Vacuum Buying Guide

1. Type

There are heaps of different types of vacuums, each with their advantages. The most common types are:

a) Barrel

Barrel vacuums are a great all-purpose machine. They are typically more compact making them great for homes with smaller storage spaces. They are also great for those awkward spaces as the stick is separate from the barrel. 

b) Upright

Typically, more suitable for cleaning carpets. They often perform great for pet hair and dirt in carpets. Given their nature they are great for people who don’t want to bend over when vacuuming as they can be steered with a handle. As you push these vacuums ahead of you instead of dragging behind you they can be easier to move around.

c) Stick

Stick vacuums tend to lack the power and function of a regular vacuum. Great for those simple in-between heavier clean jobs. They often are made from a handled and therefore are often a 2-in-1 vacuum.  

d) Robotic

These vacuums are the newest of all types. They are made for pure convenience and therefore are great for busy household. They run automatically in the background. However, they don’t tend to completely replace a normal vacuum as they lack the suction power.

e) Handheld

Handheld vacuums are perfect for those simple and easy jobs or for those hard to reach spaces. They are small and compact made to be held in one hand for easy mobility.  

2. Power and Suction

The correct way to measure the power suction of a vacuum is known as “AW” or “Air Watts”. The more the Air Watts the more powerful the suction on that unit is. As a general rule of thumb the power in Watts can represent the amount of Air Watts but not always. Some units will use lots of power but have low Air Watt values, this means the unit is not efficient and will use more energy for less suction.

3. Bag or Bagless

The great question, what is better, bag or bagless? Bagless is certainly more popular today, however both different types have their unique selling points.
Advantages of Bagless
- Don’t need to buy bags, meaning cheaper and more environmentally friendly
- Easy to see when the unit is getting full, often meaning you don’t lose suction

Disadvantages of Bagless
- Can be exposed to dust when emptying the vacuum
- May need to clean the filter

Advantages of Bagged
- More hygienic and better for people suffering from allergies
- Better filtration; typically, through the unit and through the bag again

Disadvantages of Bagged
- If no full bag indicator can often lose suction
- Need to pay for replacement bags  

4. Filtration

Many vacuums have some degree of filtration; most basic units have at least micro filters. However more advanced vacuums will have a HEPA filters, which is recommend if you have allergies or asthma.

HEPA Filter

HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air” filtration. It is the international standard for filters that trap tiny particles. In order to meet this standard, the filter must remove 99.97% of the particles. If you have people in your home that have allergies or asthma these filters are a must. Keep in mind you need to continually clean these filters to ensure they operate correctly.

5. Capacity

Does the capacity of your vacuum really matter? This depends on the area you are trying to clean. The capacity of vacuums can be measured in litres. Handheld and stick vacuums can get as small at 300mL, where large barrel or uprights can get as big as 20L. In general, the bigger the area the bigger the vacuum you want. If you get a vacuum to small you will find yourself needing to empty it too often which can be frustrating.

6. Features

Some features to keep an eye out for when choosing your vacuum are:

Full Bag Indicator – Tells you when your bag is full
On-board tool storage – Will allow you to hold alternative tools and heads on the unit itself.
Adjustable height – Allows the head of the vacuum to adjust in height to better suit hard floors or carpets.
Extendable Wand – Allows the wand to adjust in length for those hard to reach places.
Power or Turbo Heads – A head that is either powered by air or a motor that helps remove dust and pet hair.
Reverse Airflow – Allows you to clear the hose in case it gets clogged up.
Cord and Hose Length – Easy to overlook. Ensure to check the length of the cord and hose to make sure the vacuum will reach every point in your home.