Vacuum cleaners are one of the most important pieces of household equipment that you can possibly have. It doesn’t just help you tidy up your home and make it a more homey, presentable space that is free from dirt and dust.
A good vacuum cleaner will also eliminate the harmful allergen, illness-causing bacteria, and other nasty threats to your health. And if there is one thing that 2021 has taught us, it is that you can never be too careful when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness.
How to choose the best vacuum cleaner in 2021
How Well Does It Perform?
Any vacuum cleaner worth its salt must perform excellently. Therefore, the first thing that you need to assess is how well it can clean your home.
There is one big problem when we buy vacuum cleaners online, though: it’s often very difficult to tell just how well a vacuum cleaner works before purchasing. After all, you only get to use it yourself once it has arrived at your door and already paid for.
To address this, there’s one good way to at least approximate how well a vacuum works. And that is to read reviews left by past users.
Their intimate experiences with the vacuum along with hindsight can tell you a lot about the vacuum cleaner.
While you’re reading reviews, try to learn more about how well it works on bare floors and carpeting. If your house is mostly composed of hardwood, choose one that has the highest ratings when it comes to hardwood performance.
Vice versa, if your house has a lot of carpeting and rugs, pick a vacuum with a strong brush roll that can dislodge debris easily from thick carpet piling.
If it is a pet vacuum that you’re searching for, delve deeper and find the best vacuum cleaners from pet owners. They can tell you how well it works against pet hair.
You can also learn a lot about the vacuum’s design, ease of use, and different features in this manner.
Nonetheless, customer reviews are mostly anecdotal.
If you want scientific performance tests, try to search for the model on TheKingLive. All of the vacuum cleaners appearing on the site have been tested at performance labs. So, for each vacuum, you will be able to learn exactly — in accurate numbers — just how well it works in reality.
For example, you can learn how many percent of pet hair can the vacuum clean on bare floors and how many on carpeting. What the suction strength is like when measured using an anemometer, so on and so forth.
Top-rated vacuum cleaners come in all shapes and sizes (quite literally). Here are a few things that you should take note of when it comes to design.
Bagged vs. Bagless
When a bagged vacuum sucks in any kind of dirt and debris, they are deposited into a sealed dust bag at the center of the vacuum. When the dust bag becomes full, you can detach the bag and dispose of the entire thing.
The advantage of this design is that it is very hygienic. Most disposable dust bags are completely sealed, so you won’t ever be directly exposed to their dirty contents. This is very important for allergy sufferers.
Of course, the disadvantage is cost. Because you have to replace the dust bag once every few weeks, it can run you quite a lot of money. Especially if you purchase high-quality dust bags, which can easily cost around $20 per bag replacement kit.
On the other hand, a bagless vacuum has a reusable dust cup, instead. When the cup becomes full of dirt and debris, you can just dump the contents of the cup into the trash can. Wash the cup, then replace it back into the vacuum, and you’re ready to vacuum again!
There’s no extra cost. However, because the cup has to be opened to dump the contents, you’re more likely to be exposed to the cup’s dirty contents.
Corded vs Cordless
Then there’s the eternal corded vs cordless debate.
A corded vacuum has a power plug. Plug it into your wall outlet and the vacuum can run for hours on end. Meanwhile, its cordless vacuum counterpart relies on an internal battery to operate.
There are pros and cons to each type.
With a corded vacuum, as long as the power cord is properly plugged in, you can operate the vacuum for however long you want. But the cord is also its limiting factor. You can never wander too far from a wall outlet. If you want to vacuum the attic, for example, and there’s no outlet up there or close by, you’re stuck.
That’s where a cordless vacuum comes in. With its in-built battery, the vacuum doesn’t require a power cord. You can bring it along with you anywhere and as long as there’s a charge in the battery, you can use it whenever and wherever.
Just like a corded vacuum whose limitation lies in its cord, a cordless vacuum is held back by its battery. If the vacuum runs out of battery, the vacuum is deadweight. So, in spite of its flexibility and technically unlimited cleaning radius, you have to keep the battery charged up at all times.
What to Choose Between Upright, Stick, Handheld, Canister, and Robot?
An upright vacuum is the most “traditional” type of vacuum cleaner out there. It is big, bulky, and often quite heavy. In return, most models offer excellent performance, a generous dust compartment, and are often affordably priced.
Due to their high cleaning power, upright vacuums come in highly recommended if you need something dependable for floor cleaning. Many uprights also make for excellent pet hair vacuum due to their high suction power.
