A vacuum cleaner is an essential appliance that keeps your home dust and dirt-free. If you or a family member suffers from respiratory problems or if you have pets, investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner becomes even more important.
However, choosing a vacuum cleaner that matches your cleaning needs can become difficult. There are many types of vacuum cleaners, filters, noise levels, sizes, and power ratings, which complicate the selection. This post focuses on the dos and don’ts of purchasing a vacuum cleaner, which helps you make a more informed buying decision.
Section 1: Dos
Let’s begin with the things you should do before purchasing a vacuum cleaner.
Research Different Types of Vacuum Cleaners
There are different types of vacuum cleaners based on their shape, whether they come with a bag or not, or whether they are wet or dry. Let us take a look at each classification.
Bag vs. Bagless Vacuum Cleaners
Bag vacuums collect the dust in a removable bag made of cloth or paper. On the other hand, bagless vacuum cleaners accumulate dust into a cup, which you can empty in the garbage later. Choosing a bagless or bag vacuum cleaner depends on your personal preference, as they both serve the same purpose.
Here are a few things to know:
- Bagless vacuum cleaners are more convenient as you don’t have to go through the extra hassle of removing and changing a bag.
- Bagless vacuum cleaners save the costs of bags.
- Bag vacuum cleaners are better at keeping the dust contained, which can benefit people with asthma or allergies.
Wet or Dry Vacuum Cleaners
Generally, dry vacuums are best suited for home uses. They are made to clean up dry stuff like dirt, dust, or debris. They clean well on surfaces like carpets, hard floors, and upholstery. However, these cannot be used to clean water or wet floors.
Wet vacuum cleaners, also called wet-dry vacuums, are specialty vacuum cleaners that can clean up liquid and solid masses. They are best suited for workshops, garages, and professional applications that often experience spillages, such as chemicals, solutions, or other liquids.
Vacuum Types Based on Shape
Lastly, another primary classification for vacuum cleaners is based on their shape. Here’s a breakdown of each type and its most suitable functions.
|Cylinder||Strong suction and better value for money.||Have to bend down to use.|
|Stick||Lightweight vacuum with better surface cleaning.||Are usually not that powerful.|
|Upright||Can clean large areas without having to bend down.||Can be heavier than other types.|
|Cordless||More convenient with advanced technology.||Not suitable for extended cleaning sessions.|
|Handheld||Best for quick cleaning or spot cleaning jobs.||Not suitable for cleaning large areas or tougher particles.|
|Robot||Can follow an automated cleaning schedule.||Not suitable for cluttered spaces. Is also more expensive.|
Ultimately, choosing the right type of vacuum cleaner depends on your preferences. For example, if you’re away from home most of the day, or don’t have much time to clean, choosing a robot vacuum cleaner might be a good idea.
Look for a Vacuum With Good Suction Power
Considering suction power is of great importance when picking the right vacuum cleaner. But before we discuss how suction power is measured, let us discuss motor power first.
Motor power is represented in Watts, HP, or kW. It is the measure of electric power that a vacuum motor(s) generates. Generally, the higher the motor power, the greater the suction power. However, looking at the motor power alone doesn’t give the complete picture.
This is where suction power comes in. It is measured in Air Watts(AW) and tells you how good a vacuum is at sucking things. Any vacuum cleaner between 120-200 AW will suffice for home use. However, some vacuum cleaner manufacturers don’t publish the AW rating on their products. In such cases, you can make the decision based on motor power.
Choose the Right Attachments for your Needs
Most vacuums come with a set of different attachments. These vacuum cleaner attachments are useful for multi-purpose functionality. For example, a flexible crevice tool is handy for cleaning corners or areas your stiff vacuum pipe can’t reach. Or you can invest in a soft-bristle brush attachment that would make cleaning fragile items a breeze.
Here are some of the most popular vacuum cleaner accessories to choose from:
- Crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Upholstery tool
- Hard floor tool
- Extension wand
- Pet hair tool
- Turbo brush
- Power nozzle
- Allergen brush
- Vacuum cleaner bags
- Ceiling fan tool
- HEPA filters
- Suction control switch
- Flexible hose
- Adapters for connecting attachments
Consider the Size and Weight of a Vacuum Cleaner
The weight and size of a vacuum cleaner are important considerations as they can hinder or enhance your cleaning experience. Large upright models can weigh more than 20 lbs (9-10 Kg), while stick models tend to be as light as 10 lbs (4-5 Kg).
Before choosing a vacuum cleaner, think about how much cleaning and moving you have to do. If you live in a multistory home, choosing a heavier model probably isn’t a good idea. If you’re looking for a high-power vacuum that is also lighter, an upright model will fit the bill.
Understand How Warranty Works Before Purchasing
Depending on the manufacturer, model, and the type of vacuum, you may get different warranties. Some vacuum brands may give you a 2-year warranty, while others may have a 5-year warranty. Each warranty also comes with certain conditions you should thoroughly understand before purchasing. Brands only offer warranties if their products have been used in accordance with the policy.
Generally, most vacuum cleaner warranties range between three to five years. But some brands offer lifetime “guarantees.” However, you should know what it really means. The word “lifetime” represents the reasonable lifetime of the product rather than the user. For example, if a vacuum cleaner is reasonably expected to last four years without any issues, then a lifetime guarantee would simply mean a 4-year warranty for that vacuum.
