Shopping for a vacuum cleaner can be overwhelming as there are so many different types on the market. Some vacuum models look very similar yet prices vary considerably. This guide should help you decide which vacuum is best for you.
Types of vacuum cleaners
Prices of vacuum cleaners vary considerably by vacuum type and this factor is an important buying decision. The most common vacuum types are:
1. Stick Vacuums:
Also known as broom vacuums, these vacuums are handy for sucking up debris, dirt and pet hair from hard floors, carpets and rugs. The benefit of a stick vacuum is the light weight, they usually weight 2 – 7 lbs. and allow you to easily store them in the closet, as they take up a minimum amount of space. You’ll also have the option of getting your vacuum corded or cordless. Most models are also bagless as well.
2. Hand-Held Vacuums:
This type of vacuums are designed for small jobs such as sucking up dirt from a sofa, or small spills on the floor. Hand held vacuums are light weight, can be corded or cordless, and you can even mount most of them on the wall if you prefer. The performance of the cordless models will depend on the charge of the battery, as the battery power drops, so will the suction power.
There are two types of hand held vacuums — straight suction and suction with a power brush. If you are considering a hand held vacuum cleaner, you should consider its primary purpose, if you plan to use it on a regular basis or occasionally on smaller jobs.
3. Upright Vacuums:
Upright vacuum cleaners have the pump mounted directly above the suction intake, with the bag (bagged models) mounted on the handle that will normally rise to waist height. The designs of upright vacuum cleaners will normally employ mechanical beaters, which are often rotating brushes, to help dust that has
yet to settle be vacuumed up. An attached belt to the vacuum motor will drive these beaters.
Most modern upright vacuum models have all-floor features. This type of vacuum cleaners are generally preferred by users who have a lot of carpeted floors. However, it is difficult for upright vacuums to work under beds and sofas, since the vacuum head which houses the brush, is too tall.
Most upright models come with a standard set of attachments that may even include an upholstery tool, a crevice tool, and even an extension wand. A retractable cord and manual or automatic pile
adjustments are other common features. A HEPA filter is another common and popular feature found with most upright vacuums.
4. Canister Vacuums:
Canister vacuum cleaners have the motor and the bag (bagged models) in a separate cylinder unit that is connected to the vacuum head by a long flexible hose. Even though the upright units have been tested as being more effective, the lighter and more maneuverable heads of the canister are also popular. There are some canister models on the market that feature power heads which contain the same type of beaters as found with upright units, even though those types of beaters are driven by a separate electric motor.
Canister vacuums are generally more convenient for cleaning stairs and upholstery.
5. Robotic Vacuums:
These are small battery powered robotic gadget that can be programmed to roam around your home, looking for dust and debris.
Invented by Electrolux then introduced into the consumer market in 2001. After that came Roomba vacuums, as they perfected cordless vacuums and took things to the next level.
The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners use a 3 stage cleaning system that is designed to clean the edge of your walls, underneath your furniture, and anywhere else it detects dirt. These robots can actually detect the dirty areas on your carpet or floors and do extra cleaning in those specific areas to get the job done right.
Robotic vacuums are quite pricey though — a good quality robotic vacuum can cost around $300 or even more!
Things to consider before buying
1. Suction Power
This is without a doubt the first thing you will want to know about the vacuum. Most vacuums have multiple fans (2 or 3) working in series that will improve suction power.
2. Are the dust bin and filters easy to remove and clean?
One thing vacuum users do constantly is to remove, clean (and wash) and reattach the dust bin and filters.
3. Does it have a bag or is it a bagless model?
The ‘bagless’ feature are available in many upright models.
Bagless models are less messy to handle than bag models. This will also save you money since no bags to buy.
4. Is it loud or quiet?
A quiet vacuum cleaner is a big plus for anyone. If there is no information by the manufacturer about the quietness (or loudness), you can find out more by reading some of the users’ comments/reviews.
