Choosing What Vacuum is Best for Your Home

Choosing What Vacuum is Best for Your Home
published in Cleaning How-Tos

Whether you are buying your very first vacuum cleaner, or replacing a old one, you have to make the same decision - choosing what vacuum is best for your home.

There are so many options at the mall, online, and at your local specialty store. Canister, central, upright, stick, cordless, bagless, oh my! Each vacuum claims to be the best at removing pet hair, crumbs, and dust. There are $99 specials, or you can spend thousands. Having so many options can be stressful and overwhelming. We want to make it easy for you! This checklist will help you determine what vacuum cleaner is best for your home. We’ve seen our clients invest in a beautiful vacuum which was all wrong for their needs, and we don’t want that to happen to you.

First, let’s review the different types of vacuum cleaners.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Pros: They often often cost less, and take very little space to store. It can easily fit in a closet or tuck into a corner in a storage space. They can have a powerful motor and a wider cleaning strip. Most come with attachments that can deal with pet hair on the couch and crumbs in the corner of the stairs.

Cons: Usually the heaviest choice. Can be cumbersome when vacuuming stairs. Often not effective on hardwood floors, tile, and stone. Bigger machine means it doesn’t get under beds, couches, or in the corners without taking the time to fiddle with attachments.

Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Pros: Light and easy to carry around. Often battery powered, so you are cord-free. May come with a cradle so it can hang on the inside of a closet door. Slender profile can get under the bed and couch. Picks up crumbs and kitty litter from all types of flooring.

Cons: Not enough charge to clean a whole house. Less powerful cleaning for carpets and rugs. Often doesn’t have attachments for edges and crevices.

Canister Vacuum Cleaners

Pros: A good balance between upright and stick - can have a powerful motor, but smaller profile so it can reach under furniture and into tight corners. Quieter, lighter, and easier to use than an upright. Attachments are stored in the vacuum, and can be used on blinds and curtains.

Cons: Not all canisters are created equal. Cheaper brands overheat easily, have poor suction, and are prone to breaks in the hose and cord. Invest in a good brand, and it can last for years.

Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

Pros: Light and always ready to clear up a mess. Small and easy enough for the kids to use! Great for car cleaning and getting fur off the couch. Usually battery powered, and can be hung on the inside of a closet in the kitchen or other high-traffic area.

Cons: Not practical for cleaning the floor of entire rooms. Not powerful enough for thorough vacuuming.


Pros: Um, you just switch it on and walk away. Easy, right? The higher end models can be controlled with your phone, scheduled to clean a specific area at a certain time (like the kitchen after making dinner), and it can return to the dock to recharge. A great option for hands-free daily cleaning of high traffic areas.

Cons: Not so effective on carpets. Can’t do stairs. Can get stuck in a corner and need to be rescued. The best models cost $800 and up, and you may still need a vacuum cleaner for the other tasks.

Now with an understanding of options, let’s look at a this checklist of decisions to help you decide what vacuum is best for your home.

1. What is Your Budget?

  • Before determining what vacuum best fits the needs of your home, decide what is going to fit your budget. That top-line robot vacuum may be perfect for your condo, but if you can’t afford the $1299, then don’t bother falling in love with it.
  • When deciding on your budget, remember this is an investment. The adage “you get what you pay for” is very true for machines and technology. That $99 vacuum isn’t a good deal if it stops working a year later (just after the warranty expires!). Spending $300 for a vacuum that works well for 5 years is much less money in the long term.

2. What is Your Home?

  • The size and design of your home impacts what vacuum will best suit your needs. If your home is large, or has many stairs, an upright isn’t the best choice. Also, go with something that has the power to get the whole job done. A cute little cordless may be easy to use, but it will run out of battery half way through your house. For large homes, a central vacuum is ideal because the motor can be powerful enough to get the job done, and you only have to carry around the hose. Central vacuum systems are also easy to maintain, can last for many years, ads value to your home when you sell. If your home is fitted for a central vacuum system, that may be the best choice.

3. What are Your Floors?

  • What types of flooring do you have in your home? Look at the ratio of bare floor vs carpet. If you have all hardwood, tile, vinyl, or cork floors, you can choose a vacuum without a beater brush for carpets. If you have area rugs or carpeted areas, choose a vacuum that has a bare floor attachment and an attachment for the carpet. If all your living spaces are carpeted, you could choose a vacuum designed just for carpets. You could sweep the kitchen, entrance, and bathrooms - or get a bare floor attachment.

4. What are Your Needs?

  • Finally, consider how your home is lived in, and what your unique cleaning needs are. If you have pets, then choose a canister or stick vacuum with the attachments to clean the furniture. If dust and allergies are a concern, choose a model with a HEPA filter. If you have kids, choose something light and easy to use for frequent clean ups after meal times and play dates.


A vacuum cleaner keeps our homes clean, and free from dust. Regular vacuuming contributes to our quality of life, the quality of the air in our home, and preserves the investment we made in our flooring choices. It is worth spending some time evaluating your needs, and choosing what vacuum is best for your home.

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