Buying a New Vacuum Doesn’t Have to Suck!

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

My mom was loyal to a particular brand of vacuum cleaner; she never purchased any other kind. When I got my own place, Mom gave me a vacuum and of course, it was that same brand. It worked great and I used it for many years. When it broke and I had to face the vacuum marketplace myself, rather than take Mom’s brand loyalty at face value, I felt the need to see what else was available in the world of vacuums. I bought a different brand and it proved to be a huge mistake.

The vacuum I bought was clearly inferior and didn’t last long. Before I knew it, I was back in the market for a vacuum. The second time, while I still wasn’t willing to go with Mom’s brand, I did look for quality features that were lacking in my first purchase – and that meant a bigger investment. At least I had learned a valuable lesson about paying for quality.

Over the years, I’ve let each vacuum I’ve owned inform my next purchase. I consider what I liked and didn’t like about their performance, durability and usability – and buy the next one accordingly. I’ll share what I’ve learned the hard way to help you choose a great vacuum that will do its job effectively – and won’t need to be replaced very often.

Choosing a vacuum for your home

Type of vacuum
The most basic decision is between upright and canister models.

  • Upright vacuums are stand-up machines and are pushed. They’re best for use on synthetic fiber, wall-to-wall carpeting in homes without stairs.
  • Canister vacuums are pulled and are comprised of a hose, wands and a large variety of attachments which make them very maneuverable and versatile for handling a multitude of cleaning tasks.

Regardless of whether you choose an upright or canister, consider these factors:

Synthetic flooring is extremely durable and can withstand a powerful vacuum. Natural fibers require more gentle treatment.

Carpet soil and traffic
Most carpet soil has sharp edges that, when walked on, wears down carpet fibers. That’s why keeping carpets vacuumed will help avoid the establishment of visible traffic patterns. Carpets that get heavy traffic need vacuums with aggressive brushes with dense, stiff bristles as well as a beater bar function to extricate soil so it can be vacuumed up. As for pet hair, it can best be removed with a revolving brush with stiff, densely-packed bristles.

Vacuum power
For a machine powerful enough to be effective, look for vacuums with amp ratings between 10 and 12 amps or wattage ratings between 1200 and 1440 watts.

A high-filtration vacuum or one with a HEPA filter will remove fine particles which can cause allergies or asthma.

Evaluate a vacuum’s durability by looking for:

  • solid components
  • good fit and finish
  • smooth edges
  • heavy duty seals
  • solid feel when opening and closing components
  • length and specifics of its warranty

If your current vacuum presents cleaning obstacles (too heavy, bulky, lacks the right attachments, can’t reach where you need it to, difficult to maneuver, inconvenient to empty…) look for one that alleviates those problems.

This relates to how often you’ll need to empty the bag. If you’re a frequent, heavy vacuumer, a high capacity is convenient.

Evaluate what your vacuum needs to best handle your cleaning challenges. These are nice to have:

  • cord rewinder
  • a variety of speeds
  • on-board tool storage
  • length-adjustable wands
  • an appropriate selection of attachments to suit your home’s particular needs

Buying a vacuum for the right reasons will ensure your satisfaction for years to come!

What’s important in your vacuum?

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