Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

There are so many types of vacuum cleaners available. How can you choose the right one?

First you need to look at your home, and then your preferences as well as your lifestyle. Let’s take a look in detail.

What’s Your Home Like

Next, it’s time to do an inventory of your house.

  • Do you have carpet or flat flooring?
  • If you have carpeting, how thick is the carpet.
  • Do you have stairs that you’ll need to vacuum.
  • Are there any rooms where you have to step down.

What Are Your Preferences

Do you like the idea of a robotic vacuum that just goes around regularly? Or do you enjoy pulling out the vacuum and humming a tune while you clean up? (hey, it could happen…I wear headphones and listen to audiobooks).

There are three main types of vacuums: canister, upright, and robotic. And of those, they are either bagless or require a bag. I haven’t seen a bagless canister vacuum, but am always on the lookout.

Canister

This is my husband’s favorite. And since he used to do all the vacuuming, I humored him. He felt that canister vacuums were more powerful and he liked being able to vacuum under things easily. He also felt that a canister vac was easier for vacuuming stairs.

Upright

The original vacuum is the upright. It’s fairly easy to maneuver the unit around. And newer upright vacuums have special wands that you can use for attachments to get into crevices or vacuuming your couch. Some people prefer the uprights because it’s easier to only have one unit to manage rather than the vacuum head and a long cord and the base canister to pull around.

I would consider stick vacuums to be like uprights in that it’s a self contained unit that you push around.  But they are more handheld if I’m being honest with myself.

Robotic

These are the new players on the block. It started with the iRobot’s Roomba and have expanded into quite a few options. You train the little vacuum where to go, and how often to clean. It’s like having magical elves that do all the work so you come home to a freshly vacuumed home.

Bag vs. bagless

Original vacuums always required a bag to capture the dust and debris.  Some people feel like it captures the dust and pollen better, and is more suitable for homes with people with allergies.  It’s recommended to take the vacuum outside when changing the bags so you don’t get the debris back into the house.

Bagless has you open up and remove a container which you then dump into the trash. Some dirt may sneak out, but I revacuum over where I was when I dumped the canister into the garbage.

Robotic vacuums have rather small containers. So if you have a lot of hair and debris, you’ll be cleaning it out frequently, and it may not be the best option.

What Is the Mess Level Like

While I hate putting it this way, it’s good to take a step back and look at your mess levels. Some places that are dry have high winds that blow sand and dirt everywhere. Other factors could include your house and how well it filters air. Older homes tend to be dustier than newer ones. I’m suspecting that windows and doors impact it as well as your HVAC systems.

You can evaluate how much dust accumulates by watching a flat surface. If it doesn’t get dusty quickly, then your house is doing a good job of filtering the air. Also some people use air purifiers. I have three Honeywell units around my home and it does help.  Since I have an older (vintage 1978) home with an older furnace and single pane windows, I get pretty dusty. The purifiers have helped tremendously in keeping down the dust and pollen.

Next, you should evaluate the hair levels. In my house, the three of us have long hair. And our two cats are semi-long hair. But it can get, pardon the pun, pretty hairy. I need to use something that can handle lots of hair and dust, plus is easy to use on stairs. And we have a step down living room. So we have a Kenmore canister and the Dyson DC-44 Animal Stick.

Now, a close friend has short hair, all wood floors, no stairs, and her Boxer is short hair. So she can get away with a robotic vacuum.

What do you think would be best in your home? Leave a comment as well as any questions.