Monday, 12 November 2007 | Tags: , , ,

A good vacuum can make your household chores go faster and easier. Since vacuum power is typically proportionate to the money you spend, we try to find a good one that wonít suck the all money out of your wallet.

The Basics

  • There are two main styles to choose from:

    • Uprights have their weight in the base and a hefty rotating brush that loosens and sucks dirt as you push back and forth. Their heavy-duty suction makes them great on carpets.

    • Canisters are best for homes that have more bare floors than carpet, and handy in hard-to-vacuum places like stairs.

  • Amperage refers to the amount of electrical current, not the suction power.

  • Cog belts are more reliable than flat belts.

  • Make sure the power cord is long enough to clean a certain area without having to change outlets. Cord lengths can vary anywhere between 20 to 40 feet.

  • Turn the machine on in-store. A good vacuum will operate quietly.

Other Considerations

  • Bagless vacuums sound like a good idea, but can be messy when you empty them.

  • On bag vacuums, look for a full-bag indicator. And don’t forget to keep refill bags handy.

  • Some vacuums have a compartment or holders for other tools: upholstery brush, detachable hose and corner cleaners.

Be Aware

  • We don’t recommend paying more for HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that are supposed to capture fine, allergy-inducing particles. Many non-HEPA vacuums do this job just as well.

  • Some vacuums have a “dirt sensor”, which lights up once the vacuum “thinks” the dirt particles have been picked up. But this doesn’t mean there’s no dirt left on your floor.


We coated our test carpet with dog hair, crumbs and dirt, and then put these four test vacuums (all upright models) to work:

  • Kenmore 12amp (bag): $129
  • Miele full-size (bag): $439
  • Bissell Lift Off Revolution 12amp (bagless): $299
  • Dyson DC14 All Floors (bagless): $549

Suction Test

  • The Dyson definitely removed the most dirt – fine as well as large particles – and removed cat hair from upholstery almost effortlessly!

  • The Bissell was a good runner up, though it was a little cumbersome to cart around.

  • For the price, we gave the Kenmore vacuum some credit: good on smaller jobs, lightweight and easy to move around.

  • The Miele just didn’t pick up dirt well enough to make it a contender.


The Dyson definitely came out on top with by far the best suction and cleaning ability.


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    As a dog owner (Labrador Retriever) I need a vacuum that can pick up a lot of hair. I bought the Dyson 3 years ago, and it is so much better than the vacuums I had previously. Works just the same now as when I took it out of the box. Well worth the money I spent on it, and it has a 5 year warranty.