Shopping for an appliance is not fun. Some are expensive, many are complicated, and all of them are “utility” items–devices that serve a mundane purpose like heating our coffee or cleaning our dishes.
I’d rather be shopping for a new purse or a cute collar for my dog! Still, we need these machines to care for our home and environment.
Why a Vacuum?
Vacuums serve to clean the largest surface in our lives; our floors. We all know how dirty they get, as dirt is brought in on our feet, as food crumbs and pencil shavings get swept onto them from the counter, and as our animals (and we) shed our hair and dead skin cells.
I know, gross, but if you have the best vacuum cleaner on hand, you can have the cleanest floor surfaces around–along with wonderfully dust-free furniture and drapes too.
Every home is unique. Yours is no exception. Before running out and purchasing the highest rated or least expensive machine you can find, you need to consider what your specific requirements are for your living space. Just buying any old vacuum will eventually leave you disappointed as it won’t do all that you need it to. Here’s your complete guide on how to find a machine you’ll love for years.
Types of Cleaning Machines:
This is the first big decision you need to make. Although you might have a personal preference on the style of vacuum you want, be sure to consider all the different varieties available and what they have to offer. You never know which one is going to be ideal for your specific needs.
These are the most popular. They are simple to use (we are typically very familiar with them), come with a ton of options and offer us a huge selection to choose from. They are all powerful enough for thick carpets and transition easily enough to a variety of surfaces. Most come with a detachable hose and wand, along with a variety of attachments, that you can use on furniture, stairs, and drapery. There’s a reason why these are so popular! They can also be the heaviest of all the choices.
These make my mind flashback to the 60′s, although the more modern ones are well designed and very user friendly. These are geared toward smaller homes with tight areas to get to. Since you’re only using the wand and attachment to vacuum, you can vacuum anywhere–and hit areas an upright won’t fit into. They are also very lightweight. My favorite canister feature? Auto-retractable cords!
These little guys pack a powerful wallop when it comes to suction. Obviously, they are more utilitarian, for use in small apartments and vehicles. Not the greatest option for a 10,000 square foot home! Also, get ready to do “cleaning intervals” where you vacuum for 2 minutes and empty for 1! Most units are cordless so there’s never any need to deal with “spaghetti wire.”
Similar to handheld units, these work best in small apartments. Frequent emptying and not the most power, only consider this if you’re carpet-less, kid-less, and mansion-less.
These work great for busy folk that don’t have the time to always be cleaning. You can set up a schedule and it will clean while you’re away. This isn’t “set it and forget it” time unfortunately. The dust bin is usually very small and needs to be emptied after every single use. also, if you’ve got two stories, you’ll have to clean the stairs and upstairs floors with another machine.
Carpet Steam Cleaners
This is more of a supplemental machine if your carpets get heavily soiled frequently. Some work on tile and linoleum, too. As for the vacuuming ability of these units, the jury is still out.
Options For Specific Needs:
Besides choosing the correct vacuum machine for your home, you also need to decide first what you'll be using it for. Here are some options to look at. Take note of the ones that make you say, “I need that!”
Vacuums For Pet Hair
Some machines don’t do well with pet hair, so if you have a couple of shedding dogs and cats, a machine that excels with pet hair is critical. Some bagged units do especially poor in this area.
Vacuums For Hardwood Floors
The biggest option you need when it comes to cleaning hardwood is a Brush On/Off Feature. Some bristles are so coarse, they can scratch up your beautiful wood. A powerful wand tool is also a must for hardwood flooring. This is why lightweight canister vacuums are such a favorite when it comes to cleaning hardwood. Another popular option is to opt for a backpack vacuum cleaner.
Turbo and Turbine Tools
Consider these items if you’ve got thick, nappy carpets and rugs or a tough to clean floor surface. Some hardwoods and tile have a distressed nooks and crannies design that love to collect dirt. You may need that power to take care of the filth that gets trapped.
Variable Power Settings
I have a very delicate wool carpet in my living room. A normal vacuum would destroy it, so I needed a unit that had a gentle setting. Just like your clothes, rugs and carpets might need a “gentle” cycle to keep them looking new versus worn out.
Most vacuums come standard with these allergy-saving filters. If you’ve got an ultra sensitive nose, you may need to get the highest rated air filtering unit available.
Bagged vs. Bagless
Some prefer bagged as they don’t need to be emptied as often and tend to run quieter. Others prefer bagless because there’s nothing extra to purchase and they have better filtration.
Other features you might need would be telescoping wands to reach high corners for cobwebs, adjustable height units for different carpet thickness, and cord length for vacuuming larger rooms without having to replug.
Best Way to Get Started:
List out the top 5 features from the above list that are important to you. Next, number them from 1 to 5, with 1 being most important. Then, check out the claims each manufacturer makes regarding their vacuums.
Reviews vs Customer Feedback
Vacuum cleaner reviews are good, but they can sometimes be biased, which, regardless of actual performance, tend to be skewed. Customer feedback, on the other hand, are typically real, and that's why it's highly recommended that you read through online customer reviews, ratings, and feedback before making any decisions.
Keep in mind that instead of trying to find the most inexpensive vacuum simply to "get the job done", it's better to take the time and financial investment to purchase a machine you’ll love for years.