When looking to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, it is very easy to become confused. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of different vacuum makes/models to choose from – and not too many honest reviews out there (we try to be the exception to that rule, btw). To help, we have put together this quick guide, with the hope that it makes it easier for you to choose the right vacuum cleaner for your situation.
Step 1 – Determine Your Price Level
Typically speaking, the price of a vacuum is a good indication of how good it is in terms of suction power, durability, filtration, etc. While some lower-end vacuums may have tremendous suction power, there are always some drawbacks/reasons why it is cheaper than the higher end models.
With that being said, no matter your price range you can find a good vacuum cleaner without having to break your bank. Vacuums can be found in a variety of price ranges, but we like to break them down into the following categories:
< £50 Vacuums – Machines in this category may do a good job, may have good suction power, but typically the ‘extras’ are going to be minimal. The extension hoses may be shorter or harder to use, the filtration may not be True HEPA or the filters may need to be replaced frequently (adding costs), and over time these vacuums usually won’t last as long as their more expensive cousins. However, if you rent your apartment/home or will just need to use the vacuum infrequently then you may want to save some money, as their are some decent models in this price range (but only a few).
£50 – £99 Vacuums – These are your ‘value’ or ‘bang for your buck’ cleaners, and we typically recommend at least going with this level of vacuum cleaner. There are some recent entries into this category (Shark is the most notable) that have shook things up quite a bit and have pushed other manufacturers to compete. No, these won’t be top of the line machines, but you can find a handful of them that do an excellent job. Even if you rent a home, we would recommend at least this level, and if you own your home then we wouldn’t go any lower than this. A good option might also be the Hetty hoover, which fits within this limit and offers brilliant performance.
£100 – £249 Vacuums – Believe it or not, but this is your ‘mid-level’ vacuum cleaner. Dyson is the most common manufacturer in this range, but you also find the higher end models from traditional companies (Hoover, Oreck, Bissell, Electrolux, etc.) along with some more base models from high-end manufacturers (Miele, Sebo, etc.). You can find some really good cleaners in this range, with both really good suction power, and great filtration. Where you will lack will be longevity – these won’t be forever vacuums typically (there are some exceptions to this however, mainly with the more commercial type of cleaners).
High-End Vacuums (£250+) – These are the Mercedes of vacuum cleaners (and in fact, many are German made). You can expect top of the line care for any situation in this price range (as you should). The best suction, best filtration, and machines tested to last 20+ years are some factors you should look for in this category. If you own your own home and want your carpet and vacuum cleaner to last forever, then this is what you will need to spend.
Step 2 – Determine your Cleaning Environment
Do you have a lot of hard wood floors, expensive rugs and upholstery, or do you mainly just have carpet that needs to be vacuumed? What type of foot traffic will you have clean up after?
You need to ask questions like this and determine if you need a flexible vacuum (one that can clean everything from hardwood to rugs to thick carpet), or just a strong one for your carpeting. If you have a high traffic home (kids, pets,etc), you will need a powerful cleaner that has the ability to get deep down into your carpets and get out all the dust/debris possible.
Step 3 – Determine What Type Needed / Wanted
Your next step will be to determine if you need/want an upright vacuum or a canister. There really isn’t one that is ‘best’ – it really depends on your needs and situation.
Canister Vacuums – These are the traditional vacuums of Europe (minus the UK). Canisters are great for both hard floor surfaces and carpets, but you need to make sure you have the right accessories. Because a canister utilises a hose and wand attached to the body, you need to make sure you have the correct hose and the correct wand. There are three main types:
Revolving Electric Power head – this nozzle is powered, much like what you find in upright vacuum cleaners, and will be required if you really want to clean carpets well.
Turbo power head – this nozzle is powered, but not by electricity. Instead, it is powered by the airflow created by the vacuum cleaner, and is to only be used on lower-medium pile carpets.
Straight Suction head – this nozzle doesn’t have any type of brush. While not effective on normal carpets, they are great for hard floor surfaces and delicate rugs/carpeting.
Essentially, if you have a lot of hardwood floors, rugs, and carpeting then you may want to consider a canister vacuum, as they are by far the most versatile type of vacuum you can buy.
Upright Vacuums – These are the traditional vacuums of the USA and UK. In the past, uprights were more limited – they didn’t have great accessories, their extension hoses were short, and they could not be used on hardwood floors easily. However, recently they have been ‘upgraded’ and may include functions like:
- Ability to turn off the roller brush (a must for hardwood floor and delicate rug cleaning).
- Longer extension hoses with accessories specific for upholstery and stairs.
However, even with these features, an upright vacuum still won’t do as great of a job in versatile situations but will do a great job on carpets. If you mainly just need to vacuum carpets, then an upright is the way to go.
Step 4 – Filtration
No matter if you suffer from allergies or not, a vacuum that has good filtration and that is sealed is always a plus – you get a cleaner home that way. However, if you are someone who suffers from allergies or who is worried about airborne dust/particles, then you need to look for two things:
- A completely sealed system.
- True HEPA filtration
Step 5 – Performance
Obviously, you are going to want to purchase the best vacuum possible. We recommend taking into consideration suction power, ease of use, filtration, and durability when making this decision, and as such have based our individual vacuum reviews and rankings around these factors.