If you're not sure whether to go bagged or bagless, cylinder or upright, HEPA or charcoal, then you've come to the right place! Here's our easy no-nonsense guide to buying the right vacuum cleaner, handheld or floor cleaner.
If you tend to do your vacuuming whilst others are in bed, you may want to look for a quieter cleaner so that your not disturbing anyone. In general, cylinder cleaners tend to be quieter than uprights and the lower the power level, the quieter the cleaner.
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Types of Vacuum
Compact and suitable for carpets and hard floors, cylinder Vacuum are lighter than uprights, making them easier to use on stairs and ideal for getting into those hard to reach areas around the home. Key features of cylinder vacuums include;
- Easy to manoeuvre around the home, especially on stairs
- They take up less space so are easier to store
- The majority of cylinders have on board storage for the tools and accessories
deal for cleaning large carpeted areas, upright vacuums have an adjustable head height making them suitable for most carpet types. Key features of upright vacuums include;
- Easier to steer around the room
- The beater bar enhances the cleaning performance on carpeted floors
- Less bending down required, making them ideal for users with lower back pain
- Particularly good at removing pet hair
A bagged vacuum cleaner works in the traditional way of using a replaceable bag as a filter to trap dirt while allowing air to flow through the bag. Bags need to be replaced when they are full. Bagged vacuums have an adjustable head height making them suitable for most carpet types. Key features of upright vacuums include; are usually cheaper than bagless vacuums and have other advantages too including;
- Bagged cleaners are hygienic and do not expose you to dust when emptying, making them ideal for asthma and allergy sufferers
- Bagged vacuum cleaners are low maintenance, with little filter cleaning required
- Some bags are self-sealing, making disposal less messy as the dirt is contained within the bag
These days bagless cleaners are a much more popular choice than bagged. Bagless vacuum cleaners use filters to trap dirt and debris in a dirt cup or chamber that can then be emptied when full. Although the bagless technology makes the initial outlay more expensive, they can be cheaper in the long run as you don't need to keep buying bags. Other advantages of bagless cleaners include;
- Bagless vacuum cleaners don't require bags, which saves you time and money and is better for the environment
- With a bagless cleaner, it's easy to see when it's full, so you know exactly when to empty it to make sure no suction is lost
Washing machines with larger drum sizes often have special programmes designed to allow you to wash big, bulky items such as duvets. If you would like to use your washing machine to wash your duvet, it's best to buy one with a special duvet cycle, as a standard machine may not clean it effectively.
Another thing to consider before you make your purchase is the filter type fitted in your vacuum. All cleaners are fitted with a filtration system, but the filter type you choose may depend on your lifestyle or personal requirements.
There are several filter types available for you to consider;
HEPA (or High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are designed to reduce the number of microscopic allergens emitted after vacuuming. This results in a cleaner outflow of air that is particularly helpful for those users with asthma or similar respiratory problems. Thety are sometimes refered to as S-Class filters.
Vacuums fitted with standard filters are usually those at the lower end of the budget. The filter type will usually be listed as a filtration level. Filtration levels include the filter layers within the bag as well as the pre-motor filter and exhaust filter.
Lifetime filters will usually last the lifetime of the vacuum but do require cleaning and maintaining periodically.
Charcoal filters are usually fitted to vacuums which are designed for cleaning up after pets. The charcoal filter helps to reduce pet odours from the pet hair as the air runs through the filter.
There are a number of things you need to consider when purchasing a new vacuum.
Motor Wattage and Variable Power
Normally, the higher the wattage the more powerful the cleaner. Typically vacuums range between 1200W and 2400W. But it’s not just the wattage that impacts performance though. Airflow and the design of the machine help to improve the suction power as well. Upright cleaners tend to have a slightly lower wattage than cylinders as the beater bar brush makes a difference during the cleaning process. Some vacuums have variable power, which is very useful when cleaning curtains or rugs, as you can reduce the level of suction.
Not to be confused with power watts, air watts is a measurement of suction power. Typically vacuums range between 150 and 400 air watts, but not all models quote this figure.
Cord lengths vary from cleaner to cleaner but it's worth remembering that the longer the cord length, the more freedom you'll have to manoeuvre your vacuum around the house. Upright vacuums normally have a longer cord due to the cylinder storing the cord within the case.
Bin or bag capacities vary between models, from small 1.5 ltr machines to the larger 5 ltr vacuums. The simple rule to follow is, if you have large areas to vacuum, then you should choose a model with a larger capacity.
The weight of your cleaner is important to consider, especially if you are a less able person and find it difficult to move heavy objects around the home. Vacuum weights typically range from 4.8kg up to 11kg.
Tumble dryer - Vented or condenser?
Wet & Dry Cleaners
Sometimes refered to as 'tub cleaners',wet and dry cleaners are ideal for those who want to wash carpets and suck up spills as well as dry vacuum carpets or hard floors. They are usually a more robust machine with a larger dust capacity and are particularly good for cleaning the car.
If your home is fully carpeted, you may want to consider investing in a carpet washer. While dry vacuuming is ideal for removing the surface layer of day-to-day dust and dirt from your carpets, it won't remove the ground in dirt and grime that builds up over time. A carpet washer releases a mixture of cleaning solution and water into the carpet fibres, breaking down embedded dirt and debris within. A good quality carpet washer will deliver a professional cleaning performance without the hardship of bending and kneeling whilst cleaning.
Steam cleaners are a hygienic way to clean a multitude of surfaces around your home. They don't use detergents and are kind to the environment.
Handheld cleaners are small and light and have the benefit of being extremely portable. With a handheld vacuum, you can easily clean up messes or spills quickly and possibly save your carpet or furniture from damage.
Bissell 0844 8886 644
Bosch 0844 892 8979
Dyson 0800 298 0298
Electrolux 08445 614 614
Hoover 08444 995 599
Miele 0845 365 6600
Morphy Richards 0844 871 0960
Numatic 0146 026 9268
Samsung 0845 726 7864
Swan / JMB 01733 404709
Vax 0844 412 8455