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What are Different Types of Vacuum Cleaners?

Tricia Christensen
Updated: May 16, 2024

Consumers have many choices when purchasing a vacuum cleaner. There are a number of things to take into account when making a choice of what type of vacuum cleaner to select. These considerations include:

  • Requirements for the vacuum cleaner, such as type and amount of carpet
  • Allergy Issues
  • Attachments needed
  • Physical issues that might make vacuuming more challenging
  • Price
  • Durability

Currently there are several types of vacuum cleaners from which to choose:

  • Stick or broom vacuum cleaners are light but tend to provide less suction.
  • Canister vacuum cleaners offer the convenience of a stick vacuum cleaner, but with more suction.
  • Handheld vacuum cleaners may be good for occasional use for smaller jobs.
  • Upright vacuum cleaners: tends to offer the most power but may be heavier.

Choosing the right style of vacuum cleaner often depends upon personal preference. People who have carpeted stairs often prefer a canister style, since one doesn’t have to lug the upright vacuum up the stairs. Long stairs, however, may still require carrying the canister. Personal strength is also an issue with canister styles. Since the cleaner portion of the vacuum is relatively light, it may be easier to use for people who tire easily, or who have physical limitations.

A small amount of carpeting, or indoor/outdoor carpeting is often well suited to broom vacuum cleaners. In general, particles of dust or food don’t get buried in long carpet fibers, so people can quickly make a room look neat with a quick vacuuming with a broom vacuum. However, all carpeting benefits from greater suction at some time or another. Thus it may be necessary to keep an upright or canister vacuum cleaner on hand for more intensive cleaning.

People who plan to use the vacuum cleaner for a wide variety of applications need to consider the attachments that come with a vacuum or can be purchased to fit the vacuum. If one plans to clean drapes or needs to get into tight corners, likely more attachments will be needed.

Those who have allergies should consider a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration. Many cleaners now come standard with this feature. This helps to eliminate dust particles from being recirculated back into the air. HEPA filtrated vacuum cleaners are available in canister and upright styles.

Price is also a consideration. One can purchase a new bagless upright vacuum cleaner for about 80 US dollars. However, one can also spend a great deal more for some of the fancier models like a Dyson®. If your vacuuming duties are significant, it may be ultimately more cost effective to purchase a better quality model, since it will last longer. However, if one only occasionally uses the vacuum cleaner, it may not be necessary to spend a lot of money to achieve a clean floor.

Consumers can also choose vacuum cleaners that are bagless or still require vacuum bags. Consider the cost of replacing bags against the cost of replacing or cleaning filters of bagless models. Sometimes purchasing bags ends up being cheaper in the long run, although some bagless models have filters that are easy to self-clean.

In all, first consider your vacuum cleaner needs. Heavy and thick carpeting requires greater suction and engine power. Light jobs may only require a simple and inexpensive model. It's smart to try out several in a store before making a purchase.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon5951 — On Dec 11, 2007

If allergies and dust is a big problem, the best vacuum that I have found for this is called a Rainbow. It uses water for filtration rather than bags or dry canisters. Therefore the dust cannot escape and you never lose suction. The newer models also feature a HEPA filter to catch anything that might not be water soluble.(i.e. baby powder or those powders some people sprinkle on their carpet) The only drawback though, is they are quite expensive. They are normally sold door to door but, you can find a used model on e-bay for about $400. Believe me they are every bit worth it!

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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