How to Choose a Vacuum Cleaner

With so many types of vacuum cleaners now on the market, it can be very confusing when trying to choose which one is best for you. Buying the right vacuum cleaner is important as it’s going to last you for quite a while and it needs to do the job efficiently and thoroughly.   It is often the most effective cleaning tool you will own, so time spent on a little research before you purchase one will be time well spent.  There are machines on the market today that will fit any lifestyle; it’s just a matter of deciding what you want and what price you are prepared to pay.

There are basically two types of vacuum cleaners, the cylinder type, and the upright type and there are many variations on these two models. Many people may not be aware that these two types of cleaners were developed for two different purposes.

The upright model was developed for cleaning carpets, with powerful rotating heads that ‘beat’ the dirt and dust out, whereas the cylinder model was primarily designed for hard flooring. Having said that, there are cylinder vacuum cleaners on the market today that have rotating brushes for all types of floors, though they can sometimes lack the powerful suction of the upright

The wattage of a vacuum cleaner is a good indicator as to how well it will perform the cleaning.  The higher the wattage of the motor, the better the cleaning performance should be. A good figure is around 1400 watts for a cylinder cleaner, and 1300 watts for an upright cleaner

Cylinder vs. Upright

Cylinder vs. Upright vacuum

Cylinder Cleaners

If your home is mainly hard flooring, then the cylinder model would be the better option, Cylinder vacuum cleaners have come a long way since their original design, and they can do so much more than they were originally capable off and have an array of attachments that can equal the cleaning power of some upright models.

If your home consists of carpet and hard flooring, then perhaps the cylinder models will be the better option; however, do choose one with a turbo brush attachment and the all-important turbo on/off button for the hard floor cleaning. Turbo bushes tend to scratch the surface of delicate laminate or wooden floors.

✓ Advantages:

Some advantages of cylinder cleaners are that they are lighter and more compact than upright cleaners, they have a long reach and are good for cleaning stairs and hard to reach places, they are easy to pull around on hard flooring and mostly come with an automatic lead rewind.  They are generally quieter than upright cleaners

✘ Disadvantages:

They are not the best vacuum for pet hair when it comes to removing the hairs from carpets and upholstery. They can sometimes have shorter hose lengths in comparison to the upright model; this is because they are generally smaller units and so, therefore, have less onboard storage space. Some other disadvantages are that they are less suitable for large carpeted areas and have less dust capacity.

Upright cleaners

Houses that are carpeted throughout would benefit from an upright model. These cleaners are more suited to cleaning the entire house. Uprights have also come a long way from their original design and now there as so many variations to choose from.

The main strength of the upright model is its carpet cleaning; it’s especially effective over large areas of flooring because of its multiple cleaning heads. Upright cleaners usually have a carpet height selector which allows the user to adjust the height of the vacuum according to the length of the carpet pile.

If you have a mixture of hard flooring and carpet and you prefer to use an upright model, then there is the option of buying a second less expensive or a best lightweight vacuum cleaner just for stairs and hard flooring.

✓ Advantages:

Upright cleaners have large suction heads and powerful rotating brushes which give great results on carpeted floors. They are ideal for the larger carpeted home because they have a bigger dust capacity and longer leads and hoses. Many models now include a set of tools for most cleaning purposes which can rival those of the cylinder models.

✘ Disadvantages:

The traditional upright cleaners are generally heavier and some are harder to maneuvers, which makes them less suited to cleaning in gaps, small spaces and under furniture, though new technology has meant that there are now upright models on the market which are lighter and easier to move around without losing the power and suction.


Space and Storage

Another consideration when choosing a vacuum cleaner is that of the size and area you need to vacuum. If you have less space to vacuum, then a smaller vacuum cleaner would be the better choice and possibly the cheaper option, though they do tend to have less dust capacity.

Also, think about where you will be storing the cleaner as this will often dictate the size of vacuum cleaner you choose. Small models are easier to store if space is at a premium and some will fit in a cupboard or under the kitchen sink.  Small cylinder vacuum cleaners tend to take up less space than a small upright cleaner.

