Home > How To... > How To Choose a Good Vacuum Cleaner #2

How to choose a good vacuum

Guide To Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

In order to make the right choice, these are the question you should ask your self when you are buying a new vacuum cleaner.

What size is your Home?
The first thing to consider when buying a vacuum cleaner is the size of your home. Some vacuums have bigger motor that are able to work for hour at a time whilst other vacuums can only work for as short as 10 minutes. If you choose the wrong vacuum for the size of your house you may end up with a vacuum that overheats and shuts down on you after 10 minutes of use, and when it shuts down it will only restart after half an hour to an hour.

What kind of flooring do you have in your home?

if your house is fully carpeted it is recommended to use a machine with a motorized head or an upright vacuum cleaner. This sort of vacuums will cut your cleaning time to half and will do a much better job at the same time!

If you have majority hard floors, you should get a vacuum with rubber wheels and a vacuum floor tool with soft bristles, if it has a bumper that doesn’t scratch skirting boards it could be a bonus. A canister type would be a better choice as uprights aren’t effective on hard surfaces.

If you have a mix of carpeting and wooden floors you will definitely need a canister vacuum cleaner which can go from carpeting to bare floors seamlessly.

Advantages of upright vacuum cleaners
Upright vacuum cleaners are easier and more compact to store in a closet. They often provide more suction power at a lower price than the canister vacuum cleaners, if mainly vacuuming carpets. Its also more effective for pet hair pick up.

Disadvantages of upright vacuum cleaners.
Most are quite heavy to move around,. Most uprights do not have a fully sealed or post motor HEPA system. Most upright vacuums are not designed for easy efficient use of onboard tools.

Advantages of canister vacuum cleaners
The biggest advantages are that the canister vacuum cleaners allow for an easy shift from hard floors to carpets. Once placed in the middle of a room, they are much lighter to push around. Canister vacuum cleaners have on board tools, important if you are going to do a detailed cleaning. They are used for dusting furniture, vacuuming bathroom and kitchen tile floors, upholstery and car cleaning, computer equipment to name just a few of the applications for the tools.

Disadvantages of canister vacuum cleaners.
Some people are more used to an upright vacuum cleaner and see it as more convenient to store than a canister. Also, until you buy a full size canister, the power and effectiveness for basic carpet vacuuming tends to be less. If you just have carpets you may be happier with an upright vacuum cleaner.

Why is a HEPA vacuum cleaner is a useful tool for allergy and asthma sufferers?
The word "HEPA" stands for "high efficiency particulate air" and in order for a filter to be rated as HEPA it must retain all particles 0.3 microns in size or larger at an efficiency level of 99.97%. The most common airborne particles are about 2.4 microns but the average vacuum cleaner only vacuums up particles from 30 to 50 microns in size, blowing the rest of the allergens back into the air. The most harmful sized particulates are about 0.3 microns in size.

HEPA vacuum cleaners will only do part of the job needed by an allergy sufferer in order to keep their environment clean. A HEPA air cleaner tends to draw towards its filter those allergens which are already air borne. On the other hand its important to have a vacuum cleaner that will draw the dirt from your carpets in the firs place. This is where vacuum cleaners with power heads come in. they will clean up to 50% more dirt from carpets than normal canister vacuum cleaners, therefore there is no use having a vacuum with a HEPA filter if id doesn’t pick up the dust in the first palace. And there is no use having a machine that will pick up all the dirt in the world from your floor but doesn’t have a HEPA filter that will stop that dust from coming out from the vacuum cleaner.

The solution is; you need to have both a power head vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

Would a built in ducted vacuum system be the best solution for an allergy sufferer?
With a built in vacuum cleaner there is no possibility that allergens can be exhausted back into the room, making it unequivocally the vacuum cleaning method of choice for an allergy sufferer. Since they are stationary they often have more powerful motors than portable vacuum cleaners. Dirt is either collected in a container usually located in a garage or directly outside the house. The connection hoses for central vacuums have become lighter and easier to manipulate in recent years. However, the biggest disadvantage of central vacuums is they do not have any onboard tools and you need to carry them separately and the hose is very long so its heavy to move around the house. They are also more expensive to install, requiring at least a half day of professional installer time. As with all product choices, there are tradeoffs to be considered.

