Vacuum Buying Guide
Many criteria are to be taken into account to determine which is the best vacuum cleaner according to your need. Price, efficiency, ease of use, allergen filtration, motor endurance, reel, power consumption, and service life are important features. This guide aims to get you to ask the right questions to make your choice by being well informed. After all, you intend to keep your future vacuum cleaner for several years …
Here are the points to remember in your search.
1. What is your budget? General Buying Guide
To avoid wasting time comparing models that do not fit into your budget, set the maximum amount you want to put in your vacuum cleaner from the start. It is important to choose a model that offers good value for money. As with all purchases, a quality vacuum cleaner will generally cost more, but will often be more profitable in the long run.
2. What type of vacuum cleaner are you looking for?
The canister vacuums up the majority of sales in France. It is interesting to note that this choice is partly cultural, the Anglo-Saxon countries having a preference for broom vacuum cleaners. Sled vacuums must be pulled behind you when you move, but in return you have great maneuverability of the tip to suck the corners hard to reach.
A sub-category of sled vacuums is compact vacuum cleaners . These are small sled vacuum cleaners, which are lighter and easier to transport. Some are also equipped with a carrying strap, for putting on the shoulder or on the back on the stairs for example. The compact vacuum cleaners are practical for small areas (studio) or for houses with floors (duplex …). Their drawbacks are related to their small size: the tank capacity (bag or dust compartment) is logically reduced, and the engines are less powerful and often less enduring than for conventional sled vacuum cleaners.
The vacuum cleaners are pushing ahead. They can be interesting for people with back problems, provided they have only flat floors (no stairs for example). They are usually without wires, and equipped with a battery. Their engines are undersized compared to sled vacuum cleaners, and they are therefore reserved for small areas.
There are also other types of vacuum cleaners, which correspond to more specific applications and are treated for clarity in separate articles:
- The robot vacuums : this is a recent innovation. They move alone in your home.
- The central vacuum : the principle is to build a central stationary suction in his house, connected to an air pipe system. All that is required is to connect the suction hose to the suction ports distributed in the various rooms.
- The hand vacuums , or table vacuum cleaners : they allow to clean crumbs on a table, in a car, or clean pet hair on furniture.
- Vacuum cleaners bucket, commercial, industrial: which are adapted to specific needs and uses, and are rarely offered directly to the general public.
3. What suction efficiency?
Until recently, one of the best indicators of a vacuum cleaner’s performance was useful power . Expressed in watts, it should not be confused with the power consumption of the vacuum cleaner, which increases the electricity bill. At identical power consumption, vacuum cleaners with different efficiencies will not have the same suction power.
In summary, the old performance indicators, which are sometimes always provided by manufacturers, are:
- The useful power : it is between 150 W and 400 W in general. This is the product of the vacuum created by the vacuum cleaner and the air flow sucked in.
- The vacuum : this is the pressure difference that can be generated by the vacuum cleaner, and its ability to raise dust. It is important for carpets and rugs. Vacuum cleaner depressions range from 25 kPa (kilo Pascal) to 40 kPa.
- The rate : It represents the volume of air drawn in per second. It is important for hard floors. It varies between about 30 L / s and 50 L / s. In the technical instructions it is often expressed in dm 3 / s: this amounts to the same: 1 L / s = 1 dm 3 / s.
For the curious, you will find more detailed explanations in our article on the performance of a vacuum cleaner .
Today, things are much simpler thanks to a new European regulation that requires manufacturers to indicate in an energy label the following information:
- The energy efficiency of the vacuum cleaner, noted from A to G, which increases with the average dust removal efficiency, and decreases with the energy consumption. The best vacuums have the grade A.
- The annual consumption of electricity (which must therefore in all cases be less than 62 kWh).
- The sound level , in decibels (dB), which was already provided in general.
- The filtration level of the vacuum cleaner , noted from A to G. Vacuums equipped with HEPA filters and quality joints will tend to have a better rating on this point.
- The cleaning performance on carpets and rugs , noted from A to G. It must be at least 70%.
- The cleaning performance on hard floors , noted from A to G. It must be at least 95%.
The comparison of the different models is thus simplified by these notes which are the result of tests in conditions controlled by the regulation, and not simple commercial speeches.
4. Vacuum cleaner without bags or with bags?
This is one of the most important choices when buying a vacuum cleaner. The suction efficiency is not everything: it is also necessary that the vacuum cleaner retain most of the dust and debris sucked and do not reject them in the room!
Bag vacuums have long been the only choice and are the traditional models. Their operating principle is simple: disposable bags, paper or cloth for the latest, serve as filters and block the dust and debris sucked. Over time, these bags fill up and need to be replaced. The order of magnitude of the cost of replacing the bags is € 15 per year.
More recently, models of bagless vacuum cleaners have been introduced to the market. These vacuum cleaners use the cyclonic suction principle, which consists of creating a “cyclone” or air vortex that centrifugally sends the dust into the tank. When using the dust is trapped in this compartment, which once full can be removed, emptied, and then put back. A washable or replaceable fabric filter may in some cases complement the filtration system.
Experience and tests show that, in general, conventional bag models suck better and are cleaner. Indeed the bags once full can be discarded simply, while for bagless vacuum cleaners the emptying of the tank above the bin and its cleaning can redisperse some of the dust. The builders have, however, made notable progress in recent years.
To make it short:
- The vacuums with bags are preferred when you want to minimize your exposure to dust (in case of allergy for example), or limit the noise level. They come back a little more expensive to use (purchase of bags) and for brands or models unusual it can be difficult to find the right references of bags.
- The bagless vacuum cleaners do you do without filters, but are generally a little noisy, and you will be exposed to dust when emptying the dust compartment.
