Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum Cleaner Types

Models for every in-home need

When buying an allergy-friendly vacuum, you have to consider more than whether or not it has a HEPA filter or whether it's bagged or bagless. Different types of vacuums perform best in different situations. Some are good for carpet, while others excel on bare floors. Price is also a big factor. Basic styles can be very economical, while whole-home or high-end models can take a big bite out of your savings.

Vacuums can be divided into seven main categories:

  • Hand vacuums - These are strictly for spot clean-ups and can work on bare or carpeted floors. Many people have hand vacuums that hang on the wall in a central location for quick access.
  • Stick vacuums - Whether it's a stick sweeper - good for light cleaning of carpets, edges and bare floors - or a stick vacuum - good for bare floors and thin carpeting - stick vacs are cheap and easy to use. Most can be purchased for around $30 to $50, and they are often the only real option in small apartments or dorm rooms. These are sometimes referred to as electric brooms, so keep that in mind when shopping for one.
  • Upright vacuums - Uprights usually do the best when cleaning medium to thick carpet. They can use bags or containers to catch dirt. Brands include Hoover and Dyson, and prices range from $100 to $500.
  • Canister vacuums - These vacuums generally work best on bare floors, stairs, and curtains and under furniture. Canister vacuum prices can range from $150 to $700.
  • Robotic vacuums - While they are more for gadget-loving folks, robotic vacuums such as the iRobot Roomba can be good for frequent cleaning in clutter-free rooms. They usually cost well over $100, with some even more than $300.
  • Wet / dry vacuums - These can really get at stuck-on messes and liquid spills. Costs range from $30 to $150.
  • Central vacuums - These vacuum cleaners consist of a long hose that can be plugged into one of many outlets around the home. The outlets take dirt to a centralized location, usually in the basement or garage. Dust isn't recirculated, and emptying isn't frequently needed, so these vacuums are very allergy-friendly. Prices can vary, but with professional installation included, central vacs cost a lot more than any of the others.

Steam cleaners - These machines don't always have vacuum cleaners incorporated into the design, but it is an option in some. They are best for infrequent deep cleaning and should always be followed by vacuuming.

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