A good vacuum cleaner is an investment that will make it easy to keep your home clear of dirt and grit for years to come. And with most vacuums costing upwards of $200, it’s important to make sure you buy the right one the first time.
Consider these factors before you buy a vacuum:
1. The type of filter
There are three main types of vacuum filters: disposable, washable, and HEPA. Disposable filters need to be replaced every 3-4 uses, and this can be a significant extra cost. Most vacuum cleaners use washable filters, which should be washed every 3-4 uses.
HEPA filters are designed to catch extra-small particles and are particularly good for people with allergies. They are usually reusable and will have directions for washing and reuse on the packaging.
2. Bag or bagless
With a bag vacuum you need to throw out the bag after every use. Bagless vacuums usually have a cup that needs to be emptied after every use.
Bagless vacuums typically cost more up front, but when you weigh in the cost of buying new bags, the bag vacuum is often more expensive in the long run.
3. Cord vs. cordless
Modern society is obsessed with making all of our technology cordless, and cordless vacuums do provide some great advantages. They can easily be moved all over the house, and you don’t run the risk of tripping on or damaging the cord.
Unfortunately even the best cordless vacuum still can’t run for longer than 15 or 30 minutes at a time, and many take several hours to recharge. So a cordless vacuum is only ideal if you have a relatively small space or you’re using it for spot clean ups.
This is one thing most people don’t think about until they’ve already bought the machine and they realize it’s too big to move comfortably in their space or so small that it takes hours to get through the whole house. If you’re unusually short or tall you may also want to take note of the height, as you don’t want to be stooping or stretching while you clean.
You also want to consider the dimensions as it pertains to storage. Where do you plan to keep the vacuum between uses? Measure that space and make sure the vacuum you buy will actually fit.
Another big concern is how much the vacuum weighs, as many high-quality vacuum cleaners can weigh 20 pounds or more. This can seriously exacerbate any back or joint problems you might have, and even cause them if you’re not careful.
There are also many lightweight and even handheld vacuum models. These typically aren’t as good for deep carpet, but they work well on most other types of flooring.
If you have deep carpet and you’re worried about exacerbating back or joint problems, pay careful attention to how much motor power the vacuum has. The motor power pushes it forward; a vacuum with a good motor will do most of the work for you.
Finally, you must consider the cost. A vacuum cleaner can cost you anywhere from $100 to $1,000, so your job here is to create a budget and stick to it. At the very least, make sure you have a firm maximum amount in your head, and don’t let a salesperson convince you to splurge on something more expensive.
More expensive doesn’t always mean better quality, but as a general rule of thumb any vacuum sold for $200 or less will either do a bad job or break quickly. On the other hand, if you’re willing to invest $250 or more, you’ll end up with a great vacuum that lasts for years—maybe even decades.