A Vacuum Cleaners Buyer Guide
Choosing a vacuum cleaner is a difficult task simply because there are so many makes and models, all with lots of different features and lots of different price brackets. Do you go with a make that you trust, or do you decide on an "unknown" brand simply because it looks better on paper?
Vacuum Cleaners Report is dedicated to guide you into making the right decision. Not only have we written detailed specifications for the models shown on this site, but we also offer you the chance to contribute your own comments and reviews at the end of every product review. If you want to leave your thoughts on any model we have reviewed, simply leave a comment and your own rating at the end of the article.
To start you on your quest for YOUR perfect vacuum cleaner, let’s look at some of the features found on modern vacuum cleaners. By looking at what is available in these machines, you should be able to better identify your own personal requirements and thereby select the best vacuum cleaner at a price that fits your pocket. For example, if you don’t have a pet, you may not want to spend extra on machines that include pet hair removers. If you are not an allergy sufferer, or asthmatic, maybe you cannot justify the extra expense of a machine fitted with a HEPA filter. Get the idea? OK, let’s get started.
Selecting a Vacuum Cleaner By Manufacturer?
I don’t know about you, but I have been using a Dyson vacuum cleaner for several years now and could not see myself buying anything else. I realize that other vacuum brands have made huge advancements in technology in recent years, but I love my Dyson. I have a friend that feels the same way about her Hoover cleaner. If you have been using a brand that you trust and want to stick with it, then that will narrow your choice a little. For example, Dyson devotees can look in the Dyson section of this site at the reviews of those machines as well as a Dyson vacuum comparison chart, while Bissell enthusiasts can find information on Bissell vacuums in the Bissell section, and so on.
So what exactly should you be looking out for in a vacuum cleaner?
One thing you should look out for is a solid construction. Buying online may give you better deals in terms of price, but you don’t always get to see the products up close. I therefore advise you go to your local store and look at the models in there. Are they made of flimsy plastic, or does it feel quality? You can usually tell from the feel of the machine. Look at the brush bar and anything else you can see that might be moving parts. Does that part have plastic bits that look as if they’ll break? Vacuums do get thrown around a fair bit, so do spend some time checking the build quality.
Vacuum Cleaner Suction Power
These days, most vacuums provide good suction, but there are some that stand out from the crowd and some things that can cause suction to, suck!
If your vacuum uses filters, these are a prime cause of clogging and loss of suction. It might be a good idea to check how many amps the vacuum motor is. Theoretically, the higher the amps, the more the suction, though this isn’t always the case.
You might like to check the width of the airway through which dirt and dust (and dare I say dog hair) must travel to get to the dirt bin. Are there any narrow areas that might clog?
Companies like Hoover & Dyson have developed their own technologies to ensure your cleaner keeps its suction. Hoover have their Wind Tunnel technologies as used in the Hoover S3765-040 Windtunnel and the Hoover WindTunnel Cyclonic vacuum UH70035B. Another company you immediately think of when you consider suction is Dyson. Dyson have long advertised the fact that their vacuums don’t lose suction. This is thanks to their patented Cyclone technology and with their Air Muscle technology you are sure of a good, deep clean.
Self-Propelled Vacuum Cleaners
Some vacuum cleaners like the Hoover U6485900 Windtunnel Anniversary are self-propelled to make it easier to move them around the room. For heavier vacuums, this might be an advantage, however, Dyson have come up with a great innovation in the Dyson Ball, which makes moving even the heaviest vacuum cleaners a breeze to move and maneuver around corners. Personally, rather than a self-propelled vacuum, I would take a Dyson ball cleaner any day.
Types of attachments you need – crevice tool, drapes, upholstery, pet hair
Vacuum cleaners come with a range of tools to help you get the job done. Make sure that the vacuum cleaner you buy has the tools necessary to do its job properly. For example, if you have a pet, make sure you buy a vacuum that has a pet hair attachment. These often have motorized brush bars on a miniature head so that it can be used to get the cats hair off of the upholstery.
Other popular attachments are as follows:
- crevice tool – a narrow tube extension that allows you to get down into very tight gaps. I use mine a lot when I am cleaning the biscuit crumbs from down beside my daughters car seat
- stiff bristle brush – helps dislodge dried on dirt.
- mattress tool – a wide cleaning head for vacuuming your mattress (a major source of dust mites and debris).
- multi-angle brush – for reaching the tops of furniture, light fittings etc.
