- Small or large?
- Vacuum configuration types
- Suction power
- Vacuum bag - disposable or reusable?
- Additional Features
- Steam Vacuums
- Reverse airflow
- Power & turbo heads
- Specialised Pet Vacuums
- Shopping Checklist: Vacuum Cleaners
- FAQ - Vacuum Cleaners
- Jargon Busters: Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuum cleaners come in a variety of sizes, from small to large. What size do I need for my house?
Most vacuum cleaners are large enough to vacuum an entire house without needing to replace or refill the bag. The exception is handheld devices, which are designed to clean small isolated areas. You need to consider the available storage space in your home as some vacuum cleaners require more storage space than others. You can also buy models that are specifically designed for smaller apartments.
What different kinds of vacuum cleaners are there, and what do they do?
There are three main types of vacuum cleaner. Barrel vacuums are the short type on wheels that use a flexible hose. Upright vacuums are the traditional type with a broom-like handle. Handheld vacuums are the small, battery-operated type that can be carried around in one hand. All types are designed to suck up dust and debris from your home. They also share many of the same additional features, depending on the price of the model you buy.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of a barrel vacuum?
Barrel vacuums are popular due to their compact size and ability to clean in awkward areas. Because the vacuum head is attached to a long, flexible hose, they can fit into narrow spaces, such as between a fridge and a kitchen wall. Some barrel vacuums can clean up spilled liquids. Typically, a barrel vacuum will come with a variety of detachable heads for different cleaning tasks, which makes them even more versatile. One disadvantage of a barrel vacuum is that they are usually less powerful than upright vacuum cleaners. Some people also find them harder to operate.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of an upright vacuum?
Upright vacuums are often better than barrel models at cleaning ingrained dirt from carpets. The unit often contains rotating brushes which help to dislodge dust so it can be sucked up. Some people also find upright vacuums easier to operate because the unit can be steered around by the handle. (Barrel vacuums usually need to be dragged around behind you.) A disadvantage of upright vacuums is their inability to fit into narrow gaps and spaces while cleaning. Because they are attached to a broom-like handle, they also take up more space during storage.
Does the type of floor surface in my house matter?
The majority of vacuums on the market are capable of cleaning and operating on a variety of surface types. Many vacuum cleaners have adjustable head heights, which can be helpful if your house has different lengths of carpet in each room. This will also come in handy for cleaning tiled or wooden floors. If your home has many hard surfaces, it might be a good idea to get a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, which is capable of cleaning up spilled liquid. If your house has thick, shaggy carpets that regularly gather dust, make sure your vacuum has powerful suction, as well as a power head or rotating brushes.
What are power heads and turbo brushes? Do I need them?
Power heads and turbo brushes are specific types of vacuum heads that help to boost a vacuum cleaner's performance. A power head is a motorised brush that improves upon the removal of dust from carpets - the rotating brush creates additional friction and suction to dislodge ingrained dirt. A turbo brush is similar in concept, but is powered by the vacuum's airflow, rather than a separate motor. While generally less effective, it will still give better results than a standard vacuum head. Power heads and turbo brushes are effective tools for people with thick, stubborn carpets.
How often do I have to clean the bag?
This will depend on the size of the vacuum cleaner and whether it uses a reusable bag. Reusable bags need to be emptied into a bin when they have filled up with dust and debris. The time this takes will depend on how often you vacuum and how much dust your house typically collects. Disposable bags, on the other hand, can be discarded and replaced when they reach their maximum capacity. While they are arguably more convenient, they also require the purchase of replacements and are less environmentally friendly. Check which type of bag a vacuum model uses before making your purchase.
What is HEPA?
This is an international standard for a specific type of air filter capable of removing over 95% of airborne particles from the atmosphere. HEPA vacuum cleaners contain these filters and are designed for the above purpose. They remove pollen and other microscopic debris more effectively than a regular vacuum cleaner. HEPA vacuums are therefore very useful for people who suffer from asthma and other airborne allergies. Most vacuum cleaning manufacturers offer a range of HEPA models, which are always branded as such.