5. Does the vacuum have a HEPA filter?
HEPA filters offer protection against allergens and such, so having a HEPA filter is a big bonus for any vacuum model.
6. Easy storage
Some vacuums have foldable handles that make them ideal for storage in small spaces.
7. Auto-retractable cord
Although it is not a feature that affects the functionality, it’s a convenient feature that most consumers want.
8. Auto-adjusting brushes
Carpets and bare floors require different brush heights and having auto-adjusting brushes is a big plus.
9. Brush height adjustments
Most vacuums do not have auto-adjusting brushes, and the manual brush height adjustment is the next best thing (the more settings there are the better).
10. Roller brush on/off switch
Roller brushes can scratch hardwood floors, so an on/off switch is a very handy feature that protects the floor (some models do this automatically, which is even better).
11. Warning lights/indicators
Some models have brush/filter/bag warning lights and indicators that tell users when to clean/wash them. It is a useful feature that takes guess work out of the equation and practically prolongs the life of the vacuum.
12. On-board tools and attachments
All vacuums come with a certain set of attachments/tools (like crevice tools, wand extensions, upholstery brushes, etc.). Having on-board tools makes these tools easy to use and almost impossible to misplace.
13. The Cyclone technology
Most new vacuum models employ the cyclone technology which tremendously increases suction power. The system works with air cyclones inside the motor that create powerful suction.
14. How heavy/light is the vacuum
Having a lightweight vacuum is a preference for most people since it requires much less effort to move around.
15. Is there a headlight?
Some models have headlights that illuminate the spot you are vacuuming. This is a rather rare feature but it is very useful since it allows you to see dark corners.
16. How long is the cord?
The cord length is important in terms of convenience. The longer the cord, the less users will have to constantly unplug/plug it. A 20-25 feet cord is normally good enough. If it’s longer, good.
17. Does the vacuum perform well on the edges?
Vacuum heads are generally too large to easily vacuum wall edges, baseboards or around the furniture. Some vacuum models have special features that facilitate this.
Vacuum Cleaners That You Can Consider
Top 3 Upright Vacuum Cleaners:
1. Hoover Platinum Lightweight Bagged Upright Vacuum UH30010COM
- Lightweight bagged upright vacuum cleaner with powerful 12 amp motor
- Direct air-flow technology and wind-tunnel technology for fast, efficient results
- Illuminated fingertip controls, 2 speeds, self-sealing HEPA bag, check-bag indicator
- Extra-Long 35′ Power Cord – vacuum your largest room without re-plugging
- No Scuff Bumper – protects furniture when you can’t be as careful as you’d like
- Edge Cleaning Channels – channels with bristles lift dirt and direct suction to the edge of the vacuum to effectively clean around furniture, walls and baseboards
- Auto Height Adjustment – automatically adjusts to clean all flooring types easily and efficiently
- Includes canister vacuum, bare-floor brush, dusting brush, crevice tool, and telescoping wand
- Hoover Best In Class – Limited 5-year warranty
2. Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Bagless Upright Vacuum UH70120
- 12 Amps Motor
- Lightweight (16.5 pounds) upright vacuum cleaner with WindTunnel Technology for consistent suction
- Dual cyclonic action
- Five position height adjustment — Adjust as needed to clean all flooring types easily and efficiently
- 13-1/2-inch-wide nozzle
- No-scuff bumper
- 27-foot retractable power cord
- Rinse-clean filter and permanent HEPA filter
- Includes extension wand, crevice tool, upholstery/dusting brush, and powered hand tool
- 2-year limited warranty
3. Hoover Tempo Widepath Bagged Upright Vacuum U5140-900
- 12 amp motor provides ample suction
- Bag made with Allergen Media – Media filters and traps 99% of dust and pollens down to 5 microns
