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Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Consumers today have such a wide variety of vacuum cleaners to choose from. They come in all shapes and sizes and perform an assortment of tasks. With so many options available, it is possible to find a machine that tailors to your specific needs, so this buying guide is here to help.

There are three main types of vacuums:

Handheld/ Stick Vacuum Cleaner

These vacuums are small, very lightweight and usually cordless. Designed to reach areas that a larger vacuum cannot, this type is ideal for frequent light cleaning. It is also a good choice if your home has several staircases. Unless these are corded, i.e. plugs into the mains, they are only suitable as a second vacuum cleaner, as you may find that the batteries run out before you finish a large cleaning job. Some models will come with attachments such as keyboard brushes etc.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Upright vacuums are ideal for cleaning carpets. They can be more powerful than cylinder vacuum cleaners but less versatile. They can be quite awkward to use for cleaning stairs, as you must lift the entire unit for every stair. But if the added power and performance an upright is more important than concerns about their weight, then this may be the right choice for you.

Cylinder Vacuum Cleaners

Cylinder vacuums consist of the cylinder portion, hose and wand, which bridge to the power nozzle. These vacuums often have less suction power than upright models, but are handy if you need a vacuum to do more than just clean carpets. They work very well on hardwood floors, stairs, drapes and ceilings.

Vacuum Features

In addition to being familiar with the different types of vacuums, there are also many features to consider before you make your purchase.

Body - Make sure that the vacuum you buy has a durable design. Most vacuums on the market today are made of durable metal or plastic that can handle bumps against the wall and years of cleaning.

Filtration - The filtration system for vacuum cleaners varies between machines. Machines that use a bag to collect dust have no filtration while others are sophisticated enough to filter out pollen and particles less that 100 microns. HEPA filters claim to capture 99.97% of all particles. If you suffer from allergies, you will definitely want to consider a vacuum with an advanced filtration system. These units generally cost more but are very effective in reducing allergen in your home.

Dust Containment - Not all vacuum machines come with changeable bags. In fact, many now have a simple compartment that be emptied directly into the bin. This is a good feature if you are likely to forget the change the vacuum bag. If you are looking for a vacuum with a bag, check to see if it has a 'Bag Full indicator', as not all do. Also, be sure to purchase whatever bags or belts your vacuum requires. Your vacuum will work most efficiently if it is well-maintained.

Cord length - Make sure that the vacuum you purchase comes with a cord long enough to vacuum a single room without switching outlets. Also check to see if the unit has automatic cord rewind, which makes things easier.

Brush Agitator - This is the roller with bristles underneath the machine spins when the vacuum is on. As these brushes spin on the carpet, they act as a beater, loosening and bringing dirt out of the carpet. Many high end vacuums allow you to switch the beater bar on and off depending on the floor type.

Suction Power - Vacuum cleaners have suction power ranging from 100 air watts and above. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the machine and the more effective it will be at cleaning. The efficiency of the suction power will also depend on the design of the cleaner. Upright vacuums are more powerful than cylinders. Many cleaners come with an adjustable power setting that enables you to set it in accordance with a particular surface.

Attachments - It is impossible to get into all the nooks and crannies of your house without the help of vacuum attachments. Many units come with a compartment that holds several attachments, while other models offer attachments as additional purchases. Available attachments normally include an edge cleaner, small brush, and narrow hose.

A very good vacuum can make your housework easier, maybe even enjoyable. Before clicking the 'add to basket' button, make sure you know not only what you need, but also what you want. There are so many to choose from, there is something to suit everyone.


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