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Vacuum Cleaners buying guide

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Introduction to vacuum cleaners

The modern vacuum cleaner has come a long way from the ones used even 20 years ago. No longer a heavy, bulky piece of machinery, vacuum cleaners are now available in lightweight models with high-tech features that weren’t even dreamed of by your parents’ generation. From a small Dustbuster or Dyson handheld to get those quick little spills to an automated Roomba that does the work for you, you can find a vacuum to fit any need.

The modern portable vacuum cleaner was invented in the early 1900s by James Murray Spangler, a cousin of William H. Hoover, who became founder and president of the Hoover Company. The original model more closely resembled a bagpipe than what today’s vacuum cleaners, but it worked. It was certainly a great improvement over previous versions that involved a horse-drawn apparatus that required feeding long hoses through clients’ windows. Around the same time, Melville Bissell invented a non-motorized carpet sweeper, launching the famous Bissell company still well-known for carpet cleaners today.

Another tremendous advancement is the availability of the home carpet washer. These steam cleaners help homeowners avoid having to hire bulky carpet washers to steam clean their own carpets, helping keep carpets looking nice between professional steam cleanings. The advent of the steam mop helps give a thorough, deep-down cleaning to tile flooring.

There are more brands and models than ever to choose from, and each has its own price tag associated with it. It pays to research your vacuum cleaner purchase carefully, as buying the wrong type will force you to replace the appliance more frequently. For example, unless you have very light use, you probably want to avoid the very cheapest models. If you have long-haired pets, make sure the model has plenty of access ports to remove clogged pet hair, or the motor will burn out.

Our buying guide will help you find a cheap vacuum cleaner perfect for your home or office. We have compared models and prices from stores all over the UK, helping you find exactly what you need at the price you want to pay.

Useful tips when buying a new vacuum cleaner

  • Consider the amount and type of your carpeting. Vacuum cleaners range from extremely affordable to several hundred pounds for a Dyson or other high-end models.
  • The more expensive models are well-made machines, designed to provide years of satisfactory use, but they are simply not worth the investment if you have limited vacuuming needs. If, however, you have a lot of carpeting, especially if it’s heavy, thick carpet, you might consider investing in a more expensive model. Even if you don’t choose an upper-end model, you need an upright vacuum to provide more suction.
  • Do you have pets? Do you have a lot of heavy vacuuming, such as children tracking in debris? Do your carpet fibres shed? If so, make sure you can easily clean out the hoses and other intake areas to avoid clogs. You may spend a little more money for these options, but it pays off by not having to replace the vacuum every couple of years. A popular cleaner for pets is the Dyson Animal.
  • Do you have any physical limitations? If you have weakness or arthritis in your hands and arms, a canister vac might provide an easier alternative than an upright, while still providing adequate suction power.
  • Are there allergy sufferers in your home? If there are, definitely buy a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filtration system. These filters help reduce allergens in your home, and the filters are usually long-lasting and easy to clean. HEPA filters can greatly increase the air quality, and many vacuum cleaner manufacturers offer them as a standard feature.
  • Do you need an ultra-quiet model? A recent study has shown that the majority of European consumers wish they’d considered the amount of noise their vacuum cleaner would generate before they purchased it. A traditional vacuum cleaner generates 80 decibels, but there are models that operate as low as 62 dB, which means the sound has been reduced by 75 per cent. With a quiet vacuum cleaner, you can vacuum at any time, including when family members are watching TV or even when your children are asleep.

There are four primary types of vacuum cleaners

  • Upright vacuum cleaners are usually heavier than other models, but they offer the most suction power. This variety is the most common in today’s homes. Upright vacuums are available in bagless styles or ones that require the use of vacuum bags. Many come with HEPA filters designed to help reduce dust and other allergens from being re-circulated back into your home. If you have long, thick carpeting, you probably need an upright vacuum cleaner.
  • Canister vacs give you the convenience of stick vacuums, but they have more suction. There are also professional models where the canister is worn on a backpack. Canister vacuums are ideal for vacuuming carpeted stairs because you don’t have to drag a heavy upright vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs. They are also good for people with reduced strength, because the sweeper portion of the vacuum cleaner is lightweight.
  • Stick vacuum cleaners, also known as broom vacuum cleaners, are lightweight but generally don’t provide as much suction power. If you have only a small amount of carpeting in your home, especially if it’s short pile like indoor-outdoor carpet, you may only need this type of vacuum.
  • Handheld vacuums, which may have electrical cords or rechargeable batteries, are designed for smaller jobs and occasional use. They are also good for vacuuming car interiors, couch cushions, and small dry spills on your work surfaces.
  • Robot vacuum cleaners provide gentle suction as they automatically circulate throughout your room. Other than emptying the dustbin daily, they are generally self-sufficient.

Vacuum cleaner brands

Although there are numerous vacuum cleaner brands in the UK, we have provided some information about the most common brands for your convenience.

  • Miele: Miele is a German manufacturer known for producing durable, high-quality vacuum cleaners. Founded more than 100 years ago, they remain a family owned and operated company, focused on quality and innovation. Although one of the more expensive models, they make excellent appliances.
  • Hoover: The Hoover Company was one of the originators of the modern vacuum cleaner, and they remain one of the most popular brands in the market (so much so that many people will say Hoover when they actually mean vacuum cleaner). Hoover manufactures high-quality, high-performance vacuum cleaners, providing reliable and innovative appliances. Their comprehensive range of products includes uprights and canisters, as well as steam cleaners and hard floor cleaners.
  • Dyson: Dyson is known for developing innovative, high-end vacuum cleaners. Their vacuums are very expensive, but the appliances are well-loved by their owners. The vacuum cleaners are durable and long-lasting, designed to maintain suction after years of use. A recent innovation is the Dyson Ball, which allows the vacuum cleaner to be turned more easily than traditional 4-wheeled models.
  • Bissell: Bissell is another company present at the creation of vacuum cleaners, and they have expanded beyond their original carpet sweeper to offer additional cleaning products. They were one of the first companies to offer carpet shampooers for home use, making deep cleaning accessible to everyone.
  • Electrolux: Electrolux is a global leader in home appliance sales, with more than 40 million products sold every year. They have a focus on environmental awareness, being awarded by the European Commission in honour of their efforts to increase energy efficiency. Electrolux appliances, including vacuum cleaners, are well-regarded throughout Europe for their high quality.
  • Henry: The most popular vacuum cleaner made by Numatic International Ltd. is the Henry. The vacuum is easily identifiable by its large, smiling face on the canister, with the vacuum cleaner hose forming Henry’s nose. Known for their ultra-reliable, effective functioning, as well as bringing a little fun to your chores, Henry is often seen in commercial applications, as well as home use.

Jargon Explained

HEPAThis is a filter used in vacuum cleaners that guarantees to trap airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns large, 99.97 per cent of the time.

Buying Guide to Vacuum Cleaners
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