- dusting brush – to clean your bookshelves, curtains, blinds etc, this is a great attachment to have.
- mini-turbine head – a smaller cleaning head for smaller spaces.
- extension wand – for reaching those above floor areas that accumulate dirt and dust.
- upholstery tool – for cleaning soft furnishings, sofas etc.
- pet hair turbo brush – for lifting and sucking up that pet hair.
I am sure you will come across some other attachments as you read the reviews on this site. Try to match up the accessories with your own personal requirements.
Brush Bar height adjustment?
Many people put the vacuum brush bar as low as possible in the hope it cleans better. Actually, putting it too low can bend the bristles on the brush bar. For this reason, you might look for vacuum cleaners that include automatic brush bar adjustment. It will save you money in the long-run on replacement brush bar parts.
Some vacuums come with a dust sensor, but a lot of people just don’t think they work very well. I would not personally worry if my vacuum did not have one of these – I know if my carpet is dirty
One of the common complaints I hear about vacuum cleaners is the cord length. How long do you need your cord so that you are not plugging and unplugging your machine every 2 minutes? Once you know that, you’ll know what to look for in your ideal vacuum.
The length of the hose is quite important, but especially so if you need to vacuum surfaces above the floor level. Many vacuums come with a good length hose, and even telescopic or extension hoses. Telescopic "wands" are becoming more and more common on traditional upright vacuum cleaners, and make cleaning your curtains, bookshelves and upholstery a breeze. Some vacuums even come with special stair cleaning attachments, which is great because you don’t have to balance the cleaner on the stairs you are cleaning.
Filters clog because they are the part of the vacuum that separates the dirt and dust from the air that is sucked in. Vacuums like the Dyson prevent this clogging by using centrifugal force to filter the air, but even so, many Dysons will have a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter is a great addition to the vacuum cleaner, since it filters the exhaust air and removes 99.97% of airborne allergens. If you suffer from asthma or allergies, the addition of a HEPA filtration system could be a huge benefit. Some HEPA filters are lifetime washable. See the HEPA vacuum cleaners area of the site for more information.
Vacuum cleaners have a motor and will therefore make noise. Some are more noisy than others and if this is an important issue for you, check out user reviews on the vacuum you are interested in.
Can it get under your furniture?
This is an important consideration. If you have low furniture, your vacuum cleaner needs to be able to get underneath it, otherwise you will be constantly moving furniture around every time you want to clean your house. A lot of vacuums (especially canister vacuums), have low heads to allow this. However, not all upright vacuums do unless they have an extension wand, so do check that the vacuum you buy can actually get under the edge of your furniture.
Check out the warranty on the cleaners. I would suggest you look for at least 2 years warranty, as its usually in the second year that vacuums (particularly well used ones) start to fail.
A few other things to think about
- There are a number of different types of vacuum cleaners, so make sure you know what type you want when you order. The choices include upright vacuums, bagged, bagless, Dyson Ball cleaners (easy maneuverability), canister vacuums, central vacuum systems, cordless cleaners, hand held models, HEPA vacuums, steam cleaners (which are not actually vacuums but use hot air/water to wash your carpets), stick vacuums.
- Some vacuum cleaners have a light on the cleaning head. This helps you see the dirt and dust in dimly lit rooms, but its not something I would worry about if my chosen cleaner ticked all of the other boxes on my list.
- If you have a range of floor types, make sure your vacuum cleaner is designed to handle all surfaces. The Dyson range call these their "All Floors" models, and that is something to look out for if oyu want to buy a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
- Check the dust bin capacity if it is bagless. Since it needs to be emptied every time the dust bin gets full, the bigger the dust bin the better!
- Consider the additional costs involved in the maintenance of your machine. How much do belts cost? If it uses bags, how much are they? Are these items easy enough to get hold of? Pop down to your local shop and ask them if they stock the bags and belts for the brand you are thinking of buying, or check online shops like Amazon for availability.
- Be aware of the weight of the vacuum cleaner you are considering. If it uses Dyson Ball or is self-propelled, you are OK, but otherwise be aware that on some longer carpets, pushing a heavy vacuum can be quite a workout.
Below is a table showing the top 5 consumer reviewed vacuums on this site
This table is updated whenever a visitor leaves a review on this site. If you want to review a vacuum cleaner that we have included on this site, please leave a comment at the end of the review, and select your ratings for the vacuum cleaner.