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Vacuum Guide

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Canister Vacuums

Many manufacturers make both upright and canister models (not to mention a host of other specialized vacuums).   Historically canister vacuums have been better for hard surfaces and tend to be quieter – although they tend to be slightly more expensive.  It is also easier to vacuum stairs with the canister vacuum, and due to their lower profile it is often easier to get under furniture.  The upright models have tended to be better at cleaning carpets, however.  Recently the distinction between the two types of vacuum cleaners has become more blurred as the manufacturers attempt to bridge the gap between each type's strengths and weaknesses.

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Canister Vacuums...

 

Upright Vacuums
 
Upright vacuums often have larger vacuum cleaner bags than canister vacuums. With an upright you are also not lugging the vacuum behind you and the they do tend to be better/easier when vacuuming large carpeted areas and hallways. However they often prove difficult when vacuuming stairs and with their upright profile it can be difficult getting under furniture.  

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Upright Vacuums...


 
HEPA Vacuums

What is a HEPA filter?  Well this item shows up in many discussions of vacuum cleaners and you have probably already read about these filters many a time.  HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and is a filter that removes 99.97% of all airborne particulates of 0.3 microns or larger that pass through it.  There are actually higher grade filters such as ULPA which stands for Ultra-Low Penetration Air and is a filter that removes 99.99% of particles 0.12 microns or larger.  Although we have not run into any domestic vacuum cleaners using this level of filtration.  When considering a HEPA vacuum cleaner it is important that the unit passes ALL intake air through the HEPA filter prior to exhausting it – otherwise particulate matter is bypassing the filter and being introduced back into the surrounding environment.  HEPA filtration is particularly popular with allergy sufferers.

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling HEPA Vacuums...

 

Bagged Vacuums

Bagged vacuum cleaners use a disposable bag to collect debris. When the bag is full it is removed, thrown away and replaced. There is a long standing debate about whether bagged or bagless vacuum cleaners are better.  It is typically easier to dispose of collected dirt and debris with a bagged vacuum cleaner. With a bagless vacuum cleaner it can be more of a chore to empty the dirt container (while keeping yourself and surroundings clean), however you do not have to purchase or toss away bags.

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Bagged Vacuums...

 

Bagless Vacuums

Bagless vacuum cleaners use a "dirt container" that is filled, emptied and re-used, as opposed to a disposable bag. There is a long standing debate about whether bagged or bagless vacuum cleaners are better.  It is typically easier to dispose of collected dirt and debris with a bagged vacuum cleaner, however these require the purchasing and "throwing away" of bags.  With a bagless vacuum cleaner it can be more of a chore to empty the dirt container (while keeping yourself and surroundings clean), however you do not have to purchase or toss away bags.  It should be noted however that bagless vacuums often have filters that need to be maintained or replaced and they rely on seals to prevent the dirt-container from leaking. 

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Bagless Vacuums...

 


Steam/Carpet Cleaners
 
These look like an upright and use steam and detergent to clean carpets.  They also have water tanks to hold the clean water and dirty water. These use rotating heads that “massage” the carpet and then use suction to lift out the dirty solution.  There are also hard surface steam cleaners - these do not use detergent but rather sanitize and clean the hard surface with 220 degrees F steam.  Some steam cleaners work both on hard floors and carpets.
According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Steam/Carpet Cleaners...

 

Stick/Broom Vacuums
 
These are essentially very thin and light upright vacuums and they do not have rollers or beater bars.  These are often cordless and bagless.  They are good for quick pickups and the design is such that you do not have to bend over (as with a handheld).  However they are not great on carpet and unlike larger uprights they are not as powerful and the dirt cup is smaller.

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Stick/Broom Vacuums...

 

Handheld Vacuums
 
These are typically for small cleanup jobs and are small, handheld, light and usually cordless.  Almost all of these are bagless and use a dirt cup.   However these are typically not very powerful and the dirt container is small.  They are not meant as a replacement for a full size vacuum cleaner.

According to Amazon these are the Bestselling Handheld Vacuums...

 

If you want to know what things to watch out for before making that vacuum cleaner purchase then read out Tips on Vacuum Cleaner Buying.

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About Me

Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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         VACUUM HELP CORNER

See our Vacuum Cleaner Ratings Table. It provides avg consumer ratings for ALL reviewed vacuums.

Vacuum won't turn on? No suction? Belt broke? See our comprehensive list of handy vacuum repair tips.

Should you buy a bagless or bagged vacuum?  Find out by reading Bagged or Bagless Vacuum?.

Which is better? A canister vacuum or an upright vacuum? Read Canister vs Upright.

Learn more about vacuum technology, allergen filters, carpet types, etc. See our Helpful Vacuum Websites List.

Kick-start your purchase by reading our 7 tips on Vacuum Cleaner Buying.

What is HEPA filtration? Do you need it? Read our HEPA filters article.

View our latest Vacuum Videos, and see top 10 upright and canister videos.

Got a Hoover Steam Vacuum? We have Hoover Steamvac Manuals.


Who makes the best Vacuum Cleaners?