by Barbara T. Biehler
The best way to eliminate dust, dirt and pet hair from flooring and upholstery in your home is with a good vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners have been in use for well over 100 years and have since evolved into a whole host of advanced, multipurpose cleaning devices. With the wide variety of vacuum cleaners available on the market today, making some considerations before you buy will help you select the best vacuum cleaner for your particular cleaning needs.
Consider usage: Vacuum cleaners have the ability to clean many different types of surfaces in your home, including carpets, hardwood floors, stairs, even upholstery and draperies. Some vacuums also have special filtration systems that can eliminate allergens, like dust mites and pet dander, or common household odors. But since no one vacuum can do all things, check the features of any vacuum carefully to determine if it's the right vacuum cleaner for your home.
Go lightweight: Although many vacuums can perform multiple cleaning tasks, some models can be much heavier than others. Heavy vacuums are more difficult to maneuver and cause more fatigue from usage. Even self-propelled or cordless vacuum models can become cumbersome, particularly if you have to carry heavy cleaners up and down flights of stairs. Select the lightest vacuum cleaner possible to perform your cleaning tasks.
Bags or bagless: Vacuum cleaners with bags are easy to maintain because you can simply throw away the collected debris with the bags. Replacement bags, however, can be costly and occasionally discontinued with the vacuum model by the manufacturer. A bagless vacuum cleaner is generally less costly to maintain, but emptying collected debris can be messy and even redistribute some dust and dirt back into the air. Bagless vacuums also require filters that can be more expensive to replace than bags.
Upright or canister: Uprights and canisters are two of the most popular vacuums, and each has its advantages. Many upright vacuum models have a carpet-height adjustment system that allows them to thoroughly clean carpets of all thicknesses. Built-in bumper guards protect your furniture against damage from accidental bumps. Upright vacuum cleaners are also convenient to pull in and out of a storage space for quick clean-ups. Canister vacuums work well in homes with more than 50 percent hard-surface flooring and can switch directly from carpet to hard-floor cleaning. Canisters are generally lighter than uprights, and their long attachment hoses make it easier to clean stairs and hard-to-reach places. Because of their compact size, canister vacuum cleaners can be stored in many places an upright vacuum cannot.