Make a trip to your local appliance store and you will see a dizzying number and style of vacuums. How do you choose what will work best for you?
Nothing beats the upright vac when there are large expanses of carpet to be cleaned. The upright will have a roller bar with bristles to get deep down into your carpet fibers. There are drawbacks with an upright. It does not fit in tight spaces. An upright is not handy for vacuuming stairs. It is not great at hard surface floors. Some uprights come with attachments and a hose but it always seems to me that you don’t get very good suction when you use the hose. Then there is the question of price. You can spend anywhere from under $100 to over $1,000. Very confusing! Consumer Reports does a report on vacuum cleaners annually. One of their top choices every year is the Hoover Wind Tunnel upright. Check the internet for prices. You should be able to find one for between $200 and $300.
Canister vacuums sit low to the ground. They come with a hose and several handy attachments like a crevice tool, an upholstery brush and, often with a power head. The power head will do a nice job on carpeted floors. Since you can pull the canister behind you, it will easily transition to hard surface floors and upholstery. It will clean right up to the baseboards and flatten out to get under low furniture. A canister vac can clean the narrowest of spaces.
Some new homes come with a central vacuum system. This provides outlets just above floor height where you plug in a long flexible hose with a power head. The dirt and debris that is vacuumed up is deposited into a large container in the garage or basement to be emptied from time to time. I have always found these more cumbersome than I like.
Stick vacuums are a light weight alternative to a standard upright vac. They don’t do a very good job on carpeting but are okay on hard surfaces. You can now get cordless stick vacs. These will be good to pick up sudden spills or messes. The one drawback to a cordless vac is that the battery will normally run for somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. This means it might not be the solution for vacuuming the entire house at one time.
I think in most homes a good upright without any bells and whistles, combined with a small portable canister will do the job. The best small canister I have found is called the Portapower and is by Hoover. It has a shoulder strap for easy carrying. Its best feature is that it is almost exactly the width of an average stair tread.
You don’t have to spend a ton to get a perfectly good vacuum for your home. Or, rather than worry about a vacuum for your home, you might want to consider hiring Custom Maid to do your weekly or bi-weekly cleaning. We bring our own vacuums. Call us today at 499-8568.
Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in August 2013. We have edited it for accuracy, freshness and comprehensiveness.