Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

With so many different floor care machines, it can be difficult to choose exactly what's right for your floor. Our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide will help you decide what's best for your flooring and how to keep it in great condition for a long time.
Dyson vacuum cleaner being pushed around on a carpet beside a beige couch

Get Everything You Want in a Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners come in all shapes and sizes, and the right one for your needs is out there waiting for you. Whether it's an upright or full-sized canister or wet or dry vacuum, we've got you and your floors covered. Find the perfect one today.

Types of Vacuums

Uprights and canisters have long been the staples of floor cleaning, but there’s more out there so consider the surfaces you’ll be cleaning. Upright vacuums are generally best-suited for carpets, while canisters more suitable for hard floors. Also think about the weight of the vacuum, with the more attachments you have, the heavier it’ll be to push or pull.

Upright Vacuums

  • Cleaning path width that ranges from 12 to 15 inches (based on model).
  • Swivel canister system for better manoeuverability.
  • Furniture and wall bumper guard to protect furniture and walls.
  • Carpet height adjustment.
  • Headlight
  • Self-propelled
  • Standard attachments, like a hose, dusting brush, crevice tool, and upholstery tool.


Upright Vacuums - Other Features To Look For

  • Bare floor cleaning (turn the brush off).
  • HEPA sealed system filter.
  • Adjustable suction to clean lampshades and curtains.
  • Retractable cord, longer than 20 feet.
  • Hose longer than five ft.
  • Dirt sensor accessory that reduces or increases suction strength based on how dirty the floor is.
  • Edge cleaner for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Full bag indicator that lets you know when the bag needs emptying.
  • Motor protection to protect from items like coins, paper clips, and more.
  • Bagless, which is also referred to as “hard bag.”

Canister Vacuums

  • Cleaning path width ranges from 12 to 15 in.
  • Ideal for homes with more than 50 percent hard surface floors.
  • Floor to ceiling cleaning includes stairs, shelves, drapery, and upholstery.
  • Instant carpet to bare floor cleaning.
  • Power brush nozzles for agitating carpet are usually standard, but some models are “suction only” for hard surface floors.
  • Standard attachments, like a wand, bare-floor brush, dusting brush, and crevice and upholstery tool.


Canister Vacuums - Other Features To Look For

  • HEPA sealed system filter available on some models.
  • Edge cleaner for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Retractable cord longer than 20 ft.
  • Hose longer than 5 ft.

Broom Vacuums

A broom vacuum is good for small homes with hard surface floors, or for people who have difficulty manoeuvring heavier, full-size vacuums. Features include:

  • Lightweight and easy to store.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Bagless (uses a dust cup).
  • Great for quick pick ups on bare floors, carpets, rugs, and stairs.
  • Cordless models are available.

Handheld Vacuums

Handheld vacuums are convenient for picking up small messes without dragging out the full-size vacuum. They’re lightweight and wall-mountable, come in both corded and cordless models, and are bagless. Extra attachments can include:

  • Crevice tool with wand brush.
  • Extension wand
  • Furniture/upholstery brush
  • Lockable “on” switch.
  • Agitator brush for spills and stains on furniture and carpets.


Robotic Vacuums

Robotic vacuums let you sit back and relax while a machine does all the work for you. These are some of their main benefits:

  • Ideal for people with mobility issues.
  • Saves time and requires no supervision.
  • Can detect surface changes.
  • Requires minimal maintenance.
  • Can keep your home clean while you’re away.


Wet/Dry Vacuums

Wet/dry vacuums are no longer just for the workshop. Over time, their technology has improved. When you buy a wet/dry vacuum, you need to learn about their details. They're available in a variety of sizes and horsepower, ranging from 6 to 22 gallons and from 1.5 to 10.5 HP. The capacity of the vacuum should match your needs.


Wall-mount vacuums with 1.5 HP and a one-gallon tank are available for quick and easy cleanup jobs, and they can be hung up for out-of-the-way storage. A six-gallon vacuum accommodates small jobs and is easier to manoeuvre and store than a larger model, but smaller ones (fewer than 10 gallons) can be louder and more prone to tipping. The smaller the tank, the more often it has to be emptied. A higher capacity (greater than 10 gallons and four to six HP) is recommended for your workshop to clean up large spills. The larger tank capacity decreases the number of times it has to be emptied.


A pleated cartridge filter is rinseable and reusable. It provides more filtration area than a flat filter and doesn’t have to be removed when switching from the dry to wet vacuum function. Look for an automatic shut-off mechanism is available on most high-quality vacuums. It automatically shuts off the motor when the tank is full of water. Wide-set wheels help prevent the vacuum from tipping over. Some larger wet/dry vacuums (greater than 16 gallons and at least a 6.25 HP motor) have the ability to convert to a leaf blower. A drain valve or spout makes emptying the vacuum easier. Otherwise, the lid is removed and the tank is tipped to the side for emptying. Wide hoses and floor nozzles are pluses — the wider they are, the less likely the vacuum is to clog.

Wet/Dry Vacuum Replacement Accessories

If not provided with the vacuum you choose, the following replacement accessories are available.

  • Crevice Tool: Gets in tight corners around the edges of the floor.
  • Extension Wand: Makes the hose longer for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Hose Couplings: Joins the extension wand to the hose.
  • Combination Wet/Dry Nozzle: Alleviates the need to switch nozzles before switching functions.
  • Gulper Nozzle: Great for the wet vacuum function.
  • Round Brush: Used for scrubbing.
  • Cleaning Kit: Includes the items needed to clean upholstery and other areas.

     (links needed for each accessory)

Other Vacuum Options to Consider

If you want to go the extra mile on keeping flooring in great condition, other options to consider include hard surface floor steam cleaners and deep-cleaning vacuums.

Hard Surface Floor Steam Cleaners

These can be used on any hard surfaces. No chemicals are needed.

  • Has a 25 in. cleaning radius.
  • Sanitizes and cleans floors with 220 degree Fahrenheit steam.
  • Uses plain water.
  • Replaces mops, buckets, and cleaners.


Deep-Cleaning Vacuums

Steam vacuums can be used on hard surface floors and carpets and are good for cleaning spills, stains, and other accidents.

  • Rotating brushes (agitates dirt out of carpet and scrubs hard surface floors).
  • Headlights (for working in poorly lit rooms and corners).
  • Automatic tool conversion (simply press a button to switch from carpet to hard surface floors).
  • Hot water and a cleaning solution cleans carpet.
  • Can switch from floor cleaning to tool use (stairs and upholstery).
  • One hand tank removal.
  • No faucet hookup.
  • Nozzle for cleaning soiled spots.
  • Sizes range from compact to large carpet/bare floor cleaners.


Usage Tips

Bags: If your floor care product requires bags, be sure to keep the style number of the bag in an easy-to-remember place. You'll thank yourself later when it comes time to buy refills.

Amperage: When choosing a vacuum, don't use the amount of amperage as a deciding factor. Amperage is the amount of electricity the motor uses, not the suction power.

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