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How to Buy Vacuum Cleaners and the Best Ones to Buy This Year

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Are you tired of your old vacuum cleaner that’s more hassle than help? Or maybe you’re just ready for an upgrade to tackle those never-ending dust bunnies. Whether you’re dealing with pet hair, hardwood floors, or a mix of surfaces, choosing the right vacuum cleaner can make all the difference. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to buy vacuum cleaners and highlight the best models available this year that will make you feel like you’ve truly upgraded your cleaning game.

Why Upgrade Your Vacuum Cleaner?

When was the last time you actually felt satisfied with how clean your floors were after vacuuming? A new vacuum cleaner isn’t just about shiny new features—it’s about efficiency, ease of use, and getting the job done right. Modern vacuum cleaners come with advanced technology that can significantly reduce your cleaning time and effort. Let’s dive into how you can choose the right vacuum cleaner and explore some of the top models that are worth your investment.

How to Buy Vacuum Cleaners: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Determine Your Needs

Before you start browsing models, consider what you need from a vacuum cleaner. Different homes have different requirements, and the right vacuum can make all the difference in maintaining a clean and healthy living space. Ask yourself the following questions to determine your specific needs:

a. What Type of Flooring Do You Have?

Carpet:

  • Deep Cleaning: Carpets often require vacuums with strong suction and brush rolls that can agitate the fibers to lift dirt and debris effectively.
  • Adjustable Height: For homes with high-pile carpets, look for models with adjustable height settings to ensure the vacuum can clean deep without damaging the carpet.

Hardwood:

  • Soft Bristles or Pads: Hardwood floors need vacuums with soft bristles or microfiber pads that won’t scratch the surface.
  • Strong Suction: Ensure the vacuum has good suction without relying on the brush roll, as brushes can scatter debris on hard floors.

Tile:

  • Multi-Surface Capability: Vacuums that can transition smoothly between different surfaces, including tile, are ideal.
  • Sealed Suction: Look for vacuums with sealed suction systems to pick up fine dust and debris from tile grout.

Mixed Flooring:

  • Versatile Models: Homes with a mix of flooring types benefit from versatile vacuums that can adjust settings or have multiple attachments for different surfaces.
  • Brush Roll Control: Models that allow you to turn the brush roll on and off are perfect for switching between carpet and hard floors.

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b. Do You Have Pets?

Pet Hair:

  • Powerful Suction: Pet hair can be stubborn and requires strong suction to lift it from carpets and furniture.
  • Specialized Attachments: Look for vacuums with pet hair attachments, like rubberized bristles or motorized pet tools, designed to capture pet hair effectively.
  • Self-Cleaning Brush Roll: Some models come with self-cleaning brush rolls that prevent hair from wrapping around and clogging the brush.

Odor Control:

  • Charcoal Filters: Some vacuums include charcoal filters to help control pet odors.

c. Do You Suffer from Allergies?

HEPA Filters:

  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters: These filters trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, making them essential for allergy sufferers. They capture dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens.
  • Sealed Systems: Vacuums with sealed systems ensure that all the air passing through the vacuum goes through the HEPA filter, preventing any leakage of dust back into the air.

Bagged Models:

  • Less Exposure to Dust: Bagged vacuums tend to be better for allergy sufferers because changing a bag creates less exposure to dust compared to emptying a dustbin.

d. How Big Is Your Living Space?

Small Apartments:

  • Compact and Lightweight: For smaller spaces, look for compact, lightweight models that are easy to store and maneuver.
  • Cordless Options: Cordless vacuums can be especially convenient in small apartments where storage space is limited and outlets may be less accessible.

Large Homes:

  • Extended Reach: Larger homes might benefit from vacuums with long cords or extensive battery life in cordless models to cover more ground without frequent recharging or unplugging.
  • High-Capacity Dustbins or Bags: Larger homes generate more debris, so a vacuum with a high-capacity dustbin or bag will reduce the frequency of emptying.

