Since a vacuum is an essential home appliance, it’s not deciding whether you need one that is the challenge, but more what type of vacuum is best for your particular need. While there are many types of vacuums on the market, it can be difficult to grasp the function or best use of each type before making that vacuum purchase.
When it comes to buying a secondary vacuum, exploring vacuum types becomes even more important to ensure the function meets the precise need. Prices are also influenced by vacuum type and this can be an important vacuum buying decision.
Compact and easy to move, handheld vacuums offer a way to quickly vacuum smaller areas without having to lug around a large machine. There are lightweight and cordless models that are designed for small clean-up jobs such as picking up lint or dirt from a sofa, or a dry cereal mess from the floor.
They are also very handy in craft rooms or around bust homes. Dirt is accumulated in a small removable receptacle and the unit sits on a charger ready for use when needed. The most practical units have wet and dry capabilities.
A little heavier in design are portable electric hand-held vacuums. With more suction power and a larger dirt receptacle, these are very handy for vacuuming the car, boat, stairs or furniture. Keep in mind that it can become tiring trying to vacuum several items with a hand-held vacuum and it’s best to keep this type for occasional use.
Stick Vacuums and Sweepers
Sweepers are much like the old carpet sweepers used decades ago, with the benefit of cordless convenience. Some models have a certain amount of suction making them ideal for either carpet or bare floors, while others operate solely on a brush-roll technology that scoops the dirt from a carpet into a small tray-like receptacle. Stick vacuums vary in function, power and suction capabilities and features.
These are ideally suited to cleaning head floors such as laminate flooring and tile, but today’s models have heads and switchable motor functions for carpet cleaning. Since they clean a small path, stick vacuums are impractical for large carpeted areas but will glide more easily over large areas of bare floors.
The general function of sweepers and stick vacuums is to provide a light-duty cleaning. If you don’t like to sweep with a broom or want a small, easy-to-store cleaning tool to do a quick clean-up, and economical stick vacuum or sweeper would be ideal.
These are not adequate for a deep-down carpet cleaning, but can be very practical for secondary vacuums and are compact to keep handy. They are also ideal for small apartments when a quick touch-up is needed between regular cleaning and where storage is limited.
With hands-free and battery power technology, robotic vacuums have gained popularity, especially with those that need time-saving appliances. You can generally program robot vacuums to clean even while you’re away or busy doing something else. They’re not cheap though, a good robotic vacuum is going to set you back £300 or more, which is considerable for a small vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum power is limited to sweeping and gathering surface dust and dirt. Mobility can be hampered by area rugs, obstacles or trailing curtain ties.
Basically, before sending out a robot vacuum, you need to make sure the area is clear of slippers, newspapers, toys or anything that can be lying around on the floor. If you don’t mind clearing the floors for this machine to move around freely, then it’s worth consideration. Some people have both a powerful corded upright and a robot vacuum to supplement hoovering between those big deep-clean days.
Upright vacuums were once designed for carpets only, but most upright models now have all-floor features. They’re easier on the back to operate because there is less bending, and they can usually perform most vacuum tasks with adequate suction power. When it comes to budget, upright vacuums are often more economical than canister vacuums. Most popular are the bagless models.
However, an upright can be more difficult due to the design to transfer to another level of the home, and vacuuming curtains, stairs or the car may be a problem unless the model has a comfortable wand with an extended reach and cord.
When choosing an upright for bare floors, look for features that denote soft brush bristles to reduce the risk of scratching bare floors. There are many upright models that include improved performance for pet hair removal as well as filtration features. Look for onboard accessories such as crevice tools, dusting and wand attachments.
Bag-less Canister Vacuums
This type of vacuum eliminates the need for a bag – simply empty the canister contents into a bin – and is suited to either carpets or bare laminate floors. However, performance is greatly improved on carpets if the canister unit has a power bar attachment.
Canister vacuums come in a wide range of prices from under one to several hundreds of dollars. They’re available in bag or bagless models with features that might include filtration enhancements and air purification technology. Manufacturers have been quick to meet the demand for more compact, easy to carry canister models.
Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaners
This versatile cleaning machine was reserved for commercial use only, but wet/dry vacuums are quickly gaining popularity for general home use due to their dual function. You can clean up after a flood or spill, vacuum gravel from the truck cab or clean carpet or bare floors.
They are rather economical for the function they provide, however, wet/dry vacuums are generally noisy, designed for rough use and surfaces and attachments are limited.
They don’t generally have good filtration features and will often return a certain amount of dust to the room. However, suction is usually very good and they’ll remove gravel from an entrance rug more quickly than other vacuums. With the increase in home use, some of the newer models now include quieter operation and assorted tank sizes. Some models require dust filters.
Central Vacuum System
Worth mentioning – Central vacuum systems are not necessarily more expensive than higher-end canister models, it’s the installation that increases the cost or can prove to be a challenge. Though not impossible to install after the home building is completed, it’s easier to include one in the building plans to avoid unnecessary renovations to install duct accessories later.
Once installed, central systems provide most vacuum functions with extended hoses that can reach a considerable area away from the wall connectors. Although the main unit is usually installed in the garage or basement, only the hose and attachments require storage in the main living area.
Good planning of the duct connector layout is necessary to ensure you can reach and vacuum every area of your home. For obvious reasons, central systems are not an option for apartment dwellers and are very rarely used in the UK.
Vacuum Type Conclusion & Other Considerations:
You first need to consider which floor type you primarily have before choosing a vacuum, Is your home carpet throughout, or mostly hardwood? Maybe you have a 50 / 50 mix of tile and carpet – then consider a machine that can handle them all.
If you’re building a home or doing extensive renovations, it may be wise to consider a central vacuum system.
Consider vacuum features such as attachments, filtration enhancements, air purification and bag/bagless, keeping in mind that adding features generally will increase the purchase price.
The heavier the vacuum, the more difficulty transferring it from level to level of your home. If you intend to have only one vacuum for multi-levels, choose a lightweight all-floors model.
It’s a good idea to note where bag or filter supplies can be purchased and consider warranty periods as well as proximity to service centres before deciding on a brand.
A vacuum is necessary for keeping your home clean and while sweepers may provide a quick surface cleaning, bare floors, as well as carpets, require regular vacuuming with enough suction to lift and remove dirt, dust, dander and debris from rug fibres, floor joints and crevices.
You also need to clean into corners, under and behind furniture, entrances and stairs, as well as reach the higher areas above curtain rods or the top of tall furniture items in order to do a thorough cleaning.