Tips for Buying VacuumsVirtually all the visitors that tour our Home Appliances department in the Good Housekeeping Research Institute ask us about vacuum cleaners. They usually want to know which brands tests best, which pick up pet hair best, and what features they should look for when shopping for a new one. Here are the top tips I share with every GHRI visitor that asks me these questions:
Related: 4 Dirt-Sucking Vacuums
1. Determine whether you need an upright or a canister Both will be able to clean carpets and bare floors, so which configuration to choose is ultimately up to you. But keep in mind that uprights have a slight advantage if you have large areas of carpeting and your home is basically one floor. If you have bare floors and still want an upright, choose one with a switch to turn off the brush roll to keep debris from scattering as you vacuum. Canisters make quick work of vacuuming stairs, are easier to tote around if your home has multiple levels, and usually come with a long narrow brush attachment to do a better job cleaning bare floors.
2. Decide between bagged and bagless Here, too, both types clean well. If you absolutely hate shopping for and storing vacuum cleaner bags, consider a bagless model. Just remember that bagless units have dust receptacles that need to be emptied and cleaned frequently to keep suction at its peak. If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust, I would recommend selecting a model that uses a bag.
3. Shop where you can give vacuums a roadtest Taking a model for a spin before you buy is a good idea. Be sure to check its weight and maneuverability. Is it easy to push and carry? Examine the attachments and wands. Do they seem sturdy enough to withstand frequent use? Finally, try all switches and levers to make sure they are easy to access and adjust.
For more vacuum advice, read how you can keep your vacuum and carpets in tip-top shape.
What's your favorite kind of vacuum? Let me know in the comments!
- by Carolyn Forte
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