What Is the Best Vacuum Cleaner for Your Individual Needs?

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There is no one best vacuum cleaner for all circumstances. To claim there is would be like saying everyone should drive a certain luxury sedan, or small economy car. Someone who needs to haul 6 kids doesn't need the same vehicle as someone who hauls 4x8 sheets of wallboard. My needs and your needs may not be the same. Some people just want to clean rugs and carpets, others have bare floors, and some people want to vacuum the curtains and wood trim, what we call "above the floor cleaning". Some of the new frieze and shag carpet is too long for many vacuums and some of the newest high yarn count carpets (like Dupont Silk and Shaw Caress) are very soft & comfortable to walk on but very difficult to push most vacuums on. Some people have dust allergies and need superior filtration. Some people need a vacuum light enough to carry up and down stairs, others need one that's very easy to push. At Byers Vacuum we spend some time asking questions before we recommend a particular vacuum shark vs dyson. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself: What surfaces do you want to clean? If carpets, how long? Bare floor? Above the floor? Do you have area rugs with fringes? Carpeted stairs? Does anyone in the household have dust allergies? Are you picking up long hair that gets wrapped around the brush? How many hours a year will it be used? How many years do you want it to last? Do you want to buy American? Most vacuums, including Hoover, Eureka, Dirt Devil, Bissell, and Dyson, are made in China, S. Korea, Malaysia, or Mexico. If you have the answers to these questions, you are ready to determine what vacuum is "best" for you.

A straight suction canister is good for bare floors and above the floor. A canister with a power nozzle allows you to also clean carpet. Some power nozzles will height adjust for the new friezes and shags, some won't. The same is true of uprights: some will height adjust for friezes and shags, some won't. The new extra soft carpets need the ability to reduce suction (one company drilled a bunch of holes in their nozzle to bleed suction). And some uprights have attachments that work well for above the floor cleaning, but some have none, or they don't work very well. Most uprights cannot turn off the brush separately from the motor, but a few can. This feature allows you to vacuum a bare floor without scattering dirt all over. Also, if you have rugs with fringes, or fragile antique rugs, you might want to be able to turn the brush off. Most canisters with power nozzles allow you to turn off the brush. On the uprights that can turn the brush off, some do it by a lever on the nozzle, others have 2 motors with a switch right on the handle which allows you to turn the brush motor on & off with a flip of your finger, rather than bending over, -- much more convenient when doing fringes.

Some uprights, like the Orecks and SupraLites, are very light. This makes them very easy to carry from one level to another or to transport back and forth in a cleaning business. Other machines, like newer Kirbys and certain Hoovers, are truly self-propelled, where they have a transmission that runs the vacuum in both forward and reverse as you push and pull on the handle. These can be operated with one finger, but are heavy to carry up and down stairs.

Of course, aside from making sure the vacuum will work on the surfaces you need to clean, some vacuums filter better than others. Don't believe that all "HEPA" filters are the same. From what I've read from people who tested vacuums with a laser particle counter (if you have severe dust allergies, you want it to have been tested at 0.3 microns or less) the Miele and Nilfisk have the best filtration. However, one test using imitation bags and filters in a Miele reported a measurable dust emission. So it isn't just that the vacuum is well sealed and gasketed, it's the quality of the bags & filters. A typical micro-lined bag will catch most of the dirt down to 5 microns, but it's not just the bag or filter you need to be concerned with. Bagless machines usually leak a lot more dust (in spite of their "HEPA" filters or cyclone technology), plus you spread a lot of dust when you empty the container. Even if you don't have dust allergies, you may find if you compare the cost of bags to the cost of filters for most bagless, that the bagged vacuum is more economical and less messy. Replacing a bag usually takes less than a minute and the result is a brand-new primary filter without having to wash and wait for bagless filters to dry, which can take up to a day. In my opinion, the best thing about a bagless is that you can watch the dirt spin.

Some vacuums have metal brushrolls with slide-in replaceable bristles, which in heavy use is more economical and much more durable around long hair. Plastic brushes can melt if hair gets up in the ends. Some are better shielded from hair than others. Another thing to watch out for is plastic axles, rather than metal.