When it comes to cleaning house, vacuuming is one of our most important chores. So much of the dirt and dust that makes it way into the house floats down to floors and furniture that our vacuum cleaner can be the best tool in our arsenal. Finding the right vacuum cleaner can be as tough as it is important with so many available models all claiming to be the best. You might think that you have to spend a fortune to get the best quality–after all, you get what you pay for, right? Well, not necessarily. Understanding what really makes a vacuum cleaner worth the money can help make your decision a little easier and help you figure out which manufacturers have the best machines and which are counting on sucking you in with hype.
The first bit of marketing you need to disregard has to do with claims of motor power and/or suction power being the most important factors in terms of performance. It sounds crazy, I know, but there’s one area of a vacuum cleaner’s construction that is more critical to overall cleaning power than motor or suction. That element is airflow. A vacuum’s motor powers a fan that drops the pressure inside the machine. The pressure drop creates the suction that pulls air (along with dirt, pet hair, etc.) into and through the machine. A more powerful motor definitely means more suction power, but without efficient airflow, that suction power will fade within minutes of start up. If a vac’s airflow pathway is leaky, the best motor isn’t worth the extra money. Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute. The key to getting the best vacuum cleaner for your money is to look for higher CFM ratings.
A well-sealed airflow system combined with terrific filtration is what makes a vacuum cleaner most effective. While the airflow improves suction and ensures that more dust gets directed to the bag or canister, the filter serves to trap any microscopic particles before the cleaned air is sent out through the machine’s exhaust port. These two features are critical in making sure that as much debris is picked up and retained as possible. What’s the point in picking up all the dirt if too much of it just ends up being released right back into the air, free to float back down to your nice clean surfaces? The best thing about a superior cleaning machine is that it not only makes each cleaning session much more effective, but can also mean that you might be able to vacuum less often.
Now that you know what really makes a vacuum cleaner great, your next job is to make sure you get the model that does that job well in your house. If you have carpet, you need a brush head roller that will agitate the carpet to stir up dirt below the surface. These brush heads are less effective on bare floors. For bare floors, you need a head that sits closer to the ground and relies strictly on solid suction. Many of today’s models offer settings for both carpet and bare floors, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that does both well.
In order to get the most out of your vacuum, look for a model that will allow you to go beyond floors. Look for attachments that will let you clean furniture, stairs, baseboards, ceiling fans and light fixtures, blinds and curtains, and all the tight spaces between appliances or behind furniture.
The choice of upright versus canister is largely a matter of preference. Easy mobility, though, should be a concern. Nobody wants the hassle of housework to be compounded by a struggle to keep the vacuum cleaner in check. Make it a point to understand how cumbersome a prospective model will be once you’ve got attachments hooked up.
To sum it up, high CPM airflow plus great filter equals super-effective vacuum cleaner. If you can look past the marketing hype that quite often leaves airflow out of the equation, you’re on your way to a great vacuum cleaner that doesn’t have to break the bank.