Maybe you’re moving into a new place, out on your own for the first time or once again. Perhaps the one you inherited from your parents finally stopped responding, or you simply don’t like the one you have. Whatever the back story, you’ve decided it’s time to get a new vacuum.
But which one? Or even more, what kind? You look at models at the stores and online, and the sheer scope of choices makes your head spin. Factoring in things like carpet and flooring choices, cleaning and maintenance, accessory options, physical accommodations, and of course cost, there’s a lot more riding on this issue than you originally thought.
Let’s simplify this decision by identifying the five most common types of vacuums. We will consider each of their pros and cons to help you determine what kind of vacuum is best for your household.
Canister Vacuum Cleaners
These are popular cleaners, ranging from $100 to $800 and weighing in around 8 to 14 pounds. The main power and dust collection rests in a housing on wheels that follows you around as you deftly maneuver the head, wand, handle and flexible tube.
- Pros: Since the bulky motor and collector are kept in the housing, the head is usually thin, light, easily maneuverable – and interchangeable. You can detach the head and replace it with different accessories for other tasks or areas of the home. The main head itself can reach under furniture and light enough to clean up stairs and steps. Depending on the length of flexible hose and wand, a canister vacuum can easily reach high areas like vaulted ceilings.
- Cons: You’ll be doing a lot of bending over to change out the bag or bin. Often the power button is located on the canister, not the head, which means more stooping. Most accessories do not fit on the canister, so they must be stored elsewhere until you need them, discouraging use. Hoses and wands could get tangled up if you’re not careful.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Upright vacuum cleaners are even more popular than canisters vacuum cleaners, typically standing right in the same range of cost ($100 to $800) and weight (8-14 pounds). Uprights keep their motor in the head, with a bag or bin resting along the stalk. They often have a brush and beater bar spinning in the head to shake loose and sweep up debris into the suction.
- Pros: Very little stooping over, so your back is saved. All the power is right near the carpet, not a length of hose away. Most current models have a way to transition between different types or floors and carpet – including hardwood and linoleum floors – by adjusting the height of the bar and wheels. Many keep their accessories snapped to the body of the upright for easy switching. Though many still use bags, the bagless (or bin) option is gaining popularity.
- Cons: All the weight is in the head. It can be difficult to maneuver and lift, especially when dealing with stairs. Due to the motor being in the head, it doesn’t reach under furniture that well, so it’s better suited for wide open spaces. Though the weight can make controlling it cumbersome, many models incorporate a drive-assist option to provide ease.
Stick Vacuum Cleaners
These are mini-upright vacuums, weighing in at 5-10 pounds and sold without most attachment options, reducing the cost to less than $400 in many cases. They are much lighter and thinner than upright vacuums and many are now cordless, replacing the direct power with rechargeable batteries.
- Pros: The stick vacuum heavily slims down the head of the upright, making it a tremendously light appliance. This greatly increases portability, accessibility and maneuverability. They’re convenient for quick cleanups of spills and emergency dusting, and work as a great supporting cast for your main upright or canister vacuum. This comes in handy for smaller apartments or dormitories. Many models can break down to a handheld version for quick and simple tasks.
- Cons: The smaller design also means smaller amounts of power – both stored and suction power. The reduced performance might not be enough for heavy workloads, like large families. Lack of accessories means lack of optional cleaning capabilities. The smaller design might also mean less durability, where a regular upright can take a pounding.
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
You could liken these little guys to mini-canister types. They usually run about $20 to $200 and weigh around 5 pounds. Most versions are cordless, but you can find corded ones on the market with more power. This is a great supplement to your cleaning supplies.
- Pros: Small, easily useable – and not just for homes, but for cars and camping tents as well. Some versions offer wet-dry options, but still need to be cleaned out immediately after cleaning a wet spill to avoid mold or mildew buildup. They come apart easily to do just that.
- Cons: Not a lot of power, so consider the size of spill you are trying to clean up. This might be just enough to use as a regular vacuum in a small, single room, but not much more. Better to use this one as a spot cleaner.
Convertible Vacuum Cleaners
These cleaners are also referred to as 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 vacuum cleaners. They strive to incorporate multiple designs into one handy tool. For instance, many stick vacuums fall into this category, allowing removal of the handle and head to make it a handheld model. Other versions start as an upright vacuum that can convert into a canister vacuum, so you can better control the head.
- Pros: Multi-functional. One tool for many jobs. The Swiss Army Knife of vacuum cleaners.
- Cons: Many parts can be lost or broken, and it can be a bit time-consuming to “transform” the vacuum.
Robot Vacuum Cleaners
Ah, yes – automation. These automated vacuum cleaners are increasing in popularity, usually costing from $100 to $1500 and weighing less than 10 pounds. These little wonders rove around your house, sucking up dust and limited debris into an onboard bin, then return to their docking station for recharging. With some models, they empty their dustbins into the station’s receptacle while they’re plugged in.
- Pros: They do the work while you check Redding’s Upcoming Events website. Win-win. Higher-end models have sensors that detect furniture, others require a map. Many can clean both carpet and hardwood/linoleum floors. They’re cordless, so no tangle or tripping concerns. If you’re having trouble maintaining your weekly vacuum routine, this might be a very handy helper.
- Cons: Very limited suction power and collection storage. They might need supervision even though they are automated, since they cannot think for themselves. Not compatible with all carpet, like shag, but specifically works with low-pile types. Other accessories might be required – like a cat, camera and YouTube channel, for instance.
We certainly hope this narrows down the large list of vacuum cleaners, but also remember to consider where, when and how often you’ll be using your cleaner. What is the size of your home? What kind of flooring? Will pets or allergies be a factor? Answering these questions for your top vacuum candidates will narrow down the choices even further. And if you have any questions or concerns about what kind of vacuum is right for your home, please give us a call. We want to help you choose the right vacuum. It makes housecleaning easier for you every week, and easier for us to effectively clean your carpet twice a year.
- Posted by Rod Barth
- On September 12, 2019