Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
If you are looking for a new vacuum cleaner, there are four kinds of them to choose from:
- Canister vacuum cleaners
- Upright vacuum cleaners
- Hand-Held vacuum cleaner
- Robotic vacuum cleaner
All of them work on a very similar principle, the main difference is in the way they are held and the space they use up when stored.
The canister vacuums have the advantage that the user doesn’t have to hold their whole weight when vacuuming, the machine itself coasts behind when vacuuming.
On the other hand many modern upright vacuum cleaners are built with coasters and other solutions to ensure easy and effortless vacuuming, these upright vacuums also use up less space and are easier to carry than canister vacuum cleaners.
It is matter of taste, but personally I prefer the upright models against the canister ones for this reason.
Robotic vacuums gained great popularity in the recent years. They use a set of sensors to map the room for walls and furniture and avoid any obstacles during vacuuming. The better ones also have settings to set some movement patters based on which it will move around and suck the dirt up in the room systematically.
Dust bag or Bagless vacuums?
There is no straightforward answer for this question, it is a matter of preference. The dust bag is usually made of paper or textil – the latter is safer and more practical but also less hygienic because they are created for multiple occasions and have to be cleaned thoroughly, unlike the single-use paper dustbags. The dustbags of higher quality are prone to tearing which comes handy and saves lots of trouble when vacuuming broken glass or other sharp particles.
The bagless vacuum cleaners collect the sucked up dirt in plastic canister. This canister doesn’t get weared out and also cleaning it is usually an easy task. There are two kinds of bagless vacuum cleaners: ones with dry canister and the ones with a water in it. In the latter the sucked up dirty air gets filtered through water which binds all the dirt particles. The cleaning of wet canister is also very straightforward, just flush the dirty water down the toilette or sink-drain. The water filtered way is calso onsidered more hygienic, because the water prevents the dust to float back into the air. This is also the reason why the wet-bagged vacuum cleaners are usually more expensive than their dry-bagged counterparts and also they have positive effect on the quality of air. Aside from increasing the moisture of the air, the allergens and microscopic particles doesn’t get blown back into it, which might happen with dry vacuum cleaners. However such a protection can be achived with high quality dry dustbags as well, especially with the textil ones.
High Wattage and power doesn’t always mean good suction. Wheter the vacuum cleaner is sucking the dirt up effectively, depends on numerous factors: the power of electric motor, the filtering mechanism, the air-tubing and all the different parts play a great role in effectiveness. An 1,600 Watts powered, well built vacuum cleaner can generate greater suction than a poorly built 2,000 Watts one.
Higher power vacuums are recommended for larger households or where pets reside inside the house.
It is important to mention that most vacuum cleaners packaging doesn’t show the suction power, but the motor power which can be a bit misleading. The true suction power however can be found in the user manual, and can be a good reference data to see the real performance of the vacuum cleaner.
The power of vacuum cleaner should also depend on the type of the floor. For cleaning the carpet higher suction power is needed than for cleaning flat floors.
We already know what features to look for in a vacuum cleaner to be able to suck the dirt up effectively, but it is also important to know that the air leaving the machine can contain some dirt particles which must be filtered for our own health’s sake. There are number of air-filter technologies built into the vacuum cleaners but the most effective and hygienic way is the so called HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtering. HEPA filters were developed for cleaning laboratory air in places where absolute cleanness was important. These air filters usually can be found in the back of the vacuum cleaner. There are two kinds of HEPA filters. One with a short lifespan and other with longer one. The long lifespan ones need regular cleaning (washing) and are usable usually for year and half or so. The short lifespan last regularly around 3 months, after that they are not safe to use anymore and should be replaced.
Aside HEPA there are other kinds of high quality air filters, so called S-class filters which are an improved version of HEPA filters. The quality gets classified on the scale of 1 to 13 where grade 1 means the highest quality.