- Fabulous Filtration – air passes through rinsable filters after leaving the bag and before it leaves the vacuum, so you can breathe easy
- 5 position carpet height adjustment adjust as needed to clean all flooring types easily and efficiently
- Quick on and off button for start and stop ease
- Widepath brushroll allows for larger pick-up areas and to get inbetween carpet fibers
- 25 feet power cord – Plenty of cord to vacuum larger rooms
- Crevice tool helps clean nooks and crannies
- Multi-surface use – Maneuver from carpet to hard surfaces with a quick adjustment
- Limited 1-year warranty
Top 3 Canister Vacuum Cleaners:
1. Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner
- 1,200-watt Miele-made Vortex Motor with motor protection function
- Six power settings
- Six-Stage Suction easily adjustable, rotary dial power selector ensures the correct level of power for the surface being cleaned
- Combination floor tool effortlessly transition from smooth floors to carpeted surfaces with a quick click of the rocker switch
- VarioClip with three onboard accessories provides optimal cleaning for every corner and surface, including upholstery, hard-to-reach places and delicate items
- Telescopic stainless steel wand delivers a superior operating radius of 29.5 feet for effortless reach
- Auto-seal closing filter bag instantly locks in dirt, dust and allergens when the filter bag is removed
- XXL handle provides convenient and ergonomic use simplifying your vacuuming experience
- Seven-year warranty on vacuum’s motor and casing
2. Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum
- 12 amp motor
- Lightweight (10 pounds) canister vacuum safely and completely cleans bare-floor surfaces
- Power-Touch handle with easy-to-use fingertip controls
- Deluxe floor brush
- Bare-floor nozzle
- Blower port
- 20-foot cord
- Compact size (measures 11 by 8 by 15 inches)
- Auto shut-off protects against overheating
- On-board tools include a dusting brush, crevice tool, and upholstery nozzle
- 1-year limited warranty
3. Panasonic MC-CG917 “OptiFlow” Bag Canister Vacuum Cleaner
- “Bag” Canister with 12 Amp Motor
- 28 foot Power cord w/Cord Reel
- OptiFlow System with separate large bag caddy for easy emptying of dust and 20% more use of bag
- Power Nozzle with Overload Protection reset, Bare Floor switch on handle
- Tools on-board which include: Upholstery, Floor and Combo brush, crevice tool, motorized mini power brush and (2) chrome wands
Top 3 Robotic Vacuum Cleaners:
1. Neato XV-11 All Floor Robotic Vacuum System
- Neato’s laser-based Room Positioning System gives the robot vacuum a full 360-degree view of a room so it can create a map of the room, detecting walls, doorways, furniture and other obstacles
- It works on all floor types — carpet, rugs, hardwood, Pergo, and tile
- Scuff-free navigation: At the vacuum’s core is a centrifugal compression impeller that follows jet engine airflow principles
- Low-profile access: The robot’s RPS technology constantly updates its internal map so it can accurately detect objects greater than four inches in height and carefully clean around them without damaging furniture and walls
- Smart design and large dirt bin: The robot vacuum cleaner’s low profile (less than four inches high) allows it to clean under beds, sofas, and toe-kicks in the kitchen
- Self-docking to re-power: After completing its cleaning, it returns automatically to its base to re-charge itself. By utilizing the charging base, the robot is charged and ready to go when it’s needed most
- Cleaning scheduler: With its easy-to-use interface, consumers can schedule the robot to clean every day, resulting in a more spotless home
- Includes charging base, power adapter, batteries, boundary markers, filter replacement package, quick start guide, user guide
- 1-year limited warranty
2. Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner
- RPS Technology ( Room Positioning System)
- Laser-based Vision & Room Mapping
- Designed especially for pet owners and allergy sufferers