Multi-Story Homes:

  • Portability: If you have multiple floors, consider lightweight vacuums that are easy to carry up and down stairs or have additional units for different floors.
  • Robotic Vacuums: As an extra helper, a robotic vacuum can maintain cleanliness on one floor while you handle more intensive cleaning elsewhere.

2. Types of Vacuum Cleaners

There are several types of vacuum cleaners, each designed for specific tasks. Understanding the different types can help you choose the best vacuum cleaner for your home and cleaning needs. Here’s a detailed overview:

a. Upright vacuums have a traditional, all-in-one design with the cleaning head, dustbin, and handle integrated into a single unit.  They are generally very powerful, making them great for deep cleaning carpets. The motor and brush roll work together to agitate and lift dirt from deep within carpet fibers.

  • Pros:
    • Effective on Carpets: Excellent at removing dirt, debris, and pet hair from carpets.
    • Wide Cleaning Path: Covers more ground in less time due to a wider cleaning path.
    • Onboard Attachments: They often come with onboard attachments like crevice tools, dusting brushes, and upholstery tools for versatile cleaning.
  • Cons:
    • Weight: Can be heavy and difficult to maneuver, especially up and down stairs.
    • Storage Space: Bulky and may require more storage space compared to other types.

Best for homes with extensive carpeting and those needing powerful suction for deep cleaning.

b. Canister vacuums have a separate unit (the canister) that houses the motor and dustbin, connected to the cleaning head by a flexible hose. They are highly versatile and suitable for both carpet and hard floors.

  • Pros:
    • Easy to Maneuver: The separate canister unit makes them lighter to push and pull around compared to upright vacuums.
    • Multi-Surface Cleaning: Can easily transition between different floor types, including carpets, hard floors, and stairs.
    • Flexible Hose: The flexible hose and various attachments make it easy to clean under furniture and in tight spaces.
  • Cons:
    • Storage: Requires more storage space due to the separate canister and hose.
    • Setup: Can be cumbersome to set up and move around, especially in small spaces.

It is best for homes with mixed flooring types and those needing flexibility and versatility in their vacuum.

c. Stick vacuums are lightweight, slim, and often cordless, designed for quick clean-ups. Their compact design makes them easy to store and use on the go.

  • Pros:
    • Lightweight: easy to carry and maneuver, making them perfect for quick clean-ups.
    • Convenient: Cordless models offer great convenience and are ideal for touch-ups.
    • Compact Storage: Takes up minimal storage space, often designed to hang on a wall mount.
  • Cons:
    • Less Powerful: They are generally less powerful than upright and canister vacuums, making them less suitable for deep cleaning.
    • Battery Life: Cordless models have limited battery life, which might not be sufficient for larger cleaning tasks.

Best for small apartments or homes with minimal carpeting for quick, everyday cleaning and maintenance.

d. Robotic vacuums are small, autonomous devices that clean floors on their own, following a programmed schedule or manual start. It is equipped with sensors and navigation technology to move around and clean the house.

  • Pros:
    • Hands-Free: Requires minimal effort from you; set it up and let it clean autonomously.
    • Scheduled Cleaning: Can be programmed to clean at specific times, maintaining cleanliness between deep cleans.
    • Compact: Their low profile allows them to clean under furniture and in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Cons:
    • Initial Cost: Can be expensive compared to traditional vacuums.
    • Maintenance: This requires regular emptying of the dustbin and cleaning of sensors and brushes.
    • Less Powerful: Not as powerful as traditional vacuums and may miss spots, requiring occasional manual intervention.

It is best for busy households that need regular maintenance cleaning and homes with hard floors or low-pile carpets.

e. Handheld vacuums are small, portable vacuums designed for quick clean-ups and tight spaces. It is easily handled and often cordless for added convenience.

