More than any other appliance in your home, the vacuum is the one that is used the most. Thus, you need to make sure that you can find a suitable model for every room in your house. A high-quality vacuum is not just designed to pick up dirt, but it should work on a variety of surfaces, and it should enable you to clean your home in one fell swoop.
With so many brands and models out there, it can be a little overwhelming to try and compare them all. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you, meaning that you can simply use this guide to help you. Whether you’re looking for a replacement model or you just moved into a new home, we’ve got you covered.
For the most part, vacuums come in one of two varieties - canister or upright. However, each option has its pros and cons, so it’s imperative that you understand the advantages and limitations when picking out the right model for your home. Here are some of the primary differences between the two.
This type of vacuum is really easy to move around since it’s all one piece. You can maneuver around the floor and cover a wide area in less time. As long as you get a model with a slim front piece, you should be able to get under furniture with ease.
The downside of uprights, however, is both flexibility and capacity. If you get a unit with a large dust chamber, then you’ll have to maneuver a bulky machine around. On the flip side, a lighter version may not be suitable for the amount of dirt and dust you’ll have to clean.
Overall, upright vacuums are ideal if you focus mostly on your floors (as opposed to other surfaces), and you want to work quickly.
These vacuums are notable because they have a suction head that is separate from the rest of the machine. Canister vacuums are not quite as portable or as movable since you have to carry two pieces. However, they excel when it comes to reaching high and low, as well as getting a lot of suction.
If you have multiple stories of your home, carrying a canister vacuum up and down the stairs can be cumbersome. Thus, we would mostly recommend these units for single-story houses, although if you don’t mind carrying both pieces, then they can be excellent for every room.
The best thing about canister vacuums is that they can clean both floors and furniture, and it’s much easier to swap out the head so that you can move from carpet to hardwood to tile.
Regardless of the type of vacuum you choose, you’ll want a machine that can tackle a variety of jobs. While its primary purpose is to clean your floors, what about other surfaces of your home? Stairs, furniture, and countertops all need cleaning, especially if they collect dust, pet hair, or other debris.
Fortunately, most vacuums come with at least a couple of accessories, but some are more comprehensive than others. Overall, you’ll want to think about the surfaces that you want to clean the most (i.e., the stairs), and choose a model that has suitable accessories for your needs.
For example, if you have hardwood floors, getting a vacuum with a hardwood floor attachment head would be ideal. However, if you only have carpets, then that same model will be pointless. So, keep in mind that getting unnecessary attachments will only be a waste of money and storage.
No matter what appliances you buy for your home, the price tag makes a difference. However, when it comes to vacuums, it’s imperative that you consider whether you’re making the right investment.
Although you can usually gauge the quality of a vacuum by the price, that’s not always the case. Some cheaper models will hold up longer than the more expensive ones, so don’t assume that paying more will equal better results.
Instead, focus more on the type of cleaning you’ll be doing. What’s the point in buying a deluxe vacuum if you only have a few floors to clean? If you have pets, then you’ll have to vacuum more regularly, and you’ll need something that can handle all of that hair and dander. Some models, including high-end ones, won’t be up to the task, meaning that you may waste your money.
Overall, when it comes to the price, you want to be smart about your purchase. Spend more if you want higher quality and a longer lifespan. However, if you’re on a budget, just be sure that your vacuum is built to handle any messes you’ll encounter.
Whether you suffer from allergies or not, having a vacuum that filters dust and other particles can be more than helpful. Not only will it allow you to breathe easier, but you can be sure that you’re not spitting dirt back into the air that will simply fall onto the surfaces you just cleaned. Imagine having to go through and dust all of your furniture every time you vacuum.
HEPA filters are going to be your best bet, although they are not always available. Pay attention to how fine the filters are, as that will dictate how well they work. If you’re sensitive to allergens, get a vacuum that’s specialized for removing them from the air. If you have pets, then added filtration will help trap dander and keep your home cleaner for longer.
Finally, the other debate that you’ll have about your vacuum is whether you want to mess around with bags or not. Here are some considerations to think about with each option.
Bagged - ideal if you want to keep your air clean and not make a mess whenever you empty the vacuum. The downside, however, is that you have to buy bags regularly, which can get expensive over time.
Bagless - many people prefer these models because they’re low-maintenance and they don’t require any extra materials. However, when emptying the canister, you can get dust and dirt everywhere, so be careful not to undo the hard work you’ve just finished.
