There are five different types of vacuums to consider:
- UPRIGHT: An upright is a vacuum that consists of a cleaning head, onto which a handle and bag (or canister) are attached. Upright vacuums pick up dirt after a brush roller loosens the dirt from the carpeting. Some models offer the ability to turn off the brush roll enabling the vacuum to be used on bare floors without causing damage. Ideal for carpeted areas and larger spaces, most uprights come with on-board attachments for any tough cleaning job.
- CANISTER: A canister vacuum consists of a suction hose attached to a container with the motor and filter system. The suction hose is used to pick up dirt; the rest of the unit remains stationary until the user is ready to roll or move it to a different area. A canister vacuum is usually light enough to lift and move between floors, which makes them a good fit for houses with multiple levels and large rooms.
- SWEEPER/STICKBROOM: Less of an all-purpose vacuum, but ideal for small areas, a stick broom is convenient and lightweight for smaller jobs. The suction is not as powerful as that of other vacuum types, but a stickbroom is perfect for small houses and apartments with little room to store a hefty vacuum. Different stickbroom models specify what type of surface on which they work best; however, they are commonly used on kitchen and hardwood floors for a quick clean-up.
- HAND VAC: A hand vacuum is ideal to have in addition to a larger vacuum, as it is portable, lightweight and cordless. A hand vac is great for a quick vacuuming of the car, picking up after pets or tidying up small messes around the house.
- ROBOTIC: A robotic vacuum is good for vacuuming large areas. Infrared sensors are used to navigate around obstacles. This navigation technology determines how large the room is and how long the vacuum needs to run. Better robotic units will clean multiple rooms in one charge. Robotic vacuums will clean up around the house so you have one less task to worry about, making vacuuming more convenient than ever.
Here are some definitions of commonly used terms that you will come across when researching vacuums. They are important to know as they will separate the good vacuums from the better ones.
AMPERAGE VS CLEANING EFFECTIVENESS
Depending on the manufacturer, the cleaning effectiveness or amperage will be listed to measure the power and cleaning capability of their vacuum. Cleaning effectiveness and amperage do not mean the exact same thing, which is why this information can be slightly confusing. It is easier to compare vacuums by manufacturer since manufacturers will remain consistent within their own descriptions. AMPERAGE is the measurement of electrical current the motor requires in order to perform. CLEANING EFFECTIVENESS RATING indicates the amount of dirt removal, where a higher rating is best.
ROOT CYCLONE TECHNOLOGY
This design keeps the already-vacuumed dirt and debris out of the vacuum's suction path, thereby increasing its cleansing effectiveness. When dirt is picked up and enters the air stream of the vacuum, centrifugal force is used to separate the dirt and debris from the suction path. The uniquely-shaped cones within the vacuum speed up the force of the airflow, removing even smaller particles of dirt and debris. Vacuums with this technology will therefore not lose their suction.
CLEAN AIR SYSTEM
Vacuums which are equipped with a clean air system direct dirt and debris to bypass the fan or the motor. This feature extends the life of the motor and reduces breakage problems caused by objects being picked up. It also increases suction power, especially when using attachments.
Most higher-quality vacuums today use a filter system so that dust and allergens that are sucked into the vacuum stay completely removed from the air. Filters are classified by the smallest particle they can remove and how efficient they are at doing so. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters will capture particles down to .3 microns. Particles around this size give the respiratory system the most trouble (for example pet dander, pollen, dust and dust mites). HEPA filters are 99.97% efficient - in other words, only 3 out of every 10,000 particles will pass through.
More than one type of filter may be used in some of these systems, increasing their effectiveness.
Most vacuums offer a variety of attachments to make cleaning easier, especially for hard to reach areas. The ideal system integrates these into the design of the vacuum so they are easy to find and use.
CREVICE TOOL: (A.K.A."Crevis" tool) A long angled attachment used for cleaning hard-to-reach, detailed places; perfect for cleaning along corners, molding and radiators.
DUSTING BRUSH: An oblong bristled brush that is used for dusting.
UPHOLSTERY TOOL: A bristled brush that is used for cleaning furniture, curtains, etc.
TURBO BRUSH: A powdered, bristled brush that is used for easy removal of pet hair from furniture. This brush can also be used on stairs.