How To Choose the Best Vacuum

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There are now a huge number of vacuum cleaners on the market and it can be confusing if you simply want to choose the best vacuum for your needs.

Here is a useful 12-step guide walking you through what you should consider if you want to make the right choice.

1. Types of vacuum cleaners


This article deals with two types of vacuum cleaners, uprights and canisters.

Uprights have traditionally been among the favorite vacuum cleaners in the U.S. and Great Britain. In Europe and the rest of the world, most people prefer canisters.

Uprights often include a revolving brush roll. Sometimes they have just one motor to provide the suction and turn the agitator brush. Other models have two motors, one for providing suction and the other for driving the brush.

What about canisters? They are by far the most flexible vacuum cleaner design. They introduce great performance on carpet, smooth floors and above-the-floor surfaces as well. The cleaning tools that this vacuum cleaner types offer are used with a hose and wand so they are more maneuverable than uprights and you can easily access areas under furniture as well as tight spaces.

There are three types of canister vacuum cleaners. All of these types include a hose, wands and tool attachments floor tools. The difference lies on the floor tools.

The first canister type, the straight suction vacuum cleaner, has a floor tool of a simple, non-revolving brush to clean hard floors and flat carpets.

The second type of canister makes use of a turbo or turbine floor tool. It also has a revolving brush power-driven by the airflow produced by the canister’s suction motor.

The third type of canister has a power brush floor tool which is often found in upright vacuum cleaners. A separate electric motor makes the power brush revolve brush roll. This type of canister is often referred to as a power team.

2. Bag or Bagless – Which Vacuum Is Better


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Besides upright or canister, the other main difference between vacuum cleaners is whether it’s bagless or has a dust bag. For most people, this issue depends on personal preference. If any of your family members have allergies or asthma or if you care about your indoor air quality, a vacuum with a dust bag is generally the better option.

Of course, there’s nothing naturally wrong with bagless vacuums. The better ones are able to clean better. But allergy and asthma sufferers should consider all the dust first because they will be easily exposed to if they use a bagless vacuum.

In addition, most bagless vacuum cleaner can remove dust, allergens and crud which you then need to remove from your house and put into something before throwing it away.

Many bagless vacuums come with filters. The allergens and dirt that you have just removed can be put back into your home due to these filters.

Dirt travels through the whole vacuum cleaner system. The nature of bagless design makes it virtually impossible to seal a bagless vacuum for dirty air leakage through non-filtered openings.

3. Choose the Best Vacuum Cleaner Based On Your Own Cleaning Needs


Assess the surfaces that you are going to clean.

If your floor cleaning includes anything like high ceilings, elaborate light fixtures or ceiling fans, you will need some specialized attachments. Make sure that the vacuum cleaner comes with the reach, flexibility and proper tools to do those jobs.

But the major use of the vacuum is to clean flooring. If your house has stairs, you should consider a canister because uprights are not designed to clean stairs efficiently. Even with attachments, trying to clean stairs with an upright is tricky. Of course, it can perform, but the results will not as good as your expectation because you upright’s revolving brush is not designed to clean stair treads or areas of high traffic.

If you have no stairs in your house and your house is largely synthetic fiber (nylon, olefin or polyester) wall-to-wall carpeting, an upright with smooth floor cleaning capability and the basic attachments to clean above the floor surfaces is recommended.

However, many houses nowadays have a smooth floor with combination of a range of materials, area rugs and even some wall-to-wall carpeting. So if you own a house like this, a canister will be ideal.

4. Traffic and Carpet Soiling


The amount of traffic and the type of carpet soiling in your house are also important factors when you are about to choose a vacuum cleaner.

Most carpet soiling is from the shoes of people or the feet of pets.

If your house has synthetic fiber carpeting and/or rugs and high traffic, consider a vacuum cleaner with destructive bristles on the revolving brush. Vacuum cleaners with dense, stiff bristles are great for removing these dry soils from the carpet pile where they can be brushed from the surface of the carpet and cleaned away.

Another dry soil which won’t abrade your fiber but is one of the most pervasive is dog or cat hair. Pet hair is most effectively removed with a revolving brush with stiff, densely packed brushes.

If you don’t have much traffic and no special soiling conditions in your house, you can opt for a less aggressive vacuum cleaner. However, the general rule of thumb is to choose the most hostile vacuum cleaner that your carpet and rug fibers can safely stand.

5. Carpet Fibers


Most carpets today are made of synthetic fibers.

Synthetic fibers are very durable so you can choose the most fesity household vacuum cleaner without fear of fiber damage.

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Natural fibers, however, need to be treated more gently. The most popular natural fiber used in wall-to-wall carpeting is wool.

Wool is a very sturdy fiber but it still needs to be vacuumed carefully. A revolving brush can be a good choice in this case but the bristles must be flexible and not densely backed on the brush roll so that they won’t fuzz the yarns and wear the carpet out prematurely.