  • Pros:
    • Portability: Extremely lightweight and easy to carry around.
    • Versatile: Perfect for cleaning cars, furniture, stairs, and small messes.
    • Compact Storage: It takes up very little storage space and can be kept handy for quick use.
  • Cons:
    • Limited Capacity: Small dustbins mean they need to be emptied frequently.
    • Less Powerful: Generally less powerful than full-sized vacuums, they are suitable only for small tasks.

Best for small jobs, such as cleaning car interiors or furniture for quick clean-ups of spills and pet hair on upholstery.

3. Key Features to Look For

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, pay attention to these important features:

a. Suction Power: Strong suction power is crucial for picking up dirt, dust, and debris effectively, especially from carpets and rugs where dirt can become embedded deep within fibers. A vacuum with high suction power will clean more thoroughly and quickly, reducing the time you need to spend cleaning.

    1. Power Rating: Check the vacuum’s power rating, typically measured in watts or air watts. Higher numbers usually indicate more powerful suction.
    2. Adjustable Suction: Some models offer adjustable suction settings, allowing you to lower the suction for delicate surfaces like drapes or increase it for deep cleaning carpets.

b. Filtration System: HEPA filters are great for allergy sufferers. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, making them ideal for allergy sufferers. They capture dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens, improving indoor air quality. HEPA filters can significantly reduce airborne irritants and allergens, providing a healthier environment, which is especially important for those with respiratory issues or allergies.

  • Other Filters:
    1. Pre-Motor and Post-Motor Filters: These filters protect the motor from dust and debris, ensuring longevity and consistent performance.
    2. Charcoal Filters: Used for odor control, these are beneficial in homes with pets or smokers.

c. Bagged vs. Bagless:

Bagged vacuums are more hygienic as the bags trap dust and debris securely, making disposal cleaner and reducing exposure to allergens.

  • Maintenance: Typically, filters require less maintenance as the bag itself acts as a filter.
  • Ongoing Cost: The need to purchase replacement bags adds to the ongoing cost.

Bagless vacuums eliminate the need for disposable bags, reducing waste and costss over time.

  • Convenience: You can see when the dustbin is full and empty it as needed.
  • Messy Disposal: Emptying the dustbin can be messier and expose you to dust and allergens.

d. Attachments: Tools like crevice tools, dusting brushes, and pet hair tools add versatility.

  1. Crevice Tool: For cleaning tight spaces and corners.
  2. Dusting Brush: for delicate surfaces like shelves and blinds.
  3. Upholstery Tool: For cleaning furniture and drapes.
  4. Pet Hair Tool: Specifically designed to remove pet hair from various surfaces.
  • Versatility:
    1. Multi-Use: A variety of attachments can make your vacuum more versatile, allowing you to clean different surfaces and hard-to-reach areas effectively.
    2. Storage: Consider models with onboard storage for attachments to keep them easily accessible.

e. Noise Level: If you live in an apartment or have young children or pets sensitive to noise, a quieter vacuum can be a better choice. Check the decibel rating of the vacuum. Models with a rating below 60 decibels are considered quiet.

  • Noise Reduction Features:
    1. Insulated Motors: Some vacuums have insulated motors and sound-dampening materials to reduce noise.
    2. Design: Certain designs are naturally quieter due to the way they are constructed.

f. Corded vs. Cordless:

Corded vacuums can run indefinitely as long as they are plugged in, making them suitable for extensive cleaning sessions.  They generally offer more consistent power and suction compared to cordless models. Mobility is limited by the length of the cord, requiring you to switch outlets in larger spaces.

Cordless vacuums offer greater mobility and ease of use, making them ideal for quick clean-ups and areas without easy access to power outlets. Limited by battery life, which can range from 20 minutes to over an hour depending on the model and usage. Consider the charging time and whether the vacuum has a removable battery for extended use.