Whatever type of vacuum cleaner you choose, do not forget to look at the volume of the bag or dust tank. The smaller the volume, the more often you have to replace the bag or empty the tank. For a house or a large apartment this criterion is important.
5. Are you looking for a silent vacuum cleaner?
For your comfort, pay attention to the sound level announced by the manufacturer. The sound level is expressed in decibels (dB), a unit that expresses the power of sound.
The decibels follow a logarithmic scale, and an increase of 3dB corresponds to a doubling of the sound power. However, since the human ear “operates” also logarithmically, the discomfort felt is roughly proportional to the level of decibels.
The order of magnitude of the noise level for current vacuums is 65 dB at 85 dB, since bagless vacuum cleaners tend to be noisier. For vacuum cleaners equipped with a power variator the noise depends of course on the setting used. For information the noise begins to become painful beyond 80 dB. The quietest vacuums can go down to around 60 dB.
If you’re looking for a vacuum that does not make too much noise, check out our article to choose your silent vacuum cleaner .
6. Do I have to buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter?
In addition to the main filtering system (bag or cyclone), the vacuum cleaners are equipped with a motor front filter that protects the motor, and a filter after motor whose role is to block the carbon particles or material that can be rejected. by the engine. The filters used by the vacuum cleaners are nevertheless not perfect: they stop the big dust but let pass some small dust (a few microns). Many vacuum cleaners also include HEPA ( High Efficiency Particulate Air ) filters in their filtration system.
HEPA filters are very interesting for people with allergies or asthma because they trap small particles (pollen, dust mites) that get through the main filter.
However, they do not guarantee that no dust will be released, as there may be leaks in the body of the vacuum cleaner. So beware of cheap HEPA vacuums.
The energy label has the advantage of mentioning the actual filtration level of the vacuum cleaner, in the form of a rating ranging from A for the best vacuum cleaners, to G for the worst. It is now very easy to compare the vacuum cleaners between them.
For more information, see the HEPA Vacuum Cleaner article .
The handiness of a vacuum cleaner is very important to avoid fatigue, various pains, and nervousness.
The wheels are the first point to watch. Make sure they are big enough and turn easily, especially if you have carpets or carpets. If this is not the case, you must drag the vacuum behind you: your back will suffer, and the hose will be damaged quickly.
The weight of the vacuum cleaner will also affect the maneuverability. A heavier vacuum cleaner will be more difficult to move, and will be much less convenient to wear (in stairs for example). In addition, if you have to carry your vacuum, remember to check that it is provided with a carrying handle .
The power wire should be long enough (we recommend a minimum of 6 to 8 meters) to allow you to vacuum in a room without having to change the outlet. In the worst case you can always use an extension cord, but as much avoid it if possible.
The handle should preferably be telescopic handle, to fit your size (your back will thank you!) And easy storage. It can be plastic (the lightest) or aluminum or chromed steel (more resistant). The hose can be equipped with metal rings that make it less fragile. A hose connection to the body of the 360 ° swivel unit is a plus, it avoids turning the vacuum when you pull it.
Of rubbers on the periphery of your canister vacuum can prevent damage to furniture, walls and doors while traveling.
The controls , whether hand or foot, must be easily accessible and easy to use.
Finally, we recommend choosing a vacuum cleaner with a power variator : this will make its use much more convenient.
If your physical condition is not very good, or if you do not like to vacuum (no one will blame you!), It remains the solution of robot vacuum cleaners .
Whichever you choose, check the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations: which filters should be changed or washed, how often, etc.
8. Choice of accessories
Check that the accessories you need are supplied with the vacuum and quality. It is essential to have at least 3 suction heads: in addition to the main floor brush, you need a small nozzle for curtains and cushions, and a large nozzle for radiators, skirting boards, and other hard-to-reach places . Remember, the larger the main brush, the faster you’ll vacuum.
At the suction head, make sure that the grooves are not too wide and that the bristles are present on all four sides of the brush so as not to lose suction power.
The turbo brush , which is a spinning roller that winds through the intake airflow, and the electro-brush , which uses an electric motor, can be useful if you have pets. The bristles of these brushes rub carpet and carpets and allow to dislodge animal hair, hair, and other debris.
However, be careful because mechanical brushes can damage fragile floors such as parquet: if you have checked that a parquet brush is provided in the accessories, or that the turbo brush can be disabled.
9. Lifespan of a vacuum cleaner
The ranges change quickly, and it is difficult to predict the life of a recent model.
We advise you to rely on the warranty offered by the manufacturer , which is the best indicator of the reliability and the life of the vacuum cleaner. The guarantees offered range from 1 year to 5 years (for Dyson for example). Check what the warranty covers: it is better to have a warranty including parts and labor.
Also keep in mind that the seller may offer a larger warranty, as well as warranty extensions. We do not recommend accepting paid warranty extensions, which are often expensive and difficult to use in the event of a problem. Studies show that the majority of vacuum cleaner failures occur either quickly after purchase (the very first few months) or at the end of the device’s life (after 5 years). Warranty extensions are only profitable for the seller!
10. Think about spare parts
The availability of spare parts is a criterion often overlooked by buyers of vacuum cleaners, who prefer to focus on the brand (Dyson, Philips, Electrolux …), on the model and of course on the price. This oversight can be fraught with consequences.
Be very careful if you buy a vacuum cleaner of an unusual make or model, and check that you can easily find spare parts. Vacuums of the best brands are generally durable, but over time and normal use they degrade and some of their elements need to be replaced. For the most well-known brands, spare parts can be purchased directly from the internet, eliminating the problem.
That’s it, we hope that this vacuum cleaner buying guide will have given you clearer ideas about what makes a good vacuum cleaner. Feel free to browse the site to discover our selections of the best current vacuum cleaners.
Read more : Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair 2019