If you need something lighter, more mobile, and compact than an upright, a stick vacuum will be a great alternative. They are designed to be as sleek and maneuverable as possible. Therefore, if you like to use a vacuum that won’t bog you down, a stick vacuum will have you covered.
They tend to be a little bit less powerful than full-size upright vacuums, but they are still highly capable. The best stick vacuums on the market can perform just as well as the best uprights out there.
Depending on the model, they are more expensive, too. But in certain cases like the Dyson V11, the higher price tag is due to the advanced technology packed into the vacuum. As a matter of fact, the most advanced vacuums like the V11 and the Tineco Pure ONE S12 are all stick vacuums.
This makes a stick vacuum a no-brainer if you want to live on the edge of tech.
There is also one other notable thing. The majority of stick vacuums these days are convertible or 2-in-1. Aside from the ordinary stick vacuum form, most models will also allow you to convert them into smaller handheld vacuum. Typically, this is done by removing the front suction wand portion.
As such, the value of a stick vacuum is better than others, too.
Handheld vacuums go a step further than even stick vacuums. This type is specifically designed to be as portable as possible. Consequently, most handhelds weigh less than 3 or 4 pounds. They are also so small, they can fit inside a cupboard with ease.
Of course, they’re usually not very powerful. And in the case of cordless handheld vacuums, the small battery doesn’t last long (only 10 minutes).
But if portability is a must-have for you, then a handheld will make for a nice purchase. It further helps that handhelds are usually very affordable. You can find plenty of good models in the $100 range.
Canister vacuums are also designed for mobility, but this one took a different approach than stick and handheld vacuums. Instead of making the vacuum smaller, a canister vacuum makes the weight of the vacuum more bearable, instead.
The full weight of a canister vacuum is about equal to that of an upright (10 – 15 pounds). However, the heaviest components are packed inside of a wheeled canister. Because you only have to drag the canister around rather than carry it, the weight isn’t a problem most of the time. You will only ever feel it when you have to bring the vacuum up and down the stairs.
The main downside of canister vacuums is cost. First off, most canister vacuums on the market these days are all bagged. You will have to spend money every couple of weeks to change out their dust bags.
Secondly, canister vacuums are quite pricey on their own. Take Miele canister vacuums, for example. The most affordable of their lineup (Miele Classic C1) can run you for around $300. At the same time, the most premium Mieles are around $1,000.
This segment is especially relevant in 2021.
Right now, good hygiene is at the top of everyone’s list everywhere. Your vacuum cleaner can help you with that using the integrated air filtering system on-board. The design of the air filtering system of each vacuum will be different. However, a good rule of thumb if air filtration is important to you is to find vacuums that come with HEPA filters.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. It is the most effective filtering technology bar none. In fact, hospitals use HEPA filters in isolation wards and other high-risk areas.
The main characteristic of a HEPA filter is that it has to be able to eliminate 99.97% of all particles in the 0.3-micron size range. This allows it to trap things as small as bacteria spores and viruses. HEPA filters have been found to be effective also against COVID-19.
Of course, if you have allergies, HEPA filters will also not have any problem at all arresting allergen and keeping you safe.
Though it may sound like a pricey feature, HEPA filters have become extremely cheap. You can find them in affordable models like the Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV360 that runs around $190 (you can find this model for as low as $99 on deals).
Most buying guides seem to treat accessories like an afterthought. However, these nifty little tools are going to play a very important role in your overall experience of using the chosen vacuum cleaner.
The selection of accompanying accessories will vary. But the vacuum should come with a floor cleaning tool. A powered turbo brush, for example, can make it easier for you to pick up pet hair from off the floor. Some vacuums will also have special floor tools with a soft-bristle brush to help you clean carpets and rugs.
Make your selection based on the predominant floor type in your home. Take into consideration what you often use the vacuum to clean, as well. Is it pet hair? Or is it large debris and dust?
You can often find all of the accessories and their functions inside of the vacuum’s user manual. Prior to purchase, find the user manual for the vacuum model you’re eyeing online.
Besides floor cleaning tools, a vacuum can also come with a few smaller tools. Crevice tool for you to clean cramped spaces, as an example. Or an upholstery tool to let you vacuum delicate surfaces like suede leather or draperies without damaging them.
Once again, write down all of the tasks that you often do with your vacuum cleaner. Figure out what are accessories that you want, and only then should you press the order button.
If the vacuum you want to buy doesn’t come with the accessory that you need, there’s still hope. Go on the website of the company and head on over to their online store. Most vacuum manufacturers sell a bunch of optional accessories. There’s a very good chance that you will be able to find the one you need there.
We hope this comprehensive guide on how to choose the best vacuum cleaner this year has given you a better idea of what to look for while shopping.