- Removes all kinds of dirt and cleans all floors: carpets, rugs, hardwood, laminates, tile, and stone
- Schedule automatic cleanings while you’re away via simple user interface
- Automatically returns to charging base when vacuuming is concluded
3. iRobot Roomba 630 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets
- Picks up an amazing amount of dirt, pet hair and other debris with its patented 3 stage cleaning system
- Dirt Detect technology employs an acoustic sensor to identify dirtier areas and spends more time cleaning them
- Advanced system of software and sensors (iAdapt) that ensures Roomba vacuums every section of your room and cleaning areas you cannot easily reach
- The included Virtual Wall keeps Roomba cleaning where you need it and blocks off-limit areas
- Includes 1 iRobot Roomba 630 Vacuum Cleaning Robot (with 1 Robot Battery, 1 AeroVac Filter, 1 Side Brush, 1 Bristle Brush, 1 Beater Brush); 1 Self-Charging Home Base (with Power Supply); 1 Extra AeroVac Filter; 1 Virtual Wall; 1 Brush Cleaning Tool and Owner’s Guide & Documentation
Top 3 Hand-Held Vacuum Cleaners:
1. Black & Decker CHV1510 Dustbuster 15.6-Volt Cordless Cyclonic Hand Vacuum
- It uses a 3 stage filtration system that means less clogging and cleaner air exhaust
- Rotating, slim nozzle targets dirt in tight spaces
- Brush and crevice tool accessories are located on-board so there are no loose items to misplace
- Wide mouth design means this vac can effortlessly scoop up large debris
- Cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from the filter so suction power stays strong
- Removable, washable dirt bowl and filters allow for a thorough, hygienic cleaning
- Can be stored in 3 versatile ways – horizontally, vertically, or mount on a wall
2. Black & Decker Pivot Vac 18V Cordless Pivoting Hand Vac, PHV1810
- Compact, lightweight (weighs 1 pounds) and quiet cordless 2-speed handheld vacuum cleaner
- 18 volts of power and high performance motor with cyclonic action
- Features a patented nozzle design pivots to access tight spots from any angle and on-board brush and extendable crevice tool
- Removable, washable dirt bowl and filters
- LED charging indicator light
- Innovative design folds in half for compact charging and storage
- 2-year limited warranty
3. Eureka EasyClean Hand-Held Vacuum 71B
- 5.5 amp suction with stretch hose cleans cars, upholstery, stairs
- 1 motor powers the revolving brush, second motor for suction
- Onboard crevice tool
- Riser Visor for carpeted stairs
- Bagless filter and clear dust cup clean easily
- Easy to use fingertip controls
- Weighs 5 pounds
- 20-foot cord wraps easily at the back of the hand vacuum making it convenient to store
Top 3 Stick Vacuum Cleaners:
1. Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner BH50010
- Cordless and bagless stick vacuum cleaner with WindTunnel Technology
- Interchangeable 18-volt Lithium Ion battery for fade-free power
- Auto height adjustment
- Motorized power brush turns off with a flip of a switch for bare-floor cleaning
- 11-inch-wide nozzle
- Bottom release dirt cup
- Edge-cleaning bristles
- Low-profile base
- Battery-fuel gauge
- Energy Star battery charger included
- 2-year limited vacuum warranty & 2-year limited battery/charger warranty
2. Hoover S2220 Flair Bagless Upright Stick Vacuum with Power Nozzle
- Lightweight (weighs 10 pounds), maneuverable, upright stick vacuum with 7 amp motor
- Power nozzle with additional motor for effective carpet and rug cleaning
- Washable, transparent, EZ Empty dirt cup
- Multi-stage filtration system
- 20-foot power cord with wrap hooks
- Large rear wheels
- Swivel floor nozzle
- 1-year warranty
3. Eureka 96H Quick Up Cordless 2 in 1
- 10-inch cleaning path picks up messes on any floor type
- 2-in-1 Convertible stick and handheld vacuum to clean bare floors and hard to reach areas
- 6 volt battery, rechargeable
- Lightweight (4 pounds) with a removable handle
- On/Off brushroll switch
- Washable dust cup filter
- Wall mountable charger
- 1-year warranty