Cordless Vacuum Cleaners

There is now a range of cordless vacuum cleaners on the market that are both powerful and lightweight. These cleaners are usually bagless and most weigh no more than a bag of sugar, making them exceptionally easy to carry around and maneuver.

The only downside to these types of cleaners is that the dust capacity is far less so they would need emptying more often.

However, these machines have the ability to successfully tackle any job the cylinder and upright models can do, which makes them the perfect choice for any type of flooring and upholstery cleaning. They are ideal for either small or large homes, carpets or hard flooring and need very little space to store them, some can just be hung on the wall.

For those who find vacuuming difficult or tiring, then the cordless is worth considering.

Bagged vs. Bagless

Bagged vs. Bagless vacuum

Bagless Vacuum Cleaners

Whether these cleaners are cylinder or upright, they are by far the most popular choice. They don’t necessarily perform better than bagged cleaners and they are usually more expensive because of their technology, but the extra you pay may make up for the savings you make on not having to buy bags.

Because the bagless cleaner uses only a container, this has to be emptied, so knowing the dust capacity will determine how many trips you are prepared to make to the bin to empty it. It’s worth knowing that bagless cleaners are less hygienic and would not be suited to a house where someone has a dust allergy or asthma as they expose dust to the air when emptying.

Bagged Cleaners

The traditional bagged cleaners are lower maintenance than the bagless ones because they don’t need the filters cleaning regularly, which can sometimes be a bit messy and fiddly. The downside of this is that the suction performance of bagged cleaners can be compromised as the bag gradually fills up.

However, they are more hygienic when it comes to emptying them. This is because the dust and dirt is collected in a sealed bag so it is not exposed to the air, which can be harmful to someone who has allergies or asthma.

Filters and Filtration

Vacuum cleaners work by drawing air, dust, and debris in and sending exhaust air out. A poorly filtrated cleaner can scatter dust and irritants into the air and cause wheezing and sneezing.

There are basically two types of filters used in vacuum cleaners, the Microfilter, which is on basic vacuum cleaners and the HEPA filter.

The filter will determine the amount and size of the dust particles that are expelled into the air from the cleaner, so it is important to find out what sort of filter you’re vacuum cleaner is fitted with, if you or someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma.

The best vacuum for allergies to stop this is one that is sealed and has a HEPA filter, which has been proved to trap 99.97% of pollen, dust and mold spores in the machine, making it a safer option for allergy sufferers.

Types of Filter Vacuum Cleaners

  • Filter based bagless cleaners: These have filter based dust separation technologies and tend to be the cheapest on the market. These filters need to cleaned every four to six uses to maintain good suction.
  • Cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaners: Bagless vacuum cleaners with cyclonic dust separation technologies are usually mid-range, they provide less filter cleaning than filter based bagless cleaners.
  • Multi-Cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaners: The bagless vacuum cleaner with multi-cyclonic dust separation technology is the one to look for if you want to experience the ultimate ‘no loss of suction’. They are more expensive than conventional bagless vacuum cleaners but offer the lowest filter maintenance.
  • Airvolution cleaners: The technology of the top-rated multi-cyclonic cleaner such as the ‘Airvolution’ will remove almost all the dust, making the expelled air cleaner with no clogged filters, so no loss of suction.
  • Allergy UK approved vacuum cleaners: The Seal of Approval from Allergy UK is given to vacuum cleaners that reduce, restrict, or remove allergens from the environment of the allergy sufferer. An Allergy UK approved vacuum cleaner will remove almost all allergens and ensure they’re not released back into your home in the air that’s expelled from the vacuum cleaner.

Summing It All Up

In general, when looking to buy a top rated vacuum cleaner, the choice is ultimately based on your preference for design, price, and performance. Some people may just go for the aesthetics of a cleaner and not be too bothered about performance or price; others may choose to go for the technology regardless of what the cleaner looks like.

There are those who want the very best out of their vacuum and will be prepared to spend as much as it takes to get the perfect cleaning machine, and there are buyers who just want what is best suited to their environment, physical ability and pocket.

Cleaners have come a long way from their humble beginnings, there is now a vast array of cleaners to choose from and it can be a veritable minefield. The most expensive or technically designed cleaners may not necessarily be the best, so check out the qualities that are important to you before choosing your vacuum cleaner.