Read Product Reviews
Once you have decided about the type of vacuum cleaner you wish to purchase, search for a few brands that sell that type and check their online reviews. If customers are happy without reporting major drawbacks, you can consider buying that product.
You can also consider what your previous vacuum lacked and see if the reviews don’t show the same drawbacks in the product you’re considering.
Section 2: Don’ts
Let us look at the things that you shouldn’t do when purchasing a vacuum cleaner.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Filter Type
Choosing the right filter type is paramount when buying a vacuum cleaner. There are many filter types, and they vary in function and filtration level.
Here’s a breakdown of the vacuum cleaner filters:
In many bagged vacuum cleaners, the bag functions as the primary filter. These bags have very small holes in them, and they are either made from cloth, paper, or other synthetic materials. These tiny holes allow the air to pass through while keeping the dust contained.
However, bags are not sufficient on their own for smaller particulates. That is why many bagged vacuums use secondary filters too.
After bag filters, foam filters are the most basic type of vacuum filter. They work as secondary filters and collect smaller particles that bags cannot catch. In some models, they are also installed as primary filters.
For most home applications, these foam filters with another primary filter are sufficient. Foam filters must be regularly washed and reinstalled, while some brands offer replaceable foam filters too. Make sure to check the particular brand/product you’re purchasing for the filter specifications.
Many bagless vacuum cleaners feature cyclone filters as their primary filters. Cyclone filters work by spinning air around. The dust and dirt are forced toward the bottom of the dustbin, where it is collected. The air is forced upwards through a secondary filter, which catches any leftover particles. These filters need to be cleaned every three months with cold water and left to dry.
Cartridge filters are cylindrical and hollow. They are made from folded paper, foam, or other materials. Depending on the type of vacuum cleaner, they are either used as primary or secondary filters. They can also be washable or replaceable, depending on the vacuum model.
Cloth filters are usually used in heavy-duty vacuum cleaners. They can filter larger particles and heavier debris, which makes them suitable for industries, construction sites, and workshops. They have a sturdy build and are washable. They also last longer than other filter types.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. They are specialized filters most effective for filtering allergens, pet dander, and dust mites. If you or anyone in your home suffers from asthma or allergies, these are the filters to pick. For UK residents, S-class filters provide a similar function to HEPA filters.
Carbon filters can capture odors, making them best suited for smokers, pet owners, and environments with unpleasant smells.
Most commonly used in bagless vacuum cleaners, the pre-motor filters capture larger particles or debris before the air reaches the motor. This protects the motor from damage and extends its life.
Don’t Forget to Consider the Type of Flooring and Cleaning Surface
Learning about vacuum cleaners based on the type of flooring they can best clean can save you from a wrong purchase. Here are some details about different cleaning surfaces and the vacuum cleaners most appropriate for them.
|Cleaning Surface||Vacuum Cleaner Type|
|Hardwood or Wood laminate||● Stick, robotic, or upright vacuum cleaners are most suitable.
● Go for an upright or canister type if cleaning multiple surfaces.
|Low-pile Carpet (fibers under ¼” tall)||● Canister vacuum cleaners are the most suitable.
● Work in combination with a deep carpet cleaner for best results.
|High-pile Carpet (fibers ½”-¾” inches thick)||● Specialized vacuum cleaners for high-pile carpet cleaning functionality are most suitable.|
|Upholstery||● Canister and handheld vacuum cleaners are suitable.
● Use an upholstery attachment for better results.
|Tile and Marble||● Stick vacuums are most suitable because of maneuverability.
● Use in combination with a steam mop to retain the shine and prevent stains.
Don’t Buy a Vacuum Without Considering its Noise Level
The noise of a vacuum cleaner is measured in dB or decibels. It is important to consider the noise level because some high-power vacuum cleaners can be excessively loud.
For reference, a conversation you have in your home is about 50 dB. A motorcycle or lawnmower generates noise at about 100 dB. If you want a quieter vacuum cleaner, choose the one rated at 60-65 dB. Vacuum cleaners between 70-77 dB are still comfortably quiet for most home applications.
Don’t Forget to Check for Compatibility with your Electrical System
Different countries and regions use different types of plugs and electrical outlets. For example, if you purchase a vacuum cleaner in the US, you won’t be able to plug it in the UK, as the UK uses type G plugs while the US uses type A or B plugs. Similarly, the standard voltage in the US is 120 V, while in the UK, it is 240 V. This can be an issue when you order a vacuum cleaner online from a different country.
Don’t Forget to Consider the Ease of Maintenance and Repairs
Ease of maintenance and repairs involves a few aspects that you should look into before purchasing a vacuum cleaner. Firstly, you need to learn whether the spare parts of the product you’re buying are readily and affordably available. It can be quite challenging to find spare parts for some older or specialty cleaners, and even if you find them, they will likely cost more because of high demand and low supply. Secondly, ensure that the brand you’re purchasing has its service centers nearby from where you can also claim the warranty if something goes wrong.
Choosing the right type of vacuum cleaner by considering things like vacuum types, cleaning surfaces, noise preference, and filter types will give you a better cleaning experience value for the money. Some popular vacuum cleaner brands to choose from include Dyson, Shark, Miele, Kenmore, Samsung, and Eureka. The key is to take your time before making a decision and if done correctly, it can prove to be an investment for a long time.