Last but not least, remember to always check the manufacturer’s recommended instructions before buying a new vacuum cleaner and here are some rules of thumb to follow:

  • If you own a synthetic fiber carpet and/or rugs, you can chose the most aggressive vacuum cleaner. Upright or canister are both suitable options. If your carpets or rugs are made of wool or other natural fibers, a power brush with flexible and forgiving bristles is a smart choice because you can vacuum without damaging the fibers. The softer, more flexible bristles are available primarily on power team canisters but there are also some uprights with less aggressive bristles
  • Most houses have just one or two types of carpet but if yours includes many different carpets and bare floor varieties, consider a vacuum which offers these tools

Here’s a small recommendation for the styles of carpets and the type of vacuum best suitable for them, you can refer to it then pick the best item for yourself.

Carpet TypeRecommended Vacuum Type
Loop (knotted yarn)Upright or Canister w/ extra soft bristle brush
Cut Pile (cut yarn)Cut Pile (cut yarn) Upright or Canister w/ heavy-duty motorized brush
Frisee (twisted yarn)Upright or Canister w/ adjustable height
Woven (needlepoint)Canister w/ suction only rug tool
Wool LoopCanister w/ suction only rug tool
Wool PileUpright or Canister w/ extra soft-bristle brush
SilkCanister w/ suction-only rug tool
SisalCanister w/ specialty tool
Shag (2 inches or more)Canister w/ shag rake tool

6. Vacuum Cleaner Performance


The most important elements in terms of performance are water lift, suction and airflow.

Many manufacturers advertise the watts or amps of their vacuum cleaners. These reveal the power of the vacuum motor but this style of advertising has made customers confused between “power” and “performance.” Watts and amps show you how much electrical power the vacuum cleaner’s motor is going to use, not how much suction power the machine produces to trap dirt and soil. So you need to know the vacuum suction. In most cases, a 10-amp motor allows for more suction power than a 12-amp one.

The key ratings are airflow and sealed suction. With canister vacuum cleaners, an airflow of 100 CFM or more is recommended.

7. Filtration


One more important but often overlooked part of cleaning is the capability of the vacuum cleaner to hold in dirt and fine particulates.

If a vacuum cleaner doesn’t come with high levels of filtration, these particles will simply travel through the vacuum cleaner and then back into the air in the room.

Most quality vacuum cleaners will do the job of filtering properly. If any of your family members are allergy or asthma sufferers or have any other health condition which is aggravated by fine particles or allergens in the indoor air, a high filtration or HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration vacuum cleaner is a good option.

8. Quality and Durability


The quality of your vacuum cleaner is also a vital factor that determines how long your vacuum can serve you: a year, many years or decades?

To evaluate durability, look at the build quality.

Look for solid components with a good fit and finish but no rough edges. The seals should be heavy duty.

Watch out for the length and specifics of the warranty. A longer warranty, especially on the motor, is a good sign.

9. Ease of Use


No matter how great a vacuum cleaner is in terms of specifications, it also needs to be easy to use.

No matter what your specific situation is, make sure that the vacuum cleaner you choose will feel good in your hand and don’t need too much effort to operate.

You should be able to get under furniture or around corners easily.

10. Noise Level


Noise is also a significant factor to consider.

Some vacuum cleaners are so noisy that they are almost unbearable to use. Conversely, good vacuums can operate quite comfortably and quietly and you can even hear the phone or doorbell ring while cleaning.

Think about how important noise levels are and choose accordingly.

11. Capacity


The capacity of a vacuum cleaner is reflected by the size of the dust bag or cup. The bigger it is, the less often you need to change a new one.

If you have a large home with a lot of traffic, like kids and pets, you’ll of course have greater amounts to vacuum. so opt for one fit for purpose.

12. Attachments


Most quality vacuum cleaners provide a set of accessory tools that help to perfect your vacuuming job by covering most floor and above-floor vacuuming needs.

But there are some jobs that require special tools to make the job possible or easier.

Consider the versatile crevice tool. In fact, the standard crevice tool can works fine for most normal situation, but it struggles reaching corners or behind appliances. A flexible crevice tool is the solution. It’s longer than a standard one and has a nozzle that is gently bendable to access behind furniture and appliances and reach awkward corners.

Another awesome tool is the soft-bristle dusting brush. It’s bigger than a regular brush and comes with softer bristles for gently cleaning knick-knacks, lampshades and other fragile items. There’s also a model which allows you to adjust the angle of the brush making it easier to clean items such as high shelves or ceiling fans.

Final Words

Think about all of the above factors which play a crucial role in choosing the best vacuum.

Consider your personal cleaning requirements, do your research and read plenty of user reviews.

And…

Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further queries.

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