Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Choosing the Right Vacuum

Investing in a good quality vacuum cleaner and learning how to use and maintain it, is the first step in protecting your health and carpet. But there are so many vacuums on the market these days, how do you know which is the right one?

Power and Wattage

The higher the wattage is, the more powerful the motor will be and hence the suction power. Efficiency rating is a bit different from the power rating. It is the measure of the amount of air moved by the vacuum cleaner, usually expressed in CFM (Cubic Feet of air per Minute).  The average household vacuum cleaner delivers an efficiency output of 40 CFM. However this only does half the work. Should you need a vacuum cleaner to get wet sand from your carpet, go for a cleaner having an efficiency rating of over 100 CFM, which is usually furnished by upright vacuum cleaners.

Type of Suction

Vacuum cleaner motors can create different types of suction. You will see the terms cyclonic air and straight air suction. Cyclonic air technology generates airflow that spins in a circular motion. Just as a cyclone lifts objects, the centrifugal force the motor generates picks up dirt and debris the same way. Straight suction does what it says. It lifts dirt straight up through the machine and into the dirt container. It is important to look for a machine that does not force the air to travel through too many bends. The more turns the air has to make, the less strength it has to carry dirt to its final destination.

HEPA Filter

This stands for high-efficiency particulate air filtration. It’s an international standard for filters that trap minute particles. Make sure the vacuum cleaner features a HEPA filter. Hepa filters remove particles from the air before it is exhausted back into your home, this is a great feature. But they need to be replaced regularly as recommended by the manufacturer, and they are a little pricey.

Barrel or Upright

Barrel vacuum cleaners will only provide suction and therefore only take off the surface dirt. An upright vacuum will have a revolving head or “beater” that will lift and separate the carpet fibres, this vibrating action allows dirt to be removed from deeper down in the pile. Upright vacuums are great if you intend to leave it on one level of the house. They will also make vacuuming easier if you have problems with bending and lifting. However, barrel vacuums will give you a little more freedom and ease of handling for those tight spots. If you have a long staircase to consider, the barrel  type may be more suited

Bag or Bagless

Many upright models are now available with the ‘bagless’ feature. This is definitely a plus, and will save you money – no bags to buy. It also makes it easier to retrieve those earrings that were ‘picked up’ accidentally. The biggest benefit of bagless vacuums is the bag replacement cost savings which can add up over the life of a vacuum.

Dual Motors

An upright vacuum with dual motors is an ideal choice because it utilises one motor for the vacuum and one to operate the revolving head, resulting in no loss of power

After Market Service

You don’t want to buy a vacuum cleaner whose spare parts are not available in the market. Make sure your vacuum cleaner gets enough technical support after sales.

Special Features

Many vacuum cleaners come with an extra set of tools to make cleaning easier. Decide what you need for that extra good feeling when you are cleaning around. In order to do that, check the vacuum cleaner’s head, or suction area. Each kind of head comes with a set of features. For example a cleaning brush that comes with the vacuum cleaner can be a rotation type. A brush that rotates will be able to clean more efficiently. Now getting rid of those coarser particles and fibers from your carpet would need no extra attention. Amidst all these extra features there are a couple of things that can do you no good. True, they look attractive, but a tool that enables you to spray paint your fence with your vacuum cleaner? Really? Purchasing the appropriate add-ons for your vacuum cleaner needs to be given proper thought.


When it comes to design, you obviously need a vacuum cleaner that you can manage. Things to consider are weight and maneuverability. Be aware that sometimes high quality machines are going to weigh more because they are constructed using metal instead of plastic parts. In addition, look for machines that have a low, flat-to-floor profile. That means the handle of the cleaner can recline flat to the floor, making it easy to vacuum under the coffee table instead of banging into it. If you do not like the hassle of interruptions, make sure to buy a machine with a cord that is 30-40 feet long. That way you do not have to stop to switch outlets.


When it comes to vacuum cleaners, you will want one with a good warranty, and longer is better. Look for what each specific warranty covers, as it varies amongst manufactures. Decide if you want to spend money purchasing an inexpensive vacuum cleaner that may die in a year, or if it is more cost effective for you to invest in one that will last longer. You will find that the cleaners with longer warranty coverage are more expensive, but sometimes you get what you pay for. That is particularly true with vacuum cleaners.

Which is better — a vacuum with a bag or a bagless vacuum?
Neither is better. The Good Housekeeping Institute tests show that both clean equally well. Which you buy depends on personal preference. Bagless cleaners save you the trouble of having to buy extra bags, but they can be messy to empty, and the filters and dust containers must be kept clean. While vacuums with bags keep dust and dirt contained, they are tricky to retrieve an earring or small object that gets sucked up accidentally.

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