Are you pulling your hair out because there seem to be more vacuum cleaner models than floors to use them on? Never fear! We're here to help you make sense of it all. |
For starters, get a vacuum designed for your mix of carpeting and flooring. If you have lots of flooring to vacuum, look for models with floor attachments that use brushes and/or uprights with metal bottom plates. Make sure that the height can be set low enough and that the plate, wheels and so on won't scratch your flooring.
For carpets, make sure the vacuum has enough suction power, especially with deep pile styles. On the other hand, there's no need for an energy hog if the situation just doesn't call for it. Make sure the height can be adjusted high enough for your needs.
If you or other persons in your household have long hair, get a vacuum that has a stainless steel brush roller with ball bearings. In general, metal components are better than plastic ones. Of course, they also make the unit heavier.
Generally speaking, if keeping dust out of the air is one of your goals, choose a bag model. However, bagless technology is improving, and in some higher-end brands (like Dyson), bagless models will work just as well. Look for a "true HEPA filter" placed "after motor" in a "sealed system". Clean filters often.
(NOTE: If you ever have to vacuum up fine particles, like baking soda, Borax or flour, be sure to replace the bag and clean all the filters as soon as you're done. HEPA vacs are especially sensitive to fine powder, and vacuuming up a lot of it can destroy your investment. If you have a shop vac, use it for powders instead.)
If possible (and especially if you suffer from asthma), test air-tightness for yourself. One way is to vacuum for a bit with a floor model and then see how much dust has collected on the outside of the unit.
Try assembling and disassembling the attachments before you buy. Make sure that they're easy to assemble, that they stay together and are airtight during use, and that you can still disassemble them with a minimum of effort.
Check the height of the fully assembled attachments to make sure that you won't be stooping or holding your arm up in the air to use them. Don't be dazzled by an array of attachments. Think about what you really need and aim for that.
Make sure that the power switch, height level controller and any other controls are easy to access and use. They'll need to be sturdy, especially if you'll be using your foot to operate them.
Make an inventory of all the parts that will require replacement, how often the replacement should occur and how much it will cost you annually. For example, many units will need a filter, after-filter, bag and maybe even belt replacements within a year's time or less. Vacuums that allow you to wash and reuse filters can save money, but be sure to carefully follow instructions when doing so. //
When making comparisons, compare apples to apples. The best floor sweeper in the world won't do as good a job as a so-so vacuum cleaner, and an upright vacuum will handle differently than a canister unit. Cordless models won't match the power of one that plugs into the wall. Don't let fancy demonstrations take away your ability to critically judge a product.
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