Vacuum Buying Guide

Vacuums are essential tools for carpet care. However, they come in such a wide array of product lines and features that it can be difficult to determine the best vacuum cleaner for your home or business.

Types of vacuums


The original style of vacuum cleaner, the canister vacuum is made up of a can that houses the motor. The can is attached to a hose that carries the electricity to the brush head. Various attachments that are held on the canister can be attached to the hose to do various types of vacuuming.


The upright vacuum cleaner is an all-in-one machine. It houses the motor hose, and catch basin. The bottom of the upright is the brush head and motor, which vacuums most things. Various attachments can be put on the hose to vacuum in different ways.


Similar to the canister vacuum, the backpack vacuum cleaner is worn as a backpack. The backpack part houses the motor and catch basin, as well as accessories. From this backpack extends the hose which can be attached to a brush head or other attachment for vacuuming.


The most expensive variety of vacuum, the in-home vacuum cleaner is a motor housed usually in the laundry room or basement and multiple ports throughout the home where suction is provided. A hose and brush head are connect to a port to vacuum that area, and then are transported to the next port for the next section of the home. Other attachments often come with an in-home vacuum and are housed wherever the owner prefers to store them, such as in a drawer or where the hose is placed. Built for simplicity, this is also the lightest weight system as you only have to carry a hose and a brush head around, making the in-home system great for larger houses.

Pay Attention to

Air flow

By far the most important feature of a vacuum, air flow determines how well air flows across the surface to pick up debris and dirt. The more air flow a vacuum has the better the vacuum will be. Air flow is usually measured with no hose or attachment connected. There are several factors that can affect the air flow of a vacuum cleaner, including the hose and wands, increased resistance because of a full catch basin, and improper filter loading.


The more attachments you have for your vacuum cleaner, the more diversity of locations you can vacuum. The average number of attachments on a vacuum is two, but many vacuums have three or even four. The two most common attachments are a corner pipe and an upholstery brush.


Most vacuum cleaners nowadays have filters, but only fifty to sixty percent of those have a HEPA filter. This type of filter is the best quality available, and the better the filter the fewer allergens there will be in the air. Consider what makes your nose itch and your eyes water. The more things that cause these symptoms the more you will likely want a HEPA filter.


How the cord is stored is often a matter of annoyance to owners. Many vacuums have you simply wrap the cord over and over around the canister or between the hose and a hook on uprights. More and more are now going to retractable cords that store inside the base of the vacuum for easy storage and movement of the vacuum. If you have an in-home vacuum, you are lucky as there is no cord to worry about except the fixed cord that extends from the canister to the wall outlet.

Top Brands and Product Lines


For over a hundred years, Hoover has been producing vacuum cleaners that can be found all over the world. Having once had dominance over the vacuum market, they are slowly losing out to competition. While products sold by Hoover depend on the market they are sold in, the most popular vacuums in the United States include the Windtunnel bagless vacuum, which claims to get deep down to draw dirt out of your carpet and has an easy-clean reusable filter.

Dirt Devil

Founded in 1905, this is another company that has been around over a hundred years. Dirt Devil was the first company to build a patented cyclone system in 1955, and since then they have sold over twenty-five million of these vacuums. One of their products, the Quick Lite Plus, features a wider cleaning surface to vacuum in less time and a lightweight frame that makes it easier to carry upstairs and push around.


A newer company, Dyson was founded in 1993. Dyson vacuums use cyclonic separation to remove debris and dirt from the air. Centrifugal force pushes the debris and dirt against the wall of the cylinder, where they can then fall into the catch basin. All Dyson vacuum cleaner models are labelled with a number after ???DC??? such as in DC24, with additional information to follow this combination of letters and numbers. For example, one product Dyson makes is the DC50 Ball Compact Animal Upright, the lightest weight upright vacuum they make. Its cleaner head self-adjusts for the best contact, and it rides on a ball instead of fixed wheels to overcome steering problems.