4. Set a Budget

When shopping for a vacuum cleaner, it’s essential to set a budget that aligns with your needs and expectations. Vacuum cleaners can vary widely in price, from budget-friendly options to high-end models packed with features. Here’s how to navigate your options and determine the right budget for your purchase:

Budget-Friendly Options (Under $100)

These vacuums often focus on basic functionality, making them suitable for light cleaning tasks and smaller spaces. They may lack advanced features such as HEPA filters, multiple attachments, and powerful suction capabilities. They are ideal for those on a tight budget or needing a secondary vacuum for quick clean-ups. Typically smaller and easier to store, it is perfect for apartments or dorm rooms.

They may not be as durable or long-lasting as higher-end models. They are generally less powerful, making them less suitable for deep cleaning or large homes. It is best for small living spaces with minimal carpeting and light, occasional cleaning needs.

Mid-Range Options ($100 – $300)

Mid-range vacuums strike a balance between cost and features, offering better performance and more features than budget models. Includes a range of types, from upright to stick, and even some canister and robotic vacuums. They typically offer stronger suction and better cleaning capabilities. They often come with useful features such as HEPA filters, multiple attachments, and adjustable suction settings. More durable and reliable compared to budget models.

Higher initial investment than budget models, and while better than budget models, they might still lack some advanced features found in high-end models. They are best for average-sized homes with mixed flooring types and households with pets or mild allergies.

High-End Options ($300 and Up)

High-end vacuums offer the best performance, advanced features, and superior build quality. This often includes premium brands known for their durability and cutting-edge technology. Exceptional suction power is suitable for deep cleaning carpets and large homes. High-quality HEPA filters and sealed systems are ideal for allergy sufferers. Additional features include smart home integration, advanced sensors, and self-cleaning capabilities. And they are built to last with high-quality materials and robust construction.

Significant initial investment and more features can mean a steeper learning curve and more maintenance. It is best for large homes with heavy foot traffic and extensive carpeting, households with multiple pets or severe allergies, and those who value convenience and advanced technology in their cleaning routine.

Consider Long-Term Value

A higher initial investment in a durable, efficient vacuum can save money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs or replacements. Always check for comprehensive warranties that cover parts and labor, as these can provide peace of mind and additional value.

  • Filter Replacement: Consider the cost of replacement filters and bags (if applicable). HEPA filters and specialty bags can add to the long-term cost.
  • Repairs: Higher-end models might have more expensive parts, but they also tend to require fewer repairs due to better build quality.
  • Energy Consumption: More efficient models can save on electricity bills, especially important for households that vacuum frequently.
  • Cleaning Time: Efficient vacuums can reduce the time and effort required to clean, providing indirect cost savings through convenience and reduced wear and tear on the machine.

5. Read Reviews

Reading customer reviews and expert opinions is a crucial step before making any vacuum cleaner purchase. Reviews provide real-world insights into the performance, durability, and potential issues of the models you are considering. Here’s how to effectively use reviews to guide your decision:

Websites like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy feature extensive customer reviews for each product. Check the manufacturer’s site for detailed product information and user testimonials. Platforms like Consumer Reports and Wirecutter often provide in-depth reviews and comparisons.

What to Look For:

  • Overall Rating: Check the average rating, but dive deeper into individual reviews for a more comprehensive understanding.
  • Detailed Feedback: Look for reviews that mention specific aspects of the vacuum, such as suction power, ease of use, noise levels, and durability.
  • Pros and Cons: Pay attention to both the positive and negative feedback to get a balanced view.
  • Usage Context: Consider the context of the reviews. A vacuum that works well in a small apartment may not be as effective in a large house with pets.
  • Consistency: Consistent issues mentioned across multiple reviews can indicate potential problems with the model.
  • Recent Reviews: Focus on the most recent reviews to see if the manufacturer has addressed previous issues or made improvements.

Websites like Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, and Good Housekeeping provide expert reviews and comparisons. Tech-focused websites like CNET and TechRadar often review appliances, including vacuums. Video can also be reviewed, which can be particularly helpful to see the vacuum in action and get a visual sense of its performance and features.