Features to check out before you purchase a vacuum cleaner.

1. Completely Sealed HEPA System
The HEPA filter needs to be positioned post motor so as to ensure the exhaust is emitting allergen free air. This post motor feature is currently only available in canister vacuums. The bag and motor components need to be completely sealed by rubber gaskets so that there is no leakage of dust filled air. This is a "true HEPA" not a HEPA-like vacuum cleaner. Dust and allergens need go inside the vacuum and stay inside.

2.Two Fan suction motor
A two fan motor can pull in significantly more dirt and allergens than a single fan motor. The power of a vacuum is usually measured in air flow - cubic feet per minute residential use.

3.On board tool caddy
As mentioned before onboard tools are essential in our opinion. The key to good on board tools is how easily they can be changed on the fly. You should be able to change from the

4. Rotating Power Heads (canisters)
These are better for cleaning carpets. They can pick up to 50% more dirt from the carpets and therefore will pull out more dust mites and allergen as well as prolong the life of your carpet.

5. On board hose storage (uprights)
Storing onboard tools tends to be awkward at best in an upright vacuum cleaner.

6. On-off rotating brush (uprights)
Ability to switch from the carpet to bare floor at the touch of a switch.

7. Easy to use controls and on-off switch
All these controls should easy to reach and use.

8. Long flexible hose
Some hoses tend to twist and kink

9. Adjustable telescopic wand (canisters) Very important in assisting your ability to go seamlessly in adjusting the optimal distance in reaching high places, furniture or floors. The telescopic wand should adjust easily without having to fiddle with it.

10. Carpet height adjustment
Vacuuming different carpets- from deep pile Chinese carpets to a cotton rug needs the ability to adjust the controls at the touch of a switch or dial.

11. Easy maneuverability
Good quality big castor wheels increase maneuverability.

12.Swivel 360 degrees for hose and wheels (canister)
In order for machines to be easily maneuverable they need to have the ability of swiveling 360 degrees without moving the machine.

13.Attachments
At a minimum, a vacuum cleaner should have a dusting brush with soft bristles, upholstery, bare floor and crevice tools as the basics.

14. Long retractable cord (canister)
Good canister vacuum cleaners have automatic retractable cords which make for neater storage. 8 meters is a good minimum length.

15. Dust bag change indicator
We like to be reminded that a vacuum cleaner does not work effectively with an over-full bag, and can burn out.

16. Lightweight
No vacuum cleaner or other appliance will be used if it is too heavy. We have found most people are comfortable up to about 7 kg. Over that weight it will feel too heavy for a number of people, especially if you have to carry it up and downstairs.

17.Vareable Suction control
Suction control switches need to be available at finger tip control or by floor press controls, since vacuuming hard floors needs less suction than carpets. This is where canister vacuum cleaners excel.

18. Fan position
It is better design for the dirt to be vacuumed into the dust bag first before it hits the blower fan. This way exhausting allergens into the room is minimized. By no means are all vacuum cleaners built this way. Very often manufacturers have taken an existing design and just added a HEPA filter, but not positioning it in the optimal position.

19. Blower
It is useful to be able to attach the hose in such a way as to blow away dirt in hard to reach places. Allergy sufferers should only use this feature in emergencies as it stirs up dirt and allergens into the air.

20. Quiet
If you like to
vacuum late at night or after the children are in bed, noise level becomes important.

21. Bag savers and bagless vacuum cleaners
We do not on the whole recommend them for allergy sufferers, as you have to empty an unsealed container full of dirt and allergens. People like them as they save on the cost of vacuum cleaner bags and they like seeing the dirt getting "sucked up". If you insist on buying a vacuum cleaner with this feature get someone who does not suffer from allergies to empty it out for you.

22. Hygienic dust bags
Built in dust flaps which automatically close when you change a bag to prevent dust from escaping.

23. Warranty
Check the manufacturer's warranty period. You can get anywhere from a 1 to 5 year warranty on the motor and one year on other parts.

24. Commercial versus Residential Vacuum Cleaners
Commercial vacuum cleaners are built to withstand usage 7 hours a day five days a week. Residential users only use their vacuum cleaners 1 to 3 hours per week.