From bagless to cordless, which vacuum cleaner will serve your needs best? this guide covers all the basics.

We use vacuum cleaners for multiple household chores including cleaning our carpets, floors, sofas, closest and our car interior. Vacuum cleaners have entered our lives in the mid-20th century and revolutionized the way we deal with dust, crumbs, and hair on our house and car carpets and other household furniture. I still remember how my father used to take out the vacuum clear outside to clean the car and the long extension cord he used to make it happen. 

Today we are faced with a large variety of vacuum cleaner and robot vacuums with different specifications suitable for different cleaning tasks depending on the type of surface, type of dirt we are trying to remove, the location of use, etc. A common mistake of many buyers is to focus on amperage or wattage however the amount of electricity your cleaner consumes says nothing about the suction strength. Thus, suction power is the most elementary parameter for a vacuum cleaner. 

Suction power is a measurement of pressure. The unit is used to describe the difference between the normal atmospheric pressure and the internal pressure of a vacuum cleaner and is usually described by either of the following parameters:

1. Airflow: Airflow (CFM) is one of the most common measures for suction power and it represents the power (difference in pressure) of the airflow, from the surface to the vacuum cleaner internal chamber or bag. CFM is the amount of air sucked by the unit in 1 minute, measured in cubic feet (ft3/min). Although it is important, manufacturers don’t always list this measurement. CFM takes into consideration both the motor power and the resistance of the exhaust system (filters, fans, bags, cyclones and so on). Thus, high CFM value is indicative of high suction power. Common vacuum cleaners operate in the range of 50 to 100 CFM.

2. Air Watts: An alternative measure for suction power also commonly used is Air Watts (AW). AW is a measure of Watts needed by the vacuum cleaner to move one unit of air through the vacuum's nozzle. This type of measurement is more relevant as it is a more consistent parameter that could be compared for different vacuum cleaners. A good rule of thumb is that you should have at least 100 AW for dust removal and at least 220 AW for pulling debris through the nozzle.

Neutrally, as for CFM, AW is highly dependent on the type of filtration system and dens filters e.g. HEPA requires more AW as they need to pull the air through the dense filter fibers.

What type of vacuum clear should I buy? 

To date, there are several types of vacuum cleaner suitable for different tasks. Here I will shortly survey the relevant consideration for choosing the right vacuum cleaner type based on their specifications.

Bagless upright vacuum 

If you are looking for a good basic all-around vacuum cleaner for rudimentary routine usage I will recommend a bagless, plug-in vacuum. A decent bagless upright vacuum in the range of 100-200$ should be a great fit for most households. This type should last for about five years before you will need to replace it even with regular maintenance. Relative to cordless vacuums, bagless upright vacuum cost roughly half as much, clean better (higher AW) and will last longer. Moreover, bagless upright vacuum tends to have better designed than similarly priced canister vacuums, and their operation and maintenance is easier than bagged vacuums, which also carry recurring costs.

Pro: relatively good quality on a budget, no recurring cost, should last up to five years

Con: If you have a small home with an easy floor layout Cordless vacuums and robot vacuums will be a better choice. No cords to unravel and to trample upon or get caught on corners.

Upright and canister vacuum 

If you wish to have a vacuum cleaner the will produce the best results that will last you for a long time and willing to spend more, this is the vacuum cleaner for you. Upright and canister vacuums tend to have the strongest motors and their tubing connection is tightly sealed coupled together with adjustable cleaning heads that can accommodate different types of carpets. The superior engineering of the type tends to produce the highest AW however, they require replacing the bags and filters occasionally depending on how heavily it is used. You can expect an Upright and canister vacuum to last for at least 10 years with easy and minimal maintenance. Due to its superior design, Upright and canister vacuum are especially suitable for people suffering from allergies and asthma.

Pro: last longer with superior performance. It is a good fit for people with pets and for people suffering from allergies and/or asthma.

Con: Additional running costs in the form of replacement bags and filters. The cord is a major drawback. You will need to unravel and you might trample upon it or it might get caught on corners.

Cordless vacuum 

Cordless vacuums came into our lives a couple of decades ago and the transformation in rechargeable batteries made this type of vacuum cleaners a game-changer. Naturally, the cordless vacuum is much easier for users as you don’t need to unravel the cord and look for a socket wherever you wish to clean. Moreover, they also to be lighter then plug-in vacuums, thus they can double as a handheld vacuum. These advantages relief multiple constraints making this type suitable for cleaning outside and cleaning your car.

Pro: easy and fast to use wherever you want

Con: even the strongest cordless vacuum cannot remove bigger debris and is no match for and affordable plug-in vacuum and they tend to cost more.

Robot vacuum 

Since autonomous robot vacuums have enters our life they have revolutionized how we keep our home tidy and clean. If you can spend a bit more on a robot vacuum you should definitely go for it. They are not the best performance vacuums but they will keep your floors tidy without hardly any effort and more importantly, they can achieve this even when you are away from home while you can't even hear than at work. If you have a pet at home you are familiar with the terrible notion that a few hours after you cleaned your house the hair, kibble and litter reappear. The robot never gives up and gets lazy thus can help you tidy up after you fairy housemates. All you will need to do to get it working is to hit start (or program a schedule), from time to time help your robot out of a jam and empty the dust bin. From time to time, you will need to attend to your robot and change filters but that it. Robots are not as strong as any other type of vacuums we surveyed above and they also unable to clean carpets with long fibers or anything that is not on the floor.

Pro: You don’t have to do anything, not even hear or see the robot at work and it will clean your house when you are away from home.

Con: even the strongest robot vacuum cannot remove bigger debris and is no match for and affordable plug-in vacuum and they tend to cost more. Moreover, if you decided to buy a robot vacuum you will probably need to buy a handheld vacuum to clean other items such as furniture and your car.

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