What to Look For:

  • Comparative Analysis: Experts often compare different models, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Performance Tests: Look for reviews that include performance tests on various surfaces and in different conditions.
  • Long-Term Tests: Some experts provide insights based on long-term usage, which can reveal potential durability issues or maintenance needs.

6. Try Before You Buy

If possible, testing the vacuum cleaner in-store can provide invaluable insights into its usability and performance. Here’s what to consider when trying out a vacuum:

  • Lift and Carry: Lift the vacuum to see if you can comfortably carry it, especially if you have multiple floors in your home.
  • Push and Pull: Push and pull the vacuum across the store floor to get a sense of how easy it is to move.
  • Steering: Test the vacuum’s steering capability. Some models offer swivel steering, making it easier to navigate around furniture.
  • Height Adjustment: Check if the vacuum has an adjustable height setting for different carpet types and hard floors.
  • Multi-Surface Cleaning: Try switching between different surfaces, such as carpet and hard floors, to see how smoothly the vacuum transitions.
  • Brush Roll Control: If applicable, check how easy it is to turn the brush roll on and off for different floor types.
  • Attachment Handling: Attach and detach accessories to see how easy it is to use the vacuum’s various tools.
  • Cord Management: For corded models, test the cord length and rewind mechanism. For cordless, check the ease of charging and battery removal.
  • Noise Level: Turn the vacuum on and note the noise level. A quieter model might be preferred in households with young children or pets.
  • Handle Comfort: Hold the vacuum handle to see if it feels comfortable and ergonomic.
  • Controls: Test the location and ease of use of the vacuum’s controls, such as power switches and suction settings.

Customer Service

  • Don’t hesitate to ask store staff questions about the vacuum’s features, maintenance, and warranty. Request a demonstration if available to see the vacuum in action.
  • Check Returns: Make sure to understand the store’s return policy in case the vacuum doesn’t meet your expectations once you get it home.

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Best Vacuum Cleaners to Buy This Year

1. Dyson V15 Detect

The Dyson V15 Detect is one of the top models this year, known for its powerful suction and innovative features. With a laser that reveals microscopic dust and a sensor that adjusts suction power based on dust levels, this vacuum ensures a thorough clean every time.

Key Features:

  • Laser dust detection
  • Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) technology
  • High Torque cleaner head
  • Advanced HEPA filtration
  • Lightweight and cordless design

2. Shark Apex DuoClean with Zero-M

The Shark Apex DuoClean with Zero-M is a fantastic option for those dealing with pet hair. It features a dual-brush roll system that deep-cleans carpets and directly engages floors for a polished look.

Key Features:

  • DuoClean technology
  • Zero-M self-cleaning brush roll
  • Powered Lift-Away mode
  • HEPA filter with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal
  • LED headlights

3. Miele Complete C3 Marin

For those who prefer canister vacuums, the Miele Complete C3 Marin is a top choice. It’s known for its powerful suction and exceptional filtration, making it perfect for allergy sufferers.

Key Features:

  • Electrobrush with five height adjustments
  • Parquet Twister for smooth floors
  • Six-stage variable speed Miele-made Vortex motor
  • HEPA AirClean filter
  • Quiet operation

4. iRobot Roomba i7+

The iRobot Roomba i7+ is a game-changer for those who want a hands-free cleaning experience. It empties itself into a disposable bag that holds up to 60 days of debris, so you can forget about vacuuming for weeks.

Key Features:

  • Automatic dirt disposal
  • Smart mapping with Imprint Smart Mapping
  • Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
  • Dual multi-surface rubber brushes
  • High-efficiency filter

5. Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max

If you’re looking for a vacuum that can handle both wet and dry messes, the Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max is a great choice. It vacuums and washes floors at the same time, making it perfect for busy households.

