What is the Best Vacuum Cleaner – Your Ultimate Guide
Buying a vacuum cleaner is often times similar to buying a car. To purchase the right one for your needs, you need to define what those needs are. In this article I will help you identify those needs so that you’ll have an easier time zeroing in which type of vacuum would fit those needs the most and from there choose one that will fit closest to your budget.
Let’s get started.
First let’s talk about the different types of vacuums and what they are most useful for.
This is the most traditional style vacuum you’ll find in the market. It is often bulky and stands upright. At the middle is a large dust bin that holds a lot of dirt which make this suitable for large homes with a lot of carpet.
Modern upright vacuums have detachable hoses and wands that allow for above the floor cleaning which adds to its versatility and helps homeowners save money by not needing to buy a separate handheld vacuum.
Here are uprights with detachable hoses for above the floor cleaning
Other manufacturers takes it a step further, adding a so-called “lift-away” feature that basically separates the floor base from the canister thus giving their machines 2-in-1 functionality of an upright and canister vacuum.
Here are some models with this feature.
Canister cleaners are a bit more versatile than uprights because it weighs less plus it is equipped with a long hose and wand that allow you to use it on stairs and upholstery without you lifting up the whole machine. Most of these vacuums weigh in the range of 10 to 25 pounds and have around 35 feet of reach when you include the power cord, hose and wand.
This setup makes it easier to use this type of vacuum on tight areas like stairs or on tight areas with lots nooks and crannies such as areas around the sofa or refrigerator. Most will have enough reach for you to clean all the way up to the ceiling.
One important feature to look for is a dedicated motorized brush. That means the floor tool has to have its own motor that powers the beater bar, having this makes a world of difference when it comes to deep cleaning carpet.
Here are a few canister vacuums that have a powered beater bar
- Electrolux UltraActive Deep Clean
- Samsung Motionsync Bagless Canister with Power Brush
- Prolux Stealth Quiet HEPA sealed canister vacuum
- Hoover WindTunnel Air Bagless SH40070
These types are watered down versions of uprights. Most of these don’t have the detachable hose that allow it to be used on areas above the floor. So these will be strictly floor cleaners that work best on high traffic areas that need more TLC. Since uprights would be heavy, this is a good lightweight option that you can use on areas that have more foot traffic.
British manufacturer Dyson has come up with the DC59 Motorhead that combines stick functionality with handheld features that allows consumers to clean from floor to ceiling.
Shark also has their stick vacuum (that they advertise as an upright), the HV322 that is strikingly similar to the Dyson DC-series only it is heavier and has a cord.
Handhelds are designed to clean areas that make bringing out a larger vacuum inconvenient. Areas like upholstery, tables, vents, blinds, tops of cabinets and car interiors. Even if you own a canister or an upright, it is still more convenient to bring out something that just weighs 5 pounds as opposed to going to your storage room and carry out a 20 pound upright just to clean your exhaust vent.
Some brands like Black and Decker incorporate a flexible hose to the design which allows you to put down the machine and allow you to put more agitating pressure on the area you are cleaning.
Others brands incorporate handheld vacuums inside a body of a stick vacuum. This setup allows users to use this vacuum as both a handheld and a stick.
Cordless vacuums are cleaners that rely on battery power thus cutting the cord out of the equation. This is great if you want something that you can just pick up and clean without worrying about where to plug the cord or you don’t want any cords to unwrap and wrap.
This tool is all about convenience.
Run time range between 10 minutes to as long as 45 minutes in some brands. Even greater battery technology, these vacuums still won’t match a corded vacuum in terms of suction power. Basically you’re paying a premium for convenience because it does not have a cord and most of these machines are lightweight.
Robotic vacuums are relatively new in this industry with the first one introduced in the market in 1997. These machines are unique in a way that it cleans by itself with the use of either cameras or infrared devices to them navigate around.
The autonomy at which these machines operate is what makes these cleaners popular but these are not perfect. Even with the latest technology, robotic vacuums are still prone to getting stuck in tight areas so it isn’t completely a hands-off system.
Two brands are currently battling for robot supremacy, namely iRobot and Neato as both uses completely different systems in terms of navigation.
A third brand, Dyson has re-entered the scene with the introduction of the 360 Eye that uses a 360 camera that constantly takes panoramic shots from floor to ceiling to map out the best path around a room and avoid obstacles altogether. Only time will tell if this robot will be a success in the market or not because it isn’t cheap – it costs a cool $1,600.
Other things to consider…
Bagged vs Bagless
The bagged version comes with a disposable bag that you take out once it is full. One advantage of a bagged system is that when you empty it isn’t messy. All you need to do is take out the bag and throw it out, no dust no mess – great for people who are suffering from any sort of respiratory ailment like asthma.
The downside to a bagged system is the cost. If you live in a dusty area that requires you to vacuum every day or have a lot of pets then the cost of these bags can add up pretty quickly.
Bagless vacuums does not use bags, instead it uses a dirt cup to store dirt and a set of filters to prevent dirt from coming back out of the machine. The biggest advantage of course is the cost, with a bagless system you don’t need to spend money on bags. A big savings on running cost.
The biggest disadvantage is when you empty it; it can get messy because you are exposed to the dust and dirt that comes out from there. It may not be for people who may have a bad case respiratory ailment.
Water as filter
There is a third type of filtration system that not many people talk about and that is the use of water. This system is great because there are no filters to clean and bags to replace. You just fill up the tank with water then turn the vacuum on.
Only a few manufacturers produce these are Bissell and Rainbow. While these vacuums have very good cleaning performance and filtration, there are several downsides to it.
First, these machines are quite heavy. For example, the rainbow vacuum system tips the scales at 19 pounds and that’s without water inside the tank. Also these machines since quite bulky and will be difficult to carry up and down the stairs.
Second, it is very expensive. The rainbow vacuum I was talking about earlier will cost you a cool $1,900 and that’s if you buy in Amazon. If you’d buy this retail, it’ll cost quite a bit more.