Vacuum Cleaner Buying

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Tips on Vacuum Cleaner Buying - you may first want to peruse our vacuum guide to get an idea of the many different kinds of vacuums (and see our article on canisters vs uprights).  If you already have an idea what kind of vacuum you want then you may wish to just jump in and learn some of the tips to making a great vacuum cleaner buy.
Doing your Due Diligence
Many manufacturers today develop appliances to fail over a calculated time period (this is called planned obsolescence).  This is a money-making proposition for the manufacturer as consumers are forced to purchase more often – they may feel they are getting a lower price up-front but they are actually paying over and over again as the products need to be replaced frequently.  In the market this can be seen by the large number of vacuum cleaner consumers complaining about shoddy workmanship and the very high failure rates of vacuums after only short periods of use.  How can you minimize your risk?
Avoid short warranties - One sign of possible planned obsolescence is a very short warranty period.  Many vacuum cleaners come with a 1-year warranty while others (typically more expensive and higher quality) have up to 6 or 7-year warranties.   But be sure to check on the warranties for motor, parts, and labor – these are sometimes different periods for a single machine (Miele often provides 1 year on the vacuum and 7 years on the motor for example). The longer the warranty, the better the return on your initial investment.

Read consumer reviews carefully - It is very important to read consumer reviews before making a purchase - these provide insights that you will not get from the manufacturer or seller.  Also be aware that some reviews are much more helpful than others.  Many a consumer touts the brilliance of their new machine shortly after their purchase. Guess what?  Most machines are not “planned” to fail immediately.  One must consider how long the reviewer has had the machine and also pay close attention to reviews that are updated over time. (They are not common but they do exist – a good place for these is Amazon, Walmart or sometimes Epinions).

Don’t fall for the marketing hype - Do not rely on the manufacturers marketing hype regarding the vacuum.  Most of us know this but still rely heavily on the product information given to us by the salesman, in the brochure, or on the website store.  Remember the purpose of this material is simply to get you to buy. 

Don’t buy cheap – An adage that is often true “You can’t afford to buy cheap”.  The cheap machines will typically fail quicker and thus need to be replaced more often.  This is a general observation and also a function of ones budget but consider "not buying cheap" if you can.

Try before you buy - If you are buying online you may not have this option but it you are buying in a store you should ask the salesperson to allow you to try the vacuum.  Most respectable stores will allow this and it can give you a good idea if the vacuum “feels right”, if there are annoyances that are going to cause you grief, and if it performs up to your expectations (to some extent).  The best vacuum cleaner is one you like and are comfortable with.  This will not provide you with much of an indication of the longevity of the machine however.

Maintenance - Ensure that your machine has readily available bags, belts, filters and other parts.  Also consider the cost of these items – especially bags and filters that may need to be replaced frequently.  Also, if possible, find a machine in which you can do some of the service work yourself (like changing the belt), as opposed to being at the mercy of an expensive technician.  Most machines will allow for some basic home maintenance.

Kick starting your purchase
To kick-start your vacuum purchase we have assembled a few great choices (in our opinion) for several of the different types of vacuum cleaners.  Depending on your needs there are many other quality vacuum cleaner choices as well:

Upright:  Hoover UH30010COM / Dyson DC25 All-Floors / Hoover U5140900
Canister:  Miele S4212 Neptune / Panasonic MC-CG885
Stick:   Miele S163 / Hoover Linx Cordless Stick / Electrolux Ergorapido
Handheld:  Black & Decker PHV1800 / Eureka 71B

With the hundreds of vacuum cleaner models available on the market today, making the best vacuum cleaner purchase for your home or office requires research.  Most consumers don’t have the time to sift though the mass of critical information online or in the stores. Vacuum Cleaner Advisor searches the Internet and compiles reliable, in-depth vacuum cleaner reviews and ratings, all in one place.  A good starting place are our vacuum rating tables:

Upright Vacuum Ratings
Canister Vacuum Ratings
Stick Vacuum Ratings
Handheld Vacuum Ratings
Steam Vacuum Ratings

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ImageNigel Russco has been writing for Vacuum Cleaner Advisor for years and has a background in business and engineering, as well as a keen interest in anything related to vacuum cleaners. Connect with Nigel on Google+


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