Key Features:

  • Multi-surface cleaning
  • Two-tank system keeps clean and dirty water separate
  • Wi-Fi connected for smart features
  • Up to 30 minutes of cordless cleaning power
  • Self-cleaning cycle

Maintenance Tips for Your New Vacuum Cleaner

Once you’ve invested in a new vacuum cleaner, keeping it in good condition will ensure it performs well for years to come. Regular maintenance not only extends the life of your vacuum but also keeps your home cleaner and healthier. Here are some detailed maintenance tips:

1. Regularly Empty the Dustbin or Replace Bags

Dustbin (Bagless Models):

  • Empty Frequently: After every use, or at least once a week, empty the dustbin to maintain optimal suction power. Overfilled dustbins can reduce efficiency and cause the vacuum to overheat.
  • Clean the Dustbin: Periodically wash the dustbin with warm, soapy water. Make sure it’s completely dry before reassembling to avoid mold or mildew growth.

Bags (Bagged Models):

  • Check the Bag Regularly: Even if the bag isn’t full, check it every few uses. Replace it when it’s about two-thirds full to ensure the vacuum maintains strong suction.
  • Use Quality Bags: Invest in high-quality replacement bags recommended by the manufacturer to ensure compatibility and performance.

2. Clean or Replace Filters

  • HEPA Filters: These filters need regular attention to keep allergens out of your home. Most HEPA filters should be cleaned every three months and replaced every six months to a year, depending on usage and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Pre-Motor and Post-Motor Filters: These filters protect the motor from dust and debris. Clean them every month by rinsing with water (if washable) and allow them to dry completely before reinserting. Non-washable filters should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Charcoal Filters: Used for odor control, these filters should be replaced every six months.

3. Check for Blockages

  • Brush Rolls: Hair, strings, and other debris can get wrapped around the brush roll, reducing its effectiveness. Clean the brush roll at least once a month by cutting away entangled hair and debris with scissors.
  • Hoses and Attachments: Detach the hose and check for clogs. Use a long, flexible brush or a broom handle to clear any obstructions. Attachments like crevice tools and pet hair tools can also get clogged, so check them regularly.
  • Airways: Ensure all air pathways are clear to maintain maximum suction power. Use compressed air or a flexible brush to clean tight spaces.

4. Inspect the Brush Roll

  • Clean Regularly: Remove the brush roll from the vacuum and clean it thoroughly every few weeks. Remove any wrapped hair, threads, or debris.
  • Check for Wear and Tear: If the bristles on the brush roll are worn down or uneven, it’s time to replace the brush roll. A damaged brush roll can reduce cleaning effectiveness and even damage your floors.

5. Store Properly

  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Store your vacuum cleaner in a cool, dry place to prevent damage to plastic parts and motor components.
  • Upright Position: Store upright vacuums in their locked, upright position to avoid strain on the brush roll and motor.
  • Cord Management: If your vacuum has a cord, always wrap it neatly to avoid kinks and damage. For cordless models, make sure they’re stored on their charging base, if applicable, so they’re always ready to use.

6. Regular Maintenance Checks

  • Professional Servicing: Consider having your vacuum professionally serviced once a year. Technicians can perform a deep clean, replace worn parts, and ensure everything is functioning correctly.
  • User Manual: Always refer to your vacuum’s user manual for specific maintenance instructions and recommended service schedules. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines will help keep your vacuum in peak condition.

Conclusion

Upgrading your vacuum cleaner can transform your cleaning routine, making it quicker and more effective. By understanding how to buy vacuum cleaners and considering your specific needs, you can find a model that truly feels like an upgrade. This year, top models like the Dyson V15 Detect, Shark Apex DuoClean, Miele Complete C3 Marin, iRobot Roomba i7+, and Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max offer innovative features and powerful performance that cater to a variety of cleaning needs.

Investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner is a decision that pays off with a cleaner home and less time spent on chores. With advanced technology and thoughtful design, these top models ensure that your cleaning routine is efficient and even enjoyable. So, say goodbye to your old, underperforming vacuum and hello to a cleaner, fresher home with the right upgrade.

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