Choosing a new vacuum cleaner could look like a daunting task given the plethora of options available now, but don't worry; there is a simple principle that should guide you in your research.
As with any other domestic appliance, you should choose a vacuum cleaner according to your specific needs. This article will provide you with useful pointers that will help you make an informed decision the next time you are shopping for a new vacuum cleaner.
The first question you should ask yourself is
What do you want from a vacuum cleaner?
First of all, you should do a list of all your requirements in order of their importance. This will help you with your decision process as you will know for sure what to search for. Here is a list of questions that should help you getting started:
What is the predominant type of flooring in your house - carpet or hard floors?
Do you have stairs or lots of other areas that are hard to reach?
Are there any pets in the house?
Are there any persons that suffer from allergies?
Is there a lot of upholstery that needs to be vacuumed?
Does your carpet have a loop pile or a cut pile?
... and so on. Add anything that might be of significance for you then read the rest of this article to find out what type of vacuum cleaner is best for you.
Cylinder versus upright vacuum cleaners
Choosing between cylinder and upright vacuum cleaners is usually a matter of your own preference but each type has distinct characteristics.
Cylinder vacuum cleaners (also known as canister vacuum cleaners) have a smaller size than the cylinder ones, making them easier to be stored. They rely solely on their suction power (also called wattage) to absorb dust from the floors. The air has to travel longer through the tube, this is why power is such an important factor when talking about cylinder models.
Due to the fact that the motor is situated in the main unit and that you only need to handle the tube and the attached brush, cylinder vacuums are easily used on hard to reach areas, on stairs and around furniture. For longer flights of stairs you might need to purchase an additional extension hose.
Upright vacuum cleaners have all the parts contained in just one single unit. The motor is situated near the suction area so the air and the dust has to travel just a short way to the dust bag. This is the reason why upright models don't have to be as powerful as cylinder types.
Upright units also have a rotating brush (sometimes called a "turbo brush" or a "power brush") that rubs against the carpet fibers and loosens up the dirt and pet hairs making them easier to be vacuumed. The footprint of the upright vacuum cleaners is bigger than the one of cylinder models so they are more suitable for cleaning large carpeted areas.
No matter what type of cleaner you choose, remember to check the length of the cable supplied. You have a large house then you should probably consider a model with a longer cable.
What type of filter should I choose?
Whatever the type of vacuum cleaner you choose, you should check for the type of filtration it offers. For normal environments stage filters are a common option. The range varies between three and seven stages of filtration. Obviously, the more stages the better but that also reflects in the final price. We wouldn't recommend a model with less than four filtration stages.
If there are any persons affected by allergies in your house, then you should consider a model with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. They are especially designed to block particles that generate allergies. When choosing a vacuum cleaner for this purpose, better choose one that has been approved by the British Allergy Foundation.
If you have pets and you have problems controlling their odour, look for a model that has an additional charcoal filter. The charcoal is very effective at removing unpleasant smells so it's a recommended option for pet owners.
Should I choose a bag or bagless model?
Each type has its own advantages. Vacuum cleaners with dust bags are not so expensive as the bagless ones but you will need to spend more over time in order to buy replacement bags. They are not very expensive but you should have that in mind. Dust bags are easier to dispose of, especially the self sealing bags which are very helpful for allergy sufferers.
If you are opting for a bagless model, you should be prepared to pay more initially but you won't have to worry afterwards to buy spare bags.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that if you have any person that suffers from allergies in your house, then you should choose a model endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation.
Remember to check the bag capacity before you buy. If you have large areas to vacuum, it's better to choose a model with a large capacity bag.
Hard floors versus carpet
Depending on the predominant type of flooring in your home, you should orient towards a particular type of vacuum cleaner.
If you have a lot of tiled, vinyl or wooden flooring then you should probably consider a cylinder vacuum cleaner.
If you have cut pile carpets, then an upright cleaner is the best choice due to its rotating brush. Optionally, you could choose a cylinder cleaner that has a power brush attachment.
If your carpet has a loop pile, you could use both types of vacuum cleaners, but remember to turn off any power brush as the pile can be damaged or flatten by the high-speed revolving brush. We will discuss more about the various kinds of carpet in an upcoming article.
Types of attachments
Usually, all vacuum cleaners come with a set of attachments that consists of a dusting brush, an upholstery hand tool and a crevice tool. You shouldn't buy a model that hasn't at least these three attachments.
If you are choosing a cylinder vacuum cleaner, check if there is an optional power brush available. This type of brush is invaluable for vacuuming pet hairs or for cut pile carpets.
For hard floors you should also consider a parquet brush. Remember to check if there are any kind of extension tubes available, in case you will need to vacuum longer flights of stairs.
Our personal favourites
Due to the nature of our office and residential cleaning business, we have used dozens of types of vacuum cleaners. Some of them were great, some of them not so much. Both cylinder and upright models can do a great job on various surfaces and provide an excellent carpet cleaning result, but if we have to choose our favourites, the winners are:
Sebo - our favourite upright vacuum cleaner brand. Made in Germany, great versatility, a powerful revolving brush, easy to clean and maintain, self sealing bags, adjustable brush height, lots of additional accessories available.
Miele - top-notch cylinder vacuums. Another German brand with amazing filtration systems (especially for allergy sufferers or pet owners), powerful wattage, compact size, turbo brush attachments, adjustable power settings and many more.
As you can see, there are lots of factors to be considered when you're looking for your new vacuum cleaner. Some of them could be of great importance to you so you should focus on the models which perform best at what you want.
We hope this guide will make your research work much easier and that you will enjoy the benefits of your new vacuum cleaner for a long time.
Remember that almost 75% of the soil in a carpet consists of dust and dry particles; this is why regular vacuuming will keep your carpets cleaner and prolong their life. After all, this is why you're buying a new vacuum cleaner, isn't it?