How to Choose and Buy a Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum cleaner is one of your most important cleaning tools. Consumers today are faced with many choices when deciding which vacuum cleaner to purchase. There are many shapes and sizes available on the market today and most are built well and will last years without maintenance disturbances. The choice comes down to your specific wants and needs.

What style of vacuum should I buy?

Canister vacuum cleaners are an all-purpose type of vacuum but are usually harder to move around and work better on hard flooring.
Drywall vacuum cleaners are mainly used by contractors that do drywall work.
Hand-held vacuum cleaners are small, very light and are usually cordless. They are used to clean a specific spot or places that a larger vacuum can’t access.
Industrial vacuum cleaners are usually larger and sturdier and used mostly in a commercial setting.
Mini vacuum cleaners also are small in size and lightweight but are usually not cordless.
Steamer vacuums wash the carpet fibers with hot water and cleaning solution.
Upright vacuum cleaners are usually used mainly for cleaning carpets.
Wet/dry vacuum cleaners are the most versatile. They can mop up spills, clear construction debris, clean the car, and fill air mattresses with air.

What features should I consider?

  • Type – What types of surfaces do you plan to use your vacuum to clean? Make sure to purchase a vacuum that can handle what you have in mind for it.
  • Comfort – Size, weight, handle, and self-propelling features are things to consider when it comes to comfort. Make sure to buy a vacuum that you are comfortable using.
  • Filtration – Do you suffer from allergies? If so, you may be wise to consider a unit that offers allergen filtration bags. One such vacuum cleaner is the Hoover U6425900 Windtunnel.
  • Attachments – Make certain the vacuum cleaner you purchase comes with the attachments you need or are available to you as an optional purchase.
  • Motor Power (amps) – Measures the amount of current used by the vacuum’s motor. Contrary to popular belief, higher amps does not always mean more power. Airflow gives a more accurate analysis of this.
  • Construction – Can be either metal or plastic. Both seem to be very durable.
  • Cord Length – Make sure the vacuum cleaner’s cord is long enough to completely clean an area of your house without having to change electrical outlets.

Basic Steps to purchasing a vacuum

  1. Decide what jobs you will be using your vacuum cleaner for.
  2. Decide what attachments you will need to do these jobs.
  3. Decide what style of vacuum cleaner you want.
  4. Find vacuum cleaners that have all of the first three answers and compare what they have to offer in addition. For example size, comfort, construction, power etc …
  5. Choose the vacuum cleaner that is best suited for you. You should not buy more vacuum than you need, nor do you want to purchase less then you need.

Here are some useful hints and tips for things to consider when choosing a vacuum cleaner.

Types of Vacuum Cleaner

The first decision you need to make is what type of vacuum cleaner will suit your needs. This depends on what you want from the vacuum cleaner.

Most vacuum cleaners can be used for cleaning both hard and carpeted floors, car interiors, and upholstery. Various accessories can make vacuum cleaners perform other functions, such as picking up pet hair.

There are three basic types of vacuum cleaner:

  • Upright vacuum cleaners are ideal for cleaning carpets and large areas of the home, with a handle at waist height making it easy to move along.
  • Cylinder vacuum cleaners are usually more versatile, and are easier to store.
  • Wet and dry vacuum cleaners will wash surfaces and carpet as well as vacuum clean them, but can be a little heavier.

Other types of vacuum cleaner include handheld vacuum cleaners and robotic cleaners. Check this guide on the best robot vacuum for long hair.

Handheld vacuum cleaners are great for cleaning small areas or spills in less time than a conventional vacuum cleaner, while robotic vacuum cleaners, although less versatile – you can only use them for cleaning flat areas – will clean floors by themselves, even when you are out.

Vacuum Cleaner Features

The features of a vacuum cleaner will greatly affect how it can be used. Different vacuum cleaners have various features, and it’s worth looking at what features are available, before choosing the model that suits your needs.

Here are some features usually found on vacuum cleaners:

  • Weight – lighter vacuum cleaners can be more portable
  • Wheels – most vacuum cleaners move along on wheels
  • Power – although suction does not always depend on the power, a higher-powered vacuum cleaner will clean more efficiently, although energy costs can be higher.
  • Power settings – adjusts power according to surface and cleaning needs. Settings can be fixed and/or variable
  • Dust container/dust bag full indicator – tells you when to empty the dust container or dust bag
  • Cord length – the longer the cord, the further you can vacuum clean from the power socket. This also means you don’t have to change power sockets
  • Automatic cord rewind/storage – saves time, effort and space

Vacuum Cleaner Accessories

Vacuum cleaners usually come with a range of accessories for a variety of uses. It’s worth finding out what accessories are available for your cleaning needs. Tools for cleaning homes with pets, upholstery and special floor surfaces are often included with vacuum cleaners, and you can also buy additional accessories.

Vacuum Cleaner Capacity

The larger the capacity of the vacuum cleaner, the more you can clean before emptying the dust container or replacing the dust bag. While a larger capacity can be useful, it will make the vacuum cleaner heavier and less compact. It’s worth noting that handheld vacuum cleaners and robotic vacuum cleaners have a smaller capacity.

Vacuum Cleaner Filtration

Vacuum filters are essential for trapping harmful particles and cleaning the air. Three types of vacuum filter are available:

  • Standard
  • HEPA/S-class
  • Lifetime.

Standard filters offer basic filtration, but HEPA and S-class filters can trap up to 100% of allergens and over 99.7% of particles down to 1 micron, including dust mites, which makes them ideal for allergy sufferers.

Lifetime filters can be standard or HEPA/S-class, but don’t need to be replaced. The better the filter, the more expensive the vacuum cleaner will be, but the benefit is a cleaner, more hygienic house.

Vacuum Cleaner Warranties

Before choosing your vacuum cleaner, find out what warranty or guarantee is offered by the manufacturer or online retailer. A warranty or guarantee ensures free repairs or replacements under certain conditions, and is recommended when buying electrical goods.

Most manufacturers or online retailers will offer either a free or fixed priced guarantee or warranty on brand new vacuum cleaners for anything up to three years.

You can usually find out what warranty is available for your vacuum cleaner on the retailer’s web site. Remember that you have statutory rights under trading law when buying online, and many warranties are free. Before buying a warranty, read the terms and conditions and compare them with warranties from other retailers.


It’s a good idea to set a limit on the amount of money that you are prepared to spend on your new vacuum cleaner. By shopping around online, you might be able to take advantage of special offers and get a better model of vacuum cleaner than your budget would normally allow.

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