Vacuum Cleaners

Types

hooveringUpright vacuum
Pros:  Affordable, easy to store, offers a wider cleaning path than other models, best for deep-cleaning.
Cons:  Cumbersome, heavy, somewhat noisier than other types.

Canister vacuum
Pros:  Cleans bare floors, drapes, upholstery and under furniture well; easy to manoeuvre on stairs; quiet; only the hose and cleaning head need to move whilst operating (not entire machine).
Cons:  Heavy, bulky, hard to store.

Central vacuum
Pros:  Convenient, very easy to use, no heavy machinery to drag around, quiet, low maintenance.
Cons:  Hose can be very long, no place for tools or attachments, expensive, requires professional installation.

Handheld vacuum
Pros:  Handy, lightweight, perfect for small messes and light surface cleaning.
Cons:  Not much power, may require batteries or frequent recharging.

Robotic vacuum
Pros:  Requires virtually no effort to operate, effective at light vacuuming between deep cleanings.
Cons:  Expensive, time-consuming to set up, works slowly, often misses corners and edges.

Stick vacuum
Pros:  Convenient for quick messes, affordable, easy to store, eliminates the need for broom and dustpan.
Cons:  Not as powerful as other models, capacity is small, can be noisy.

Bag vs. Bagless

The increasing popularity of the bagless vacuum cleaner has raised some debate as to which model performs better:  the traditional bagged vacuum cleaner or the modern bagless vacuum cleaner?

A bag vacuum cleaner sucks up dirt and debris, depositing it into a removable, disposable bag.  The design is fairly straightforward and simple, which makes a bag vacuum inexpensive and less prone to malfunction or the dreaded loss of vacuum cleaner suction.  Vacuum cleaner bags collect dirt and dust without the need for expensive filters; cleaning efficiency is usually just as good as it is with a bagless vacuum cleaner.  Some bags are disposable, so there is the ongoing expense of purchasing new bags every few months, though many bag vacuum cleaners are now equipped with reusable bags – better for the environment and your wallet.  Most manufacturers require proprietary bags for their vacuum models, which can be a hassle for some users.  Even reusable bags aren't totally convenient, as they must be emptied and washed frequently.

A bagless vacuum cleaner brings air in through a series of tubes and filters.  Most have powerful suction and plenty of on-board attachments to help you thoroughly clean drapes, stairs, furniture and more.  The number one advantage of bagless vacuum cleaners is that there are no clumsy bags to empty and replace.  The bagless vacuum cleaner has a transparent plastic bin where dirt and dust collect; the bin is usually very easy to take out and empty, and the clear plastic serves as an easy reminder to keep the bin clean.  Though you'll save a bit of money by not having to buy replacement bags, a bagless vacuum does require a filter that must be replaced from time to time.  They are also more expensive than bag vacuums and can be rather noisy.

Cordless vacuums

It seems everything is going cordless these days, doesn't it?  A cordless vacuum cleaner can be a handy tool to have around the house for those times when you need to clear a mess quickly and with little fuss.  Most cordless vacuums charge quietly and are ready whenever you need them, easily picking up dust and debris from bare floors and low carpeting.


When you are shopping for a cordless vacuum cleaner, consider these important factors:


Weight: The purpose of having a cordless vacuum cleaner is for fast, convenient cleaning.  Choosing a model that is very heavy or bulky makes it harder to use, which means you'll get annoyed and will probably end up leaving it to collect dust in the cupboard.  The lighter the cordless vacuum, the better it is to use.


Length of Charge: A cordless vacuum requires an electric charge or a battery to operate, so it is important to find out how long the charge will last.  If you have got a big mess or a large area to clean, you definitely don't want to have to stop in the middle and wait several hours for the vacuum to recharge.  Remember, too, that using attachments and accessories can shorten the vacuum's battery life.


Accessories: Speaking of accessories, you can expect at least the basics on most cordless vacuums.  Some of the most common include a crevice tool for tight spaces and corners, an upholstery brush, and a stair tool.  You can also find a cordless vacuum with other accessories like a docking station for storing and charging the vacuum, a wand attachment for reaching ceilings and under furniture, and a handle extension for added convenience.

Flooring

The key to finding the right vacuum is to determine how you are going to use it.  The best way to figure this out is to consider what types of flooring you plan to use your new vacuum on.  Most of us have a combination of carpeting and bare flooring in our homes, though you may have more of one than the other.  Certain vacuum models are better suited to particular kinds of flooring, so it's important to match your Hoover to your floors properly.

vacuumWall-to-wall carpeting is best served by an upright vacuum.  These machines have a powerful rotating brush that gets down into the carpet to loosen dust and dirt that has become trapped deep within the fibres.  Most uprights also come with all the tools you'll need to clean furniture, baseboards, ceiling fans, tight corners and drapes.

If you have got lots of hardwood or tile in your house, an upright vacuum may not be the best choice.  The revolving brush on an upright vacuum tends to move air rapidly over bare floors, scattering dust and dirt in all directions as it goes.  For bare floors, a canister vacuum is an excellent alternative.  Most canister vacuum cleaners have a smooth floor brush with soft bristles that helps draw dirt into the vacuum better than an upright.  They are a bit more easily manoeuvred in tight spaces and around furniture such as a kitchen table and chairs.  You will also get all the tools you need to keep the rest of your home clean; some canister vacuum cleaners even have a special head that lets you deep clean a carpet just as effectively as an upright vacuum.

Another popular choice for bare floors is the handheld vacuum.  Though you won't be able to clean an entire floor with a handheld, they are brilliant for tackling small messes like spilt cereal or a few errant kibbles of dog food.  Some pricier models can even pick up wet spills.  Most handhelds are cordless, though some have a short power cord.  They can be used on countertops, in the car, in the bathroom, and anywhere else you might need to vacuum in a pinch.  If you have got pets or small children, you will want to keep a handheld vacuum on hand.

Robotic vacuums can be effective in cleaning both carpeting and bare floors, though this is one area where it makes sense to pay more for a better model.  If you plan to rely on a robotic vacuum for all of your floor cleaning, invest in a high-end device with a suction motor.  This kind of bagless vacuum cleaner has a small internal canister where dirt collects; and you will have to empty this cup when the vacuum has finished its cleaning cycle.  This is the only kind of robotic vacuum that will truly vacuum your floor; low-end robotic vacuums only sweep, they don't actually suck up any dirt.

High traffic areas may benefit from a steam vacuum or carpet extractor.  Usually, this kind of deep cleaning is only required occasionally and is left to professionals, but if you have a large family, lots of animals round the house, or are particularly hard on your carpets, you may want to purchase your own carpet deep cleaner.  You'll be spoilt for choice, as manufacturers offer plenty of options including vacuums that take special cleaning solution, use sanitising steam, automatically rinse the carpet after washing, and feature adjustable settings that let you clean bare floors, too.

For concrete or tile flooring, a wet/dry vacuum might be just what you need.  These powerful devices are well-suited for use in the carport, cellar, workshop, in the car or outdoors.  They are capable of picking up sawdust, bits of wood, small nails or screws, water, and other things that would ruin a regular bagless vacuum cleaner.  You will find wet/dry vacuums in a variety of sizes, usually measured by the canister's litre capacity; a small wet/dry vacuum is very affordable and is generally sufficient for the average household.