion
Vacuum buying often can seem overwhelming and tedious process. We have tried to our best to cover an overview of vacuum cleaner basics. Think about the type of cleaning you do on a regular basis.
Have a pet that sheds a lot? You may want a model that offers attachments for dusting and getting hair that’s stuck under furniture or in crevices. Hate vacuuming, but want a clean house? A robot vacuum could really lessen your work load. Want something like an upright that’s lighter weight? Consider a stick model.
It is really all about the job you need to get done. But don’t be overwhelmed, there’s a good vacuum at every budget, take your time, do research and make a final decision. If you are not sure of what to choose, or you have a specific question about a model, please feel free to contact us, we are happy to reply you.
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