To further help you decide on the best vacuum for your needs, we’re breaking down all of the various types of machines you can find. This way, you’ll understand the difference between them, and you can make a more informed decision.
As the name suggests, these vacuums are designed for commercial properties. Think hotels or offices where people have to clean a lot of square footage in a single pass. Commercial vacuums are ideal if you have a big home since they’re built to stay on and maintain suction for hours on end.
The downside of these vacuums, however, is that they can be more expensive than most. Also, they usually don’t have much in the way of extras (i.e., accessories), and they may be limited to one specific floor type, such as low-pile carpeting. Overall, if you want a reliable vacuum that will last, a commercial model may be the answer.
Most vacuum cleaners are designed for carpets. However, if you don’t have any carpeting in your home, then you’ll want something that will still clean thoroughly. Rather than having to sweep all the time, you can get a bare-floor vacuum and cut your time substantially.
When picking out one of these models, the floor type will usually matter (i.e., hardwood vs. tile). Also, some units will work on area rugs and low-pile carpets, making them even more versatile and reliable.
We talked about the importance of filtration, and if you want to be sure that your air will be scrubbed clean, then you need a HEPA filter. Technically speaking, many vacuum models come with these types of filters, but some are specifically designed for either pets or allergy-sufferers.
In some cases, the vacuum will come with specialized filters that will trap more particles than usual. Also, they’ll be designed to ensure that no dirt or dust gets back into the air, making them ideal for anyone with sensitive lungs or breathing problems.
Tile is a unique floor type, meaning that not just any vacuum cleaner is suited for it. Not only do you want something that won’t scuff the surface, but you’ll also want to be able to clean and wipe the tile down.
Usually, these vacuums have a water and detergent system so that you can essentially mop while vacuuming. If you have a lot of tile floors, then you’ll appreciate the speed and efficiency that comes from using one of these machines. You may visit our Top 10 Tile floors vacuum list for details.
We’ve talked about bagless models, and most of the time, they are also upright. Many canister vacuum cleaners require bags, which means that you don’t have the option to go bagless.
Overall, we like these models because they are easy to use and don’t require any additional parts or upkeep. Also, they can be smaller and more portable than standard uprights, which can be a massive help if you need to move around quickly while cleaning.
Some of these appliances can be quite bulky and heavy. However, if you don’t have much space in your home, then you don’t want to buy a vacuum that will take up a bunch of room. Compact vacuums are excellent because they’re easier to move around, and they can fit almost anywhere when not in use.
Like tile-floor models, these vacuums will use water and detergent to clean your floors. However, some of them are designed for bare surfaces like tile, while others are made for carpets and rugs.
Thus, you’ll want to pay attention to the type of vacuum you buy. If you have multiple surfaces that you want to clean this way, then you should look for a model that does both. However, keep in mind that they do require a lot more maintenance and that they can be extra heavy when the tanks are full.
If you have a wood fireplace, then you know the struggle that comes from trying to remove the ash after each fire. While you could try to do it by hand, it’s messy, and it takes a long time. Instead, you may want to buy an ash vacuum.
These machines are designed specifically to clean up after a fire, and many of them will work with both ash and small pieces of leftover charcoal. While you should always wait until the ash has cooled, you may want a model that can handle some smoldering embers, just in case.
As the name suggests, these vacuum cleaners are made for the workshop. What sets them apart from standard vacuums is that many of them can work for both wet and dry messes. Thus, if you have standing water in your garage (i.e., after washing your car), then you can soak it up with a shop vacuum.
These models are highly versatile, although they are not as efficient as most other vacuums. Instead of having a cleaning head, they just use a simple hose and nozzle, meaning that they are built for spot cleaning only.
If you drive as much as we do, then your car will get messy from time to time. Food crumbs, dust, lint, and other particles will accumulate in various places, which means that you need a high-quality portable vacuum to clean it.
These models are designed to get into all of the tiny crevices in your vehicle (i.e., air vents), and many of them will plug into your car’s 12-volt adapter. The best thing about that is that you can keep it in the vehicle at all times.
We hope that this vacuum cleaner buying guide has been both informative and helpful for you. We want to make sure that you’re adequately prepared for the vacuum-buying experience, and now you should be able to make the right choice for your home.